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School board OKs $105 million budget

June 24, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Area School Board approved a $105 million balanced budget Wednesday night by adjusting revenues and spending to eliminate a projected $2.3 million deficit.

The spending plan for 2009-10 includes a 4.9 percent property tax increase, which translates into a $41.27 increase on the tax bill for a property appraised at $100,000.

School district spokeswoman Sylvia Rockwood said the administration took a hard look at the budget to eliminate the deficit while still maintaining the quality of instruction and job security.

Reducing personnel allowed for much of the savings in the final budget.

Business Manager Steve Dart said no employees will be laid off at present, however, positions will be eliminated through attrition and the elimination of the high school French program.

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The entire administration collaborated to balance the final budget, proposing cuts in all corners of the district, Dart said.

The Chambersburg Area School District has a $3.8 million fund balance that is similar to a savings account.

However, it was Dart's goal to balance the budget without spending the district's savings.

"This could be a multiyear issue," he said of the district's decreased revenue. "I wanted to avoid dipping into the fund balance so that the district's fallback could remain intact."

While the board adopted the balanced final budget, Dart said the budget will remain flexible through August depending on how much state subsidy passes the Pennsylvania General Assembly this summer.

Dart said there are open positions the district is waiting to fill in the event of reduced state funding.

"We still have a few additional items under consideration that could save money if state revenue is less than anticipated," he said. "It's a quandary. We are trying to hedge our bets knowing that qualified candidates might go elsewhere for employment."

The board had no questions for Dart on Wednesday, approving the budget by a unanimous 8-0 vote.

School board director Norman Blowers was absent from Wednesday's meeting.

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