With three new trustees starting July 1, school board to vote Wednesday on four-year contract for Champ

At its last meeting of the year and with three newly elected trustees set to begin their terms July 1, the Pelham Board of Education plans to vote Wednesday on a new four-year contract for Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ that would extend her term as schools chief by an additional two years through 2026.

According to the resolution posted with the school board’s agenda, “The board of education of the Pelham Union Free School District hereby appoints Dr. Cheryl Champ to the position of superintendent of schools for a four-year term to commence July 1, 2022 and ending June 30, 2026, and rescinds all prior appointments of Dr. Champ for any different term of appointment effective upon commencement of said term; and be it further resolved, that the board of education hereby approves an employment agreement with Dr. Champ dated June 15, 2022 setting forth the terms and conditions of employment under which Dr. Champ will continue to serve as superintendent of schools during the aforementioned term, and hereby authorized the president of the board to execute same.”

Champ’s new contract would run one year longer than the terms of the three newly elected school trustees, Will Treves, Jackie De Angelis and Natalie Marrero. The resolution does not state what compensation Champ will receive under the new deal.

Champ’s current agreement took effect in August 2019 and is set to end in August 2024, according to a copy provided by the district clerk’s office. That contract states the board is not required to notify Champ of whether it wants to negotiate a new contract until the end of the sixth month of the last year of the pact—which would be in January 2024.

Treves, De Angelis and Marrero will be taking the seats of John Brice, Leah Tahbaz and Vincent Mazzaro, all of whom decided to step down. The terms of the new trustees run from July 1 to June 30, 2025. The school board’s organizational meeting is July 12.

Tomorrow’s vote on the new contract will come after several weeks when the school board held hour-and-a-half-long executive sessions before the regular portions of its meetings “to discuss the employment history of a particular person(s).” The board also held a hastily called virtual special meeting for an executive session last Thursday at 2 p.m.

The board abandoned the historic practice of inviting trustees-elect to attend executive sessions after their election so they will be up to speed on what they’ll be dealing with when they take office, according to two sources.

Treves, De Angelis and Marrero have been invited to attend the executive session at Wednesday’s board meeting as is “the tradition,” said Trustee John Brice in a comment on the Pelham Examiner’s website. He did not address the Pelham Examiner’s question on whether the board had invited them to executive sessions prior to Wednesday’s.

In an email response, Trustee Michael Owen-Michaane, who was elected to the board in May 2021, said, “From my personal experience, I recall being invited to executive session prior to being sworn in last year, but I was out of town and unable to attend.”

Also at the last meeting of the year, the school board plans to vote on nominating Eileen Miller to be a board of education member of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). Miller lost her seat on the school board last year and lost an election bid in May.

According to its meeting notice, the school board will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the chorus room of Pelham Middle School (Room 054). “It is anticipated that the board will immediately consider a motion to enter executive session to discuss the employment history of a particular person(s),” the notice said. “The board is expected to reconvene in public at approximately 7:30 p.m. for the regular business portion of the meeting in the middle school library. The meeting can be viewed on YouTube live.”

Find the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting here.