By Anna Skinner
The Westfield Washington School Board met at 7 p.m. Oct. 13. The next school board meeting will be 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at 322 W. Main St., Westfield.
What happened: Robb Hedges, principal of Shamrock Springs Elementary School, presented to the board his plans on the Westfield Nature Preserve, a science facility at the elementary school.
Why it matters: Hedges reported he plans on using the pond as a learning environment for students with prairie grass, underwater viewing areas, balanced ecosystems, and learning stations.
What happened: Bond refinances were approved, which reduces interest rates.
Why it matters: Come December, tax payers will save approximately $400,000. This does not give the school board any additional debt or extra bonds, but it will lower the interest rate.
What happened: The school board approved the 2016 budget.
Why it matters: No changes were made to the 2016 budget.
What happened: The board approved a renewal of the property casualty insurance through Liberty Mutual at a 2 percent lower rate.
Why it matters: With the stage collapse earlier this year, the school board was in a negotiating position for insurance bids. Regardless of the collapse, they received four bids and approved the renewal with Liberty Mutual at $365,763.
What happened: A policy was established stating that no alteration to the high school orchestra pit shall be made unless previously approved by the superintendent or his designee.
Why it matters: The orchestra pit is now locked down, and requires approval for any changes. Any staff cannot change the orchestra pit without its unlocking, which is only previously approved by the superintendent or the designee.
What happened: The board approved three grants, all for special education.
Why it matters: All federal grants were special education grants which had been received in the past, but since Westfield broke off from the Hamilton Boone Madison Special Services Cooperation, the board needed to accept the grants. One grant was for pre-school which totaled at $26,109. The second grant totaled $1,142,337, which funds the majority of the schools’ special education services. The last approved grant was a sub-grant not used by the co-op in the 2014-15 school year, which totaled $142,611.35.