To Easton Area School Board Member Robert Moskaitis, math is the language that allows people to understand science and technology.
"It's a language for sure, and it’s not an easy language," Moskaitis said at Tuesday's school board meeting.
Which is why he was concerned about new flexible schedule, which is set up in such a way that a majority of the students will only take math for one semester a year.
Moskaitis tried -- unsucessfully, it turned out -- to pass a motion that would require at least 80 percent of students taking math to have it all school year.
But even though his motion failed, it highlighted the fact that flexible scheduling is something some board members and parents are still struggling with, less than a week before the start of school.
, the schedule switches the typical school day from nine 41-minute periods to five 80-minute periods.
The schedule would include a mix of classes that meet 90 days out of every semester, and those that would meet every other day. School officials have said it will allow students more time to put what they've learned into practice.
At Tuesday's meeting, high school Principal Michael Koch said that despite some hiccups , most students should know their course schedule by the time they return to class next week. In the past, he's had students still working on their schedules on the first day of school.
But some parents have objected to the way the new schedule is set up. A poll of Patch readers earlier this month found were not in favor of the schedule.
"The upshot is that my child has been faced with the choice of taking a language, or lunch," said parent Andrew Dougherty of Forks Township.
Board members Moskaitis, Kerri Leonard-Ellison and Pat Vulcano -- who voted for the motion requiring year-round math -- were all concerned about what students might lose in between school years.
"There's no way they will retain everything they learn having a year in between," Vulcano said. "A teacher is going to spend a quarter of that period updating them on Algebra 1 before they get to Algebra two."
Koch told board members it simply wouldn't be feasible to alter the schedule for more than 2,000 kids this close to the start of school. Beyond that, he said he thinks the new schedule will work.
"I don't think kids will be impacted. If I did, I wouldn’t have approved this schedule," Koch said.
Board member William Rider, a former principal at the high school, said he'd heard the same sort of concerns about flexible scheduling when he was still on the job. But he stood by Koch.
“When we hire curriculum directors, teaching and learning directors…they would be the ones to say this is going to work and why it’s going to work and we as a board should accept that," he said. "They’re the educators and we’re not.”