Pelham school district’s $65.5 million budget proposal passed overwhelmingly Tuesday night.
District voters passed the $65,560,607 budget 1,005 to 372. The proposal represents a 3.75 percent increase from this year’s budget and a 2.6 percent increase from this year's tax levy. A budget summary is available on the PDF to the right of this story.
In the school board race, candidates and beat out and . Smith received the most votes with 1,152; followed by Recca who had 839; Prencis, who had 461; and Rosskopf, who had 396 votes. Current board member Douglas Hearle and Doug Kelly received one vote each as write-in candidates.
“I’m really happy,” said Robert Eicher, the school board president. “The community support is very gratifying and I think it is the result of a lot of hard work, both by the administration and lots of folks within the community who helped us through this very challenging budget year.”
Eicher, who decided not to run for re-election this year, acknowledged that the budget process will be just as difficult—if not more—next year.
“We’ve put the pieces in place for the board to get through next year and the board, I’m sure, will get started on the budget next fall,” Eicher said. “It will be a very challenging process again because of the different things we’ve got going on,. But know the board will make it through next year.”
All four of the candidates who ran in this year’s school board election were running for their first elect office. Two seats on the board became open when Eicher and Douglas Hearle decided not to run again.
“I’d like to thank the community for supporting the budget at almost a 73 percent margin,” Recca said. “It shows how much faith they have in the Pelham school district, so thank you to them and thank you to my opponents Paul Prencis and Christine Rosskopf. They ran a great, issues oriented campaign. It is good for the community.
Said Smith: “I’m looking forward to working with Michael Recca and I’ve enjoyed getting to know Christine, Paul and Mike and they all have so much to contribute and I hope we all keep talking and sharing ideas. I’ve met a lot of terrific people in this process who are committed and interested in our schools and that’s been the highlight of this campaign process.”
Both Smith and Recca said t was their first priority entering into their terms.
“I do want to start doing whatever I can do to research what’s out there and who’s out there and get an event better grasp of what we should be looking for,” Smith said.
John Banks went to the polls with his 7-year-old son, Hank. Banks said he voted for the budget and voted for Michael Recca and Paul Prencis for the school board.
"We moved here for the schools and if it means that raise some taxes in support of the schools, I'm for it ," said Banks, who moved here from Brooklyn in July.
Pelham village Trustee Adam Kagan said he voted for the budget .
“I have to children in the school system and I believe the long term success of the schools is vitally important to the community,” he said.
Charles Mikulka has two daughter who went through the Pelham school system. One daughter graduated from the University of Virginia and one who graduates from Vanderbilt University this year.
Although Mikulka no longer has children in Pelham school district, he still voted for the budget.
“We recognize how wonderful the school district has been and we want to continue to support it,” he said.