It would take too long to pay off, so the Wawasee Community School Corp. Board of Trustees voted not to have geothermal installed at Wawasee Middle School. The vote was taken during a special meeting of the school board late Tuesday afternoon in the Warrior Room at Wawasee High School.
The board had been considering geothermal at WMS for several months. Financing it was made more attractive by using clean renewable energy bonds through the federal stimulus program at a zero percent interest rate.
A geothermal test well was installed at the school a few months ago, but superintendent, Dr. Tom Edington said it would take decades for the investment to pay off due to the lower price of natural gas now. He noted the price of natural gas may rise again and the geothermal test results are still available, so at some point the school board may want consider it again.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, set originally for the purpose of holding a budget work session, the budget was discussed briefly. Jim Evans, director of finance, said the work session was the start of the budget process for the board. The budget will be advertised for two weeks in local newspapers then another public hearing will be held before the board considers adopting the budget.
Evans said there are no big changes for this year’s budget. He did note the state has added a head count for schools this year. One will now be done in January in addition to the one in September. The state’s funding for schools is based on enrollment numbers.
Edington noted there is very little local control over the budget anymore because most of it is controlled at the state level. This year’s estimated budget total is $46,977,095. The exact total won’t be known until later.
In other business, a few personnel recommendations were approved including a request by Ryan Connor to transfer from WMS to Milford School as assistant principal. Connor had moved to WMS from Milford, where he was also assistant principal, a couple of years ago due to budget cuts. Kim Nguyen, who had been filling the dual role of athletic director and assistant principal at Milford, left to become the career and technical education director for the school corporation.
A new assistant principal will be hired at WMS. A list of more than 25 applicants has been narrowed considerably and a final round of interviews are being held. It’s possible the position will be filled before the start of school Aug. 14.
For complete coverage of the WCSC board, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.