Sep 182013

By Naomi Hatch
Ben Madsen of Midstate Energy and Don Callahan, project manager for the firm’s Snowflake energy savings project, made a presentation on the recently completed project at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Snowflake Unified School District Governing Board.
“We’ve been really happy the way this project has turned out and that stems from the leadership here,” said Madsen, complimenting the administration and staff.
Madsen noted that if the project fails to reduce costs as guaranteed, Midstate Energy pays the difference.
He explained that the old, inefficient equipment was replaced. Occupancy sensors were installed that control heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), and lighting. If there is no one in the room, the lights go off and the HVAC is adjusted depending on whether it is heating or cooling the room. When someone comes in, the sensors will turn the lights on and adjust the HVAC.
Lights were retrofit in buildings with more efficient lighting, and outdoor lighting was retrofit with high efficiency lighting. An energy awareness program will educate and assist the district’s faculty, staff and students with the overall energy and water reduction. “A great benefit here is all lighting levels have been standardized in classrooms,” said Madsen.
Computers were installed that give the ability to watch the rooms live so that you can see what’s going on with the unit before someone is sent to make adjustments or repairs.
Madsen advised the board that benefits include enhanced safety, comfort and energy efficiency; flexible and expandable solutions; decreased operating and maintenance costs; ongoing energy sustainability training; measurement and verification; and guaranteed savings. Under the contract, Midstate will do measurement and verification for three years, but will be here for the life of the project, and at any time can be hired to do measurement and verification.
In other action, the board:
* Approved fundraisers Snowflake Junior High School and Taylor Intermediate Schools.
* Approved qualified evaluators, which include principals and assistant principals, as well as department heads.
* Approved a partnership agreement with Grand Canyon University.
Superintendent Hollis Merrell advised the board that after visiting with GCU personnel several times and consulting with the attorney, he considered carefully the partners in learning agreement and recommended that the board approve the agreement with GCU.
He noted that the agreement will allow the district to post teacher openings on the university’s employment boards, which would be of help because it has been difficult at times securing teachers and the district needs to expand recruiting efforts.
The district would also have access to speakers and receive employee discounts for teachers who want to attend the college.
* Approved the Declaration of Curricular and Instructional Alignment to the Arizona Academic Standards.
Merrell noted that Beyond Textbooks follows these standards.
* Approved the 2014 capital plan for the district, which is required annually by the School Facilities Board to enable it to forecast over a period of time what new schools will be needed.
* Held the first reading on policy changes recommended by the Arizona School Boards Association.
“They still are trying to catch up with the last legislative session,” explained Merrell, noting that most of the changes are mandatory.
* Approved the definition of “inadequacy of classroom performance,” which is included in a policy regarding staff evaluations that was approved at the August board meeting.
Merrell explained that since the last board meeting principals and supervisors have worked hard on an evaluation instrument that meets the new legal requirements.
The policy states, “A teacher’s classroom performance is inadequate if: during any school year, on any evaluation, the certified teacher receives an ineffective rating on any of the performance standards 1-9 on the summative evaluation; teachers whose performance is considered inadequate will be placed on an improvement plan.”