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RSD #17 BOE: Summary of March 2021 Meetings

Submitted by Jen Favalora, RSD #17 BoE.

Summary of March 2021 Board of Education Meetings

Cougar Pride:  HKMS Art Teacher, Jill Thompson, partners each year with the Killingworth Lions Club to encourage 7th grade students to participate in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  This year, HKMS 7th grade student, Lily Austin, placed first in our region in December and went on to place second for the state in February.  Lily is the first HKMS student to place at the state level.  Her poster will be displayed at the Middle School entrance.

2020-2021 School Year:   Superintendent Dr. Hageman updated the Board on vaccine clinic coordination for our staff through both the CRAHD Health District and Nutmeg Pharmacy with many of our educators able to be fully vaccinated by early April.  The Superintendent also shared that HKHS reopening plans continue to move forward and the reiterated importance of mitigation strategies in the community in order to keep our students in school full time.

Facilities Committee:  The Committee proposed, and the Board agreed, to request proposals from qualified Educational consultants and Architectural/Engineering firms for an Educational Facility Assessments, a Demographic Study and a Board of Education Master Plan.  The intent of these requests are to assess the condition of District’s buildings to guide maintenance and improvements over the next decade as well as anticipate adjustments needed  for future educational needs.  The Committee also reported meeting with the Killingworth Elementary School PTO on their plans to place a new playground at KES.

2021-2022 Budget:  The Board of Education has approved a 2021/22 School Gross budget of $42,749,049.19 to bring to the towns for referendum on May 4, 2021.  After revenue, grants and fund balances, the towns will be assessed $40,553,509.24.   This budget represents an increase of 2.06% percent from last year, yet with a substantial decrease in last year’s budget, the total increase over two years is only $400,135.  Breaking the trend of previous years, this year, the budget assessment represents an increase for Killingworth’s budget share because Haddam’s enrollment is decreasing by 81 and Killingworth by 28 students.  This will decrease Haddam’s share of this budget to 60.6% and Killingworth’s share will increase to 39.4%.

Additional Important Budget Highlights Include:

  • Salaries will increase by only $51,721 (.23%) due to a reduction of 5.5 FTE staff (3 Certified, 2.5 non-certified) and four retirements.  This brings the total net reduction in certified staff since 2010 to 29 full time positions .
  • The Board is proposing to offset the 3.5% increase in the health benefits provided through the CT State Partnership II Plan by using $208,000 from the District’s Medical Self Insurance Fund, which was an administrative and risk management fund from when the District was self insured.
  • There is a significant increase in Special Education of $902,000 (17%) .  The bulk of this increase is in tuition, transportation, and professional services to aid our Special Education students.
  • The Board proposes making crucial investments in COVID learning recovery for our students including added   personalized learning software to individualize student success and teacher feedback.
  • Additional Federal Coronavirus Grant Funding is anticipated and will be used to invest in reading and math academic support staff, expand access to summer school programs, add social-emotional programs and supports for grades 4-12, and upgrade the technology and connectivity in our schools.
  • The RSD17 budget proposed including the full 1% allowed by state statute to be put into the Capital Fund to cover planned maintenance including the boiler circulation pump at KES,  paving and sealing parking lots, repairs and upgrades to the high school greenhouse, and school building painting projects.
  • Debt Service for HKMS and the HKHS Energy Project will decrease by $326,000 from 20/21 due to a proposed fund transfer from the Debt Premium Fund to offset the entire 2021/22 Debt Interest.

Website:  The 2021-22 Adopted Board of Education Budget can be found on under “District” → “Budget Information”.

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