The Southern York County School District released its proposed final budget of $47.5 million, which calls for a tax hike just below 2 percent.
The district was facing a $1.1 million budget gap, but has found several ways to balance the budget.
Some of those include using $1.4 million from the fund balance, a 1.96 percent tax increase, and $900,000 in spending cuts.
The school board approved the proposed budget, which calls for raising taxes 1.96 percent, or 0.33 mills. That's below the state limit of 2 percent.¶
The proposal means the tax rate would go from 16.84 mills to about 17.17 mills, or about a $56 tax hike for the owner of a home assessed at $170,000.
This would be the fifth consecutive year the district's tax increase is below the state limit.
To get below that limit, the district is proposing a variety of cuts. The administration is recommending reducing staff by six teachers and two support staff, all due to positions left vacant after retirement; reducing transportation by one van; reducing department and building budget by 5 percent; cutting back on staff development conferences; and reducing co-curricular staff.
Business manager Wayne McCullough emphasized that no co-curricular programs are being eliminated. He also said Southern is recommending having parents pay for some sports items that students traditionally keep after the season, such as baseball caps; other items that students return at the end of the season, such as helmets, wouldn't be included. That only affects a few sports, McCullough said.
There also is a proposal to have admission fees to some sports that don't have tickets yet, such as junior high sports and varsity field hockey, with the hope of raising about $12,000 overall to offset athletic costs. No sports are being cut, McCullough said.
Those ideas are meant as an alternative to what other districts have done with pay-to-play, he said.
"We decided we could generate the same amount of money through this," McCullough said of Southern's alternative.
"Even in these difficult economic times, the board and administration believe this budget achieves our goals of providing the best possible program and services for all students while remaining mindful to our community's financial realities," school board president Robert Schefter said.
A vote on the final budget is expected May 24.
Staff writer Andrew Shaw contributed to this story.