Second Cape Henlopen School District referendum fails

About 1,000 more votes cast; same divide remains


LEWES — Though the result was much narrower with a margin of only 497 votes, the Cape Henlopen School District’s second referendum of 2024 has failed.

Unofficially, almost 4,130 voted for the proposal this time, up from about 3,600 in March - a difference of about 530 - while more than 4,620 voted against, up from about 4,200 - a difference of about 425.

In the last referendum, held in 2018, almost 3,200 total votes were cast.

During the run-up to each referendum, Bob Fulton, superintendent of schools, said this vote was about growth and clearing a path to add on to the district’s only high school.

Tuesday evening, in the aftermath of the vote, he said the district had thought it made the changes necessary to the previous referendum to achieve its goals, and was surprised by the second defeat.

“We are going to have to look at our short-term and long-term plans,” he said.

Dr. Alison Myers, board president and at-large representative, said the board was disappointed by the outcome.

“Unfortunately we are back to the drawing board, and are going to need to find the things to reduce or eliminate within the operational budget we have,” she explained. “Ultimately, this is going to affect kids and staff.”

The schools sought $.391 per $100 of assessed value, derived from $.086 to fund the purchase of property, relocate the district administrative office and install a vehicle maintenance facility, and operational expenses of $.305 per $100.

This request was trimmed from down from $.549 per $100 the district sought in March.

The board cannot seek another referendum until next year.    

Staff writer Brian Gilliland can be reached at 410-603-3737 or

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