Citing a lack of due speed by the Laurel School District to get Laurel’s finances back on track, the State of Delaware has named a Financial Recovery Team to Laurel to manage their finances.

Secretary Ann Visalli of the Office of Management and Budget and Controller General Russ Larson granted the request and assigned 7 people to the team, including staff from their offices, the Department of Education and the Department of Finance, as well as the business managers from the Delmar School District and Sussex Tech. 

The state can invoke special powers that allow the state to intervene when school districts or charters are in “financial distress:. Education Secretary Lilian Lowery issued a memo last month asking for permission to send a Financial Recovery Team to Laurel.

According to state law, the recovery team, with Lowery’s approval, has the authority to examine the district’s books and make financial policy changes without needing the consent of the district’s superintendent or its school board, and they have the right to pre-approve any expenditures of district funds.

Laurel is projected to fall nearly $106,000 short of the district’s budgeted expenditures on June 30.

Lowery said Laurel was given a list of ways to trim such expenses as cellphone plans, vehicle leases and office costs, but she said those suggestions have not been enacted. I do know the cellphone plan has been revised at a savings and that the board has been moving on other areas, but apparently the state is not satisfied with the progress thus far.

Laurel like other school districts has been hit with cut backs of federal and state funds as have other schools, however Laurel is a rural community with a very small tax base and has been unable to raise necessary capital to off set the losses. Even with the tax increase this year, with the small tax base, the increase yielded little money.



  1. So do you think this is a good thing? Not sure what percentage $106K is, but it seems pretty small. Seems like Laurel people should be driving the change and not having the State making mandates. But on the other side, if the help is free, then Free is mostly good… most of the time.

  2. looking back at the way the district handled money, a team of outsiders “with Laurel’s best intentions in mind” helping out…. could be worse?

  3. Expansion across the hiway is years from helping. The tax base suffers for several reasons. Too much subsidized housing with a low tax base! Too many rental properties that are depressed in value with low tax values! Too many properties in town that have been let go with low assessed values leading to a poor tax base. Since the early seventies property values in town have been going down for the reasons stated above. Annexation is NOT the answer!!! Increasing the value of what you already have is !!!!!

    • John, no matter the condition of a building, they are still assessed at the 1976 tax rate; their in lies the problem; new homes taxed at that rate. :Property values as far as resale may have gone down, but believe me tax on the properties are still the same.
      I agree lack of activity on the part of the town annexing more property like towns on both sides of us has stymied growth.

  4. i see this financial team has to report monthly to several governmental groups. does anyone know if these reports will be made public?

  5. This financial team consists of individuals who are from other school districts and couldn’t give a rats ass about Laurel. So, it really does matter who they report to, or if their reports are made public !!!!!

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