While only preliminary, early projections indicate Palmerton Area School District's student enrollment could be on track to increase by about 70 students.

Superintendent Scot Engler shared information with the school board on Tuesday about the influx of students districtwide, which he said differs from previous projections by the state Department of Education.

After the meeting, Engler said the biggest influx of new students could occur at the high school level; more specifically, the ninth grade, where there are currently 12 new student enrollees, compared with just one student withdrawal from the same grade level.

However, Engler said the anticipated increase is no cause for concern.

"Enrollment is always a fluid number," Engler said. "PDE has projected we would decrease pretty significantly over the next five to 10 years."


Also on Tuesday, Cindy Reinhard of the Towamensing Elementary PTO, told the board the organization will donate $6,400 to the district to cover the cost of labor for the replacement of the playground pieces at Towamensing Elementary School.

Afterward, the board unanimously agreed to accept the amount on behalf of the organization.

The total cost of the project is $20,737. The district will be responsible to pay the $14,337 balance for the playground equipment, which Engler said will come from its budgetary reserve.

Joseph Faenza, director of facilities, said the new equipment will include two regular sliding boards, two tube slides, one crawl slide and one spiral slide.

Faenza said the construction of the playground equipment is on track to start the week of Sept. 15, weather contingent.

Pep band performs

At the onset of the meeting, the board was treated to a performance by the newly reformed Palmerton Area High School marching band.

Engler said he was "thrilled to introduce" the band, which will return this year as a pep band.

Thomas Heinick, marching band director, led the students, who played the new fight song that will be played this year.

After the band received a round of applause, Engler thanked Heinick and the students for their efforts.

"Outstanding," he said. "You all rock. Thank you."

The marching band will be a presence during home football games this year after a five-year absence.

While the band will not do any field shows this coming school year, it will do home varsity games, where it will play pep music and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The plan is for the band to transition into doing a full field show, as well as away games, by next school year.

The last time the marching band performed was during the 2009-10 school year.