A project to line and soil cap the Coal Bowl playground will cost Palmerton Area School District $27,800.

The school board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to accept the bid from Todd Greene to cap the playground.

In a related matter, the board decided to reject the add/alternate bid for the construction of a 25x30 asphalt basketball court with one goal.

The board previously hired Barry Isett & Associates to oversee environmental services for the playground at a cost of $3,900.

District officials have said the playground typically accommodates about 100 students for recess at a time, and it is also used heavily for a summer program hosted by the Palmerton Area Recreation Committee.

In November, the school board approved a $20,000 settlement between the district and TCI Pacific Communications, Inc., for remediation work to the Coal Bowl playground.

The payment is for remediation of the playground at Franklin Avenue, where soil samples conducted at the area by the state Environmental Protection Agency were found to have turned up elevated levels of lead and other metallic elements.

In July, the board announced that it would cost the district $11,000 to add new soil to the playground area. That price didn't include labor and trucking.

That announcement came after the board held a special meeting in June, at which time it hired Atty. William Schwab as legal counsel at a rate of $125 an hour at an amount not to exceed $1,000.

Charlie Root, an EPA project manager, informed the board at that time that levels of lead, cadmium and arsenic were found that were higher than acceptable standards.

Root also said at that time that while not an inhalation risk, the area was an ingestion risk due to the presence of the metals. He then recommended the district seek a professional environmental firm to look at the area.

The proposed new playground area is adjacent to the grass area around the existing macadam that Root said the EPA sampled back in 2002.

In April, 2009, the S.S. Palmer Elementary P.T.O. Beautification Committee began a project to refurbish the playground after it said the area sustained years of neglect.

But, work at the site came to a halt as officials awaited the results of the tests conducted by the EPA to determine whether the area - which had previously been used by the school's Environmental Education Club - was environmentally sound.

Also on Tuesday, Superintendent Carol Boyce congratulated the girls softball team, as well as pole vault champ Lanny Buck, on their stellar athletic performances, and praised this year's high school graduation class.

"Graduation was a beautiful affair, and went off without a hitch," Boyce said. "To our retirees, we wish them a fond farewell."

Finally, Boyce announced that the district's emergency operations pandemic plan has been updated and submitted.

In personnel issues, the board:

Ÿ Agreed, on a 6-3 vote, to reduce the full-time secretary position to the Facilities Director to a part-time, 20-hour week position. Directors Darlene Yeakel, Michael Ballard, Carol Dwyer, Tina Snyder, Stuart Henritzy and board President Barry Scherer were in favor. Directors Carl Bieling, Susan Debski and Clarence Myers were opposed.

Ÿ Agreed, on a 6-3 vote, to create a full-time confidential secretary position for Human Resources/PIMS, effective July 1, 2010. Yeakel, Ballard, Dwyer, Snyder, Henritzy and Scherer were in favor. Bieling, Debski and Myers were opposed.

Ÿ Hired Tricia Wampole as a .5 Kindergarten teacher at a salary of BS Step 1, $37,507, prorated, effective the 2010-11 school year.

Ÿ Hired Andrew Remsing as credit recovery teacher at a salary of $28 an hour, effective June 14-July 1, 2010.

ŸHired Kathryn McKeon as an English teacher at a salary of MS Step 1, $39,507, effective the 2010-11 school year.

Ÿ Hired Marybeth Altemus and Lisa Zupa as substitute instructional/non-instructional assistants at a salary of $7.25 an hour, effective June 16, 2010.

Ÿ Hired Altemus and Zupa as substitute secretaries at a rate of $8.45 an hour, effective June 16, 2010.

Ÿ Hired Clark Johnson, Richard Melander, and Eric Schlecht as substitute custodians at a salary of $8.50 an hour, effective June 16, 2010.

Ÿ Hired Joseph Plechavy as a substitute teacher at a salary of $70 a day, effective June 9, 2010.

Ÿ Approved professional employees Zachary Tofany, Palmerton Junior High School, Learning Support, and Lisa Ward, Towamensing Elementary, Third Grade Teacher, for having completed three years of satisfactory ratings within the Palmerton Area School District and for earning tenure.

Ÿ Accepted the resignation of Kyle Greenwood, high school/junior high school library media specialist, effective June 8, 2010.

Ÿ Accepted the resignation of Briana Banks, high school/junior high school Health/Physical Education, effective June 8, 2010.

Ÿ Approved Wampole, McKeon and Dawn Burke for professional development during the summer of 2010 at the rate of $28 an hour, based on current contract.

- Approved teachers as mentors for the 2010-11 school year at a stipend of $1,321: Lynn Sutton with Brielle Siegfried; Lori Smith with Shanna Matthews; Stephanie Shiffert and Diane Hanna with Tricia McElmoyle; Kevin Kolodziejki with Kathryn McKeon; Tamara Dobias with Tricia Wampole, based on current contract.

In other business, the board:

Ÿ Approved the establishment of a scholarship fund in memory of Nick Bickowski.

Ÿ Adopted the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit # 21's Policies, Procedures, and Use of Funds that are to be used for submission with the 2010-11 IDEA B, Section 611 project application.

Ÿ Adopted the MOU with PAEA concerning the Curriculum Advisory Counsel.

Ÿ Approved the second reading and adoption of Policy 408, Professional Employees Employment Contract, to include a Temporary Professional Employee Contract.

Ÿ Approved the agreement with Carbon Monroe Pike Drug & Alcohol Commission for Drug and Alcohol Prevention/Intervention Service for the 2010-11 school year at the cost of $14,000.

Ÿ Approved Ace American Insurance Company compulsory program, which provides coverage for all students K-12, all sports, gym classes, and field trips as offered by Mid-Penn Insurance Company, at a total cost of $28,421, paid by the school district for the 2010-11 school year. The premium for the optional 24-hour student accident coverage is $75, paid by the parents, at no cost to the district.

ŸAppointed Dr. Patrick Sewards as School Physician for the 2010-11 school year at the cost of $8,000 for services.

Ÿ Appointed Dr. Scott Aldinger, D.D.S. as School Dentist for the 2010-11 school year at the flat rate of $750.

Ÿ Agreed to refinance the 2005 bond issue. The $6 million bond is scheduled to be paid off in 2016.

Ÿ Approved Godshall Kane Architects to create the specs for the Third Street steps at S.S. Palmer at a cost not to exceed $1,000.

Ÿ Retained Attorney David B. Shulman as solicitor for the Palmerton Area School District board of directors, effective July 1, 2010 until June 30, 2011, at the hourly rate of $135.

Ÿ Approved the Credit Recovery Program for students, grades 7-12, to make up credits necessary for graduation and/or to allow them to pass for the year, cost to be paid by student tuition of $135 per course.

ŸAcknowledged the increase of the Pa Dual Enrollment 2009-10 funding from $7,960 to $11,611.