The cash-strapped York City School District needs all the help it can get.
Facing yet another massive deficit -- $19 million for the 2012-13 school year, after the current year's $25 million deficit -- the district is planning another round of drastic cuts and teacher layoffs.
The state Legislature wants to restore some education funding to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed 2012-13 budget, which would allow the district to restore kindergarten classes. But the governor has indicated he's skeptical, and there's no guarantee he'll sign off on the plan.
For now, at least, York City schools will have to make do with much less.
In times like these, support from the community is more important than ever.
Several groups already are stepping up to help fill holes in the district's curriculum.
Just Monday, two groups approached the school board with offers to start new programs for students.
One is called, appropriately enough, Bridging the Gap. Funded by the Salvation Army, it would be run at the various elementary schools, with two full-time staff members and about 10 to 20 volunteers mentoring and tutoring fifth-grade students.
District Judge Ronald Haskell, who has been working with a team of community members to find ways to help students succeed, says fifth grade is when students encounter problems that often lead them to drop out later.
The other is a summer tutoring program for select ninth- and 10th-graders through Project Grad, a nonprofit company that helps provide educational opportunities to students. It would be funded through a grant from Crispus Attucks YouthBuild charter school.
York City schools now offer summer courses for seniors, but not for ninth- and 10th-graders, noted John Spidaliere, a consultant with Project Grad.
Complaining about inadequate state funding isn't likely to sway our Republican-controlled Legislature. It's response to warnings about just how dire the situation is in the York City School District wasn't more money, but rather a plan to take control of district.
The Senate Education Committee approved a bill last month that would allow the state to take over York and three other financially distressed school districts, with conservators appointed to oversee their finances and draft a recovery plan.
It might come to that.
But if the community wants to keep the district in local hands, it will need more organizations, groups or even individuals to help lift it up.