MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Many Mount Vernon residents are skeptical after the school district budget passed at the last hour on its second vote, with some going as far as to claim corruption.
As of Wednesday morning, it appeared that the budget was headed toward its second defeat, which would put the district on an austerity budget that required additional cuts.
By the afternoon, it was announced that the budget narrowly passed by 20 votes , 862-842, after 26 last minute affidavit votes put the “yes” votes over the top.
“I mean, this has corruption written all over it, doesn’t it,” Will Jones said with a wry smile near the Mount Vernon High School on Wednesday. “Around here, you have to wonder about this kind of thing.”
In the past year, Mount Vernon officials have come under fire. Mayor Ernest Davis has been accused of paying Yonkers taxes late , and was among several officials who were missing financial disclosure forms . Nichelle Johnson, the city’s top corporation counsel was the subject of an ethics board inquiry, though she was later cleared in the matter .
Tracy Caputo added that she was pleased that it ultimately passed, but after everything that has happened recently, she had to look twice.
“It would be great if it wasn’t a question, but with everything that has gone on, you have to at least look at it sideways,” she said. “Things seem to be heading in the right direction, so I hope that soon we won’t have to question things.”
While many are questioning the legitimacy of the passed budget, there are still those – including 12th Avenue resident Maxine Andersen – who were pleased to see it pass.
“Our schools are already underfunded, we need to give our students the best opportunity to succeed,” she said. “The only people who would have suffered next year are the students, and they’re innocent in all of this.”
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