At the Lehighton Area School Board meeting last evening, Superintendent James Kraky announced that the LASD Building Task Force Committee met recently to discuss a new option for the future of district buildings.

Comprised of approximately 30 interested community members, teachers, administrators, and school board members, the committee had previously discussed five possible building plans. EI Associates recently presented to the committee a sixth option. This plan includes an addition to the existing high school building, which would allow the high school and middle school students to share some core space – while retaining separate educational space.

According to school board President Dave Krause, there will be four informational meetings held throughout the district to discuss the new proposed building plan. The meetings are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1 at East Penn Elementary School; Wednesday, Nov. 2 at Franklin Elementary School; Monday, Nov. 7 at Mahoning Elementary School; and Thursday, Nov. 17 at Lehighton Area High School.

These meetings are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend one or more of the informational meetings to learn more about the building proposal.

In other business, director of curriculum Jonathan Cleaver thanked Lowe's in Lehighton for its recent $1,000 grant to LASD. The money will be used to involve students with the beautification of the high school – both inside and out.

Cleaver had the distinction of sawing the board to officially open the new store on Thursday, Sept. 29. At last evening's school board meeting, he presented Lowe's assistant store manager, Jan-Michael Cichocki, with the saw that he used at the grand opening ceremony – engraved with a "thank you" from LASD.

According to Cichocki, the new store represents an investment in the community of more than $16.5 million and has created approximately 125 new jobs.

"We look forward to being a good neighbor for many years to come," said Cichocki.

Guidance counselor James Blakeslee recognized the local police departments for volunteering their time to present the interactive seat belt safety program "The Back Is Where It's At" to all students in grades K through 4. Blakeslee also discussed future seat belt safety programs for students in both the middle school and high school.

LAHS Principal Tim Tkach reported that the newly-formed Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force Board recently met for the first time. This board is made up of representatives from three subcommittees – parents, school representatives, and community organizations/agencies. Each subcommittee will meet separately in order to create specific goals and action plans which will then be forwarded to the task force board for discussion and action.

The parents subcommittee meeting is scheduled for this evening. Both the school and community subcommittees are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16. Meetings of the subcommittees take place at 6:30 p.m. at LAHS. All interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend and become involved.

Tkach also announced "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day" is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This program provides venues for anyone who wants to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. They may be taken to the Lehighton Barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police – as well as to Kidder Township, Summit Hill, Slatington, and Walnutport police departments.

Student representative to the school board Shyanne Kleintop announced that LAHS National Honor Society is hosting a blood drive for students and school personnel on Wednesday, October 26. The blood drive will benefit Miller-Keystone Blood Center.

Kleintop invited the public to the parade and bonfire on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. as the Lehighton Indians football team prepares to battle their Route 209 rival – the Jim Thorpe Olympians. She also encouraged support for all fall activities participants at "Senior Night," just prior to the football game on Friday, Nov. 4. The festivities will begin at 6:15 p.m.

In other business, the school board accepted the resignations of Kelly Bollinger as assistant baseball coach – effective Sept. 28 – and Craig Reichl as assistant high school principal – effective Nov. 30. Stephen Ebbert was appointed interim assistant high school principal until a replacement is hired and on-site.

Lana Balliet will retire as a paraprofessional – effective Jan. 12. She has been an employee of LASD since June 8, 1992. Also retiring Jan. 20 will be paraprofessional LaRae Hlavaty – working for the district since March 11, 1985.

School board member Wayne Wentz was appointed the LASD representative to the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 Operating Committee.

The next meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at LASD Administration Building, Conference Room A. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

For more information about LASD, visit www.Lehighton.org.