KNOXVILLE — Knoxville District 202 is looking into what a solar energy project would be like for the school district.
Superintendent Steve Wilder provided information Monday night at the school board’s monthly meeting about one company’s proposal on how to cut energy costs for the district by installing solar panels at district facilities.
“My intent was not for the board to make any decisions other than to give me some direction on if we wanted to continue to pursue solar power,” Wilder said.
Other proposals will be sought from other solar companies with two options, either having a third party build a solar panel array at each school building and district structure or having the district pay that cost.
Going the third party route, which is what school districts in Galesburg, Williamsfield and ROWVA pursued and were allocated renewable energy credits for projects selected in a state lottery last week, would have that build cost on the contractor, who would then sell the energy at a reduced cost to the school district.
Wilder said one proposal showed cutting the district’s energy bills in half in the first year.
There is also a possible educational aspect to bringing solar panels to district grounds, whether that be used in math, science and/or agriculture classes.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity with a project like this … we need to do our due diligence and look at all the angles,” Wilder said.
In other technology news, the school board approved paying Tierney about $61,000 for 22 new smartboards, which are replacing boards currently at Knoxville Junior High School. Last year the smartboards at Mable Woolsey Elementary were replaced and the high school’s board are slated to be replaced next year, Wilder said.
Tierney also received about $30,000 for 85 Chromebooks that can be folded into a computer tablet from its laptop position. Those devices will be distributed to fifth-graders as they transition from computer tablets in elementary school to laptops in junior high and high school.
The school board also approved a four-year lease with Apple for iPads at an annual cost of about $28,000 per year.
Wilder said the district began its technology “one device to one device program” six years ago with the idea that technology costs would be balanced by savings in curriculum materials.
“As new technology is introduced in the market, there’s this new high price point, but as the technology becomes more refined and updated, those costs slowly come down,” he said.
The former high school laptops led to some sales and some were retained by the district, while others were electronically recycled.
The school board also approved a contract with the Knox County Highway Department to perform surface work and chip and oil parking lots at Mable Woolsey Elementary and Knoxville Junior High School for a cost estimated at about $9,600.
A special school board meeting will occur on April 29 to seat new school board member Kris Stearns, who ran a write-in campaign in the April 2 election. Wilder said Brent Shreeves will be honored that night for his contributions over his two terms on the school board.
Robert Connelly: (309) 343-7181, ext. 266; email@example.com; @RConnelly_