This is the third in a series of four articles on the Pelham Board of Education candidates thoughts on the 2012-13 school budget. Christine Rosskopf's views were covered on Sunday, April 22 and Michael Recca's views were covered on Thursday, April 19.
PELHAM, N.Y. Pelham Board of Education candidate Paul Prencis will be voting in favor of the 2012-13 school budget because it keeps tax increases at a very low level while maintaining the quality of the Pelham School Districts educational program, he said.
Board members unanimously adopted the $65,560,607 budget at their April 16 meeting in Pelham Memorial High Schools newly dedicated Alumni Hall . The board lowered the tax levy increase from 2.88 percent to 2.6 percent after deciding to use an additional $150,000 from the ERS (Employees Retirement System) pension reserves, bringing the total to $650,000.
Prencis made it a point to say that the residents of Pelham are extremely fortunate to have a board of education that puts so much effort and is so committed to our schools.
I have been to every board meeting since December as well as the community forum, and I can say first hand that our board is meticulous in finding ways to reduce costs without impacting program, said Prencis, the father of twin boys at Prospect Hill Elementary School and a third son who will be entering the school in September.
He added that since other districts are drastically cutting programs, Pelhams school district will be even more desirable, potentially increasing the value of homes by several thousand dollars.
They (other districts) cut teachers, saving large sums of money, at the expense of drastic reductions in program resorting to core-only programs. This is tragic. Students need the arts, music and sports as well as mathematics, language arts, science and history, said Prencis, a 13-year Pelham resident.
A concern Prencis has with the budget is the potential for some large (24+) elementary classes. He would rather see the inclusion of two or three more teachers and reductions elsewhere.
An Eastchester Middle and High School mathematics teacher, Prencis believes it is important that residents understand the extremely difficult task in composing the budget because of state mandates and mandatory pension contributions.
I also applaud them (the board) for their consistent appreciation of the public's input, to which they responded to all our concerns and acted on many of them, Prencis said.
Board of education elections will take place May 15 in addition to the vote on the 2012-13 school year budget. Four candidates are running for two seats. Board President Robert Eicher and member Doug Hearle are not seeking re-election. Prencis , Rosskopf , Recca and Madeline Smith are seeking seats on the school board for the first time.
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