The Waynesboro Area School Board has whittled down a budget shortfall for 2013-14, preliminarily approving a $49 million spending plan that does not raise taxes.
The board has until June 30 to adopt a final budget.
On Tuesday, the district’s business administrator, Thomas Dick, talked to the school board about an $832,765 deficit he had anticipated. He said the administration and school board’s budget committee eliminated that deficit over the past month using several methods.
The largest amount of deficit reduction — $408,434 in total — came from changes to salaries and benefits.
“We did have quite a few salary adjustments with retirements,” Dick said.
Retirees are being replaced, and the overall number of employees for the district should remain the same, he said.
Salary and benefits represent more than $21 million of annual spending.
Under a state index, the school board would be permitted to raise property taxes by up to 2.2 percent for the coming year. However, the board on Tuesday approved a preliminary budget that holds the line on taxes.
Board member Billie Finn was the lone dissenting vote for the budget as presented. She expressed concerns about dipping into district savings for operational expenses.
The budget designates that $113,835 for Franklin Career (Pa.) Career and Technology Center tuition payments come from the district’s fund balance, which is similar to a savings account.
Board President Chris Lind was absent from the meeting.
Dick provided the board with three-year budget projections, which show expenditures increasing to $54.2 million by 2016-17.
“We’re going to have to be very aggressive in how we budget and look at our revenues very hard,” he said.
In other business, the school board gave its approval to the career center budget for 2013-14. Spending there is expected to increase 1.96 percent over the current year.
Waynesboro’s school board, which is one of five boards that oversee the career center, had earlier rejected a proposed spending plan for the facility south of Chambersburg, Pa. Its members lamented proposed salary hikes that outpaced ones at member schools.