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York County School Division staff will be working on a new budget plan through spring break to address a nearly $700,000 gap between the division’s funding request and the county’s offer.
Members of the Board of Supervisors and the School Board met for the third time Tuesday to brief each other on their proposed budgets, which are slated to be approved in May.
York County School Division Superintendent Victor Shandor’s proposed $129.9 million budget asks the county for $51,947,292 — a $1.03 million increase over what the school division received last year.
Meanwhile, Interim County Administrator Mark Carter’s proposed $133.4 million budget calls for a $51,275,444 contribution to the school — a $671,000 shortfall that Shandor said would be addressed after the spring break next week, when Shandor will present “options” to the school board for how the school division’s budget can be adjusted.
“One of the adjustments will not be compensation,” School Board Chairman Mark Medford told WYDaily after the meeting. “That’s a top priority for the school division.”
The next school board meeting is a work session scheduled for 6 p.m. April 13.
Shandor’s budget calls for $2.4 million in employee compensation increases, including a step increase for all eligible employees and an additional step increase for employees whose salaries have been frozen at the same step since 2010.
From 2010 through 2013, YCSD provided no salary increases for employees, and did not issue a step increase from 2010 to 2014.
Employees were left without step increases last year when the Board of Supervisors did not raise taxes to increase revenue, leaving the school division more than $2 million short of what they requested from the county for fiscal year 2015, which ends June 30.
Under Carter’s proposed budget for this fiscal year, which begins July 1, real estate taxes — which make up more than half of the county’s revenue — will once again remain the same at 75 cents per every $100 in assessed value.
The proposal would give the schools $361,000 of the $950,000 in new revenue the county expects to collect.
“I think the key that [the school board was] hoping to achieve was the basic assurance that the $361,000 is still there,” Carter told the supervisors after school board members had left York Hall. “I think they were looking for that assurance, and I think you all gave that to them.”
Carter said the other two school division priorities — new buses and upgraded technology, which are estimated to cost a total of about $1.3 million — could be funded by one-time year-end funds from the current budget, which ends June 30.
Carter also reiterated the joint agreement to push funding for a new elementary school — needed because of overcapacity issues in the Magruder and Yorktown zones — to fiscal year 2017, and focus instead on important repair and renovation projects such as the $2.9 million renovation of Bethel Manor Elementary School and roof repairs at York High School, Bethel Manor Elementary School and Yorktown Elementary as part of the $20.6 million in spending proposed in fiscal year 2016.
Both boards also agreed to use $450,000 from the county’s impact aid revenue stabilization fund — which consists of payments from the federal government for property taxes lost due to the presence of federally owned land within the county — to upgrade the schools’ emergency radio communication system.
“This is another opportunity for our teams to work together to make sure we get this right,” Shandor said about using the funds to improve the radio coverage.
Members from both boards said they were pleased with the discussions that took place during the three joint work sessions.
“It’s been really refreshing to see and hear the interchanges taking place, and we are seeing the benefits of that,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Shepperd Jr. said.
A series of work sessions for the supervisors to discuss the budget have been scheduled in April, with the next public hearing for citizens wishing to comment on the proposed budget planned for 7 p.m. April 23 in York Hall.
Citizens can find the proposed budget online or at the York County public libraries. Those wishing to give feedback can email the board at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 890-3220.
Correction: School division employees received a step increase in fiscal year 2015. A previous version of this article indicated they had not had a step increase since 2010.