TITLE 14

Education

Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 10. REORGANIZATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Subchapter II. Reorganized School Districts


After July 1, 1969, all school districts in this State shall be known as "reorganized school districts."

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1021; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6.;

Any reorganized school district constituted and established under this chapter shall have, subject to the laws of this State, the power to purchase, receive, take, lease or otherwise acquire, own, hold, improve and otherwise use real or personal property, or any interest therein and to sell, convey, lease, exchange, transfer or otherwise dispose of all or any of its property or any interest therein. Legal title to property, real and personal, of a reorganized school district shall be held in the name of the reorganized school district.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1022; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6.;

Repealed by 72 Del. Laws, c. 6, § 2, effective February 8, 1999.;

The fiscal year in each reorganized school district shall begin on July 1 and end on June 30 of the succeeding year.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1024; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6.;

(a) In case of doubt or controversy as to the correct location of the existing boundary or boundaries of any reorganized school district, the State Board of Education shall fix and establish the boundaries after examining the available records and after due hearing of the owners of the property that may be involved. This section applies where there is uncertainty as to the existing boundaries of a district. The power to change or alter deliberately the boundaries of a reorganized school district is governed by § 1026 of this title.

(b) The State Board of Education shall make and preserve a record of its decisions fixing the boundaries of a reorganized school district in a special book to be kept by it for that purpose and shall file a copy of such record with the Board of Assessment of the county in which the property involved is located.

(c) If the State Board of Education deems it necessary to employ technical assistance in fixing and establishing a doubtful or disputed boundary, it may pay the cost of such technical assistance out of any fund that it may have to its credit that is not specially designated for another purpose.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1025; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6.;

(a) The State Board of Education may, in accordance with this section, change or alter the boundaries of any reorganized school district except the reorganized district of the City of Wilmington, the boundaries of which shall at all times be the same as the boundaries of the City of Wilmington.

(b) Before making changes in the boundaries of a reorganized school district, the State Board of Education shall consult with the school boards of the districts affected by the proposed change. Thereafter, the State Board of Education shall submit for approval or rejection the question of the change of boundary to the qualified voters of the district or districts affected at a special referendum to be held for that purpose, after 2 weeks' notice of the referendum and proposed change has been posted at the school or schools of the district or districts affected. The referendum shall be conducted in each district by the school board of the district. Any person who possesses the qualifications prescribed in § 1077 of this title may vote at the referendum. The question shall be determined by a majority of the total vote cast in each district affected. Each school board shall immediately certify to the State Board of Education the result of the referendum in the district.

(c) Subject to subsection (a) of this section, the State Board of Education may change or alter the boundaries of any reorganized school district without a referendum of the voters if the written consent of the owners of the real property to be transferred has been obtained and if also the school boards of the districts affected by such change or alteration have adopted resolutions favoring such change or alteration.

(d)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the State Board of Education may change or alter the boundaries of school districts in New Castle County in a manner consistent with some or all of the redistricting recommendations made by the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee in the report issued March 31, 2015, provided that the General Assembly passes, and the Governor signs, a Joint Resolution supporting the proposed changes in school district boundaries. Passage of such a Joint Resolution does not constitute support or approval of any particular measure for revenue or spending proposed in the plan described in this subsection.

(2) Prior to ordering a change or alteration of a school district boundary under this subsection, the State Board or the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, shall conduct at least 1 public hearing in each of the school districts to be affected, including at least two in the City of Wilmington.

(3) In its decision and order to change or alter a school district boundary under this subsection, the State Board of Education shall adopt a transition, resource, and implementation plan. The plan shall be developed by the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, for presentation to and approval by the State Board, and shall, at a minimum, provide for:

a. The orderly and minimally disruptive reassignment of students affected by the boundary change and the reassignment of governance responsibilities;

b. Implications for educators, administrators, and other personnel that may lead to equitable adjustments to local collective bargaining agreements;

c. Recommendations on resources that will be required, from state, district, and local sources, to support the redistricting transition and provide for the effective ongoing education of all affected students, and for the support of schools with high concentrations of low income students and English language learners;

d. Student transportation;

e. Distribution of capital assets; and

f. Engagement of educators, staff, parents, district personnel, and community members throughout the transition.

