A West York Area School District PTO could lose its biggest fundraiser if the borough council can renege on a contract it has with the organization.
During a council meeting earlier this month, president Brian Wilson questioned whether the borough can retract a five-year agreement approved last year that allows the PTO for West York elementary schools to park cars at the borough's Shelly Park during the York Fair for 2014-18.
With Loucks Elementary School slated to shutter in the near future, Wilson said he'd like to see money raised stay within borough limits.
He said the borough could use the added cash flow by parking cars itself, adding other organizations in the borough could also take over the fair parking.
But a PTO official said losing the decades-long fundraiser would only hurt students in the district's elementary schools.
Funding: "We usually raise anywhere from $10,000 to $13,000, depending on the weather" each year, said Sabrina Murphy, chairperson of fair parking. "It benefits all the elementary schools."
The borough also gets a piece of the proceeds, receiving $1,000 or 15 percent, whichever is greater, each year. Last year, the PTO gave the borough just less than $2,000, she said.
With the PTO on the hook by the district to pay for one field trip for each grade at the schools, the fair parking money comes in handy. The PTO is expected to pay $18,000 to $22,000 for field trips over the course of five years, Murphy said.
Money raised from the volunteer-led fair parking also goes toward funding other activities, such as book fairs and assemblies, for students. It is also partially used to buy supplies for teachers and gym bags for sixth-grade students before they move on to the middle school.
If the PTO were to lose fair parking, it would have to do more fundraisers, such as having students sell items, that might not be as successful, she said.
Huge draw: Shelly Park, which sits between Stanton and Filbert streets, is just across North Highland Avenue from the York Expo Center, making it a prime location for people looking for a parking spot near the fair.
Fair parking has also been a tradition of sorts for West York students and parents. Typically, four to six parents volunteer to park cars each day during the 10-day run of the fair, Murphy said.
Murphy said the PTO is willing to discuss the contract and possibly renegotiate with the borough.
"But to take it (the contract) away two months away from fair parking" it'll really put us in a pinch," Murphy said.
The vote: The council that voted in favor of the contract late last year is drastically different from the one serving residents now. Four of the seven members on council last year were either voted out of office in November or resigned their posts.
Wilson, who was on council last year, voted against the contract.
Borough solicitor Mieke Driscoll said during the July 7 council meeting she'll look into any "lame duck" rules the passage of the agreement might fall under.
The council meets Monday at 6 p.m. at the borough office, 1700 W. Philadelphia St. Numerous members of the PTO are expected to attend and some will meet with Wilson just before the meeting to discuss the contract, Murphy said.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.