The Pelham Board of Education continued its line-by-line review of the preliminary 2023-24 budget, focusing on Pupil Personnel Services (school counseling, special education, health services and related services), Facilities, the Business Office and Staffing at its meeting on Tuesday, March 21. Prior to the budget discussion, the Board honored PMHS 2022 Alum Jordan Schwarz, who earned a perfect score on the AP 2-D Art & Design Exam.
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Jordan Schwarz Recognition
The Board of Education recognized Jordan Schwarz, who graduated last year, for being just one of 197 students across the country to earn a perfect score on the AP 2-D Art & Design Exam. As part of the recognition, Jordan presented their portfolio, which focused on the life and experiences of a transgendered individual. A selection of Jordan’s work was also on display during the recognition.
Congratulations to Jordan, their family, PMHS Art Teacher Devon Fallon and PMHS Principal Mark Berkowitz on this incredible achievement!
Budget Discussion & Update
As part of the ongoing review of the 2023-24 preliminary budget, District administrators joined the Board to review sections related to Pupil Personnel Services, Facilities, the Business Office and Personnel/Staffing. The Board had previously reviewed the Teaching & Learning, Technology and Athletics department budgets at its March 1 meeting. These budget review sessions, which will continue on April 12, allow the Board to take a deep dive into specific areas of the budget and provide feedback and direction before final adoption later in April.
Access Pupil Personnel Department Overview Slides
On Tuesday, Jim Hricay, Assistant Superintendent for Business reiterated that the largest budget-to-budget changes from last year include increased salary & benefits for existing staff, salary & benefits for new staffing that is being proposed and utilities, such as heating fuel and electricity. This year’s expense budget also includes $2 million to replace the roof-top heating/cooling units on Pelham Middle School and upgrade district playgrounds. These capital expenditures would be paid for by drawing upon undesignated fund balance (surplus from prior years) rather than through additional property tax increases.
View Budget Summary Presentation Slides
Mr. Hricay and Dr. Champ noted that in addition to the capital expenditure, a significant portion of the proposed budget-to-budget increase will be funded with more than $2 million in increased Foundation Aid from New York State. This Foundation Aid is being allocated to pay for expenses such as:
- Maintaining an elementary intervention teaching position that was previously covered with contingent funds in the current year’s budget
- 1.5 FTE in English as a New Language to support increased academic need and program oversight
- 2.0 FTE in various content areas at the Middle School to meet enrollment demand
- 0.5 FTE in PMHS math to lower class size and provide more support
- 1.0 FTE in Social Studies to meet enrollment demands
- 2.0 FTE to provide elementary Special Education teachers to meet student IEP needs
- 1.0 FTE to provide a Teaching Assistant for a new Integrated Co-Teaching class
- Increasing our Altaris Security Consultant from part time to full time to strengthen our safety and security measures district-wide
- Ongoing programmatic and student support needs within the operating budget.
As part of the New York State Education Department's requirements for Districts receiving such increases in foundation aid, the Pelham Union Free School District is seeking feedback on the proposed allocation of that funding. Those who wish to provide feedback on those appropriations may do so using this Google Form.
In addition to local property taxes, other funding sources for the preliminary budget include increased interest from the District’s savings accounts, the appropriation of nearly $1.6 million from the Debt Service Fund and the appropriation of $150,000 from the District’s Employee Retirement System Reserve. Overall, the percentage of property tax revenue used to cover expenditures in the budget has been reduced from 81% to 77%.
The final line-by-line budget review meeting is scheduled for Wednesday April 12 to consider the following departments/sections:
The Board of Education will consider the budget for adoption at its meeting on Wednesday, April 18. Once adopted, the 2023-24 proposed budget will be considered by voters at the annual School Budget Vote and Board of Education Member Election on Tuesday, May 16 from 7am-9pm in the Pelham Middle School Gym.
The Pelham Public Schools