A combination of mechanical and behavioral changes is reducing energy consumption within the Wawasee Community School Corp., the school board heard during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
Mike Lindsey of Performance Services Inc., based in Indianapolis, gave a brief report to the board showing a considerable amount of reduction in energy consumption in each building in the school corporation. Lindsey noted mechanical renovations were started about four years ago while an energy leadership program involving behavioral changes began about 15 months ago. Energy consumption in the district was tracked beginning July 1, 2011.
Lindsey noted the school corporation avoided paying a total of $259,123 in energy costs through the end of June 2012, which was adjusted based on the very mild winter conditions. “You obviously could have saved even more if the winter was not so mild,” he said.
Wawasee High School reduced energy consumption by 34 percent, Wawasee Middle School reduced consumption by 26 percent, Milford Elementary by 20 percent, North Webster Elementary by 25 percent and Syracuse Elementary by 27 percent.
Actual measured energy savings included $77,900 from electrical and $78,710 from gas for a total of $156,610. That brought the two year total to $302,453. The leadership program, which involves staff making changes such as using fewer coffee pots or electrical devices, not leaving computer monitors on and more, saved the school corporation $102,512 in energy costs.
Lindsey noted WMS qualifies to be an Energy Star rated school due to its score of 76 (75 is the minimum number required). Energy Star is a rating established by the Environmental Protection Agency. All of the other school buildings in the district are within three points or less of earning an Energy Star rating.
Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, said saving money in energy costs makes a big difference because Wawasee has seen very little increase in state funding to the general fund the last four years in a row. That means more money is available to retain teachers and staff.
In other business, Bob Lahrman, transportation and support services director, gave a brief update on a few construction projects. At WMS, the pool area renovations are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 5. Work on the bulkhead in the swimming pool is scheduled to begin Aug. 29. The bulkhead is the moveable wall within the pool. And no date has been set yet for installing new light poles for the Milford School parking lot project.
Also on the agenda, during his stat of the month presentation Dr. Bob Cockburn gave a brief report on how Wawasee students in grades six through nine compare to the state average in ISTEP+ testing in language arts and math. He said the numbers do show Wawasee students score above the state average in some instances, but below the state average in others.
Edington said Wawasee students have exceeded the state average test scores in math for several years, but are below the average in language arts. Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum, said a new math curriculum was introduced for the 2011-12 school year and teachers may have focused on it more, but no new curriculum is being used this year.
Cockburn noted language arts test scores have improved in the last few years, but there is room for more improvement.
Also on the agenda, the third and final reading for an updated campus smoking policy was given and then approved by the board. It was updated due to the new statewide smoking ban that went into effect July 1. Wawasee’s policy previously allowed the superintendent an option to permit smoking in special circumstances, but the new policy prohibits any such exceptions.
For a complete accounting of the Wawasee School Board meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.