Indian River School District

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The Indian River School District says it is not dumping students as punishment into the George Washington Carver Academy.

The district is responding to an amended lawsuit by a group that promotes educational opportunities for minorities.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the original suit was filed on behalf of five students who said their rights were being violated under the 14th amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It has since added two more students to the suit.

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There are more plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against the Indian River School District.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that two families with children in the district have been added to three other individuals who attended George Washington Carvey Academy.

The paper reports that the amended complaint also charges that there was a prison-like environment at the school.

School District Photo

The Indian River School District has a new permanent superintendent.

He is Mark Steele who has been serving on an interim basis.

He has a two year contract that runs through June of 2019.

WBOC reports that he said he sees himself as being a community superintendent pledging to be open and accessible.

Steele has been a teacher and administrator in the district since 1981.

He becomes the sixth superintendent for the district since its creation in 1969.

Don Rush

The Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele says his students will get “slammed” under the state budget proposed by Governor John Carney.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that what would hurt the school system most is the decision to cut $22 million in the Education Sustainment budget.

Carney’s budget has also slashed $15 million from the school operating budgets.

For the district the cuts would amount to $1.7 million for the fiscal year of 2018.

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Voters in the Indian River School District gave the thumbs up to a referendum that would raise $7.3 million.

It was approved an overwhelming margin of around 17-hundred votes – that is 7-thousand to 53-hundred.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the district argued that the funds were needed given that its student pollution had grown over 22 percent over the last decade.

The district says it is projected to hit over 10-thousand students by 2026.

The district said that this would save up to 200 jobs.

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Today it’s one more time to the polls in the Indian River School District on a referendum that would raise $7.3 million in property taxes.

The district has argued that it needs the funds to handle the massive growth the district has seen in recent years.

WBOC reports that the district says the money will allow it to hire more teachers and improve security and technology.

In addition, the money would also help fund school programs.

If approved residents would pay an additional 49 cents for $100 of assessed property value. website

The Day Without Immigrants protest found 27 percent of students in the Indian River School District were absent yesterday.

In addition, WBOC reports that the North Georgetown Elementary school where over 60 percent of the students are Hispanic 47 percent were absent.

In addition, Georgetown saw two of his Hispanic restaurants were closed for the day.

Meanwhile, in Salisbury the manager to Plaza Tapatia… decided not report to work in solidarity with the protest even though his restaurant stayed open for business. 

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Attorneys for the Indian River School District say a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a Sussex County citizens group should be dismissed.

The Coalition for Education Reform claims that the district is using the George Washington Carver Academy, a special education school, as a "punitive dumping ground" for African-American students branded as "troublemakers."

American Association of School Administrators website

Susan Bunting, Superintendent of the Indian River School District, says that the district had no idea that their CFO had been mishandling its money.

The press conference by Bunting came a day after the state auditor found that there has been mishandling of funds.

The audit said that it created “an environment ripe with intimidation tactics, favoritism, and nepotism.

Bunting said that there had never been an audit that came back finding there was such an issue before.

An audit of the Indian River School district found that discrepancies in its finances.

Delaware State Auditor Thomas Wagner said he was sending a message to school officials that they need to be careful about managing taxpayer funds.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that among the problems was the unauthorized use of the board president’s signature stamp.

The purchases in question ranged from $732 in bracelets for staff and a recognition gift to $7-thousand for a Teach of the Year ceremony.

Georgetown Police

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - Authorities have dropped child sex abuse charges against an Indian River School District employee and have charged her accuser with making false statements to police.

Georgetown police arrested 20-year-old Natanael Perez-Gonzalez on Monday on charges of falsely reporting an incident, providing a false statement to police, and forgery.

Officials say charges against 23-year-old Nicole Degirolano of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority or supervision were dropped Sept. 29.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Sussex County citizens group has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Indian River School District of racial discrimination.

The Coalition for Education Reform claims that the district is using the George Washington Carver Academy, a special education school, as a "punitive dumping ground" for African-American students branded as "troublemakers."

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There will be a $3 million cut in discretionary spending for the Indian River School District budget next year.

WBOC reports that the money will allow for funding more teachers to meet the growth in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting told the station that this was an effort to maintain a safe level of the district’s eroding reserves.

She described the cuts as a short-term fix as the district grapples with student population growth that has jumped by 25 percent over the last ten years.

Don Rush

There were two bomb threats made against two public schools in Sussex County yesterday.

Around 9:35 a.m. the Shields Elementary School in Lewes received a call from an unknown male.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the school was evacuated and then searched but nothing suspicious was found.

Then, at around 9:45 a.m. the John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford got an automated call.

The paper reports that the caller said there was someone in the parking lot with an explosive.

The school was evacuated but again nothing was found.

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Paris Mitchell, a longtime health teacher at Indian River High School, told the District Board that he believes the school is not the place for a flu shot or Gardasil, the HPV vaccine.

Mitchell made his views known during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he admits he is under investigation by the district.

He told the board that the district should not waste precious time and resources looking into what he teaches.

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The Indian River School District is seeing an increasing number of students showing up for classes over the last three years -- from 276 to 476.

So far there has been an increase of 245 as of yesterday morning with total enrollment just over 10-thousand.

