CHAPTER 337

RELATING TO SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE ENLARGEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE SYSTEM OF FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF DELAWARE; APPROPRIATING MONEY FOR SAID PURPOSES; AUTHORIZING THE FINANCING OF SUCH ENLARGEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT BY THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS AND BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES OF THE STATE AND BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS, AND THE CITY OF WILMINGTON, DEFINING SCHOOL DISTRICTS; AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS OF CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE CITY OF WILMINGTON FOR THE PURPOSE OF RAISING MONEY TO MAKE SUCH CONTRIBUTIONS; AND AUTHORIZING THE ACCEPTANCE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR BUILDING PURPOSES AND CREATING LOCAL SCHOOL BUILDING COMMISSIONS.

WHEREAS, there is continued and pressing need for certain construction for public school purposes in certain School Districts within the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS, there are additional critical needs for school facilities that have been brought about by the phenomenal growth of enrollments in the public schools of the State of Delaware; and

WHEREAS, certain School Districts of the State of Delaware hereinafter mentioned have funds available for school construction purposes presently available by reason of state appropriation and/or from the proceeds of local school bond issues; and

WHEREAS, certain other School Districts hereinafter mentioned will provide funds for school construction purposes from local sources; and

WHEREAS, there is precedent of both partial and full state support for school construction programs as an element which places Delaware as a leader in education; NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (three-fourths of all the Members elected to each Branch concurring therein):

Section 1. Whenever or wherever used in this Act, unless a different meaning is indicated or required:

(a) The term "school construction" means one or more of the following things: the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, equipment, including purchase of machinery necessary for the maintenance of grounds and buildings and of all educational supplies necessary for the initial operation of a school so built or altered or added to, and re-equipment of buildings and the acquisition and improvement of lands, for free public school purposes, in any school district.

(b) The term "total cost" means the maximum sum or sums of money which may be spent for school construction under this Act in a particular school district, provided nothing contained in this Act shall prevent any school district from increasing said total cost by providing a larger amount from local sources than that stated as that district's local share, nor shall prevent the acceptance and use of any funds appropriated by the Congress of the United States for these purposes.

(c) The term "state share" means the maximum sum of money which may be paid from state sources for school construction in a particular school district as provided in this Act.

(d) The term "local share" means the sum of money specified to render permissible the use of the state share for school construction within the particular school district.

(e) The term "school district" means a school district, a special school district, the City of Wilmington, or any newly created school unit or area for which no board has yet been appointed or elected.

() The term "School Building Commission" means one of the School Building Commissions created by Section 22 of this Act.

Section 2. There is hereby appropriated the sum of twelve million two hundred thirty-nine thousand eighty dollars ($12,239,080.00), or so much thereof as shall be required, to carry out the purpose of this Act, and to be expended as hereinafter provided.

Section 3. For the purposes of providing funds out of which said appropriation of twelve million two hundred thirty-nine thousand eighty dollars ($12,239,080.00) may be paid, the Governor, the State Treasurer, and the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware, herein sometimes referred to as "issuing officers", are hereby authorized and fully empowered to issue bonds of the State of Delaware in an aggregate principal amount not exceeding twelve million two hundred thirty-nine thousand and eighty dollars ($12,239,080.00).

Section 4. Said bonds shall be issued at one time or from time to time as the money is required, as the issuing officers shall determine. The bonds of each issue shall constitute a separate series. Each series of bonds shall mature in annual installments, beginning not more than one year after the date of issue of the bonds of such series, and ending not more than twenty years after such date of issue; and no such annual installment shall be more than thirty per cent greater in amount than the amount of the smallest prior installment of the same series. Each series of bonds shall bear interest at a rate or rates not exceeding three per cent, per annum, payable semiannually.

Section 5. Said bonds shall be sold by the issuing officers at not less than par and accrued interest, under such terms, conditions and regulations as the issuing officers may prescribe, after notice of such sale, published at least once ten days or more before the date of sale in at least one newspaper published in the State of Delaware and in a financial journal published in the City of New York.

Section 6. In anticipation of the issuance of said bonds, the issuing officers may issue and sell notes of the State of Delaware at either public or private sale for not less than par and accrued interest. Said notes shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding 3 per cent per annum. They may be renewed from time to time by the issuance and sale of new notes, but all such notes shall mature and be paid not later than June 30, 1955. The total amount of said notes outstanding at any one time, together with the total amount of said bonds theretofore issued, shall not exceed twelve million two hundred thirty-nine thousand eighty dollars ($12,239,080.00). Said notes may be redeemed at par and accrued interest prior to their maturity, if the right of the State to do so shall have been reserved by an express provision in the notes. The principal of said notes shall be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of said bonds or notes.

