A tentative agreement has been reached in the contract negotiations between the Lehighton Area Education Association and the Lehighton Area School Board.

The teachers have been working with a contract that expired Aug. 31, 2012.

According to LAEA Past President Bruce Koch, "The Association addressed it (the tentative agreement) on Wednesday by reviewing the language, financial, and terms. Voting by the Association will take place next week after members have an opportunity to digest its content."

Throughout the negotiation process, both sides remained optimistic that the matter would be resolved amicably.

Chief negotiator for Lehighton Area School District is Paul Blunt, Esquire, from the Law Office of King, Spry, Herman, Freund, & Faul, LLC of Bethlehem. Negotiating for the teachers is Pennsylvania State Education Association UniServ Representative Charlie Shaffer. He represents PSEA members in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties.

In other business, effective at the end of the 2012 - 2013 school year, the school board has accepted intents to retire for Mary Arieta, business teacher at Lehighton Area High School; Kelly Eisenhauer, English teacher at LAHS; Stephen Holland, groundskeeper; Bruce Koch, industrial arts teacher at Lehighton Area Middle School; Kathleen Lewis, second grade teacher at Mahoning Elementary School; Mary Moyer, cafeteria worker; Colleen Rampula, paraprofessional; Ruth Shellhammer, paraprofessional; and Carol Steigerwalt, paraprofessional.

School Board President Rocky Ahner said, "I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank these individuals for their dedication throughout the years."

Revising the order of business for school board meetings, courtesy of the floor/public comment on non-agenda items now follows new business just prior to adjournment. Public comment on agenda items remains near the beginning of the meeting.

The school board approved the 2013-2014 proposed budgets of Carbon Career & Technical Institute, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit # 21, and Lehigh Carbon Community College.

The school board voted that commencement for the Class of 2013 will take place on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. The last day for other students is scheduled for Monday, June 10. An in-service day, Tuesday, June 11 will be the last day for teachers.

Upon the school board approving the 2013-2014 school calendar, Superintendent Jonathan J. Cleaver noted that the first day of school for LASD will be after Labor Day. Other school districts throughout Carbon County are scheduled to begin the new school year as they have done in recent years before Labor Day.

LAHS Student Representative to the school board Nicole Schnell announced that Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) formerly known as Future Homemakers of America (FHA) recently held a successful Easter bake sale at Carbon Plaza Mall.

Red Cross is currently sponsoring a "Penny War" to collect change to donate to the Red Cross HEROES Campaign. HEROES money goes to local disaster relief.

Red Cross volunteers recently worked on a cleanup day at the Lehigh Valley Zoo and will also begin volunteering their time at Carbon County Friends of Animals.

A Red Cross blood drive is scheduled in the LAHS gymnasium on Wednesday, April 24.

Over four sessions during the month of April, Red Cross and National Honor Society (NHS) members will become certified in first aid and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). NHS will also be collecting money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society this April.

Student Council will host a movie night in the LAHS auditorium on Friday, April 5 at 6 p.m., featuring "The Hobbit." Movie nights will be free admission to the public. Student Council will sell popcorn and snacks to raise money for future movie nights.

The LAHS Drama Club will present this year's play "The Wild, Wild, Wildest West" on Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13. There are 32 students in the cast of this comedy melodrama musical filled with zany characters making fun of popular westerns.

Several Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members will represent LAHS at the FBLA State Competitions Monday, April 15 through Wednesday, April 17 in Hershey. Winners will advance to FBLA Nationals in Anaheim, California this June.

Carbon County Drug and Alcohol Awareness Expo is scheduled for Thursday, April 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at LAHS. A coffee house open mic night will take place on Friday, April 26. Refreshments will be available.

Carbon Career & Technical Institute Student Representatives Brook Dunbar and Haley Gower reported Career & Technical Education Awareness Month was recently celebrated.

The Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Chapter at CCTI boasts more than 45 student members. The group invites speakers to address the students with topics such as dangers of the Internet, destructive relationships, and teen violence. In addition, Lehigh Valley Health Network recently brought in simulators that allowed students to "drive" while being distracted.

CCTI recently hosted the annual Career Expo, Art Show, and Open House. This event is open to the public and features each of the technical areas, academics, and students organizations that are available to the students of Carbon County.

Freshmen classes of the five school districts in the county whose students attend CCTI toured the school to help showcase the career pathways available to students who enroll in the programs. Follow-up visits can be scheduled through school counselors.

Student Council has been collecting books to be donated to Friends of the Penn Kidder Library Center as they work to establish a public library at Pine Point Plaza on Route 903 in Albrightsville.

A Student Leadership Conference for Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 through Friday, April 19. Students will network with and compete against students from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Health Medical (HM) students recently hosted a Miller-Keystone Blood Center blood drive. The group is also planning a trip to DaVinci Science Center and Cedar Crest College in Allentown.

The next regular meeting of Lehighton Area School Board is scheduled for Monday, April 22 at 7 p.m. at LASD Administration Building, Conference Room A. The public is encouraged to attend.