Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

District moves ahead with energy audit

November 12, 2008

The Tonganoxie School District took a step toward becoming a more green and energy efficient district Monday.

The board approved hiring of Trane as its energy service company to conduct an energy grade audit for the district.

Keven Ward, comprehensive solutions manager of Trane, gave a presentation to the board about energy efficiency.

Ward showed the board that climate control at all district buildings, plumbing improvements, skylights to replace electrical lighting, security cameras with night vision and wind turbines were all part of a conservation vision to save the district money.

Other projects, such as artificial turf at Beatty Field and savings to increase the general fund budget, could be included in Trane’s comprehensive project, Ward noted.

With the savings gained through conservation, Ward said other district projects, such as one-to-one laptop initiative at the high school and voice amplification systems for classrooms, could be funded through reallocation of funds outside the conservation project.

Other innovative projects Ward identified were:

• Bus route optimization to reduce transportation costs by improving time and fuel efficiency.

• Vending machine controls to increase energy efficiency.

• Low-flow water fixtures to conserve water and reduce sewage discharge.

• High efficiency lighting improvements in all gymnasiums.

• HVAC improvements at the elementary school to incorporate fresh outside air to improve indoor air quality.

• “Green” high performance school. Learning environment benefits and high efficiency designs for a possible new elementary school, which currently is being discussed.

“Teaching children about energy in math and science drives more rigorous math and science classes,” Ward said, which in turn can move more students toward engineering schools domestically.

Per the board’s approval, Trane will conduct an energy grade audit for the district.

That doesn’t mean the district is selecting Trane to do the energy project, if it decides to pursue such a project, Ward said. Rather, at this point it will conduct the audit.

Ward will lead a workshop on the preliminary facility report at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24 at the Chieftain Room at Tonganoxie High School. It also will be a special board meeting. At 7 p.m. that night, the monthly meeting of the facilities needs committee will be held in the same room. The public is encouraged to attend both.

Insurance company selected

America First will be the Tonganoxie School District’s insurance company for the next year.

The board unanimously approved the one-year contract bid, 7-0.

America First’s bid was $182,235 with a $5,000 deductible.

Evans Real Estate of Tonganoxie had a bid of $200,230 with the same deductible, while Hanover had a low bid of $177,886.

Monte Giddings, who has provided property and liability insurance to the district through Hawkeye Security the last three years, provided the district with bids through both America First and Hanover.

Although Hanover was the lowest bid, Giddings told the board Monday the company has had a good track record in Illinois and Indiana, but is fairly new to this area and recommended going with America First instead.

The contract for the current year was $189,380.

The Kansas Association of School Boards also submitted a bid, for $82,908, but it was strictly for workers compensation.

Board approves additional math instructor

At Monday’s Tonganoxie School Board meeting, board members approved adding a math teacher at the middle school. TMS principal Jill Dickerson said the additional position was being requested to assist the workload of the current math staff at TMS. The teacher would be utilized to teach impact classes, in which students who are struggling with match courses would receive instruction that would provide more assistance with the issues they’re having in that subject.

That, in turn, Dickerson said, would help address lower test scores in math and help the district’s standing with the state’s annual yearly progress reports.

The board approved adding the position, 6-0, with Darlyn Hansen absent.

Dickerson will be searching immediately for a teacher to fill the position. She said she already has done some legwork, as she’s talked with students at Emporia State University who will graduate in December. Board member Mildred McMillon noted that math teachers might come out of retirement as well to fill the position.

There was discussion of hiring a paraprofessional, which for half of a school year would be about $10,106 in wages and benefits. The salary of an instructor for half of a school year would be about $20,150 in salary ($16,650) and benefits ($3,500).

Dickerson said a para would be a great addition, but urged the board to select someone certified in math who could come in at the new semester.

The board also made the stipulation in its motion that the teacher could be hired as soon as possible.

Superintendent Richard Erickson said the budget was tight, but thought it was a good move at this time. He did, however, say he would be looking at ways to offset the tight budget, such as raising food prices for the second semester this school year.

Changes made in food service, wrestling

After a 20-minute executive session, the board accepted the resignations of Darla “Dee” Stone, food service employee, and Gene Samuels, Tonganoxie High School assistant wrestling coach.

The board also approved the hiring of Ross Starcher as Tonganoxie High School assistant wrestling coach and amended the work day of Vanessa Kietzman, food service employee.

At the end of the meeting, the board met again to discuss personnel matters for a total of one hour. When they returned to the regular session, the board took no action and adjourned the meeting.

New signs to be posted on exterior doors

Maintenance director Larry Easter gave a report on activities in maintenance. Easter’s report included:

• A new ice machine has been installed at the high school’s west campus.

• Metal Door’s was the low bid for replacement of a basement door at Tonganoxie Elementary School in the kitchen storage area.

• Diamond Everley on Friday was at the middle school to inspect roof issues at TMS. Greg Leslie with Garland Company is overseeing the inspection in a consulting capacity at no charge to the district.

• “Report to the office” signs are being made and will be posted at every exterior door throughout the district.

• The district is moving forward with C&C Company with the controlling of the heating and cooling problems at the middle school. Easter reported that about 95 percent of the issues have been resolved.

Inventory procedure almost complete

Technology director David Milhon gave his update to the board.

Included in his update:

• Milhon’s department is about 95 percent finished with inventorying the district’s computers. A new database has been imported and the department will start using that information to begin preparing for next summer’s projects.

• On Wednesday, Nov. 5, two mobile labs were delivered to the high school, with plans to deliver the middle school lab this week. Teachers at the elementary school still are converting files in preparation for the move from Macintosh to Windows.

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