No tax increase from York City Schools

Alyssa Jackson
  • The school board approved York City's budget for 2016-17 at its meeting Wednesday night
  • In the 2015-16 school year, the district added approximately $950,000 to its fund balance
  • For the fourth year in the row, the board has not had to increase taxes

The York City School District approved its 2016-17 school budget in a unanimous vote at Wednesday evening's school board meeting. The budget  includes no tax increase and did not cut any programs or teachers.

The district's total expenditures rest at $128 million. District business manager Richard Snodgrass said much of the budget remained the same as the 2015-16 school budget in an effort to continue saving money for the district.

This is the second year in a row that the district has actually increased its fund balance, which is money set aside for an emergency or unforeseen circumstances.

Eric Holmes, superintendent of York City Schools, welcomes guests for York City Mayor C. Kim Bracey's State of the City Address at Hannah Penn Middle School, Wednesday, April 27, 2016. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

During his report, Superintendent Eric Holmes said that the fund balance for the district increased by approximately $950,000 during this past year. The reason for the increase was smart spending.

"It came from not spending money," he said. "With being frugal and creative."

Snodgrass agreed, saying that the district has remained cost-conscious in the past two years. For this year's budget, a few programs were added, but Snodgrass said that the district has been focused on continuing programs that were added in the 2015-16 year rather than adding more.

The ability to increase the fund balance and not increase taxes to residents is something the school board was proud of.

"We just went the conservative route," Snodgrass said. "We're trying to support the city, because the city needs to develop, and high taxes don't let them do that."

Holmes  said that the district increased the number of students who were eating breakfast in the morning from 19 percent to 35 percent this year. The goal for next year is to boost that number to 50 percent, to ensure that students aren't hungry while trying to learn. The York City School District offers free breakfast and lunch to all of its students throughout the year.

In the last year, the district also was able to re-introduce classes such as physical education, art and foreign languages in the K-8 schools. It also was the first year for the new Freshman Academy, which is designed to help students transition from the seven district K-8 schools into one large high school.

"We have done many great things, and I think the district should be proud of the progress made during the 2015-16 school year," Holmes said in his report. "I'd like to thank the administration for their help with carrying out the recovery plan."