Cost-savings steps taken by Cocalico School Board

By on February 3, 2016
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The Cocalico School Board last week approved several cost-saving measures and a bond refund that could reduce expenses in a lean year.

The board voted 8-0 on Jan. 25 to refund a series of 2011 bonds if the interest savings totals at least $50,000. In addition, Ken Phillips, an advisor with RBC Capital Markets, also encouraged the board to pay back a second set of bonds early, saving about four percent of the total cost.

The board could vote on that resolution later in February, possibly saving $90,000. Phillips called the two measures “cash management ideas” that could put up to $200,000 back into district coffers, depending on interest rates when action is taken.

The savings could help offset low return on other types of investments: the district’s preferred CD accounts are netting just .9 percent annually.

At the same meeting, the board approved or extended a series of contracts with utility suppliers meant to keep prices in check. One of new agreements is with Direct Energy, which provides electricity through PPL and MetEd. A second is with Direct Energy for natural gas via UGI; that three-year program offered through the Intermediate Unit requires another vote next month.

In other action, the board:

  • As previously reported, hired Dr. Ella H. Musser, assistant to the superintendent, to serve as superintendent starting July 1.
  • Approved more than $100,000 in additional wireless access points for the high school, the service center and the district office.

    Business Manager Sherri Stull said the expenses were required to support the “heavy use of electronics,” particularly the new one-to-one initiative that gives each student a tablet or laptop. The state will reimburse the district about 50 percent of the $77,368 cost associated with work at the high school because of its educational nature.

  • Authorized several capital fund payments, including another $45,652 in costs related to the high school road and athletic field redesign. Include in the payments was a $500 fee for a zoning variance from the Borough of Denver. Stull said the district must apply for a variance because the total amount of signage on the high school lot exceeds the maximum allowed.
  • Adopted a calendar for the 2016-17 school year. Classes will begin on Aug. 29, 2016, and end on June 7, 2017.

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