Grant to fund energy-efficient lighting at schools

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Mo. — Much of the discussion at the New Bloomfield Board of Education meeting Thursday was financially motivated.

Superintendent David Tramel announced to the board that the district received a $132,360 grant to cover new energy-efficient lighting in the elementary and middle school-high school buildings. The Missouri Department of Economic Development provided the grant, which comes with a 2.5 percent interest rate, and Tramel said the energy-efficient savings will equate to the annual payment for the lighting.

“It truly will pay for itself,” Tramel said.

Tramel also presented the board with his draft of what the district’s 2014 fiscal year budget could look like. Based on the current year’s projections, Tramel said the 2014 fiscal year budget could include a surplus between $30,000 and $40,000. While he said he’s conservative when planning a budget, Tramel added the district most likely doesn’t need to be as conservative with finances as in the past.

He added that a final budget won’t be solidified until the state legislature finalizes its budget.

In a better financial situation for the 2014 fiscal year, salary freezes are unlikely, Tramel said, and New Bloomfield will be able to stay on its salary schedule.

The topic of a new greenhouse resurfaced again during the meeting.

Jeremy Davidson, middle and high school principal, reported information from Darren Humphrey, New Bloomfield’s FFA adviser and vocational agriculture teacher. Humphrey is also the coach of the girls’ basketball team, which played a game Thursday night, and was unable to attend the meeting.

Davidson said Humphrey has reached out to two companies — TekSupply and Hummert International — to receive pricing information for a new greenhouse. Hummert gave Humphrey a $32,000 price tag for a new greenhouse.

Davidson pointed out to the board that number is for the structure alone and does not include separate costs such as propane gas, lighting or water. Humphrey previously presented the issue to the board in November, and said Hummert International charges $20,000 for installation.

Tech Supply has not yet responded to Humphrey’s request, Davidson said.

Through his research, Humphrey has spoken with South Callaway and Montgomery County schools, which chose Hummert for their greenhouse needs. Davidson said both schools have been pleased with not only the structures, but also the service.

Tramel said funding a new greenhouse could be a possible summer project because the district isn’t facing as many “big ticket items” once school is out. He also said that FFA funds and grants through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education go toward funding.

At the November board meeting, Humphrey described the greenhouse as not functioning for the 63 students he taught in two agriculture classes.

“I’ve taught without greenhouses before, and it’s extremely difficult,” Humphrey said in November.

Susan Dudley, assistant middle and high school principal, said she would head a committee to address the greenhouse concern and present solutions at the next board meeting.

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