Board of Education discusses budget changes and construction progress in special meeting


Pelham Memorial High School

The Pelham Board of Education met on Thursday in a special session to discuss new projections for the 2020-21 budget as well as updates on the district’s construction projects, with input from the district construction manager.

Assistant Superintendent for Business James Hricay estimated that about $646,000 in total revenue reductions will be deducted from the originally proposed budget, mainly because of a significant drop in state aid that the district will be receiving. Pelham Schools will be receiving $241,000 less in state aid and a $225,000 decrease in foundation aid.

In addition to reductions in aid, Hricay explained the other sources of decreased revenue for the district. The district originally projected $1 million in sales tax revenue, which has since been reevaluated to approximately $750,000. The district will also be affected by reduced interest income on cash deposits: originally $90,000, now $30,000. Finally, the district receives  50% of expenses for class trips back through a program for the arts in education. Since many planned trips have and will not be occurring, the projected $185,000 in returns has been reduced to $95,000.

Hricay shared that the state has organized measurement periods throughout the year in order to evaluate and allot aid by district, so it is possible that the state aid will decrease further. The first period ends this month, with the other periods ending in early fall and December. Hricay stated that the decrease in state aid will probably be comparable to the decreases that the district observed after the Great Recession of 2008.

Hricay further noted that the district is looking to increase revenues and limit expenditures without raising the tax levy. He said that $470,000 can be recovered now from other areas of revenue, but the district is still trying to find ways to make up the remaining balance. While it is possible that the board could raise the tax levy to meet the balance, it would still be within the tax cap. It is likely that the levy will remain the same through accessing the debt service fund. If the district were to take out $100,000, the rate would remain at the projected 3.15%, and $200,000 would decrease the rate to 3% or lower.

Hricay and Frank Arturi, the district construction manager from Triton Construction, provided updates on the work being done at Glover Field, Hutchinson School and the middle and high schools. According to Arturi, the work at Hutchinson is ahead of schedule, and has continued. After a week off to “reset”, the work at Glover will be starting again on Monday. Arturi predicts another two to three weeks of work before the turf fields are finished completely. Also at Glover, Hricay said that they hope to finish the tennis court work in the next couple of weeks, weather permitting. At the last board meeting the bids for the annex construction between the middle and high school was approved, and Hricay said that the work will be completed over the summer.