Section 7. Said bonds and notes shall be direct general obligations of the State of Delaware, and the faith and credit of the State of Delaware are hereby pledged for the payment of the principal of and the interest on said bonds and notes as such principal and interest respectively become due. The principal of and the interest on said bonds and notes shall be exempt from taxation by the State of Delaware or by any political subdivision thereof for any purpose whatsoever.

Section 8. The said bonds and notes shall be signed in the name of the State of Delaware by the State Treasurer, and shall be authenticated by the signatures or facsimile signatures of the Governor and Secretary of State, and they shall have the Great Seal of the State impressed thereon. Interest coupons attached to said bonds shall be authenticated by the signature or facsimile signature of the State Treasurer. The said bonds and notes may be issued notwithstanding that any of the officers signing them or whose facsimile signature appears thereon or on the coupons of said bonds shall have ceased to hold office at the time of such issue or at the time of the delivery of said bonds or notes.

Section 9. Said bonds and notes shall recite that they are issued in pursuance of this Act and the Constitution of this State, and such recital shall be conclusive evidence of the validity of said bonds and notes. Any such bonds or notes containing such recital shall, in any suit, action or proceeding involving their validity, be conclusively deemed to be fully authorized by this Act and to have been issued, executed and delivered in conformity herewith, and shall be incontestable for any cause. Said bonds and notes shall be in such form and in such denominations and may contain such other and further recital and be subject to such terms and conditions, with such privileges as to registration, conversion, reconversion, redemption and exchange, and may contain such other provisions as may be determined by said "issuing officers". The principal of and the interest on said bonds and notes shall be made payable at the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware at Dover.

Section 10. All moneys received from the sale of said bonds or notes shall be deposited by the State Treasurer in the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware at Dover, and shall be used exclusively for the purpose of school construction in accordance with the provisions of this Act and for the purpose of paying the principal of notes issued under this Act.

Section 11. Any funds that shall accrue to any school district in this State from the Treasury of the United States for building purposes shall be deposited in the State Treasury and shall be allocated by the State Board of Education to the school district for which the funds are appropriated. The said funds shall be in addition to any other local share and/or state share.

Section 12. There is hereby appropriated to the State Treasurer of the State of Delaware such sums as shall be necessary during the biennium beginning July 1, 1953, and ending June 30, 1955, to pay interest on said bonds and notes and to pay the principal of said bonds. The budget Appropriation Bill enacted and approved by the General Assembly at the One Hundred and Eighteenth Session, and at each and every subsequent biennial session thereof, shall contain under the Debt Service Item provisions for the payment of the principal of and the interest on all bonds issued under this Act, as such principal and interest respectively become due; and all such revenues of the State of Delaware that are not prohibited by constitutional provisions or committed by preceding statutes for other purposes are hereby pledged for the payment of said bonds and interest thereon. For the purpose of paying the costs and expenses incident to the issuance of said bonds and notes and interest on said notes there is hereby appropriated from the General Fund of the State to the issuing officers the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00), or so much thereof as may be necessary for said purpose. All payments for expenses incident to the issuance of said bonds and interest on notes shall be paid by the State Treasurer upon warrants signed by the Secretary of State and approved by the Auditor of Accounts.

Section 13. The total maximum amount appropriated by Section 2 of this Act, the sum of twelve million two hundred thirty-nine thousand and eighty dollars ($12,239,080.00) or so much thereof as shall be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act, shall be apportioned by the State Board of Education to the following named school districts according to the following tabulation of maximum totals and shares, or in the proportions represented by said maximum totals and shares:

