What is a Referendum
    In Delaware, a referendum empowers school district residents to participate in a ballot process, allowing them to vote in favor of or against alterations to the operating expense tax and debt service tax. These two taxes constitute a portion of the comprehensive property tax that property owners contribute to support the local school system. Through this referendum, residents can vote either in favor or against raising one or both of these taxes. The capital and operating referendum serve the crucial purpose of funding significant building renovations, the creation of modern learning environments, and the day-to-day operations of schools. This includes financial support for students, procurement of instructional materials, and the hiring and compensation of teaching and support staff.

    Why now?
    Red Clay Consolidated School District has not pursued a Referendum for nearly a decade. We take pride in responsibly managing taxpayer resources and addressing routine maintenance as it arises. Nevertheless, as equipment ages beyond its intended life expectancy, replacing it with modern and efficient systems becomes a more cost-effective choice. Now is the opportune moment for such upgrades in many of our schools.

    Furthermore, the evolving landscape of education calls for a fresh approach to teaching and learning. To meet the changing needs of both educators and students, we must ensure that our facilities are up-to-date and equipped to support these advancements.

    Why do we need capital funding?
    Our schools require additional capital funding for several critical purposes. This funding is essential to address building maintenance, carry out necessary repairs, undertake renovations, and support new construction projects to create conducive learning environments. Additionally, it enables us to invest in essential resources such as classroom furniture, buses, advanced technology, and various equipment that enhance the overall quality of education and ensure the safety, comfort, and modernization of our educational facilities.

    When was Red Clay’s last successful capital referendum?
    The last successful capital referendum was in 2015.

    Why do we need operating funding?
    Our schools require additional operating funds to sustain and enhance the quality of our instructional staff, who are one of our most valuable assets. These dedicated educators have played a pivotal role in elevating our schools to new heights and achieving national recognition. Investing in additional operating funds allows us to retain and attract top-tier instructional staff, ensuring that we can continue to provide our students with exceptional education and maintain our record of excellence.

    When was Red Clay’s last successful operating referendum?
    The last successful operating referendum was in 2015

    How do I get more information?
    You can get more information at the district’s webpage, www.redclayschools.com/vote. You can also check the district’s social media accounts for more information or contact the Chief Communications Officer, Alva Mobley (alveretta.mobley@redclay.k12.de.us).

    Will there be public meetings?
    Yes, come hear about the referendum and ask questions. There will be one in-person meeting and one virtual meeting currently scheduled for:

    • Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 6:00 PM
      Referendum Information Night (In-Person)
      Location: Red Clay Administration Office Boardroom, 1502 Spruce Ave. Wilmington, DE, 19805
    • Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 6:00 PM
      Referendum Information Night (Virtual)
      Location: Zoom

    I own property in the district but do not live in the district. Can I vote in this election?
    No, you must be a resident and live in the district to vote.

    How will the new improvements impact learning?

    Multiple studies have consistently demonstrated that a conducive, energy-efficient, and comfortable educational setting significantly influences student performance. The forthcoming referendum focuses on addressing various environmental concerns within our existing school facilities. These concerns encompass heating systems, air conditioning, temperature regulation, air quality, ventilation, lighting, sound management, and safety —all crucial components for creating an optimal environment conducive to effective teaching and learning.

    If the referendum passes, when will the project be completed?
    We are currently in the process of coordinating the logistics for project scheduling. Several variables come into play when determining the completion timeline, especially considering that work will be ongoing in all buildings. Factors that require careful consideration include the availability of contractors, storage arrangements for classroom furniture and equipment, as well as lead times for new equipment and materials, and the safety of students and employees during renovations.

    How will this benefit our community?
    Decades ago, our community made significant investments in building new schools for our students. Today, it is crucial to reinvest in maintaining these valuable assets. Our students are the cornerstone of our future, and investing in their success is essential for the continued vitality of our community. The district is dedicated to responsible growth and delivering top-notch services to students and families. Quality schools not only bolster local businesses but also play a vital role in fostering population growth and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our community.

    Why do Red Clay schools need additional operating funds?
    We must persist in retaining and attracting high-quality instructional personnel, representing one of our most valuable assets. Our instructional staff has played a pivotal role in elevating our schools to unprecedented levels of achievement. See many of our awards in the Remarkable Red Clay section.

    Will my school taxes go up again when the county finishes with reassessment?
    The reassessment process is independent of this referendum. When properties in Red Clay are reassessed in coming years, the board of education will be resetting the tax rate to be revenue neutral.  In other words, if the district’s assessed value increases, the board would decrease the tax rate.

