A new Dover High School could be on the horizon if local vote for it, but that vote will have to wait. A referendum originally set for March 2 has been pushed back as a result of a law that went into effect Feb. 1 changing referendum regulations.


A new law that tightens the requirements for school district referenda went into effect Feb. 1 and pushed back a Capital School District referendum originally set for March 2. The district was to move forward with a vote on raising funds for a new Dover High School when Gov. Jack Markell signed a new law Feb. 1 that changed referendum requirements and rendered the work already done insufficient.

The new law requires districts to provide more information regarding the amount a referendum would cost voters. It also authorizes the Department of Elections to cancel an election if the requirements are not met.

Capital School District found out its March 2 referendum was cancelled just weeks before the vote was to be held, according to Superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas. He said the district is working within the new regulations and with the Department of Elections to set a new date for the vote.

“We’re going to work either way with it,” Thomas said.

The district will now have 40 days to get its revised paperwork to the Department of Elections to re-schedule the referendum.

The law did not state that districts already in the process could be grandfathered in, according to Joyce Wright, director of the Kent County Department of Elections.

“We felt in all fairness we’d have to go along with it,” she said.

The department took the issue to the attorney general’s office, which advised it reschedule the votes.

Wright said they did not inform the district because they didn’t know the bill would be so quickly signed into law.

In other news ...
Capital School District is revamping its wellness policy, and had a first reading of the new proposals at its Feb. 17 board of education meeting.

Lynn Widdowson, supervisor of student support services, said the district hasn’t looked at the policy since it was passed in 2005, and that it needs serious changes. She asked board members to read the proposed policy and pay attention to what students will be eating and how much physical activity is being recommended.

A new policy could mean changes to what foods are served in schools, fundraising activities, food marketing, recess and fitness assessment, among other things.

The second reading of the policy will include more details about the policy, including a discussion on the mental benefits of physical activity. Nemours is a partner in assessing and re-working the policy.