Name of District

Maximum

Total Cost

Maximum

State Share

Maximum

Local Share

Alfred I. duPont #7

$570,000

$342,000

$228,000

Alexis I. duPont

130,000

78,000

52,000

Blades #172

25,000

15,000

10,000

Bridgeville #90

450,000

270,000

180,000

Caesar Rodney

250,000

150,000

100,000

Claymont

120,000

72,000

48,000

Conrad #131

500,000

300,000

200,000

Corbitt #61

25,000

15,000

10,000

Dover-White

1,200,000

720,000

480,000

Harrington-White

200,000

120,000

80,000

Hockessin #29

16,500

9,900

6,600

Laurel-White

550,000

330,000

220,000

Lord Baltimore #28

30,000

18,000

12,000

Marshallton #77

400,000

240,000

160,000

Milford

150,000

90,000

60,000

Millsboro #23

300,000

180,000

120,000

Milton #8

145,000

87,000

58,000

Mount Pleasant

2,000,000

1,200,000

800,000

Newark

2,060,000

1,236,000

824,000

New Castle

700,000

420,000

280,000

Oak Grove #130

700,000

420,000

280,000

Rehoboth

45,000

27,000

18,000

Rose Hill-Minquadale #47

700,000

420,000

280,000

Seaford-White

600,000

360,000

240,000

Selbyville #32

15,300

9,180

6,120

Stanton #38

300,000

180,000

120,000

Wilmington

700,000

420,000

280,000

Dover--Colored

125,000

125,000

---

Bridgeville #220

92,000

92,000

---

Delaware Day School

15,000

15,000

---

Frankford #206

18,000

18,000

---

Georgetown--Colored

65,000

65,000

---

Wm. W.M. Henry-Comprehensive

500,000

500,000

---

Wm. C. Jason - Comprehensive

620,000

620,000

---

Kent and Sussex County

   

---

Vocational - Academic School

250,000

250,000

---

Laurel--Colored

225,000

225,000

---

Millsboro #204

140,000

140,000

---

Millside #132

1,500,000

1,500,000

---

New Castle--Comprehensive

220,000

220,000

---

Newport #106

250,000

250,000

---

Seaford--Colored

350,000

350,000

---

Selbyville #210

140,000

140,00-0

---

Total State Program

$17,391,800

$12,239,080

$5,152,720

Section 14. Except in the case of a school district for which a local share is not shown by the foregoing table, the state share apportioned to a school district shall not be expended unless the local share for such school district shall have been deposited with the State Treasurer on or before June 30, 1954.

Section 15. Any school district which is entitled under the provisions of this Act to an apportionment of a state share and which is required to provide a local share, is hereby authorized to issue its bonds for the purpose of raising money to pay its local share and raising such additional amount, if any, as such school district may desire to expend for school construction. If such bonds are issued, they shall be issued by the Board of Trustees or Board of Education of the school district pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 21 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code of 1953, except in the case of the City of Wilmington, in which case the local share to be contributed by the Board of Public Education in Wilmington may be raised by the proper authorities of said City by issuing bonds pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 163, Volume 32, Laws of Delaware, as amended. Instead of issuing bonds as hereinbefore provided, any school district may pay its local share by using the proceeds of the sale of bonds heretobefore authorized or issued, or by using gifts or any other moneys on hand which are not required by law to be used for some other purpose.

Section 16. The State Board of Education shall determine the present necessity for any school construction program in the said several school districts and, in so doing, shall take into consideration the number of pupils, actual or potential, in the school district, the feasibility and possibility of the consolidation of school districts, the present and future possibility of overcrowding of school facilities within the school district, the condition and quality of existing school facilities within the district, and all other matters and conditions pertinent to the determination of the present necessity of the school construction program, including the reasonable future development or retardation of the school district. In making a determination of necessity, the said State Board of Education shall do so on a basis calculated to maintain the desired standard of education within the school district. In making such determination of necessity, the State Board of Education shall have the authority to make a determination of necessity of a school construction program for the several school districts which will have a lesser total cost than the maximum total cost for such school district than that set forth in Section 13 of this Act. Whenever a determination of necessity of a school construction program is made in an amount less than the total maximum cost for such school district as set forth in Section 13 of this Act, the state share and the local share shall be reduced in the proportion they bear to the total maximum cost set forth in that section.

Section 17. Whenever the State Board of Education shall make a determination of necessity for a school construction program within a school district, it shall certify that fact to the State Treasurer, together with the amount of the total cost, the state share, and the local share, if any, and shall send a copy of such certification to the State Auditor of Accounts, and the School Building Commission of such school district.

Upon the receipt by the State Treasurer of the certification of said determination, the said school construction program shall be deemed to be authorized and the provisions of this Act for the issuance of state and local bonds to provide the funds for school construction programs shall be in full force and effect with respect to such school construction program, provided, however, that, except in cases where a local share is not required by Section 13 of this Act, such school construction program shall not be carried out until the local share shall have been deposited with the State Treasurer as provided in Section 13. The issuing officers may at any time after the State Treasurer receives such certificate proceed to issue bonds or notes of the State to provide the funds for the State share thereof, whether or not the requisite local share shall have been actually deposited with the State Treasurer pursuant to Section 13, but the proceeds of said bonds or notes shall not be expended until the requisite local share shall have been so deposited.