The plan shall permit students to continue their attendance at the school they attended prior to the boundary change, with tuition payments by the sending district as provided in Chapter 6 of this title, until such time as the pupils complete the grade levels offered in that school. If the State Board does not approve the plan as submitted by the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, it shall notify the chairperson of the Commission in writing, give reasons why the plan was not approved, and allow the Commission to resubmit the plan within 60 days of the chairperson receiving the notice of denial.

(4) The State Board shall base its decision to change or alter school district boundaries on a record developed in compliance with state open meetings laws.

(5) The authority of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the State Board of Education to act under the provisions of this subsection shall terminate on March 31, 2016.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, the State Board of Education may change or alter the boundaries of any reorganized vocational-technical school district if the school boards of the districts affected by such change or alteration have adopted resolutions favoring such change or alteration.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1026; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 260, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 334, §§ 1-3; 76 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 216, §§ 1-3; 80 Del. Laws, c. 139, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 357, § 2.;

(a) The State Board of Education may, when in its judgment it is practicable and desirable, consolidate 2 or more reorganized school districts which are contiguous, in accordance with this section.

(b) In cases other than consolidation of reorganized vocational-technical school districts, the State Board of Education shall, by means of referendum conducted by the school board of the reorganized school districts affected, submit the question of consolidation to the voters of the reorganized school districts affected. The State Board of Education shall specify in advance the effective date of consolidation. The question of consolidation shall be determined by the majority of the total vote in each of the reorganized school districts affected, and the result shall be immediately certified to the State Board of Education in accordance with other provisions of this chapter. If approved by referendum in each of the reorganized school districts affected, the consolidated school district shall be constituted and established as of the effective date of consolidation.

(c) In the case of any consolidation of reorganized vocational-technical school districts, the State Board of Education shall, provided the school boards of the vocational-technical districts affected by such consolidation have adopted resolutions favoring such consolidation, constitute and establish such consolidated vocational-technical school district as of the effective date of consolidation.

(d) If consolidation is by referendum, the State Board of Education shall post a notice of the proposed referendum for consolidation at the school or schools in the reorganized districts affected and in at least 10 other prominent and conspicuous places in each of the reorganized districts affected at least 20 days prior to the date of the referendum. The notice of referendum shall distinctly state the following:

(1) That in case the consolidation is effected, the obligations evidenced by bonds of each of the consolidating districts shall become the common obligation of all of the residents of the consolidated district and the principal and interest on the outstanding bonds shall be paid according to the original terms as to principal and interest by means of a common tax levied uniformly throughout the consolidated district;

(2) That the rate of tax for current expenditures not including Division III in the consolidated district shall not be in excess of the highest rate that was authorized in any of the reorganized school districts to be consolidated, without a new referendum to authorize such taxation;

(3) That, in the event of consolidation, all obligations evidenced by bonds issued by the consolidated district after consolidation shall become the common obligation of the residents of the consolidated district.

(e) If consolidation is by referendum, every person qualified to vote under § 1077 of this title may vote, and §§ 1078, 1079 and 1085 of this title shall apply to such referendums.

(f) If consolidation is by referendum, the school board for the consolidated school district shall be responsible for preparing and maintaining the list of taxable property and capitations for each of the respective school districts in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section, as each was constituted prior to consolidation and at the time the obligations evidenced by bonds were issued and shall continue to levy the taxes to pay for the principal and interest on the bonded indebtedness of each such school district, and the receiver of taxes and county treasurer or their successors shall deposit such tax moneys in the approved manner provided elsewhere in this title for the account of the consolidated district. The school board of the consolidated district shall keep such records and accounts as are necessary showing the receipts from such taxes and payments made on bonded indebtedness of each such school district as was constituted prior to consolidation.

(g) In the case of any consolidation of reorganized vocational-technical school districts where any of the school districts so consolidating have outstanding obligations evidenced by bonds, such obligations after consolidation shall become the common obligation of all the residents of the consolidated vocational-technical school district and the principal and interest on the bonds shall be paid according to the original terms as to principal and interest by means of a common tax levied uniformly throughout the consolidated vocational-technical school district.

(h) All property, real and personal, of the school districts consolidating shall upon consolidation become the property of, and vest by operation of law in, the consolidated school district, and all indebtedness and obligations of the districts consolidating shall become the indebtedness and obligations of the consolidated district. The rights of any bondholders shall not be impaired by reason of anything contained in this section.

