Public to Vote on $266M School Budget for 2022-23
On June 21, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mount Vernon voters will decide on a $266,063,496 school district budget for the coming year. The budget calls for no increase – 0 percent – in the tax levy.
The budget has been revised from the original draft voters did not approve on May 17. The revised budget was adopted May 23 by the Board of Education. It will be the seventh budget in the last nine years that has not called for an increase in the tax levy.
The 2022-2023 budget would increase spending $6,461,661, or 2.49 percent, over the current year. The amount of money to be raised with taxes would remain the same at $135,947,117 – 51 percent of next year’s spending. To keep that amount the same as last year, the district would apply $6,792,000 of its fund balance, including $2,100,000 to fund some repairs and necessary renovations to most district schools. State aid and other sources will cover $123,324,379.
The budget will also include funds to continue recovering from the impact of the pandemic, provide additional security resources, and include additional resources to address students’ social-emotional development.
“We heard the message sent by the voters in our community and responded with a budget that does not require the district to raise taxes of residents,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy. “We take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously and we are working hard to balance that responsibility with the need to improve our schools and programs for our students.”
The budget would maintain teaching and staffing levels, and address the pandemic’s impact with two additional social workers and four additional school psychologists.
It also continues a pilot dual-language kindergarten program and expands the International Baccalaureate program. The repairs, renovations and upgrades to schools includes upgrades to Mount Vernon High School science rooms, and renovations and improvements to many of the elementary schools.
The largest increase in spending is $3,443,814 for school operations, almost half of which – $1.7 million – is earmarked for new charter school tuition. The remainder is for insurance and liability, special education, psychologists and social workers.
The spending plan includes $62,631,828 in non-negotiable costs. Approximately half of that consists of the costs associated with health insurance coverage for staff, $31,326,429, which includes a 1.5% increase for employees and retirees.
Other non-negotiable costs include: other employee benefits ($20,602,327), the full costs associated with charter schools ($10,200,000), and the district’s obligation to community schools, through a portion of state Foundation Aid ($1,603,072). The budget also anticipates savings of $652,000 from a completed retirement incentive program and a decrease of $145,000 in debt service.