The cash-strapped York City School District will borrow $3 million from the state, which placed the district on "moderate" financial recovery status in late 2012.

Under the direction of a state-appointed financial recovery officer, the district has been implementing a recovery plan since the summer that seeks to improve academics, finances and security in its schools.

The plan, approved by the state Department of Education in June, includes a provision that allows the district to take advantage of the state's "financial recovery transitional loan program."

The district will repay the interest-free loan at a rate of $300,000 per year until 2024.

York City school board members approved the loan at a meeting Wednesday. There was no discussion before the vote.

Richard Snodgrass, the district's business manager, said borrowing the money is a "prudent" thing to do.

Simply put, the district will use the money to pay the bills, Snodgrass said. The money is not earmarked for a specific part of the district's budget, he said.

The district's cash balance gets dangerously low around this time of year, he said.

"We got into the recovery plan because we had a negative fund balance," Snodgrass said.

During last year's budget process, the district faced a deficit of about $1 million in its fund balance, he said.

Snodgrass said he believes the loan is "a one-time option" for the district.

Assuming the recovery plan is successful in its goal of improving the district's financial outlook, York City should be in a good position to repay the loan each year, Snodgrass said.

The district will also get some help from Helen Thackston Charter School.

York City's school board approved a five-year renewal of Helen Thackston's charter in February.

The district and charter school reached an agreement, which includes a provision that Helen Thackston will help the district repay the transitional loan.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.