savors voters' endorsement
a difference six weeks makes," an elated Brandywine schools
superintendent declared minutes after Department of Elections
officials posted the completed tally of results from the
district's tax referendum.
The second time around, voters
approved an increase in the operations component of the
property-tax rate of 27¢ for each $100 of assessed property
value, of which 25¢ will be imposed in the coming fiscal
and an additional penny in each
of the following two years. That translates into a hike of about
18% on the total $1.4925 current total rate.
The school board will set the
actual fiscal 2008 rate, which also will include previously
authorized capital spending and other components, in July with
tax bills due at the end of September.
Superintendent James Scanlon told
school employees and some people from the community actively
involved in school affairs who gathered in Brandywine High
School to witness the vote count that the favorable result on
June 4 stemmed from a concerted effort during a short period of
time after voters on Apr. 24 rejected a proposal for a larger
James Scanlon (in blue shirt) and board president
Craig Gilbert exchange congratulations after
receiving results of the tax referendum.
"It was just an excellent,
excellent effort on everybody's part," he said. "It shows there
is support out there for our schools and our programs."
Craig Gilbert, president of the
school board, said that "the community owes a great debt of
gratitude" to the referendum steering committee and the earlier
committee which produced the five-year strategic plan that
contained initiatives, including tax-supported full-day
kindergartens, to be financed by about 16% of the proceeds from
the tax increase. "Now I look for turning the same energy into
the classrooms," he said.
Gilbert's term on the board
expires June 30. He did not seek re-election and will be
succeeded by Patricia Hearn.
proposal was approved by a decisive 54.6%-to-45.4% margin.
There were 13,889 votes cast by half again as many voters as
went to the polls in April. The 7,584 favorable votes this time
was 75% higher. That indicates a successful effort to rally
parents and others inclined to be supportive despite what
and his wife, Beth Trapani, applaud as Department of
Elections officials post the completed tally.
district employees and supporters from the community
that layoff notices will be rescinded as soon as the
board officially approves doing so.
Scanlon and others previously
referred to as 'misinformation' widely disseminated by radio and
Scanlon said the first order of
business will be to notify 42 teachers, 13 members of the
support staff and three building administrators who previously
received layoff notices that they will be recalled as soon as
the board officially approves doing so. A special meeting has
been called for June 11 to do that. Three district office
administrators probably will be reassigned to existing vacancies
elsewhere, he said.
Beyond that, he said, his
administration remains committed to continuing to cut costs and
to seeking a solution to significant overcapacity. The board is
expected soon to establish a committee to produce by spring,
2008, a plan which most likely will include closing one or more
Also planned will be development
this summer of a marketing campaign and a plan for better
communicating with the public, he added.
The tax increase is estimated to
yield an additional $8.2 million. Of that, $2.9 million is
earmarked to cover increased costs of existing programs, $3.7
million to bolster reserves to meet payrolls and other expenses
during summer months, $1.3 million to begin implementing the
strategic plan, and $300,000 for additional building
The board has said it will not
seek another tax increase for at least three years.
To calculate the additional tax
for a specific property, divide its assessment -- available in
the Department of Land Use section of the New Castle
County government website -- by $100 and multiply by $0.27.