Sussex should adopt school assessment

December 8, 2023

I am writing this letter to thank Cape Gazette staff writer Ellen Driscoll for the excellent article regarding school assessments in the Nov. 28 edition. Additionally, I would like to thank state Sen. Russ Huxtable for bringing Senate Bill 186 to the state Legislature, allowing Sussex County to enact this school assessment from developers.

For those who did not see the article, the bill passed the Senate 18-2 and passed in the House 30-1, receiving overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill requires residential developers/builders to contribute financially to school systems that they are directly impacting with the construction of new homes. It was also noted that New Castle County has had this assessment in place since 1999 and Kent County since 2006. Both counties have received millions of dollars for new school construction and other educational needs.

In another front-page headline in the Nov. 28 edition, it was revealed that Sussex County made up 78% of the state’s residential development in 2022. Superintendents from five Sussex school districts have written Sussex County Council urging it to act on this mandate. By the time of the article, they had yet to hear anything in return.

Simply put, this bill for developer school assessments undoubtedly will help schools, children and teachers. As stated by the superintendents of the Indian River and Cape Henlopen districts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to build schools fast enough to keep up with their rapidly growing school populations. However, it cannot be overlooked that the assessment will ultimately save Sussex County taxpayers millions that otherwise would have to be paid by them. Surely, Sussex County should have taken advantage of this program years ago to the benefit of all. One is left to wonder why it did not? As stated by the article, it is simply a no-brainer.

J. Dean Abbott


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