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YORK SUBURBAN SCHOOL BOARD
PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING
MARCH 4, 2013 - 7:30 PM
EDUCATION CENTER

M I N U T E S 
(Approved April 8, 2013)

  1. Call to Order - Ms. Leopold-Sharp 
    1. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp called the meeting to order with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. 
    2. Roll Call

      Members present - Emily Bates, Jennifer Clancy, John DeHaas, William Kirk, Lynne Leopold-Sharp, Roger Miller, Lois Ann Schroeder, Joel Sears, Cathy Shaffer, Bradley Clark (Student Representative)
  2. Board President's Report - Ms. Leopold-Sharp
    1. Board Goals Review 

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp reviewed Board Goals. 
      #1 - The Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee is waiting for information from the state, may be a month or so yet.
      #2 - The Communications Committee is moving along with annual report. The committee met this evening, reviewed mock copy and made some adjustments.  It is hopeful to have ready in June to go with tax bills.
      #3 - The legislative bills proposed to the House will be on agenda later in meeting.
      #4 - No comments from board members
      #5 - Fall workshop about school director position was held.
      #6 - Discussion will take place later in meeting.
      #7 - No comments from board members

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time. 
  3. Superintendent's Report - Dr. Orban
    1. York Recovery Advisory Committee Report  

      Dr. Orban reported the School District of the City of York is considered moderately financially distressed by the state.  Part of the Financial Recovery Plan is the appointment of David Meckley as Chief Recovery Officer.  The York Recovery Advisory Committee is a diverse group of people as mandated by state and a requirement is to have a Superintendent on the Committee.  Dr. Orban is serving on the committee.  The committee was originally charged to present their recommendation to the board of York City School District in March and an extension was received until April. 

      Various options were solicited.  First option came from YorkCounts to change to 100% high performing charter schools.  The population is growing in the city and student population is decreasing due to attendance at charter schools.  The York City School District pays $28 million a year for their charter school students.  A plan including criteria for success would be established.  Another option is Communities in the Schools model.  This model could be used in a charter school set-up.  The model includes having  social services available in the buildings, extended school year and extended school day.  This would require a great deal of involvement with the community.  Another option is consolidation with other school districts.  YorkCounts had considered this previously and after much research they felt it was not possible to do so.  There was much discussion about this option along with a lot of media coverage.  The option could include three districts, four districts or county-wide plan.  The option that received the most traction was York Suburban and York City being consolidated along with pieces of West York and Central York School Districts.  Contact with school districts will take place to see if interest exists in consolidation or collaboration.  The fourth option to the committee is seeing an outline on transformation schools prepared by current York City School District administration.  This option includes a magnet school approach, having an arts area and a science/technology area for instance.  This option may be appealing for parents that have selected a charter school choice for their child.  The process will be a long one and no quick changes will be made.  The community can be assured we will ask them for their input before any changes occur.  Once the committee provides a recommendation to the York City School Board and approval is received, then the state and legislature would need to review and approve. 

      Mrs. Shaffer reported that she attended the recent meeting and there was a lengthy conversation with respect to consolidation and that evolved to discussion on collaboration.  Lehigh Valley School District was provided as a model for the Communities in Schools and board members may want to research that further.  The charter school discussion was focused on seeking non-profit or for-profit models.  They did not want to discount a for-profit model if it was a strong and successful possibility.

      Dr. Orban added the attendance of committee members is very good and people are committed.  While they do not always agree, they do realize this is an important task.  A number of community members do attend meetings and solicit input.

      Dr. Orban added the Lehigh Valley SD example is funded trhough businesses and a number of grants.  This example requires a very committed community with financial support, volunteers and social services.  Board presidents in local school districts can expect to receive communication from the committee chair to see if interest exists to discuss consolidation or collaboration.

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.

      Dick Grau, 2401 Cambridge Street - happy to hear the process is going slow and that getting community input is part of the process; would incorporating 500 students from York City School District lower the district's standards?

      Mrs. Shaffer commented from the discussion at the meeting with respect to some of the committee members that did not feel consolidation was viable as other options based upon having one child move from one building to another does not address the root problem which is basically concentration of poverty.  There was more of a movement toward the community schools component as being part of another option to help address the root problem.

      John Carlisle, 739 Southern Road - Following a YorkCounts study about ways for consolidation, a suggestion was made to have fire and police consolidate, it was my understanding that York Suburban residents would not have a say in that consolidation.  It may be a good idea to check into that in this situation.  If the board is not in favor of consolidation, I suggest that it is stopped right away.

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp reported that videotaping of our board meetings has begun and we plan to post files to the website. 
  4. Business Office Report - Mr. Younkin
    1. PlanCon K Project Refinancing (2008 GOB)

      Mr. Younkin highlighted above information. 
    2. Update on 2013-14 Budget 

      Mr. Younkin highlighted above information.  Mr. Younkin reported that Johnson Controls will be providing a check in the amount of $75,000 to the district for the energy savings project.

