A $19 million deficit means the York City School District can't avoid the prospect of raising taxes, cutting jobs and eliminating programs, said Margie Orr, the district's board president.
She said the board has until July 1 to approve a final budget for the 2012-13 school year.
The board approved in January a preliminary budget that includes a 17 percent tax hike leading to a proposed property tax increase from 31.0778 to 36.3943 mills. That would mean a $265 increase for the owner of a $50,000 home.
The figure would be the maximum the district could pass by using exceptions from the state to go well over its 2.7 percent cap, Orr said.
The tax hike would generate $4.7 million in revenue, but the budget still includes a $14.5 million deficit in its $111.7 million total that will need to be fixed either through heavy cuts or unexpected state funding increases.
"The tax increase is already budgeted in," Orr said. "So all the other things we might have to do are in addition to the tax increase. If Gov. (Tom) Corbett wouldn't have cut our funding, we wouldn't have been in this predicament. We would have been in a better (situation) with our budget if the state hadn't cut us so deeply."
Now the district will have to make its own cuts to compensate for its losses, she said.
"We hate cutting jobs, but it can't be helped."
The numbers: The board heard a budget presentation Wednesday from James Duff, the district's business consultant. He said he could only present the numbers, but it's up to the district and the board to make the decisions on how to reduce the deficit.
The district is considering eliminating more than 90 positions, including the assistant superintendent of secondary education and the assistant superintendent of pupil services. The board has already approved the retirement of Valerie Perry from the latter position last month.
By eliminating those positions and
two other full-time and one part-time central-office-level jobs, the district would save $470,439.
Other possibilities include saving $1.9 million by cutting 32 teachers through a K-8 reconfiguration proposal that includes closing the district's two middle schools and saving more than $573,000 by eliminating middle school principals and assistant principal positions as well as a high school assistant principal position.
"I think the K-8 model would be good for the district," Orr said. "The district has buildings that are not being utilized to their capacity. We can save (funding) with this model."
The district could garner close to $1.7 million by cutting 45 positions at its high school and its Lindbergh Academy alternative education unit, as well as eliminating education support jobs, including cafeteria aides, office managers and custodial staff.
Program cuts: For additional cutting options, the district and the board are looking at a list of non-mandated programs, including JROTC, physical education, choral and instrumental music and art, as well as K-12 guidance counselors and gifted seminar teachers.
For athletics, the district could reduce its program cost by $163,866 by eliminating its athletic director position and several coaching positions in freshman track, volleyball, tennis and baseball.
Non-mandated programs include football, girls' soccer, and boys' and girls' basketball and track teams.
Orr said she is not sure what proposal the board would be asked to consider concerning the sports programs.
"The administration is still prioritizing what we need to hold on to and what we can't hold on to," she said. "We'll be discussing the budget more and more until it's time for that (budget) vote."