Sussex Tech officials vow to continue push for $150.5 million building project after thumbs down from state

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While stung the state’s rejection of new $150.5 million school building, Sussex Tech officials vow to continue the effort.

The district had applied to the Delaware Department of Education for a certificate of necessity, the first step in obtaining state support and funding for the building project, for a $150.5 million replacement school. The request was turned down.

That closed the door on the Legislature deciding whether to approve or reject the project, which would be paid for via property taxes. Vo-tech schools do not go through the taxpayer referendum process of other public schools.

“We will continue to serve our 1,250 high school students and 2,800 adult education students with a high-quality education,” Guthrie added. “However, that will become more difficult as years go by without a replacement school. Our Sussex County students deserve the same quality educational experience as enjoyed by Kent and New Castle students.”

“Sussex Tech students deserve a school that trains and educates them for their futures, and Sussex County employers deserve students who are learning their craft not distracted by leaking roofs, broken heating systems, or holes in the parking lot,” saidBoard President Warren Reid. “This is disappointing, but we remain optimistic that Sussex County recognizes the value of a high-quality career-technical education and will continue to support this project.”

A district feasibility study outlined three options, with a replacement school being the cheapest choice at $150.5 million. Renovation options would have cost at least $177.6 million, largely due to the need to create temporary career-technical classrooms and labs as well as making upgrades to existing infrastructure.

The replacement school would have cost the average Sussex County about $3.18 per month at the peak of the tax increase, the district stated.

Sussex Tech has been recovering from turmoil that included a state audit that found financial irregularities, including a contractor buying land and then “flipping the property” by selling the small tract to Sussex Tech.

Guthrie was later appointed superintendent and has been working on options for the current campus. (See earlier story below).

Auditor highlights property flip and contract awards by Sussex Tech

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