WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. – The Whitehall-Coplay School District's proposed 2021-22 budget totals $81 million, up 5.7%, and includes a tax increase.
The district school board will vote June 14 on the budget for next year. If the plan passes in its current form, the millage will increase to 19.5417, up 3.5%, on property in the Lehigh County school district. Whitehall-Coplay serves about 4,300 students.
The vote to move ahead the budget and some minor items passed 6-1 Monday with President Wayne Grim, Vice President William Fonzone Sr., Patty Gaugler, Nichole Hartman, George Williams and Eileen Abruzzi in favor. Tina Koren voted against the package of five finance items, without saying if she was opposed to the budget or another matter.
Board members George Makhoul and Joseph Shields were not present. Abruzzi is a new board member, sworn in May 4 to take the place of William Leiner Jr., who resigned.
The board also approved reassessments for two properties on the retail strip in Whitehall Township. The Home Depot property at 1350 MacArthur Road will be assessed at $6.58 million, while the Whitehall Square shopping center at 2160-80 MacArthur Road will be taxed based on a value of $25.4 million.
According to Lehigh County property records, both new assessments are reductions. In the current school year, the Home Depot Property was due to pay $137,037 in taxes to Whitehall-Coplay, while Whitehall Square was due to pay $524,804. Requests for lower assessments, which lead to lower tax payments, are reviewed by county government.
Monday's meeting was the first for Superintendent Robert Steckel, who has taken over after the retirement of Lorie Hackett. He was an assistant superintendent with the Northampton Area School District before taking over at Whitehall-Coplay.
"It's been a great experience thus far," Steckel said, after a week on the job.
In other business, the board unanimously elected Williams as its treasurer.
The Whitehall-Coplay board will hold committee meetings May 24 at 4 p.m., and then hold its full meeting, with a vote on the budget, June 14.
Graduation for Whitehall High School will be held June 7.