Carlisle Area School District is facing a potential deficit of up to $4.8 million in its budget for 2018-19 based on preliminary numbers presented Thursday before the school board.
School Board President Paula Bussard called the shortfall a “potential range of deficit,” saying projections are based on revenue from state subsidies remaining flat going into next year.
More could be known in February when Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to present his state budget for 2018-19 that would include more details on proposed funding levels for the basic education and special education subsidies to Pennsylvania school districts.
Draft estimates for Carlisle project revenues at $82,044,000 next school year compared to $86,846,000 in projected expenses for a potential shortfall of $4,802,000.
The board has decided it will not increase the real estate tax beyond the maximum of 3.1 percent allowed under the Act I Index for 2018-19.
Business Operations Manager Owen Snyder included in the budget presentation Thursday a range of possible tax increase options and the expected amount of potential revenue each option could generate.
The range of options starts at a 1 percent increase that could generate $420,000 in additional revenue. The top end of the range was the maximum of 3.1 percent, which could generate about $1.3 million.
Under the current scenario, the maximum Act 1 tax increase would generate 27 percent of the revenue needed to close the potential deficit presented to the board Thursday.
It is early in the budget review process. Snyder presented a proposed schedule of key dates, the nest of which is April 12 when staff may present a proposed budget with changes and adjustments that could balance out the projected shortfall.
The schedule calls for the board to adopt a proposed budget on May 17 followed by the presentation of the final budget on June 14 and a possible vote to adopt the final budget a week later on June 21.
The draft expense budget calls for a 2.65 percent salary increase for teachers as specified under the current contract with similar increases possible for support staff and administrators.
The same draft budget proposes the addition of three teacher positions including one at North Dickinson Elementary School to allow for an expansion to full-day kindergarten.
The other two teacher positions were filled early in the current school year to account for an enrollment increase in the fourth grade at Mooreland Elementary School and kindergarten at Crestview Elementary School.