Amidst Public Outcry On Referendum, Dover BOE Hosts “Open” Meeting

Dover Board of Education Vice President Karol Ruiz. (Photo by Dover Advance)

DOVER — With opposition to the proposed $68.4 million bond referendum growing, BOE officials have decided to hold a public meeting on Thursday, June 2.

The Dover Board of Education, led by Vice President Karol Ruiz, is proposing a referendum that could lead to a property tax increase of $874 for Dover households. So far details regarding the $68.4 million referendum have been sparse. But the district has conceded that residents will see an increase in their property tax bills.

The meeting will be open to the public and, although topics to be covered at the meeting have yet to be disclosed, it is anticipated that the proposed referendum will be raised by residents.

In a strategic move that is likely geared to cut off public discussion on the referendum, the school district stated that “there will be a separate forum held at a later date to discuss the upcoming bond referendum.”
The Board of Education did not specify the “later date” for the bond referendum discussion.

According to the school district, which is calling the bond a loan, “property taxes would be collected to make payments on that ‘loan.’” The district further conceded that “if voters approve the referendum, property taxes would go up when the new “loan” starts.”

Taxpayers are already paying off prior debt incurred by the Board of Education. The Dover district is still paying off debt from the last major investment in the schools and will continue to do so for the next four years.

While proponents of the referendum are hopeful to receive some state aid to defray the costs of the project, which would include building a new middle school and an addition to the high school, the school district conceded that the state Department of Education has not made any decisions on funding.

Until the state finishes its review, Dover residents will not know exactly how much property taxes will increase.

Reprinted from Dover Advance