Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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SISD says no to open enrollment

shraryland-logo_TNMISSION — Sharyland Independent School District board members decided not to pursue open enrollment during their recent board meeting.

“Sharyland’s a school community. People come here basically for the schools,” said SISD Superintendent Scott Owings.

At a previous board meeting, officials discussed open enrollment and charging tuition based on the difference the state would give for an enrolled student and what the district actually pays for a student’s education.

Owings said he was looking at an alternative income source, but after researching, decided that it would not be a good idea. He added that most of the district’s schools are crowded and did not want to investigate open enrollment any further. The board agreed that at this time, open enrollment should not be considered.

In other items, officials discussed a recent grant the district received. The school received an energy grant from the state for up to $1 million. The money is actual federal money that is being fed through the State Energy Conservation Office. The grant is for a Solar PV Project that would place 714 solar panel modules on the Sharyland High School roof.

The actual amount awarded was $900,000 and SISD would have to pay almost $180,000. The price includes a five-year service and maintenance plan and installation. SISD would need to fix minor roof repairs before installation could begin.

It’s unclear if installation would void the roof warranty, which is only two years old. A representative assured board members that could be worked out with the insurer. There were also no true figures of savings.

Rough estimates presented said the district currently pays about 11 cents per watt and the solar energy would take that cost down to 6.44 per watt or less. With those figures, Owings said it could take up to seven years for the district to recoup from what they have to pay for it.

Other concerns included possible hailstorm or a hurricane destroying panels and what the insurance would be to cover instances such as that, and what would happen if there were a loss of electricity.

The school board did not make a final decision. They want more information about the total costs involved including insurance and costs of operating.

In other business, the construction of the 400 and AEP buildings are on schedule and should be completed by the end of June. The drainage project is also on schedule with a lot of work planned for the summer months.

The board also approved the district to apply for a waiver for low attendance days during the hard freeze earlier this year. Attendance was down by more than 10 percent at four schools. On Feb. 3, SISD had an 88.61 percent attendance rate compared to 96.6 the previous year.

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