KCSD approves small tax increase for $98 million school budget06/20/2023 11:02AM ● By Steven Hoffman
Story and photo by Chris Barber
The Kennett Consolidated School District board approved a 2023-24 budget that will include a tax increase that will cost the average property owner about $53 more than last year.
At the June 12 meeting, the members unanimously passed an operating budget of $98.6 million – an increase of $4.3 million over last year. Based on the population and wealth of the district, it required a millage increase from 32.43 mills this year to 32.73 mills next year.
A mill is a tax of $1 on every $1,000 of assessed value of property in the district.
The average bill for homeowners in the district last year was $5,900. This year’s average bill will be $5,953 based on a house that is assessed at about $181,000.
This is an increase of .92 percent. For the 2023-2024 school year, the state permits increases of up to 4.1 percent based on the Act 1 Index. If a district requires a tax increase above that, it must seek approval from voters via a referendum.
The board started early in the year preparing a preliminary budget in January, following the calendar guidelines of the state. As months go by every spring, district officials fine tune the numbers and ultimately approve the Final General Operating Budget.
In the Kennett Consolidated School District, the state support was listed as $19.9 million this past year. This coming year the amount was listed at $19.6 million, a decrease of about $300,000.
Board treasurer Mike Finnegan praised the relatively low increase in millage and credited his own and CFO Mark Tracy’s frugality. He also said that the calculated assessed value of a home may be somewhat diminished thanks to a state program called the “Homestead Exemption” which reduces the bill with funds from state gambling – the lottery – for people who live in the property they own. The formula reduces for calculation the assessed value of the home by $8,964, resulting in a decrease of $293 in tax according to calculations provided at the meeting.
In other business:
The board approved a policy directed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Associatio and commissioned by the Commonwealth that in school boards throughout the state the superintendent shall have an advisory but not voting position.
Social studies teacher Michael Waite received unanimous board approval to take 38 students and two chaperones on an overnight trip to Model UN. It will be held at the College of William and Mary in Virginia on Nov. 2 through 4. Fundraising will provide available funds for students who need help with the cost. The estimated cost per student is between $350 and $400. The treasury of the school club is predicted to pay for transportation.
George Wolhafe, the director of facilities, reported that the new artificial turf had been received and applied to the fields.