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Pelham School Board Adopts $68.9 Million Spending Plan

Pelham school district residents can vote on next year's budget on May 21.
Pelham school district residents can vote on next year's budget on May 21. Photo Credit: File

PELHAM, N.Y. – Residents of the Pelham Union Free School District could see their property tax rate rise more than 6 percent if the 2013-14 adopted budget is approved by taxpayers in a vote next month, amounting to a tax rate of $19.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The school district’s spending plan totals $68.9 million – an increase of $2.7 million. The tax levy, or the amount to be raised by taxes, shows a 3.25 percent hike. The increase remains below the state’s adjusted tax cap for the school district that ended up at 3.98 percent.

The tax rate increase is not as steep as it may seem since property values have decreased, district Superintendent Charles Wilson said. The tax rate in the 2012-13 budget was $18.30 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Before adopting the budget, the board voted to include $800,000 for increased safety measures, which the superintendent said will not affect the district's tax rate.  The board said it will continue to discuss ways to fund improvements to security measures throughout the district after the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Pelham schools said state-mandated costs affected this year’s budget plans, including increases for the teachers retirement pension rate, employee retirement pension rate and health care costs, as well as costs associated with the new teach evaluation system and contractual salary increases.

To deal with these rising costs, the district said it found savings by replacing some teaching assistants with school monitors, leaving some positions vacant by retirees and adding responsibilities to current faculty and administrators, as well modifying the period schedule.

The Pelham School Board adopted the budget Tuesday night in a 6-1 vote. The school district election is scheduled for May 21.

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