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$7.6 million school budget shows 5.68 percent increase

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KENT—The Board of Finance conferred with the Board of Education Wednesday night about its proposed 2024-25 school budget, which currently shows a $412,036 or 5.68 percent increase to $7,660,036. 

The figure includes all educational spending, including the town’s share of the Region 1 budget, which is currently $2,538,879, up $244,926 or 10.68 percent.

The regional school board expects to approve the budget, largely unchanged, at its next meeting. The Board of Finance can ask that it be reduced by a given amount but cannot make line-item reductions in the document. It faces both a public hearing and a town meeting vote.

The Board of Finance questioned school board members closely about the numbers of students at the school. Board of Education Chairman Jenn Duncan said there are currently 195 students in the school in pre-k through grade 8. Of these, 33 are non-resident students. Breaking it down still further, Duncan said that six of the non-resident students are teachers’ children and do not pay tuition. Families who do pay tuition to send their children to Kent expend $4,500 for the first child and $2,250 for each additional student.

Commenting on the total student population, Duncan said, “It is interesting. It literally goes up and down every other year.”

Kent has 37 students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School where its tuition is forecast for next year at $1,414,170, up $216,774 or 18.10 percent.

The children are taught at Kent Center School by 26 teachers. Staff, certified and non-certified, will receive 5 percent pay hikes, with certified personnel salaries increasing by $107,543 to $2,341,648. The principal’s salary, which is included in that figure, will rise 5.5 percent, or $7,742, to $150,000.

The town will pay $622,649 for non-certified personnel, down $1,500 from current spending despite the $60,000 addition of an armed security guard. The saving was achieved by not staffing a school crossing guard, a reduced sum for custodial salaries due to a retirement, and the retirement of the IT administrator, who also earned $60,000.

Under purchased services, the town has just renewed its five-year contract for student transportation with its current provider. “We looked outside our current provider and were unsuccessful, so we did accept their bid,” said Duncan. “It’s something we worked on for months.”

The line item shows a 10 percent, or $26,515 increase to $292,715.

New finance board member Casey Cogut questioned the amounts paid for the regional school system and was told that the Region 1 budget includes the high school, as well as Pupil Services and Regional School Services Center costs. Each town pays a proportional tuition to send students there. The superintendent’s salary is divided evenly among the seven schools in the district.

Kathryn Boughton
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1 Comment

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    Ellen Gutierrez

    March 14, 2024 at 10:20 pm

    “Commenting on the total student population, Duncan said, “It is interesting. It literally goes up and down every other year.””

    This line is misleading as it makes one think that the total KCS population goes up and down every year. That’s not true; it’s remaining steady. You should double check with Jenn Duncan, but I do believe that what was meant by her comment is that based on current matriculation, the grade size goes up and down every other year. Meaning, first grade has fewer students, second grade has more, third grade has fewer students, fourth grade has more, etc.

    Additionally, I don’t know a lot about the high school but I do believe the statement of “Kent has 37 students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School where its tuition is forecast for next year at $1,414,170, up $216,774 or 18.10 percent” is misleading. Is it correct to name the cost as “tuition”?

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