The Loyalsock Township School Board adopted an $18.4 million proposed budget for 2010-11 school year Wednesday night - a spending plan that does not include any projected real estate tax hike.
The proposed budget includes a 2.63-percent, or $472,083, increase from the district's 2009-10 budget.
As of now, the district is looking at a $160,399 shortfall that Gerald McLaughlin, business manager and acting superintendent, said can be closed with money from the district's fund balance.
The hike in next year's budget is due to increases in items such as salaries and benefits, utility costs, health care and retirement rates, McLaughlin said.
He said the district continues to remain financially stable with a healthy fund balance. However, he warned the 2011-12 school year - in a worst case
scenario - could leave the district facing a $1 million deficit should health care and retirement rates continue climb alongside the termination of federal stimulus money.
McLaughlin said the district is looking into developing a five-year budget projection to help map out the direction the district needs to go in order to generate fiscally sound budgets, especially given the circumstances headed to districts statewide in the next few years.
Board vice president Edward H. Ade Jr. expressed his concern over bringing on new personnel next year, particularly as the district continues to mull an additional elementary school counselor and dean of students at the middle school.
Board member Stephen M. Dewar also questioned the need for new employees.
Other board members, such as William P. Carlucci and John B. Raymond, both believe adding supportive personnel for students will help lessen future problems.
The next school board meeting is at 7 p.m. May 12 at the District Service Center, 1720 Sycamore Road.