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Galt High trustees look forward to passage of school bond

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Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 10:00 pm

Galt High School board members won't know for another month whether district voters have approved an obligation bond to build a second high school, but uncertainty hasn't stalled their plans for the campus or their promise to spend taxpayer money wisely.

In fact, officials have already drawn a list of who would likely serve on a committee to oversee spending of the $29 million Measure B bond, should it pass in a Nov. 8 election.

Trustees discussed Tuesday the formation of citizen's oversight committee and approved two work contracts for environmental studies on the future site of Liberty Ranch High School.

Several board members, as well as one or two members of the audience, complimented the district and Galt High Superintendent Thomas Gemma for their recent efforts to establish an aura of trust in the Galt community.

"Everyone agrees we need a new high school in Galt and this is the way to do it," said Jeanne Pearson, longtime trustee for Oak View Union School District in Acampo. Oak View is one of three elementary districts whose students attend Galt High School.

If the bond passes in November, the state will provide $27 million in matching funds. Adding developer fees and other state money, the district could harvest as much as $68 million toward a second high school.

Proposals for the new school have hovered around the $71 million mark, which Trustee Ben Cox Jr. called a fair price compared to schools being built for much more in nearby areas like Elk Grove.

"We're in good shape here in Galt," Cox said, complimenting Gemma's role as peacemaker between politically divided groups within the community. "He's everybody's friend and that's what we've got to be - it's the only way we'll get this bond passed."

In an effort to further stretch school-building dollars, trustees also agreed to increase the amount of money the district will receive in developer fees from the construction of new homes, a practice that is allowed by California laws.

The price exacted will increase by 53 cents to $4.99 per square foot for residences built in the district area. Over the next five years, the high school district could earn as much as $1 million more due to the increases. The money would go toward the building and maintenance of schools.

In other matters Tuesday, trustees:

• Recognized Galt High teacher Debra Crane for her work in creating a pre-engineering academy on campus, which allows students to take accelerated courses in advanced math and science to earn college credit.

• Discussed the future potential for hiring a full-time athletic trainer, who could provide basic physical therapy for high school athletes and train students in a formal program.

Contact reporter Sara Cardine at sarac@lodinews.com.

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