Board of Education Adopts 2021-22 Proposed Budget

Board of Education Adopts 2021-22 Proposed Budget
Alexander Wolff

The Pelham Board of Education adopted the 2021-22 school budget at its meeting on Wednesday, April 21. The proposed budget, which includes a tax cap compliant levy increase of 2.47% will now be voted on by the community at the annual School District Budget Vote and Board of Education member election on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. All in-person voting in the budget vote will take place in the Pelham Middle School Gym. Polls will be open on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 7am-9pm. Additional information about voting eligibility, registration and absentee ballots is below. 

Total appropriations in the budget are $80,280,000, a 4.67% budget-to-budget increase over the current school year. The budget includes a capital budget increase of $2.5 million which is attributable to the largest portion of the borrowing for the 2018 Capital Improvement Bond. Projects included in the bond include building a new Hutchinson School, installing a new turf field and replacing tennis courts at Glover, creating an addition and refurbishing the playing field at Prospect Hill, repairing masonry at the high school, replacing the PMHS annex roof, and converting district offices into classrooms at PMHS.

View Proposed Budget Presentation Slides

Access Full Proposed Budget

The proposed budget preserves all current programming and continues to support the core goals of the District’s Strategic Plan: Authentic Learning, the Whole Child, and Cultural Competence. Specific budget highlights include: 

  • Expanding summer programming for students needing additional academic support this summer 

  • Continuing professional learning to support the social and emotional need of students including the Steps A Universal DBT program, Responsive Classroom and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

  • Restoration of a World Language teaching position to meet program demands and enable the World Language Coordinator to better support the need of the District’s English Language Learners

  • Adding a high school Science teacher to meet enrollment demands

  • Continuing to provide teachers and students with learning resources necessary in both in person and virtual learning environments including software to support learning in literacy and numeracy

  • Providing mobile learning devices to all students in grades 3-12 as well as exploring emerging technologies that support learning and teaching

  • Expanding innovative and flexible furnishings

  • Ensuring that class sizes across all grade levels are at or below Board of Education guidelines

“I want to thank the Board for adopting the 2021-22 budget, which was carefully crafted over the past several months,” said Dr. Cheryl H. Champ, Superintendent of Schools. “Each year, our goal is to develop a budget that meets the needs of our students, delivers the rich and challenging academic program that our community expects and deserves, and does so in a way that is mindful of tax burden borne by our residents. Importantly, this budget includes the largest chunk of borrowing associated with the 2018 capital improvement bond, which is already bearing fruit for our community. In particular, the turf field and tennis courts at Glover are in-use constantly and the progress on the new Hutchinson School, which will open this coming fall, is stunning. I look forward to sharing more about the budget with many of you in the coming weeks.”

The preliminary budget was first presented by Dr. Champ on February 24 and was further reviewed by the Board several times in March and early April, including the annual all-day line-by-line budget review held on Saturday, March 6. Following the announcement that the District would receive an additional $800,000 in foundation aid from New York State, the Board sought to reduce the tax levy increase from the original proposal of 3.31%. This was accomplished by allocating an additional $550,000 from the Debt Service Fund, which will offset the increase from the bond. The new foundation aid funds will be used to reduce the District’s reliance on fund balance/reserves and create a more stable and sustainable budget. 

In addition to the increase in foundation aid, the District will receive approximately $800,000 in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. While these funds by law can not be incorporated into the regular operating budget, they will be used to cover specific costs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as hiring fully virtual elementary school teachers for next school year if such a program remains necessary or hiring additional clinicians for the 2021-22 school year to address anticipated social-emotional needs of our students caused by the pandemic, among other purposes. 

Voting Information

All in-person voting for the 2021-22 School Budget and Board of Education Member election will take place in the Pelham Middle School Gym. Polls will be open on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 7am-9pm. 

To be eligible to vote in the election voters must:

  • be 18 years of age or older on the day of the vote. Those will turn 18 on or before May 18, 2021 can register to vote and then be eligible to cast a vote on May 18, 2021

  • 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, April 24 from 10am-2pm

  • Monday, May 3 from 4-8pm

Any resident of the district who is registered to vote in general elections may vote in the annual budget vote and school board member election without registering with the school district Board of Registration. 

A qualified voter may register to vote in the May 18, 2021 election by registering to vote with the Westchester County Board of Elections.  You may contact the Westchester County Board of Elections for additional information at: Westchester County Board of Elections, 148 Martine Avenue, White Plains, New York 10601, by calling (914) 995-2000, or by visiting their website. You may also register through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Please call Pauline Davies, District Clerk, at 914-738-3434, x-1155 if you have any questions.

Absentee Ballots

If a registered voter will not be able to get to the polls on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 between 7am – 9pm, for one or more of the following reasons, absentee ballots are available:

  • absence from country on election day

  • temporary illness or physical disability (Note: concern about contracting COVID-19 is included in this reason)

  • permanent illness of physical disability

  • duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled

  • resident or patient of Veterans Health Administration Hospital

  • detention in jail/prison, awaiting trial, awaiting action by a grand jury, or in prison for conviction of a crime or offense which was not a felony

To Vote by Absentee Ballot

  1. Fill out a School District Absentee Ballot Application and return it to the district

  2. Upon receipt of an absentee ballot, fill out the ballot

  3. Return the completed absentee ballot to the district

Applications, together with instructions for absentee ballots, can be downloaded from the District website.

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