Voters approved the Mount Vernon City School District’s $265,969,821 school budget for the 2023-2024 school year by a 1,091-522 vote – unofficially – today. Results will be certified and made official on Wednesday.
The budget decreases by $93,675, or 0.04 percent, from the current year’s approved budget. The plan provides additional resources for safety and security, afterschool programs, repairs and renovations for most district schools, and curriculum and instruction.
“I want to thank the Mount Vernon community for supporting this very important budget,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith. “This is a sound spending plan that will keep our students safe, improve our programs and repair buildings to ensure that students can learn in comfortable, healthy spaces.”
The spending plan includes a 0% change to the $135,947,117 tax levy. State foundation aid will increase by $2,445,886 to $79,625,448. That accounts for 29.9% of the district’s revenue.
The budget, which takes effect July 1, maintains teaching and staffing levels and addresses safety with five school resource officers. It also includes nine additional reading teachers, four math specialists and four attendance teachers.
The largest increase in spending is $2,946,999 for school operations, more than half of which – $1.9 million – is earmarked for new charter school tuition.
The budget includes $493,414 for additional safety and security measures.
“Thank you to everyone who supported this budget,” said Board of Education President Adriane Saunders. “Thanks to you, we can continue the work of educating our scholars across Mount Vernon in a fiscally sound manner as they develop into the young men and women who will lead our future.”
You may register any weekday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the District Clerk's Office, located at the Education Center, 165 North Columbus Avenue, Mount Vernon NY.
Absentee ballot applications are available at the District Clerk's Office at the District Office during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.). or download an application here in English or here in Spanish
The absentee ballot application should be submitted in original form, with the original signature on it. It must be submitted at least seven days before the vote/election if the ballot will be mailed to the voter and by the day before the vote/election if the ballot will be personally picked up by the voter. The absentee ballot must be received by the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the vote/election in order to be counted.
Qualifications of Voters
A person shall be entitled to vote at any school meeting for the election of school district officers and upon all other matters, which may be brought before such meeting, who is:
1. A citizen of the United States.
2. Eighteen years of age.
3. A resident within the District for a period of 30 days next preceding the meeting at which he offers to vote.
4. A registered voter of the District and/or a registered voter of Westchester County whose name appears on the list supplied by the Westchester County Board of Elections as having voted in a national, state, or county election during the past four years.
|POLLING LOCATIONS||Election Districts|
170 East Lincoln Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10552
Cecil H. Parker School
20 Oak Street
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
72 Lexington Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10552
|Edward Williams School
9 Union Lane
Mount Vernon, NY 10553
1st FLOOR GYM
421 East 5th Street
Mount Vernon, NY 10553
20 Fairway Street
Mount Vernon, NY 10552
|Rebecca Turner Elementary School
625 S. Fourth Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
195 North Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10553
|Grimes Elementary School
1st FLOOR GYM
58 South 10th Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Becoming a Trustee
Commitment to Public Education
A school board member takes on one of the most important citizen responsibilities: overseeing the education of the community’s youth. In these challenging times for public education, school boards are seeking men and women who find excitement and satisfaction in confronting tough challenges and working collegially to rise above them and help students in their communities succeed.
The board of education is a uniquely American institution. It oversees and manages the community’s public school system. It ensures the public schools are flexible and responsive to the needs of the community. School boards are comprised of volunteers within the community who dedicate their time to better public education. Except for those in Yonkers and New York City, board members are elected.
The size of a school board depends on the type of school district but generally ranges between three and nine members. With limited exceptions, school board members serve three- four- or five-year terms. Terms are staggered so all board positions are never open at the same time. Voters have the power to change the size of the board as set forth within the law.
Responsibilities of a Board Member
With schoolchildren always their ultimate focus, school board members act officially at the board table, working with other board members to serve students and accomplish the following:
- Create a shared vision for the future of education
- Set the direction of the school district to achieve the highest student performance
- Provide rigorous accountability for student achievement results
- Develop a budget and present it to the community, aligning district resources to improve achievement
- Support a healthy school district culture for work and learning
- Create strategic partnerships with the community stakeholders
- Build the district’s progress through continuous improvement
- Adopt and maintain current policies
- Hire and evaluate the superintendent
- Ratify collective bargaining agreements
- Maintain strong ethical standards
Characteristics of a Board Member
Below are attributes that all effective board members should possess.
