MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Mount Vernon residents will determine the future of the school district on Tuesday, when the Board of Education’s proposed $238 million budget is put to a public vote after weeks of discussion.
Last month, the Board approved a $238.7 million spending plan that represents no increase in the tax levy for residents. On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to vote on both the budget and three trustee seats that are up for election.
The proposal includes a $7.9 million (3.41 percent) budget-to-budget increase from last year’s $230.9 million spending plan, which was overwhelmingly approved.
If approved by voters, the district would see the hiring of a dozen new teachers and the continuation of the elementary school 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.
Schools Superintendent Kenneth 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.
“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.”
The Mount Vernon School District's proposed $238.7 million budget will go before voters from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.