Central York, West York and York Suburban school districts all have been roped into the York City financial recovery process.
The school boards for all three are being contacted by Chief Recovery Officer David Meckley about whether they'd be open for a discussion on consolidating with city schools.
The emphasis, as Meckley and members of the district's financial recovery advisory committee, is on "open for a discussion," so as to avoid a flat out "yes or no" scenario on such a grand proposal. None of the districts contacted Friday, the day after Thursday's meeting, said they are anywhere close to having an opinion.
Consolidating with neighboring districts is just one of a few ideas the advisory committee is kicking around to help address York City schools' financial and academic woes. The district was placed on moderate financial recovery status by the state and must have its board vote on Meckley's proposal; Meckley is using the committee to brainstorm and come up with a recommendation.
Going to all charter schools or finding an internal transformation method are other options being seriously considered, although all are in early stages of research. Still, the timeline is ticking - a proposal will likely be crafted by April.
Preferences: York City administrators are pushing for the transformation option, since it would allow them to retain control of the district and come up with their own solutions.
Central York officials said they are deferring comment until they get more information, while West York school board president Rodney Drawbaugh said he needs to go over it with his board.
At first blush, consolidating would, at a minimum, "require a lot of discussion," he said.
Drawbaugh said he's aware of York City's struggles, as West York is going through its own financial issues.
"I think we have to look at any idea that makes sense," Drawbaugh said.
York Suburban's board will be discussing the idea at the Monday, March 4 meeting. Board president Lynne Leopold-Sharp deferred comment until then. Superintendent Kate Orban, who is a member of York City's advisory committee, said if time weren't an issue, consolidation would seem more like a viable idea. But the districts would only have a couple of months to coordinate. And that's not to mention logistical issues such as who pays for York City's debt service, where do teachers go, and how to do you manage tax levels.
"Those are, whether we like it or not, obstacles we have to overcome, even if philosophically we agree," with the premise, Orban said.
Meckley told the advisory committee he's hoping to hear back from the three districts sometime this month. The committee next meets Wednesday, March 13 at 6 p.m.
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