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HB129 – Ending School Funding Referendums

Delaware is one of four states that ridiculously requires a school district to pass a referendum to raise property taxes to fund school operations. And to make the process even more insane, they schedule these referendums in low turnout off years and off months. Guess who votes in those low turnout off year elections? Retired senior citizens who are opposed to any tax increase on their property and who have no interest in the issue since their children (if they had any) left school 40 or more years ago. And as a final absurdity, property values in these school districts have not had a tax reassessment for many many decades.

To end this nonsense, Representative Earl Jaques has introduced House Bill 129, which would allow the Boards of Education of the school districts in Delaware to annually raise local school taxes equal to the percentage change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers or up to 2 percent — without a referendum. If voters have a problem with a tax increase by the school board, then they are free to vote their disapproval in the school board elections.

The bill states that a school district could still hold a referendum if officials wanted to raise the operating tax by more than 2% or if it wanted to raise funds for a capital infrastructure project (school Board-intiated tax increases are only available for operating funds, not capital projects).

WHERE IS THE BILL?  House Education Committee as of 5/2/19

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Jaques, Sturgeon, Lockman, Sokola, Townsend, Baumbach




7 comments on “HB129 – Ending School Funding Referendums

  1. Allen R Bernstein

    My wife and I are retired and 72 years old, We vote “FOR” every school referendum. I haven’t spoken to my parsimonious neighbor, who used to be friendly, in five years.

    • Delaware Dem

      Good! I was generalizing of course. Actually, the major problem with these school board elections is the very low turnout among other voters.

  2. Jack Polidori

    Huge cudos to Rep. Earl Jaques for filing this bill. May it pass quickly. This method of school funding is absurd. Let each school board vote annually or biennially and hold them accountable at election time.
    As for your admonishment of seniors writ large, have you conducted a study of the electorates? This data is now available … or are you simply launching a broadside critique based on hearsay? There are other demographic, partisan, and geographic variables seriously at play.
    These elections can be won (passed) with a smart strategy that has a coherent substantive message and intelligent, properly-executed targeting/communications. (Not parent pizza parties.) :):):)

  3. This bill is dead in the water. Kim Williams already came out in opposition.

  4. Democrats support democracy except when they don’t.

  5. Ahem. Not all seniors are uninformed. These kids will be paying our Social Security and this senior citizen wants them to have good jobs.

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