Letter from the Board of Education - Rescue Mount Vernon Schools
At a community summit on January 31, district administrators and outside professionals clearly identified the illegal, possibly criminal actions of the City of Mount Vernon in refusing to transfer millions of dollars in school taxes to the district.
Make no mistake: there is no argument about the fact that the city owes the schools $11.78 million, now nine months late. Even the city agrees that it owes the schools the money but says it does not have ability to pay. Worse, our finance professionals have clear evidence that at least another $13+ million is owed over the next 17 months, with the first payment due this June.
As a result, we have sent letters to the NYS Attorney General, NYS Comptroller, Westchester County District Attorney and County Executive, and several elected officials to plead for an investigation into the city’s malfeasance and possible criminality.
Without this money, our schools cannot continue to operate as they currently do. In recent days, the NYS Comptroller has identified our district as being under extreme fiscal stress, which is solely due to using up all of our savings to plug the hole created by the city not transferring the $11.78 million in school taxes to us. As a result, we are at a near-term risk of closing schools, cutting programs, and reducing staff. Our crumbling buildings will continue to deteriorate, as there is no money for even basic repairs.
As a victim of the city’s financial dysfunction, we have made a direct appeal to our legislators for financial assistance, and we will continue to lobby for this in the coming months.
But our appeal alone will not be enough. We ask the Mount Vernon community to join us in this effort, and that’s why we are launching Rescue Mount Vernon Schools.
We will provide you with resources on the district’s website to contact our legislators to urge their support for preventing the city’s irresponsible actions from devastating our schools. Your letters, emails, and phone calls can make a difference. Additionally, we will sponsor direct calls to action in the form of parent and staff rallies, media attention, and all other respectful forms of advocacy to draw attention to the injustice that has been perpetrated on our schools.
Please visit our website to review the letters mentioned above and check back frequently for updates.
The Mount Vernon Board of Education
Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith attended a Women’s History Month roundtable discussion hosted by State Senator Jamaal Bailey. The discussion was attended by a number of city officials, all women.
Lincoln School held a No Place for Hate activity, Pen Pal Meet and Greet, for all its students on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Scholars from K-8 were paired up with each other, and older students were mostly paired with younger students.
View the first edition of Conversations with Dr. Kim here.
She is visited by Noel Campbel, Director of CTE, and Dr. Pauline Pearce, Principal at MVHS, to discuss the CTE program. Then, Dr. Marie Gaboton-Swift, Acting Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services, Dr. Gayle White Wallace, Director of Pre-K, and Dr. Marguerita Circello, Director of ENL and World Languages, to discuss registration.
Students in the Academy of Talent, Leadership, and Scholars program (ATLAS) in grades four through six participated in a 3D cityscapes course after school once a week from January 24, 2023, to March 21. Students created their own cities in the style of Charles Fazzino, an artist who is known for pop art.
Scholars in culinary arts, a Career and Technical Education program at MVHS, presented at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The students cooked dinner for the trustees and a key lime parfait for dessert, and they provided everyone who attended the meeting with homemade cookies.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Ken Silver presented the proposed 2023-2024 school year budget at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The proposed budget includes a tentative 0% increase in the tax levy, with reserves, state aid, and other sources of revenue covering increases in spending.
Over 175 students attended the first annual STEAM Night at Benjamin Turner Middle School on Thursday, March 9, 2023. The events occurred throughout the entire school and featured hands-on activities such as gaming, mad science, coding, engineering, math and robotics.
It is with extreme sadness that I announce that a tragedy has occurred in our community. Today, Thursday, March 9, 2023, a Mount Vernon STEAM Academy ninth-grade student who was not in attendance at school today was shot in the vicinity of Levister Towers this morning.