Examining the referendum


The IRSD has scheduled another capital expense funding referendum for May 7. Please allow me to share some of my thoughts about our school district.

First, the district has no control over whether they provide an education to illegal immigrants. Federal law requires that they must provide services to every student who shows up at their doors, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents. So if our student population is growing because of this, which I do not believe, the school district cannot control it.

Also, informed residents know that some serious financial mismanagement was reported back in 2016. I am convinced that the district has cleaned house of all the reported violators (anything else is the responsibility of the State), that the personnel structure has been revamped to require fewer personnel, and that new management procedures have been put into place, with the assistance of a volunteer community review board, which will monitor the district’s budget and management policies and procedures in the future.

Note that our school taxes actually were reduced when a previous bond issue was paid off.

Now, for a variety of reasons, including low taxes, our district student population is growing. Regardless of what results from the current referendum, portable classrooms must be rented for at least the next few years, and the rental expenses are part of the operating budget, not a capitol expense.

Thus, beginning in September ’19, some students must access their classrooms by going outside, regardless of the weather or the degree of security which can be ensured. And this will not alleviate overcrowding in the hallways and other common spaces.

So, if the upcoming referendum fails, the education quality for an increasing number of school-age children will decline, resulting in more kids dropping out or being unprepared for life-sustaining jobs in the future. More young people will turn to lives of unemployment or crime, affecting the security of your property, whether you live here only in the summer or not, and the quality of life in our greater community.

Bottom line — I encourage you to vote on May 7, and to vote in favor of this referendum. If you won’t be here then, you can vote via absentee ballot. Call the IRSD at (302) 436-1000 or go to IRSD.net for a ballot. Thereafter, if you’re seriously opposed to the direction of the IRSD, you should run for school board. They set the budget, plan/schedule the referendums and hire the paid leadership.


Ronald Lewis

West Fenwick