A grant worth nearly $250,000 will help the York City School District fine-tune a key part of its financial recovery plan.

Superintendent Eric Holmes said the district will use the money to pay for professional development and training sessions in the coming months.

"We're going to be teaching people how the system works, what they're supposed to do, how they're supposed to work together," he said.

The city school district was declared financially "distressed" by state lawmakers in July of 2012. With the help of a state-appointed recovery officer, the district developed a plan to turn things around.

Known as the internal transformation model, the plan was proposed by union and administration leaders.

Among its features is site-based management — a somewhat abstract philosophy that Holmes described as welcoming "all good ideas, no matter where they come from, as long as they're good for kids."

"We need to come to a consensus as educators as to what we want that to be in our district," he said. "The bottom line for me is that site-based management is taking a look at the decision-making process, and any good idea, no matter where it comes from, should be considered."

Site-based management also opens the door to some differences among the district's seven schools.

For example, Holmes said, schools have committees devoted to a range of issues, from discipline to academic programs.

The grant will help the district find ways to make the committee structure more efficient, he said.

"We want to give each school the opportunity to craft those programs and those sorts of strategies that best work for it, while still maintaining a common district philosophy," Holmes said.

Holmes said district administrators worked with the teachers' union to pursue the grant from the National Education Association.

Bruce Riek, president of the York City Education Association, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.