Now that June has finally arrived, the Kennett Consolidated School District school board approved the final operating budget June 9 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year at an amount of $75,896,790, a rise of roughly $2 million from the year before.
The final number is also up about $360,000 from the original total when the preliminary budget was released in February.
The committee was able to take the originally proposed tax increase of 2.51 percent and continue to chip away at it. Now, the approved tax increase will be a low 1.78 percent, setting the millage rate at 27.94 and, on average, households will pay only an additional $89 more on taxes.
“(This is) the smallest increase in over 15 years and down from historically high increases of over 10 percent back in 2002 to 2004,” said board Treasurer Michael Finnegan. “The district has managed to weather the harsh economic times the past five years while preserving programs and improving facilities.”
This year’s tax increase came close to the 1.7 percent in 2001-2002 before the historic increase to 10.9 percent in 2002-2003 and 11 percent in 2003-2004, Finnegan said.
Other highlights include salaries going down about $85,500, but employee benefits going up $1.3 million from the previous year. Supplies and books will also see an increase of roughly $78,500.
The final operating budget was approved unanimously by the board.
New assistant principal
After reviewing 69 candidates for the assistant principal position at the Kennett Middle School and performing screening interviews on 17 of them, Jeremy Hritz stood out above the rest and was the unanimous choice by the administration and approved by the board for the job.
Hritz received his Bachelor’s in English from Penn State University, his Master’s in Liberal Arts from Lock Haven University and a certification in educational administration from Wilmington University.
He is also currently working on obtaining his Doctorate.
“I’m excited,” Hritz said. “My wife and I are huge fans of the Kennett Square area. This opportunity is one I’m very excited about and look forward to dedicating myself to completely. I can’t wait for July 1. I’m ready to get to work.”
Some additional plans were tacked onto the list of summer construction projects going on in the district, including the installation of a Knox-Box at Greenwood Elementary and New Garden Elementary for the fire departments.
The boxes allow rapid entry to fire departments into the schools in the case of emergency.
At the high school they will be replacing the tile flooring in the stairwell, constructing an outdoor storm drain at the annex building and refurbishing one of the stairwells.