MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon schools officials is set to host a trio of weekend budget workshops as the district prepares its academic spending plan in an effort to increase transparency and build the community’s trust.
Dating back to last December, district administrators have been meeting with department heads and various principals as they determine how to best allocate what is expected to be more than $225 million in funds.
Since meetings began last year, there have been a series of “budget defense rounds,” where administrators discussed how to best increase academic opportunities for students and were forced to justify their budgetary requests. The findings of those defense rounds will be presented to the community on Saturday.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Ken Silver said that the proposed spending plan represents a slight budget-to-budget increase, but official numbers cannot yet be released as the district awaits word about state funding.
“The 2015-2016 budget reflects a minimal budget-to-budget increase, and it is our goal to present a budget with little to no increase on the tax levy,” he noted. “However, we cannot commit to this until we receive anticipated state aid numbers from the governor’s office.”
“Regardless of the final numbers, this budget will enable us to grow programs and focus funds on programs with the greatest impact on students.”
Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Hamilton said that this was a way for the public to participate in one of the more difficult responsibilities the Board of Education faces. The first budget presentation will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 14 at Pennington Elementary School.
“This is an opportunity to engage our community in one of the most fundamental and challenging tasks the district administration will undertake,” he said. “It will provide our community with a chance to discuss district priorities while learning about the budgeting process.”
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