York county is planning for decay rather than growth

My comments at the 2016 November 15 BOS meeting  (video posted in the video archive ):

The new elementary school is inadequate.  At 500 seats, it does not provide the capacity needed to cover the enrollment expected by the development plans already on the books.  At a 9.7 acre usable lot size, as in the email from Mark Carter that I forwarded to you, the proffered Marquis site is substandard for a 700-seat core capacity school.

On March 1st, Neil Morgan presented the 10-year historical funding average of 6.7M/year. (see Neil Morgan’s March 1 presentation)  That could be adequate to offset decay on 250M worth of infrastructure on a standard 40 year depreciation schedule, but with 20 schools, each worth more than 25M each, York County Schools has more than a half billion worth of infrastructure, and we aren’t keeping up.  This is a recipe for decay and substandard schools.   Our entire elementary school system is currently at 97% capacity, with the most stressed schools operating at 113-143% capacity. (See Dr. James May 9 presentation)  Redistricting to get the YCSD schools into the 85-90% range is impossible with the system-wide load already at 97%.  At Yorktown elementary with 115% capacity, the school has substandard parking, substandard lot size, a substandard cafeteria, and substandard hard-surface play areas.  Both of its play areas have temporary buildings parked on them until the new school comes on line. How can you expect YES to function as an effective magnet school if it is already so far above capacity? And the proposed CIP extends the modular building leases out another two years to 2021.  (See FY2018 proposed CIP  p11.)

I’ve told the school board should it ask for more from the county, but from what I’ve been told, the county directed the school division to limit its plans to match the county’s economic projections under the no new revenue model. Specifically with last year’s deferrals, they were directed to ignore the added costs of inflation and decay. If you were to ask a roofing contractor to defer a quote for two years and hold to the same price, they’d laugh at you and tell you it could cost 20% more.  If you direct the School Division to make unrealistic assumptions to meet your economic targets, rather than tell it to ask for enough to maintain the schools, we’re doomed to continue to have substandard schools. With inadequate funding, it is not a Capital Improvements Plan, it is a Capital Decay Plan.

Since 2009 we’ve known that today’s level of school enrollment was in the works, and yours and the school divisions funding and planning produced the current dismal level of overcrowding and substandard schooling.  This unacceptable outcome should not have been a surprise.

This six-year plan does not cover the enrollment projections already on the books.  The Waller Mill addition and the 500 seat Marquis school will only bring the system down to 93% capacity, still too high for rezoning to bring the schools below 90%.   And that’s ignoring adding any capacity for new development not yet on the books. Are you folks asking good enough questions? Do you understand the implications of your decisions?

Your central job is supposed to be planning and oversight, but from the plans so far, it looks like you are planning for continued substandard schools and continued decay of the York County school system.

Note Thomas Shepperd’s comments on proffers, lobbyists, state delegates & votes at 54:30 in https://yorkcountyva.swagit.com/play/07312017-886


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