Lehigh Valley

Whitehall-Coplay approves budgets for tech school, college

School safety addressed

WHITEHALL, Pa. - The Whitehall-Coplay School Board approved a series of area technical school and college budgets at its Monday meeting.

The board approved the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s general fund and academic budgets for the 2018-19 school year. 

  • The general fund budget is $26.6 million, an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous year’s budget. The district’s sponsor share of the budget will be $1.8 million.
  • The Academic Center budget will be $1.8 million, an increase of $73,100 or 4.2 percent over the previous year’s budget. Whitehall-Coplay’s sponsor share will be $108,630.

The board also approved the 2018-19 Lehigh Carbon Community College budget. The budget will increase by 2.4 percent over the previous year, to $40.1 million. The district’s sponsor share will be $527,648.

The 2018-19 general operating budget for the Lehigh Carbon Intermediate Unit #21 was also approved at the meeting. The $823,241 budget remains the same as last year. Whitehall-Coplay’s sponsor share will be $58,777.

Other business

District Superintendent Lorie Hackett outlined steps the district takes to promote school safety and security in the wake of the recent Parkland, Fla., high school shooting.

Three years ago, the district employed a company called Standing Stone to conduct risk and threat assessments of Whitehall-Coplay schools. The district used the assessment results to formulate action plans to keep schoolchildren safe.

All visitors to district schools must show an ID before being allowed into buildings, Hackett said.

The district employs a school resource officer from the Whitehall Police Department to assist with safety, and the district plans to employ a second officer next year. The district regularly meets with area police departments to discuss safety issues, Hackett said.

Other steps the district takes to ensure safety are:

  • an anonymous district tip line,
  • a district-wide surveillance camera system,
  • an Emergency Operations Plan for the district, which was recently evaluated and updated, according to a Feb. 24 district letter to the community.  

Hackett said that there had been several school threats over the past few weeks, most made outside of school. None of the threats were found to be credible.

Superintendent Hackett acknowledged criticism from district parents that too much time passes between when their child may tell them of a school threat and when they receive an official notice from the district.

The district makes sure to gather all of the facts before sending a notice of school threats to parents, Hackett said, adding that his first concern is the safety of students and staff.

Safety would be compromised if a notice were sent out to parents without all of the facts, Hackett said.

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