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Residents Give Pelham Schools High Grades

PELHAM, N.Y. – A majority of Pelham residents feel well informed and satisfied with the school district, according to a 400-person survey discussed with the board of education Monday night.

Rod Wright and his St. Louis-based company, UNICOM ARC, conducted the survey in March.

“I sometimes have the sad duty to tell people when survey results are not good, but overall the positive evaluation in this school district is literally sky high,” said Wright. “In terms of how the community thinks about the school district, almost across the board, there’s only one direction to go and that’s down. The numbers are very good.”

The 60-question telephone survey was given to people chosen randomly from a list of registered Pelham voters.

When Wright’s company asked the survey takers to grade the Pelham Union Free School District on a scale of A – F, the results were “outstanding,” he said.

According to Wright, 91.4 percent of Pelham residents who took the survey gave the school district either an A or a B, while Wright said that “in most school districts, the numbers are in the 50s and 60s, sometimes in the 70s, rarely in the 80s and almost never in the 90s.”

When it comes to the budget, 68.7 percent either strongly agree or somewhat agree that they “trust the board in making decisions about the district’s overall direction” and 73.8 percent believe the board has been doing either an excellent or good job.

“The president of the United States is dancing in the streets when that number’s at 50 percent,” Wright said. “The board number is at 68.7 percent. Again another one of those indications of happiness in the district.”

Of those who took the survey, 70.4 percent said they strongly agreed or somewhat agreed when asked if they get excellent value in education for the taxes they pay to the Pelham School District, which Wright said was a “very, very high number.”

The complete survey, which includes an 84.4% approval rating of the district’s teachers, will be posted online and the Board will be receiving a “thick report” with a breakdown of the information. The Board is still weighing the possibility of conducting an online poll on the same subject.

The survey, which was financially aided by BOCES, is in “the neighborhood of $22,000,” according to Superintendent of Schools Dennis Lauro.

More information on the numbers will be available throughout the week on The Daily Pelham website.

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