Waynesboro Area School District currently has the second lowest tax rate of all districts in Franklin County, behind Fannett-Metal School District, which boasts the lowest rate.

Fannett-Metal serves 530 students, compared to WASD's roughly 4,200.

But can WASD pass a budget this year with no tax increase?

That is the question.

Three of the last nine district budgets have passed with no tax increase.

Without a tax increase, the district is facing a $869,000 budget deficit, according to a presentation by Eric Holtzman, the business manager for Waynesboro Area School District.

Even with a maximum tax increase, the budget is looking at a $119,000 deficit.

Tax increases are an area of contention with the board.

Leland Lemley, a member of the board and former member of the budget committee, said he does not believe there are enough votes for a full tax increase.

Board president Steve Kulla also stated that he did not think he could support an increase. "I don't know if it's irresponsible to say this, but I don't know if there's any chance I'm going to vote for a full tax increase. I was surprised that we had nine votes for that last year," Kulla said.

One of the problematic areas from Holtzman's perspective is the funding of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (or PSERS).

Each year, the expected contribution set by the state for local school districts goes up, but state funding doesn't keep up with that increase. "The state has put you in a difficult position. Their funding has increased by $90,000, which is a third to a quarter of the expected PSERS increase," said Holtzman.

Lemley said the philosophy of the board has changed and that he would be looking at making the deep cuts that other members didn't want to make.

"I would make cuts. I would make reductions. I don't feel that the teachers at the high school are overworked. I would be looking at music and art and I would be looking at class sizes. I got along with [large] class sizes just like everyone else did," said Lemley.

In order to get the deficit as low as possible, the board will explore cutting items that can be put off, including building repairs and maintenance or cut back on tree-trimming and mowing.

Next year's capital projects budget may also be slashed. The capital projects budget is a part of the district's total budget dedicated to building upgrades and repairs. The board is now looking at a $100,000 instead of a $200,000 budget for capital projects and limiting those projects to student and employee safety improvements such as a security vestibule at Summitview Elementary to properly vet visitors.

The WASD school board has a regular meeting scheduled for April 25 and its next budget workshop scheduled for May 2.

Willingham resignation

The board also voted to accept the resignation of Roger Willingham, who submitted a letter of resignation to the board president and the superintendent over Easter weekend.

The board is currently seeking applications from interested residents in the northern area of the district which includes Mont Alto, Quincy, South Mountain and a small part of Guilford Township.

Willingham was 15 months into his four-year term. The successful candidate will fill out that term.

The board plans to interview candidates and appoint a new member at its meeting on Tuesday, May 9.

Contact Zach Glenn at 717-762-2151, zglenn@therecordherald.com or on Twitter: @zglenn_RH