MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Following an overwhelmingly supportive vote on a "historic" $108 million school bonds referendum, Mount Vernon officials have began implementing Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton’s vision on Wednesday.
Ceremonial gold shovels broke ground at Graham Elementary School Wednesday afternoon, as the district enters the first phase of an initiative that was proposed earlier this year, heavily marketed and passed a local vote with more than two thirds of residents approving the bond.
With ground ceremoniously broken, officials can now hit the ground running on wide-sweeping improvements for the struggling district under Hamilton’s “20/20 Vision” as the district transitions toward a K-8 schools model that was first introduced by former interim Superintendent Judith Johnson.
During the next four years, Pennington, Holmes, Traphagen, Lincoln and Columbus are scheduled to become Pre-K-8 buildings; Williams, Grimes, Graham, Turner and Hamilton would become K-8 with the new Parker Early Learning Center for pre-kindergarten programs; with the Turner schools providing a K-5 and 6-8 model.
Taxpayers will incur no tax increase until the 2017-18 school year. Thereafter, the annual tax increase for residents with a home value of $315,000 would average a tax increase of $7.37 each month for the next 20 years, peaking in 2020 with a $12.92 monthly increase.
Hamilton has called the collaborative, community-wide effort “historic.”
"Our students will now have every possible academic advantage to become college and career ready, to be able to make a difference in the communities they will live in, and even beyond because of the contributions they will make to our nation,” he said. “Mount Vernon’s educational transformation continues into the next phase tonight.”