Bill would take Delaware school tax hikes out of voters' hands (Natalia Alamdari)
News story about the bill introduced by Rep. Earl Jaques (see his 5/5/19 column) to partially do away with the school district referendum requirement for school tax increases, HB 129. As a case in point of the perceived problem, Christiana School District just lost its third referendum in four years (two of which were this year), “and now parents and teachers are bracing themselves for inevitable staff cuts and increased class sizes." Note, however, that pursuant to “an agreement between the district and the state," teaching positions can only be cut from suburban schools.
Rep. Jaques is quoted that the referendum system is archaic. “We have to find ways to be able to afford education. We can’t keep doing the same old stuff and expect something’s going to be different. But opponents of the bill (many older residents without children in schools) argue that the school districts shouldn’t be able to raise taxes without accountability.
And why do the districts keep needing referendums to stay afloat. Because “property values are not regularly reassessed, the tax base stays stagnant, forcing districts to rely on referendums to boost funds.” Curious that Jaques omitted this point from his column, but notice that it belies the notion of revenue neutral tax reassessment.