RE-1 VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT AWARDED DOLA GRANT FOR CALICHE WATER PROJECT

RE-1 Valley School District has been awarded an energy impact assistance grant of up to $30,000 from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The announcement was made Monday, during a Board of Education meeting.

According to David Brungardt, the district’s former financial officer who has been helping out with the project, the funds are to be used for planning, “not the entire engineering for the entire project.”

The money from DOLA means the district will have to wait to make a decision on which engineering firm to use for the project, because RE-1 has to have an executed contract with DOLA first.

“What we can do is work parallel to that process, to see what direction you would like to go,” Brungardt said.

During their last meeting, the board interviewed three engineering firms: Martin/Martin, Inc., Frachetti Engineering, Inc. and Olsson Associates.

Following the interviews, a subcommittee that included board member George Hernandez; district finance officer Deb County; district maintenance director Mike Manuello; and Bill Wright, a certified waste water engineer that runs RE-1’s plants, met to come up with a recommendation for the board.

Their first choice was Olsson Associates, because they were willing to give the district a lot of different choices of how it the system can be put together and operated and they were the most realistic in the timeline and the approval processes that the district needs to go through.

However, Olsson was also the most expensive firm. The subcommittee suggested the district talk with Olsson to see if they can get a different rate charge or do something to reduce the price somewhat. The board agreed to allow the subcommittee to do that.

In other business, Kevin Taylor and Gary Berngard, of Honeywell Building Solutions, presented the findings of the energy and safety audit the company did for RE-1.

After doing a utility analysis, Honeywell found it’s reasonable for the district to expect a 10-20 percent reduction in energy savings. Using 15 percent for the savings range, they determined it’s reasonable for RE-1 to expect $113,000 a year in savings, which if reinvested over a 20-year period would pay for $1.9 million of improvements without any additional capital funds needed.

Items they say the district needs to look at, that could be part of the project, include replacing aging boilers that are past their life expectancy; replacing HVAC equipment, updating lighting; building envelope upgrades, so outside air doesn’t come in and air conditioned air doesn’t get out; and improving safety and security.

It was noted the safety and security improvements wouldn’t provide any energy savings.

If the district is interested in working with Honeywell, the next step would be to authorize DeLay to enter into a technical energy audit contract with Honeywell, which includes “at risk” project development.

The Colorado Energy Office’s stipulated rate for the energy audit is 30 cents a square foot.

“If we can’t deliver a project, at least a base project that’s self-funded, we just part ways and you don’t pay us that 30 cents a square foot,” Berngard said. “If the project works and it’s self-funded, that 30 cents a square foot gets rolled into the project.”

He also noted that if the company is doing things that don’t have energy savings associated with them, there is an additional schematic fee.

The board asked DeLay to put together a decision paper with the pros and cons of working with Honeywell, before they make a decision.

In other business, DeLay presented several options to the board for an Administration Center employee organization chart. One option would be to list the tasks individuals perform; another would be more traditional job descriptions, with job goals and performance responsibilities that would be updated; and another format would be to show how long each person’s contract is – 12 months, 10 months, etc.

DeLay noted this chart will be helpful “to see what kinds of gaps” the district has.

“Right now, I’m telling you: We have holes,” she said.

The board said they would like to see all of the options she listed. They talked about looking at the tasks individuals perform, compared to their job descriptions, to get an idea of whether the tasks that person is doing align with their job description.

Additionally, the board discussed the superintendent’s evaluation process. They will use the same process they’ve used in previous years, with the addition of DeLay’s entry plan goals instead of board goals.

The board plans to complete an evaluation in November, to give the new board members coming on in November an idea of what the process looks like. In six months, the new board will then do a follow-up.

It was noted this will give the board time to explore using Survey Monkey to allow others to give the board feedback on how the superintendent is doing.

During her superintendent’s report, DeLay talked about an ad hoc task force she would like for form. The task force would be made up of parents and community members and would “examine the consistency and implementation of selected student policies,” beginning with attendance and suspension procedures.

She noted the committee would only meet for a few weeks, “not months and months” and they would come back to her with a report that she could share with the board.

The board agreed that would be a good idea.

DeLay is also establishing a superintendent’s cabinet that meets weekly, that will be examining topics that will be coming up before the school board, “trying to figure out what kinds of things we need before something comes to the board,” so she can be more proactive.

Additionally, she suggested the board do learning walks at different schools. The board agreed they would like to do that and will setup a time to visit Campbell Elementary soon.

Journal-Advocate