School Vote 2022: Mount Vernon, East Ramapo among 5 districts rejecting budgets
School budgets were rejected in five districts Tuesday night, including Mount Vernon and East Ramapo.
Mount Vernon's school budget for the coming school year is still in limbo after it was resoundingly rejected. Residents of Mount Vernon did not approve the $266.7 million school budget for 2022-2023.
Assistant coach Dwayne Murray believes the denial stems from a combination of things, starting with taxpayers' pockets.
"You're receiving 62% of the taxes in this city, and so, what's your plan to educate kids. And they feel that the results are not very good," he says. "If you put a tax increase on the school tax, while some thought it was negligible. For some it may not be. And I think that was one issue."
This then goes hand in hand with trust and transparency.
"You need the citizen reach - to have confidence that you're handling their money right," says Murray.
Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Waveline Bennett-Conroy said in a statement to News 12, "The budget was carefully designed to help our students continue to recover emotionally and academically from the pandemic, keep our students safe and upgrade buildings to ensure that students can learn in comfortable, healthy spaces."
She also says that next steps regarding the budget will be announced in the coming days.
In East Ramapo, the school district must figure out its next course of action after its budget was defeated by a large margin Tuesday night.
The school budget failed by nearly 2,000 votes, according to results from the district. The Spring Valley NAACP was hoping people would vote yes.
"We will continue to fight as one community for our children because they deserve it," says Calvin Demetrius, of the Spring Valley NAACP. Demetrius leads the organization's young adult committee. "We hope for anyone that did vote no, that somehow, we can get the message across to them somehow that a vote for yes, for public school children is a vote yes for all children. It's not a public-school thing. It's not a private-school thing. It's a matter of education.
"District information says the budget proposal would have increased the tax levy by 3% and would have maintained all academic programs, services and supports.
While the district was disappointed with the outcome, the superintendent of schools told News 12 in a statement that. "Our administrative team is discussing 'next steps' and will be in communication with our school community soon."
The district will now decide whether to put a revised or the same budget before the voters. The margins were closer in Mahopac and Hastings but still rejected. In Garrison, the vote ended in a tie with 314 votes apiece. That resulted in the budget being defeated.