Pelham school district receives favorable bids in recent bond sale due to low interest rates


Pelham Examiner file photo

The Pelham school board met in the middle school gym Nov. 4.

The Pelham Union Free School District received favorable bids on bonds it sold last week due to extremely low interest rates in the market, representatives of Capital Market Advisors told the school board Wednesday.

The local share of the amount borrowed is $58.5 million, or $11.9 million lower than predicted in 2018, according to CMA. This averages out to about $400,000 less each year for taxpayers, resulting in a 0.6% decline in property taxes.

Ralph DeMassi, security director at Pelham Memorial High School, is retiring after 14 years in the position. Jim Hricay, assistant superintendent for business, recommended to the board that his contributions to the district be recognized at a future meeting.

On Nov. 12, the district will host a presentation from a behavioral specialist about supporting and motivating students while learning at home. The session for elementary parents will be at 5:30 p.m. and secondary parents at 6:30.

In her report, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ said that while there have been positive Covid cases at both Colonial and Hutchinson schools, the district has not observed student-to-student or student-to-teacher spread of the virus. Champ warned against “Covid fatigue,” reminding community members to continue to follow health and safety guidelines.

“I do think it is important that we all remain vigilant,” she said. “As far as safety procedures and practices both inside school and outside of school because, again, we’re not seeing the spread coming from inside. Most of the cases are also emanating from outside the school.”

Champ said that some districts in Westchester are considering going fully virtual from Thanksgiving through the winter holiday season, or two weeks of virtual learning after Thanksgiving or the holidays, but added Pelham does not expect to implement any of those options.

New York State performed a digital equity audit through the spring and summer, finding that 330,000 students statewide had no access to a reliable device, and 200,000 had no access to internet. Dr. Champ said the district is expecting another delivery of chromebooks in December.

Trustee Eileen Miller read a new policy for renaming schools and facilities which specifies the process for proposing a renaming.

The board’s next meeting is Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pelham Middle School gym.