$1 million put back in school system

Concerted effort from the entire system has resulted in Vernon Parish schools saving a bit more than $1 million in energy costs over the past 15 months.

The system effort was recognized at Tuesday’s School Board meeting when Cenergistic, the energy conservation company with which the system has partnered, recognized the parish with its Energy Excellence Award.

“Your system has demonstrated that you are responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money and of the environment,” said Cenergistic Regional Vice President Greggory S. Singhaus.

He congratulated one and all for surpassing the million-dollar achievement milestone.

The board in early 2016 entered an agreement with Cenergistic under which the company would institute energy saving measures with its fees based on a share of the expense reduction.

The board’s energy specialist, Randy Lansdale, shepherds the day-to-day implementation.

“This achievement would not be possible without a total team effort, all staff and faculty,” said Supt. James Williams.

He said the board saw the program as an opportunity to save money and put the savings back in schools.

Savings are measured facility by facility, with savings returning to the respective schools.

“Everybody has been on the same team and in the long run saving energy is better for the system. I’m proud of everyone for working together,” the superintendent said.

Board member Dr. Doug Brandon asked about prospects for on-going savings now that the initial changes have been made.

Finance Director Tim Ward said there are a number of additional areas still to be addressed and that the board should continue to realize cost reductions. He noted that the energy study includes water consumption.

In other action, the board adopted its budget for the 2017-18 year and moved to advertise for an assistant principal at Pickering High School and a system-wide technology administrator.