Central York votes against York Tech renovation

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

The Central York school board is refusing to sign off on a $12 million building project at the York County School of Technology, saying the funding formula is "outdated and inequitable."

York County School of Technology. (Photo by John Pavoncello/ York Dispatch)

In a statement released on the Central York School District website, the board said it “supports the educational programs and services provided” by the school, but it does not support the current formula utilized by the school under the Articles of Agreement.

The agreement, initially reached in 1966, has been revised several times since then, but not in the past 15 years, according to a fact sheet included in York Tech's budget.

The Central board notes that although there is an $11,500-per-student fee charged to all student transfers from other districts, debt is assigned based on the assessed property value of each of the 14 participating school districts.

“Under this formula, Central York is carrying the largest portion of the (York County School of Technology Building) Authority’s debt despite sending fewer students to YCST annually than many other school districts,” the board stated.

Central York currently carries more York Tech debt than any of the other 13 districts that send students there. Central pays 12.05 percent, or $453,000, of the vocational school’s annual gross debt, according to a document as part of the Capital Improvement Proposal.

In terms of student transfers to the school, it is in the middle of the pack, with 81 students attending York Tech during the 2015-16 school year. 

The district with the smallest debt assignment is the York City School District, which pays out 3.92 percent, or $147,000, of York Tech’s debt.

However, York City sends the most students to York Tech, with 456 students attending the school in the 2015-16 school year.

The Central school board said it “believes a review of the charter, Articles of Agreement and funding formula is necessary before it can support any of the Joint Operating Committee’s proposed projects or actions.” 

The proposal: York County School of Technology wants to expand and add several facilities, mostly related to physical education and athletics.

In a resolution sent to participating districts, the school pointed to an increase in enrollment, student safety requirements under Title IX and the old age of the current gym facilities as reasons for the renovations.

The school also is looking for a new schoolwide assembly area, such as an auditorium, to host events that can be attended by the entire student body.

It also pointed out the need for paved areas to the school’s athletic field, which currently has no lighting or walkways to and from the parking lot.

In total, the York County School of Technology Authority wants to refinance and restructure its lease revenue bonds in order to borrow $12 million to fund the projects.

Despite Central's objections, enough districts already have approved the resolution for it to pass.

At least 10 of the 14 participating districts have to sign off on the resolution, and 12 have approved it, according to York Tech Business Administrator Jon Boyer.

Eastern York's board had a tie vote, and the motion to approve the project died. 

Board members from Central York declined to comment further beyond the statement on the district's website, according to a district spokeswoman.

The York County School of Technology Building Authority and Joint Operating Committee will vote on the resolution at a dual meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.