Keene Central budget passes

KEENE VALLEY — Keene Central School District’s proposed $8.6 million 2024-25 budget passed by 167-103 on Tuesday, May 21, a 61.25% approval.

KCSD’s budget proposal exceeded the state’s 3.46% tax cap for the district — the budget carries a tax levy of $7,155,709, an 8.91% increase over this year’s levy — which triggered a supermajority requirement. The vote barely cleared the 60% approval required to pass the budget; just six “yes” votes pulled the vote over the threshold.

A total of 270 votes were cast this year, including 16 absentee ballots.

The district’s budget is 9.76% higher than this year’s $7.8 million budget. The majority of the budget will be funded by taxes collected from district taxpayers. Tax rates are expected to be around $12.79 per $1,000 in assessed value in the town of Keene, a $1.05 increase from this year, and around $8.64 per $1,000 in assessed value in the town of Jay, a decrease of 9 cents from this year. A person with a home assessed at $300,000 in Keene could expect to pay around $3,387 in school taxes, while a person with a $300,000 home in Jay would pay $2,592.

According to budget documents, the budget increase accounts for the addition of a full-time teaching position at KCS, the reinstatement of a part-time Spanish teacher position, a school bus purchase and anticipated increased expenses for universal Pre-K, health insurance and salaries.

KCSD Board of Education Vice President Emily Reynolds Bergh was also reelected in an uncontested race, receiving 219 votes. A Keene native, Reynolds Bergh has been on the school board since 2021 and runs her own marketing and public relations business.

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