AN ACT to amend an Act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Establishment and Maintenance of a General and Efficient System of Free Public Schools," approved March 26, 1923, as amended.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. That the Act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Establishment and Maintenance of a General and Efficient System of Free Public Schools," being Chapter 160, Volume 32, Laws of Delaware, approved May 17, 1921, as amended, be and the same is hereby amended by striking out all of Section 53, as amended, of said Act and by inserting in lieu thereof the following new Section 53:
"Section 53. The Board of Education of a Special School District, or the Board of School Trustees of a School District is authorized and empowered to issue bonds on the credit of the district in amounts sufficient to carry out the building program of said district approved by the State Board of Education.
"Said Board of Education or Board of School Trustees shall not issue bonds for the purposes of this Section in a greater amount in the aggregate than five per cent of the assessed value of the real and personal property in such school district. Such bonds shall not be issued or sold at less than their face value, and shall be issued in series, and all bonds authorized to be issued at any time within a calendar year shall constitute a series. No bond of any given series shall run more than twenty-five years. The bonds provided for in this section shall be in such denomination or denominations, in such form, and shall bear such rate of interest, not exceeding six per cent, per annum, as shall be determined by the Board of Education or Board of School Trustees of the District. The said bonds shall be signed by the President, and one other member of the said Board of Education, or by the chairman and one other member of the Board of School Trustees. The Board of Education or the Board of School Trustees is authorized to adopt a seal to be used in the execution of said bonds. The faith and credit of the school district issuing such bonds shall be deemed to be pledged for the payment of the principal and interest of such bonds. The said bonds shall be denominated as of the district and year in which they are issued, and the principal and interest shall be made payable at the branch of the Farmers' Bank in the County in which said bonds are issued, and the bonds shall be exempt from all State, county or municipal taxes.
"The text of the bonds shall provide for the payment of interest of any series of bonds and of the principal of any series of bonds by equal payments each year for twenty-five years or for the period of such series of bonds.
"The bonds to be retired shall be ascertained each year by lot or otherwise and when called for redemption shall be surrendered by the holders thereof on the date fixed for redemption. Interest on bonds so called for redemption shall cease on the date fixed for redemption.
"The authority to issue such bonds shall be construed to be authority to provide funds for the payment of the interest and annual payments on such bonds, which without further authority shall be provided for by an additional tax levy on the real and personal property subject to taxation for County purposes in the Special School District or the School District issuing such bonds and by a poll tax on all persons twenty-one years of age and upward, residing in the district, of such amount as shall be determined by the Board of Education or the Board of School Trustees of the district. The Board of School Trustees of a School District or the Board of Education of a Special School District in which the tax is to be levied shall cause to be made from the assessment records of the county or counties in which the district is located, a list of all the taxables of the district, the property of each taxable and the assessed value thereof. Such lists shall constitute the assessment list of such School District or Special School District for the purposes of this Section.
"A copy of the assessment list shall be posted in some public place in the district and the Board shall give notice that the assessment list has been posted, as aforesaid, and where, and the day, hour and place of the sitting of such Board to hear objections to the assessment. Such notice shall be written or printed advertisements posted in at least five public places in the district five days at least before the sitting of the Board to hear objections to the assessment, and the assessment list shall be posted, as aforesaid, at least five days prior to the sitting of the Board to hear objections as aforesaid. The Board of Education of the Special School District or the Board of School Trustees of the School District shall at the time and place stated in the notice aforesaid, sit to hear objections to the assessment and may make such corrections and additions as they deem right and proper, provided that the value of property as shown by the assessment list of the county shall not be changed. After the hearing, as aforesaid, the Board shall fix the rate of taxation. Such rate shall be based upon the amount required to be raised by taxation plus ten per cent for delinquencies and the cost of collection. The Board of Education of a Special School District or the Board of School Trustees of a School District shall have the sole power to allow delinquents in taxation for school purposes. The said Board of Education and Board of School Trustees shall then execute its warrant with a duplicate of the assessment list to the official whose duty it is to collect other county taxes in the county or counties wherein the district is situated. It shall be the duty of the said official to collect such taxes in the same manner and at the same time as provided by law for the collection of taxes for other school purposes, and the said official shall be allowed two per centum of the money so collected by him in making such collection. All money so collected shall be paid to the County Treasurer and shall be deposited by him in a separate account in the depository for other school moneys in the county to the credit of such Special School District or Districts, and war- rants or drafts on the said fund shall be drawn by the Board of Education or Board of School Trustees of such districts and shall be applied only for the purpose of paying the interest on said bonds and the payment of said bonds as and when the same shall fall due. The County Treasurer and the official collecting the said tax shall give such additional bond in this behalf as may be required by the State Board of Education and shall serve without further compensation than is provided by law; the cost of which bond shall be defrayed by the State Board of Education. "The Board of Education of any Special School District or the Board of School Trustees of any School District which has issued bonds under the authority of any former school law of this State is hereby authorized and directed to levy and collect taxes to provide funds for the payment of the interest on said bonds and for the retirement of said bonds as they shall fall due. The foregoing provisions of this Section relative to the assessment, the rate of taxation and the levy and collection of taxes, and the deposit of taxes collected, and the disbursement thereof, shall be deemed and held to apply to the case of Special School Districts or School Districts which have issued bonds under any former law of this State which have not been paid in whole or in part, both principal and interest.
