Robert Krantz acknowledged that he sounded upset while talking about the district's budget struggles.

"I'm upset we have to go through this as a school system, having to cut things," said Krantz, the district's superintendent. "We all have to go through this together, work together."

He then started a presentation on the proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The district is facing a $3.9 million deficit.

The proposed budget presentation was done during a district town hall meeting attended by more than 70 people in the library of Leib Elementary School.

The crowd also heard from Belinda Wallen, the district's business manager.

She said the district's expenses are figured at $55.9 million, well above expected revenue of $51.98 million.

Budget proposal includes raising taxes by 2.3 percent, which would generate $606,921. The mill rate would increase from this year's 21 mills to 21.483 mills for the 2013-2014 school year, Wallen said. That means an additional $48 in taxes for a home assessed at $100,000, she said.

For revenue, the district receives more than $33.4 million in local funds, a little more than $18 million in state funds and close to $487,000 in federal funds.

However, expenditures include increases of 2.52 percent in salary/contractual agreements, 43 percent in the state's Public School Employees Retirement System (or PSERS) , 8.5 percent in health/dental benefits and 11 percent in charter school/tuition expenses.


The district is considering several cost-saving options including implementing a complete wage freeze to save $544,552 and eliminating full-day kindergarten to save $400,000. Other options are reducing activities, consolidating the music department, restructuring high school programs, the library staff and transportation.

The district also is considering eliminating spending plans for new and replacement equipment to save more than $686,000, and not replacing several retiring staff members to save up to $774,218.

Both Krantz and Bryan Rehm, the district's school board president, urged residents to push legislators to press for more funding for the school district.

"This issue isn't going to change going into next year or the year after that," Krantz said. "It's going to continue. We have to make some hard decisions each year ... until we level out in the future,"

Several people including resident Jill Reiter asked district officials to let the music and band departments remain as they are because of their award-winning successes locally and nationally. Also, students do their own fundraising to participate in music program activities, she said.

"Do we really want to cut something that's working?" she said. "With music programs, students get better grades, the children are more disciplined."

Resident Dave Detzel, 55, said he is satisfied with the district's efforts to overcome its budget problems while keeping up with increasing education costs.

"This administration, this staff here is doing pretty good," he said. "I'm not going to complain. What they're dealing with, it's a complicated problem, a very challenging problem."

-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at