The York City School Board gave Thackston Charter Middle School officials a verbal slap on the wrist for finding temporary classroom space for its fifth-graders without asking.

The board will decide at an upcoming meeting whether to allow Thackston to house three fifth-grade classes at the YWCA because the school's renovation is far behind schedule.

Thackston principal Jamy Jackson said they had hoped in February a complete renovation and expansion of their Philadelphia Street campus would be done by the start of this school year, but legal hold-ups have pushed it back until next spring.

Construction is under way, and in the meantime Thackston attorney Daniel Fennick said the school had to make the unexpected decision on where to teach 46 fifth-graders since the renovated classrooms weren't ready.

York City school board president Margie Orr and board member Aaron Willford weren't pleased Thackston went ahead and got space secured at the YWCA without asking the board first, although the space complies with state regulations.

"You can't come to us after the fact. You need to come to us beforehand," Orr said.

"We are held responsible," added Willford.

Fennick apologized and said there was no attempt to hide what was going on, adding they assumed there was not a requirement to ask the board about temporary housing. But, knowing the students would need to stay at the YWCA until about March, Thackston now was seeking board approval. The board won't vote on the matter until at least December, Orr said, because it needs time to collect public comment.


Jackson said the YWCA space is one giant room sectioned off into four classroom areas. It presents some issues, since each class can hear and see the others, but Jackson said "it was more an issue for us as adults than for the students."

YWCA officials said Thackston's presence hasn't caused any issues and that area of the YWCA is secure.

Orr said the board's hands are basically tied, as it's not like the board would want to kick the students out with no place to go. Still, Thackston should've been "more respectful to the board" she said.