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The $113 mil price tag for a ‘basic’ design of Mecklenburg's proposed school complex for grades 6-12 is too much, supervisors say; school trustees says extra expense comes with U.S.…

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Halifax County trustees accept loan terms for energy contract savings

SoVaNow.com / December 14, 2017
The Halifax County School Board approved a loan package Monday night for activating an energy performance contract with Trane Company — a deal the trustees have been assured will save money for the school division over time.

Trustees voted 6-2 to accept loan financing by US Bancorp in the amount of $1,360,863, which will be paid to Trane to install energy-efficient systems in county school buildings.

Voting in opposition to the motion were ED-3 trustee Kim Farson and ED-8 trustee Walter Potts.

US Bancorp was the sole bidder on the financing package, even after the request was bid twice. The loan carries an interest rate of 2.58 percent over a 15-year period. Annual payments will be $110,559.94.

Trane has guaranteed to save at least that sum by helping the school division save on energy costs at the school buildings included in the project: all elementary schools other than Meadville, Clays Mill and Sinai, and other school facilities excluding the high school.

Maintenance Director Jay Jennings advised trustees that the proposed interest rate from US Bancorp will expire Dec. 29, and he urged approval of the bid prior to that deadline — which the trustees gave.

Most of the savings from the Trane performance contract will come from upgrades to traditional lighting using LED tube retrofits. Other savings are anticipated from building improvements, including weather stripping of doors and windows, addition or replacement of door sweeps, sealing of roof-wall joints, sealing off of unnecessary roof or wall penetrations and additional insulation where needed.

In other business Monday night, trustees heard about the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state Board of Education and the Halifax County School Board for academic improvements at Sinai Elementary. The MOU arises from the state’s denial of accreditation for Sinai Elementary, owing to student performance on standardized tests. Halifax County Public Schools is being required to report to the state on its plans for effective instructional practices in English, math and science and support in meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

The School Board will receive monthly updates on a corrective action plan at Sinai, with the reports shared with the state Department of Education. Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg or a member of the staff will be required to meet three times during the year to review the progress of the corrective action plan, which contains benchmarks for student attendance, teacher attendance, student discipline, student transfer data, student intervention participation and academic progress.

In another matter, HCHS Principal Michael Lewis told trustees he is reviewing information on the community’s use of school facilities and that he plans to bring a policy recommendation to the board during an upcoming session.

For three trustees, this was their last meeting — ED-2 trustee and board chairman Karen Hopkins, Farson and ED-6 trustee Fay Satterfield. During Monday’s meeting, the outgoing trio was thanked by Lineburg for their eight years of faithful service to the board.

Lineburg went through a list of their accomplishments, including pay increases for staff, carrying out a school efficiency study, enlisting an outside food service, increasing technology programs and career certifications and carrying out staff evaluations.

New trustees took their oaths of office from Halifax County Clerk of Court Cathy Cosby. Those sworn in after winning their elections in November were ED-7 trustee Monty Lowery, who previously served on the board in an interim capacity, and new members Roy Keith Lloyd in ED-2, Sandra Garner Coleman in ED-3 and Todd Moser in ED-6.

Also, Lineburg announced that Kacey Whitt had been named as the new principal at Cluster Springs Elementary School. She will take over the job in January when current principal Catherine Glass moves into Central Office administration. Whitt currently is the assistant principal at Cluster Springs.

Trustees were presented with baskets of fruit and poinsettias by members of the high school FFA chapter. The board and guests also enjoyed a presentation by a choir of Cluster Springs singers who delighted them with songs of the season.

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