Christiana School District voters approve referendum by wide margin

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Despite the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, voters in the Christina School District approved a referendum that avoids major layoffs and the end to athletic and other enrichment programs.

Turnout was heavy by usual standards with social distancing rules leading to long lines outside of some polling places in the sprawling district that extends along its namesake river from Newark into Wilmington. The margin of victory was reportedly 5,000. Previous referendums had failed by large margins.

The referendum is expected to add more than $300 a year to tax bills of residents of the district. It also comes at a time when a Delaware Vice Chancellor ruled that New Castle County’s method of assessing taxable real estate does not meet legal statndards.

Christina has seen the loss of students over the years to school choice, which includes charter schools, including the Newark Charter School at the western edge of the district.

The district has seen a revolving door of superintendents and financial problems over the years.

The effort to approve the referendum was spearheaded by the Friends of the Christina District, with polling places in the Newark area offseting no votes in Bear and other areas.

The Christina board, which has seen its share of turmoil over the years recently named Capitol School District Superintendent Dan Shelton to take the top post in the district. The appointment quelled fears about leadership in the district.

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