The Capital School District will hold a construction referendum March 31.

Residents of the Capital School District will be asked whether they support construction throughout the district during a referendum vote from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 31.

The referendum would fund the building of a new Dover High School on Route 8 and site renovations at Central Middle School, Booker T. Washington Elementary School and William Henry Middle School (including site acquisition). It also would include a new maintenance and receiving building and a professional development/district office center.

The last Capital construction referendum was passed in 2007, and paid for the land on which the new high school will be built, the new South Dover Elementary School and renovations at Central Middle School.

In total, the referendum would mean $132,110,100 for the district; $58,714,200 would be locally generated. The total includes $15 million in local money for the new high school to include more science, technology and media space; storage; classroom space; gym seating; exercise areas; play and practice fields; and parking.

The estimated tax increases are based on the total referendum package, which included the $15 million local portion. Increases would start in 2010 at approximately $108.73 for a home with the approximate market value of $200,000, and an increase of about $54.38 for a home valued at $100,000. Costs would drop significantly after that, costing approximately an additional $16.79 for the $100,000 home and $33.58 for the $200,000 home in 2011. In 2012, taxes would increase by approximately $5 at the most, and then drop to $4.66 in 2013 for the $100,000 home and $9.30 for the $200,000 home.

To receive an exact calculation on how much taxes will increase if the referendum passes, call the district’s business office at 672-1512.

In other news …

A presentation on the district’s English as a Second Language program was made to the Board of Education at its March 17 meeting.

The program continues to grow at a reasonably rapid rate, said Supervisor of Instruction Sandra Spangler. At this time, most of the 215 students in the program are in kindergarten through sixth grade, and the predominant language is Spanish at 56%.

There also is a new adult program and a program for younger siblings not yet in school that includes 110 adults and children and meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The meeting also included a second reading of the district’s wellness policy.
Lynn Widdowson, supervisor of student support services, and Jim Trower, supervisor of child nutrition, spoke about the need to revise the policy to include healthful, inexpensive foods to students both in and out of school. Widdowson said the changes would bring more food options, and not completely take away unhealthy fare from all school-related events.

“We’re not taking anybody’s hot dogs from the football game,” she said.
Trower noted that he has been asked repeatedly about installing salad bars in schools, although he is hesitant.

“We have to be careful as to how to introduce these things,” he said. “The hygiene is what’s my concern about salad bars.”

Widdowson also addressed the need for more physical activity, and commended programs such as Fitness Fridays at South Dover Elementary that encourage movement outside of physical education programs.

The two were joined by Linda Tholstrup, who presented the board with studies linking fitness and exercise to higher grades, improved behavior, better cognitive function and more. Tholstrup is with the Nemours Foundation, Health and Prevention Services, which is partnering with the district to revise the policy.