One year ago, School Board President Lenny Sarver tried to ram through the selection of Elmwood Park NJ Superintendent Richard Tomko, as Superintendent of Mount Vernon’s School System. The Board initially chose Robert Wayne Harris, because he successfully guided Roosevelt Long Island’s School District after a New York State takeover. Mr. Harris was suspiciously tampered with, and was met with difficult negotiations from the school board attorney's, specifically Gus Mountanos. Mr. Harris subsequently pulled his name from consideration. Despite the objection of Sarver, the Board majority chose Dr. Kenneth Hamilton, a successful Superintendent from Monroe Township NJ.
During the District’s negotiations with Dr. Hamilton, Lenny Sarver twisted arms of some fellow Board members and put a resolution on the table to hire Richard Tomko for Superintendent. Sarver and Tomko kept vital information from fellow board members. Sarver and Tomko failed to disclose the fact that Tomko’s District was being cited for mismanagement of New Jersey State aid money. Furthermore, Tomko lied to the board about the demographics of Elmwood Park, to try to prove he managed a district that mirrored Mount Vernon. Only the courage of a few Board Members prevented Tomko’s vote from passing. Tomko is now the Superintendent of Belleville, New Jersey.
Cooler heads prevailed, and Dr. Hamilton was chosen as Mount Vernon’s Superintendent.
Mount Vernon Government and religious politics have destroyed the Mount Vernon School District, and City politics continue to do so. City Officials are hell bent on bringing every low income resident in New York State to Mount Vernon. Additional low-income housing is currently being built throughout Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is cash strapped City that already houses the lion’s share of Westchester County’s low income and homeless population. These practices have, and will continue to put a burden on Mount Vernon taxpayers. , These practices will cripple Mount Vernon’s school system as it has done in the past. Children brought into Mount Vernon from other areas throughout New York State, are being educated by our School District. Most of these children have special needs, with an average cost of $50,000 per year to educate them. Student performances will continue to suffer under these conditions. Mount Vernon Exposed would like to see Mount Vernon School District officials address the damage being caused by City politics.
Dr. Hamilton has been doing a wonderful job as Superintendent. Wasteful spending has ceased, and vocational programs may soon begin. The tone and professionalism of the district has vastly improved from the Judith Johnson regime. Another pleasant addition to the district is Kenneth Silver, the new Business Manager. Mr. Silver is a major upgrade from corrupt former Business Manager Timothy Costello.
It is important that Dr. Hamilton and Mr. Silver do not become influenced by religious and city leaders. Understanding the troubled past will go a long way in turning around Mount Vernon’s School District. However, if City Officials continue their policies, it will be difficult for our promising Superintendent, or any Superintendent to succeed.