Comments at 2017 Jan 23 YCSD School Board Meeting as prepared:
My parents and few others have asked me what I want to get out of standing up here. I would like you to provide adequate resources to enable our children to thrive.
York County School Division recently ran several Strategic Planning Forums to examine and revise the strategic plan (YCSD Mission, (flyer) Goals, Objectives and Strategic Plans). I participated in the Grafton Session on Jan 13th.
The most recent status update is the 2016 Strategic Plan Update which identifies a number of the goals and sub-objectives and correlates these with metrics and assessments. Part of the visioning exercise was identifying changes to the objectives. In light of the overcrowding and inadequate resources, I looked at the mission, goals and objectives for something addressing the responsibility of YCSD to provide adequate resources to meets state and federal standards and to avoid overcrowding. None of the objectives seems to capture this idea, instead prescribing standards that the students and teachers must meet.
The closest items were under the Goal #5 “he York County School Division will maintain efficient, effective, service-oriented operations that support student achievement in safe, secure environments”:
Objective: Customer needs will be met or exceeded by Operations Staff members. Customer service surveys will be conducted by November 1 of each year. Survey results will be used to support the provision of efficient, effective, service-oriented operations.
Objective: Staff will create a ten-year facility master plan and a proposed capital improvement program aimed at maintaining safe, high-quality facilities. Annual building inspections, roof surveys, data relating to work orders, revised construction cost projections, and updated long-term enrollment projections will be used to identify needed adjustments.
Objective: Staff will support safe, secure educational environments. Examples of activities relating to this objective include the following actions: collaborating with local public safety agencies; maintaining appropriate administrative staffing; conducting annual maintenance of surveillance cameras and access control; reviewing/refining crisis management plans annually; and participating in safe schools training.
I suggested they add an objective for the YCSD to provide adequate facilities meeting state and standards; and another objective to reduce overcrowding to the 85-90% level.
I do not think YCSD meets these objectives. Overcrowding of the elementary system is at the 97% level overall, which makes it impossible to redistrict schools into the 85-90% level. Schools on the North end of the county are overcrowded at the 143%, 113, and 115% levels. These burdens on inadequate sites make it impossible to meet state standards, like the complete lack of outdoor hard surface play areas at YES, as compared to the state standard requirement of two.
I would like you to develop a strategic plan that provides adequate resources to enable our children to thrive. Your strategic planning since 2013 hasn’t accomplished that, and with the current CIP and communications between the board and BOS, the future looks bleak.
You’ve made tradeoffs between adequate facilities and limited resources, settling for a 9.7 acre usable lot size for a core 700 student school which would require 11 acres. Inadequate site size at the existing school makes the parking and drop-off management complicated and dangerous, necessitating future, expensive redesigns to correct problems that could have been avoided in the initial design. Sharing sites with other programs might looks like a cost efficiency, but it puts additional burdens on limited lot sizes.
The Strategic Plan’s Mission, Goals, and Objectives should provide guidance to organization members make decisions, tradeoffs, and plans consistent with the organizations values. The current plan makes demands of the students and teachers without committing to providing adequate resources.
I know three families who’ve avoided moving to Yorktown because of the elementary schools.
In the past year, you’ve compromised and deferred significant amounts of maintenance and improvements at no apparent cost, trading plans for adequate resources for compliance with a weak revenue growth model, and encouraging the BOS to cut your budgets even further. Is the demographic, development, and depreciation models so inferior to economic model that this is a good idea?
When I asked about the county budget planning specifics, Jeffrey Wassmer and Neil Morgan said the numbers are “placeholders”, and “a plan is a plan” to express the uncertainty in the out years.
The long term CIP should have “placeholders” that provide adequate resources to meet state standards and reduce overcrowding to 85-90%.
What I want out of the strategic plan, the CIP and my time standing up here is an plan, one where you take responsibility to provide adequate resources for our children to thrive.