Greetings and Merry Christmas to everyone on behalf of the SYCSD Parent and Taxpayer Coalition!
First, a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers who came out and helped distribute our new Coalition Cards on Election Day. The cards had just the impact we wanted. We have increased viewership of our website, made tons of new contacts, and we were able to speak about our Coalition’s Platform in person with thousands of like-minded people who want to see real change in our local government! Thank you so very much to all those who donated their time at the various precincts that make up Southern York County. We could not have done this without your continued support!
The Coalition is proud to announce we are hosting an Open House:
When: January 12, 2023 @ 6:30
Where: Summit Grove Camp, Conference in The Lodge
What: Come join the SYC Parent & Taxpayer Coalition and learn from our state legislators and local school board members how local government is the often forgotten check on Harrisburg and Washington. Bring your kids to this important civics lesson, and learn how our coalition is working to make our local government represent you, and flex its power against state and federal overreach.
Additionally, the Coalition would like to continue its monthly community specials and host various instructional series that provide answers to key struggles within our local community. Future subjects will include: Mental Health and How our Children are Struggling, Navigating Tech and Social Media with Teens, and how Critical Race Theory is being injected into our schools. We hope you join us for what will certainly be an informative time of fellowship.
For any questions, please contact us:
Summary of Recent Board Meetings:
School Board Meeting 11/17/2022
The full meeting can be viewed here:
In a huge transparency win for our Coalition, Dr. Len Reppert presented a proposed vetting process to be used by SYCSD schools for selecting all future Guest Speakers. This was an item our very own Officer Jen Henkel proposed at the prior Board meeting that was successfully added as an actionable agenda item in this meeting, thanks to Board director Mike Wolford. The motion was passed unanimously by the Board.
Under Action 8.01 the Board discussed the current state of the Health and Safety Plan. Board Director Marylee Hall pointed out that our current plan indicates that we are currently practicing social distancing (we are not), and includes a possible reinstatement of required masking. The Board did not seem bothered by the out-of-date plan or the open door to future masking. Philadelphia School districts recently announced the return of mandatory face masks for all students after the return of winter break. The SYCSD Parent and Taxpayer Coalition believe masks are a Parental Rights issue and strongly encourages its readers to email the Board about not making such a measure mandatory again.
Email addresses for Board Members & District Leadership can be found here: https://www.sycsd.org/domain/11
Item 11.04 Capital Reserve Project Fund of $345,050 was discussed at length. Officer Nathan Henkelpointed out in his public comment that the proposed budget for the next fiscal year runs a $3.2 million deficit before any tax increases or withdrawals from the district’s savings (i.e. fund balance) are considered. He noted that even if taxes are increased by the maximum allowed amount, that the remaining $1.5 million deficit will have to be withdrawn from the fund balance, which, having only $4.5 million available, would be depleted in only 3 years at the current rate of spending increases.
Randal Buffington answered questions about the various projects recommended to the School Board including upgraded sound systems, payments towards replacement artificial turf that the Board was advised has considerable life left, a replacement roof that a roofer stated would need replacement “in a few years”, upgraded signage, etc. Board Director Marylee Hall shared her concerns about the timeliness of such expenses. She closed her inquiry with this thought, “ I’m just saying all of this to let you know I have trepidation about spending this money at a time when families and stakeholders… and taxes are coming that maybe we should hold off a bit on some of these things.” Echoing her concerns Board Director Samantha Hall added: “We are in a period of economic instability, we don’t know how the construction project is going to continue to go. We’ve had some change orders, we’ve got asbestos abatement going on (Marylee interjects “And we don’t know how much that’s going to be”), and so I’m just looking at these things…. the sewer and the asbestos, all together these things could be well over 2 Million dollars”. She went on to explain she understood the necessity of some of the expenses like the sewer, but “do we need to have signage right now? Do we need to do those sorts of things right now? Is it responsible and prudent to be able to make those decisions or could we take some time to wait?
As they went through item by item it came out that some things, turf that is currently 4 years old, lasted longer than expected before, and yet are still being recommended as current justified expenses. When Marylee Hall questioned the refrigeration expense to get a better understanding of the need Board Director James Holley exasperatedly declared, “It wouldn’t be on here (the agenda) if it didn’t have a problem”The Coalition notes once again the failure of this Board to offer proper accountability. If items requested by the Administration are automatically rubber stamped and never questioned, what exactly is the point of a School Board Director? Additionally, practicing Fiscal Responsibility is exactly the role of a School Board Director on behalf of the taxpayer.
Another Coalition win acknowledges Officer Joe Wilson and his public comment requesting transparency and the need to incorporate a safety incident report/dashboard on the SYCSD website. Board Director Samantha Hall highlighted the request and talks with the Administration are underway. The District Administration intends to present its first report in February during the school board meeting. We are taking the lead on this issue in York County!
16.01 Legislative Council. During her presentation, Kelly Jarvis continued to push the necessity for so-called “Charter School Reform”. In reference to York Tech being brick and mortar, she said “It gives an easy example of why community members as well as board members need to contact lawmakers to request a state wide tuition rate for Cyber Charter Schools…. Reform does not mean the state is against Charter Schools, it’s just about coming up with a formula that’s in line with actual costs and then make it universal for school districts in this state.”
School Board Meeting 12/1/2022
The full meeting can be viewed here:
This was a restructuring meeting where once again Mr. Schefter will fulfill the duties of Board President and Mr. Holley, Vice-President.
Not much of note except for the end of the meeting. Board Director Kelly Jarvis highlighted House Bill 2929 introduced by far left Democrat Representative Chris Rabb from Philadelphia and co-sponsored by other representatives from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The bill, which expired and does not have a chance to pass if it is reintroduced next legislative session, interferes with the ability of local government (school boards) to remove controversial or pornographic materials from the library and increases the power of activist administrators or staff to introduce such materials. So instead of limiting and having a vetting process to prevent garbage from getting in, it creates a tedious process including a mandatory town hall to remove materials communities find objectionable. Primary schools are not a free marketplace of ideas. Providing a Genuine Education includes selecting appropriate materials that have clear educational value.