Kennett School Board member resigns
By Steven Hoffman
Paola Rosas-Weed, who represented the region that includes New Garden Township, has resigned from the Kennett School Board. The resignation was officially accepted by the school board on Monday night.
Rosas-Weed was elected to the school board in 2017. She recently moved to Kennett Township, and by law she is no longer eligible to represent a region that she doesn’t live in.
In these cases, the school board is required to select a replacement to fill the unexpired term until the next school board elections are held.
The vacancy will be advertised, and applications will be accepted from New Garden adult residents until noon on Jan. 27. Interviews with the applicants will then be held at a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Feb. 3. The successful candidate will be appointed at the regular meeting on Feb. 10, if all goes according to the school board’s plan.
Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti praised Rosas-Weed and said that he had enjoyed working with her.
“You have stepped up in our community in so many ways. I’m sure the board is not happy that you are leaving,” he said.
“It makes me sad – family stuff. I’ll still be around. Thank you for your support. I’ve learned so much,” Rosas-Weed said.
The school board got a look at the preliminary budget for the 2020-2021 school year that was presented by board member Michael Finnegan. This was their first look at the numbers, and they were advised that through public input, discussions and allocations from the state, there would likely be changes before a final budget is adopted in June.
The preliminary budget totals $89.8 million in revenue and expenses with the major income source being local real estate taxes. The major expenses are salaries and benefits.
Finnegan said the preliminary projection for the tax rate is an increase from 30.9497 mills this year to 31.6974 mills for the next fiscal year. A mill is a tax of $1 on every $1000 of assessed property value. He added that the average additional cost for owners of a home assessed at $180,000 would be $136 per year.
Director of Facilities George Wolhafe reported that the district has three major projects planned: new artificial turf for the football field, a renovation of the tennis courts and a renovation of the track. He said that if the track project started at the end of the regular season and Kennett qualified for post-season competition, Unionville High School has already agreed to let Kennett use their track.
Wolhafe also reported that Kennett High School’s water quality has been tested and is well below limits on lead. At Greenwood Elementary School, where there is a well, the district has contracted with an environmental firm to test it every week.
The board approved the second reading of the school wellness policy which was written in accord with federal and state regulations. Several members expressed concern that teachers would no longer be allowed to restrict recess as a disciplinary tool.
Tomasetti reported on an issue that has been a topic of conversation for many parents of students county-wide: starting the school day later to give students more time to sleep. Tomasettin said the feedback he has received from parents and students has been positive, but a change in scheduling times raises issues of elementary school hours, the times for athletic, and less time “on the other end.”
The board also approved the purchase of 125 new marching band uniforms. The design of the uniforms was a collaboration among the band director, faculty, parents and students. The board was told it takes about 180 days for the uniforms to be produced and delivered.