Board of Ed Unanimously Elects Katrina Parkhill as Chair, Phil Hogan as Vice Chair

The Board of Education on Monday night elected Katrina Parkhill as chair. A Republican member of the Board since 2017 who served as chair through the COVID-19 pandemic—from late-2019 through last November—Parkhill was unanimously elected during a brief organizational meeting at the start of the BOE’s regular meeting. In nominating Parkhill, Board member Hugo Alves said, “I’d like to nominate Katrina to be chair of the board if she’d do it again.”

“Obviously it’s been an interesting time and an unfortunate one considering the circumstances, but Katrina has at least proven to me and the rest of us in town that she not only cares about the town, cares about the school system, she’s got the experience to lead and I think that whatever transition we experience over the course of the rest of the year, it would be helpful and important to have some continuity and that level of experience,” Alves said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Board members Bob Naughton, Brendan Hayes, Parkhill, Erica Schwedel, Alves, Phil Hogan and Penny Rashin voted 7-0 in favor of Parkhill. Board member Julie Toal was absent.

Town Council Approves Fiscal Year 2024 Budget; 3.12% Increase over Current Spending

New Canaan’s legislative body last week approved a budget of $166.6 million for fiscal year 2024, a 3.12% increase over current spending. The Town Council at its April 5 meeting voted 12-0 in favor of the budget, which takes effect July 1. 

Chair Steve Karl said in a town-issued press release that it’s been “a challenging year given the current backdrop of rising costs and inflationary pressure on most major budget categories.”

“The town faces many of the same challenges the private sector is experiencing, including the rising interest rates, cost of energy, healthcare, labor, and materials,” Karl said. “We managed to keep the increase raised by taxation flat over the past four years, but this year may bring a modest increase to our tax bills. On a positive note, our town departments and Board of Education have done a great job holding the line and controlling costs as much as possible without sacrificing the finished product our residents have come to expect.”

In addition to Karl, those voting in favor of the budget were Town Council Vice Chairs Mark Grzymski and Penny Young and members Robin Bates-Mason, Rita Bettino, Tom Butterworth, Luke Kaufman, Mike Mauro, Maria Naughton, Kimberly Norton, Hilary Ormond and Cristina A. Ross. The annual budget process is a months-long undertaking that starts in the fall and comes before the public at Board of Selectmen hearings in January before moving to the Board of Finance and, finally, the Town Council.