Like other school districts in the region, Tamaqua Area was closed for three days last week in the aftermath of a heavy winter storm on Feb. 9-10 that dumped up to two feet of snow in some areas.

Tamaqua received about 16 inches of snow from the storm, and Superintendent Carol Makuta praised the efforts of the district's custodial and maintenance staff in removing the mountains of the white stuff from school grounds.

"We could have had school, because our lots were cleared," said Makuta.

However, Makuta received information from police in Tamaqua and Rush and Schuylkill townships that transporting students from outlying areas of the district would have been difficult.

"The information was that the side and back roads were in bad shape," related Makuta. "I also check with the (school) bus companies, and they told me that where they were, the roads were a wreck."

The district has altered its calendar to accomodate the lost school days. The snow days will be made up on Thursday, Apr. 1, Thursday, Apr. 8, and Friday, Apr. 9, Makuta noted.

Technology grant

In other business, Makuta announced that Tamaqua Area is a recipient of a technology grant for $50,000 through the EETT (Enhancing Education Through Technology) program.

The board approved the purchase of three laptop carts with 26 laptops each, for a total of 78 laptops. The purchase, recommended by Director of Special Education Greg Koons, will cost $59,691.

The purchase of an 2010 Ford E350XL 11-seat wagon from Rottet Motors, Inc., Tamaqua, for use as a student van was authorized. The wagon will cost $24,142 per the state purchasing contract. The funds are coming from the 2008-09 federal Title I indirect cost program.

Board Vice President Dr. Thomas Rottet was absent from the meeting and didn't vote on the van purchase.

West Penn carpeting

West Penn Elementary School, Snyders, will be receiving new carpeting.

The board authorized Business Manager Connie Ligenza to accept the proposal from Metro Design Center to furnish and install Milliken Colorweave floor covering at the school.

The carpeting will come at a cost not to exceed $117,487.29 as per the state purchasing contract.

Arthur Oakes Jr., the district's facilities manager, said the new floor covering includes the whole building except for three areas: the faculty lounge, main office and the upper entryway. Those areas had apparently received new carpeting previously, he mentioned.

The district is also advertising for sealed bids for vinyl composition tile floor covering and repairs to the divider doors at Tamaqua Elementary School.

The board awarded the bid for replacing the condensor and compressor at Rush Elementary School, Hometown, to Burkhardt Mechanical Inc., in the amount of $81,000.

The district is also in the process of a re-keying project for the high school and three elementary schools and authorized advertising for sealed bids for the work.

Tamaqua Area will once again participate in the Schuylkill County Schools Heating Oil Consortium and the PAJPC Consortium for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Board President Larry A. Wittig questioned the advantages of the heating oil consortium. "Is it just for fixing the price or for bulk buying?" he asked.

"You can buy at a fixed price or variable rates," answered Ligenza. "This year, we did it both ways. It also gives the power of bulk pricing."

The board also appointed Professional School Photography as the district's school photographer for 2010-11.

Wittig reminded board members that the Tamaqua Blue Raider Foundation is holding its kickoff fundraiser event on Saturday, Feb. 20, at The Restaurant at the Station from 7-10 p.m.