York City School Board started the process of its state-mandated financial recovery plan on Wednesday by creating a new committee.
The Financial Recovery Committee will help craft the plan that will ultimately be penned by York City's state-appointed Chief Recovery Officer, David Meckley, as the state decided to intervene in York City's finances in order to get them back on track.
The committee, which will meet one to two times a month, will be comprised of York City administrators, board members, community members and other involved educators.
Meckley, giving his first presentation in his new capacity, told the audience he wants to make the entire plan an open and transparent process, and that's he's already promised the school board there will be no surprises in the final submitted plan.
Meckley's plan will carry significant weight. The school board will have to vote whether to accept the plan, and it could include a wide range of ideas from charter school conversations to cutting programs. If the board votes against it, the district has a year to reach an agreement or the state will appoint a receiver who will have more power to enforce a plan.
Meckley said he hopes there will be some consensus on the ideas before he submits a plan for a vote.
"That doesn't say it will be unanimous, that doesn't say it will be easy," he said.
The plan will be written by him but will not solely be his ideas.
"It should be my description of an idea that makes sense for the district," Meckley said.
Meckley revealed some details on the entire process, all meant to get York City back on the right path financially after several years in a row of $10 million-plus deficits and at one point needing to borrow state funding.
The timeline from designation as a district in moderate financial recovery, which was Dec. 12, to plan submission to the school board is 90 days, he said, which would put that date in March. There is some leeway, though, as an extension can be sought.
The Department of Education said York City's financial recovery plan could directly impact the district's 2013-14 budget if the plan is approved before the district budget is approved, a plausible scenario since the budget isn't due until late spring.
Meckley, a Spring Garden Township businessman, emphasized he "loves the community" and wants their input, as multiple public forums will be held to give the committee ideas.
"We can all second guess, should there be financial recovery, should this be happening. But it's here. It's happening," Meckley said. "I want to work with all of you to make this happen."
Committee members will be announced by January 2, which is also the date the school board will hold a public interview for its candidates to replace Beverly Atwater on the school board.
That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the administration office.
The committee won't meet in public, Meckley said, but the public forums, which will start in January, will give the community a chance to get committee updates, Meckley said.
In other action: York City School Board honored several students and also approved two acting principal positions.
Craig Linn is moving up from assistant principal to acting principal at Goode K-8 school, and William Penn assistant principal Sue Ann Moyer is now Jackson K-8 school's acting principal.
Devers sixth grader Abnel Rivera, who won a city poster contest; Thurman Fogleman, an 11th grader who earned a seat in the District 7 Band; and high schoolers Garia Kinard and Jacob Dubs, who boosted their test scores and won Kindle tablets as part of a drawing, were all recognized by the board.
Superintendent Deborah Wortham said a Kindle will now be handed out regularly to the winner of a random drawing, with William Penn students qualifying by performing at grade-level ability or above on the school's academic progress testing.
Wortham, board president Margie Orr, York City Mayor Kim Bracey and Martin Library each have committed to donate money to buy the Kindles as a way to motivate students.