Allentown school officials disagree on approved tax hike to patch district funding gap

Written by on July 20, 2020

Allentown school officials disagree on approved tax hike to patch district funding gap

By Chloe Nouvelle

July 20, 2020

Taxes in Allentown are going up again. This time, it’s for the schools. But not everyone agrees another tax hike is needed. Chloe Nouvelle has the story.

Allentown’s school board voted to increase taxes by 4 percent. The board president Sara Brace says it helped balance the budget and create a fund balance of nearly 2 million dollars. 

“I know nobody wants a tax increase. But sometimes that’s just the way it happens for us in order to have the programming that we need for our students.”

But given the 5-4 vote, clearly not everyone on the board was supportive of the hike. Phoebe Harris was one of the no votes.

“Eight hundred of our children, students in allentown are homeless. What’s gonna happen when these people’s rent go up, or they can’t make their mortgage and they can’t feed their children? Because we did a 4 percent hike? What’s gonna happen?”

Director Cheryl Johnson Watts also voted no. She says the board and district could have found other ways to reduce costs

“It would have taken a little more digging. I feel that we have to give ourselves more time to do that in the future, rather than the default of increased taxes.”

School officials say 9.8 million dollars in Cares Act funding helped balance the budget. 

But Allentown School District Superintendent Thomas Parker told WLVR there’s still a structural deficit.

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