(i) The school board of any school district consolidated under this section shall be created and constituted in accordance with § 1065 of this title.

(j) Any consolidated school district created under this section shall be operated and maintained as other school districts reorganized under this chapter and all laws in this State relating to school districts reorganized under this section shall apply to such consolidated school districts.

(k) This section shall apply only with respect to reorganized school districts constituted and established in accordance with this chapter and shall not be deemed to alter or affect in any way former § 1108 of this title with respect to school districts consolidating on or before June 30, 1969.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1027; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6.;

(a) A reorganized school district may be divided by the State Board of Education into 2 or more school districts in accordance with this section.

(b) A division, except in the case of the division of a reorganized vocational-technical school district, shall be by referendum, which referendum shall be conducted in the same manner as a referendum for the consolidation of reorganized school districts under § 1026 of this title. If division is by referendum, the question of division shall be determined by a majority of the total vote of the reorganized school district to be divided. A division of a reorganized vocational-technical school district shall be by resolution of the State Board of Education, and by resolution of the board of the reorganized vocational-technical school district affected. In the case of any division of any reorganized school district, the State Board of Education shall specify in advance the effective date of the division.

(c) One of the school districts resulting from a division shall retain the name of the reorganized school district being divided, unless otherwise specified by the State Board of Education. The school board of the reorganized school district being divided shall specify in advance and with the approval of the State Board of Education the proposed names for the school districts resulting from any division and the boundaries of the school districts so named. If division is by referendum, the proposed names and the boundaries of the school districts so named shall be distinctly stated in the notice of referendum.

(d) In the event any reorganized school district has, at the time of division, any outstanding obligations evidenced by bonds or bond obligations resulting from a division in a previous high school district, such obligations shall remain the obligations of the residents of the school district then obligated upon such bonds to pay the principal and interest when due until paid according to the original authorization with respect to principal and interest. The rights of any bondholder shall not be impaired by reason of a division of any reorganized school district. If division is by referendum, the notice of the referendum shall distinctly state the provisions of this subsection.

(e) Each school district resulting from a division of a reorganized school district shall levy taxes sufficient:

(1) To maintain the level of current expenditures including Division III as established in the divided reorganized school district; and

(2) To provide for payment of principal and interest on any bonded indebtedness as provided in this section.

Such taxes shall be levied by the school boards of the school districts resulting from any such division without a further referendum. If division is by referendum, the notice of referendum shall distinctly state the provisions of this subsection.

(f) All real property of the divided reorganized school district shall, by operation of law, become vested in the respective school district resulting from such division in which such real property is located.

(g) All personal property of the divided reorganized school district shall be apportioned between or among the school districts resulting from such division upon the basis of enrollments in such resulting school districts as of September 30, immediately preceding the division. In the event the school boards of the resulting school districts cannot agree as to such apportionment, the State Board of Education shall make the apportionment which shall be final.

(h) School boards for school districts resulting from any division under this section shall be created and constituted in accordance with § 1066 of this title.

(i) All school districts resulting from any division under this section shall be operated and maintained as other school districts reorganized under this chapter, and all laws in this State relating to school districts reorganized under this chapter generally and not inconsistent with this section shall apply to such school districts resulting from such division.

(j) This section shall apply only with respect to a division of a reorganized school district constituted and established in accordance with this chapter.

(k) During the period January 1, 1980, through August 31, 1981, the State Board of Education may divide any school district created by order of a federal court pursuant to this section; provided, however, that:

(1) The requirement of referendum included in subsection (b) of this section, the requirement of taxation of subsection (e) of this section and the statutory restriction of subsection (j) of this section shall not be applicable;

(2) The requirements of subsection (d) of this section shall be met by funds available pursuant to § 1057(b) of this title and by taxes collected by the county taxing authorities, which taxes shall be collected uniformly throughout the entire area being divided;

(3) The area being divided shall be permanently constituted as a school tax district as defined in § 1925 of this title;

(4) The rates for school taxes for current operating expenses and debt service on obligations evidenced by:

a. Bonds of the district being divided authorized prior to the division;

b. Bonds of the district being divided; and

c. Bonds of any former school district located in the geographical area of the district being divided which are levied in the school tax district

shall be established and set according to § 1925 of this title;

