YORK — The York Public Schools Board of Education convened Monday, February 24 at the YPS District Office.
The diverse lineup of business items included the announcement of YPS board member Jim Hoffmann’s resignation. Hoffmann, who was sitting YPS Board of Education Vice President, had been on the board since January 2015. His resignation was due to new employment and moving from the area. Hoffmann and his family have lived in York since 2000, according to his board member profile.
The board approved Hoffmann’s resignation unanimously (board members Barb Skaden and Hoffmann not present). School board president Matt Holthe noted Hoffmann’s valuable financial knowledge contributing to board operations. “We definitely thank him for his years of service,” said YPS Board member Amie Kopcho.
Following the acceptance of Hoffmann’s resignation, board member Skaden was unanimously elected to replace Hoffmann’s seat as board vice president.
Reports on YPS school improvements were presented, reflecting high survey scores for each campus. Slightly lower-rated responses were received from parents when asked to consider the statement “There are ways for me to provide input about how the school functions.”
Faculty and staff reporting from each campus reported improvements in missed assignments, thanks to new methods of tracking students’ work. “By holding our students accountable, we’re forcing them not to fail,” said YHS science teacher Scott Kohmetscher. York Elementary School Principal Brad Luce also reported improvements in YES’s campus. “There has been a sharp drop in missing assignments,” he said. The middle school had similar positive changes.
Contributing district-wide initiatives include Humanex Climate and Culture teacher evaluations, Step Up to Writing for teachers and staff, the ICU Missing Assignments Process and York Principles of Learning. Relatedly, District Administrator Beth Erickson reported YPS will be due for its 5-year external visit school year 2020-2021. For the first time, it will be from the Nebraska Department of Education.
The board voted to increase driver’s education fees by $25, making the fees for the 2020-2021 program $325 (students within the district) and $375 (students outside the YPS district). “Our goal is not to make a large profit, but cover costs,” York Public School Superintendent Mitch Bartholomew. “If we keep it where we’re at, we won’t cover our costs.” Bartholomew and Kohmetscher, a YPS driver’s education instructor, noted that they had inquired about other programs’ fees; these programs -- available only outside the area -- can cost up to $500, according to Bartholomew and Kohmetscher.
Bartholomew gave a legislative update, particularly surrounding the controversial Nebraska Unicameral LB974, which would alter state taxation and school funding. It is widely opposed by public education advocates, but endorsed by many groups supporting property tax relief. “It’s not a stable source of revenue schools can rely on,” Bartholomew said. (Read Bartholomew’s York News Times school funding editorial at https://bit.ly/2SXUnoC )
Also on the docket was a student report on MathCounts, a competitive team that recently completed a competition at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The competition involves both individual and team math challenges. Additionally, York High School students Lindsey Stuckey and Alyssa Gilliland reported on their National Merit Finalists standing. (Learn more about Stuckey and Gilliland’s accomplishment, as well as the National Merit Scholar program at https://bit.ly/2uyC00k )