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Palmerton school officials to revisit dress policy

Published September 22. 2010 05:00PM

Palmerton Area School District's much maligned dress code policy will soon be revisited.

Superintendent Carol Boyce announced at Tuesday's school board meeting that the policy will be discussed at the board's Oct. 5 workshop.

In the meantime, Boyce said anyone with concerns about the current policy is to follow board policy #906, which is a complaint procedure that may be filed by community members who have issues with professional employees or administrators in the district.

Resident Sherry Hoppes questioned why the district continues to follow the status quo from last year's policy.

"I looked in the student handbook, and there's not a single word changed from last year to this year," Hoppes said. "I feel that there's a handful of people on the board that have an agenda and want to get uniforms."

Last month, it was determined that students were to follow the current dress code as listed in the student handbook. Once a new policy is approved, advance notice will be given to implement the changes.

In July, the school board's ad hoc policy committee made numerous revisions to the policy, which was then sent to board solicitor David Shulman.

That action came after the group determined which of four policies created last month by four teams it favored. However, the committee said at that time any revisions to the district's dress and groom policy likely wouldn't go into effect until January of 2011.

At a special meeting in June, the board agreed to form the committee that consisted of district administrators, teachers and several parents from each of the five buildings in the district to review the policy after it was discussed at a board committee meeting earlier that month, when it was decided that a special meeting was needed to revisit the matter.

In April, the board held a special meeting in response to a request by junior high school Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek, who said he believed the matter needed to be revisited because instances where the dress code was violated continued to escalate.

Kosciolek also said at that time he hoped the district would consider the adoption of a dress code similar to one adopted by the Tamaqua Area School District. He said Panther Valley and Pleasant Valley school districts have also adopted new dress codes.

Larry Wittig, president of Tamaqua Area School Board, attended that special meeting to discuss the successful dress code that was implemented in the Tamaqua Area School District five years ago.

Also on Tuesday, the board, on a 7-0 vote, rejected four bids received for the restoration of the exterior stair cases at S.S. Palmer Elementary located near Third Street. Director Carol Dwyer and board President Barry Scherer were absent.

Lehigh Valley Welding turned in the apparent low bid of $24,000, which was $20,192 less than the next lowest bid of $44,192 turned in by Home Solutions. Other companies that bid were F.J. Lesher ($52,700), and FA Rohrbach ($54,205).

After the meeting, Boyce said the bids were rejected because they exceeded the $10,000 the district has set aside in the McCall grant to fix the steps.

As a result, Boyce said the board will "go back to the drawing board," and added that it will be in touch with Barry Isset to make a determination on its next course of action.

The project includes selective demolition of portions of the concrete stairs, installation of handrails and a cast-in-place concrete step overlay.

Last month, the board approved Isset to manage the steps project at a cost of $2,175, and supervision as needed at a cost of $80 an hour.

In June, the board approved Godshall Kane Architects to produce a set of drawings and specifications to fix the steps at a cost not to exceed $1,000.

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