MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Board of Education is taking steps to reduce the district’s budget after voters rejected the November levy request.
Superintendent Steve Short said the latest information he has had from legislators is that the district faces a possible 20 percent reduction in state education funds. That amounts to about $2.4 million, and Short said the district is going to have to be aggressive in looking at cost containment measures.
The first task is to determine how much the budget must be reduced to balance it, then the job will be to develop a menu of possible reductions. Short said some of the questions that must be answered include, but are not limited to:
•How can we reorganize the elementary schools, middle school, high school and administration?
•What does having negotiations with all three employee associations coming up this spring mean to the district?
•Is some sort of pay-to-play a viable option?
•What programs can be eliminated?
“It’s tough for everyone when you have to make cuts,” said Short.
Board president Margie Bennett said it is important to make cuts that would do the least damage possible to what’s best for children. Jody Goetzman, board vice president, agreed. “When you are in education,” she said, “wherever you make the cuts, it affects the children.”
Bennett asked Short to solicit input from both students and staff and urged community members to e-mail Short with their suggestions. That address is email@example.com.
Board member Steve Thompson said the district perhaps needs to “think outside the box” and explore ways to fund some things for which grants are unavailable. He suggested that there might be ways for local businesses to help the schools.
Short is expected to present some specific cost reduction recommendations at the next board meeting.