BY LYNN MELLIS WORTHINGTON
KENT — The Kent Board of Education is girding for a tough budget year, knowing it faces a large increase next year for insurance costs and an increase in teacher salaries from a recently negotiated contract.
The health care insurance is obtained through a regional collaborative that involves all seven schools in Region 1 and the six towns. Region 1 Business Manager Samuel Herrick has indicated the schools may have to plan for at least a 20 percent increase, but the final numbers haven’t been calculated yet.
The education board’s budget subcommittee met Tuesday to begin developing the 2014-15 budget for Kent Center School.
Board members zeroed in on several areas and asked for additional information about cafeteria operations and costs, common core curriculum impacts, paraprofessional salaries and benefits compared to the region’s other schools, and reducing supply costs by reducing paper usage.
“Unless it is an absolute necessity, I would not expect there to be an increase in anything,” said board Chairman Paul Cortese.
No budget numbers had been filled into the draft document the committee worked with. A second workshop will be held Jan. 28 at 5:30 to firm up the numbers before a Feb. 6 meeting of the entire board.