- Effective Communicator: Can describe what he or she wants and describe what others want; a good listener
- Consensus Builder: Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve goals
- Community Participant: Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to the community
- Decision Maker: Is comfortable making decisions and can support group decision-making
- Information Processor: Can organize priorities and schedules to handle large amounts of verbal and written information
- Leader: Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community
- Team Player: Helps promote the board’s vision and goals
Running for Your Local School Board
Once you have made the commitment to run for your local school board, there are requirements, deadlines, and processes that must be adhered to.
Generally, school board candidates must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, qualified voters in the school district and able to read and write. They must be residents of their districts continuously for one year (as little as 30 days or as long as three years in some city school districts) before the election. At the time when the board member takes office, they cannot be employed by the board on which they serve or live in the same household with a family member who is also a member of the same school board.
The requirements for filing nominating petitions for a school board vary depending upon the type of school district. Generally, candidates must submit a nominating petition to the school district clerk. The petition must be signed by at least 25 qualified district voters or two percent of the number of those who voted in the previous annual election, whichever number is greater. In small city school districts, nominating petitions must be signed by at least 100 qualified voters.
The petition must include the following:
- Candidate’s name and residence
- Vacancy in question
- Incumbent’s name (if any)
- Residences of the persons who signed the petition
- Length of the term of office for which the candidate is being nominated
Blank petitions are often available from the district clerk. If a school district runs for seats “at large” such that each nominee is eligible for each vacancy, the nominating petition does not need to identify the specific incumbent’s seat the nominee is seeking. This petition must be filed with the district clerk at least 30 days (20 days in small city districts) before the election meeting, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Once the petition is filed, the next step is to gather support. State law requires all candidates for election to a board of education to file a sworn statement with the district clerk disclosing their campaign expenses. Statements must be filed at three different times during the election period. If expenditures made by the candidate or by others on the candidate’s behalf exceed $500, a statement also should be filed with the commissioner of education. Expenditures of not more than $25 may be made without the candidate’s permission if the donor or donors file a sworn statement with the clerk and the commissioner stating that the candidate did not approve the expenditure. Details concerning these requirements may be obtained from your district clerk or from the Performance Improvement and Management Services (PIMS) and Chief Financial Office (CFO), New York State Education Department, Albany, NY 12234.
By state law, school board and budget elections, in all districts except the Big 5 (Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers), must be held on the third Tuesday in May. In 2019, the budget vote and election occurs on May 21th.
New York State School Boards Association
If you are elected, you don’t need to face this new challenge alone. The New York State School Boards Association is here to help you! The New York State School Boards Association
(NYSSBA) was founded in 1896 in Utica, New York. With over 100 years of commitment, NYSSBA serves as the statewide voice of more than 650 boards of education.
The Association provides current information and advice on matters affecting school boards and works with other educational and related organizations in promoting excellence in public education. Consistent with our dedication to children, learning and the community, the Association provides advocacy, information, leadership development and custom services to public school boards.
Once elected, you will be required by New York State law to fulfill mandatory training within your first year of service. This includes fiscal oversight training and governance skills training. NYSSBA provides convenient online courses and regional academies to fulfill these requirements and to further your knowledge of public education and your responsibilities as a board member.
Assistant Superintendent for Business
Q: How will this budget account for lost from back taxes that haven’t been paid yet? Will there be a bailout from the state?
The district has received a lottery spin-up, which means that they received their lottery assistance early and will pay it back interest free over 30 years. There are two other options for state aid that can make up for lost revenue from taxes. The One House Bill could make us whole from the $11.7 million in back taxes to us owed by the city. We could also receive a bullet grant of about five to six million dollars.
Q: How does the proposed budget affect my property taxes?
There will be no increase in the tax levy this year, however individuals may see a small fluctuation in their property tax bill. Factors outside the District’s control such as assessments provided by the city, will not be available until after the budget vote.
Q: What is the total for the proposed 2023-2024 budget?
The proposed budget totals $265,969,821. The budget includes a .04% percent decrease in spending from the previous academic year. 70.15% percent of the budget will be used for costs related to program offerings and academic curriculum. An additional 20.95% percent of the budget will be used for capital expenditures such as the operation and maintenance of the District’s plant, insurances, taxes, and security, among others. The remaining 8.89% percent of the budget covers administration costs ranging from finance and legal services to curriculum development and supervision of schools such as principals.
Q: Is there an increase in the tax levy in the proposed budget?
The budget calls for a 0 percent increase to the tax levy. This is the seventh time in nine years that the District has put forward a budget with no increase in the tax levy.
Q: How is the budget balanced without an increase to the tax levy?
Reserve funds are used to balance the budget. When the district has savings in certain areas, we are able to use those funds to balance the budget for the next year. As long as our reserve funds can balance the budget, there is no need to increase the tax levy.
