Senior citizens on fixed incomes in the Nazareth Area School District got good news on Monday.
The district school board approved a “homestead” property tax rebate program for seniors over age 65 with incomes of $35,000 per year or less who own property in the school district.
The maximum rebate allowed is $650 -- for those with annual incomes of $8,000 or less. The rebate amount gradually decreases as income level rises. Seniors who make $18,001 to $35,000 per year are eligible for a rebate of $250.
The program also applies to widows or widowers of seniors and also to those with permanent disabilities, as long as their annual income does not exceed $35,000.
Claims for property tax rebates under the senior homestead program must be filed with the office of the district business administrator between July 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013.
For more information, call the district office at (610) 759-1170.
The school board approved the tax rebate program unanimously during a freewheeling meeting that featured much discussion of side issues not outlined clearly in the advance agenda.
In one such discussion, board member Chris Miller spoke out against the importance placed on standardized test scores in schools today -- not just in Nazareth area. Miller, a retired history teacher, voiced similar concerns at previous board meetings -- both before and after he took his seat on the board in December 2011.
District Superintendent Victor Lesky, attending his next-to-last board meeting before his retirement next month, agreed that legislators who control part of public education funding place too much emphasis on standardized test scores. He noted, however, that there is some upside to such tests.
“The one thing testing is allowing us to find out is what our kids don't know,” Lesky said.
He contrasted that with the approach to testing he perceives from some in the legislative world.
“They are using it to define success and failure,” he said.