Pelham BOE reviews first budget for PCS

The Pelham Board of Education discussed the fiscal year 2015 budget during a Sept. 18 special-called meeting. (File)

The Pelham Board of Education discussed the fiscal year 2015 budget during a Sept. 18 special-called meeting. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham Board of Education held a public budget hearing to review the Pelham City School System’s $35.8 million fiscal year 2015 budget during a Sept. 18 special-called meeting.

The school system’s first-ever budget projects $35.8 million in revenue and an estimated $2 million surplus after expenditures. In addition to the $1.2 million surplus at the end of this year, the school system is projected to have approximately $3 million in reserves at the end of the 2015 fiscal year, the equivalent of a one-month operating cost for the school system.

“There is no magic number of what you need to keep in reserves,” PCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said. “The guideline form the state is 1-month (operating cost)… I think we will be there at the end of this next year.”

The 2015 budget accounts for necessary expenses including salaries for the school system’s 367 employees, funding curricular and extracurricular needs and keeping the school safe for the staff and 3,161 students at the school system’s four campuses. Additionally, the budget accounts for spending necessary to improve specific areas, such as technology.

The 2015 budget accounts for $1.124 million in technology spending.

“We’ve got to develop a plan to get our technology up,” Coefield said.

The BOE plans to approve the budget during their regular-scheduled meeting on Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

“It looks like this year’s budget is really solid,” BOE President Rick Rhoades said.

Coefield also discussed the school system’s building plans for a new elementary school, improvements to the high school and adjustments to change Valley Intermediate School into a middle school.

Through a partnership with the city, PCS secured a $35 million bond in early August to fund construction projects, including a new elementary school on County Road 52, east of the tank farm, which will cost an estimated $18 million.

Coefield suggested $10 million to be used for renovations to Pelham High School to add space for future curriculum needs, such an engineering academy and dance academy, and updates to the school’s “pretty embarrassing” field house and athletic facilities.