Electricity savings touted for school

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MECHANIC FALLS – The Elm Street School could cut its electricity bill by as much as 20 percent if it simply joined the town’s electric service purchasing pool, Dave Griffiths told the School Committee Tuesday night.

“I had no idea we’re paying 2 cents more (per kilowatt hour) than the town,” Griffiths said.

And that is only one of several areas that the Tri-Town Efficiency Committee has explored and identified as having significant cost-saving potential.

Other areas where pooling resources for group purchasing could save on both the municipal and school sides of budgets for the towns of Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland identified by Griffiths were: fuel oil, gasoline, telephone and photo copier contracts.

Griffiths didn’t give specifics during his brief presentation but rather indicated that a fuller report will be given at the Union 29 School Committee meeting on June 22.

“About all I can say is there’s more to be saved than originally thought,” Griffiths said.

In his report, Director of Operations Gordon Murray pointed to an influx of skateboarders onto school grounds after-hours presents real concerns for both safety and liability.

Principal Mary Martin said she had spoken with police Chief Jeffrey Goss and that police would be checking the school more frequently.

The problem, Martin noted, is that the school steps are a skateboarder’s delight and no matter how often the kids are chased off, they come right back. An immediate consequence of skateboarder use of the steps is that the bricks are chipping and, Martin pointed out, there remains the liability issue should anyone be seriously injured.

In other business, the School Committee approved two-year contracts for Principal Mary Martin and Assistant Principal Arthur Reed with a 3 percent pay increase for each in the first year.

The committee also agreed that there will be no School Committee meeting in July and, provided need arises to hire new personnel during the summer, empowered Superintendent Nina Schlikin to issue anticipation-of-hire letters to suitable candidates.

Schlikin publicly acknowledged Stacie Everett for her fine work during her five years as Union 29’s business manager and wished Everett the very best as she takes on a similar position with the Jay School Department.

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