KCSD Board OK’s budget, new hires

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By Eliza Mohler, Staff Writer, Kennett Times

Members of the KCSD Board discuss the final 2017-18 academic year budget.

KENNETT SQUARE – School may be out for the students of the Kennett Consolidated School District, but there is no break for the Board, who voted to approve a budget of $84,211,359 for the 2017-18 academic year.

This budget is $2.41 million more than the 2016-17 budget, and represents a 2.18% tax increase (or $116) per payer in the school district. It was developed over a span of eight budget meetings held by the district’s finance committee, and it is lower than the preliminary budget that was presented in February 2017.

Board President Kendra LaCosta thanked the finance committee for their work and said that the board tried to stay as close as two percent as possible for the tax increase, but noted that “considering the items that were out of our control, we came really close.”

“I think this budget is remarkable for what it does do,” said board member Aline Frank, referring to the high caliber of the programming and faculty in the district. “Our young men and women are getting a tremendous education,” added member Rudy Alfonso.

Superintendent Barry Tomasetti presented a motion for the creation of a new position, Director of Curriculum and Math and Science Instruction. He cited the need to have someone facilitate the writing of curricula and planning for staff development for subject areas outside of the core subjects.

The board approved the motion, and Dr. Lydia Hallman was appointed to the position, effective July 1. LaCosta praised Hallman for her enthusiasm and commitment, and Alfonso added that she makes learning fun.

The board then approved Tomasetti’s recommendation to name Kennett Middle School English teacher Judith Durante as the new Supervisor of Language Arts/Social Studies, effective July 1. Frank and board member Heather Schaen praised Durante’s work.

Jane Pedroso’s new position as an independent contractor with the district at a rate of $99 per hour for the 2017-18 academic year was also approved. She will plan some of the summer school offerings and will help Durante transition into her new role, which Pedroso had previously held. Board member Janice Reynolds asked Tomasetti how much her services will cost, and he replied that the estimated expense is less than $10,000.

Kennett Middle School nurse Denise Shannon reported two new vaccination requirements for the next school year. All kindergarten through 12th grade students must have a fourth polio vaccine, and all 12th grade students need to have a second meningitis vaccine prior to the first day of school. If a student’s first meningitis vaccine was not received until age 16, then they do not need the second vaccine. Medical exemptions and moral or religious exemptions will still be allowed.

In other news, both Mark Tracy and Dominic Perigo were re-elected to their respective roles of secretary and assistant secretary for the district. Both terms will run until June 30, 2021.

The board also voted to allow the district to continue providing extended bus transportation service to five local licensed child care centers, which will allow children who attend the centers to be transported to their residential elementary school, although the center is located outside the attendance area. The centers will reimburse the district for the costs of the extended service.

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