Tuesday, May 28, 2013


York Public Schools became a school district on June 14, 1871. That's right; we'll celebrate our 142nd birthday in just a few weeks. When you stop and think about the pride and tradition that York Public Schools has it really leaves an impression. York Dukes are leaders across the state, nation, and world. We have alumni that are outstanding farmers, mechanics, electricians, nurses, attorneys, business owners, teachers, plumbers, physicians, contractors, cooks, military personnel, coaches, artists, musicians, actors, and much more.

It is great to see the active "alumni page" on Facebook and to see the pride that various graduates have when today's Dukes accomplish something noteworthy. I hope that ALL alumni feel good about the part they played in making York Public Schools a special place. Each and everyone that has a diploma from the York Dukes should be proud of the part they play in our storied tradition.

Let's all do our part to continue to make sure that being a York Duke means something special.

Go Dukes!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts and Prayers to Oklahoma Tornado Victims

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma on May 20th. To see two elementary schools go through that kind of trauma is a tough thing for any educator to witness. YPS practices our tornado drill each spring as part of a statewide practice. We feel as prepared as we could be for such an event. We will continue to keep Oklahomans in our thoughts and prayers.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Exciting Times for the Class of 2013

It's an exciting time as we prepare for the final week of school and graduation on Sunday. The Class of 2013 has many things to be proud of. It is a class full of talented young men and women that have bright futures. Many will pursue higher education degrees at two and four year institutions. Others will join the work force or military. We're equally proud of them all.

This is an exciting time but also a stressful one for the soon-to-be graduates. Continue to surround yourself with good people. Continue to stay close with your families. Continue to be your own harshest critic. Continue to have high expectations. We're proud of what you've done but we are even more proud of what you're going to do. We wish you the best of luck and are glad that you'll always be a Duke.

Go get 'em Class of 2013. Go chase your dreams. Go make a difference!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Property Taxes and State Aid

As YPS prepares to lose ANOTHER $550,000 in state aid for 2013-14, we've been working hard to make a couple of key points to leaders across the state.

It appears many have the perception that the dollars that school districts lose in state aid are made up for in revenue brought in by local property taxes. They will say that districts like York don’t need as much state aid because they have more farm ground (tax base) than other places. This simply isn’t true based on the actual, audited data from York Public Schools below. State aid losses are not made up by property taxes in a dollar for dollar exchange.

• In 2009-10, we received $990,237 LESS in state aid than the prior year
o Our local property taxes brought in $572,103 MORE than the prior year
o The loss in state aid outweighed our gain in property taxes by NEGATIVE $418,134

• In 2010-11, we received $53,814 MORE in state aid than the prior year
o Our local property taxes brought in $53,906 MORE than the prior year
o Overall growth of state aid and property taxes came to an increase of $107,720 which allowed for budget growth of less than 1% even during this “positive year.” That kind of minimal growth doesn’t even keep up with fixed costs like utilities, fuel, etc.

• In 2011-12, we received $871,571 LESS in state aid than the prior year
o Our local property taxes brought in $476,101 MORE than the prior year
o The loss in state aid outweighed our gain in property taxed by NEGATIVE $395,470

• In 2012-13, we are set to bring in just about $150,000 more than we spend so we don't have a lot of "wiggle room."

• In 2013-14, it looks as if we will receive $550,000 LESS in state aid than the prior year
o Our local property taxes will need to increase over 9.4% to make up the difference. The 15-year average valuation increase is only 4.7%!

I’d like to point out that we’ve worked hard to reduce our spending and to “control what we can control.” Our average cost per pupil is $10,405; which is below the state average of $10,709. The cost per pupil data is a way for school districts to measure their “efficiency,” and we’re proud to be below the state spending average for the first time in a while.
• In 2008-09, York Public Schools spent $13,813,663 while only bringing in $13,759,522.
• By 2011-12, we had turned that around by spending $12,797,934 and bringing in $13,047,672.

In 2008-09, York received $3,714,809 in state aid while our property taxes generated $6,472,903. By 2011-12, state aid had plummeted to $1,906,815 while our property taxes had to increase to $7,575,013. These figures seem to illustrate the burden that our local taxpayers have shouldered as state revenue continues to dwindle for us. It’s important to note that York is VERY lucky because the 15-year average for the valuation growth of land within our district boundaries is 4.7%. We had a 9.6% land valuation growth this year; which was abnormally high and factors against us with the 2013-14 state aid formula.

The numbers speak for themselves. State aid shifting away from smaller schools to larger schools is an alarming proposition for many. I am fiercely loyal to the students and patrons of our school district. I believe that our students deserve the best funding and educational opportunities that are available. York County is just important as any other county in our state. I wanted you to know the challenges we are facing and the frightening questions that lie ahead:
- What happens when land prices go down or the price of corn and beans decrease and our local property taxes can’t bring in what they currently do?
- What happens when our local property taxes can’t generate the additional revenue that is needed to run our school, to cope with fixed cost increases, to grow programs, to implement new technology?
- What happens if our state aid continues to nose dive?

Rest assured that we will do our best to stay on top of these important issues and to deal with the continued onslaught of decreased state funding. Our leadership team is constantly working on projections, 3-year plans, etc. We will do whatever we can to make sure we continue to offer the best programming and staffing for our community’s most cherished resource; our students.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, and/or concerns.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Great Prom

On Saturday evening, April 27, the junior class hosted the Annual Junior-Senior Prom. The juniors chosen theme was "Midnight Masquerade." They decorated the gym in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold and green. The weather cooperated by providing some beautiful sunshine and comfortable temperatures.

After the catered meal from Chances "R," which was delicious, the Duke and Duchess were crowned. This year's Duke and Duchess were Cameron Gocke and Cassie Sikes. Congratulations to all candidates.

Great job, juniors! Thanks to Katie Burger and other staff members who made it such a wonderful night as well.

I'd also like to thank the numerous parents that spearheaded the "Post Prom" activities at YMS. We appreciate your work and dedication in providing fun and safe late night activities for our students.