"Before any bonds shall be authorized and issued under the provisions of this Section a special election shall be held in the usual places and in the same manner as other school elections of which notice shall be given by advertisements setting out the purpose of said election published in at least two news- papers in the county at least once a week for at least two weeks before the day of said election, the last publication thereof to be at least five days before the said election, and by notice posted on the door of the voting place where such election is to be held. In all of said advertisements and notices the amount or bonds proposed to be issued and the purposes and reasons there- for shall be set forth plainly and in detail. At said election, at each voting place there shall be provided a sufficient number of ballots on which shall be written or printed the words "for the bond issue," and an equal number of ballots on which shall be written or printed the words "against the bond issue," and each voter shall be entitled to receive both of said ballots, one of which the voter may deposit as his or her ballot but any voter may prepare his or her own ballot and deposit that in lieu of the ballot provided as aforesaid. The polls for said election shall open at one o'clock P. M. of the day advertised for the said election according to said advertisements and remain open until eight o'clock P. M. of the said day and the said election shall be held by such persons as shall be designated by the Board of Education or Board of School Trustees of the district concerned, and if the persons so designated are not present at the time for opening the polls, the voters present may name election officers consisting of an inspector, two Judges and two Tellers to hold said election.
"For determining the result of said vote, the officers holding the election shall at once ascertain the result, and certify the same and deliver the ballots cast to the State Board of Education, which shall sit on the fifth day after the vote, Sundays and legal holidays excepted, and canvass the vote, and declare the result by an advertisement published in two or more news- papers of the county in which the district is located. Upon the application of twenty-five voters of any voting district in which the election is held, filed with the State Board of Education be- fore it begins its canvass of said vote, the said Board of Education shall recount the ballots voted in any such election district, and if any difference in the result shall be found they shall cause the certificate or certificates of the result to be corrected in accordance with such recount. The State Board of Education shall make out a certificate of the result of such vote which shall be filed and kept in the offices of the State Board of Education as a public record. If at such election a majority of the votes cast throughout said district shall be for the bond issue, then bonds to the amount voted upon shall be issued as in this Section provided, but if at such election a majority of the votes cast shall be against the bond issue, then the bond issue proposed shall not be made.
"The Board of Education of any Special School District or the Board of School Trustees of any School District which was authorized by an election to issue bonds under Chapter 177, Vol. 33, Laws of Delaware, and which may not have issued said bonds when this act goes into effect is hereby authorized to issue bonds to the amount approved at such election whenever the said Board shall deem it necessary or advisable so to do.
"No grounds shall be purchased or contracts made in contemplation of a bond issue."
Section 2. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed or held to nullify or in anywise impair any assessment or levy made or warrant for the collection of taxes issued prior to the adoption of this Act, nor the duties, liabilities or obligations of any taxable under said assessment, levy or warrant, nor the rights of any School District or Special School District thereunder, nor the duties and powers of any collector or other official executing any such warrant in the collection of taxes; but as to all such matters and things all pertinent provisions of any statute in force at the time of the adoption of this Act shall be deemed and held to be and continue in full force and operation.
Approved May 1, A. D. 1925.