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Business covers cost of Twins tickets for students

By RACHEL DREWELOW

rachel.drewelow@austindailyherald.com

Neveln Elementary’s student council returned from a Target Field jaunt empty-handed Wednesday — as the group literally emptied their account ensuring all members and their safety patrol classmates could afford the trip.

But Thursday, sooner than the third through fifth grade kids could chat about the field trip over recess games, a local business popped in to see their principal, toting a check.

G & G Heating and Air Conditioning of Austin donated $400 to the school yesterday after learning about difficulties sending 69 student council and safety patrol students on their annual Twins field trip because of a hike in ticket prices.

The increase of ticket prices was first reported by the Austin Daily Herald.

“They said that they believed the Twins’ trip is an important and valuable experience, and they don’t want it to stop,” principal Dewey Schara said of G & G owner, Jim Grunewald, and his son-in-law, Mike Bothun.

Attending Wednesday’s game at Target Field, Neveln students were charged more than four times what they paid last year to see the Twins play at the Metrodome.

Traditionally, students pay for their tickets and the parent teacher council covers bussing.

When many students’ families could not afford the $22 price tag for the annual field trip — which is meant to be an end-of-the-year reward — the student council dug into its fund and paid off the $400 left on Neveln’s bill from the Twins.

Last year, students paid $5 a ticket, Schara said.

Schara and student council advisor Nikky Krautbauer initially believed tickets would be $10 to $14 apiece, otherwise, Krautbauer said, they might not have pursued the field trip this year for Neveln students — 63 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, the most widely-used measure of poverty in schools.

Executive director of Twins’ public affairs Kevin Smith said earlier this week that $10 to $14 was the original estimate given to Neveln, based on the cheapest seats offered in the park which were not available in such quantity after season ticket sales, when Neveln put in their order.

After the sales department learned Neveln thought they had been given a false quote, they sent the school one baseball bat autographed by player Jason Kubel that, Smith said, they hope the school can auction to offset the expense.

The gesture was not appreciated as much as that of G & G Heating and Cooling.

“When someone comes into a principal’s office and says they’d like to talk to you,” Schara explained, “you think it’s not going to be good.”

“They absolutely surprised me… I think it’s just wonderful. It’s a very generous gift.”

As for the Twins’ gift, the school may auction it after the season.

Schara, originally of Wisconsin, will probably be happy to have it off his hands. He joked with Grunewald and Bothun that after the ordeal, he may have to revert to being a Brewer’s fan.

Representatives from G & G Heating and Air Conditioning could not be reached for comment.