If first looks at the Spring Grove School District's budget hold true, the district will be faced with filling a budget gap of more than $5 million.
The $63.6 million budget increased by 3.77 percent for the 2014-15 school year, or about $2.4 million, said district business manager George Ioannidis.
Ioannidis said a large portion of that growth is because of a 21.43 percent increase in retirement contributions, although the district also is seeing smaller increases in health care, utility and transportation costs.
The gap already includes the projected revenue for a 2.6 percent increase in property taxes, Ioannidis said. That's an increase of about 0.53 mills, or $79.50 for a homeowner with a property valued at $150,000.
But the district could limit the increase to that amount. Ioannidis said the school board will vote at its Jan. 20 meeting on a proposal to not raise taxes above the cap set by the state Department of Education.If the resolution is passed, Ioannidis said, the board would not adopt a preliminary budget. Instead, the board would adopt a proposed final budget in April and a final budget - with any tax increase up to 2.6 percent - in June.
For now, the numbers are still in a "first draft" stage. For instance, the district still doesn't know how much state funding it will receive for 2014-15. If the school board decides not to exceed the tax cap, members will have to discuss if they will raise taxes to the 2.6 percent cap, or decide to keep the tax rate lower.
They'll also have to discuss how much the district should to use from its unassigned fund balance -- essentially a savings account for the district -- or which programs will need to be adjusted to make up for the budget shortfall. As of June 2013, the district had $11.4 million in the unassigned fund balance.
Ioannidis said the administration will make recommendations later in the year about how much of the fund balance the board might want to use, or how programs in the district could be adjusted for cost savings.
"It's a question of what the board is comfortable with," Ioannidis said.
The Monday, Jan. 20, meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Educational Service Center, 100 E. College Ave. in Spring Grove.
-- Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.