The Dover Area School Board made decisions on taxes and safety as it continues to face a $6.17 million deficit in the district's 2014-2015 budget.
First the board voted to not exceed its tax index for the 2014-2015 school year. The board's current 2.8 percent limit was set by the state Department of Education.
For the next school year, the district's revenue is figured to be about $52.5 million, compared to about $58.7 million in expected expenditures, creating the $6.17 million deficit.
The district's current millage rate is 21.48 mills. An increase to the 2.8 cap would raise the property tax rate to 22.08 mills, meaning an extra $90 in taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home.
The tax raise would bring in an additional $754,390, but still leave the district with a sizeable deficit.
Other options for decreasing the deficit are to take money from the district's fund balance or reduce spending by cutting staff, salaries and programs.
Officer vote: The board also voted 7-1 to approve a school resource officer program.
The district was granted funding for the program by the state Safe Schools office. The Northern York County Regional Police Department wrote the grant, which provides $90,000 in funding for one year to allow for an officer to work full-time in the school district, according to Chief Mark Bentzel.
The grant, which requires the district to run the program for at least two years, only provides funding to cover the program's first 12 months. After that, the school district would have to fund the full cost of the officer in the district. The program takes about $115,000 to run, Bentzel said.
Bentzel said the department hopes to have similar success with Dover as it does with Spring Grove school district, where the department has placed a school resource officer for the past six years.
Student safety: The program has increased the safety of the district, provided students with positive exposure to police and given officers opportunities to teach students about safety, bullying and other issues involving youth, Bentzel said.
Officer Mark Allen will be assigned to the Dover district, Bentzel said. The program will start soon this school year, said James Conway, the district's acting superintendent.
Before voting 'yes' on the program, board member Steve Cook said he was concerned about the district's ability to pay for the school resource officer program after the first year. But Cook added that he cares more about student safety and has no doubt the program will be successful at Dover.
Fellow board member Dan Sindlinger voted against the school resource officer program, saying that while he believes it is a valuable program, the district is still facing a huge deficit. He said his main priority is to keep teachers' positions and maintain programs the district already runs.
—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.