October 31, 2014

Wheatridge receives gift of classroom equipment

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
The Gardner Edgerton School Board accepted an $887 gift of science classroom equipment from a Wheatridge Middle School parent on Nov. 14.
Christy Ziegler, executive director of educational services, told the board a parent recently contacted Greg Smith, eighth grade science teacher, about donating sensor and probe equipment to benefit the science curriculum.
She said the equipment will compliment existing equipment already in use.
“The probes interact with our laptops and also have handheld devices that they plug into and can take anywhere in the building and collect real time scientific data, including temperature, water, moisture content, oxygen, co2,” Ziegler said.  “And then they use that information to generate graphs and make decisions and arguments.”
District policy requires board approval for donations and gifts.
The parent who made the donation was not identified.
In other business, the board tabled action on refunding old bonds due to a shift in market conditions.
The board agreed last month to refund the bonds for an estimated $560,000 savings.
But Hansen told the board interest rates have since shifted and the refunding would no longer be advantageous to the district.
“Because of that we have decided to pull the project from completion today,” he said.
Hansen said a competitive bond market prompted two prominent bidders to withdraw, causing others to lower their bids.
“The market was somewhat saturated (on Nov. 14),” he said. “To an extent, demand went down.”
The district will revisit the refunding during a future meeting when interest rates may be more favorable.
Board member Mark Grannell said he didn’t consider the news negative because the district already has a favorable interest rate on the bonds.
He said any additional savings would be a bonus.
“We don’t need to lose sight of the fact that we negotiated an excellent rate initially,” he said. “It’s a matter of bad timing.”

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