Palmerton Area School District has taken the next step toward the adoption of next year's proposed budget.

Also on Tuesday, the school board awarded a contract for renovations to its high school auditorium in the amount of $908,700.

The board approved the advertisement of the 2012-13 General Operating Budget, which begins the process of public review and comment.

A formal presentation of the spending plan will be given on May 8. It is anticipated the final budget will be adopted on June 19.

Earlier this month, Donna Les, interim business manager, presented to the board the adjusted 2012-13 budget, which calls for a 3.4-percent, or 1.67-mill, increase in the property tax rate.

If the board were to approve a budget with a 1.67-mill increase, it would raise the millage rate from 49.14 to 50.81 mills. That would mean a person with a home valued at $100,000 and assessed at $50,000 would pay $2,540, or $83 more in property taxes to the district next year.

Les said at that time that while the proposed $27,265,782 spending plan does not take into account gaming revenue, it does reflect the governor's proposed budget, whereby the district would lose $20,168 in Social Security reimbursement; $1,194 in Basic Education Funding, and see a $178,389 increase in transportation costs.

The proposed budget also calls for the use of $272,486 from the fund balance to pay for the 2011-12 positions that were restored, Les said.

A contract for the high school auditorium renovations was awarded to CC Inc., of Bethlehem.

The project will install new theatrical lighting, a safer rigging system, curtains, a sound system, carpeting, painting, and general redecorating.

It will be paid for from out of the $5 million bond the prior school board agreed to borrow.

The project will begin in May, and is expected to be completed by the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Both the advertisement for the adoption of the proposed budget, as well as the contract for renovations to the high school auditorium, passed on 8-0 votes. Board President Barry Scherer was absent.

In other business, the board:

- Approved Katherine Gilmartin as contracted LifeSkills teacher at Bachelors Step 3, with salary to be determined pending negotiated contact, effective Aug. 22, 2012.

- Approved change order #001 for the district stadium lighting replacement project - JB Electric, project #1059010.013. The contract sum will be decreased by this change order in the amount of $8,980,000, and the new contract sum including this change order will be $90,489.

- Approved change order #002 for the district water mitigation project - C&D Waterproofing Corp. project #1059010.010. The contract sum will be increased by this change order in the amount of $3,000, and the new contract sum including this change order will be $38,350.

- Authorized district administration to proceed with conducting the asbestos abatement for the high school auditorium project, under a separate purchase order, from ACM Associates. The purchase order will be a not to exceed amount of $3,000, and will be funded as part of the construction bond.

- Authorized district administration to proceed with the replacement of the doors along the front of the senior high school as part of the bond project.

- Approved the assessment appeal agreement with Mary A. Frohnheiser.

- Tabled the new curriculum for: Comparative Mythology; Honors English 9; Honors English 10; Honors English 11; Honors English 12; English 9; English 10; English 11; English 12; Reading Study Skills; and Speech.

- Approved the attached list of novels that are taught by the English department in grades 7-12.

- Approved Gorman & Associates, P.C., for audit services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, at the rates of $20,800, AFR fee, $875; audit fee; $2,485; and hourly rate for additional services, $72.

- Announced student #12160 is on homebound instruction from March 6, 2012, through June 4, 2012, for medical reasons per physician. John Hrebik and Ian Klansek will instruct.

- Announced student #17053 is on homebound instruction from March 21, 2012, through April 25, 2012, for medical reasons per physician. Lynn Sutton will instruct.

- Approved the advertisement for 2012-13 office paper bid and athletic bid supplies.

- Denied grievance #11-12-7-CF.

- Approved the attached tuition reimbursement.