Board of Education Adopts 2018-19 Proposed Budget
The Pelham Board of Education adopted the proposed 2018-19 school budget at its meeting on Tuesday, April 17. The proposed budget will now be sent to the voters at the annual school budget referendum on Tuesday, May 15.
The proposed budget totals $73,650,000 and has a tax levy increase of 2.09%, which is compliant with the New York State tax cap. The year-to-year budget increase is 1.20%. The projected homestead tax rate is $18.39 per $1,000 assessed home value and the projected non-homestead tax rate is $25.99 per $1,000 assessed value.
Since the preliminary budget was presented by Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ in March, the Board reviewed the proposal over the course of multiple meetings, including a line-by-line review on March 10. As a result of the process, several adjustments were made, most notably the addition of a full-time Social Worker position at PMHS funded by a reallocation of resources and the addition of approximately $175,000 in additional state aid. The Board also decided to allocate $200,000 from the debt service fund, which resulted in a lower tax levy increase than the original proposal.
In addition to the PMHS social worker, this budget includes funds to hire one additional Foreign Language Elementary School (FLES) teacher, which will enable the District to proceed with the planned expansion of the program into 4th grade next year. By reallocating savings realized from several retirements in the Pupil Personnel Services department, the budget also supports the creation of a new Secondary Supervisor of Special Education position. This position is intended to increase social-emotional supports for the District’s middle and high school students by shifting some of the administrative burden away from our school psychologists and providing them with more time and resources to meet the social-emotional needs of students.
“We are pleased to propose a budget which continues to make important strides toward the goals of our Strategic Plan – specifically in the areas of social-emotional wellness, and 21st century learning,” said Board of Education President Madeline Smith. “As a Board, we have reviewed this budget very carefully to ensure that each dollar spent is working to educate our students and prepare them for college and careers in an ever-evolving world. The Board and District administration have worked extremely hard to make sure that this budget, which includes significant expansions to our educational program, is compliant with the tax cap, which has been the case every year since the inception of the law. We hope that you will make sure to vote in the referendum on Tuesday, May 15.”
Other key highlights in the budget include:
- Increasing dual-enrollment college credit course offerings at the high school, such as SUNY Criminal Justice, SUPA Academic Writing, and SUPA Presentational Speaking;
- Continuing professional development for integration of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Pelham Middle School and at Pelham Memorial High School in grades 9 and 10;
- Ensuring that class sizes across all grade levels are at or below Board of Education guidelines;
- Continuing implementation of mobile learning devices as well as exploring emerging technologies that support teaching and learning;
- Adding girls’ varsity golf and providing an additional coach for winter and spring track due to increased student participation;
- Investing in professional development of faculty related to STEAM, literacy, project-based assessments and learning standards.
“A school budget in many ways is a definition of our values as a District,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ. “This budget continues to set our priorities for the education of our students. Throughout the budget development process, our administrative team sought to reallocate dollars in a way that improves and expands our curriculum, and stays true to the goals and tenets of our Strategic Plan, while being mindful of the burden placed on our taxpayers. I’d like to thank the Board and our principals, directors and staff for their hard work in creating this budget.”
The tentative budget meeting calendar is as follows:
- Saturday, April 28: Voter Registration in District Clerk's Office, 10 am - 2 pm
- Tuesday, May 1: State-mandated public hearing on budget, 8:15 pm in MS Library
- Monday, May 7: Voter Registration in District Clerk's Office, 4 - 8 pm
- Tuesday, May 15: Budget Vote and School Board Election, Polls open 7 am - 9 pm in PMHS Gym
In addition to the budget vote on Tuesday, May 15, the ballot will also include two bond propositions and the election of candidates to two open seats on the Board of Education.