Northern York officials project budget increases after Washington Twp. students enroll

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Northern High School in Dillsburg, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Northern York County School District officials anticipate adding Washington Township into the district's boundaries will increase local revenues by about $3.4 million. 

Administrators presented the projected impacts of the transition to the district's taxpayers Tuesday night. This was the second of two forums the district held on the transition.

The first forum last week addressed questions from Washington Township residents, who are concerned about how the transition will affect their students following a decadelong legal battle that resulted in the township's coming secession from the Dover Area School District. 

Approximately 220 students are expected to transition to Northern York from Dover  effective July 1. Northern business manager Jason Young said he expects this to translate to about $3.4 million in additional local revenues for the district. 

Washington Township taxpayers will pay the same rate as all Northern York County households starting July 1. Young said he anticipates the transition will have no impact on current Northern taxpayers. 

More:Washington Twp. parents vent about move to Northern school district

More:Pa. Supreme Court upholds secession from Dover Area School District

Superintendent Steven Kirkpatrick said he wants the transition to have a "no worse than neutral" impact on the district's budget. There are still some major financial questions unanswered from the state and Dover, so he said the district cannot commit to a solid transition plan yet. 

Officials do have an idea of some of the general impacts, however. Young said the transition is expected to increase district expenses in several areas, including staffing costs. Assistant Superintendent Jason Beals said the added enrollment will require hiring additional teachers for several elementary grade levels 

According to the district presentation, the transition is expected to add two to 25 students to each grade level across district schools. The projection assumes that all Washington Township students will switch to Northern schools this fall, which likely will not be the case. 

Northern York County's tentative transition plan will allow most Washington Township  students up to three years to stay at Dover schools before switching districts.  The exceptions are students heading into grades K-2, 6 or 9. 

At the first forum, Washington Township parents expressed concern over switching their students to a different school district, particularly for families with multiple Dover students. Kirkpatrick said officials identified this as a key concern and are working on a plan to prevent siblings from being taught at two different districts. 

While Washington  Township parents asked dozens of questions at the earlier forum, Northern parents did not have any questions for district officials Tuesday night.