School Board President asks you to vote yes on May 5

By Marvin P. Schelhouse
Milford Board of Education President

The past two months considerable information has been provided to the public regarding our forthcoming referendum to be voted on May 5, 2015. We have held community meetings at our schools and with civic groups in order to get the message out to our voters. A group from our community called “Buccaneer Tomorrow” came forward to offer support and assistance to help pass our referendum. They have worked hard and have been very helpful and directly involved and have done a very professional job in their presentations. Several articles have been written by School Board members and citizens of our community and published in local newspapers. These articles were well written and addressed all the issues pertaining to this referendum.

The decision to build a new high school was made after a great deal of thought and discussion between the Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Kohel, our administrative staff and input from our community. We strongly believe in the plan that we have for building a new state of the arts high school that will accommodate up to 1400 students on 190 acres of land known as the Simpson Property. It is important to know that this will be the first high school built in this school district in 86 years on land in the city limits sufficient for expansion of facilities and to accommodate student growth for many years to come.

A responsibility of the Board is to insure that all students in our school district receive the best education possible in a safe and conducive environment. Public education is challenging for both students and staff. We are proud of the progress that takes place every day in our schools as we prepare students for college or to enter a productive and meaningful vocation or career.
Several years ago our economy took a down turn. Federal and State government agencies were forced to reduce funding that was critical to our overall mission of educating students. In order to maintain the same level of teaching and learning we were forced to go into deficient spending to draw from our contingency funds. This fund was established over 20 years ago for unforeseen emergencies like we are presently experiencing. There is no indication that those funds taken over a period of time will ever be restored; thus, the reason for the current operational increase being part of this referendum.

Since the State of Delaware would not authorize the renovation of the boarded up Middle School on Lakeview Avenue, attempts were made to find historical preservation money to renovate the school, but to no avail.

One reason to build the 1929 high school was to encourage parents with children living in out laying areas and attending country schools, to allow them to come to Milford and take advantage of the education opportunities in an urban setting. The 1929 school would have a chemistry lab, science and biology, foreign languages, music and band, athletic fields and programs, auditorium, basketball court, cafeteria, track, football, and baseball. This was state of the arts and an exciting time for education and accomplished what those had hoped for in re-locating students to Milford.
We want to take that noteworthy achievement of that time and 86 years later build a high school that will stand out and be a beacon of hope and a model educational facility. Also, one that children coming up through the grades will look forward with excitement upon the day they can enter those halls of learning. The 21st century School will offer far reaching opportunities in the near and future years as technological and scientific advances occur in education. Just look where we have come in the past century from horse drawn wagons and Model T Fords to single engine airplanes, the jet population and space exploration. Imagine what lies ahead in the 21st Century. The bottom line is we need a new high school. Your taxes will go up; but, are still a bargain when compared to neighboring states.

We have the capacity in our lives to make things better; the referendum gives us that opportunity. Milford is a great and wonderful place to live, get married, raise a family, work and retire. Let us do the best we can for all the children in our school district. They are our future! I trust you will vote in the affirmative for the passage of this referendum.

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