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Lewes, Delaware
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June 7, 1996     Cape Gazette
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June 7, 1996
 

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6 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 7 - June 13, 1996 VIEWPOINTS Editorial Del Tech ceremony part of larger trend "Ceremonies are important for a community. They help it to reaf- firm and recognize its values.' -Dr. James R. Soles A large contingent of Delaware's educational, business and gov- ernment leaders gathered at Del Tech's Owens Campus in George- town last Friday, May 31, to officially install Dr. Orlando George as its fourth president. The affair was largely ceremonial, with plenty of academic regalia, classical music, speeches and breaking of bread. Dr. George has been on the job for a year now and has already begun his familiar job of walking the hallways of legislative hall in Dover to gain funding for improvements to the institution that has trained so many Delawareans well. Nonetheless, Dr. James R. Soles, Distinguished Alumni Professor at University of Delaware, captured the importance of the occasion in brief remarks he was asked to make. "Investments in education always pay the best interest," said Soles, quoting from Benjamin Franklin. The significance of that quotation, especially in the inaugural ceremony context, needs no further discussion. But Soles also reminded those gathered that: "Ceremonies are important." In the past ten years, the scale of Delaware's ceremonies, especial- ly evident through its parades - such as Return Day, have grown increasingly grand. Our volunteer fire departments, especially, have taken great strides to bring back parade uniforms and spend many hours and dollars preserving old equipment. There's a correlation between the growing emphasis on these cer- emonies and the trend in recent years to question so much of our past and the values on which our society has been built. Those in institu- tions such as colleges and universities, and fire departments, the val- ue of whose services is rarely questioned, are seizing every opportu- nity to celebrate the importance of their efforts. For that we should all be grateful because we are in a time of growing chaos and we need these ceremonial reminders of what is very important to the well-being of our community. Del Tech, as attested to at the inaugural ceremony by so many business and government leaders, is vitally important to Delaware's current and future success. It's good to live in a state that values education so highly and celebrates the institution in such grand style. Letters Thick clouds of sweet aroma - the scent of honeysuckle - perfumes the early June air of Delaware's Cape Region. Last Quarter New Moon First Quarter Full Moon June 8 June 15 June 24 June 30 Schroeder school bill plan has many flaws During the last eight years, John Schroeder has not demonstrated an inter- est in education in his district. Now he has proposed an election-year education bill - House Bill 483 - that is expensive, flawed and stands no chance of succeed- ing. This bill is an ill-conceived, half- hearted attempt to lower class size in ele- mentary schools. Presently, the state pays 70 percent of the cost of one teacher for every 20 stu- dents in elementary school. The remain- ing 30 percent is covered by local prop- erty taxes. Since funding staffing includes art, music, gym, etc., actual class size is about 25 students with a range of about 17 to 30. Schroeder's proposed funding would drop unit counts to one teacher for every 15 stu- dents and could lower actual class size to about 20 students if local districts con- tribute equivalent funding. This bill will not work. Here are two of the problems: 1. Intuitively, you may think lower class size would have a dramatic impact on student performance. To the con- trary, studies show minimal effect on performance until actual class size falls below 15 students. Class size today is smaller than 30 years ago. Has student performance improved? The half mea- sures offered by this bill add cost and no measurable benefit. This poor cost/ben- efit ratio is the primary reason class size has not been incrementally decreased earlier. 2. This bill is expensive. It addresses the direct cost of teachers and if fully implemented, could cost up to $44 mil- lion. Where are these teachers going to teach? In the Cape Henlopen School District, 25 new classrooms would be needed. This would require new ele- mentary schools at a cost of up to $25 million and an accompanying annual operating budget of $3.5 million. To underwrite this expenditure, the school board would have to pass a bond referen- dum for construction costs. Additionally, this would demand a general tax rate increase of about 10 per- cent to fund operating costs. Does any- one think that's likely? Throughout the state, 613 classrooms would be neces- sary at a capital cost of$625 million and operating costs of close to $90 million. This would cause an increase in local taxes, and state taxes would rise signifi- cantly. The estimated price tag for this bill has been increased twice already and is still low by half. Acknowledging the low probability of passing the bill, Schroeder has made compliance with the bill vol- untary. Translated, this means that any school board - able to sneak past the vot- ers a major tax increase for funding teachers' salaries and new construction for increased classrooms - will be able to reduce class sizes by five students. Considering the negative impact of this proposal, voters should demand that John Schroeder withdraw sponsorship of this liberal "feel good" bill in an empty election year. George Chambers Lewes People of Lewes deserve good police In the wake of one law enforcement fiasco after another, the Lewes City Council now has the opportunity to hire a new police chief, set certain modern standards and create an environment of trust and safety for the people of Lewes. The question is will the present council take on these responsibilities or will they continue to brush aside certain past inci- dents and give us more of the same? So far the citizens of Lewes have endured in the following order: 1. The questionable firing of one police chief and a major lawsuit against the City of Lewes. Continued on page 8 Volume 4 No. 3 Publisher Dennis Forney Editor Trish Vernon News Editor Michael Short Reporters Kerry ;(ester Denise Marshall Kristen Seal Roseanne Pack Photographer Angle Moon Sports Editor Dave Frederick Advertising Director Carol Mawyer Fehrenbach Advertising Cindy Roberts Nancy Tylecki Mariann Wilcox Classified Sandy Barr Office Manager Kathy Emery Production Staff Susan Porter Deidre Sudimak Chris Wildt Computer Consultant dne Tanzer Racier Contributors: lqm Bamforlh Susan Frederick Nancy Katz Geoff Vemon The Cape Gazette (USPS 010294) is pub- lished by Cape Gazette Limited every Fdday at the Shoppes of Camelot, 4375 Highway 1, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 19971. Sec- ond class postage paid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Address all correspondence to Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. Telephone: (302) 226-2273. FAX - 226-2277. E-maih capegaz@dmv.com Subscriptions are avail- able at $25 per year in Sussex County; $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Cape Gazette, P.O. Box 213, Lewes, Delaware 19958. 'With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right - let us strive on to finish the work we are in." Abraham Lincoln