Indian River School District
The Indian River School District may be sending another education leader to the state level. This time, it’s for the big chair.
IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting is to be nominated for Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. On Dec. 30, Gov.-elect John Carney announced his intent to nominate Bunting for his cabinet to lead Delaware for the next four years.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to be in this district for the length of time that I’ve been here. It’s a very tough decision to go, but I’m hoping to help more people,” Bunting said. Ultimately, the students have been “at the heart of everything” she has done.
Bunting has served as Indian River School District superintendent since 2006, currently responsible for more than 10,000 students and more than 1,300 employees — one of the state’s biggest and fastest-growing school districts.
The Delaware State Police on Thursday afternoon were investigating a bomb threat that was called into the Long Neck Elementary School at 26064 School Lane this afternoon.
Gov.-elect John Carney is building his cabinet to lead Delaware for the next four years. On Dec. 30, he announced his intent to nominate Selbyville’s Susan Bunting as Secretary of the Department of Education.
District expects nearly $1M in state budget cuts
After their recent referendum failed by a mere 20 votes, Indian River School District officials are ready to try again. The school board this week approved holding a second current-expense referendum on Thursday, March 2, (inclement weather date, March 16), in hopes of having at least slightly better success.
New Ennis would be entirely State-funded
The Indian River School District’s major challenges all stem from student enrollment. It’s growing faster than the money and buildings can keep up.
• The Bethany Beach Town Council has canceled its December meeting.
• Bethany Beach Town Hall will be closed Dec. 23-26 for Christmas and Jan. 2 for New Year’s Day.
SCHS presents classic show, plus children’s party
Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s classic fairytale story is coming to the stage at Sussex Central High School, as, for one weekend, the SCHS Take Two Drama Club will present “Cinderella.”
The show will be Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17, at 7 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
“The classic fairytale has been turned into a moving, funny and magical story with a great score and a beautiful message about making your own pathway in life,” according to David Warick, director and SCHS drama instructor.
General admission costs $8 at the door. Students, seniors and military pay $5. Middle school students with ID are admitted on a special two-for-one ticket for $5. No one will be turned away for inability to pay. The box office opens at 1 p.m. for the matinee and 5:30 p.m. for the evening performances.
Accused of racial discrimination at George Washington Carver Academy, the Indian River School district submitted its official response on Dec. 5, denying all claims of intentional wrongdoing at the alternative school.
Children across the land have been preparing for the upcoming slate of holiday concerts almost as diligently as they’ve worked on their lists for Santa. Horns are tooting, drummers are drumming and singers are tuning their pipes in anticipation of the chance to shine in front of their families and friends and spread some holiday cheer while they’re at it.
Usually, a traffic jam leads to inconvenience. But on Nov. 2, Ronna Cobb caused a traffic jam to save a life.
Cobb was on the road around 7 a.m. that morning. As a Phillip C. Showell Elementary School paraprofessional and bus driver, she was performing the first half of her regular duties.
She was driving in Selbyville around the same time as police officer Laurence “Larry” Corrigan.
Every vote counts on the local level. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Indian River School District’s current expense referendum was defeated by a margin of 20 votes.
At the G.W. Carver Center in Frankford on Nov. 18, the APELL (Advancing Proficiency of English Language Learners) staff was thankful for community.
With local residents coming together to not only donate, but volunteer, that’s how they were able to put on their second annual Thanksgiving feast for immigrant students, introducing most of them to their first traditional Thanksgiving with a celebratory feast.
“I think it was wonderful to see so many people involved with trying to make the kids have a welcoming first Thanksgiving in our country,” said Lori Ott, who teaches English and serves as the program’s unofficial “lead teacher” after 22 years in the district.
“The students really appreciated it, and I think the volunteers really enjoyed getting to meet the students. Even though there were language barriers, you could still see them communicating.”
Problems can be ‘easily fixed,’ Wagner says
Many Indian River School District staff and residents were holding their breaths this week in anticipation of the Delaware Auditor of Accounts’ report on the district, which was released Nov. 17.
The good news? The problems are easily fixed, said Delaware State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner Jr.
District goes back to the drawing board
On the local level, every vote counts. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the Indian River School District’s current-expense referendum was defeated by a margin of just 20 votes.
Audit to be released Nov. 17
The Indian River School District is asking taxpayers to think local when it comes to funding education. The public will vote in a Nov. 22 referendum on whether to approve a 49-cent increase in the local tax rate — primarily to keep up with skyrocketing student enrollment.
It was a Murphy’s Law kind of night for the Indian River High School soccer team, to say the least.
Any book will do. When Nichele Lobo invites special guests to read to her third-grade classroom, she doesn’t care which book they choose.
“If you’re reading something you enjoy … [you’ll] bring it to life,” said Lobo, a teacher at Southern Delaware School of the Arts.
Because students didn’t have school in mid-November, Lobo’s class celebrated National Young Readers Week a week early. That meant a week’s worth of special guests, sharing new stories with both third-grade classes.
Guests bring a book that is special to themselves or their own children. The students connect the stories to their own lives and classroom lessons.
