Kent County, Delaware Reaches Agreement in Reassessment Track of Delaware Public Schools Litigation

Affiliate: ACLU of Delaware
February 25, 2021 3:30 pm

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WILMINGTON, Del. — The ACLU of Delaware, Arnold & Porter, and Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI) along with their clients Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the NAACP of Delaware, are excited to announce another resolution has been reached, this time with Kent County, in the public schools litigation.

The Kent County agreement, similar to the New Castle County agreement, requires the County to resolve a long-standing and unlawful flaw in its tax system, by updating property assessments to current value rather than the 1987 base Kent County has been using for decades. The failure to reassess for so many years has had a negative effect on school funding, which relies in part on local taxes for operating funds. The 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 agreement, approved by the Court on February 24, promises that Kent County will complete a general reassessment by July 1, 2024 (fiscal year 2025).

“We are thrilled to be making steady progress on the county track of this litigation,” said Karen Lantz, legal and policy director at the ACLU of Delaware. “We are pleased that New Castle and Kent county officials have agreed to ensure the completion of a long-delayed general reassessment. This is an important step towards more equitable and reliable funding for all schools, regardless of zip code.”

The ACLU of Delaware and CLASI would like to extend a special thank you to the team at Arnold & Porter, who continue to be indispensable allies on this case.

This press release and agreement order can be found online here: https://www.aclu-de.org/en/cases/aclu-de-challenges-states-allocation-resources-schools

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