Rezone before schools spend more money

March 29, 2014

Before we spend money on new schools in Cape Henlopen and Milford school districts, we really need to rezone the antiquated school district lines to have an accurate count of students within each district.

Many students are bussed 20 miles or more when the nearest school is four miles away. When we had to school choice our daughter to Cape Henlopen School District, we were advised that hundreds of school choice applications flood the district each year. Some schools are facing overcrowding because the district lines are 30-plus years old and well before the modern growth of the last 10 years.

It has been over 30 years since the school districts have been rezoned to accommodate growth in Sussex County. In the last 10 years, population has grown approximately 40 percent and is forecasted to grow an estimated 40 percent in the next 10 years. Why would the state of Delaware make no effort to accommodate the growth and distribute the population more equally among the districts of the county, or even create a new school district?

it is sad that politicians find it more crucial to rezone voting districts, as done this past year, while the school districts suffer with obvious inaccuracies. It also makes no sense that some people vote in one school district while their children attend school in another school district (as the case with our family).  Also, it is sad developers and real estate agents mislead many homebuyers to which school district their property lies.

More issues families face in addition to growth in population include school choice and inefficient bus routes. Hundreds of school choice applications flood the districts each year because developments are split from outdated lines. It's difficult on families that need to school choice because their home is closer to one school. Applications would significantly decrease if the population growth was distributed more equally among the districts.

Bus routes are inefficient as kids are bussed an hour to school while the closest school to their home is 10 minutes away. Buses from two or more school districts must also visit the same developments because antiquated school district lines split developments into multiple districts.  Both Cape Henlopen and Indian River buses visit our development and others. Buses would travel less miles and efficiency of routes would be increased if we would rezone the school districts and do away with district lines through developments, or in my family's case - through our yard.

A couple years ago in conversation with the prior Cape superintendent, both he and the Milford superintendent were more than happy to consider rezoning. Oddly, Indian River refused to discuss rezoning. The only reason I see for why they would not consider equally distributing the obvious growth of the last 30 years, is that Indian River School District holds the greatest amount of square footage in Sussex County. Indian River also faces an overcrowding issue as we were explained for one of their schools when our child became of age to attend school.

We plan to petition the state of Delaware for our development and I encourage other developments with this issue to do the same. Sussex County is overlooked on many affairs within the state and growth should not be one of them.

Mother of two,

Roxanne Swift

Hunter's Mill



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