Pelham voters approve school budget; Brice, Mazzaro, Tahbaz elected to Board of Ed


From left, John Brice, Leah Tahbaz and Vincent Mazzaro in the PMHS gym after they were elected to three-year terms on the Board of Education.

Voters approved the Pelham School District budget for the 2019-20 school year by a margin of 1,008 to 230, according to unofficial results announced by Superintendent Cheryl Champ. Leah Tahbaz, Vincent Mazzaro and John Brice were elected to serve on the Board of Education, also according to the unofficial results.

The $74.9 million spending plan is an increase of 1.74% from the 2018-19 budget. It will increase the tax levy by 3.17%, which complies with the state cap.

The unofficial vote totals for the four board candidates running for three seats on the ballot were:

  1. Leah Tahbaz – 1,039
  2. Vincent Mazzaro – 991
  3. John Brice – 950
  4. Steven Shekane – 410

Before election day, the Pelham School District had highlighted programs the budget will support, including the continued implementation of the International Baccalaureate in the middle school, the expansion of Spanish language instruction in the elementary schools and increased dual enrollment and AP programs in the high school.

The biggest drivers in the spending increase include salaries, BOCES tuition, materials and supplies, and employee benefits. These all make up a year-to-year rise of $1.28 million.

Tahbaz, Mazzaro and Brice will serve three-year terms on the school board. Brice and Mazzaro have been on the board since the summer, when they were appointed to fill vacancies following two resignations. Tahbaz will be serving as a trustee for the first time. Leading up to the vote, all three were endorsed publicly by residents and former school board members.

The voter turnout was 1,251.