Kennett School Board adopts $88.2 million budget for 2019-2020
● By Steven Hoffman
The Kennett School Board finalized a budget for 2019-2020, approved a contract extension for a top administrator, and named two more people as “Kennett legends” during a busy meeting on June 10.
The school board unanimously adopted an $88.2 million final budget for the 2019-2020 school year. District officials have been working—and reworking—the projected expenditures and revenues for the next fiscal year since late in 2018, and the work resulted in a smaller-than-projected tax increase to balance the spending plan.
Initially, the projected budget for the next fiscal year was going to require a tax increase of about 2.27 percent, but that was reduced to about 2.07 percent by April when the school board approved a proposed final budget. The tax increase was reduced even further by the time the final budget was adopted.
Mark Tracy, the district’s business administrator, said that the final tax increase comes in at about 1.65 percent.
The school board also unanimously set the millage rate at 30.9497 mills for the next fiscal year.
For the average taxpayer in the school district, a 1.65 percent tax hike would amount to an increase of slightly more than $90 in the tax bill.
School board president Joseph Meola thanked the school board members and district officials for their work during the budgeting process.
In other business at the June 10 meeting, the school board approved a five-year employment agreement with assistant superintendent Dr. Michael Barber. The employment agreement is effective beginning July 1, 2020 and runs through June 30, 2025. The new contract with Barber ensures that the school district will continue to have consistency and continuity at the top—superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti is retiring in January of 2020, and the search for the district’s next superintendent is already underway.
After the school board approved the employment agreement, Tomasetti thanked Barber for his hard work on behalf of the school district, and said that he will continued to do great things for the school district during those five additional years. Barber was promoted to the role of assistant superintendent in 2015.
The school board approved a series of personnel items, including the retirement of New Garden Elementary School principal Susan McArdle after more than 12 years in the school district.
Duane Kotz, a teacher at the high school, was named the new assistant principal at the school.
The school board is continually monitoring student enrollment at each of its elementary schools to ensure that they are balanced, and that no one elementary school gets overcrowded. At a recent meeting in May, the school district’s Finance Committee reviewed the new residential housing developments that are about to impact the projected enrollment of Kennett’s elementary schools. The committee recommended that residents of the Longwood Preserve, a 150-unit townhouse community that is located in East Marlborough Township, be designated to the Bancroft Elementary School effective July 1, 2019, instead of the Greenwood Elementary School, which is nearing its capacity. The board followed the recommendation and voted unanimously to change the elementary attendance area designation.
The Kennett School Board will meet again on Monday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.
Spencer and Morse named ‘Kennett legends’
By Steven Hoffman
Kennett High School alumni Leon Spencer and Robert Morse are legends—and will soon have plaques on display at Legacy Field to prove it.
The Kennett School Board officially voted to name Morse and Spencer as Kennett Legends at the meeting on June 10, following a review of their credentials by the Kennett Legends Committee. The committee determined that Spencer and Morse “exceeded the requirements of making significant contributions by way of personal accomplishments or commitment of their time and resources to the school district.”
Morse had a great collegiate basketball career and played basketball all over the world. He was a leading scorer for his Italian League club that won three Euro League titles in the mid-1970s.
Spencer is a local icon who has been a dedicated public servant for decades. He served as mayor of Kennett Square, as a borough council member, and as a school board member. He is also a public address announcer for several different Kennett High School sports teams.