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Delaware voters to decide whether to lay off teachers

Delaware voters are deciding on an emergency levy that would prevent drastic actions by the school district. State Auditor Dave Yost suggested the district lay off 42 teachers, 16 staff members and cut all extra-curricular activities to get rid of the district's deficit. (WSYX/WTTE)

Voters in Delaware will be voting on an emergency levy that could prevent teacher layoffs.

The city's school district has asked for $6 million a year to keep up with growing enrollment. State Auditor Dave Yost recommends the district lay off 42 teachers, 16 staff members and cut all extra-curricular activities to get rid of the district's deficit.

Superintendent Paul Craft said state funding hasn't kept up with their growing enrollment.

"The amount of money we get from the state stays the same, the amount of money we get from the local levy stays the same yet we have a hundred (new) kids plus showing up every year," Craft said.

Craft said he's tried to keep costs down. He said the district spends $9995 a year on each student, well below the state average of $11,519.

"One of the tough choices we've had to make over the course of the last several years is letting our class sizes grow," he said. "We've gone from class sizes in kindergarten of 18, 19 up to now a floor of 25. It feels like we're holding it together with bailing wire and duct tape."

So far there's no organized opposition to the levy. The campaign for the levy is run by Todd Miller, a Delaware schools graduate and father to two children in the district. He said the cuts that would be needed if the levy fails would undoubtedly hurt students.

"You hate to see things like extra curricular activities, sports, arts, music be cut," Miller said. "So many people depend on busing (which would also be cut)."

The levy would require homeowners to pay $24 a month for every $100,000 in property valuation. That would come out to about $400 for the average household in Delaware to avoid layoffs.

"The thought of rolling that back as we have to deal with massive cuts is very scary," Craft said. "It literally keeps me up at night."

Saturday there will be hundreds of volunteers dropping off fliers to homes across the city. Election Day is November 7.


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