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York City School District proposed budget includes no cuts to staff or programs, looks to add them

Written by Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record | Apr 23, 2015 10:30 AM
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(York) -- Along with not increasing in taxes for the third year in a row, the York City School District's proposed 2015-16 budget not only includes no cuts to staff and programs -- it's looking to add them.

"We are not going to be cutting, or eliminating, or removing anyone or any program in this school district," Supt. Eric Holmes said during the York City School Board's meeting on Wednesday. "But instead, we will be looking at how we can improve the services that we're providing, and add programs that we need."

Holmes said the budget is based on the district's current recovery plan, and it includes proposals to add numerous programs and services including:

  • Creating a career counselor position at William Penn Senior High School
  • Expanding art, physical and music education in all the K-8 buildings
  • Offering foreign language to middle school students

The proposed budget is approximately $130 million and keeps the district's mileage rate at 33.7361. That means on a home assessed at $50,000, someone should expect to pay about $ 1,687 in taxes.

The numbers, Holmes said, are also based on Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed state budget and how it looks to help school districts.

"What's the risk of assuming that the governor's budget will be provided to us?" asked Michael Miller, the school board's vice president.

Holmes said the risk was that the district will have to hold off on some of the programs it's looking to add. After the meeting, Holmes said the district has prioritized them, but he declined to go into detail.

The proposed budget projects a deficit of about $2.7 million. But, business manager Richard Snodgrass said the district is in a "pretty good position" to "execute" the budget.

Here's a look at other district-related business from Wednesday:

Update on amended or revised recovery plan

Carol Saylor, the newly-appointed chief recovery officer, said after the meeting that she expects a timeline for coming up with an amended or revised plan for the district will be announced by mid-May.

The state, Saylor said, is also supporting an idea to have a company do a comprehensive review of the district, including the progress that it's made on the current recovery plan.

Saylor also said the committee that she will co-chair with York Mayor Kim Bracey will be focus on action: how the community can support the schools, and how the schools can support the community. She said that will be different than the advisory committee school districts in financial recovery as required to set up.

Commonwealth Court ends proposed state takeover of district

Ending almost five months of uncertainty about who will control the York City School District, an appeals court in Harrisburg on Wednesday put a stop to the state's push to appoint a receiver, someone who would've had almost all of the school board's powers.

The order filed in Commonwealth Court throws out a judge's previous decision appointing David Meckley as the district's receiver, along with the appeals of that ruling. That comes after the attorneys for the state, district and other sides met on Monday after a hearing and filed an application asking the court to end the case.

On Dec. 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Education filed a petition in the York County Court of Common Pleas asking a judge to appoint Meckley as the district's receiver. As receiver, Meckley, the district's state-appointed chief recovery officer, would've had all of the school board's powers -- with the exception of levying taxes.

The state had argued that the York City School Board did not follow Meckley's instructions, including his request to turn the district's buildings into charters. The judge granted the state's petition to appoint Meckley as receiver at the end of the December, which the district almost immediately appealed

Meckley resigned as chief recovery officer on March 13, saying he could not move the district forward as Gov. Tom Wolf was opposed to turning its buildings into charters.

Saylor, a former school district superintendent in Lancaster County who's been in education for almost 40 years, has since been named to replace him

Contact Dylan Segelbaum at 771-2102.

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Court order ends state's push to take over York City School District


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

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