Milford School District Referendum thoughts from a school board member

By Barry R. Fry
Member Milford School Board
It has been my pleasure to work and live in Milford for almost 40 years. I am a native Delawarean, University of Delaware graduate and Wilmington University graduate. I taught at Milford High School for almost 38 years. The Milford School District is in the Greater Milford Area; the Milford Community or Greater Milford. Whatever the name associated with the Milford Community, it remains the area and small communities around Milford where people shop, eat, work, purchase goods and services from area businesses and send their children to school. Grandparents who live in the area watch their grandchildren play sports and participate in a variety of community and school related activities. My wife and I travel to Middletown often to watch our 2 grandsons participate in soccer and tennis. Grandparents and relatives have a vested interest in their grandchildren’s growth, development and education. I have made several trips to each grandson’s school for career days and field trips.

My wife and I rented a house upon moving to Milford, later bought a house in the community and finally built a house in the Greater Milford Community. My two daughters graduated from Milford High School, and I have relatives in the area who have had children attend and graduate from Milford. Presently I have relatives attending Milford schools. I have witnessed the residents of the Milford community support many projects and activities. They have supported the construction of a New Fire Station, a new Police Station, additions to the Milford Hospital, construction of a new Library, changes and additions to city offices, a soon to be new Medical Campus and many other projects that benefit our community. They also support youth groups such as Boys and Girls Club, Little League Baseball, Little league Softball, Pop Warner Football and a Parks and Recreation program that benefits many people including our youth. It is my hope this tradition of supporting beneficial projects in the Milford Community will continue by voting yes for the upcoming referendum for a new Milford High School.

There has been much information concerning the upcoming referendum to construct a new Milford High School. There has also been much MISINFORMATION concerning this referendum. I would strongly suggest you contact the Milford School District (422-1600) to get the facts or visit the web site (www.milfordschooldistrict.org. (Referendum) (Buccaneer Tomorrow). The facts and figures are not false – only the rumors and innuendoes are false and misleading.

One point that is confusing to some is the tax rate between Kent and Sussex residents. Residents in Kent and Sussex County are going to pay the same rate even though the assessments are different in each county. There is an equalization multiplier that make the $29,250 Kent assessment and the $10,350 Sussex assessment of a $150,000 home the SAME. That means the residents in both counties will pay the same.
Another confusing issue: Who is allowed to vote? Anyone 18 years or older living in the Milford School District is allowed to vote on May 5th at any elementary school in the District: Morris Early Childhood, Lulu Ross, Banneker or Mispillion. Residents of Ellendale, Lincoln, Houston and any area in the Milford School District will be eligible to vote.

It has been 86 years since Milford built a new High School. In the early 1970’s that High School was converted into a Middle School and the Junior High was made the present High School. The site of the proposed new school location will allow for the new high school to be constructed and allow for expansion in the future. Milford has built new schools such as the Milford Academy, Mispillion Elementary and Banneker Elementary on property already owned by the School District. At present, the Milford School District does not own any property to expand. The referendum would allow the purchase of 190 acres, construction of a new school and provide additional land to expand in the future. The parcel of land is only a block from the Middle School property and is in city limits.

Classes at all elementary schools are overcrowded; classes at the Milford Academy are overcrowded. A new High School would allow the 5th grade to be removed from each elementary school; 5th and 6th grades would be housed in the present Milford Academy; 7th and 8th grades would be housed in the present High School building and grades 9-12 would occupy the new 1400 student High School.

I have two grandsons in the Appoquinimink District and I would hate to think they would have to endure an overcrowded classroom. I taught in overcrowded classrooms and I know the challenge of reaching each student and maintaining the educational focus. I am sure that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would not want to see their students in overcrowded conditions.

We all lose sight of the fact, that in the end, the ones who are going to benefit from the new school are the students. The new Milford High School would be a proud addition to the Milford Community, not only for the reasons stated above, but it would be the center of our educational community, the flag ship of our school district, a source of pride for the residents and a huge attraction for people considering moving into our community. I am confident that the residents of the Greater Milford Area will continue their tradition of supporting progressive, economical, social, cultural, and educational projects and vote YES to build a new Milford High School for our students and our future students yet to come. We must plan for the future, we cannot live in the past…

Editor’s note: Milford School Board Member Barry R. Fry also serves as President Milford FFA Alumni Assoc., President Cedarfield Ruritan Club, Past President Carlisle Fire Co., Past President Harrington High School Alumni Assoc., Past President Delaware Agriculture Teachers Assoc., Past Agricultural Teacher/FFA Advisor/Dept. Chr.

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