York City School District working to move out of recovery

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Three years ago, York City School District entered a financial recovery process. Since then, the district has balanced its budget, but it won’t exit recovery until academics improve.

Low test scores have been an issue for some time, but in 2012 there was a bigger problem.

“We cut approximately 150 teachers, furloughed 150 teachers and close to 100 non-instructional employees,” Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes said.

Since then, the district has worked to improve its budget, but it didn’t take long for the big issue to become academics.

“If teachers don’t know what they’re supposed to be teaching, it’s kind of hard to get the students where you want them to be,” Chief Recovery Officer Dr. Carol Saylor said.

Saylor was appointed to the district in April. A mass insight report was completed to see what the district’s strengths and weaknesses are. From that came a revised recovery plan with emphasis on improving academic achievement and increasing test scores.

“We don’t have much of a choice. We have to make sure it follows through. That’s part of the reason why I am here,” Saylor said.

But the test scores are still low and not up to state standards. Those results come from the PSSAs.

“As much as we would like this to be as smooth as possible, you’re going to run into issues,” Holmes said.

Now, the district has done a number of things to come out of recovery. It has extended the school day for K-8 students, provided after-school programs to help tutor kids while providing dinner, and incorporated music, art and PE, to name a few.

Leaders in the district said it will still be a few more years before they can fully exit recovery. They said they’re also waiting for the state budget to pass so they can expand on even more programs.

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