Apparently, the third time was the charm for Panther Valley High School's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Senior Army Instructor Kenneth Markovich: The school board on Thursday voted 5-3, with one abstention, to approve his new contract.

School directors Richard Zabroski, David Hiles, Michelle Markovich, Anthony DeMarco, and Bill Hunsicker voted to approve the contract. Board President Jeff Markovich, who is Kenneth Markovich's brother, abstained from voting.

Koreen Nalesnik, was opposed, as were Roy Angst and Irene Genther, who had blocked the two previous attempts at approval.

Michelle Markovich, who is married to Jeff Markovich, said she had checked with the Pennsylvania School Board Association to make sure she was legally able to vote on the matter. She said that her vote was not considered a conflict of interest because no money came into her household as a result.

Kenneth Markovich will receive $57,654.74 as of January. The U.S. Army sets the instructor's salary, and reimburses the school district for half the cost of the program. In the 2010-2011 school year, Markovich earned $56,576.58. The school district also provides a benefits package.

Assistant JROTC Instructor Joseph Jordan's salary from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 is $20,441, with a pay adjustment in January. His contract was approved in July.

On July 26, several veterans, including Carbon County Director of Veterans Affairs Henry Desrosiers, spoke at a public school board meeting to urge the board to keep the JROTC program.

At that meeting, Genther and Angst voted against the contract. The four other board members who attended that meeting Hiles, DeMarco, Zabroski and Hunsicker were in favor. Jeff and Michelle Markovich, and Nalesnik were absent.

The measure requires a full board majority, five people, to pass.

On June 28, Genther and Angst voted against Kenneth Markovich's contract; DeMarco, Hunsicker and Zabroski voted in favor of the new contract. Jeff and Michelle Markovich abstained from voting. Hiles and Nalesnik were absent.

Panther Valley's Army JROTC program is among just 28 in Pennsylvania. The other closest program is at Pine Grove High School in Schuylkill County.