Harrison Elementary burner to convert to gas

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SAD 17 Business Director Cathy Coffey details the results of the unaudited Fiscal 2018 school budget for directors and administrators and others at the October 1 board meeting in Hebron.

HEBRON — The SAD 17 Board of Directors approved a $143,213 bid that will allow the Harrison Elementary School’s oil fired burner to be converted to a propane gas fired system.

The unanimous vote that was taken at the October 1 board meeting awarded the bid to Specialty Services over a proposal submitted by Siemens which bid $161,738 for the project. Both companies have done work for the school district.

Barry Patrie of the Operations Committee told the committee the underground tanks that service the school’s boiler system, including one that became problematic, will be taken out. A boilers was a former coal unit that was converted to oil fired when the system became obsolete.

While a director asked why the school wasn’t converting to wood pellets like many of the other school buildings, Patrie said the system wasn’t large enough to warrant using pellets.

The financing for the project will be a lease purchase agreement over a ten-year period. Money has been set aside in the budget but the school board must still approve the financing package.

Business Director Cathy Coffey provided the board with a fiscal year end unaudited financial report of the Fiscal 2108 budget that showed of the approximate $40 million school budget, about $1.2 million has been carried over to the Fund Balance.

The beginning balance of the Fund Balance account on July 1, 2017 was $1,607,886. Revenue during the fiscal year from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 was $39,095,458. Expenses amounted $39,355,041 leaving the Fund Balance on  June 30 of this year at $1,348,303.

Grants accounted for a large amount of the school district revenues including  $254,446 received in Title 1 and Title 11 federal funds which serve students in the Hebron Station and Otisfield Elementary school. A total of $148,800 remained at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2018 in those account, Coffey said.

Money from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA,) which primarily funded 29 special education tech positions  was just under $1 million. A total of $104,000 remained in the account at the end of the fiscal year.

The Food Services account started with $330,854 and ended the fiscal year with $388,667. It is one of only a handful of food service departments that are self sustaining in Maine public schools, she said.

In addition to the large accounts, Coffey oversees another 139 small fund accounts in the budget.

An auditing firm has completed the audit of the Fiscal 2018 school budget and it will be presented to the Finance Committee next month.

In other news, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said the school district’s communication system will be out on Friday, October 5 while power is shut done so work can be done on the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School generator. Because the school district’s phone lines and Internet are based in the high school it affects the entire district.

“If you try to call us Friday you will reach no one,” he said. Friday is a professional day and no school for students district-wide.

The board approved hiring a part-time physical education teacher for the Middle School South campus. The need was discovered after scheduling was completed under the new semester system.

A special education ed tech was approved at the Oxford Elementary School because of increased student needs.

The school board meeting was held at the Hebron Station School and hosted by Principal D. J. Thorne. The board customarily attends board meetings several times a year at various district school buildings.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net