On Monday night, Feb. 13 in Westchester County, the Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education voted to "administratively reassign" Superintendent Waveline Bennett-Conroy and instead appoint Veronica (Kim) Smith as the district's Acting Superintendent of Schools, district officials announced.
The vote came after news broke on Friday, Feb. 10 that Mount Vernon Schools were under investigation by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York, which subpoenaed the district for records related to federal grant funding of certain programs.
The school board said on Friday that it would support the probe.
During her period of reassignment, Bennett-Conroy will receive her full pay and benefits, school officials said.
School officials also praised Smith for being willing to take on the role as the district navigates the investigation.
"We appreciate Dr. Smith’s willingness to accept this role as the district contends with the uncertainties associated with a number of challenges," said school board president Adriane Saunders.
Saunders added, "She is well-known to our community and this board, and we are confident in her knowledge, experience, and commitment to the families of Mount Vernon.”
Before being named Acting Superintendent, Smith served as the district's Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services, a position she began in 2021 and will continue to fulfill. She also served as Associate Superintendent of Student Services and Guidance from 2019 to 2021 and has worked with the school district since 2001.
In addition to the existing terms and conditions of her current employment agreement, Smith will be paid a daily stipend of $166.67 to serve as Acting Superintendent.
Before the federal probe was announced, the school district also hired an outside consultant to review the district's use of grant funds and their grant procurement process in early November 2022 after Mount Vernon residents brought up corruption claims.
The consultant has not yet completed their report. When it is complete, the results will be released by the school district.
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