MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – At the May 21 Mount Vernon school board and budget vote, only six percent of the 38,000 registered voters went to the polls.
At the re-vote on Tuesday, residents will once again have the chance to vote on an amended budget that features more than $1.1 million in reductions from the original spending plan.
The .75 percent property tax levy increase is also down from the initially proposed 2 percent raise.
If the budget passes, the district said it will continue classroom teaching innovation. It said it has made digital learning a priority by upgrading computer systems and technology, providing the necessary training for faculty and staff and redesigning district curriculum to meet the new Common Core Standards.
If the budget is again defeated, the district will be legally required to adopt an austerity budget, which will cut nearly $1 million in funding. The austerity budget would lead to cuts in classroom programs, the elimination of targeted investments for instruction, although mandates that include employee retirement benefits must still be paid in full.
Residents had mixed feelings about the vote, understanding its importance but disagreeing with the way the money is spent.
“This proposed budget is still much too high. Where does all of this money go?” Shontell Jackson said on Monday. “The district sure doesn’t know how to stretch $200 million.”
Kirk Cass added that much of the problems derived from Former Schools Superintendent Welton Sawyer.
“Superintendent [Judith] Johnson has done a fantastic job of trying to turn things around with the spare change she’s been given. This all goes back to the crimes of the previous superintendent,” he said. “I understand the importance of passing it, but maybe if it fails they’ll realize we aren’t going to take this any more.”
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