The referendum in Milford is a perfect example of why maintaining local control over education is so important.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for the citizens of both Kent and Sussex Counties to rise up and get that control back.
There are two items on the Milford referendum.
One has to do with tearing down the historic Milford Middle School and constructing a new building. The other is to make up for the shortfall in their operations budget.
Neither item on the ballot is justified. We’ll explain.
The Operations Budget Shortfall
In 2011, Governor Markell took $119 Million of Race To The Top money from the federal government in exchange for his promise to implement their next curricula mandate, Common Core, and all of the standardized testing that would come along with it.
There was no vote in the state legislature to approve this action.
The Governor kept half of that money to grow the state education bureaucracy and hire the expensive consultants needed to meet the demands of Washington, D.C.
He then cut millions of dollars out of the state’s Education budget to the school districts and dangled the other half of the Race to the Top funds in front of the boards with an ultimatum:
Sign a Memoranda of Understanding to implement Common Core or receive no money.
Under extreme pressure due to the Governor’s education cuts, every school district in Delaware signed a pledge to implement Common Core once it was finally written.
That’s right, every school district signed on the dotted line to implement a federal mandate before they even saw what it was.
Now, counties and states all across the nation are beginning to revolt as the realities of this federal education scheme are taking effect — including teachers!
The curriculum labeled as rigorous is turning out to be too difficult to keep students engaged; not because it’s a major leap forward, but because it’s just plain ridiculous.
And the flow of federal money has now run its 3-year course, hence the school districts’ scrambling to pass the new shortfall unto the local taxpayers through referenda pleas.
Tearing Down the Historic Middle School
The Milford School District hired a company to estimate how much it would cost to renovate the school. The amount came out to $26 Million and they brought that proposal to the state.
The state declined to help renovate based on one of their “special formulas.”
However, the state did give the school district another one of their formulas to estimate the cost to build a new school — without any architectural design. That amount came to $44 Million.
Most of us should know very well how inaccurate state project estimates are. Government projects have a history of being more expensive than proposed and coming back for more money later.
And while the state refused to help with a $26 Million renovation, they offered to cover 71% of the cost — $31 Million — to help tear down the historic building and construct something new.
And Milford taxpayers will still be on the hook for the remaining $13 Million.
Doesn’t this make it clear why control over our tax dollars for education should be kept local?
Instead of working with the citizens at less cost to preserve this beautiful, historic building put in place by the hard work of previous generations, the state would prefer to spend twice as much of our money tearing it down.
On Wednesday, March 26th, the citizens of Milford must send a clear signal to the Governor and the state bureaucrats that we are no longer going along with their poor decision making and exuberant spending addictions with our money.
Please VOTE NO on both items on the Milford School District ballot.
And then urge the Kent Levy Court and Sussex County Council to step up and stop sending our property tax dollars for education to the state government.
It’s time for the People to take back control over the destinies of our children.
President, First State Liberty PAC
P.S. The Governor’s coercion to implement Common Corehas led to budget shortfalls in every school district. And the state government is playing Monopoly with decisions to spend our tax dollars.
Our supporters in Milford have asked us to fight this battle.