Tuesday, September 30, 2014

YPS Foundation Meal Deal and Raffle on Friday, October 3rd

The York Public Schools Foundation is hosting a Homecoming Meal Deal sponsored by Henderson State Bank beginning at 5:00 PM on Friday, October 3rd at East Hill Park. Pork Loin Sandwiches, Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, and/or Hot Dogs are all available with your choice of chips, dessert, and drink. This will be a "Free Will Offering" with the minimum suggested amount being $5 per meal.

The YPS Foundation will also be raffling off a $50 Wendy's gift card, $300 worth of Chamber Checks, and a $250 gas card donated by Central Valley Ag.

We appreciate the YPS Foundation and their continued dedication to the students of our school system. They continue to raise funds to help support technology integration across the curriculum, fine arts, robotics, and other specialized programming opportunities for our great students.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lesson Learned from Country Music....

First off, I need to apologize to all English teachers and grammar police that might read this. The word "ain't" will be used in this blog but only because I'm quoting from a great song.

I've always enjoyed country music and Jake Owen has become one of my favorites over the past few years. He has a song that talks about, "we all want what we ain't got." His lyrics go on to say, "we ain't happy where we are, there's greener grass in the neighbor's yard; a bigger house and a faster car; we ain't happy where we are."

As I listened to this song over the weekend, it got me thinking. We really are hard to please. Many of us spend more time worrying about what we don't have instead of enjoying what we do have. I am extremely guilty of this. Sometimes, we need to sit back and be appreciative of what we are lucky enough to have. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to strive for more; it just means we need to enjoy where we're at more often that we do.

"It" gets crazy "out there." The "real world" is a tough place. Jake Owen's song has made for stop, for at least a week, and be more appreciative of what we have. One thing I've learned over my career is that things are never as great as you think they are nor are they as awful as you think they are.

I'm going to work on enjoying the journey more instead of putting almost all of my focus on the destination.

Have an awesome week!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Property Taxes, School Revenue, and School Spending

This blog is intended to provide our patrons with some updated facts and figures pertaining to our budget and tax request and your hard earned tax dollars.

Spending YOUR Tax Dollars

• Five years ago, in 2008-09, YPS spent $13,813,663
o YPS spent $14,319,658 in 2013-14
 This is just a 3.6% ($505,995) increase in spending over five years
• Our average spending increased annually by just .72%

School District Revenue
• Five years ago, in 2008-09, YPS received a total of $13,759,522
o YPS received a total of $14,411,482 in 2013-14
 This is just a 4.7% ($651,960) increase in total revenue over five years
• Our average total revenue increased annually by just .94%

YOUR Property Taxes
• Our 2014-15 total tax levy is $1.24
o This is 4.2 pennies smaller than it was in 2013-14
o This is 5.1 pennies smaller than it was in 2012-13
• In 2014-15, we are asking for $10,049,494 of your property tax dollars
o This is an increase of $2,982,099; which comes to 42.2% over just five years ago!
o So even though our levy is lower, the amount of property tax you pay is higher
• The point we want to emphasize over and over again is that even though many of you are paying much higher property taxes, it is not leading to additional spending at YPS. It is simply helping to fill in for declining receipts from the state and federal level. For example, state aid to YPS has decreased from $3,700,000 in 2008-09 to just $1,447,000 in 2013-14 and now $2,214,000 in 2014-15.
o Even with over a 42% increase in property tax request in the past five years, our total receipts have increased just $651,960; which is just 4.7%, or .94% annually, as shown above. We haven’t been able to provide more property tax relief due to decreases in state and federal funding.
 We’ve had to skip curriculum adoptions, technology upgrades, and vehicle purchases to make sure our disbursements weren’t higher than our receipts.

We are working hard to try and maximize the use of your tax dollars. We’re working with various leaders across the state on potential ideas for property tax relief. We understand the concerns out there. They are not being ignored. If you’d like to visit in person, or have me come speak to a group, club, or coffee crew, please call or email; and we can set it up.

Go Dukes!

Mike Lucas
402-366-6491 (Cell)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Proud to be an American

September 11th will forever be a solemn day of remembrance after what happened in 2001. We live in the greatest country in the world and we need to be more respectful and appreciative of that every day, not just on Independence Day and September 11th. Every day.

I still get choked up thinking about 9-11-01. My stepmother was an active flight attendant for TWA at that time. I was an elementary principal in West Point, Nebraska with two daughters that were 8 and 6 and a 1-year old son. When I first heard of the planes crashing into the twin towers, I tried to call my step mom to see if she was home. About a half hour went by before I could verify that she was NOT flying that day and that she was safe.

I will never forget Charlene Recker, an awesome 2nd grade teacher, at WPES. Her son was in the Pentagon that day. She came into the office pretty shook up, obviously. I covered her class for a while as she tried to contact him to see if he was ok. As I remember it, an hour or so went by and Charlene had no verification if he was or wasn't ok. She came back to class. A little while later, I answered the phone in my office and it was her son calling to tell her that he was ok. I will never forget the pure relief and joy that Charlene had as I handed her the phone. It touched my heart.

The next day, we gathered all of our K-5th grade students into the gym and told them that they are "safe" and that we're going to be ok. This was the message First Lady Bush encouraged us to tell all children. It was an emotional time. I held it together during the "assembly" but balled like a baby in my office for about 30-minutes afterwards with the door shut.

We shall never forget the victims of 9-11-01. We continue to mourn the lives of so many that left us way too soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Every Day is a Great Day to be a York Duke

The 2014-15 school year is already in full swing. No matter how much preparation is done in June and July, nothing gets you ready for that August rush when school begins again. We're off to a fantastic start. Our enrollment is currently 1,268 K-12 students. In August of 2009, we had a K-12 enrollment of 1,186. It is great to have 82 more Dukes with us today than just a few years ago. This equates to a 6.9% enrollment increase.

Our new agronomy academy is going well. This is a joint venture with Centennial and Seward Public Schools with financial support from the four major seed corn companies along Highway 34. I believe we have seven students (juniors and seniors) learning about agronomy careers and concepts this semester in this new course.

Board members Dr. Pat Hotovy, Barb Skaden, Jean Vincent, and Matt Holthe were recognized at last night's NASB Region Meeting for earning various levels of award for being active board members attending workshops and conferences.

It's great to listen to the YHS Band each morning as they prepare for their upcoming parade season.

I've been able to get into classrooms at YES, YMS, and YHS within the past week and it is awesome to see such great students and staff working together.

All of our fall activities are in full swing. We hope to see you at a York Duke activity soon.

Life is good. It really is!