No residents step to mic to speak during public hearing on school district’s proposed $91 million budget


The public hearing May 3 on the proposed $91 million budget for the Pelham school district drew no residents wishing to comment.

The spending plan will go before voters on May 16 after being approved by the school board last month. Four candidates are also running for two school board seats.

Following the closing of the required hearing, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ reviewed the need for increased security in Pelham’s schools and other highlights of the budget.

“We have been working with Altaris, our part-time security consultant, for a number of years,” said Champ. “This budget requests that we move them to full-time capacity. We believe, especially with the continued school safety issues that all schools are facing, that it’s critically important that we stay on top of those immediate trends and have experts that are helping us to always look and relook and reexamine our practices in that area.”

Champ highlighted the significance of the 20% increase in state aid the district will receive in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. “Property taxes traditionally had accounted for about 80% to 85% of revenue for our budget, and the state was carrying only about 10% of our budget,” she said. “Due to this increase in state aid, now the state is picking up 14%, which I think is really important for the state to finally be taking on the level of responsibility that they should have been.”

The budget boosts spending 7.98% from this year, while raising the tax levy by 2.07%, which is the maximum allowed under the state-tax cap. Overall, 72.6% of spending goes toward the educational program, 18.4% to capital expenditures and 9% to administrative costs.

Voting on the budget and trustee seats will be held in the middle school gym between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m on May 16.

The four candidates for school board are:

  • Annemarie Garcia
  • Connie Garrido-Carmody
  • Sidney Burke
  • Tade Reen

Trustees Jessica DeDominico and Sue Bratone-Childs are not running for reelection.

The next board of education meeting will take place on May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school library.