Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefourth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, September 13, 2010, at 1:30 PM, CDT, at the South Warren High School, Warren County. Representative Carl Rollins II, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., David Givens, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, C. B. Embry Jr., Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Harry Moberly Jr., Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Wilson Stone, and Addia Wuchner.
Guest Legislator: Senator Mike Reynolds
Guests: Clyde Caudill, Legislative Liaison, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Kevin Brown, General Counsel, Kentucky Department of Education; and Commissioner Bruce Wilkerson, City of Bowling Green.
Approval of the August 9, 2010, Minutes
Representative Richards made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 9, 2010, meeting. Representative Carney seconded the motion and the motion was approved by voice vote.
Special Resolution in Honor of Dr. Robert Sexton
Representative Rollins read an Interim Joint Committee on Education resolution in its entirety honoring and memorializing Dr. Robert Sexton, who directed the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence from its inception in 1983, for his many contributions to and advocacy for Kentucky’s children and their education. Upon motion by Representative Siler, seconded by Representative Glenn, the resolution was approved by voice vote. The resolution will be mailed to Dr. Sexton’s widow.
Representative Richards welcomed the committee members and guests to the Warren County area and recognized the following Warren County officials: Sheriff Jerry Gaines, County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon, and PVA Bob Branstetter. Representative DeCesare recognized Phyllis Causey, who works in Congressman Brett Guthrie’s Bowling Green office; City Commissioner Bruce Wilkerson; and Senator Mike Reynolds. Representative Greer recognized Kenny Stanfield from Meade County, who was the project architect for the South Warren Middle and High School complex.
School Facilities Program Planning and Designs for Warren County Schools
The presentation was given by Mr. Tim Murley, Superintendent, and Ms. Joanie Hendricks, Public Relations Coordinator, Warren County Schools. A copy of the PowerPoint slides and other information was provided to committee members.
Ms. Hendricks said that Warren County is a growth district with an average increase in enrollment of 300 students each year. Approximately half of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches and 10 percent of the students are Limited English Proficient (LEP), with 36 different languages being spoken. A large number of the LEP students are referred through the international refugee center in Bowling Green and the school system currently has 18 percent of the state’s refugee student population.
Ms. Hendricks said that energy efficient measures initiated in the district’s existing facilities has resulted in a savings of $5.4 million to date and all new construction is designed to be energy cost effective. Some of the measures taken to reduce energy costs in existing buildings included using a centralized computer system to control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; employing energy manager Jay Wilson, who has completed audits to identify other energy saving techniques, such as using biofuel to operate buses and purchasing hybrid buses for long-term savings; and the adoption of an energy management conservation policy suggested by Energy Education, Inc. During the first year of implementation of these measures, the district realized a savings of over $560,000, and last year realized a savings of close to one million dollars. The savings realized from reduction in energy costs has helped the district fund additional teacher positions and meet other educational needs.
Ms. Hendricks said that energy efficiency design began when Alvaton Elementary was being constructed in 2005. Alvaton was the first building in Kentucky made of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) blocks, which provides triple the amount of insulation most buildings feature and is cost and energy efficient. The South Warren Middle and High School campus buildings are also built with ICF blocks. Other features in Alvaton include the use of geothermal wells to heat and cool the building, motion-sensing lights, and HVAC controls with sensors that automatically adjust based on student presence. The energy efficient design for Alvaton Elementary has resulted in an energy consumption of 36 KTBUs (energy units) per square foot versus a national average for schools of 76 KTBUs per square foot. The next school constructed using even more energy efficient techniques was Plano Elementary School and it is currently the most energy efficient school in the state using only 28 KTBUs per square foot.
Student population growth again required construction of two new schools, Richardsville Elementary, scheduled to open later in 2010, and Bristow Elementary. Both schools are classified as net zero energy schools. The energy saving components in these schools include using convection and steam cooking and other energy efficient appliances and equipment in the kitchen areas, maximizing sunlight usage through clerestory windows and solar tubes, and classroom and common space energy designs. Also laptop and iPad carts are used in the computer labs and the devices are charged using solar energy. The roof of Richardsville Elementary is covered with solar panels funded by a $1.4 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The energy produced by the solar panels is then sold to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at a premium rate of 22 cents per kilowatt hour, which offsets the operational energy costs making the building AAmerenergy neutral.” Other features in both schools are nanogel translucent windows and bamboo flooring. It is anticipated that the new Richardsville Elementary School will only consume 18 KTBUs per square foot.
Ms. Hendricks said that the state-of-the-art energy designs and equipment provides a hands-on learning environment for students. Hallways have energy related themes and various instruments are located throughout the schools showing energy consumption and related processes and data. Also each school in the district will have an energy team to monitor consumption and perform efficiency audits with a focus on increasing student energy awareness and future energy leaders.
Ms. Hendricks said that many of the same energy-saving initiatives were used to construct South Warren Middle and High School, which opened in August 2010. Although the school complex is not a net zero facility, it is the largest ICF building in the nation. A new elementary school is also being built in the county which will have the capability of being a net zero usage school. She said the district has received many state and national awards for effective energy designs and 13 of the 19 schools in the district are currently Energy Star rated. Ms. Hendricks showed a brief video of students and staff at Richardsville Elementary explaining the energy concepts and design and displaying school pride.
