The McCreary County Board of Education voted to approve some major upgrades to school facilities that promise to drastically reduce utility costs throughout the District.
CMTA Energy Solutions provided a proposal for and Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract that will overhaul the school district’s energy usage, providing significant savings in utility costs for several years to come.
Superintendent Mike Cash called it a win-win scenario for the District, in that not only would the schools get much-needed attention to their energy-related systems, which translates into lower costs and increased savings; but CMTA guarantees a level of savings each year. If the District does not meet the annual goal, CMTA would pay the difference.
CMTA conducted an audit of the district’s utility bills and conducted on-site surveys of each building in preparing their proposal. It was estimated the District’s energy costs totaled about $1.2 million annually. With the savings contract in place, an estimated $375,000 would be saved in the first year alone, and that savings will continue to carry forward – justifying the expense for the overhaul.
In all, the project is estimated to cost about $9 million, with over 90 percent of it paid for through savings.
In addition to energy-efficient LED lighting installed in all schools, all HVAC systems will get a major cleaning and overall and many of the schools will get new equipment installed that will cut down on energy usage.
The systems installed will allow school personnel to monitor energy usage, and will better regulate heating and air conditioning to run only when needed.
At the regular Board meeting last week CMTA was asked to revise their proposal after inserting changes that would increase the overall cost to the District.
At the special meeting representatives from the company returned with an updated plan of action on proposed changes to school facilities that lowered the cost of the overall project.
The Board questioned the re-worked plan presented Thursday, noting it reverted to using the old hot-water system at the Middle School. Cash questioned the omission of a new system for the school, noting the old system did not work properly, and would also be a different system than all the other schools – making it more difficult for maintenance.
CMTA agreed to change the plan to re-insert the new system for the school, at cost, as well as a reduction in fees associated with the project – keeping it within the District’s bonding potential.
Joe Nance, of Ross Sinclair, updated the Board on their bonding potential.
Last month the District Finance Committee approved the refinancing of a previous bond issue that would result in a savings of over $400,000 for year over the next 12 years.
With that savings, the Board had over $3 million in bonding potential prior to the energy savings contract. After the approval the Board would still have about $600,000 in bonding available for any future projects.
The installation of the new systems should begin shortly after school lets out in June, and be completed before classes resume in the fall.
In other actions the Board approved new contracts with school nurses provided through the Lake Cumberland Health District.
The arrangement, which began last year, called for the District to hire the nurses from the LCHD. The cost would be recouped through medical billing for services provided being paid to the District.
Superintendent Cash informed the Board that the District is expected to end up paying about $50,000 due to personnel issues, such as turnover, missed days and attrition. Those absences ultimately cost the District money since medical services could not be billed for on those missed days.
Mr. Cash assured the Board that those issues have been addressed and should not be an issue moving forward.
The Board also approved a new incentive program to recruit and retain bus drivers to hopefully attract and keep drivers, which is a need in the District. Superintendent Cash reported he has even driven a bus this past school year to help alleviate the shortage.
The meeting ended after an executive session to discuss matters relating to pending litigation. No actions were taken during the closed session.