PHILLIPS – SAD 58 will receive $760,000 to buy wood pellet furnaces for Strong and Kingfield elementary schools, Superintendent Quenten Clark said Wednesday.

“When we applied for it, I gave it very little chance of being approved,” he said. “As time has gone on, things have come about that have made it more attractive.”

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has a $76,000 local match.

“Some of it involves putting structures up, and we’d like to get them up before the students come back to school in August,” Clark said.

He said the furnaces will prevent 50,000 gallons of oil from being burned each year. Current oil prices are $1.80 per gallon.

“It all depends on what the price of oil is, but it keeps money in the community,” Clark said. “The more money that stays locally, the better off we are.”

Local loggers get to harvest more trees, he said, and local wood pellet mills will supply the schools.

The school board will discuss the grant at its next meeting, he said.

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