Palmerton Area School District will continue its trend and start next school year prior to the Labor Day holiday, despite a request for a post-holiday opening.
The school board, on an 8-0 vote Tuesday, approved the 2012-13 school district calendar, which calls for the school year to start the week before Labor Day. Director Josann Harry was absent.
That decision came after the board heard a request from Jack Sturm, a representative of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, to begin classes after the Monday Labor Day holiday for the next three consecutive years.
Sturm said that in 2012, Labor Day falls on Sept. 3; in 2013, it falls on Sept. 2, and in 2014, it falls on Sept. 1.
"This represents a unique opportunity to return to a historic norm for school opening after Labor Day," Sturm said. "Beyond the favorability of the calendar, there are both important economic and social reasons for moving the opening day of school to after Labor Day."
Sturm mentioned various financial and social impacts that a post-Labor Day school opening would yield.
"The beauty of local control of school districts is that decisions can be made that reflect community values, needs and expectations," he said. "The Pocono Mountains is a tourism dependant region, and as such, requires seasonal assistance to support our business community. Many of your students and teachers provide that necessary labor force at the appropriate time of year. For some of these seasonal workers, these initial work experiences lead to fulfilling career opportunities."
Sturm told the board "we encourage you to take into consideration both the local economic and social conditions affecting our area, and support a post-Labor Day school opening in 2012, 2013 and 2014."
Also on Tuesday, the board heard from several high school students who expressed concerns with the building's inconsistent temperatures.
Senior Cody Eckhart began his comments with a question for Superintendent Carol Boyce in which he asked her if students in the middle school and high school come first.
Eckhart posed the question to Boyce in light of last month's bomb threat at the high school, a situation he said wasn't handled properly in his opinion.
Boyce declined to respond to Eckhart's questions, and said "I don't believe this is a question-and-answer session."
Board President Barry Scherer told Eckhart that based on his knowledge, he believed the bomb threat situation was handled in an appropriate manner.
Eckhart then shifted the conversation to the district's dress code; more specifically, hoodies.
"I have friends who have gotten in troub