Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lunch and Learn with YPS

As part of our continued effort to communicate at a high level with our parents and patrons, we are going to host quarterly "Lunch and Learn" sessions this year. We will also host a "Community Coffee" per semester as well.

Our first "Lunch and Learn" will take place on Tuesday, October 11th from Noon - 1:00 at the YPS District Office on the east side of the YHS campus. This is a "come one, come all" event where EVERYONE is invited. We're hoping for a large turnout of parents, grandparents, patrons, and business folks. For lunch, we will have a FREE sandwich bar with chips, cookies, and bottled water.

Each "Lunch and Learn" will feature two various presentations for our attendees to learn about. On October 11th, we will showcase the YPS Transportation Department and Early Childhood Programming. Troy Rowe, our transportation supervisor, will discuss driver training, bus safety protocol, and GPS/camera systems in our buses to maximize student safety. Kris Friesen, our PreK-5th grade principal, will give an overview of our Family Foundations and Pre-School offerings and the importance of birth-to-five programming.

Please email me at mike.lucas@yorkdukes.org if you plan to attend. That will help us know how much FREE food to put out for lunch. We are hoping for a large crowd.

I believe attendees will be fascinated to learn about our transportation department and all of the things they have to do on a regular basis to ensure student safety. Our audience will also leave with a much better understanding of all the programs we have to work with students and their families long before they enter kindergarten.

We hope to see YOU on October 11th at noon at the YPS district office!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Husker Football Ticket Raffle for YPS Foundation


Thanks to UTC Aeropsace Systems, the York Public Schools Foundation has TWO tickets to the Nebraska vs. Maryland football game on November 19th available for silent bid.

Silent bids can be made by calling the YPS District Office at 402-362-6655 ext. 4 and asking for Gayla Knight or Mike Lucas or emailing mike.lucas@yorkdukes.org.

Minimum bid is $150 for both tickets, which is just $75 each. Face value is $65 each. Both tickets must be purchased together. No single ticket sales.

Bids will be accepted until 2:00 PM CST on Friday, October 14th. The winner will be announced at that evening’s York vs. Seward football game at East Hill Park. You do not need to be present to win.

These 2 tickets are located at Gate 14, Section 38, Row 36, Seats 9 & 10.

All proceeds will go towards Project Phil-Anthropy, to help students in need, in honor of Phil Towle.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nothing but Random Thoughts

This week's blog will be nothing but random thoughts on a wide variety of topics....proceed accordingly....

* I've always believed (and always will) in showing the utmost respect during the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. That doesn't mean I agree with everything that goes on in our country. It means I cherish the opportunities we have as Americans. It means I am grateful to the brave men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, so we can keep that freedom. It sickens me that professional athletes making millions of dollars feel the need to disrespect our brave men and women of the Armed Forces by kneeling during the National Anthem. Now, across the country, we're seeing college and high school kids do the same. What an absolute shame. The Pledge and National Anthem aren't about you or me. They're about those that are brave enough to protect us. I fully support those that don't salute the flag as part of their religion....that's a different circumstance. I never will support those that for non-religious reasons want to make a spectacle out of our National Anthem.

* We are saddened by the news that Dr. Paul Toms passed away this weekend. He was a proud York Duke alumni that went on to serve York Public Schools as its superintendent. He retired in 1999. He was a visionary that began self-funded insurance here. He was an "old school" leader that was very results-oriented. I always enjoyed our visits. He would often stop by the house when I was working in the yard and we would just talk "school" for a little bit. He was such a proud and important member of our community. We will miss Dr. Paul Toms.

* Last week was a wonderful time in York with "Yorkfest" and Homecoming. Thanks to the York Chamber of Commerce for all of their work. There were numerous activities for kids and adults of all ages. It was a fun time to celebrate all that York has to offer.

* Congratulations to the City of York for being named "Community of the Year" by the Nebraska Diplomats. This is a nice accomplishment and showcases many of the improvements being made around town.

* I was very lucky to spend the last eight days with my 96-year old grandmother ("Mammy"), her best friend, Miss Jackie, and my mama as they all visited from Florida. I miss my family dearly and wish I got to see them more than a few days each year. Mammy has been a tremendous influence throughout my life. My mama is an inspiration for never giving up. I love my family very much and often think back to times when we were all together. Mothers and grandparents are such special people. Memories last a lifetime!

Have a great week.

