MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon Board of Education is set to continue its string of “Board President Saturday Conferences” this week, as it continues to tinker and refine the schools budget for the upcoming academic year.
Since taking over for Judith Johnson last year, Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton has teamed with the board in an effort to regain the city’s trust and begin building ties between the community and the much-maligned school district.
The budget, always a subject of consternation and debate among both residents and schools officials, will be the topic of conversation Saturday, as the board seeks the right balance in a spending plan expected to exceed $230 million.
At the beginning of the academic year, school board President Elias Gootzeit announced the district would host a series of weekend conferences, once or twice a month, when members of the community and officials with the district could discuss the issues Mount Vernon faces.
According to Gootzeit, the conferences provide the district with a unique opportunity to interact with the entire community to confer about what problems plague the city and how they can best go about fixing them.
“These conferences are an opportunity to engage our community and begin important conversations that will address some of the inequalities that students and residents of Mount Vernon experience in their day-to-day lives,” he said.
With just weeks left in the school year, there is just two additional special Saturday conferences scheduled. The first, on May 16, will include a second budget presentation and a school board debate that will be chaired and organized by the district’s PTA and PTA Council. On June 19, there will be a discussion about “who owns the public schools.”
This month’s Saturday conference will be from 8:30-9:45 a.m. at the Friendship Free Will Baptist Church on East Lincoln Avenue.
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