OXFORD — SAD 17 Business Manager Cathy Coffey has received international recognition for her work in the Oxford Hills School District.

The 21-year district employee was highlighted in the October edition of the online publication of the Association of School Business Officials International.

School Superintendent Rick Colpitts made the announcement at Monday’s school board meeting.

“Cathy has been an instrumental member of the administrative team in SAD 17 for a number of years,” he said.

Coffey, of Oxford, was cited for her work in addressing fuel costs for both transportation and schools in the state’s seventh-largest school system based on enrollment (3,450 students) and largest geographically. The district covers 312 square miles with 508 miles of road, one fourth of which are unpaved.

The district has 48 buses that travel nearly 800,000 miles annually, carrying some of the students an hour or more each way to school. Coffey noted that the district spent $350,000 on diesel fuel in fiscal year 2013 and is now looking for ways to run the routes more efficiently with fewer buses.

Additionally, Coffey was cited for her work with building technologies to implement energy improvements that have saved the district $1.8 million over the past six years. The award-winning energy conservation efforts include the installation of a wood chip boiler at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris that has saved $250,000 over two years.

Colpitts said Coffey understands how the school district supports and depends on its eight communities: Harrison, Hebron, Norway, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Waterford and West Paris.

“Her children have attended the Oxford Hill School District so she understands the school district from the parent perspective as well,” Colpitts said. “Cathy has in-depth knowledge of the district’s budget process and of state funding formulas.”

Coffey was quoted in the ASBO International member spotlight article as being proud that the residents of Oxford Hills get good value for their tax dollars.

“We are significantly below state and regional averages in spending, especially in non-instructional categories,” she was quoted. The district’s self-supporting food services program, for example, serves more than 3,300 meals a day at 11 locations. Most of the meals originate from the central kitchen at the high school.

“The (food service) satellite model is very efficient and helps the program remain self-funding,” she said.

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