Section 18. After making the certificate required by Section 17 the said State Board of Education is hereby authorized and directed to consider the final plans, estimates of costs, and specifications of any school construction program and to approve or modify such plans, estimates and specifications, and also to amend such certificate, provided that nothing herein shall be construed to give said State Board of Education the authority to increase the total state share of such program beyond the maximum limit set forth in Section 13 of this Act. In the event that said certificate shall be amended, as herein provided, the fact of such amendment shall be communicated to the State Treasurer, and a copy thereof sent to the State Auditor of Accounts, and the School Building Commission of the school district.

Section 19. In the event that two or more existing school districts shall consolidate themselves or be consolidated into one school district, the maximum total cost, the maximum state share, and the maximum local share of a school construction program for such consolidated district shall be the totals of said amounts appearing in Section 13 of this Act or the school districts so consolidating. Such consolidated district shall be deemed to be a school district within the meaning of this Act.

Section 20. The moneys paid to the State Treasurer by a school district as its local share pursuant to Section 13 of this Act shall be deposited by the State Treasurer in the Farmers Bank of the State of Delaware, at Dover, and shall be expended only for school construction in such district. Each of said local shares shall be credited with interest when and to the same extent as the said Bank credits interest on deposits of other State moneys in said Bank.

Section 21. The moneys hereby appropriated for use in defraying the cost of any school construction program, and the moneys hereby appropriated for the costs and expenses incident to the issuance of said bonds and notes, shall not revert to the State Treasury at the end of any fiscal year but shall remain available for said purposes until the school construction program has been completed.

Section 22. There is hereby created a commission for each school district to be known as the "School Building Commission". The School Building Commission of each school district shall be composed of the members of the Boards of Trustees or Board of Education of such school district and two members of the State Board of Education ex officio, the latter two to be appointed by the State Board of Education, except (1) in the City of Wilmington, where the Board of Education in Wilmington shall be the School Building Commission, and except (2) in school districts which do not have Board of Trustees or Boards of Education; in such cases the School Building Commission shall be composed of three residents of the school district appointed by the Governor and two members of the State Board of Education appointed by the State Board of Education. No act of a School Building Commission shall be binding unless a majority of the members of such Commission shall concur therein.

Section 23. The State Board of Education shall render such assistance to School Building Commissions as they may request in the preparation of their tentative and final plans for school construction under this Act.

Section 24. The final plans, specifications and estimates of costs for school construction outside the City of Wilmington under this Act must be approved by the State Board of Education.

Section 25. It shall be the province and duty of the School Building Commission for any particular district to cause the school construction program authorized under this Act for such school district to be carried out. Such School Building Commission shall have power to make and enter into all contracts for school construction and for labor, materials, supplies, instrumentalities, furniture and equipment required to accomplish any such school construction program (including purchase of all educational supplies necessary for the initial operation of schools so built, altered, or added to), provided that no contract involving expenditure of five hundred dollars ($500.00) or more shall be entered into unless the same shall be properly advertised and given to the lowest and best bidder therefor, the School Building Commission reserving the right to reject any and all bids.

Section 26. The School Building Commission in each school district shall supervise, or cause to be supervised, by some one or more of its employees, the school construction program in such school district.

Section 27. The Secretary of the State Board of Education, or a person designated by him, shall be the Secretary of each of said School Building Commissions, except the School Building Commission in the City of Wilmington, and as such Secretary he shall be the accountant of such School Building Commission. The School Building Commission shall cause such secretary to inaugurate and maintain a system of accounting which shall show in detail the expenditures of the School Building Commission, the cost of school construction and such other details as the State Board of Education may from time to time require. Each School Building Commission shall have power to employ an engineer or engineers, an architect or architects, and such other employees as it shall deem essential to the proper and expeditious performance of its duties under this Act, and to fix the salaries and length of service and to dismiss them for any cause which it shall deem sufficient.

Section 28. Any School Building Commission may require a bond from any of its employees and any person contracting for school construction.

Section 29. All bills for the expenses of the School Building Commission of any school district for carrying out the school construction program of such school district under this Act, except the City of Wilmington, must be marked "approved", and such approval must be signed by the chairman or vice-chairman of such School Building Commission, and attested by the Secretary or acting secretary of such Commission.

Section 30. The School Building Commission of each School district, except the City of Wilmington, shall, when and as funds are required (and not until then) for the payment of the expenses of carrying out the school construction program in such school district contemplated by this Act, including expenses of engineers, architects and other employees of such School Building Commission, draw warrants on the State Treasurer for the moneys required, which warrants shall be signed by the chairman or vice-chairman and attested by the secretary or acting secretary of such School Building Commission; and such warrants shall be delivered to the State Auditor of Accounts, who shall thereupon deliver them to the State Treasurer, and the State Treasurer shall pay the same. In paying warrants, as aforesaid, the State Treasurer shall be governed by the certificate of the State Board of Education made as hereinbefore provided as the cost of the School construction program in such school district, and as to what portion of such cost shall be paid out of the moneys hereby appropriated as the State's share of such cost and what portion thereof shall be paid out of the local share of the cost.

