Changes abound in the Milford School District

By Dr. Phyllis Kohel 

Milford School District Superintendent  

The official first day of school for K-9 will be August 31.  Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will begin school on September 1.  This split starting schedule at the high school level will give the teachers, counselors, and administration the opportunity to focus entirely on the freshmen as they become acclimated to a new building with new schedules and a few new challenges.

As students and parents enter school this year, they may recognize that there are a number of teacher, para, and administrator changes.  The Milford School District has lost a staggering number of teachers and administrators over the summer.  Currently, the district employs 496 people which include teachers, librarians, para-professionals, administrators, secretaries, food service, and maintenance/custodians.  Since the close of school last year, we have had 10 teachers, 1 custodian, 1 food service supervisor, 1 secretary, and 2 child nutrition workers retire.  We expect a certain amount of retirees each year, but the big surprise over the summer has been the resignation of 1 athletic director, 1 secretary, 16 teachers, 1 custodian, 3 para-professionals, and 4 administrators.  The Milford School District has lost a little over 8% of its staff to retirement or resignation.

Students returning to Milford High School will see a completely new administrative staff.  Dr. Kelly Green, who served as an assistant principal last year, will be the principal this year.  She will be assisted by Mr. Shawn Snyder and Ms. Shafta Collazo.  In addition, students at Mispillion Elementary will see a difference in the administrative staff since Mrs. Donahue has taken a principal’s position with the Cape Henlopen School District.

Believe it or not, we have lost a lot of teachers to the Indian River and/or Cape districts.  We’ve also lost them to Caesar Rodney, Capitol, and Lake Forest.  Regardless of where they went, we have to acknowledge the fact that a number of teachers are leaving due to the uncertainty of being able to make a comparable salary to other districts.  Of course, this uncertainty of job security comes on the heels of failing two referendum in this district.  We have got to do something to insure that we keep quality teachers here.  Our students and our teachers deserve the best from their school district, and this community is a part of this school district.  We need your support and your help in passing an operations referendum on October 6.  The money generated by a success referendum will fund items including, but not limited to, the following:

 

  • Addressing the current budget deficit of approximately $1.2 million
  • Supporting school security, and student safety initiatives including School Resource Officers
  • Matching funds for student transportation as enacted by the State in 2011
  • Replacing programs and curriculum reductions that have been made as a result of fiscal constraints
  • Assisting with the recruiting and retention of teachers by adjusting local salary supplements
  • Allowing for the replacement of outdated technology in classrooms and maintaining current technology
  • Supporting the increased costs of energy and fuel related to district building operations
  • Aligning curriculum and instructional materials with the State standards
  • Potentially expanding career pathways at the secondary level as space will allow

If the October 6th operations referendum does not pass, there will be further cuts in the extra-curricular programs along with the implementation of a Pay to Play program for athletics.  We will also see the elimination of the School Resource Officers once the contract with the City expires.  There will be a continuation of staff reductions, and we risk a State takeover of the school district through a financial recovery team.

We truly need your help in making sure that our staff and our students see no cuts in their programs.  We need to add programs, not lose them.  Voting for the referendum will take place at Morris Early Childhood Center in Lincoln, Banneker Elementary, and Milford High School.   The public will have the opportunity to attend several community information nights prior to Oct. 6th.  The times and locations of all events will be published in the near future.

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