Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) superintendent Jason Perrin said the district would likely be forced to raise taxes this year to avoid depleting the fund balance beyond required limits.
Perrin said the fund balance was required to be between 6 and 8 percent of the total budget and that the district would likely be at the lowest allowed level next year.
“We’ll shoot for 6 percent fund balance,” said Perrin. “We’ll be using a significant amount of the unassigned fund balance to balance the budget.”
Although he said the figures were very preliminary and that the budget would be analyzed fully over the next months, Perrin suggested three options to keep the district above the six percent range.
- With a zero percent tax increase the district will have to find $1.5M in savings
- With a 3.5 percent tax increase the district will have to find over $400,000 in savings
- With a 1.75 percent tax increase the district will have find over $960,000 in savings
Perrin said the district was holding the line on spending, basing the current budget on the 2016-2017 school year budget.
“We certainly don’t want to continue the tide of the gap between revenues and expenditures continuing to grow on a yearly basis,” said Perrin. “We’ve had that happen the last couple of years.”
Perrin said the district was actively looking for ways to cut. “It’s a lot of variables. It always is. Most problems are solvable,” he said.
Perrin said over $5 million in state and federal money would be coming to the district this year, which we would be spent within the parameters allowed. “The one-time money is always more difficult,” he said.
Board president Kenneth Hassinger noted the $4.1M the district pays for charter schools every year was difficult.
Perrin said GASD elementary schools had been open 5-days a week since November and that secondary schools had been on an A/B hybrid since that time. “The goal is to provide instruction both safely and equitably, following the Health and Safety plan,” he said. Perrin said there had been some short-term closures during that time period.
Saying the current secondary plan allows more physical space, provides continuity, and mitigates against short-term closures, Perrin said he thought the school should remain on the same instructional model for the remaining 7 weeks of school. Perrin said it was particularly important to him to be sure extra-curricular programs and athletics remained open, and was concerned about potential shutdowns if the secondary school went to full time.
“We all want to resume face-to-face instruction. It’s our intent to open-face to-face in the fall,” said Perrin.
The next scheduled school board meeting is April 19. The board has moved back to a policy where only in-person public comments are allowed.