PRESS RELEASE: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Morgan Keller, Communications Director, ACLU-DE, 302-654-5326 ext 109, firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Morse, Senior Counsel, CLASI, 302-365-0480
Issara Baumann, Senior Media Relations Manager, Arnold & Porter, 202.942.6682
Final Agreement Reached with Sussex County in Reassessment Track of Delaware Public Schools Litigation
WILMINGTON—Arnold & Porter, ACLU of Delaware, and Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI), along with the plaintiffs, Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP of Delaware, are thrilled to announce a final agreement with Sussex County in the Delaware Public Schools litigation.
The most recent property tax reassessment for Sussex County was completed in 1974. This agreement requires the county to update those outdated property values by promising to complete a reassessment on taxable real estate in time for the tax bills that will be sent out after July 1, 2024 (fiscal year 2025). Like the other two county agreements, this reassessment will also set the stage for regular, periodic assessments moving forward, and correct the disproportionate tax burden that owners of lower-valued properties have carried for too long.
The Sussex County agreement is the last in a series of agreements that have been reached in this litigation effort, and it paves the way to a systemic shift in funding resources for some of Delaware’s most vulnerable students.
Mike Brickner, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware, said “This agreement brings our years-long litigation to a close, and we couldn’t be happier about the end result. By 2025, Delaware’s low-income and English language learner students, and students with disabilities, will have significantly improved resources to help provide them the education they deserve. This is an historic win for all of Delaware’s public schools.”
“We’ve worked with the State of Delaware and each of Delaware’s three counties to reach a major achievement for students: funding for a better education,” said Jea Street of Delawareans for Educational Opportunity. “Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP have been fighting for years to bring greater equity to Delaware’s students, and the four agreements we’ve been able to reach over the last year bring us, literally, decades closer to that goal.”
The Delaware Public Schools litigation is now considered closed, and no further proceedings are expected to take place. The attorneys and plaintiffs in this case look forward to continuing to work with the State of Delaware and each county to ensure that the terms of each settlement are met, and that ultimately, Delaware’s public school students get the support and resources that they deserve.
The ACLU of Delaware and CLASI would like to extend a special thank you to the team at Arnold & Porter, who have been indispensable allies on this case since we filed in 2018. We’d also like to express our gratitude to the plaintiffs, Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP of Delaware, for their persistence and dedication to equity in education throughout Delaware.