Feb. committee meeting: solar panels and HHS summer school

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“Day one: post-DJB,” District 158 Board President Donald Drzal said.

This humorous statement opened this month’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the first hearing of the board since former Superintendent Dr. John Burkey’s departure from District 158. Because Burkey’s goodbye took place during the previous January board meeting, the group went to straight to work in the formalities and new developments.

The major news discussed during the meeting is the proposal to change the summer school schedule. Due to the July 4 holiday falling where it does, the suggestion is to change the current 4-week program semesters to 3-week, 5-day blocks in order to allow for students’ family vacations. The change was met with little resistance and will most likely go through for upcoming 2018 classes.

The committee also recommended cutting ties with the Village of Algonquin’s water tower neighboring the administrative office. The tower is currently sharing its energy with District 158’s power source – it has been for many years – and the board wishes to finally separate it from their payroll.

On a larger scale, the district is looking into solar power opportunities more than ever before, with either a “risk-free” lease deal, which would give few savings to the budget, or an ownership signing that would potentially save anywhere from $4 to $7 million over the course of 15 years.

“What we would like to present to the board is… significant cash flow and savings opportunities by going with the ownership model,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Altmayer said. “We would like [the board] to give us the thumbs-up to continue.”

Despite the convincing statements, the district remains wary of any operating costs or in-house staffers necessary to keep the solar panels up-to-date.

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