BOE Meeting Wrap-up: Dr. Champ Shares Overview of 2022-23 Preliminary Budget

Alexander Wolff

Dear Pelham Community,

Dr. Cheryl Champ, Superintendent of Schools, shared an overview of the 2022-23 preliminary budget proposal at the Board of Education meeting on February 16. The proposed budget totals $83,675,000 and includes a tax cap compliant tax levy increase of 2.62%. The Board of Education will review the budget at several upcoming public meetings (listed below) including the annual line-by-line budget review on Saturday, March 5. Once adopted by the Board, the budget will be subject to voter approval at the annual Budget Voter and Board of Education Member Election on May 17. 

View Meeting Video

This year’s budget drivers include contractual salary increases aligned with employees collective bargaining agreements, increasing pension costs and increasing health insurance costs, all of which make up approximately 76.5% of the budget. Additionally, the budget accounts for increasing utility costs and new positions intended to better meet the needs of all learners. These budgetary increases are largely offset by a significant restoration of NYS Foundation Aid, an increase in state building aid, and anticipated savings from three teacher retirements. 

View the Budget Overview presentation slides

In advance of this school year, the District used Federal COVID relief funds to add several new positions to bolster academic and social-emotional supports and help students recover from the pandemic. The superintendent’s budget proposal aims to retain some of those positions based on student need. Budget highlights include:

Elementary

  • Retaining 1.5 additional interventionist positions based on data/student need
  • Creating an Elementary School Counselor position to continue Fly-5 Social-Emotional Learning curriculum and meet state requirement for counseling service at elementary level
  • Making English/Language Arts Staff Developer full time to supplement professional learning in Teachers College Reading/Writing Workshop
  • Providing innovative and flexible furnishings to all Kindergarten Classrooms in line with Strategic Plan goal of Authentic Learning
  • Expanding 1:1 Chromebook initiative to Kindergarten and 1st grade so all students in grades K-12 have access to a device

Middle School

  • Adding Special Education teacher to meet student Individualized Education Plan needs
  • Hiring a math intervention teacher to better support students

PMHS

  • Hiring a Social studies teacher to meet student needs
  • Adding a Technology teacher to expand elective STEAM offerings based on students interest
  • Adding Boys and Girls Bowling at PMHS as an inclusive sport to meet growing interest and participation in athletics

MS/HS

  • Maintaining an additional clinician (e.g. psychologist) using federal funding and adding a social worker to meet students social-emotional needs

Additional Highlights

  • Administrative restructuring to better align program leadership
  • Consolidating personnel related functions under an Executive Director for HR and Leadership
  • Creating an Asst. Superintendent for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to focus exclusively on curriculum, instruction and assessment
  • Maintaining Asst. Superintendents for Business and Pupil Personnel Services
  • Creating a Coordinator of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Adding a Network Specialist to continue meeting growing technology needs through BOCES
  • Restoration and relocation of a custodial position to support Hutchinson School
  • Continuing professional learning to support the social-emotional needs of students, including Steps A Universal DBT program, Responsive Classroom, and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
  • Continuing to provide teachers and students with learning resources, including software to support learning in literacy and numeracy
  • Ensuring that class sizes across all grade levels are at or below Board of Education guidelines.

“This budget proposal was built through a careful examination of what will best benefit our students and help us achieve the goals of our Strategic Plan,” Dr. Champ said. “As emerge from the pandemic, it is critical that we continue to support our students in both their academics and social-emotional health. The restoration of Foundation Aid provides an opportunity to build on our already rich and challenging curriculum and make good on our promise of Inspiring a Standard of Excellence for All Students. I look forward to working with the Board over the coming weeks as we finalize the budget proposal for voters’ consideration on May 17.”

In addition to the budget proposal, the District is seeking to establish a Capital Reserve Fund. The Capital Reserve would be funded at the discretion of the Board of Education using year-end surplus, if available and would be used for infrastructure improvements, repairs, reconstruction and renovation of school facilities and athletic fields that would otherwise be paid for using bonds/borrowing. Establishment of the Capital Reserve would require voter approval as part of a separate proposition at the annual Budget Vote/BOE Member Election on May 17. If approved, all expenditures from the reserve fund would also be subject to voter approval. 

The upcoming Budget review schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, March 5 – Line-by-Line Budget Review, 9am – 4pm
  • Wednesday, March 23 – Regular Board Meeting, Budget Discussion
  • Wednesday, April 6 – Regular Board Meeting, Budget Discussion
  • Wednesday, April 20 – Board of Education Budget Adoption
  • Wednesday, May 4 – State-mandated Public Hearing on budget
  • Tuesday, May 17 – BUDGET VOTE and SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

Sincerely,

The Pelham Public Schools

  • #boe
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