Gilbert Public Schools governing board approves contract for solar energy

Gilbert Public Schools will be getting up to 10.4 percent of its electricty from solar power after accepting a sustainable energy option from Salt River Project. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gilbert Public Schools will be getting up to 10.4 percent of its electricty from solar power after accepting a sustainable energy option from Salt River Project. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert Public Schools will be getting up to 10.4 percent of its electricty from solar power after accepting a sustainable energy option from Salt River Project. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Gilbert Public Schools governing board on Nov. 6 approved an offer from the Salt River Project utility to get more than 10 percent of the district’s electricity from solar energy.

The Sustainable Energy Offer, or SEO, allows for about 5,023 megawatt-hours of the district’s annual consumption to be provided by solar.

The estimated cost increase attributable to the SEO would be $2,886 per year based on assumptions in the SRP model and using the May 2019 rate schedules. That represents 0.00057% of the district’s total annual SRP energy cost paid amount.

The proposal passed on a 3-0 vote with President Reed Carr and Sheila Rogers Uggetti absent.

New transportation director


The board approved hiring Trace Tolby as director of transportation. Tolby spent the past 10 years as a corporate trainer and account manager at Auto Safety House, where he taught directors, drivers and technicians on school bus and fleet management-related issues, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Tolby replaces Paul Potts, who resigned Aug. 2 in the wake of problems with buses running late to start the school year. Consultant Paul Novak served as interim director.

Gilbert Global Academy hybrid option

During the work-study session, Blended Learning Coordinator Peter Bartanen and Extended Education Specialist Tiffanie Pierson presented a “hybrid option” that will be piloted starting in January through Gilbert Global Learning Academy.

The academy is an online school run out of Mesquite High School. The hybrid option is meant to combine learning at a brick-and-mortar school and online education.

Students utilizing the hybrid option would attend school for two-and-a-half hours every other week and complete the remainder of their work online.

The academy wants to build the hybrid option into a cohesive set of core classes for junior high and high school, Bartanen said. It also wants to position itself as an attractive option for older students, ages 18-21, to return and complete high school, he said.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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