Property Acquisition Special Vote
The following information pertains to the special vote for property acquisition planned for June 18, 2019.
- be 18 years of age or older on the day of the vote. Those will turn 18 on or before June 18, 2019 can register to vote and then be eligible to cast a vote on June 18
- be a United States citizen
- be a resident of the Pelham Union Free School District
- have lived in the District for at least 30 days prior to the day of the vote
- not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction
- not claim the right to vote elsewhere
- be registered to vote with either the County Board of Elections or with the School District Board of Registration.
*You are registered if you are on the Westchester County voters’ list and voted at least once during the last 4 years or you have personally registered with the District.
If you are not registered
You can register in person with the School District Board of Registration on the following dates in the District Office at 18 Franklin Place:
- Saturday, June 1, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
- Monday, June 10, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
You can register with the County for general elections by filling out a voter registration form available from the Town Clerk (738-0777), the Superintendent’s Office (738-3434, x-1155) or download a form from the Westchester County Board of Elections. Once the form is printed, sign it in blue or black ink. Only an original copy can be submitted. Digital or portable-document-file-
Please call Millie Bonilla, District Clerk, at 914-738-3434, x-1155 if you have any questions.
- If ballots are to be mailed to the voter, completed applications must be returned to the District Clerk at 18 Franklin Place, Pelham, NY 10803 no later than 4 pm E.S.T. on June 11, 2019.
- If applications are delivered personally by the voter, they must be turned in to the District Clerk at 18 Franklin Place by 4 pm on June 17, 2019.
NOTE: According to recently-changed New York State regulations, Absentee Ballots may only be given directly to the applicant.
- What am I being asked to vote on?
- Why is the District seeking to purchase this property?
- Why does the District need office space?
- What Renovations are Planned for PMHS and PMS?
- Where will central administrators park?
- Will the house require renovations prior to District administration moving in?
- Why purchase the property now?
- How much will this cost and how will we pay for it?
- How was the purchase price of $1.1 million established?
- Why is a special referendum being held in June?
- What is Unassigned Fund Balance?
The existing house could be used as office space for District administration which is planned to vacate its current offices in PMHS to make way for additional classrooms. The District included $265,000 in the 2019-20 budget for rent, which would be re-allocated to convert the house to offices and fund other District-wide facilities projects if the house is acquired. The property could also provide expanded playground and green space for Colonial School, which is currently constrained due to its location in a residential neighborhood. Purchasing the property could also provide future boards of education flexibility to consider expansion of Colonial School if and when the situation warrants it.
The District’s Central Administration, including the superintendent’s, business, pupil personnel and curriculum offices are currently located on the ground floor of PMHS. As part of the capital improvement bond that passed in May 2018, those spaces will be converted into classrooms to address capacity issues at the high school and middle school. As a result, those offices will be relocated.
District offices located on the ground floor of Pelham Memorial High School are scheduled to be renovated into classrooms beginning this summer. The space currently used for district offices will be converted into new high school art rooms, flexible classrooms for the Bridge academy, a new Foundations of Learning room, and general purpose classrooms. In total, the renovation will create six additional classrooms. Other renovations to the campus include outfitting two existing classrooms for Science Research and Physics, and creation of a dedicated orchestra room. These renovations were included in the 2018 Capital Improvement Bond to address current and anticipated capacity concerns resulting from increased enrollment. Additionally, the roof of the PMHS Annex will be replaced and select masonry repairs will be completed on both the middle and high schools.
The District has begun discussions with the Village of Pelham regarding a parking plan for the 13-15 members of the District administration who may be located in the house. While no official parking plan is available at this time, the District will share such a plan following the successful acquisition of the property.
It is likely that the house will require some renovation prior to it being used for office space. The District will consult with its architect to ensure that the house is compliant with any relevant regulation and codes under applicable state and local laws. The District included $265,000 in the 2019-20 budget for rent, which would be re-allocated to convert the house to offices and fund other District-wide facilities projects if the house is acquired.
There are very few properties that are contiguous to Colonial School and though expanding the school property has been on the Board’s radar for some time, opportunities to do so are extremely rare. Given the space limitations on the current Colonial property and the District’s plans to move Central Offices out of PMHS, the Board actively pursued the acquisition.
In order to acquire property, school districts are obligated to pay fair market value. Recognizing the unique value of this specific property to the District, the administration and Board of Education engaged in direct negotiations with the seller. As part of establishing a fair market value the District consulted with a local real estate agent to establish a projected list price, reviewed list prices of similar properties, and the seller’s asking price. The agreed upon price of $1.1 million was recently confirmed by a certified appraiser.
School districts are permitted to hold 4% of the annual budget in unassigned fund balance, which provides flexibility for unforeseen expenditures. These funds may be used at the discretion of the Board of Education, ideally for one-time purchases rather than for recurring expenditures. In addition to the unassigned fund balance, the District also maintains other funds and reserves that may only be used for specific purposes, such as the Debt Service Fund, Employee Retirement System Reserve, and a Capital Reserve designated for athletic fields.