The Tamaqua Area School District is in the process of purchasing new laptop computers and carts, as well as a new student van.

On Tuesday night, the district's finance committee approved the purchase of three laptop carts, with 26 laptops each, through a state purchasing contract. The purchase was requested by Gregory Koons, the district's director of special education.

The 78 laptops and three carts will cost $59,691, with funds coming from IDEA stimulus money.

Assistant Superintendent Raymond J. Kinder said the carts, one which will be used at each elementary school, will be used in conjunction with the Study Island PSSA testing preparation program. The carts offer mobility in usage.

The district is also buying a 2010 Ford E350XL wagon from Rottet Motors, Tamaqua, for use as a student van. The money will be coming from 2008-09 Title I federal funds.

Facilities Director Arthur Oakes, Jr. said the van will seat 11, including the driver, and replaces a 1984 student van that has been frequently malfunctioning.

The Tamaqua Area School Board will consider the purchases at its monthly meeting next Tuesday.

The district has advertised for bids to replace the chiller system at Rush Elementary School, Hometown, with bids to be opened on Monday. It is also seeking bids for vinyl composition tile flooring and repairs to the gym divider doors at Tamaqua Elementary School.

A carpeting project at West Penn Elementary School is in the process of being finalized, at a cost not to exceed $117,487.29. The funding will come from the PA PACT grant.

Business Manager Connie Ligenza has also been authorized to advertise for sealed bids for a re-keying project for Tamaqua Area High School and the district's three elementary schools.

Superintendent Carol Makuta announced an early dismissal for district schools on April 13-15 for the administration of the PSSA testing, as well as parent conferences and some professional staff development.

In other business, the district's finance commitment has scheduled a budget meeting for 2010-11 for Wednesday, March 31 at 6 p.m. at the middle school large group instruction room.