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Saving money with solar, and consolidation issues

RATON — The Raton board of education met Monday and heard a presentation by middle school students on the feasibility of solar power for Raton Middle School, and then addressed school consolidation issues. The students’ research suggested solar could cut utility costs for the school, with a drawback that Raton Public Service (RPS) would lose revenue. RPS might be able to purchase any excess power from the district. According to the student report, RPS cannot benefit from the subsidies that co-ops or public utilities have available. Board member Art Armijo asked that the school consolidation issue be placed on the agenda as an action item instead of an informational item. There was disagreement about the request by Armijo and Superintendent Dr. Neal Terhune. Board president Ted Kamp put the question to the board, and it was defeated with consensus it’s been discussed and voted on already. The process of packing and moving has begun with the libraries, with many boxes already moved to the high school. Maintenance supervisor Ben Munden reported on bids for fencing and playground relocation. The bids had ranged

from a low of $4,000 for material and another $4,000 for labor for the fence work, to as much as $14,000 to $23,000 for material and labor. Bids to relocate playground equipment range from $47,108 from Columbian to RMS, to $31,526 for the Kearny playground equipment. Bids do not include wood or rubber chips or rubber chips for cushioning. The district may hire a local contractor do the work. The other big issue is with moving a portable building over to Longfellow School for ancillary personnel. Costs vary greatly depending on the size of the portable. One estimate is for $47,113, whichincludes foundation and utility hookups, but no fire alarm hookup or renovations required by Construction Industries Department. School principals reported on plans to house students at various schools and work being done to accommodate schedule and class size changes. Terhune discussed buildings the district might acquire. One is Lark’s In and Out Lube to be used as a auto mechanic classroom and to save the district money on oil changes and maintenance for school vehicles. Another acquisition would be the building next to the downtown car wash, which could used to teach students proper procedures for demolition of old buildings. Lita Sanchez gave the board a review of the preliminary budget will be sent to the Public Education Department for their approval. A couple of the board members felt the school calendar needed to be modified to allow students to get out earlier in the spring.