The Capital School District Board of Education will discuss a draft of a Certificate of Necessity tonight. Included in this draft is a master plan to essentially rebuild the district in various ways over the next five years. Overall, the cost for these changes would be around $360 million over a long period of time. For local taxpayers, the capital costs (for the new buildings and renovations) would be around $130 million. The district has not calculated what this could cost taxpayers in school taxes.
What the Capital plan does not include are any plans for an operational referendum. These types of referenda give a local school district more funding for the local share of operational costs. Many districts include an operational referendum with a capital one.
It has been over a decade since Capital went out for a referendum. They are actually two years ahead of another district in terms of time between referenda.
Capital is unique with their middle schools. They have two middle schools. One covers grades 5-6 and the other 7-8. Many citizens in Capital expressed a desire to see their middle schools have the traditional grades of 6-8. This plan would grant that desire.
The caveat to all this is the Delaware Department of Education approving this Certificate of Necessity. Capital applied for it last year but it was denied. The state does not just approve any application. There is a finite bucket of costs for these type of plans. Currently, Appoquinimink and Cape Henlopen school districts are using a lot of those funds. The DOE’s number one priority when approving these type of plans is student capacity. While Capital’s student population has not increased at the rates of districts such as Appoquinimink, Cape Henlopen, and Indian River, they also house many of the programs for students with disabilities that have complex needs for all of Kent County. Those populations, which require smaller classroom sizes, have accounted for much of the growth in the district.
The plan is very detailed. When all is said and done, Capital is hoping to have the following:
Two middle schools covering 6th-8th grade. One will be focused on the Arts while the other will be focused on Skilled and Technical Trades. Plans call for this to be on Pat Lynn Dr., the site of the old Dover High School.
Elementary schools would carry students in Grades 1-5. Pre-K and Kindergarten would get new buildings.
The current East Dover E.S. would be demolished and in its place will be an Early Childhood Center. Down the road they may put a new elementary school on that campus.
Fairview E.S. would be demolished. Both Fairview and East students would move to the current location of Central Middle School. This building would be rebranded as Elementary School at Central.
At the site of their current 5-6 middle school, William Henry, this would become the Kent County Community School and the site of the Kent County Secondary Intensive Learning Center. Currently, the district is leasing a building for KCCS at a cost of $330,000 a year.
Down the road plans include renovating the un-renovated part of Booker T. Washington E.S., Towne Point E.S., Hartly E.S., and expanding Dover High School.
This is what Capital School District is hoping to look like by 2033:
These are very long-range plans going into the next couple of decades.
The full draft can be found here:
Capital School District draft of Certificate of Necessity