MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Mount Vernon schools officials have approved a budget exceeding $200 million that will once again represent no increase in the tax levy for residents.
Last week, Mount Vernon School District Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton presented a $238,749,835 spending plan to the Board of Education during a special meeting to discuss the budget. The proposed budget represents a 3.4 percent increase from last year, but for the third straight year, taxpayers will see no hit to their wallets as services continue to expand for students.
On Wednesday, Hamilton announced that the budget was unanimously approved by the Board of Education. It will be put to a public vote on Tuesday, May 17.
“Our focus remains first and foremost on student achievement and success,” he said. “We took great care to ensure this budget is in alignment with our long-term 20/20 Vision bond plans. We are positioning Mount Vernon to be the epicenter for outstanding and long-lasting student accomplishments in this region. The 21st Century learning environment we are creating will be the example others will want to follow.”
“We continue to be extremely respectful of taxpayers’ dollars,” Hamilton added. “Every dollar in this budget is intended to advance the quality of education provided to each Mount Vernon student.”
If approved by voters, the district would see the hiring of a dozen new teachers and the continuation of the beautification program that was introduced this year. It would include transportation for Mandela High School students to the Mount Vernon High School for career and technical education, as well as the expansion of middle school sports programs to include wrestling, volleyball and softball.
Hamilton noted that the proposed budget is in line with his “20/20 Vision” for the district.
“This budget presents a spending plan that grows programs, retains staff and ensures a focus on student achievement,” he said. “This plan is consistent with everything that was presented during the 20/20 Vision bond presentations. It includes all contractual obligations, an increase in health benefit costs, support for the K-8 reconfiguration plan, improved professional development, creation of systems for increased accountability and efficiency and raising expectations for staff and students.”
Under the proposed budget, high school sports teams would have transportation to out-of-district venues and a Special Olympics program would be introduced for special education students to “reinforce the importance of community service to those supporting the program.” Additionally, there would be districtwide technology improvements and a new identification card system for both students and staff.
According to the district, “the proposed budget is 100 percent aligned with the Board of Education’s goals to create systems to promote student achievement and increase outcomes, paying particular attention to subgroups in order to close the student achievement gap and developing and implementing a multi-year plan for improving buildings, grounds, and facilities including the exploration of private and public partnerships.”