Q: Why are you proposing no increase to the tax levy for the upcoming year?
We feel that at this time we are doing what is most prudent for taxpayers in the City of Mount Vernon. We are continuing to work to find ways to reduce spending while also improving our offerings to students.
Q: How does state aid for the 2023-2024 school year impact the proposed budget?
State aid accounts for 43.3 percent of the revenue in the upcoming budget. The tax levy, other than the state aid and other sources of revenue, is our main source of income at 51.1 percent.
Q: Will there still be Pre-K 3 programs next year?
The District is encouraged by the success of the past year’s pre-K 3 program. We plan to maintain the full-day programming and offer pre-K 3 to as many families as possible.
Q: What is being done to ensure equity across the District?
The District has been actively engaged in equity issues, training staff and principals on what equity looks like in our schools and making sure that students’ needs and requirements are met throughout the budget development process. We have assessed students’ academic and social performances and made budgetary allocations to accommodate their needs.
Q: What will happen if the budget does not pass on May 16?
If the budget does not pass following the May 16 vote, the District will present an austerity budget, which may be a reduced budget. If the second budget does not pass, the budget would become a contingency budget, which would be much lower and have a nominal impact on taxpayers but will prevent the District from purchasing necessary equipment such as furniture for its schools.
Q: Where does the money come from?
The District receives funding through a variety of sources. 51% of our revenue is derived from the local property tax, 43.3% is funded through state and federal aid. The balance of the budget is funded through local revenue sources and the District’s fund balance (restricted and unrestricted) totaling 5.7% of the entire budget.
Q: What is the fund balance?
Fund balance is money that has remained unspent from previous budgets. This money is like a bank account of savings, some of which may be used to close the gap between revenue and expense in future budgets, and some of which is set aside or is restricted to be used for a special purpose only. Such special purposes are designated by the board and may include payments for tax certioraris (tax refunds from reduction in assessments), or some other future special purpose.
Q: Who can vote?
Voter Eligibility & Qualifications: You can vote if you are: 18 years of age or over, a U.S. citizen, if you are registered to vote, a resident of New York State and the City School District of the City of Mount Vernon for at least 30 days preceding the election, if you voted in the last election, you are eligible to vote in this election and if you are properly registered on the Westchester County General Election List.
Q: Hpw do I register to vote?
If you are not sure whether you are properly registered, call the Sr. Clerk/ Records Access Officer at (914) 665-5866 or the District Clerk at (914) 665-5235.
Q: Can I vote by absentee ballot?
Absentee Ballot Applications must be submitted to the District Clerk’s Office by Tuesday, May 9, 2023 if the Absentee Ballot is to be mailed to the voter; or the day before the election on Monday, May 15, 2023 if the Absentee Ballot is to be issued to the voter in person. Absentee Ballots must be received in the District Clerk’s Office by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
Q: When and where is the vote?
The school budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., prevailing time at which time the polls will be opened to vote by voting ballot or machine. The annual budget vote for the fiscal year 2023- 23 by the qualified voters of the Mount Vernon City School District, Westchester County, New York, will be held at: • Lincoln School, 170 East Lincoln Ave. (EDs # 1, 2, 21) • Cecil H. Parker School, 461 South 6th Ave. (EDs # 4, 12) • Hamilton School, 20 Oak St. (EDs # 5, 10, 19, 24) • Traphagen School, 72 Lexington Ave. (EDs # 6A, 6B, 8) • Edward Williams School, 9 Union Lane (EDs # 7, 18) • Grimes Elementary School, 58 South 10th Ave. (EDs # 22, 27) • Graham School, 421 East 5th St. (EDs # 9, 13, 23) • Rebecca Turner Elementary School, 625 4th Ave. (EDs # 14, 20) • Mount Vernon High School, 100 California Rd. (EDs # 11, 16, 26) • Holmes School, 195 North Columbus Ave. (EDs # 17, 25) To find out if you’re registered and where to vote, visit https://www.mtvernoncsd.org/departments/business-finance/budget
Call the District office at (914) 665-5866 if you’re unsure where you should vote.
Q: What would happen if the budget is voted down?
Statement of assumptions made in projecting a contingency budget for the 2023-24 school year should the proposed budget be defeated pursuant to Section 2023 of the Education Law. From the proposed 2023-24 budget, remove all non-contingent items: District wide equipment purchases, classroom furniture, computer assisted instruction, athletic equipment, raises for exempt employees, field trips as well as all capital projects. This will require additional adjustments and reductions in the Administrative and Program components to maintain the percentage from 2022-23. The tax levy required will be $135,947,117.