Section 31. The carrying out of school construction programs in the City of Wilmington shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Public Education in Wilmington. Said Board of Public Education in Wilmington is authorized and empowered to make all contracts and to do all things necessary or proper for the purpose of carrying out such construction programs in the City of Wilmington; provided, that the cost thereof to be paid under this Act shall not exceed in the aggregate the total of the State share certified by the State Board of Education pursuant to Sections 17 and 18 of this Act and the local share deposited pursuant to Section 14 of this Act by the Board of Public Education in Wilmington; and provided, further that all of the provisions of Sections 16, 17 and 18 of this Act relating to school construction programs shall apply to the school construction programs in the City of Wilmington.

Section 32. The Board of Public Education in Wilmington shall, when and as funds are required (and not until then)

for the payment of the cost of school construction programs in the City of Wilmington carried out under the provisions of this Act, draw warrants on the State Treasurer for the moneys required, which warrants shall be signed by its president or vice-president and attested by its secretary or acting secretary, and shall be delivered to the State Auditor of Accounts, who shall thereupon deliver them to the State Treasurer, and the State Treasurer shall pay the same out of the moneys made available for said purpose under the provisions of this Act.

Section 33. The Board of Public Education in Wilmington shall keep accurate detailed accounts of the cost of all school construction in the City of Wilmington under the provisions of this Act and of all moneys expended therefor. Such accounts shall be deemed to be public records.

Section 34. Whenever lands shall be required for school construction under this Act in the City of Wilmington, the Board of Public Education in Wilmington is authorized to select and acquire such land. And whenever land shall be required for the carrying out of any school construction for any special school district outside of the City of Wilmington, the School Building Commission of such special school district is authorized to select and acquire such land. And whenever land shall be required for school construction under this Act in any other school district in this State, the local School Building Commission is authorized to acquire such land.

Such land may be acquired by contract with the owner or owners thereof at a fair value or by condemnation proceedings instituted by the appropriate official body; but such condemnation proceedings shall not be instituted against any land, building, franchise, easement or other property of a public utility used by it in providing its service to the public.

The title to any such lands acquired in any manner whatever shall be a fee simple title and shall be vested in the State Board of Education, except that the title to lands so acquired in the City of Wilmington or in any special school district shall be vested in the Board of Public Education in Wilmington or in the Board of Education of such special school district, as the case may be.

Section 35. Condemnation proceedings to acquire land, as aforesaid, in any case where such land cannot for any reason be acquired by contract with the owner or owners thereof for a fair or reasonable consideration, may be instituted by the appropriate official body under the provisions of Section 2303 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code of 1953.

Section 36. Notwithstanding anything heretofore contained in this Act, in case any School District shall have deposited with the State Treasurer on or before June 30, 1953, its local share pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 148, Volume 48, Laws of Delaware, and the final plans and specifications for the School Construction program of such School District shall have been approved pursuant to the provisions of said Act, no Certificate of Necessity under Section 16 hereof, no Certificate to the State Treasurer or notice by the State Treasurer under the provisions of Section 17 of this Act, no Certificate of Approval of Final Plans, costs and Specifications under Section 18 of this Act and no Approval of Final Plans, Specifications and Estimates of Cost as provided in Section 24 of this Act shall be required. In the case of any area school district to which this section applies no further School Building Commission shall be created but the School Building Commission of each such School District appointed pursuant to Chapter 148, Volume 48, Laws of Delaware, shall continue with all of the powers and duties conferred upon such Commission by the Act aforesaid. This Section shall be applicable only with respect to School Districts in which the final plans and specifications heretofore approved by the State Board of Education have not been substantially altered. The certificate of the Secretary of the School Building Commission for any such School District that no substantial change or alteration has been made in the plans or specifications of the Construction Program of the District shall be conclusive evidence of such fact.

Section 37. The funds appropriated and apportioned by this Act for particular school districts shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any funds which may be made available for any of the named school districts by a Supplementary School Building Program Act of 1953 or any other Act of the General Assembly.

Section 38. If any clause, sentence, section, provision or part of this Act shall be adjudged to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not impair, invalidate or affect the remainder of this Act, which shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 39. This Act shall be known as the School Building Program Act of 1953.

Approved July 10, 1953.