Elk Lake energy program relying on gas service

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Elk Lake School Board approved an energy savings program Thursday which will incorporate the use of natural gas as the primary utility fuel for the district’s buildings.

The Project Development Agreement with Johnson Controls was approved by a unanimous roll call vote during the meeting, after a question and answer session conducted by Nick Sracic and John Shmidt of Johnson Controls.

The October meeting had been moved from the usual third Thursday of the month because several board members will be attending the Pennsylvania School Board Association conference next week.

Board President Anne Teel asked for clarification on what would happen if the district committed to the $65,000 payment, but the Leatherstocking gas service was not hooked up in time for the 2014-15 school year.

As the $65,000 cost to the district was to be covered through energy savings, and the proposed savings seem to heavily rely on the availability of gas, it has been written into the contract that if gas lines are not yet hooked up, Johnson Controls would wait until September of 2014 before the money was due, Sracic said.

Sracic reviewed the proposed time line of the Energy Program. There will be a series of three workshops to prepare the board for major decisions, although many smaller decisions can be made by administrators. The first was targeted for the end of October.

All of the major items and technology that would go into the program would be discussed, as well as brands and vendors, and undesired items could be eliminated.

In November, competitive quotes would be obtained for the approved items, and final costs could be shared with the board, and the scope of the project would be narrowed down. Johnson Controls would also review assessment and verification of energy savings.

At the final meeting in early December, everything would be reviewed again, and at that time the proposal would be ready to be put to the board for approval.

High School Principal Brian Mallery pointed out a “Readbox” shelf near the back of the library, where newly released books are marked as “Hot.” Librarian Chris Morahan is revamping the library to resemble popular bookstores. As a result, junior and senior high students had checked out 1,347 books from the start of the year to a point in September, which was more than a 90 percent increase.

Mallery discussed the new school performance profile, and the recently released results for the new program for rating schools, replacing AYP. The secondary school scored 75.8; the materials are available at paschoolperformance.org.

Elementary Principal Kenneth Cuomo discussed the new system for evaluating educator performance.

Observations make up about 85 percent of the instructors’ final evaluation score. The performance profile was the other 15 percent. Forty percent of the performance profile dealt with academic indicators, including “closing the achievement gap” for some students and demonstrated indicators of academic growth.

Teel asked if the Technology Committee meetings could resume, as they had fallen off over the summer.

Board member Arden Tewksbury wondered about the possibility of changing the Career and Technology meeting night from the first Thursday of the month. It will be discussed at the November meeting.

The board approved the hiring of a special education teacher for the partial hospitalization room. Jill Chocallo was approved at a salary of $47,152.

Two associates who had been furloughed were hired again, which was announced at a previous meeting: Jennifer Saylor and Noelle Sisson. Saylor was hired for a full time position and Sisson for a part time lunch and recess aide position. Lisa Hegwood was also hired as an associate at that meeting.