The Dover Area School Board is reviewing a budget proposal that could wipe out its multi-million deficit without raising taxes.
Acting superintendent Jason Conway presented a budget proposal Monday that would add nine elementary teachers, but reduce expenditures and hours for district aides and eliminate some non-instructional personnel.
In January, the district announced it was facing a deficit of $6.17 million.
However, that amount has been whittled down to $4.31 million with Conway's updated proposal.
During the board meeting Monday, Conway said the revenue expected for the 2014-15 school year is $53.1 million, while expenditures are close to $57.45 million.
He said the gap can be closed without a tax increase, which would only bring in an additional $754,390.
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.
Conway proposed the district use about $4.31 million from its fund reserves to eliminate the deficit. If that amount is used, about $6.26 million would be left in reserves, he said.
The reserves consists of unassigned funds of more than $3.8 million and committed funds of close to $6.8 million. The committed funds consist of close to $2.85 million for payments to the state public school employees' retirement system, as well as other costs: $2.53 million for debt service, $900,000 for health care and $500,000 for technology.
Cutting costs: Conway also proposed the district cut costs by eliminating underused budget accounts, making better use of teachers with dual certifications and reducing building and instruction aides' work days to 4.5 hours, as benefits are not required for employees working less than 30 hours a week.
The updated budget proposal also calls for eliminating the director of curriculum instruction position, which has duties similar to those of an assistant superintendent.
Conway said his proposal does not call for reduction in music or art programs.
"Now I'm asking the board to review (the proposal) and see what other decisions need to be made for the budget," he said. "I presented you a balanced budget. Tell me what your priorities are."
Board members said they will each submit a priority list of concerns and suggestions within the next week. The board next meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22.
Board member Julie Emig said that among her immediate concerns is the district's ability to make pension payments, as the district's contribution rate will increase from 16.9 percent this school year to 21.3 percent in the 2014-15 year.
— Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.