During the December school board meeting, board members said goodbye to outgoing Superintendent David Perrington and heard from incoming superintendent Dr. Corey Miklus about holding a referendum in the spring due to deficit spending and repairs that are needed for many buildings. Athletic Director Jerry Kobasa reported to the board about the retirement of several jerseys belonging to past athletes.
Dr. Miklus gave a presentation on why the district will be seeking a referendum in the spring.
“We have many schools in this district that are achieving at high levels and we need to continue these successes,” said Miklus. “Test scores have gone from last in the state to being in the top 10; schools are being recognized for the hard work they are doing. We have also had the State Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Dana Bowe. She has had a great impact on not only our district, but all over the state. She has represented the district very well. We have four Distinguished National Principals in our district.”
Miklus explained the challenges.
Seaford School Board President David Tull presents outgoing Superintendent David Perrington with a plaque for his five and a half years of service to the Seaford School District. Photo by Scott Bleile
“Our operating tax rate has been the same for 14 years,” he explained. “We basically have been on a downward trend due to many factors. Local revenues remain flat, state reduction in financial revenues. We have had to give back to the state over $650,000 due to their budget crisis several years ago. The rising costs of new security measures, utilities, transportation and having to hire more staff, more budget, less revenues creates the deficit spending. We have made big cuts where we can across the board. The last time an operating cost referendum passed was 14 years ago. Seaford has stayed the course while other local districts have had multiple referendums and Seaford has been fiscally responsible and still maintained high standards and has an incredible student success rate moving up in the state rankings. But costs go up, supply costs go up currently. We also have issues with old buildings in this district. Many repairs need to be made.”
Eulinda Gallagher, director of finance, explained to the board, “The Tuition and Match Tax are set by the board. Operating and Debt Service taxes are set by the taxes people pay and can only be raised by a referendum. We will need to raise both taxes. The good news is that we will have a bond expiring next year which will help offset the Debt Service Tax some.”
“We will be focusing on the operating costs and debt service,” said Miklus. “With the Debt Service Tax, we have six buildings which need major repairs. We submitted plans to the Delaware Department of Education for repairs which would cost $187 million dollars for all repairs. The state approved only one, a partial repair of Central Elementary’s roof for $491,000. With the bond expiring, this will help offset the costs of the roof. Bottom line, we need to pass a referendum for the following costs: instructional materials and supplies, school resource officer, technology equipment and repairs, competitive local salaries, safety and security, operations and utilities, sports and athletics, and local share of transportation. The proposed total tax increase will be about $95.82 per year, about $7.99 per month. We are looking at a date of March 4, 2020 for the vote.”
“We want to get all of this information out to the community,” Miklus added. “We will go anywhere to talk with any group or organization. I want people to call with questions about the referendum.” All of this information can be found on the Seaford School District webpage, www.seafordbluejays.org.
“We want to thank Mr. Perrington for his service the last five and a half years,” said David Tull, Seaford School Board president. “We have been successful because of Mr. Perrington. We were last in the state in many categories five and a half years ago and because of his leadership and staff he brought in, the district has moved forward. Many great things have happened in the years he was in charge.”
Tull presented Perrington with a plaque and a clock for his service.
“First thing I want to do is thank everyone for their dedicated service to this district,” said Perrington in his farewell speech. “All of the staff has done a great job and none of this would have been possible without all the people involved. We have had several accomplishments over the years. The students are the reason we are here. Sometimes we get stuck in the negative. This type of news travels faster than good news. Negativity is like secondhand smoke; it gets into everything. Unfortunately, negativity is stronger than positivity. We have gone from last in the state in many areas to seventh. This is why districts are coming to us to see what we are doing to be successful.”
Perrington continued, “We believe students can and will be successful. If we lose that understanding, we will go backward again. The foundation is strong, and we need to continue on the path. We have the people in place to continue to reach our goals. Seaford will continue to be successful in the future.”
Seaford High School held a retirement ceremony for the numbers of former players Delino Deshields and La’Shyra Williams on Saturday, Dec. 14, prior to a double header basketball game with the girls and boys playing Indian River.
Athletic Director Jerry Kobasa reported to the board about the retirement ceremony.
“We had a packed house,” said Kobasa. “It was a great night with two wins. Both players signed jerseys and had their numbers retired. The signed jerseys will be auctioned off to help Seaford athletics. I want to thank the former coaches who returned and were a big part of the ceremony.”
Perrington added, “This was a great event and well attended by the community. We wanted to showcase several former athletes to show our current athletes anything is possible with hard work and determination.”