MOUNT VERNON — A small group of residents and school employees attended Thursday’s town hall meeting to discuss the Mount Vernon school levy on the Nov. 2 election ballot.
School Superintendent Steve Short talked to the crowd of less than 20 about the financial situation of the district, along with help from Barb Donahue, district treasurer.
Following the presentation, Short took questions from the crowd. Some information from those questions included:
•Funding for the levy campaign comes from donations and fundraising. About $1,600 has been raised so far by the Committee To Support Our School. No district funds are used for the levy, Short said.
•When asked if it was possible to defer the levy until the economy improves, both Short and Donahue said the district’s financial situation will only get worse over the next couple of years and that it is inevitable that the district would have to turn to taxpayers. Donahue said she has looked into the possibility of putting on an income tax levy but it was decided a traditional property tax levy was the best route for the district.
•In response to a question regarding additional attorney fees in the John Freshwater termination hearing, Short said he hopes that situation will come to an end by the time of the election incurring little in additional legal fees.
•As far as possible levy funds to be spent toward increases in salaries and benefits, Short said the levy is for operating expenses, which includes salaries and benefits. “This is a negotiating year,” Short said of the collective bargaining units that negotiate salaries and benefits. “If we pull out money for our employees first, this won’t look good to taxpayers.”
Four more town hall meetings are planned for the following dates: Tuesday, Wiggin Street Elementary; Oct. 21, Columbia Elementary; Oct. 26. East Elementary; and Oct. 28, Dan Emmett Elementary. All are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and should last about one hour.