13,395 Votes

Filed in Education by on March 24, 2016

145 votes may not seem like a lot, but considering the margins from prior failed referenda: 2000 votes in February 2015, 900 votes in May 2015, there appears to be a trend emerging. 8100 total votes in February, 11,000 in May, 13,395 tonight. We closed a gigantic gap in a little over 1 year and got this referendum passed. There will be much analysis to come, but for right now I just want to give the unofficial final tally, and throw up a quick graphic of the percent change in turnout totals from May 2015 to March 2016.  Our city of Wilmington community came through HUGE for us. Check the percent increase at Bancroft, Bayard, Stubbs, Elbert-Palmer and Pulaski.

All polling locations met or exceeded their turnout totals from May last year. Huge turn out, narrow margin of victory, but a victory nonetheless. Now, I’m going to have another beer and finally get some rest tonight.

13,395 total votes

6,770 For
6,225 Against

Christina passes their operating referendum.

Unfortunately the news was not so good for Brandywine tonight, falling by about 170 votes. Cape Henlopen passed their referendum by a sizable margin.

Thank you to everyone who put up with my education related rants. Rest assured, there will be plenty more to come.


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About the Author ()

A dad, husband, and public education supporter. Small tent progressive/liberal. Christina School District Citizen's Budget Oversight Committee member, who knows a bit about a lot when it comes to the convoluted mess that is education funding in the State of Delaware.

Comments (15)

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  1. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    Congratulations Brian. I think the push to get info out and present a positive message made a difference.

  2. So do I. You made a real difference.

  3. As to Brandywine, we’re usually poised to go out and vote for school referenda.

    However, we (my wife and I) got NO information on behalf of it, there was NO outreach, I didn’t even know there was a referendum until I read it here. Arden’s usually a hot bed, but I didn’t even see a yard sign in support.

    It was a stealth referendum, not the most effective way to get one passed.

  4. Delaware Dem says:

    Yeah, El Som, I didn’t even know about it, so I didn’t vote.

    Can I say I HATE SCHOOL REFERENDUMS!!!!! It is the dumbest way ever to pay for education.

  5. pandora says:

    Congratulations, Brian. Thank you for your amazing work!

  6. Mikem2784 says:

    “Can I say I HATE SCHOOL REFERENDUMS!!!!! It is the dumbest way ever to pay for education.”

    Yes, a thousand times, yes. Poor districts having to beg poor people to raise their own taxes, while the wealthy support their own. That may be an oversimplification, but the unequal funding from district to district is absurd.

  7. Dem19703 says:

    Does anyone have any insight as for what the Brandywine referendum was to be used? All I heard was that they wanted artificial turf fields. Was that it?

  8. Another Mike says:

    “Does anyone have any insight as for what the Brandywine referendum was to be used? All I heard was that they wanted artificial turf fields. Was that it?”

    This says it all. Even the information on the district website is woefully incomplete.

    And if El Som doesn’t know there’s a referendum, what hope is there for the rest of the populace?

  9. mediawatch says:

    Another Mike —
    Permit me to paste my comment from the other referendum thread below. Also, I will agree that they were not aggressive in promoting referendum beyond their core constituency.

    Brandywine rolled the dice by trying to package three separate issues into a single vote.
    I’m quite certain it failed because of the uproar over the least significant of the items — turf fields.
    The district did little to address the significant issue of whether turf fields are safer than natural grass for young athletes — saying only it would decide on the best type of surface after the vote was passed. Instead, it hoped it could slip this through as part of a larger package.
    The failure of the referendum to pass could jeopardize the chances of approval for the proposed capital improvements. The district didn’t separate the improvements out because it contended that they would not require a tax increase — it would keep the rate for capital improvements the same because old bonds are being paid off this year.
    Well, when the old bonds are paid off … residents should be seeing a tax decrease … so the next time they vote, they will have to authorize an increase in their debt service tax.
    So … trying to pull a fast one on the turf fields cost them the needed funds for operating expenses and put the capital improvements in jeopardy.

  10. Jenr says:

    Are our schools underfunded, bloated with administrators or both? Education is about students and teachers. Far too many people in public education have made a career drawing a paycheck for roles that do not educate our children.

  11. puck says:

    Voters have been getting an unrelenting “no tax increase, ever” message from all levels of government and both parties for decades. Look at how Delaware’s Democratic leadership treats tax hike bills (and their sponsors) like they are radioactive. Delaware has been gleefully cutting taxes all year. So why is it a surprise when voters reject tax hikes?

  12. kavips says:

    Brian… help me out, I’m missing where you got the extra 400 votes in your total…

    6770 + 6225 =

  13. kavips says:

    Nevermind. Figured it out over at Kilroys.

  14. X Stryker says:

    Jenr- our schools are underfunded at a local level, which forces the state to make up the difference in a bid to prevent middle class families from leaving for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Maryland. And too much of the state’s funding is being diverted to private charter schools.

  15. X Stryker says:

    Seriously the state spends 80 million dollars on charter schools, only to watch some of them flush the money down the toilet and implode. Why are we offering corporations millions to experiment with our children, when the two most common outcomes are failing charters and profitable charters that lure all of the smartest kids away from the public schools? FYI, the latter of which drives up “per student spending” at public schools that by necessity has to go to increased security and special needs accommodations before we can start to think about getting more and better teachers. No, administrative costs do not make much of the a dent in the public school budgets in Delaware.