The Southern Lehigh School Board met Monday and voted to adopt a $68.9 million district budget that includes a modest tax increase for the 2019-2020 school year. School officials also reflected on the high school’s graduation ceremony, which was held Friday.
To meet the budgetary requirements for the 2019-2020 fiscal school year, the board voted 7-0 to increase the district’s millage rate by .20 mills, from 15.82 mills to 16.02 mills. This translates to a 1.27 percent tax hike.
The median property assessment in the district is $240,000, said Dr. Jeremy Melber, Director of Business Services for the district, so a .20 mill tax increase will result in a $48 annual increase for the owner of a property valued at that amount.
In addition to the millage increase, as part of the budget adoption the board voted to re-enact several existing taxes including a one percent tax on real estate transfers, a one percent earned income tax and a $5 local services tax, which is paid annually by anyone who works within the school district.
“There are no new taxes or increases in those taxes for the 2019-20 school year,” Melber confirmed.
The high school’s administrative team organized a well-executed graduation ceremony, which was held June 7 and has since generated overwhelmingly positive feedback, Superintendent Kathleen T. Evison said.
Evison and high school principal Beth Guariello credited some of the success to additions made to this year’s commencement ceremony, such as a new process for selecting student speakers.
“Our student speakers were amazing,” Evison said. “It was a really good graduation.”
She added that another change–to recognize veterans in attendance as well as graduates who will be entering the Armed Forces–was also positively received.
“I really liked the salute to the veterans,” Evison said. She noted that the graduates who will be serving their country “all looked so proud standing there.”
Board members Jeffery Dimmig and William Lycett were absent from the meeting.
The next Southern Lehigh School Board meeting will be held Monday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school board room. For future meeting dates, agendas and other school board-relate information visit the district’s website.