The West York school board voted at its Tuesday meeting to approve a preliminary budget and explore the possibility of tax cap exceptions for 2014-15.

If approved by the state Department of Education, the exceptions could help to close the budget deficit of $1.5 million for next year.

At the meeting last week, business manager George Fike said he will apply for the exceptions with the state in January. The district is eligible for exceptions to help cover the costs of pension contributions and special education.

The school district's tax cap would allow a 2.2 percent property tax hike next year. That amounts to 0.46 mills, or $69 for a homeowner with a property valued at $150,000.

That tax increase could grow if the district is approved for exceptions and the board votes to use them.

Fike said he is unsure how much the state will allow the district to raise taxes if the exceptions are granted.

The district has already taken measures to decrease the budget. About 20 professional staff and 10 support staff members will be furloughed by the end of the year, according to Superintendent Emilie Lonardi.

Fike said last week the district will use its general fund to cover the remaining budget deficit. He said any property tax increases granted with the exceptions will go toward offsetting the amount used from the general fund.

Lonardi and Fike will present a more detailed budget report at the planning meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the administration building, 2605 W. Market St.

-- Reach Nikelle Snader at