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Locals Give Unheard Voice on Mount Pleasant School Budget

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Residents of Mount Pleasant expressed concern to Superintendent Susan Guiney Monday morning about a lack of input from those in the community without children in the Mount Pleasant Central School District.

“There’s no representation for the senior citizens in this community at these board of education meetings,” said Hawthorne resident Saul Salinas.  “I urge as many of them to come out and have their voice be heard.”

Salinas was one of more than a dozen Mount Pleasant residents that met with Guiney at the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla for a budget discussion as part of a series of coffee and questions sessions that the superintendent organized.  In the past, Guiney and the district have hosted the casual discussions on various district issues.  However, all of the previous sessions were held at night in the Westlake High School library.  Monday’s event gave residents that are normally unable to attend the evening sessions a chance to ask questions and discuss concerns.

Guiney said the goal of the district is to receive input from as many residents as possible before crafting the 2012-13 budget, especially from those without children in the schools.  Out of 5,000 households within Mount Pleasant, only around 1,500 have a child currently enrolled in the Mount Pleasant Central School District

“We want to try and listen to everyone and make things as smooth as possible with these changes,” Guiney said.

One hot item of discussion for those in attendance Monday was the possibility of consolidating or eliminating public transportation for students.

“I live in Hawthorne, with Hawthorne Elementary School everyone who lives in Hawthorne is no further than three blocks away,” Salinas said.  “And we need busses for that?”

Lisa Sanfilippo, school district business manager, said transportation is an item that is under consistent research.

“We do have busses within the district that are indeed not full on a daily basis and we have to figure out what we want to do with that going forward,” Sanfilippo said.

A board of education public work session, which will include the superintendent’s budget overview presentation, will be held Wednesday in the Westlake High School library at 7:30 p.m.

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