Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Preliminary school district budget increases spending 2.68% to $93.4 million; tax rise at 2.67%

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ makes her budget presentation.

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ presented to the school board Feb. 12 a preliminary budget that increases spending by 2.68% to $93.4 million and seeks to maintain existing programs while the district works on a new strategic plan.

The spending plan for the year beginning July 1 would raise the tax levy by 2.67%, below the state cap of 5.78% allowed the school district “without the debt service fund,” according to the district’s budget document. Last year, the tax levy went up by 2.07%.

“Since it is kind of a maintenance budget, this is really in alignment with the boards’ guidance to sustain our current programs and opportunities we have over the last several years without adding,” said Champ.

The goal is to keep elementary class sizes at or below the board of education’s guidelines, she said. An area of growth will be in the elementary co-teach program, with the objective of bringing support to the Kindergarten, first and fifth grade classrooms.

Salaries and employee benefits represent 76 percent of spending in the budget, according to Champ’s presentation. There is an increase in special education needs and transportation costs.

“The cost of running the schools is (going from) $89 million to $93 million, which is a $4 million increase,” said Trustee Will Treves. “The way I am sort of reading this is by doing nothing—what I mean by nothing is adding nothing—the cost of running the schools has naturally increased by $4 million.”

Board member Natalie Marrero asked Champ how the budget will address concerns from parents on class size issues in Kindergarten.

“We will have to look creatively and strategically to ensure our youngest learners have the best learning opportunities,” said Champ. “So, we will be looking at class size, as well not making any formal changes but trying to be strategic on how we make those section splits.”

The next three board of education meetings will continue a line-by-line review of the preliminary budget. The board will vote on the spending plan on April 17, sending it to voters for their say on May 21.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the middle school library.


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Gabby Ahitow, Executive Editor
Gabby Ahitow is a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. She has been with the paper since it first started in 2018. Gabby has written for the Colonial Times, News of Pelham, PMS Post, and The Pel Mel. Besides writing, she plays the violin, soccer, and lacrosse for the high school, and participates in various clubs. She sails competitively outside of school. The Pelham Examiner has taught her so much and she looks forward to growing with the paper.

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