Weather Forecast


SCC contracts with Trane to provide system maintenance

The St. Croix Central School District could save nearly $49,000 in energy costs during the 2009-10 school year.

At Monday's meeting, the board unanimously approved the hiring of Trane Inc. to take over the heating, ventilation and cooling systems preventative maintenance. The contracted services will cost the district $32,476.

That's about $47,000 less than the district's current three-year contract with Johnson Controls. There will be no penalty for terminating the contract a year early.

The previous contract with Johnson Controls included preventative maintenance and parts and labor for minor repairs. This new contract with Trane will only include preventative maintenance.

Taking that loss in service into account, Bradley recommended budgeting $20,000 for potential repairs for next year. That will still potentially leave the district with a considerable savings.

Bids for the services were received from three companies: Johnson Controls, Trane and Bartingdale. Johnson's bids were less than the current contract's rates. However, Trane had the low bid for standard and premium services.

Head Custodian Greg Green said he's never worked with Trane before, but he was confident in their services.

"They've got all the right people in place for what we need," he reported to the board.

Additional energy savings will come from McKinstry Essention, which was hired for conservation management services. The board hired the company at last month's meeting.

McKinstry Essention's contract will cost the district $12,850 but will save about $34,000 in energy costs.

"This savings (with the Trane contract) potentially pays for McKinstry," Director John Hueg commented.

Trane's contract can be cancelled at any time without penalty, Bradley said.

In other news:

• Dan Murtha was hired as assistant middle school football coach and Chris Buckel was hired as junior varsity wrestling coach. Vanessa Huftel, who has student taught and substituted at St. Croix Central in the past, was hired as kindergarten teacher.

The only open position left to fill for the 2009-10 school year is the school psychologist/director of pupil services position. A candidate was hired, but said he would be staying at his current school district even though he was still interested in the St. Croix Central position. Applications have been accepted again, and interviews will be set up with three candidates soon.

• The board unanimously approved contracting with CESA 11 to gain access to the Link4Learning Web-based program. The program houses the district's curriculum, essential learning outcomes, unit plans and assessment scores. Teachers will be able to look at each other's unit plans to see what students have already been taught and how individual students did with the lessons.

"It's there, it's attainable, it's easy for teachers to use," explained Elementary Principal Steve Sanders. Information available between teachers in the past has been arranged in file folders.

Eventually, parents will be able to look at their child's information, but that won't be available immediately since no information is compiled yet.

The district will be charged $5,525 the first year for set up and $2,750 for annual maintenance. Federally distributed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will cover all of this year's expenses.

• Head Custodian Greg Green was recently certified in building operations through a course he took, Bradley announced.

• Middle school teacher Daniel Ruud spoke to the board about the eighth grade's recent trip to Washington, D.C. Only 15 of the 88 eighth graders didn't go on the trip. Some didn't go because of health or maturity concerns while a few others couldn't financially afford the trip.

Hueg estimated the cost to students was less than $600, when factoring in meals and the $440 base cost.

Next year, eighth grade teachers are looking for more fund raising opportunities to help offset the costs, Ruud said. One idea he brought up was selling beverages and concessions at middle school sporting events.

• The next St. Croix Central School Board meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, July 20, in the middle school library, 1295 Vine St., Hammond. The Annual Meeting is set for 8 p.m., Monday, July 27 in the high school library.