Christina School District will submit a certificate of necessity sometime this summer.

Christina seeking $150+ million from state for capital projects

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Christina School District will submit a certificate of necessity sometime this summer.

Christina School District will submit a certificate of necessity sometime this summer.

The Christina School District is set to ask the state for well over $150 million dollars this summer to help complete capital projects at all three levels: elementary, middle and high school. 

By Aug. 31, the district – the second largest in the state serving more than 13,000 students – will submit a certificate of necessity to the state Department of Education, its board announced in its monthly meeting Tuesday night.

That formal document is voted on by district school boards first and contains vigorous details on how much money the district is asking for, where specifically that money will go and how it is needed for the success of the district community.

The state can then improve all of the projects, some or none. 

That money begins funneling into the district the following fiscal year, and is usually spread across a few years. 

So, if Christina’s is approved, money would start being allocated by the state in fiscal year 2026, or the 2025-2026 school year.

In total, Christina estimates a $285-to-$350 million price tag to complete all of its projects.

When a certificate of necessity is approved, the state picks up the majority of the cost – usually 60% to 70% depending on the district and year – and the rest comes from local revenue. 

This past year, six districts had their certificates of necessity approved.

RELATED: Colonial, Red Clay biggest winners in state funding requests

Often, a district doesn’t have enough local revenue to cover its share, resulting in a referendum where residents must vote to approve a tax increase. 

Board member Alethea Smith-Tucker expects a referendum will be needed if the the state approves Christina’s ask. 

This year, six districts went to referendum to raise local funds to match state-funding and fulfill the certificate of necessity. That’s the most referendums in Delaware in 14 years.

RELATED: Why Delaware is having the most school referendums in 14 years

Here’s the breakdown of the projects in Christina: 

Elementary School Level – $60 million to $75 million

The district is focusing on expanding early education along Route 40, supporting special education programming and maximizing efficiencies and resources.

It’s also exploring options for a districtwide grade reconfiguration, including multiple pre-K and kindergarten early education centers and districtwide grade one through five elementary schools. 

Middle School Level – $150 million to $200 million

The district plans on building a new 104,000 square-foot middle school and athletic fields for 725 students.

In addition, the money would be used for building demolition and creating facilities that accommodate the district’s programs.

High School Level – $75 million to $90 million

Christina hopes to reduce the student capacity from 1,200 to 800, consolidate administration services and relocate its Networks Program to a new leased space at Glasgow High.

At all three levels, the district would also use money for:

  • Site improvements
  • Building roofs and windows
  • Interior architecture like security, ADA compliance, restrooms and finishes
  • Reconfigurations to provide equitable accommodations 
  • Remaining heating, ventilations and air conditioning priority project
  • Electrical and fire protection projects

Christina’s school board is also expected to vote on a president at its July meeting. Incumbent Don Patton is unsure if he wants to lead the board again.

Watch the Tuesday, July 9 meeting that starts at 7 p.m. here.

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