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Mount Vernon Can Sound Off On Government, Education

This will be the second forum of the "Sound Off" series in Mount Vernon.
This will be the second forum of the "Sound Off" series in Mount Vernon. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon City Councilman Richard Thomas will continue the “Sound Off” series, which provides residents with the opportunity to talk to officials about modernizing government and education.

This will be the second interactive panel discussion in the series. The initial meeting took place last August, but the second had to be postponed until the spring after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the City Council Chambers at Mount Vernon City Hall. The focus of the discussion will be to identify common ground and develop a plan among the different government entities and sectors.

There will be a fiscal update from the City Council Finance and Planning Committee, led by Thomas and Councilwoman Roberta Apuzzo. Mayor Ernest Davis, City Council President Yuhanna Edwards and School Board President Frances Wynn will also attend.

On Sept. 14, Thomas asked the school district to consider acting on a community request to reopen schools on evenings and weekends to provide a safer alternative for creative and recreational activities. Interim school superintendent Judith Johnson agreed to explore the idea, which will be discussed in-depth at the meeting.

Johnson will be joined by a panel of education experts Thursday. Seymour Fliegel, president of the Center for Educational Innovation; Damon Hewitt, education director for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; and Lillian Reynolds, executive director of the Grace CDF Freedom Schools, will share their ideas with the community.

Zoning Board Chairman Irwin Davison and resident Dennis McDermott, who has decades of corporate responsibility in education, will also be on hand.

Future forums will cover topics including mandate relief and structural reform, zoning revisions and economic development. Other local municipalities may be included for additional input.

The Finance and Planning Committee hopes to identify the three biggest issues that the community wishes to address. More than 150 people attended the inaugural discussion in August.

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