Monday, March 20, 2023

YCSD: Funding Uncertain for New Elementary School

YCSD_SealA proposed $23 million elementary school in York County School Division may not pass through the Board of Supervisors this year and cameras will likely be installed at entrances of all elementary schools three years earlier than planned, according to a presentation made to the school board Monday.

At Monday’s York County School Board work session, CFO Dennis Jarrett presented to the school board his areas of interest in the proposed capital improvement program. The CIP is a spending plan for the division that must be submitted to the county each year; it is both a request for funding and an outline for proposed future spending.

The CIP outlines 10 years of spending and each year items are added, subtracted or moved around in the spending schedule.

Jarrett said funding is uncertain for a new elementary school, which would be built on land the school division owns near Yorktown Middle School. He said the York County Board of Supervisors may not approve the proposed $23 million elementary school, which YCSD has slated on its CIP to enter the planning phase in 2016.

“It’s a significant amount of money that will drive a significant amount of debt service,” he said. “That’s what the issue is.”

The new school project would require $2.3 million for planning and design and $20.7 million for construction of the building in fiscal year 2017.

It’s not a hopeless request, Jarrett said, because the division has a few things on its side. For example, he said, the county is well aware of the need for another elementary school. On Oct. 16, Associate Director for Capital Plans and Projects Mark Tschirhart told the board recent developments in the county will contribute a population increase significant enough to create a need for the new school. 

Also, he said, the Grafton Complex that houses both Grafton Middle and Grafton High will be paid off in fiscal year 2016 – freeing up about $2 million per year. However, the board is showing a total of about $40 million more in its 10-year spending than it did last year – largely due to the new elementary school – which Jarrett said was going to be very obvious to supervisors.

“That is going to be a very significant challenge,” Jarrett said. “I don’t want to downplay that.”

At Monday’s meeting, chief operating officer Carl James highlighted that one item – $200,000 for new cameras at elementary school entrances – had been moved from fiscal year 2018 to 2015.

Because of aging equipment, board members decided to make the cameras a priority for elementary school spending. The $200,000 cost would cover cameras for all entrances to hallways, a digital video recorder and monitors.

Another $400,000 is allotted in the CIP for exterior cameras in elementary schools in fiscal year 2018.

On Nov. 7, the proposed CIP will be published before heading to a public hearing at the division’s Nov. 18 regular meeting. On Dec. 2, the school board will hold its work session on the CIP before taking a vote on Dec. 16. That week, it will head to the York County Board of Supervisors for consideration.

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