      Dr. Orban added the administration is watching special education and elementary numbers.  One special education teacher position, an elementary teacher position and an aide position will not be replaced due to retirements.  Until Kindergarten numbers are firm and the PSBA study is completed, further non-replacements are not known.

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time. 
  5. Discussion Items
    1. York Adams Academy - 2013-14 Preliminary General Operating Budget - Mr. DeHaas  

      Mr. DeHaas highlighted above information and reported the cost per seat will not change.  He asks the board to support adoption of the budget.  The district pays for students that attend York Adams Academy.

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time. 
    2. Five Year Budget Projections - Mr. Miller
      Discussion regarding long-term deficits
       
      Mr.  Miller reported the Finance Committee reviewed the above information and asked if the board would be interested in asking administration to save two year deficits now in the amount of $1.6 million as opposed to just saving the $840,000.  Theoretically, there would be no deficit next year and the savings could be applied to the fund balance.  The Finance Committee cannot ask the administration to do this and a full board discussion is necessary.  If this is where the board wants to go, informing the administration would be needed as soon as possible because the administration would need to search other avenues.

      A discussion continued.  Points of the discussion were - It would make sense to do this now and increase the fund balance towards the 5% goal by 2017; it was decided by committee this needed to be discussed as whole board; interest in increasing the fund balance, suggest we stagger over two years; what would need cut to get to $1.6 million?; it may make sense to decide first what we would need to do to get there and as a board decide when we do that; conversation should happen now, these are serious challenges, major structural changes will be necessary, major portions of the budget are personnel, transportation and facilities, if we don't have these conversations now, when will we have them?; not opposed to a conversation, I prefer spreading out the pain from year to year, taking advantage of retirements, which is less painful than drastic steps; not replacing some retirements for savings has been used the past several years, if we want to increase the fund balance and find $3 million, directed to Dr. Orban could we lose 30 staff members and not replace them?

      Dr. Orban responded no and I also know going forth we deal with a very uncertain budget and the administration has not taken into consideration at this point yet the money from Basic Education Funding of approximately $88,000 or the proposed drop in PSERs of about $400,000.  I am willing to engage in the conversation to cut $1.6 million in 15 or 18 months.  At this time, it does not seem reasonable.  If we had started this in a more aggressive discussion in the fall when we started putting together budgets and programs, that would have made more sense.  Right now, as we watch what happens in the legislature, we are preparing to make final decisions. 

      The discussion continued.  A significant change will be necessary and we will not be able to do this with head count alone, the earlier we decide what that change may be or potential changes we should be considering, we'll be able to decide what and when and work on getting fund balance to the level the board wants it; there is merit to both sides and I would ask the administration to continue to look for dollars that we don't need to spend after we get to the $212,000 amount and add that to the fund balance; the timing is a little off but suggest going forward it is a laudible goal to look at long-term opportunities; a discussion may identify things that may not necessarily be able to implement for next year but the following year and the conversation would reveal opportunities for savings, followed by a decision during which year for implementation.

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp asked if the Finance Committee could bring suggestions to the committee as a whole to begin the discussion.

      Mr. Miller suggested the administration, who knows this budget in and out, review suggestions and bring to the Finance Committee to possibly stream line and then to the full board for discussion.

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp asked if five board members are in favor of tasking the administration to look for a specific dollar amount and what is sense of timeline.

      A discussion continued.  The board is not capable of determining a specific dollar amount goal,  lets not stop looking for ways to save and let the administration drive the process, possibly in the fall, set the aggressive goal, we are a little too far down the road at this time; another structure used by Mr. Younkin in the past is taking scenarios looking at boundaries, projection with no PSERs reform, projection with straight 2% reduction or $400,000 per year, projection with fund balance of $2.5 million by end of FY2016-17 going 0 or $400,000, that would give us some sense of what we are talking about, we either have a fund balance requirement or not, we cannot have the Superintendent have that as one of her goals for fund balance and not require it, I suggest using those four scenarios to push out projection; that $400,000 amount is what additional you would need each year to reach the goal in four years. 

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp asked if the board is interested in having Mr. Younkin put together the four projections as stated above.  There were not five board members in support of that effort at this time.  The majority of the board do not want the administration spending their time with that suggestion at this point in time of the budget cycle.

      A discussion continued.  Is there another number or approach at this time?, suggestion of $1.2 million; that goal is too difficult for the beginning of March, suggest any figure that is six  figures and up; are there five board members to support that the administration once the $212,000 figure is reached to  continue looking for additional savings?; would support that position as long as the administration will bring any additional cuts to the board for discussion.

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp saw support from board members.  The direction to the administration is to continue looking at opportunities for savings, prioritize the savings to balance the budget and continue looking beyond that point.  If any change in another funding source exists than currently reflected, we would encourage the administration to look at other options as well.

