Smyrna's second attempt at referendum in 2024 is successful.

22 votes: Smyrna School District squeezes out successful referendum

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Smyrna's second attempt at referendum in 2024 is successful.

Smyrna’s second attempt at referendum in 2024 is successful.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

It came down to 22 votes, but the Smyrna School District had a successful referendum Thursday.

The district’s first try at raising taxes through referendum was unsuccessful in early March.

RELATED: Smyrna School District referendum fails

Smyrna School District sought $4,162,286 from local revenue to build a new 600-student intermediate school on Rabbit Chase Lane to address crucial needs.
The bonds represent 23% of the total increase in cost of $18,096,640 and will address enrollment growth and capacity issues.
Here is the accurate funding breakdown for the June 6th referendum:
• $13,934,354 – State’s Share
• $4,162,286 – District’s Local Share
• $18,096,640 – Total

For the average homeowner in the district, taxes would go up $17.29 in year one, $16.90 in year two, $16.52 in year three, $16.14 in year four and $15.75 in year five.

That’s less than $2 more monthly.

Thursday’s unofficial referendum results came in at about 9 p.m.

The vote count was 1,090 (50.5%) “yes” and 1,068 (49.5%) “no”.

“We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to the incredible support of our community members, the Smyrna School District’s Capital Referendum on June 6, 2024, has passed, according to the unofficial results!” the district stated in a Facebook post Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

Here’s how the residents voted:

Screen Shot 2024 06 06 at 9.18.25 PM

Smyrna School District referendum fails

Originally published March 9, 2024

Smyrna and Appoquinimink are the two school district's with unsuccessful referendums this academic year.

Smyrna and Appoquinimink are the two school district’s with unsuccessful referendums this academic year.

Smyrna School District’s capital and operating referendum to raise local revenue for it school’s has failed.

It’s request to raise local funds was rejected at a vote of 820 “yes” and 1,129 “no” (57.9%).

The other ballot option – which would authorize the district to issue bonds for capital projects like building a new intermediate school – also failed, with a vote of 874 for and 1,079 (56.1%) against.

Statement from Smyrna

“Dear Smyrna School District Community,
We want to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who supported us in today’s referendum. While the outcome wasn’t what we hoped for, we are determined to press forward. We will reflect, regroup, and reevaluate our next steps. This isn’t just about funding; but rather about investing in our students, staff, and community’s future. Your continued support of our school district is invaluable as we continue to provide the best education possible for our students.
Thank you to everyone who attended the I Love Smyrna School District Day! We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all who participated, and a special thanks to our fine arts departments for their outstanding displays and performances. Our students continue to make us #ProudToBeSSD.
Thank you for standing with us.

Smyrna’s request

Smyrna was seeking $8,618,951 in local funds for market pressure needs after already being approved for $98,854,141 in state-matching funds. It was also seeking $5,510,000 in local funds for operational costs.

The first question on the ballot requested the local portion of $8.6 million, and the second question on the ballot was for the $5.5 million to address the operating expenses.

“These expenses include recruiting and hiring new constables for every school building, delivering mental health support in every school building, maintaining competitive salaries, enhancing student instructional technology materials and providing extracurricular activities for the new middle school,” said Jessalynn Kenton, Smryna’s community relations and family engagement specialist.

Some of the capital needs include:

  • Major capital project at North Smyrna Elementary School, including new mechanical systems and a ballistic-rated vestibule
  • Chiller rebuild at the central plant to effectively cool Smyrna High School and Smyrna Middle School facilities
  • Lighting upgrades that have yielded nearly $30,000 in energy rebates
  • Bottle filling stations installed and located in all eight schools
  • Resurfacing of athletic areas at multiple locations throughout the district
  • Enhance safety features with access controls and updated cameras, doors and locks throughout the District
  • Currently upgrading components of  the HVAC system in Smyrna High School

The district also plans to reconfigure its grade alignment at its soon-to-be nine schools:

Screen Shot 2024 03 09 at 5.08.36 PM

Smyrna, which spans areas in both New Castle and Kent counties will be responsible for 23% of capital costs, while the state is on the hook for the other 77%.

Screen Shot 2024 03 09 at 5.09.40 PM

The capital projects are a new intermediate school on Rabbit Chase Lane, the expansion and conversion of Clayton Intermediate School to Clayton Middle School, and the expansion of North Elementary School.

Smyrna is likely to go to referendum later this year. District’s can have an unsuccessful referendum twice before the state revokes its share of capital funds.

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