Kennett School Board approves final budget
By Steven Hoffman
In a unanimous vote, the Kennett School Board approved a 2020-2021 budget with a smaller tax increase from the preliminary budget figure presented at previous meetings.
The school board met virtually in a live-streamed meeting on June 8.
School board member Michael Finnegan, who chairs the Finance Committee, said that in consideration of the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic, the school closures and the financial crisis, an earlier proposed school real estate tax increase of 2.42 percent had been reduced to 1.74 percent.
He said the decision was made based on a multitude of meetings that began in January as well as the information received that the state allocation would not be reduced from last year.
The approved operating budget for 2020-2021 is $88,200,022.
Real estate owners will pay a millage rate of 31.4852 mills. A mill is a tax of 1 percent on every $1,000 worth of assessed property value.
The average property owner whose real estate is assessed at $369,000 will have to pay an additional $97 next year.
Superintendent Dusty Blakey said plans for a formal graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 are still uncertain. The traditional celebration this year in the front lawn of the high school was cancelled because of the pandemic. There have been several events, however, to mark the occasion.
Blakey said a formal ceremony following longtime tradition is still a possibility, with four days in mid-July under consideration. He did not say what those dates were.
The importance of the graduation for the seniors has not been ignored, however, especially the procession down the stately front steps of the high school building at the start of the ceremony.
Each graduate is having his or her picture taken in the graduation gown on one of four days during the weeks of June 8 and 15 in a “front steps farewell.”
Blakey also played a video produced in-house that honored “Kennett: It’s Who We Are.”
He also announced the district buildings will reopen on June 15 following CDC guidelines. A plan to reopen for students in the fall will be worked on following instructions from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Facilities director George Wolhafe announced that renovations to the tennis courts, the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center and the sports stadium are all on schedule.