SOUTH YARMOUTH — The Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District is grappling with how to narrow the gap between a soaring tentative budget and dwindling state funds for its coming fiscal year.

Yarmouth taxpayers, meanwhile, will again see a jump in the percentage of costs they are expected to pay for the shared school district.

Rising costs of employee health care and busing were among factors that pushed the district’s tentative 2019 budget to $61.9 million, up 6.2 percent from 2018, with zero new services added, Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Jenks told the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School Committee on Monday at a public budget hearing at Station Avenue Elementary School. District employees would be working to trim those numbers in the next several weeks, he said.

Compounding the issue are a $200,000 drop in state aid and $234,000 that the district used from its excess and deficiency fund last year, which won’t be available for the coming year, Jenks said.

The rising costs and dropping aid have created a $17.4 million gap between the amount that the state requires Dennis and Yarmouth taxpayers contribute to the schools and the $48.8 million they would need to pay based on the tentative budget.

“I feel there’s kind of a big gap,” School Committee member Brian Sullivan said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re in a bind here.”

Yarmouth taxpayers will again be asked to shoulder a higher percentage of the cost burden. Because stipulations in the towns’ regional agreement require funding based on student enrollment, Yarmouth, which has seen an increase of 39 students since 2016, has been required to consistently foot a higher portion of the bill than Dennis, which saw a drop of 38 students in the same period, according to data provided by Jenks.

Last year, the difference required Yarmouth town meeting to approve a Proposition 2½ override to fund the 2018 school budget, despite the Yarmouth Board of Selectmen’s recommendation against the move. The board expressed concerns over entering a continuing cycle of overrides for funding regular school district operating costs. Dennis voters approved their share of the budget without the need for an override.

For 2019, Yarmouth’s tentative total operating assessment stands at $32.8 million, more than double the $16.8 million tentative assessment for Dennis.

“That enrollment shift is a real challenge for Yarmouth,” Jenks said Tuesday. “If the enrollment goes up and the costs go up, it’s a double whammy.”

The staggering difference in assessments between the towns prompted some committee members to urge a regional agreement subcommittee to resume its efforts. The subcommittee was formed last year to consider whether changes are needed to make the agreement more equitable, but ceased talks in January.

District employees will continue working to bring the budget down, Jenks said.

“It seems that every four or five years in our district, there is a crunch point,” he said. “In the past they’ve closed a school or they’ve been able to rework things. I feel like we need to confirm to everybody that we know this is going to be reduced. The piece for us right now is working through it”

The School Committee will vote March 5 on a final budget.

— Follow Kristen Young on Twitter: @KristenCCT.