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Janesville Board to review energy report

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
September 12, 2011
— As Janesville School District officials seek to pinch every penny, the gas and electricity bills are being scrutinized.

The school board set a goal of reducing energy usage by 5 percent last school year.


The district didn't reach the 5 percent goal, in part because of some unusually warm and unusually cold days, according to a report that will be delivered to the school board when it meets Tuesday night.


The report shows electricity use went down 0.7 percent in 2010-11. Natural gas use, however, went up 0.8 percent.


Overall, the district paid $2.51 million for energy last year, a $203,000 decrease from the previous year. Most of the difference was attributed to a favorable rate negotiated for natural gas.


That same rate will continue in the current year, the report indicates.


Ten district buildings decreased their natural gas use to some extent in 2010-11. Tops in that department was Monroe Elementary, which dropped by 7.4 percent.


Marshall Middle School decreased its gas use by 5.5 percent and Madison Elementary by 5.4 percent.


Adams Elementary led the district in increasing its natural gas use, up by 12.5 percent. Roosevelt and Jefferson elementaries increased their gas use by more than 10 percent.


Jefferson also led in the increase in electricity, at 8.6 percent.


The report doesn't say why individual schools' usage went up or down.


Energy costs districtwide were reduced from $1.19 per square foot in 2009-10 to $1.10.


The elementary schools overall had the lowest per-square-foot energy cost, at less than $1, with the high schools at $1.23 and the middle schools around $1.30.


Overall, natural gas use went up 2.9 percent, which is considered good because temperatures decreased by 7.3 percent, according to North American Mechanical, a district consultant.


School board member Peter D. Severson has pushed for the district to consider savings through geothermal systems, when the opportunity presents itself, but current budget difficulties have slashed the budget for capital projects.


Geothermal was discussed in the planning for the most recent major building projects, the high school expansions, but engineers told school officials that installing the needed ductwork in the old buildings would be cost-prohibitive.


ON THE AGENDA

The Janesville School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St. Agenda items include:


-- Discussion and possible action on the closing of an elementary school beginning in the 2012-13 school year. The board's final decision likely won't come until Sept. 27.


-- Approval of a new district insurance consultant. The superintendent is recommending Boyd Consulting of Janesville, at an annual cost of $34,900. Boyd has indicated that it can help the district reduce the cost of its benefit plans. Boyd would replace longtime district consultant M3 Insurance Solutions of Madison.


-- Discussion and possible action on this year's budget and a preview of the 2012-13 budget.


-- Approval of a date for the annual hearing on the district budget, probably in conjunction with the board's regular meeting Oct. 11.


-- A possible closed session regarding "potential negotiations with the Janesville Education Association." The board will likely discuss its next steps after a teachers union meeting set for tonight.



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