The terms of a new teachers' contract appears to be what triggered the sudden resignation of a former Northern Lehigh school director.

Earlier this month the board, on a 7-2 vote, approved a new four-year teachers' contract that calls for a 3.5 percent salary increase in each of the next four years.

The four-year pact calls for an average increase of 2.4 percent, plus step increments. In addition, the contract includes increased teacher contributions to their health care based on a percentage of the monthly premium the district pays.

Former school director Donald Dengler, who submitted his letter of resignation to the board on May 17, was one of two directors to vote against the new contract.

Dengler contacted the TIMES NEWS on Monday to offer an explanation for his resignation.

"After much consideration, I felt I could no longer sit on a school board that is insensitive to the taxpayers of this school district," Dengler said. "During these tough economic times, there are hard-working taxpayers not receiving any salary increases, others having to take decreases in order to keep their jobs, and still others who have totally lost their jobs."

Also, Dengler said people who are on fixed incomes aren't receiving increases from the government. And, those who have investments, he said, may be receiving little or no returns.

"Knowing this, the school board, with a seven to two vote, had the audacity to approve a 3.5 percent pay increase for the administration and the teachers without my support," Dengler said. "I feel I have done my best to protect the community regarding tax increases with little to no support from my fellow school board directors; therefore, I have made the decision to resign."

Dengler thanked the community for the opportunity to serve on the board.

The district will accept applications to fill the vacancy until 3 p.m. June 4. Board secretary Gregory S. Williams said the board could choose to fill the vacancy when it meets at 7:30 p.m. June 14.

Whomever is chosen to fill the vacancy will serve until December 2011. To seek re-election beyond that point, the individual must have their name placed on the November ballot.

Residents of the district who are interested in the position should write a letter of application to: Mr. Gregory S. Williams, Board Secretary, Northern Lehigh School District, 1201 Shadow Oaks Lane, Slatington, PA 18080.

No telephone applications will be accepted. Letters can be mailed or delivered in person. Personal data, or a resume which will assist the directors in the interview, should be included in the application.

Information about the vacancy is posted on the district's website, www.nlsd.org.