School trustee Jess Young seeks re-election, highlights leadership on bond panel, completion of new Hutchinson School


Jess Young with her family.

Editor’s note: This statement was provided by Jess Young. The vote for trustees and on the 2021-22 school budget is May 18.

Dear Pelham Community,

My name is Jess Young and I am excited to announce my candidacy for re-election to the Pelham Union Free District Board of Education. I was first elected to the BOE in 2018, following an intense year of discussions and debate leading up to the 2018 Bond Proposition. I am proud of the Pelham community for supporting the district wide capital improvements of the 2018 Bond Referendum and I look forward to continued partnership with the community as we emerge from Covid to face new challenges while providing opportunities for every student to succeed.

During my tenure on the Board, I have served on the Curriculum Committee, Audit Committee and have been Chair of the Bond Steering Committee for three years. My background as an Architect draws me towards the care and consideration of the built environments and facilities of our schools. My leadership of Bond Steering includes oversight of design, construction and costs related to the implementation and award of contracts for Capital Projects including the 2018 Bond. We took advantage of favorable financial markets during the Pandemic to secure financing for the Bond at a rate that will reduce taxpayer repayment of borrowing by more than 12 million dollars from the original projections. By understanding the construction markets, considering the impacts of Covid, and re-bidding or delaying portions of work where appropriate, favorable contracts for all portions of the 2018 Bond scope have been secured.  Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, we have been working successfully with the contractor to keep the construction of the new Hutchinson School on schedule and on budget – we will welcome students into the building this fall!  The new turf fields constructed at Glover Complex as part of the 2018 Bond are filled with activity this spring – I am impressed every time we visit for lacrosse practice and am so happy our students are practicing and socializing with their teammates and friends.

The final components of the Bond work are now underway. Preparation for work at PMS/PMHS has begun – we are excited for new classrooms, as well as art and music spaces. At Prospect Hill we have begun construction on a new addition that will provide a secure handicap accessible entrance, accessible bathrooms and renovated playing fields. I look forward to seeing the 2018 Capital Improvement projects completed and working with the Board to ensure the district’s Capital Improvement Plan is reviewed and renewed every year. The Capital Improvement Plan, a 10 year look ahead plan, is essential for keeping the infrastructure of our schools operational. When so much of education is focused on the content and activity within the classroom, I see tremendous value in maintaining a stable, safe and secure space for learning. It is not exciting to talk about maintenance or preparation, but it is important. I bring value and focus to this task, ensuring the district anticipates and prepares for replacement of equipment and building upgrades through use of budgeted and reserved funds.

A year after the start of Covid, I believe the most extreme disruptions to our instructional model are behind us. With the District we addressed the logistical challenges of operating in this new environment and now must focus on ensuring all students are supported emotionally and academically as they return to our school buildings on a daily basis. I want to thank the district administrators, teachers, parents, students, and community members who have stepped up to help with planning, strategizing or simply letting us know what is working and not working. I know we can only be successful through careful consideration of the challenges in front of us, by listening to each other, and employing a willingness to adjust and adapt as we plan for the Fall and the 2021-2022 school year.

I have learned a lot through the experiences of my first term on the BOE and dealt with unprecedented and challenging situations in the face of a pandemic. As a Hutchinson parent and Architect specializing in large scale institutional and cultural projects, I bring a unique perspective to the Board. My profession requires me to understand problems and develop creative solutions that are functional, efficient and cost effective while simultaneously providing interest and inspiration. I understand the commitment and collaboration required to serve on the Board of Education. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me over email or through my website:  I hope you will support my re-election by voting for me on May 18, 2021!

Jess Young