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N. Lehigh looks to 1.48-mill increase

  • TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh High School Student Council member Nathaniel Czarnecki presents a gift to school board members on behalf of the organization on Monday.
    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh High School Student Council member Nathaniel Czarnecki presents a gift to school board members on behalf of the organization on Monday.
Published January 15. 2013 05:01PM

As of now, Northern Lehigh School District is on course to approve next year's preliminary budget with a 1.48-mill increase.

By a unanimous vote, the school board agreed on Monday to adopt a resolution to not exceed the Act 1 Tax Index for the 2013-14 budget.

That decision came after the board received advice from Sherri Molitoris, co-director of business affairs/human resources.

"Administration is not recommending to go out for exceptions," Molitoris said. "We are going to raise taxes to the index, but we are not going above the index."

Molitoris said that due to Lehigh County's reassessment, the district is locked in at 1.7 percent, with an adjusted rate of 2.3 percent. Therefore, the most it can raise taxes by is 1.48 mills.

The board is expected to adopt next year's preliminary budget in April, Molitoris said.

In June, the board adopted the 2012-13 spending plan with a zero-mill increase after it agreed to utilize $715,000 from the fund balance to stabilize the budget.

As part of that budget, 46 aides in the district saw a one-hour reduction in their hours this school year, as their hours have been reduced from 5 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours per day, which will save the district $350,000.

The $28,106,782 budget left the property tax rate unchanged at 64.37 mills in Lehigh and Northampton counties, which means a person with a home valued at $100,000, and assessed at $50,000, will again pay $3,219 in property taxes to the district.

Also on Monday, Superintendent Michael Michaels announced that a School Safety Task Force meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Michaels said he, as well as teachers and administrators, would be among those in attendance.

He said the meeting is important, especially on the heels of last month's elementary school shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn.

In an unrelated matter, the board heard from Student Council, which gave its yearly board presentation.

Accompanied by adviser Renee Evans, several dozen members of the organization were in attendance.

Kendra Smith, president, updated the board on various events Student Council has in the works.

Several members of the organization then presented the board with a gift.

In an unrelated matter, Superintendent Michael Michaels announced that January is School Board Recognition Month.

Michaels said the moment was a time to "thank the board members for all their hard work and volunteering."

"This board works feverishly for the taxpayers and the students," Michaels said. "Thank you to the board of education.

Later in the meeting, the board adopted a resolution recognizing January as School Board Recognition Month.

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