The West York School Board got a preview of what its proposed budget will look like ahead of next week's official vote.
The preliminary budget, which the board will vote on at its 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting, has a 2.2 percent property tax increase - from 20.2281 mills to 20.6731 mills - which is the highest allowed under the state's index, Superintendent Emilie Lonardi explained.
The tax increase, coupled with $2.98 million taken from the district's reserve fund, will balance the $49.3 million budget for the 2013-14 school year.
"There will be shared pain across multiple areas," board president Rodney Drawbaugh said, adding the largest affected area is salaries, which currently make up just less than 70 percent of the overall budget.
Lonardi said by working with the teachers and support staff, the district was able to cut $1.3 million in expenditures from the budget, which helped lower the amount the district will have to take from its reserve fund.
The cuts: Teachers and coaches cut as far as they could without beginning to cut programs, such as sports and extracurriculars, Lonardi said.
Board member Jeanne Herman said, "It may not be popular, but (we should) look at athletics," as an area for trimming the budget, rather than cutting additional instructional classes, such as remediation and intervention classes.
Lonardi said cutting "all co-curricular activities" - such as sports and music programs - would save the district only $735,000.
Board member Alan Moose said he is not in favor of cutting sports programs, citing the long-term benefits, such as learning to work together, those programs bring to students.
Herman said she doesn't want to cut them either but favors cutting sports before cutting education programming.
Board member Robert Crouse Jr. said "nothing is off the table," in terms of cuts.
Furloughs? That includes teacher furloughs.
"I have never used the word 'furlough' before. This is the perfect storm of running out of money. 'Furlough' is the worst word ever. I've talked to other superintendents who have had to furlough teachers, and they've said it's 'the worst thing in the world,'" Lonardi said.
District officials hope not to have to furlough support staff or teachers, but that option remains on the table.
Lonardi said the first step is "to use any attrition," meaning not replacing teachers who have left mid-year this year or who have indicated they will be retiring at the end of this school year.
"That's step one. That's where we're at," she said.
She has, however, asked the union to compile a list of teachers based on their years of service, "because that's what the law says" in terms of furloughing.
Lonardi added she hopes the district will be able to use attrition to balance the staffing needs without furloughing teachers.
The next step is to pull teachers who aren't in the classroom - teachers who are providing services such as intervention specialists - back into the classroom in an effort to keep classroom sizes small.
- Reach Lauren McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org.