Kennett Consolidated School District’s proposed final budget totals $88.2 million
● By Steven Hoffman
The Kennett School Board authorized the release of the proposed final budget for the 2019-2020 school year at its meeting on Monday night. The budget is now available to the public for a 30-day review period, as required by the state.
The proposed budget totals $88,253,792 and would require a tax increase of approximately 2.07 percent if it were to be approved as is. That amounts to a $115 tax increase for the average residential property in the district, according to school board member Michael Finnegan, who serves on the district’s Finance Committee.
Overall, projected expenditures are increasing by approximately $2 million over the current school year—an increase of about 2.38 percent. Salaries are increasing by about 2.50 percent. That figure will likely change as some staff members will decide to retire or leave at the end of the current school year.
Most of the increases in the 2019-2020 budget, when compared to the spending plan for the current plan, can be attributed to fixed costs like salaries and the contributions to the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System (PSERS). The school district’s PSERS costs are increasing by about 2.57 percent for the next fiscal year.
Finnegan said that district officials are still working on the spending plan so the final budget could be less than the proposed final budget if any additional revenues or cost savings or identified. The final budget is expected to be adopted by the school board on June 10.
The school board approved a list of personnel items, including retirements, leaves, and new hires. This is the time of year when the number of people leaving a school district can grow, and there were two names that stood out on the list of retirements to be approved.
Raymond Fernandez, the assistant principal of Kennett High School, is retiring after 21 years in the school district. His retirement is effective on July 1.
Dr. Michael Barber, the school district's assistant superintendent, commended Fernandez for his work on behalf of Kennett and its. Barber explained that serving as an assistant principal, as Fernandez did, can be a challenging and thankless job. Barber compared the role of assistant principal to what playing center or forward for Virginia is like. “All you do is defend, defend, defend,” Barber said, referencing the basketball team that captured a national championship by emphasizing defensive play.
Barber called Fernandez a dear friend, and noted that he never looked for the spotlight for his tireless efforts.
School board member Aline Frank offered her gratitude to Fernandez for his tremendous presence in the school district. She said that he has a great sense of fairness, and the students really appreciated that. He is also very dedicated to the job.
District officials also lauded Barbara Carozzo, a popular guidance department secretary, who is retiring after 31 years with the school district.
Barber explained that Carozzo was a very valuable and valued employee who has served the district well through the years.
The Kennett School Board approved the proposed Chester County Intermediate Unit budget for 2019-2020. The Intermediate Unit's annual budget is signed off on by all 12 of the school districts it serves. Kennett Consolidated School District's contribution to the core budget for 2019-2020 is $34,626, the same as the current school year.
The School Board also approved an agreement with Chartwells as the food service management vendor for the 2019-2020 school year. The contract also allows for four one-year renewals. The school district had solicited requests for proposals from other vendors for this contract—it’s a requirement to do that at least every five years—but district officials are very pleased with the service that Chartwells provides, and they were happy to continue to utilize those services.
The Kennett School Board will meet again on Monday, May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.