State education Secretary Ron Tomalis today declared the York City School District in “moderate financial recovery,” and appointed a Spring Garden Township resident to create a plan to get district finances in order, according to a news release.
A state law adopted over the summer says a district can be deemed in “financial recovery” for certain reasons, including if it has requested an advance on its funding. York City requested and received an advance in April.
David G. Meckley, 61, president and owner of Strategic Advantage Inc., has been appointed chief recovery officer, according to the news release. He will work to craft a financial recovery plan for the district.
According to the law, actions taken could include reopening the budget, raising taxes, converting schools to charters, renegotiating contracts other than collective bargaining agreements, and more. The district could be eligible for no-interest loans.
If the local board doesn’t cooperate with plans, the state could ask the court to appoint a receiver to carry them out.
The school district had tried to fight the possible state action, arguing that the law could not be retroactively applied and that its financial problems were not so serious that the district could not handle them.
The state had said the district lacked a “concrete, long-term” plan for dealing with financial issues. But the district countered that it had already taken significant steps to address financial matters, such as closing the two middle schools, reducing administrative staff, pay freezes and other measures.
York City School Board President Margie Orr said this afternoon that the district isn’t looking to fight the declaration. She hopes Meckley can help.
“I always said whatever help the state could give us … far be it from me to deny the school district that opportunity,” she said.
Orr said she doesn’t know Meckley personally, but she hopes that having someone local and familiar with York will work in the district’s favor.
According to the news release, Meckley holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Cornell University. He is former president and chief executive officer of Flinchbaugh Engineering Inc., and serves as chairman of Flinchbaugh’s board.
He has served as president of the Spring Garden Township commissioners and as a York Suburban School Board member, the release says. He’s been involved with a host of other local organizations, including YorkCounts and the York County Community Foundation.
Check back later for more information. Read more about the financial recovery law and see documents related to the case below. (Note: The final declaration originally posted contained an error and referenced Harrisburg in one spot. I’ve replaced that document with the correct one, provided by PDE.)