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York was established in 1819 as a township with four schools already in operation. Following the first town meeting, the elected commissioners divided the town into twelve school districts, but some of the boundaries, numbering, and parts of townships were changed at a later date.
The influx from the Retsof and Greigsville salt mines and the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad brought overcrowding to district schools No. 2, 6, and 7, and the trustees of these districts discussed the idea of consolidation. District School No. 2, the red schoolhouse, was located west of Greigsville just below the present Wheelock farm on Route 63. District School No. 6 in Wadsworth was located just north of the cemetery. District No. 7 contained two schoolhouses; the older one called the white schoolhouse No. 7, was situated about three-fourths of a mile north of Greigsville between the Nagel and Ladley farms. The Retsof schoolhouse, also in District No. 7, was built by the salt mine about 1892 for the miners’ children and later became St. Lucy’s Catholic Church.
In 1903, a resolution was passed unanimously to consolidate district schools No. 2, 6, and 7 and establish a Union Free School. The expense of building the school together with heating and plumbing was not to exceed the sum of $14,000.
Greigsville Union Free School opened in December 1904. The school was raised to senior grade two years later, and the University of the State of New York made it a high school in October of 1906, the first consolidated school in New York State. Harrison Dyke and Donald Weller were the first high school graduates in 1907. Because of increased enrollment, an addition was added to Greigsville High School in 1913 and again in 1924.
In December of 1937, ten rural districts and the original Greigsville High School district voted for centralization. The cost of the new building constructed during the 1938-39 school year was $450,000 and Greigsville High became known as York Central School, short for York Central School District Number 1 of the towns of York, Leicester, and Caledonia. Ivan Hilfiker was named as Supervising Principal (term later changed to Superintendent of Schools). Frank Vattimo served as the Business Manager. Leicester high school students started attending York Central when Leicester became part of the York district in 1945, and the elementary students came in the fall of 1969. Again, when enrollment increased a building program was necessary in 1958 and 1968. Stanley Burton was the second Supervising Principal/Superintendent, from 1969 to 1987.
In 1973, the State Education Department approved a legal name change to “York Central School District.” Howard Forsythe became the second Business Manager in the history of York Central, serving from 1982 to 2014.
York Central School district covers about 70 square miles and includes the townships of York and Leicester. The 1938, 1958, 1968, and 1990 buildings make up most of the York Central School, as we know it today. The original Greigsville High School was razed many years ago, but pleasant memories will linger on for the 417 graduates who passed through its halls.
The education programs and services, which must be provided in our schools today, are very different from the programs and services, which existed when our schools were constructed. The school facility must house many more courses, programs, and services than ever before. During the 1980s the New York State Board of Regents increased the program requirements for all students in New York State. Students at York Central School today are required to receive instruction in more areas than ever before. York Central is also proud to be able to offer a variety of extracurricular and athletic programs to enhance the opportunities for students.
Maurice Dalton became the third superintendent of York Central School in 1987. On March 21, 1989, the York Central community again responded to the program and facility needs of the school district. The positive response to the Construction and Renovation Proposal provided York Central with quality educational programs and attractive facilities into the 21st century.
York Central School steadily enrolled about 1100 students in the 1990s. The first decade of the 21st century saw a reduction in enrollment to about 800 students by 2010. Thomas Manko was superintendent from 2000-2009, followed by Dr. Daniel Murray from 2010-20017. An EXCEL Aid project was completed in 2009 to renovate Hilfiker Auditorium, create a new visitors’ entrance to the school, and update several other areas.
The community and school worked together to fund a brand-new playground. The family of Joe and Elaine Bucci donated a large portion of the cost of the playground. The ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new playground was in 2010. York has kept up to date with changing technology by increasing the number of computers throughout the building and equipping every classroom with an interactive white board.
In 2014, the entire YCS campus became a wireless Internet zone. This was the first step in a plan to give a laptop computer or tablet-type device to all students and faculty. Daniel Grant became the third business administrator in the history of YCS in 2014.
Voters approved a capital improvements project in 2014. This $5 million project replaced the majority of roofs on campus in the summer of 2014. In the summer of 2015, several windows were replaced across campus. William McDonald became the fourth business administrator in the history of YCS in 2016.
The third phase of the project took place during the summer of 2016. Paving, doors, floors, lockers, clocks, phones, IT infrastructure, the emergency generator, and the PA system was upgraded or replaced. We also added new exterior bathrooms and lighting near the playground. The final remaining funds for this capital project will be used in the summer of 2017 to upgrade the lights and lighting controls in our auditorium.
NYS allocated funds through its SMART Schools Bond Act to reimburse schools for upgrades in technology and security. York will take advantage of these funds by adding to its video surveillance cameras, additional wireless access points, renovating all wiring closets, adding automated door access controls, replacing outdated computers, printers, and interactive whiteboards with newer models. This work should be completed by the summer of 2017.
The district will also be searching for its sixth superintendent of schools during the spring of 2017. David Deloria will be the interim superintendent during the search process.