The Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA), The Chief School Officers Association (CSOA), the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) and the Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA) are public education advocacy organizations that represent school boards, Superintendents, Educators and School Administrators throughout the State of Delaware. On behalf of our collective memberships, the DSBA, CSOA, DSEA and DASA are in favor of the concept of the proposed Senate Bill 50 (SB-50) that would establish an Education Infrastructure Fund that would be funded by a state-wide property tax collected by the counties. While we support the concept of SB-50, collectively, we formally and respectfully request that the infrastructure needs of the constitutionally mandated K-12 public education system be considered prior to the infrastructure needs of a noncompulsory, tuition funded community college.
While the infrastructure needs of DelTech Community College (DTCC) are certainly real, the infrastructure needs of the K-12 public school system are much greater. SB-50 indicates that DTCC operates 40 buildings, totaling 1.3 million square feet on 352 acres with an average age of 25 years. However, the Delaware K-12 public school districts collectively operate over 210 buildings totaling just under 19 million square feet on approximately 4,000 acres. Further, the FY-11 Condition Report of School Facilities in Delaware indicated that, at the time of its writing, “…71.73% of the educational facilities in Delaware exceed 50 years old.” While the FY-11 Condition Report of School Facilities in Delaware estimated the deferred maintenance of Delaware public schools to be in excess of $500 million, public school infrastructure deferred maintenance has been very recently estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion.
Finally, the FY-11 Condition Report of School Facilities in Delaware indicated that at the time of its writing, 80.97% of all school facilities were built in the 1980’s or prior. The aging K-12 public school infrastructure has resulted in major capital project demands that far exceed the current state funding capacity with districts struggling to pass major capital referenda – when and if their projects are approved for a Certificate of Necessity by the Department of Education.
Dr. John W. Marinucci
Executive Director, DSBA
Jeff Taschner, Esq.
Executive Director, DSEA
Dr. D. Dusty Blakey
Chief School Officers Association
Dr. Tammy Croce
Executive Director, DASA