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.
Currently, the City of Mount Vernon owes the Mount Vernon City School District $11.78 million, now nine months late. While the city agrees that it owes the schools the money, it says it does not have ability to pay. Finance professionals have also discovered that at least another $13 million is owed over the next 17 months, with the first payment due June 2023.
As a result, the Board of Education has 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, the district has made a direct appeal to legislators for financial assistance and will continue to lobby for this in the coming months.
But the appeal alone will not be enough. The Board of Education asks the Mount Vernon community to join them in this effort, and that is why Rescue Mount Vernon Schools is being launched.
Resources will be provided on the district’s website to contact your 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, the Board of Education 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 review the letters mentioned above and check back frequently for updates.
What the City of Mount Vernon Owes the School District
$11,734,065 in school taxes for the 2019-20 school year (and perhaps prior)
This should have been remitted from the city to the school district prior to June 30, 2022, and was not.
$5,953,435 in school taxes for the 2020-21 School Year
The city is required by Real Property Tax Law 1332 to remit this amount to the school (whether the city collects or not) before June 30, 2023.
$7,786,038 in school taxes for the 2021-22 school year.
The city is required by Real Property Tax Law 1332 to remit this amount to the school (whether the city collects or not) before June 30, 2024.
The total owed is $25,473,538 as reflected on the district's June 30, 2022, audited financial statements.
By law, the city is responsible for enforcing the collection of unpaid taxes and must remit the uncollected amount to the school district even if it has not collected those taxes.
History shows that uncollected amount is approximately $6 million each year going forward after the amounts detailed above are paid.