Cape school tax rate remains largely unchanged

Total property tax base of $1.4 billion increased $63 million from last year
July 29, 2022

At its July 14 meeting, the Cape Henlopen school board approved a tax rate for the 2023 fiscal year that is largely unchanged from the previous year.

Set at $3.97, the current tax rate is a $0.0011 change from the 2022 fiscal year. Under the rate, homeowners will pay $3.97 per $100 in assessed value of their homes. 

The average total school tax per household is $1,100, according to the tax rate proposal, and each penny generates $145,843 for the district, an increase of $6,843 from last fiscal year.

The tax rate increases $0.15 from the most recent referendum, but decreases in other tax categories allow for a net reduction of $0.0011, essentially offsetting the increase approved for the district’s current expenses. 

With a total property tax base of almost $1.4 billion, the tax base has increased by $63 million, an increase of 4.55% from last year. The increased tax base will provide the district a projected increase in current operations revenue totaling $1.2 million, an increase of $268,106 from last year.

The local cost for students attending residential schools outside the district remained the same for the third year. At $100,000 per projected student, Cape will pay $500,000 in tuition for five students to attend residential schools. 

The number of students projected to attend Howard T. Ennis School is 15 with an estimated $31,200 cost per student, an increase of $2,200 in yearly tuition from the previous year; the overall cost increased slightly from $435,000 in 2022 to $468,000 in 2023.

The number of students projected to attend Sussex County Opportunity Program in Education decreased from 50 in 2022 to 25 in 2023, with an estimated cost per student of $5,400 for a total cost of $135,000. Transportation costs remain the same as the previous two years, at $90,000. 

“SCOPE is based on the projected number of classes to be taken, not the number of students,” Cape Director of Finance Oliver Gumbs said by email July 22. “We project an increase as we come out of the pandemic.”

Costs and the number of projected students enrolled in Academic Challenge courses at Delaware Technical Community College remained the same as last year. At $1,100 per student, the cost is $297,000 for 270 students; an additional $20,250 provides transportation. 


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