Lehighton Area School District Superintendent James Kraky announced during last night's school board meeting that the district will be offering H1N1 "novel" flu vaccinations for students and staff.

"Lehighton Area School District will be participating in the H1N1 virus vaccination program," he said. The school plans to send home permission slips that will allow students to be vaccinated, at no cost to parents. Parents will be able to choose whether their child is vaccinated or not.

Kraky noted that the school has not received vaccines yet and will set a date for vaccination at a later time. The district is currently in the early stages of planning the vaccination process.

Board President David Krause thanked Kraky and the district's school nurses for their efforts in bringing the vaccination program to the school.

"It's not an easy thing to do. There is a lot of planning," said Krause. "It was a good effort to put that together, to protect the school district from this potential flu problem."

During the meeting, board members approved an agreement with Apex Learning Digital Curriculum Solutions to purchase a digital curriculum for the high school alternative education program. The program, costing $3,200, will be paid for through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a branch of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. SFSF funds are to be used to advance educational reform.

Students in the alternative education program currently receive faculty-led instruction in core learning areas, explained Craig Reichl, the assistant principal at Lehighton Area High School.

The digital curriculum program will offer 30 additional classes to these students.

"It will get our students back to the regular curriculum sooner," he said. "It will meet the students' needs a lot better."

During the public portion of the meeting, Lehighton resident John Bird addressed the board and encouraged members to find ways to trim their budget and protect the district from future economic problems.

"It's inevitable that tax revenue will decrease, eventually," said Bird, noting that lost jobs and falling home prices mean less tax revenue for the district.

He also added that PPL electricity caps will expire soon, and recommended that the board explore energy conservation plans now before the caps are lifted.

Other suggestions offered by Bird included reducing staff sizes through attrition and cutting extracurricular programs.