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Lewes, Delaware
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November 18, 2008     Cape Gazette
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November 18, 2008
 

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8 TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, THuRsDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 NEWS Cape Gazette -1- Referendum Continued from page I value, should be sufficient. How- ever, he said he has not calculat- ed how much each taxpayer would save if the district re- turned the 7 cents to taxpayers. State auditors this year found the district is collecting too much in its debt-service account. Gumbs said the account holds $1.7 million more than it should. School board member Gary Wray said the board is be- tween a rock and a hard GaryWray place, cognizant of terrible economic times, but in need Of serious technology up- grades. 's a school board mem- ber, I am charged with asking, 'What is best for the students of the district?' In my view, that is upgrading technology," he said. Wray said hundreds of com- puters in the district, some man- ufactured in the 1990s, are on their last legs. He said technology profes- sionals have done a great job keeping them going for so long, but the time has come for re- placements. The need is there, despite the slumping economy, he said. Stone has also proposed mak- ing laptops available for each in- coming high school freshman. A one-on-one computer program would cost the district $400,000 a year. He said the details must be worked out, such as whether stu- dents would be allowed to check computers out of school and take them home. Stone said many school dis- tricts provide laptop computers, and Cape staff will investigate similar programs. He said .the district still must determine, should the project be feasible, whether students will have to pay an insurance policy to replace lost or broken com- puters. Gumbs says the district must replace computers in the ele- mentary schools. "We have a sig- nificant problem at the elemen- tary schools," he said. It will cost $1.2 million to replace outdated elementary school computers, said Gumbs. Middle school computers are more than five years old and should be replaced, said Gumbs. The diswict has $500,000 in a re- serve account for technology, which will all be spent on middle school computers and other technology this year, said Gumbs. Board member Allan Redden said computers are key educa- tional tools. He is in favor of a referendum to get the district's technology up to date, he said. Board member Spencer Brit- tingham said, "Being a public school system is not the easiest thing in this economic climate. If the public can help us out with this, we can do better for our stu- dents." Lewes - Rehoboth Rotary00 PUBLIC MEETING with guest Kevin Fleming Photographer &Author previewing his new book wild in Delaware MONDAY, NOV. 24 - 6:30 PM AT IRISH EYES IN LEWES Scholarship Fund and buy your early i For more information contact Rotary President Walt Bryan at (302) 381-1615  Baocalaurea The district suggested begin- " ning the International Baccalau- reate (lB) program in the middle schools. During the five-year imple- mentation program, the district would have to payS95,000 per year. Stone said that cost is for teacher training, and there would be an annual fee for par- ticipation. IB has three programs, for ele- mentary, middle and high schools. Wray said it would be in the best interest of students for the board to have a serious discus- sion about implementing the program. Wray was one of the founders of the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences. He said during the process of getting that school started, he visited several schools that offer lB. Wray said lB has a symbiotic relationship with the Advanced Placement program, typically of- fered to 10th- to 12th-grade stu- dents. "The most successful school districts, the ones recognized as the best in America, offer Inter- national Baccalaureate and Ad- vanced Placement," he said. Redden said he is in favor of the program, but is not sure it will be fiscally feasible. IB includes an entire curricu- lum, with a foreign language component. l(put Redden said the board must consider some type of referen- dum that is very clear to the pub- lic how and where money will be spent. The district went to referen- dum in June to transfer the tax rate to operations and the meas- ure was defeated. In that refer- endum, the board sought funds tO maintain programs and to build a second artificial turf field. Redden said that referendum was done in a hurry. He said it must be presented to the public with sufficient detail and reason- ing. "I don't want to see another no-brainer referendum go down in flames," he said. The board will further discuss the idea at its meetings, said Red- den. He said the board should reach out to the public through public meetings and contact with in- strumental community organiza- tions, such as Lions Club, to make the board's intentions clear. 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