Upgrades are in store for Palmerton Area School District's fitness center/weight room.

On an 8-0 vote, the school board on Tuesday approved the renovation and upgrade of the facility, to be paid for by the balance of the Save Our Sports funds and district funds, at a total cost not to exceed $20,905.

The project is expected to update the weight room and make it more practical for all teams to use, and would be open to all students, not just athletes.

It will consist of the addition of new flooring, paint, cardiovascular equipment, and a card reader for security access.

The district has $14,043 from its SOS funds to apply toward the project.

That decision comes one month after the board agreed to table the matter.

Also on Tuesday, the board held a discussion on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.

The program had previously been offered in the district until funding was discontinued.

Mary Brumbach, principal, S.S. Palmer Elementary and Parkside Education Center, said the trend has been for districts to steer away from the program in recent years.

"When it began, it was a very worthwhile program," Brumbach said. "The premise behind DARE makes sense, but there is research to support that it is ineffective."

Director Susan Debski said she's seen other districts "having assemblies regarding drugs and alcohol, and I don't see that we're doing anything like that."

Board President Tammy Recker said it would be nice for the district to offer something similar for elementary, junior high, and high school students.

"If DARE isn't working, there are other ways of getting the word out," Recker said. "So maybe we can look what's out there."

In other business, the board:

- Approved a 6-percent increase in medical insurance rates for the 2013-14 fiscal year. This increase will allow for sufficient funds from which to pay medical claims. This represents all brokerage fees, IRS tax levies, PPACA fees, and medical claim increases.

- Approved a 3.6-percent increase in dental rates for the 2013-14 school year using Delta Dental.

- Approved Stop Loss Coverage for the 2013-14 fiscal year through American Fidelity Assurance Company. The per employee per month charge will be $117, with a maximum per employee deductible set at $115,000. This represents a decrease of $43,616.

- Accepted a donation of a 1999 GMC van from Pencor Services.

- Approved to sell a Blue 1990 Ford F350 Utility Pickup, and a 1990 Ford E150 Econo Utility Van.

- Approved the PowerSchool Services Agreement renewal between the district and CLIU21 at the rate of $12.75 per student on the rolls.

- Accepted the donation of a NOOK from Palmerton Area Education Association as a raffle prize for the SS Palmer & Parkside Title I Family Night.

- Accepted the donation to the high school library of the attached list of books from Barbara Fitzgerald.

- Approved continuing coverage for Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage with PSBA Insurance Trust for the 2013-14 fiscal year. This represents no increase from the 2012-13 rates.

- Approved the Letter of Agreement between the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc., for their Drug and Alcohol Primary Prevention and Sap/Intervention Services for 2013-14 at a cost of $10,700. This provides two days of services weekly.

- Approved the purchase of a Williams Sound Digi-Wave Wireless Intercom System for the high school auditorium project from the 2010 GOB bond in the amount not to exceed $3,400.

- Approved resolution #05.21.13 urging Pension Reform as suggested by PSBA to House and Senate members of the district, and a copy to the Honorable Governor Tom Corbett.

- Approved resolution #05.21.13B urging Reform of the Commonwealth's Cyber Charter School Funding Formula as suggested by PSBA to House and Senate members of the district, and a copy to the Honorable Governor Tom Corbett.