A lacrosse program, a new music teaching role, and a social worker position are some additions coming to Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) next school year.
The GASD school board adopted the 2019-2020 budget Monday night, which includes approximately $219,000 in special budget requests.
Kenneth Hassinger, the board treasurer, was the lone “no” vote for the second time, and school board member Alice Broadway was absent from the meeting.
Next year’s budget also has a lower tax increase than originally proposed; it went from 1.18 percent to 1 percent, school officials said.
The increase works out to $27.91 per year for a property assessed at the district average of $256,093, or about $2.32 per month, officials said.
GASD Superintendent Dr. Jason Perrin said the proposed tax increase is needed to lower the structural deficit, to “better predict revenues and expenditures,” keep the fund balance account “within policy limit,” implement the five-year technology plan, to keep the reserve account “stable enough to mitigate possible increased expenditures in future years,” and fund capital projects and special budget requests.
The special budget requests came to: $83,721 for a full-time music teacher; $87,167 for a full-time, district-wide social worker; and $48,937 for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams, according to budget documents.
Budget documents showed $63.8 million in revenues and $67.5 million in expenditures.
About $3.6 million will come from the unassigned fund account to help balance the budget shortfall, along with the tax increase, according to officials. Budget documents show this is approximately $290,000 more than last year’s amount used to assist with the shortfall.
Hassinger questioned the future of the unassigned fund balance. If it is continually used to cover the shortfall, Hassinger said the unassigned fund balance could eventually be depleted.
“I guess my question to you was if we continue this path, at some point, somebody is going to have to pay for everything we are doing now, and the unassigned fund balance is not going to be there to bridge the gap,” Hassinger said. “So, we are kicking the ball down a tad potentially.”
Hassinger also questioned the need for a 1-percent tax increase.
Perrin said the tax increase is needed to keep revenues up with expenditures.
“I’m just saying that our responsibility is to monitor the projects and where they are going out and spending what we are spending it on because eventually, we are not going to be completely blessed as we are,” Hassinger said. “It is economics. It can’t last forever.”
School board member Sylvan Hershey asked about the special budget requests and what the costs encompass.
Hershey noted how the items – two are staff positions – are recurring costs.
GASD Business Manager Brad Hunt explained the $48,937 for the junior varsity lacrosse program next year included costs for coaches, transportation, required officials and game help, and “a fairly significant portion is the initial outlay for the equipment” to get the teams started.
Hershey questioned whether there would be a cost to students for the lacrosse program.
Hunt indicated there would be “an understanding” in the community just like swimmers provide their swimsuits. While uniforms and sticks will be provided for the participants, students would be responsible for their shoes, according to Hunt.
School board members Kathleen Pratt and Al Moyer expressed their support for the budget throughout the discussion.
During the meeting, the school board also approved committing $450,000 of the unassigned fund balance for future capital needs, particularly for the high school and Lincoln Elementary School’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements.
Recently, the committee that focuses on finance and buildings and grounds, discussed moving the HVAC project up one year to 2021-2022, officials said in May. The funds are anticipated to support the selection process of an engineering firm in June 2019, school officials previously indicated.
“The request is being made based on increasing failures the district is experiencing with the core systems at the high school,” according to a facilities memorandum attached to the school board agenda in May.