MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon, which boasts one of the most underfunded school districts in the county, will host a legislative forum with state and local officials to support the “School Funding Equity Act” that has been proposed by Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-16).
Panelists will include state Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-89), state Senators Jeff Klein (D-34) and Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-36), though other government officials have been invited to attend the event.
According to Mount Vernon interim Superintendent Judith Johnson, the panel is in response to the inequities of school funding throughout the state. The goal of the bill is to find a new formula that considers the differences in the cost of providing education in different areas in New York.
“The Mount Vernon school community – including educators, parents and citizens – have made great strides in identifying the critical needs for improvement in our school system,” Johnson said. “As we move forward with implementation, we face an immediate challenge of adequately funding our anticipated restructuring efforts, while also maintaining important student programs.”
The goal of the legislative forum will be to give parents, students and educators a chance to inform their elected officials of the struggles districts like Mount Vernon face. Rosie Cruz, who has three children enrolled in the district, said she hopes that by attending the forum, state officials will be able to enact change locally.
“Our children face enough challenges as it is. We need to get as much funding for our schools as we possibly can,” she said. “As parents, and voters, we can only do so much. It’s time for the people we elect to get the job done.”
The legislative forum will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 in the Mount Vernon High School auditorium. Members of the Board of Education, city council and other local organizations are expected to attend and voice their concerns.
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