Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 23. School Building Program

§ 2301. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “District” means a reorganized school district.

(2) “Evaluation detail component” is a site inspection template and assessment system that allows for individual district comment, incorporated within the facilities evaluation instrument, used to evaluate the areas of a school on a category by category basis.

(3) “Facilities evaluation instrument” means a document developed by the Department of Education that includes the evaluation detail component and the standard of good repair that is used to determine whether a school facility is in good repair. The facilities evaluation instrument may not require capital improvements beyond the standards to which the facility was designed and constructed.

(4) “School board” means a board of education of a reorganized school district.

(5) “School facilities” means any permanent building, portable building or structure, or commercial space owned, rented, operated, or leased by boards of education, including donated space, used as a classroom or for child care or any other space for education services including classrooms, cafeterias, staff lounges, staff offices, auditoriums, gymnasiums, or libraries.

(6) “Standard of good repair” means that part of the facilities evaluation instrument which outlines the school facility systems and components, as specified in this section, that should be considered in the inspection of a school facility to ensure that it is maintained in a manner that assures it is clean, safe, and functional.

14 Del. C. 1953, §  2301;  57 Del. Laws, c. 11383 Del. Laws, c. 435, § 1

§ 2302. Gifts of buildings or grounds; title.

School boards may receive donations of playgrounds, school grounds and school sites, or of buildings already built suitably located and adapted to school purposes, but in no case shall any site be built upon or any building accepted until a good and sufficient title has been obtained for the same in the name of the school board.

32 Del. Laws, c. 160, §  5133 Del. Laws, c. 176, §  1;  Code 1935, §  2715;  14 Del. C. 1953, §  2302;  56 Del. Laws, c. 292, §  29

§ 2303. Condemnation.

(a) When lands are required for the site of a school house, or for enlarging a school house lot, or for playgrounds or other school purposes and the Department of Education or the school board shall for any cause be unable to contract with the owner or owners thereof upon what they deem to be a fair valuation thereof, the Department and the school board, or either of them, may institute condemnation proceedings in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 10.

(b) No lot so taken or enlarged shall exceed, in the whole, including the land occupied by the school building, more than 15 acres for a school whose certified enrollment is less than 500 pupils.

(c) No lot so taken or enlarged shall exceed, in the whole, including the land occupied by the school building, more than 25 acres for schools having a certified enrollment in excess of 500 pupils.

(d) Certified enrollment, as used in this section, means the official net enrollment at the end of any school years as determined by the Department of Education, or, in the case of a proposed new school, the normal capacity of the proposed school building as approved by the Department of Education.

(e) Any proposed action pursuant to Chapter 61 of Title 10 shall be approved by appropriate resolutions of the local board of education and by the Department of Education. The Department shall, in the usual manner, review the building and site needs of the local district before deciding whether or not to adopt a resolution indicating the need for procuring the land as provided by Chapter 61 of Title 10 and the maximum number of acres involved.

32 Del. Laws, c. 160, §  5234 Del. Laws, c. 165;  Code 1935, §  2716;  48 Del. Laws, c. 46, §  1;  14 Del. C. 1953, §  2303;  52 Del. Laws, c. 23057 Del. Laws, c. 11371 Del. Laws, c. 180, §  128

§ 2304. Financing and construction.

The School Building Program Acts of 1951, and 1949, being Chapter 148 of Volume 48, Laws of Delaware, and Chapter 2 (Second Special Session) of Volume 47, Laws of Delaware (pages 1076 to 1090), are continued in full force and effect and shall govern the financing and construction of the school building programs and projects dealt with therein.

14 Del. C. 1953, §  2304; 

§ 2305. Sidewalks.

(a) The engineering, maintenance and construction supervision for sidewalks leading to a school site shall be performed for the district by the State Highway Department except for snow removal. Such sidewalks may be located on land or rights-of-way under the control of the State Highway Department or on other land or rights-of-way provided for such purpose.

(b) Sidewalks financed by issuance of bonds by a school board may be constructed only after the need for such sidewalks is ascertained by the school board by careful examination of transportation facilities in the district and the project has been approved by the State Highway Department and the Department of Education.

(c) When considering granting approval for sidewalk construction, the local board and State Department of Education shall take into consideration the current rule governing permanent free bus transportation and shall make sure there is no overlapping. Both shall also consider frequency of exposure to traffic hazards and the possible existence of mechanical hazards. The procedure prescribed by § 2106 of this title must be fulfilled.

14 Del. C. 1953, §  2305;  52 Del. Laws, c. 99, §  254 Del. Laws, c. 319, §§  1, 271 Del. Laws, c. 180, §  128

§ 2306. Safety features in new school construction or major renovations [For applicability of this section, see 81 Del. Laws, c. 267, § 3].

(a) For purposes of this section, “major renovation” means a renovation project with costs equal to or greater than the threshold amount established for a Major Capital Improvement Program project under 14 DE Admin. Code 401.

(b) Whenever a new school is constructed or a major renovation undertaken, the construction or renovation must include at a minimum the following:

(1) Secured vestibule, which serves as the primary entrance to screen visitors, equipped with an intercom or video call box and interior doors that can be electronically released by school staff.

(2) Ballistic resistant glass or other ballistic resistant materials in all vestibule, lobby, and office areas used to screen visitors.

(3) Classroom doors that can be locked from the outside using a key or magnetic card locking system. Classroom doors that can be locked from both sides must comply with the requirements under the current edition of the Delaware State Fire Prevention Regulations or the current edition of the National Fire Protection Association, Life Safety Code 101.

(4) Installation of a panic button or intruder alert system that is capable of being activated from the school office and a handheld device.

(c) The Comprehensive School Safety Program (CSSP) and Department of Education shall provide emerging best practices for ballistic and alarm capabilities to school districts and the Office of Management and Budget Division of Facilities Management annually.

81 Del. Laws, c. 267, § 1

§ 2307. School building maintenance standards.

(a) On or before January 1, 2024, the Department of Education shall develop the facilities evaluation instrument and inspection cycle in consultation with the Division of Public Health, experts in school facilities maintenance, district superintendents, the Delaware State Education Association, and the Delaware Association of State Administrators.

(b) The facilities evaluation instrument is used to determine if a school facility is in good repair. The facilities evaluation instrument must be designed to identify areas of a school site that are in need of repair based upon a thorough inspection of the site. The facilities evaluation instrument must include a standard of good repair and an evaluation detail component.

(c) The standard of good repair must include the following facility categories and provide a description of a minimum standard of good repair for various facility categories:

(1) Gas leaks.

(2) Mechanical systems.

(3) Sewer.

(4) Interior surfaces.

(5) Overall cleanliness.

(6) Pest or vermin infestation.

(7) Electrical (interior and exterior).

(8) Restrooms.

(9) Sinks and fountains (inside and outside).

(10) Water quality.

(11) Fire safety.

(12) Hazardous materials (interior and exterior).

(13) Structural damage.

(14) Roofs (observed from the ground, inside and outside the building).

(15) Windows, doors, gates, and fences (interior and exterior).

(16) Visible mold or mildew.

(d) The evaluation detail component must be designed to allow for the determination of the scope of conditions across the school campus. In evaluating each area or space, the user should review each of the categories identified in the standard of good repair and make a determination of whether a particular area is in good repair.

(e) A school district may contract out inspection services.

(f) Each school district shall annually present the completed inspection findings and assessments at a public school board meeting.

(g) By May 1 of each year, the superintendent will submit a report of facility inspection findings and a board-approved repair and maintenance plan to the Department of Education, the chairs of the Bond Committee, the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Controller General.

83 Del. Laws, c. 435, § 1