CHAPTER 271

FORMERLY HOUSE BILL NO. 359

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

TO AMEND CHAPTER 172, VOLUME 55, LAWS OF DELAWARE, RELATING TO DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE WILMINGTON BOARD OF PUBLIC EDUCATION AND TO AMEND CHAPTER 367, VOLUME 57, LAWS OF DELAWARE, RELATING TO THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE WILMINGTON SCHOOL TAX COMMISSION.

WHEREAS, the school tax rate for the City of Wilmington was always established by the General Assembly prior to 1970; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly in 1970 established the Wilmington School Tax Commission composed of the Mayor, President of City Council, two (2) councilmen selected by the Mayor (one from each political party) and the President of the Wilmington Board of Education to review, evaluate and after serious deliberation establish the school tax rate for property owners in Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, in the two years this law has been in operation, the Wilmington Board of Education has failed to submit its proposed budget to the Commission before mid-March fully realizing that the tax commission must make its determination by March 31 of each year; and

WHEREAS, all school districts must submit their requests to the Department of Public Instruction by October 30 for their state funding; and

WHEREAS, there is no legitimate reason for the Wilmington Board of Education to withhold from the Wilmington School Tax Commission its budget proposal until ten days before the deadline; and

WHEREAS, the Wilmington school tax was increased by 21 cents in 1970 and will be increased by an additional 47 cents in 1971, neither increase of which occurred with the benefit of any public hearings; and

WHEREAS, in these two years (1970 and 1971) the tax commission had less than ten days to evaluate a multi-million dollar budget; and

WHEREAS, the Wilmington School Budget now exceeds $10,000,000 annually; and

WHEREAS, it was the intention of the General Assembly that the Wilmington School Tax Commission would, on behalf of all its taxpayers, pass judgment on the Wilmington School Board's budget by evaluating in depth its programs and performance before setting the tax rate;

NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the Members elected to each House concurring therein):

Section I. Amend Section 9, Chapter 172, Volume 55, Laws of Delaware, by striking the second paragraph in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

The Board shall, on or before January 15 of each year, cause to be prepared and laid before them estimates of their probable revenue and expenses for the ensuing fiscal year, which estimates they shall lay before the Wilmington School Tax Commission on or before January 15. At the time of presenting to the Wilmington School Tax Commission said estimates of revenue and expenses, the Board shall in addition thereto include the amount necessary to be paid for interest on bonds in the following fiscal year, and also, when necessary, the amount required in that year for the retirement of bonds. The said Board, early in June in each year, after the City Council shall have made appropriation for the use of the public schools for the following fiscal year as herein provided, shall make the apportionment and appropriations for their expenditures for that year, based as nearly as may be, upon the estimates made by them in December previous, and such apportionment and appropriations shall be specified and arranged under the heads or items designated in said estimates. The said Board shall have no power or authority except when specially authorized by act of the General Assembly to borrow money or contract or create any debt or liability except ordinary debts and liabilities

incurred in executing the duties imposed on them by law, to be paid out of the said appropriation made by City Council and the receipts of the year for the time then current. No money shall be paid from the treasury of the board unless the same shall have been appropriated as aforesaid.

Section 2. Amend Section 11, Chapter 367, Volume 57, Laws of Delaware, by striking the third paragraph in said section in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new paragraph to read as follows:

The 'Wilmington School Tax Commission', after receiving the estimate of probable revenue and expenses from the Board of Education, shall hold public hearings on the same to determine the limit of taxing authority of the City Council within the first ten days of February, within the last ten days of February and within the first ten days of March each year after giving ten days notice of the time and place of such public hearings. The 'Wilmington School Tax Commission' shall, on or before March 31 of each year, establish the limit on the taxing authority of the Council.

Approved July 13, 1971.