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Mount Vernon Finalizes Amended $224M Schools Budget

These posters have been plastered around Mount Vernon encouraging voters to come to the polls on June 18.
These posters have been plastered around Mount Vernon encouraging voters to come to the polls on June 18. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Just hours after the proposed Mount Vernon School Board budget was overwhelmingly turned down, members of the Board of Education, faculty and administration were back at work amending it for a second and final vote.

Only 6 percent of the 38,000 registered voters in Mount Vernon came out to the polls on May 21, with less than 40 percent approving the proposed $225,885,332 spending plan.

Voters will have one final chance to pass an amended budget when the polls re-open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

The new budget features more than $1.1 million in reductions from the rejected budget, although it is still a $17 million increase from the current budget. There would be a .75 percent property tax levy increase, down from a proposed 2 percent raise in the initial budget, the district said.

Officials were able to trim the money from the budget by making additional administrative cuts, minimizing the property tax increase and applying more than $500,000 from the district balance reserves, officials said.

The new budget would create a community-based school restructuring committee that will serve as a liaison between the district and city residents. The committee would increase transparency within the district and promote public participation in district planning, school officials said.

If the budget passes, the district said it will continue classroom teaching innovation. It said it has made digital learning a priority by upgrading computer systems and technology, providing the necessary training for faculty and staff and redesigning district curriculum to meet the new Common Core Standards.

If the budget is again defeated at the June 18 vote, the district will be legally required to adopt an austerity budget, which will lose nearly $1 million in funding. This budget will lead to cuts in classroom programs, the elimination of targeted investments for instruction, although mandates that include retirement benefits must still be paid to the state in full.

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