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janus janea

Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom


Member since November 19, 2012

  • Crown Capital Eco Management environmental concerns: Energy efficiency enters budget equation for school districts

    Communication, Communication Design

    There is a room on the first floor of Elyria High School that you can say is the heart of the building. Just like veins and arteries weave their way through the body to the heart so blood can be pumped through every inch of a person, 278 geothermal wells dug 500 feet into the earth encircle the building in a horseshoe shape leading to a “heart” in the school’s mechanical room. White pipes, steel tubes and computerized equipment make up the entirety of the room that on a first glance looks like nothing more than a more high-tech boiler room. But the school’s geothermal system is a little more complicated, even though the main purpose is to reduce the school’s carbon footprint while saving the district money. And money matters are what jeopardize the health of the Elyria Schools. The district announced last month $3 million in budget cuts to stave off a projected deficit, including 59 positions — among them teachers, special education instructors and classroom aides and extracurricular programs such as the high school’s TV station and seventh-grade athletics. In addition, Superintendent Paul Rigda is just starting the arduous task of trying to convince state legislators and leaders that his idea for how to fund the construction of new elementary schools is worth considering. He wants the state to give Elyria $75 million to $80 million to build five elementary schools, without requiring voters to approve a bond issue and leave Elyria responsible for the entire cost of replacing the middle schools down the road. The figure is not just some pie-in-the-sky number. It equates to the roughly 52 percent the state said it would kick in to rebuild both the elementary and middle schools in a comprehensive project if taxpayers come up with the remaining 48 percent. So far, Rigda’s attempt has been rejected from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission because state law would have to be rewritten to allow it. But that has not stopped him from making the case that Elyria could greatly benefit from new schools. His biggest challenge could be convincing parents and taxpayers who see shuttered buildings in the district that they may think would suit the district’s needs just fine. “We could be putting kids in new classrooms, we could be putting people to work, and we could be saving money because these (new) buildings would be energy-efficient buildings,” he said earlier this week. Now, that the idea is out there — Rigda said he was reluctant to mention it because of the controversial nature of suggesting the state change its long-held policy of requiring the local community to contribute for such projects — he said he hopes to eventually get an audience with Gov. John Kasich. Fifteen minutes to explain why the spirit of the law is to put kids into new buildings without penalizing them for what the community can’t or won’t approve is all he needs, he said.

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