200 Washington Twp. students on track to switch to Northern York schools in July

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
The Northern York County School District Administration Office Thursday, June 8, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

More than 200 Dover Area School District students are on track to transition into the Northern York County School District next week after nearly a decade of negotiations. 

The 218 Dover students residing in Washington Township will transition to Northern York on July 1, according to a court ruling last year.

Originally, some students were going to have the option to remain enrolled at Dover schools for up to three years. But after Dover and Northern officials could not reach an agreement on a financial settlement, most students entering grades K-9 in the township will attend a Northern school next year, while students entering grades 10-12 can apply to enroll at a Dover school. 

The secession is a result of a court battle that began in 2012, after a coalition of Washington Township residents petitioned to transfer the township's students to Northern York County School District. The coalition argued that Northern York  offered better education and lower property taxes.

Dover's closest school to Washington Township, Kralltown Elementary School, closed in 2011, leading the coalition to also argue that Northern York schools made more sense for their families. 

The state Board of Education denied the township's request three times — in 2015, 2017 and 2019. But in June 2020, Commonwealth Judge Kevin Brobson reversed the 2019 state board's decision, ruling that the board was in error when it denied the request. 

District officials from Dover and Northern are trying to work out the financial settlement through the York County Court of Common Pleas. The dispute was sent to court in April, and as of Monday, there hadn't been any updates, according to Dover spokesperson Bradly Perkins. 

More:Dover and Northern school districts going back to court over Washington Twp. secession

More:Dover Area School District wants to petition courts to delay Washington Twp. secession one year

The financial dispute does not delay the students' transition to Northern, Superintendent Steven Kirkpatrick confirmed in April. 

Dover officials attempted to extend the secession one year in order to continue negotiations back in March, but they could not come to an agreement with Northern. 

Dover stands to lose about $3 million in revenue from the secession, while Northern expects to gain about $3 million, according to prior board meetings in each district.