Proposed budget for pupil personnel and student services presented at board of education meeting


Assistant Superintendent Traci Holtz presented the budget proposal for pupil personnel and student services during Tuesday’s board of education meeting. Nursing, school counselors, support staff and the special education program are all under the umbrella of this portion of the preliminary $91.1 million spending plan that will go to voters in May.

“What has been so impressive to me as I transition to Pelham is that it’s clear how committed the district is to providing specialized instruction and related services to students with disabilities,” said Holtz. 

The district hired elementary-level counselors at the start of this school year.

“We are required by law to offer counseling-related standards to our elementary students that are related to career development and thinking about academic success and how that relates to the future,” Holtz said. “What you’ll see in summary of some highlights of this budget are the typical salary increases and personnel needs based on student need.” The projected increases in staff in the budget proposal are a reflection of students’ various individualized education plans (IEPs). 

Requests for increases in teaching assistants as well as a reinstatement of “special classes” at the elementary level are included in the budget, according to Holtz. Occupational and speech therapist salaries are also taken into account in the 2023-24 spending plan.

“We are seeing some of our younger kids coming into Kindergarten with increased motor needs,” said Holtz. “We budgeted for some increases based on student needs.”

Director of Facilities John Condon went through a line-by-line review of his department’s proposed budget. 

There is a 3.5% contractual increase in salaries for custodial staff. Summer help is also in the facilities budget to fund students who work with the custodial staff to clean the district buildings over the summer.

“We hire these kids on, and they are a great help to us,” Condon said. 

Utilities costs are budgeted to climb 26%. “We have huge increases across the board as everybody else has,” he said.

Overall, the preliminary budget for 2023-24 boosts spending 8.17% and raises the tax levy by 2.95%, which is under the state-set cap.

The next school board is set to be held on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school library.