Caesar Rodney School District voted at a special July 15 meeting to up its school taxes to foot the bill for continued renovations.

Caesar Rodney School District residents will be paying a little more in school taxes as renovations continue on two more elementary buildings, but district officials say the hike could have been worse.

CR’s Board of Education voted to increase next school year’s tax rate by four cents at a special July 15 meeting. The rate went from 1.125 to 1.165 per $100 of assessed value.

Dr. Ada Carter, director of business and finance, said for a house that is assessed at approximately $60,000 and worth a market value of around $270,000, a homeowner would be paying $24 more annually. That’s a jump from approximately $675 to $699.

The increase was due to the district receiving state bond money to finish renovations to W.B. Simpson Elementary and renovate Allen Frear Elementary. The original referendum was passed in 2007 and any increase this year shouldn’t come as a surprise, Carter said.

“[However], they might have forgotten because as years pass, people forget,” she added.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald said the district made a big effort to only increase rates because of the bond bill.

“We understand it’s difficult financial times so we didn’t want the tax rate to go up anywhere else,” he said. “We wanted to minimize it and go forward with the renovations.”

The increase was smaller than it could have been because of the district’s share of the Kent County impact fee. Carter said the fee is charged with county building permits and was implemented to minimize the tax burden of new construction causing school growth.

If the district hadn’t received Kent County impact fee money, then the rate would have gone up 13 cents, she added.

The district plans to renovate W.B. Simpson throughout the next school year, while students attend class on Dover Air Force Base. Fitzgerald said then the idea is to get Allen Frear’s renovation started next summer.

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