District Saves Energy Dollars
Office of the Treasurer
Written by: Paul Shaw
School District Saves Energy Dollars, Yet Faces Increases on the Horizon
While Logan-Hocking Local School District has successfully implemented an energy conservation program to maintain its successful education programs, to save teacher’s jobs and keep the School District above water financially, the recent approval of a modified electric security plan for American Electric Power by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will make it more difficult for the School District and others throughout the state to stay afloat.
Treasurer Paul Shaw reported to the Board of Education on Monday night that the School District saw its energy related expenditures (electricity and natural gas) decrease $237,000 (25%) from FY 2011 to FY 2012. Had it not been successful in implementing its aggressive energy conservation program, the School District would have incurred an estimated operating deficit of $200,000 instead of the actual surplus of $37,000. Shaw estimates that the $237,000 in energy savings equates to approximately three teaching positions. “AEP’s new rates will make it harder for us to keep our expenditures in the classroom where they belong”, commented Shaw.
Logan-Hocking’s energy dollars savings are in spite of the 30% increase in electricity charges it incurred in January 2012 when AEP first rolled out their new rates. Logan-Hocking joined with other education organizations across the state to protest the new rates imposed by PUCO/AEP. PUCO in February rejected the new rates, largely due to the harsh effect it had on schools and small business customers. Shaw testified in Columbus on behalf of Logan-Hocking School District in April. Even though education groups across the state asked PUCO to exempt financially strapped schools from a specific charge meant to recover the capacity costs of AEP and to guarantee AEP revenues during its transition to a competitive market, PUCO declined to do so. This, despite allowing for such exemptions in the past.
Logan Middle School science teacher and Energy Education Specialist Tamara Smith reported to the Board of Education that the energy conservation savings are a result of:
- Behavior changes
- Support from school district administrators
- Four day work weeks in the summer at schools
- Time of day schedules and equipment use
- Billing errors corrected
- Negotiated energy rates
- Shutting down buildings when not in use
- Making needed repairs to buildings
Shaw pledged that the School District would continue to do all it can to limit energy expenditures while maintaining a positive learning environment. “After operating in the black for the past seventeen consecutive years without a new operating tax levy, the School District is forecasting a deficit of more than $650,000 for FY 2013 and deficits for FY 2014 through FY 2016 as well. Revenues have remained relatively flat since FY 2009; great attempts have been made to limit expenditures where we can. Changes such as these from AEP, where the School District has little control, make our jobs as educators extremely difficult”, commented Shaw. “The charge given to us by the Governor and the legislature is to put more money in the classroom. The negative impact of AEP’s rate increase on our charge is pretty clear.”
For additional information, contact:
740.385.8510 ext 2725
AEP PUCO 08.13.12
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