The next step for funding a proposed Lehighton Area School District elementary center and renovations to its middle and high schools is up in the air following Monday night’s board meeting.

The board, by a 6-3 margin, voted down a motion that would have authorized district administration to begin discussion with Public Financial Management (PFM) as financial advisor and Rhoads and Sinon as bond council on one or more series of bonds netting a maximum of $52.5 million for the three building projects.

Board members Larry Stern, Wayne Wentz and Andrew Yenser voted for the motion, while Stephen Holland, Lori Nothstein, Hal Resh, Rocky Ahner, William Hill Jr. and Gloria Bowman voted against it. 

Hill said he would prefer to see the district investigate using the combination of a bond, commercial bank loan and its fund balance to finance the projects.

District solicitor William Schwab said the move would not have locked the board into any borrowing.

"This would just start the discussion,” Schwab said. “There would be at least two more resolutions before any borrowing occurred.”

Bowman said she voted against the motion because she wanted to see it “separated out.” “I would like to see our finance committee chairman, Hal Resh, sit down with our business manager and talk about this before it comes back to the full board,” Bowman said.

Later in the meeting, the board unanimously authorized Brian Feick, district business manager, to send a request for information (RFI) to all local banks seeking commercial loan rates.

For the complete story, check out Tuesday’s Times News.