Lehighton Area School Board on Monday night reorganized and seated two new members after two departing board members were thanked for their past service. Leaving the board were Duane Eidem and John Finnegan. Eidem attended the meeting, while Finnegan was absent.
One of the new members, Rocky Ahner, was also voted as board chairman. Also seated as a new board member was Thomas Zimmerman, who cast the deciding vote for Ahner to become chairman. Also nominated as board president was David Krause.
Voting for Ahner were Ahner, William Hill Jr., Hal Resh, Wayne Wentz and Zimmerman, while Krause was supported by Tina Dowd, Krause, Larry Stern and Andrew Yenser.
Bonnie Cortese, secretary, swore in returning board members Resh, Stern, Wentz and Yenser, who then joined Dowd, Hill and Krause at the board table.
Resh was then named board vice president in a 5-4 vote. Voting for Resh were Ahner, Hill, Resh, Wentz and Zimmerman; and voting for Stern were Dowd, Krause, Stern and Yenser.
Hill served as temporary chairman until Ahner was seated as board chairman.
Ahner then conducted the remainder of the meeting.
The board voted to name Yenser as its representative on the Carbon Career and Technical Institute's Joint Operating Committee and named Hill as the alternate representative on the same committee.
Wentz was named the representative on the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit No. 21.
Under the courtesy to the floor, David Bradley spoke for a few minutes about a petition he is circulating in the school district concerning providing a safe, debt-free school for children. He said that he will be presenting the petition to the board at its next meeting on Monday, Jan. 23.
Under new business, the board set up a committee appointment at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, to discuss safe school issues, similar to the issues that Bradley discussed.
The board also voted to expel a student from the district. Krause then commended all the student athletes, naming each one and the awards and titles they earned.
After an executive session, the board announced that it had settled a labor dispute with the teachers over medical benefits. Attorney William Schwab, board solicitor, said that the board adjusted the deducible on their co-pays for prescriptions.
Ahner said that he wasn't really surprised that he was named board president.
"I want to further education and sports," said Ahner. "I want to make the bands, sports and education better for the students. We have a good school district and I want to see the public, administration, support staff, teachers and board work together for the education of the students. I accept the challenge."