    I don’t have children in the district. Why should I vote for this referendum?
    Voting for the operating and capital referendum benefits not only families with children in the district but the entire community as well. Here are some reasons why you should consider supporting the referendum even if you don't have children in the district:

    • Strong and well-funded schools can positively impact property values in the area, benefiting all homeowners and taxpayers.
    • A thriving school district attracts businesses and professionals to the area, leading to economic growth and job opportunities for everyone. Today's students will become tomorrow's employees, entrepreneurs, and leaders, contributing to the local economy.
    • A well-educated community tends to have lower crime rates, better health outcomes, and an overall higher quality of life, which benefits everyone who lives in the district.
    • Supporting education is a fundamental civic duty. By investing in education, you are helping to shape the future of your community and society as a whole. A strong school district is a source of pride for a community.
    • Ensuring every child has access to a quality education is a social responsibility. By voting for the referendum, you are contributing to the equitable distribution of educational opportunities.                                                                                                                                                                   

    Voting for the operating and capital referendum is not just about benefiting families with children in the district; it's about building a stronger, more prosperous, and harmonious community for everyone.

    Will the Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware Military Academy, and other charter schools benefit if the Referendum is Successful?
    YES!  When Red Clay students enroll in a charter school, the district operating funds for educating the student will follow the student to the charter school.

    How can we be sure the dollars are spent as promised?
    Our school district takes great pride in being a trusted and responsible steward of district finances. Thanks to our prudent financial management, we have not needed to seek a referendum for almost a decade. This track record of fiscal responsibility reflects our commitment to making the most of every dollar while providing quality education.

    To ensure that the funds allocated for operating and capital and expenses are spent as promised, we remain steadfast in our dedication to transparency, accountability, and responsible financial practices. We recognize that your trust is built on our actions, and we are fully committed to upholding that trust by ensuring that the dollars entrusted to us are spent wisely, as promised, for the betterment of our students and our community.

    In addition, the Community Financial Review Committee (CFRC) assists the school board with financial oversight and ensures community involvement in the district’s budgetary process.  Use this link for more information.

    What effect does this have on me as a homeowner?
    Numerous families make a deliberate choice to purchase homes within top-level school districts. Their primary motivation is to provide their children with an excellent education within high-performing schools. Interestingly, even those home buyers who may not have children also take into account the caliber of the school district when making their housing decisions. It's important to note that various factors impact home prices, and the quality of the school district stands out as a significant and influential one.

    Is There Support for Seniors
    Yes, the State of Delaware offers tax relief to seniors. Residents aged 65 and older who meet specific residency requirements (3 years if you established residency before 12/31/2017; 10 years if you established residency after that date) can qualify for a school tax credit of up to $400 on their primary residence. To apply for the School Tax Credit, please visit: https://www.nccde.org/182/Tax-Exemptions.

    Seniors may also apply for further reductions in sewer and county property taxes based on their income. For more details about these programs, please contact the County at 302-395-5520.

    Is There Support for Veterans and Disabled Citizens
    Yes, please visit this website to see if you qualify: https://www.nccde.org/182/Tax-Exemptions.

    How Will Students Benefit
    A successful referendum will help us sustain existing programs, including the provision of instructional supplies, materials, and technology. School safety and security will remain a priority, as well as the creation of new and improved learning environments. We will invest in the recruitment and retention of top teachers and support staff. Additionally, we can address the growing operational expenses, such as funding for students, salaries, and transportation.

    This holds significant importance for all children in our community, regardless of whether they are enrolled in a Red Clay school, a charter school, or a school within another district. State funding for public education is failing to keep pace with the rising costs of inflation, making this issue crucial for our children's educational well-being.

    What’s at Stake
    The district will face significant budget constraints. This could lead to reductions in instructional staff, resulting in larger class sizes. This could also lead to deferred critical maintenance, facility improvements, and the necessary renovation of important instructional spaces. Additionally, there may be potential cuts to essential programs like the arts, advanced academics, and athletics. We believe that our students deserve the complete school experience.

    If the Capital Referendum does not pass, does the district still receive the state construction funds?
    No. If Red Clay voters do not approve the construction projects, the state will reallocate those funds to other districts waiting for construction.

    What happens if the referendum doesn’t pass?
    If the operating and capital referendum does not pass, there will be several consequences.

    • To compensate for the lack of funding, the school district will be forced to make difficult decisions, which can include staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and reductions or elimination of extracurricular activities and educational programs.
    • Capital improvement projects, such as building maintenance, repairs, renovations, and infrastructure upgrades, will be delayed or deferred, potentially leading to the deterioration of school facilities over time.
    • Capital funding committed by the state will be reallocated to surrounding school districts.
    • Over time, a lack of investment in education can have long-term consequences for the community, including decreased property values, reduced economic opportunities, and a less competitive workforce.

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