Archived Story

School district saves $11,774 on natural gas

Published 9:59am Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dowagiac Daily News

Dowagiac Board of Education received some good news Monday night at Patrick Hamilton Elementary School from Assistant Superintendent Hal Davis about its decision to purchase natural gas on a transport contract basis.

The decision “has proven to save the district a considerable amount of money,” Davis reported.

Dowagiac Middle School building costs are down 15 percent and Union High School 20 percent, even though DMS actually increased consumption during this period by 12 percent.

“Doing an apples to apples comparison by building illustrates that we saved $7,537 at DMS and $4,237 at DUHS for a total of $11,774 for the six-month period (January to July last year) covered by the report,” according to Davis. “These actual savings are on track to achieve my previously projected $18,000 to $20,000 annual savings.”

DUHS and DMS are the only two Dowagiac school buildings “that have enough volume on an annual basis for this program,” Davis said. “Basically, we entered into an agreement with a co-op to purchase gas on the open market.”

DUHS contains 110,000 square feet, Davis told President Randy Cuthbert.
DMS is 34,000 square feet larger at 144,000 square feet, yet thanks to energy efficiency of the 2005 middle school, it costs less for the larger building ($27,703.39 for 2008 vs. $46,229.42 and $23,463 for 2009 vs. $37,306.45).

Deadline for filing for school board in the May 4 election is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, with Cass County Clerk/Register Barb Runyon’s office at the 1899 courthouse, 120 N. Broadway, room 123.

If district population is more than 10,000 (Dowagiac and Edwardsburg), petitions must contain at least 40 and no more than 100 signatures.

If district population is less than 10,000 (Cassopolis and Marcellus), petitions must contain six to 20 signatures.

A $100 non-refundable fee may be file in lieu of petitions.

The expiring four-year terms on the school board are those of Larry Seurynck and Bill Lawrence.

Lawrence was absent Jan. 25.

“At this point, we anticipate incumbents,” Superintendent Peg Stowers commented.
After the meeting, the board went into closed session for her performance review.

In addition to electing two school board members, the May 4 ballot will include the operating millage renewal proposal allowing the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per-pupil foundation allowance.

The school district will collect approximately $4,525,363 with the renewal.
In other business, the school board made the first adjustment to Performing Arts Center (PAC) charges since adoption of the first fee schedule in 2006.

“Over the first three-plus years of operations we have made numerous updates to the PAC and now have more equipment offerings for our customers and patrons. These offerings come with considerable cost to purchase and maintain,” Davis commented. “The fees that are being proposed are modest increases in both rehearsal fees ($25 a day) and the hourly charge for the PAC supervisor ($50 an hour). Most of the fees charged for use of the PAC are flow-through fees that are paid to others or that partially cover the district’s cost of operations. With the proposed increase in fees, the Dowagiac Union Schools PAC fees are still among the most reasonable in southwest Michigan.”
New fees are effective Feb. 1.

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