In response to a question from Representative Stone, Mr. Murley said the cost of constructing a net zero energy efficient school compared to traditional construction is very close and that any additional cost during the construction phase is quickly recovered through energy savings. He said the ICF design not only conserves energy but also adds structural strength and gave as an example that the auditorium in which the meeting was being held also serves as a tornado shelter. Representative DeCesare said energy design construction generally increases upfront costs by one percent (1 percent) which may be returned tenfold in energy savings. He said that both the Warren County and Bowling Green Independent districts are leading the nation in building and creating green schools.
In response to a question from Representative Richards, Mr. Murley said that insulating concrete forms (ICF) are hollow foam blocks which are stacked into the shape of the exterior walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete and covered with normal construction materials. Representative DeCesare said the ICF construction also reduces insurance rates.
“Energy Managers Project”
Ms. Shannon Pratt Stiglitz, Assistant Director, Government Relations, Kentucky School Boards Association, introduced Ron Willhite, Director of Energy for the Kentucky School Boards Association, and said that he has an extensive background in energy management. She said he would provide information on the School Energy Managers Project (SEMP). A copy of the PowerPoint presentation and other related information was provided to committee members.
Mr. Willhite said that 2008 House Bill 2, enacted as KRS 160.325, directed all school districts to reduce rising energy costs and enroll in the Kentucky Energy Efficient Program for Schools (KEEPS) by January 1, 2010. The legislation also requires that the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center report on the status of the development of energy management plans by boards of education and the anticipated savings to be achieved by December 1, 2011. He said that the Energy in Education Collaborative is spearheaded by the Department for Energy Development & Independence. Other agencies involved in the collaborative include the Kentucky School Boards Association, as administrator of the School Energy Managers Project; the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center at University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering as administrator of the KEEPS program; the National Energy Education Development Project; and the Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools coalition.
Mr. Willhite said the purpose of SEMP, which is funded by a $5.05 million grant from the US Department of Energy, is to reduce school energy consumption and operating expenses and to employ fulltime energy managers in the school districts. The energy managers are to establish district energy teams to analyze energy use, make recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption, set energy efficiency goals, educate staff and students, and implement other energy saving measures. The KEEPS program, in which all 174 school districts have enrolled, will provide technical expertise and energy management assistance to the districts. The Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools Program and the Kentucky National Energy Education Development Project will provide energy education to Kentucky students and teachers to increase understanding of scientific, economic, and environmental impacts of energy.
Mr. Willhite said that SEMP funding will pay 75 percent of each school district’s energy manager’s salary and related costs the first year and 50 percent the second year. It is anticipated that after the second year, savings realized from energy efficiency measures will then allow the districts to pay the salary and related costs for the energy manager. He said some districts including Warren, Kenton, and Hardin County already have fulltime energy managers and may use funds to hire full time energy curriculum coordinators. Funds allocated to the schools may also be used for professional development, tracking software, instructional tools, and related energy programs and technology.
Mr. Willhite said that 14 of the 174 districts already employ energy managers. He said since many districts do not have enough facilities to justify hiring a full time energy manager, a model was developed where districts could share an energy manager and currently 29 partnerships have been established. Also, Green River Educational Cooperative is actually employing the energy manager for the districts in its area. A map was provided showing the various districts and partnerships participating in the SEMP project. Mr. Willhite said that 36 new energy managers began work in the various partnerships on July 1, 2010, so 145 of the 174 Kentucky schools districts now have full-time or partnership energy managers, encompassing 1000 schools.
In response to a question from Representative Graham, Mr. Willhite said the Franklin County district does not participate in the SEMP project at this time. Ms. Stiglitz said it is not a mandated project, that some districts are concerned about continuing costs, and some districts also utilize other resources to help with energy management.
In response to a question from Representative Stone, Mr. Willhite said that the initial focus of the energy project has been on gas and electricity usage but that transportation costs and water consumption certainly needs to be addressed in the future.
In response to a question from Representative Wuchner, Mr. Willhite said only one or two of the partnership energy managers had been certified in energy management although all of them have a college degree and selection was based on education and experience.
Representative DeCesare said that he and Representative Mary Lou Marzian attended a meeting in Washington, along with other state legislators, of the US Green Building Council to discuss “green” schools. As a result of those discussions, the US Green Building Council published a book, funded by the Turner Foundation, entitled “Greening Our Schools” to serve as a legislator’s guide to best policy practices in energy conservation. He said the book was unveiled at the recent National Conference of State Legislators meeting in Louisville and is being made available to all legislators throughout the states. Each member of the committee received one of the books.
Representative Rollins thanked Mr. Murley and his staff for their hospitality and presentations and complimented them on their facilities.
Representative Rollins announced that the next meeting of the committee will be on Monday, October 11, at the Green County Area Technology Center/Green County High School with a detailed discussion of career and technical education.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM, CDT.