Dallastown Area School Board's budget committee on Thursday gave the board a five-term glimpse of the district's financial future.
"I've got to say upfront, it's not pretty," said budget committee chairman Ronald Blevins.
Dallastown projected its next five years' worth of budgets with the assumption zero tax increase at 22.26 mills. With that in mind, Dallastown would have a $5 million deficit next school year and up to a $11.4 million deficit by 2016-17.
Using the district's surplus would help keep the deficits down some, Blevins said, but not substantially and would also greatly dwindle their fund balance. The district estimated it may use about $2.5 million of its surplus next year, which still would leave a $2.5 million deficit.
"The message, the cruel reality, is there has to be some fundamental changes and reductions in the cost structure," Blevins said.
His committee has already asked the district to do an "exhaustive" search for any and all possible cost reductions. That includes school consolidation, program and staff reductions and "some very, very difficult issues we're going to have to deal with," Blevins said.
The information was only for preliminary consideration and Dallastown officials are not making decisions anytime soon. But Blevins said the five-year outlook helps them get ahead of decisions.
The board already decided to keep any property tax increase next school year at or under the district's state cap of 2 percent.
Dallastown didn't have a property tax increase this year. The final budget used about $2.5 million of surplus to avoid cuts to third-grade strings, and the library and paraprofessional staff.