(5) Obligations evidenced by bonds authorized prior to the division herein authorized shall be paid by the county taxing authorities from debt service taxes collected in the school tax district;

(6) Taxes collected in the school tax district for current operating expenses shall be distributed each year in a uniform manner, on a per unit basis according to units certified by the State Board of Education for the previous fiscal year, by the county taxing authorities, to the districts formed by the division;

(7) No tax funds herein authorized shall be distributed to a separate vocational-technical school district;

(8) Nothing herein or in § 1925 of this title shall prevent any school district created as a result of such a division from levying and collecting taxes for any purpose within the new district when such rates are set according to Chapter 19 of this title requiring a referendum of the qualified voters in the district;

(9) Nothing herein or in § 1925 of this title shall prevent any school district created as a result of such division from issuing bonds and levying and collecting taxes to provide funds for the payment of interest and annual payments on such bonds, in accordance with Chapter 21 of this title;

(10) Any school district created as a result of such division may each fiscal year determine and set tax rates for tuition and for minor capital improvements for the next fiscal year;

(11) A change in tax rates by a single district shall not alter the rate set in accordance with § 1925 of this title for the school tax district;

(12) The boundaries of school districts divided according to this subsection shall be established in accordance with § 1066A of this title.

(13) The boards of education of school districts resulting from the division authorized by this subsection shall be established in accordance with § 1066 of this title.

(l ) If the division of a school district is carried out under subsection (k) of this section, then the following provisions shall apply:

(1) Any outstanding obligations of the school district for current operating expenses, on the effective date of the division, shall become the joint obligation of the newly created districts. Each new district shall be responsible for a portion of the total outstanding obligation; the liability of each new district shall be in the same proportion to the total liability of the district being divided as the number of units of pupils enrolled in schools located in the area encompassed by the new district was to the total number of units in the district being divided in the fiscal year preceding the division;

(2) Balances in the local current expense account of the school district, on the effective date of the division, shall be divided among the newly created districts. The amount of funds received by each such district shall be in the same proportion to the total balance as the number of units of pupils enrolled in schools located in the area encompassed by the new district was to the total number of units in the district being divided in the fiscal year preceding the division;

(3) Balances in the local tuition account of the school district, on the effective date of the division, shall be divided among the newly created districts. The amount of funds received by each such district shall be in the same proportion to the total balance as the number of units of pupils enrolled in the schools located in the area encompassed in the new district was to the total number of units in the district being divided in the fiscal year preceding the division;

(4) Balances in the local debt service account of the reorganized school district, on the effective date of the division, shall be retained in the debt service account of the school tax district. These funds shall be used to meet bond obligations which are due after the effective date of the division;

(5) Balances in the local minor capital improvement accounts of the district being divided, on the effective date of the division, shall be divided among the newly created districts. The funds shall be divided in a proportion which will best enable the funds to be used for the projects for which they were intended at the time of the division, as determined by the State Board of Education;

(6) Balances in the annual maintenance accounts of the reorganized district, on the effective date of the division, shall be divided among the newly created districts. The funds shall be divided in a proportion which will best enable the funds to be used for the maintenance for which they were intended at the time of the division, as determined by the State Board of Education.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1028; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6; 62 Del. Laws, c. 351, §§ 2, 12; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 1.;

(a) Vocational-technical school districts superimposed on other reorganized school districts shall be operated and maintained as other reorganized school districts under the control of the State through its Department of Education as provided in this Code.

(b) In each reorganized vocational-technical school district there shall be a vocational-technical school board which shall have the authority to administer and to supervise all the vocational-technical centers or schools of the vocational-technical school district and which shall have the authority to determine policy and adopt rules and regulations for the general administration and supervision of the vocational-technical centers or schools of the reorganized vocational-technical school district. Such administration, supervision and policy shall be conducted and formulated in accordance with Delaware law and the policies, rules and regulations of the State through its Department of Education as provided in this Code. All vocational-technical centers or schools shall come within the authority of the vocational-technical school board in the county in which they are located.

14 Del. C. 1953, § 1029; 56 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 6; 61 Del. Laws, c. 208, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 45.;