Found on the blog at yorkcounts.org
In this issue:
- YorkCounts work advances on three fronts
- Partner spotlight: United Way of York County
- Indicators update: Bias-related incidents
YorkCounts work advances on three fronts
It's a busy time for volunteers working on three different YorkCounts initiatives. Here's a recap on where each effort stands.
The IB charter school: York County Community Foundation and the Women’s Giving Circle, a program of the Community Foundation, awarded $60,000 and $15,000 in grants respectively to YorkCounts for its effort to create a new K-12 regional charter school in York. Once approved by the state Department of Education, the new school will offer an International Baccalaureate curriculum, and it will be the only K-12 IB school in Central Pennsylvania.
YorkCounts Director James DeBord accepted the grants on behalf of Dennis Baughman and Sue Krebs, volunteers who have guided YorkCounts’ Metro-York Educational Opportunities Subcommittee since it formed in January 2008.
The money will allow the regional charter school effort to move to its next stage. The Educational Opportunities group will next write its charter school application and start looking in York at possible sites for the school.
The regional IB charter school concept emerged in response to a 2007 Metro-York recommendation that called for attacking the root problem in the York City School District: the concentration of poverty in the city. In his 2002 visit to York, David Rusk made establishing a charter/magnet school one of his key recommendations. The IB school, which is to be made up of a 51 percent-49 percent mix of city and county students, would create a new public school opportunity for parents and students throughout York County.
Public safety study: Representatives from nine municipalities begam monthly meetings in April with a goal to cooperate on a study of the role regional policing might play in improving public safety. The nine municipalities - Dover, East Manchester, Manchester, Spring Garden and Springettsbury townships, Manchester, Mount Wolf and West York boroughs and the city of York - have chosen a chairman, found two municipalities to take the lead in the state's grant application process and heard a presentation by the consultant that will likely be asked to perform the study. The group's smart, honest conversations have been encouraging.
Stay in School: The United Way of York County took the lead in convening a group to study the array of local in-school and after-school programs aimed at keeping more kids in school. The group also set out to determine which ones were having the most success and to assess whether they could be implemented on a larger scale. The group will release its recommendations in a report due in August 2009.
Partner spotlight: United Way of York County
The United Way held its annual meeting June 15, electing new board officers and recognizing the work of key volunteers. A big part of the program detailed how the United Way did in the past year on its core function: funding community agencies. Despite one of the most difficult fund-raising environments in memory, the United Way managed to raise $7.1 million for its 2008 campaign and distributed some $5 million to its 34 partner agencies.
The local United Way was also part of an organizational change in May that changed the name of the global umbrella entity to United Way Worldwide. United Way chapters around the world approved the change to better integrate United Way of America and United Way International and to "position the United Way as a leader in the global market and better ensure . . . long-term growth," according to a statement from United Way of America.
Indicator update: Bias-related incidents
In May, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission released its annual report for 2007-2008. That report put the number of bias-related incidents reported for 2007 in York County at 17. That's a significant dip from 2006, when 35 cases were reported. It would put the average per 100,000 residents at 4.1, and that's lower than the county average during the past 10 years. But it would still be higher than the state per-capita average in the same time period, which means that the county has more intolerance than what would be considered the statewide average. That's an aspect of the county's quality of life that still needs work.
- Dan Fink