Pelham urged to unite for children, approve school budget

To the editor:

We urge Pelham to come together for our children and approve the proposed school budget.

The proposed budget balances the priorities of this community. It maintains current programming and class size. It ensures dedicated intervention teachers to help with math and English language arts support at each elementary school. It reinforces technology support for students as they adjust to increased online learning. It supports the goals of the school’s strategic plan. At the same time, it complies with the New York State tax cap. And through the cost reallocation proposition, it conserves previously approved funds in case they are needed to complete the current construction.

It is a difficult time to ask this community to approve a school budget increase. Every family in Pelham faces economic disruption of some degree. Yet school expenses, including mandated pension contributions, transportation costs and other obligations, continue to increase. Without a budget increase, the schools would be forced to make painful cuts to programs and faculty. And those cuts could be even more devastating in light of the potential for deep cuts this fall in the state aid that makes up a substantial portion of the school budget.

The unprecedented challenges that now face our community, including the pandemic, social isolation, economic distress, and racial injustice and turbulence, have had an acute impact on our children. When students return to school this fall, in whatever form that takes, they will need more than ever the support of our outstanding schools. We urge Pelham to come together and vote to support our schools and our children by approving the proposed budget.

Please look for the absentee ballots arriving in your mailbox. Vote “yes” on the budget proposition and “yes” on the cost allocation proposition, and mail your ballot back right away. Ballots must, by law, be returned by mail and must be received (not just mailed) by June 9.

We can all be proud of the continued excellence of Pelham schools, even while Pelham’s per-pupil spending remains among the lowest in this area. We can also be proud of the way that this community comes together to support each other through difficult times, and to ensure that Pelham is a place where our children can learn and thrive.

Kristen Bowes Burke

26 Suburban Ave.

submitting on behalf of:

Aileen Dose

Edward Doty

Julia Fuller

Eileen Madden

Toby Marxauch-Gusciora

Liz Massie

Kara McLaughlin

Mercedes Maldonado

Kate Pringle

Russell Solomon

Tara Weishaupl

Moneeka Zaman

Tom and Marietta Morissey

Syd Burke