This year’s rise could mean additional 16 staff positions in the district bringing the potential total to 725.

Seventy-percent of the district staff is funded by the state with the other 30 percent by local taxpayers.

Don Rush

The Indian River School District has lowered its property tax rate for a second year in a row.

For this fiscal year it will go down a penny from $2.69 per $100 of assessed value to $2.68.

The reduction was approved by the Board of Education earlier this month.

It is the result of a retirement of 20-year construction bonds and a decline in interest payments.

In addition, there was a minor capital adjustment due to a carryover of money from last year.        

Don Rush

The Indian River District Schools have been placed on lockdown.

The East Millsboro Elementary School got a phone call from an unknown person at around 9:50 a.m. who threatened to do harm to the students.                         

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that all of the students were called back to their schools while police looked into the situation.

The lockdown was a precautionary measure with an automated alert sent out by the school officials, which said that the students were secure and that teaching had resumed.

Students may not be the only ones getting a letter grade in Delaware.

The state Department of Education is looking at giving grades to schools as way to rank them.

Jay Owens, a member of the Academic Framework Working Group, said parents want to know how their school is doing in comparison to other schools.

A survey sent to 65-hundred parents, teachers and students found that a majority indicated they wanted a report card system for schools.

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A student at Selbyville Middle School apparently was taken by an ambulance from a school dance on Halloween because it was believed he had ingested heroin in a bathroom.

An Indian River School District official told the Wilmington News Journal that only one student was involved and that he did not inject the substance with a needle.

Spokesman David Maull said that the emergency responders showed up at the scene after receiving a 911 call and took the student Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.

Don Rush

A meeting of the Indian River School board this week saw a number of residents get up to speak out about remarks by board member Shaun Fink who is opposed to teaching about sexual orientation.

During the session on Monday Cole Haden, a senior at Sussex Central, told the board that Fink's remarks allowed him to stand up for equality for gays, lesbians and transgenders as well as for fairness and tolerance.

He was only one of 10 people who spoke at the meeting where around 100 people were in attendance.

Indian River School District

As the Indian River School District ponders what to include in its textbooks for a new health curriculum one school board member objected to any discussion of gender identity.

The definitions in the lesson plan included heterosexual, straight, homosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual.

But during a workshop board member Shaun Fink said he did not want any discussion of gender identity or homosexuality.

The definitions also cover transgendered people and gender roles.

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A Sussex County judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the Indian River School District and a teacher following a classroom experiment gone bad.

The lawsuit involves a 2012 experiment at Southern Delaware School of the Arts involving the sinking of the Titanic, with students holding their hands in ice water for as long they could.  One student says she was left with serious and permanent injuries after holding her right hand and arm in ice water for about 40 minutes.

Don Rush

Members of the Indian River School Board expressed frustration at yesterday’s meeting with Governor Jack Markell over the impact of the state taking in over a hundred unaccompanied undocumented children.

The federal government has place 117 of them with families in Delaware.

Superintendent Susan Bunting told the board that the children will attend schools in the district promising to work with them.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that in recent years there has been a surge of overall student population including Sussex Central High School.

Indian River School

Residents in Indian River School District will see a reduction of 5 cents in their property tax rate for the fiscal year of 2015.

Last night the Indian River Board of Education voted to cut the rate from $2.74 cents per $100 of assessed property value to $2.69 cents.

Most of the decrease came from a reduction in the debt service.

The District says that while it was required to sell bonds to fund the costs of building expansion that was offset by paying off bonds from construction projects in the mid-1990’s.

Indian River School District Website

OCEAN VIEW, Del. (AP) - The Indian River School District has reassigned the two top administrators from Lord Baltimore Elementary School.

Officials placed Principal John Turssline and Assistant Principal Melissa Oates on administrative leave earlier this month, but declined to say why. Now officials say the pair has been reassigned within the district.

Don Rush

OCEAN VIEW, Del. (AP) - The Indian River School District has placed Lord Baltimore Elementary School's principal and assistant principal on leave.

Officials said Thursday that Principal John Turssline and Assistant Principal Melissa Oates were placed on administrative leave, but declined to say why because it is considered a personnel issue.

District spokesman David Maull says the pair will be on leave pending further action by the Board of Education, which meets next week.

Indiamn River School District

Armed security officers are now strolling the hallways in the Indian River School District.

The move follows the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last year.

Most of them are former Delaware State troopers and will be present every minute of the school day at the 14 facilities in the district.

But there are some that don’t feel comfortable with guns being carried in the schools.

Billy Windgate of Selbyville told WBOC that that he does not believe firearms belong on school grounds.

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - Voters have approved a referendum in the Indian River School District to raise $6.2 million to build new classrooms and fund teaching positions.

Voters approved two questions on school funding Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin. The plan adds 14.7 cents to the property tax rate, boosting it to $2.77 for every $100 of assessed value. The tax hike is expected to cost the average property owner an extra $38.05 next year.

Back to School,

It’s back to school.


In Wicomico County there will be some clothing changes under a pilot project called the Consistent Attire Program at nine schools. 

The District is restricting attire to polo shirts, oxfords and turtlenecks for tops and khakis, capris, skorts and jumpers for pants.

These can be bought at a variety of stores ranging from Target and Sears to Old Navy and Walmart.