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Latest on York City schools' recovery plan

Written by Angie Mason/York Daily Record | Dec 17, 2015 10:51 AM
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Kenneth Cruz-Velazquez, a first grader at Valley View Elementary School, uses his feet to swing his "fidget bar" while taking a spelling test. Standing desks allow some students to move and focus better on their work, teachers say. (Photo: Jason Plotkin, Daily Record)

(York) -- The York City School District has been chipping away at parts of its revised recovery plan, though the lingering state budget impasse is hampering progress in some parts.

The district used a report from Mass Insight, an education-focused nonprofit, to form the basis for the academic portion of a revised recovery plan. The financial portion has not yet been completed.

At a meeting Wednesday, Carol Saylor, the state-appointed chief recovery officer for the district, offered an update on accomplishments and work under way.

Curriculum overhaul

The district has been working to align curriculum with the state's standards, and that work should be complete by the summer, Saylor said. Materials to deliver that curriculum are under review, and a recommendation should be made in January.

"Hopefully we'll have a budget so we can actually buy them," she said. Professional development time is being devoted to the curriculum, too.

Financial questions wait

The financial portion of the recovery plan has not yet been updated because the state has not yet adopted a budget, according to Saylor, and the financial consultants are waiting for that information to make projections. After waiting this long, it doesn't seem to make sense to revise that part of the plan without the state budget.

Saylor said she'll be giving an update to Better York, an organization of business leaders, in January.

The business organization requested a financial update, she said, and she offered this summary to the school board: Given current state funding, the potential opening of more charter schools, and the current charter school funding formula, if the district doesn't do anything different, "we'll have an operating deficit, plain and simple."

However, she said, there are some items in the revised plan that could help create savings, such as reviewing special education and English Language Learner designations to ensure accuracy, addressing cyber school deficiencies, aligning federal funds to district initiatives and monitoring payments to charter schools.

Reviewing data, technology

WestEd, a nonprofit education research firm, is visiting schools to talk to principals and teachers about what academic data is being collected in order to create a plan for next school year that will ensure data is being used in a valuable way.

Jared Mader, director of educational technology at the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, will also be completing a technology audit.

Sharing strategies

There are also plans in place for school officials to visit other schools in the state.

Saylor said William Penn Senior High Principal Brandon Carter will visit a high school in Reading that has risen from being on a watch list to a commended school in the state. And district officials plan to visit Harrisburg Cyber Academy, which Saylor said has been successful, in order to gain ideas for York's cyber program.


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

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