York County School Board Newsletter

YCSD School Board Notes - February 2014

I am writing to share information with you regarding our most recent School Board special meeting, held earlier this week on Monday, February 10.

Financial Matters

The Superintendent updated us regarding his proposed operating budget that he subsequently released yesterday. What level of quality schools do we want to maintain in York County? The proposed budget seeks an additional $2.9 million from the County, which would represent a 5.8% increase in the county contribution. The additional funds would NOT restore most of the cuts of recent years. This amount could be reduced if the General Assembly decides to allocate more funds for our schools than anticipated.

One of the top budget priorities of the School Board and Superintendent is to revise compensation in order to make it more competitive so that we can attract and retain a staff that meets our highest expectations. In comparison with our local comparator group, our teacher pay plans generally rank in the middle third. Aspects of the plans rank in the bottom third. The rank of our pay plans contrasts greatly with our rankings in terms of student achievement, where we consistently rank in the top third. For example, we rank #1 of 9 in student scores on math SOL exams, #1 in student scores on English, and #2 in graduation rates.

We also rank in the top third of our local comparator group in terms of the state’s assessment of York County’s ability to fund K-12 education, but we spend the fewest dollars per student of any of these divisions. Our demonstrated record of cost effectiveness gives us credibility when we state that we need additional dollars to sustain and build on the excellence of our schools.

The Superintendent’s Proposed Budget of $128.6 million includes almost $3 million to make compensation more competitive. It would revise the teacher pay plans so that they rank in the top third of our comparator group. The average difference in annual salary between a step (pay level) on the current plans and the same step on the proposed plan is $423. The additional funds would also move staff members to the next step (pay level), as was generally the practice at the start of each new year until five years ago. Finally, the additional funds would restore one of the five missed step increases for eligible staff members.

Here are a few other key facts relating to the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget:

  • It includes $2.4 million to address rising student enrollment and to meet federal & state mandates relating to retirement expenditures and special education.
  • It adds a total of 2.5 School Counselors at the secondary level (including a restoration of 1.5 positions cut in recent years). We still would only have one School Counselor for every 301 secondary students, which is 20% more than the recommended case load for Secondary School Counselors.
  • It restores the $300,000 (50% reduction) in funds for textbooks and instructional materials. Next year most of these funds would be used to purchase books for elementary school students. This would still leave us on a 13-year replacement cycle for textbooks, often resulting in outdated materials in poor condition.
  • It restores $765,000 of the funds needed to maintain our technology infrastructure. This restores a portion of the $1.1 million that was cut in recent years to the technology operating budget accounts for hardware and software maintenance. The funds would pay for storage networks and servers needed to operate our technology infrastructure. We would continue to use a longer replacement cycle for computers than most divisions, businesses, and families. This would not address demand for additional student computers or bandwidth.

These facts provide limited insight regarding the Superintendent’s Proposed Operating Budget. For more details, including the complete Superintendent’s Proposed Operating Budget, please visit the FY15 Budget page of the division website.

The School Board is scheduled to adopt its own proposed budget on March 24.  This budget may reflect revisions to the Superintendent’s proposal. It is the School Board proposed budget that will be forwarded to the County Board of Supervisors for their consideration during their budget process.

I encourage you to provide School Board members, members of the Board of Supervisors, and our state legislators with input regarding funding for our schools. Contact information for each of these three groups is available via this link. If you email members of our Board of Supervisors or the state legislature, you are welcome to copy me at mmedford@ycsd.york.va.us.
You are also encouraged to provide input at the following meetings.

  • 7:00 p.m., Monday, 2/24: School Board, Public Hearing, FY15 Budget, York Hall;
  • 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, 3/18: Board of Supervisors, Presentation of Proposed FY15 Budget & Public Comment Period, York Hall; and
  • 7:00 p.m., Monday, 3/24, School Board Meeting with Public Comment Period, York Hall.

Academic Matters

In other business, we received an evaluation report regarding our secondary counseling program. The evaluation was guided by a committee whose members included counselors, parents, a community member, teachers, and administrators. The evaluation included a time-task analysis of how counselors spent their time in a five-day snapshot, as well as a survey of parents, students, and counselors. Many survey respondents reported satisfaction with guidance services. Respondents expressed interest in additional programs, services, and information, particularly as it relates to post high school opportunities as well as career and vocational planning. The committee recommended consideration of additional school counseling staff to decrease the student to counselor ratio to reflect recommended staffing ratios. Other recommendations included establishing a committee to identify services, programs, and web resources to be consistent across the school division.


Thank you for your support of our students, schools, and school division.

Mark Medford
School Board Chair
On Behalf of the York County School Board

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