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Galt trustees approve plans for farming laboratory

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Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 10:00 pm

Galt High School's agriculture program will soon get a mobile computer lab to teach environmental testing and educate local students about agriculture.

Galt high school district trustees voted 3-2 Tuesday in favor of a plan to develop the agriculture teaching laboratory.

Trustees Pat Maple and Sue Roberts dissented.

Hugh Mooney, the school's ag department chairman, said teachers came up with the concept of a mobile lab last summer after discussing ways to educate children about agriculture.

"One of the things we're trying to work on is ag literacy at our feeder schools," he said.

Some schools, such as Elk Grove High School, sponsor special field days on campus for children to learn about agriculture, Mooney said.

"We really don't have the space or buildings for those sorts of things," he said.

The school received a one-time $10,000 state grant to help fund the $20,000 lab. The ag department will make up the remainder of the costs by using its lottery funds.

The lab, which will be transported by a trailer, will feature soil testing equipment, a projection microscope, computers with wireless Internet connections and other devices for instruction. It will be powered by a generator.

Ag students will develop lessons in animal, plant and soil sciences, ornamental horticulture, and natural resources to present to younger students, Mooney said.

Math teacher Bob Rappleye questioned whether the district would have to pour additional funding into the school's agriculture program.

But district officials said each school department was allotted lottery funds to use for textbooks and other instructional materials and equipment.

Trustee Sue Roberts expressed concern about spending money on purchasing a trailer for the mobile lab, saying the funds could be better spent. "I'm just seems like it's something that might be sitting a lot," she said.

Mooney said the mobile lab will help recruit new students to the ag program and give children a glimpse of possible careers in the field.

In other business, trustees:

. Approved a five-year lease with the city of Galt for using almost 11 acres of land adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant for the district's agriculture program. The lease will cost $1 yearly.

. Approved a contract with Rachael Roberts of Rambling Productions for $500 a month for public relations and $1,000 for each monthly district newsletter.

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