      Mrs. Schroeder asked for a discussion on a future agenda with regard to philosophy that she mentioned previously, what is our philosophy with these painful cuts?

      A discussion continued.  The longer we delay in identifying savings, the more painful it will be with future budgets, identifying savings now will make things easier down the road; these are important conversations and could be held at the beginning of the budget cycle not having in-depth philosophical conversations at the end of the budget cycle. 

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp asked board members to let her know if they believe these important in-depth conversations should take place other than at the beginning of the school year.

      Dr. Orban added the budget reduction to this point has not made any changes to program.  Philosophical discussion would be needed if a change in program is contemplated.

      The discussion continued.  Having a philosophical discussion now will probably not impact the upcoming fiscal year, the more lead time the board can give the administration on upcoming budgets the better, we have an obligation to the students, taxpayers, faculty and support staff to get this stuff taken care of now, if we can do without it in the fifth year of the budget cycle we can do without it now.

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time. 
    3. Proposed Legislation - Mrs. Clancy

      Mrs. Clancy reported one of the board goals is advocacy, specifically mandate relief legislation is important to support when we have those opportunities. She highlighted above information.  She inquired if the board is interested in asking the administration to contact Representative Keith Gillespie with a letter and phone call.

      A discussion continued.  Points of the discussion included - the administration will call on behalf of the board; a letter will be prepared by administration and will be signed by Vice-President Kirk; individual board members can contact the Representative.

      Ms. Leopold-Sharp concluded we would encourage board members attending the legislative meeting tomorrow evening to talk with legislators about this if they have an opportunity.

      An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time. 
      1. Cyber Charter School Funding Reform 
      2. Cyber Charter School Funding Reform and Increased Accountability 
      3. Economic Furloughs  
  6. Committee Reports 
    1. Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee Report - Mrs. Clancy
      1. The next Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee is scheduled April 25 at 3:45 PM. 

        Mrs. Clancy reported above information. 
    2. Communications Committee Report - Mrs. Schroeder
      1. Ms. Leopold-Sharp reported the next meeting is scheduled prior to the April Planning Committee at 6:30 PM.  Congratulations to the girls swim team for winning districts! 
    3. Facilities Committee Report - Mr. DeHaas
      1. Facility Options and Elementary Building Room Utilization Study 

        Dr. Orban reported under the direction of the board, the administration provides the above draft and requests input from board members.

        A discussion continued.  Points of the discussion included - this item will come out of Planning Committee for future because it will impact all committees and under discussion topics on the new Planning Committee agenda format.

        Dr. Orban reported the administration will develop a timeline to keep board informed when to expect certain reports.  The principals will be source of building information, Dr. Maloney, curriculum and Dr. Merkle, personnel and staffing.  My goal is to move forward at the April Planning Committee. 
      2. Sprinturf and Company Field Maintenance Report 

        Mr.  DeHaas highlighted above information and the Facilities Committee wanted to keep the board informed.  No action is necessary on this item.
      3. The next Facilities Committee meeting is scheduled March 27 at 5:30 PM.  

        Mr. DeHaas reported above information. 
    4. Finance Committee Report - Mr. Miller
      1. The minutes of February 6 are provided.  

        Mr. Miller reported above information. 
      2. The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled April 3 at 5:00 PM.  

        Mr. Miller reported above information. 
    5. Personnel Committee Report - Mrs. Shaffer
      1. The minutes of February 12 are provided.  

        Mrs. Shaffer reported above information.

        Mr. Kirk asked about class size recommendation - is it board recommendation or administration recommendation with board approval?

        Dr. Orban responded class sizes are long standing guidelines in Board Policy and the board reaffirmed last May when the policy was updated.  Previously the administration recommended to the Board for grades 3-4-5 be comparable size.  The Board decided to have grades K-1-2 the same, grade 3 stand alone and grades 4-5 the same.  
    6. Policy Review Committee Report - Ms. Bates
      1. The minutes of February 26 are provided. 

        Ms. Bates reported above information. 
      2. The next Policy Review Committee meeting is scheduled March 26 at 3:45 PM.  

        Ms. Bates reported above information. 
  7. Public Comment  

    An opportunity was provided for public comment.  There was none at this time.

    Mr. Sears reported the high school musical production, 42nd Street, was a phenominal production!! 
  8. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned 8:52.

AN EXECUTIVE SESSION IS SCHEDULED IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE MEETING.

An Executive Session was held immediately following the meeting.
 

     

The York Suburban School District is an Equal Opportunity Education Institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religious creed, ancestry, sex, age, marital status or handicap, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Action of 1964, Title IX of the Education Act Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, in its activities, educational and vocational programs and in its recruitment and employment practices. Inquiries concerning the application of Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, the ADA and the implementing regulations may be referred to the Superintendent, 1800 Hollywood Drive, York, PA 17403, telephone (717) 885-1210.