People can get season’s greetings and season’s shopping from Indian River High School Band this weekend, as the Indian River High School Band Boosters will host a Holiday Shoppers Fair on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
While enjoying complimentary snacks and soft drinks and live music by IRHS music ensembles, people can do some holiday shopping at Cripple Creek Country Club.
Do you wanna build a robot? And then program it complete tasks and battle other bots?
The Selbyville Middle School LEGO Robotics Team brought demonstrations to the Nov. 5 Phillip C. Showell Fall Festival.
Kids crowded around to watch robotic LEGO vehicles push each other, sumo-wrestler style, out of the three-foot “SuGO” ring.
Anyone can participate in the SMS team’s SuGO fundraiser tournaments. In one day, even beginners can learn to program the robots, then compete for SuGO glory.
Glowing red sensors on the bottom can find boundaries of the competition ring. Similar red “eyes” can see forward their targets. The students program their robots to react in each situation. Is there a black line? Don’t move forward. Is there another vehicle? Accelerate to attack.
State has decreased school funding since 2008
The Indian River School District has more students and local property taxes than ever before. So why are schools understaffed and why is the district hosting a current-expense referendum, to raise property taxes 49 cents per $100 in assessed value, on Nov. 22 just “to survive”?
Short answer: The money isn’t coming as fast as the students are. In some cases, the money has decreased.
Amongst all the talk of Indian River School District’s Nov. 22 referendum — which would increase the local school tax for current expenses — there is another related problem.
The IRSD needs more buildings, too.
The Delaware Department of Education officially acknowledged that in mid-October, approving four of six Certificates of Necessity (CNs) for major construction.
Voters are considering approving an increase in school property taxes of 19 percent at an upcoming current-expense referendum, but with a state audit hanging over the Indian River School District, some of them want to see the final audit report before voting on the increase of 49 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
Millsboro Middle School is only a half-mile away from a major laboratory and vaccine manufacturer. But a small group of students experienced their very first trip inside the gates of Merck Animal Health facility for Manufacturing Day on Oct. 7.
A handful of Future Farmers of America (FFA) members joined U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, USDA Under-Secretary Michael Scuse and other national leaders to learn that agriculture isn’t just growing plants or livestock. Merck is one of many manufacturers in the agriculture field, creating poultry vaccines.
“To me, it was kind of an eye-opener, because I’ve never been in here before, and I’ve just imagined it as a factory. But it’s so much more than that,” said student Taylor Bullis.
Indeed, the media wasn’t even allowed to attend the tour of the facility, but the students and senator said it was interesting.
According to a lawsuit filed this week, local students aren’t being treated fairly — especially when it comes to the high rate of African-American students being placed in the Indian River School District’s alternative school in Frankford. The federal lawsuit was filed against the school district on Sept. 30, by the Coalition for Education Reform and two families.
The Indian River School District has its number.
In a Nov. 22 current-expense referendum, the IRSD will request an additional 49 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
If the majority of the public approves, the IRSD could add another $7.35 million to its coffers one year from now.
The district is one of the most steadily growing districts in Delaware.
For one week this summer, Drew Szlasa was flying airplanes, or controlling them from an aircraft carrier ship.
But this Selbyville Middle School eighth-grader wasn’t really up the air or at sea. She was in an immersive National Flight Academy summer camp, with hints of virtual reality, at Pensacola, Fla.
The whole building was designed to look and feel like a ship. Even the dorms were laid out like an aircraft carrier.
There were two teams — those flying the aircraft, plus the mission control team helping the aircraft navigate.
“They had these flight simulators where they taught you how to fly it,” said Szlasa. “There was this place called the JIC [Joint Intelligence Center] where you told the planes where to go.”
When flying, the plane started on the actual boat, “and then you take off from there,” she said. “The aircraft was really fun. … It was laid out like an actual airplane. It would be just you and a co-pilot.”
Every day at the flight simulator, campers sat in front of screens, maps and diagrams to complete the mission.
The Indian River School District’s budget is not keeping up with their students’ needs, so the local Board of Education has decided to host a current-expense referendum on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
How much will they request? The board hasn’t decided.
Life has changed since Gov. Jack Markell graduated from Newark High School in 1978. Back then, he said, people could get a decent job immediately after high school.
Nowadays, to find a job “that’s going to allow you to pay the kind of life you probably want to lead, you’re going to have to pursue additional training after high school,” Markell told Indian River High School seniors this week. “That doesn’t mean you have to start immediately after high school. But in order to advance, you’re really going to have to continue to invest in your education.”
Markell isn’t saying everyone needs a two- or four-year degree.
But the State of Delaware has invested in post-secondary training, and students should, too, Markell told the IRHS senior class on Sept. 20.
His visit was part of Delaware Department of Education’s third annual senior class tour, which supports students in transitioning from high school to college and career.
An Indian River School District para-educator was arrested Sept. 20 on allegations that she had engaged in sexual acts with a 17-year-old male student who was enrolled at her assigned school.
The Georgetown Police Department arrested Nicole M. DeGirolano, 23, of Millsboro, on four counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, authority or supervision.
The Delaware State Police Explorers program consists of young men and women who have an interest in law enforcement.