Go Dukes!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

This is a BIG week in York as we celebrate "Yorkfest" and Alumni/Homecoming Weekend. We appreciate the Chamber of Commerce for all of their hard work. We hope to see you at numerous community and school events! It's always a GREAT DAY TO BE A YORK DUKE!

• YHS Girls Golf at Lexington Invite at 9:30 AM
• YHS Boys Tennis Invitational at York High School at 10:00 AM
• YHS Cross Country at Aurora Invitational at 4:45 PM
• Alumni Pep Rally in East Hill Park with YPS Foundation Tailgate Meal from 5:00-6:45 PM
• York Dukes vs. Schuyler Warriors Football Game at 7:00 PM -- Halftime Recognition of all alumni in attendance
• Yorkfest activities include:
o Neon at Nite 5K and 1-Mile Glow Runs (registration at 7:30)
o “The Back Forty” Street Dance from 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM
• The York Elks Club at 121 W. 6th Street will also be open until 1:00 AM and provide a spot for alumni to gather

• YHS Volleyball at Wahoo Neumann Invite at 9:00 AM
• YHS Softball at Columbus Lakeview Invite at 9:00 AM
• YHS Girls Golf at Aurora Invite at 9:00 AM
• Yorkfest activities include:
o Pancake Feed from 7:00 – 9:30 AM
o Car Show at 9:00 AM
o Downtown Parade at 10:00 AM featuring the YHS BAND
o Craft Fair from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
o Floats after the Floats
o Kids’ Carnival Rides begin after the parade
o Skate Contest at 2:00 PM
• YHS HOMECOMING DANCE for current high school students
• “Alumni Watch Party” for the Huskers vs. Wyoming Football Game at 11:00 AM
o The York Elks Club at 121 W. 6th Street is open until 1:00 AM and will have lots of burgers, etc.

• Yorkfest activities include:
o Co-Ed Slow Pitch Softball Tournament, 8 AM – 6 PM (Contact the York Chamber of Commerce)
o Community Inspirational Service featuring Dr. Tom Osborne at Levitt Stadium at 1:00 PM

Helpful websites and social media highlights:
• Wessels Living History Farm (great family fun) http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/
• York Chamber of Commerce http://yorkchamber.org/
• York Country Club www.yorkcountryclub.net
• York Public Schools www.yorkpublic.org
• York County Visitors Bureau yorkcountyvisitors.org
• FACEBOOK - York High Alumni - York, Nebraska
• TWITTER - #yorkdukes

Thursday, September 1, 2016

School Funding - Beating a Dead Horse

The 2015-16 fiscal year for York Public Schools came to an end on August 31st. York Public Schools now has even more data to show that our over-reliance on local property taxes isn’t due to “local spending” like some state-level officials want us to believe, it is due to the ineffective way our schools are funded.

• We spent $22,968 LESS than we did the year before
o This comes to about $11,200 per student, which is well below the statewide average of cost per pupil, a measure that some use to determine “efficiency” of school spending

• Our average annual spending increase since 2008 has been only 1.5%
o We’ve made tough cuts and now have 5.25 fewer teachers today than we did 10 years ago
 We also have 18 fewer support staff members than we did 10 years ago
• Our enrollment has grown by more than 12% in that same time span

o Our total revenue for 2015-16 was $80,467 LESS than the year before
 Despite our local property taxes INCREASING by $999,780
• Let that sink in for a minute…..$999,780 more in local property taxes than the year before yet our total revenue goes down….

• You see, local property taxes aren’t lining our school district pockets with cash – they’re simply replacing state and federal revenues, often at a deficit

As we look ahead to the 2016-17 fiscal year, the picture gets even worse but we continue to hear state-level officials say that the state doesn’t levy property taxes and “the problem” lies with locally elected boards that spend too much. Locally elected officials get thrown under the bus when this is a statewide issue and the school funding formula is underfunded and manipulated to gobble up local property taxes.

• Our state aid DECREASES another $1.25 Million
o We are up against the maximum levy lid so we will request $300,000 more in local property taxes from you

• However, despite you paying more local property taxes again, our total revenue is projected to DECREASE by another $600,000

• We plan to increase our spending by about $40,000 (.002%) and have a decent chance of not increasing at all

We’re working hard on this issue and have reached out to many farmers and large landowners and will continue to do so. We want to work hand-in-hand with our agriculture community as we work for true property tax relief. We’re trying to bring some possible solutions to York County this fall/winter for discussion. Thanks for your support.

Mike Lucas
York Public Schools