Colonial School District hosts meeting on referendum

By Tom Lehman 11:38pm, May 13, 2013 - Updated 6:04pm, May 14, 2013
Colonial School District Superintendent Dorothy Linn discusses the June referendum.
Administrators at Colonial School District tried to rally support for a second attempt at referendum at a meeting Monday night.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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Superintendent Dorothy Linn says if Colonial School District voters approve the operating referendum on June 4, it will drastically reduce the 72 staff cuts set to occur.

The district's school board has already approved the reduction of 58 teachers, five para-professionals, five custodians, two secretaries and two specialists because of the failed referendum in February. However, administrators Linn says it can lower the staff reductions and retain more than of those 45 teachers if voters approve a reduced referendum.

"Our goal is to be able to pass this referendum and the very next day after we pass the referendum to be able to sit down and get our staff back," Linn says.

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The district is asking for a tax increase of 35 cents per assessed property value, 12 cents less than the original, failed proposal. Administrators held a meeting at Gunning-Bedford Middle School Monday to inform residents about the upcoming vote.

"We had to lower our amount for the second referendum because we needed to listen to the community and get the feedback," she says.

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John Martin, former Mayor of Delaware City, whose daughter attended Gunning-Bedford Middle School, view the tax hike as necessary since the district hasn't had an operating referendum since 1993.

"Nobody wants to raise their taxes but we understand it's been quite a while and it's for our kids and everybody's kids," Martin says.

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Gary Phillips, a teacher at Delcastle Technical School who lives in the Colonial School district, says he plans to vote for the referendum.

"We're looking at preparing these students to be the leaders in our community in the next 10, 20, 30 years," Phillips says.

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