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Sustainability as it Pertains to North Country Public Schools: Facilities Cost Reduction Strategies. The 11 th North Country Symposium With assistance from the Ellen C. Burt ’42 Endowment for North Country Education St. Lawrence University, Eben Holden Conference Center April 15, 2013

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sustainability as it pertains to north country public schools facilities cost reduction strategies

Sustainability as it Pertains to North Country Public Schools:Facilities Cost Reduction Strategies

The 11th North Country Symposium

With assistance from the Ellen C. Burt ’42 Endowment for North Country Education

St. Lawrence University, Eben Holden Conference Center

April15, 2013

James S. Juczak

my background
My Background
  • 25 years as a Industrial Arts/Technology Education/Vocational Instructor/Driver Education Teacher
  • Taught numerous classes outside of my area: Business, Home and Careers & German.
  • Extensive Industrial, Manufacturing and Civilian-Military Experience.
  • Extensive background in Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Recycling.
what is sustainability
What is Sustainability?
  • Living and teaching others to live like we live in a world with finite resources.
  • Planning to use the precious gifts we’ve been given as if our children and their children matter.
  • Remembering the ‘butterfly effect’.
  • Trying to improve the world rather than taking advantage of it.
what are our public schools
What are our Public Schools?
  • The North Country Public School system (south) consists of 18 public schools and two BOCES systems – smallest is Indian Lake with 28 students. Largest is Indian River with just under 5,000 students
  • 26,000 Students
  • 64 school districts really…
present state of northern ny public schools
Present state of Northern NY Public Schools
  • Fiscal and Educational insolvency is imminent.
  • Generally the population in the North Country is declining and the population is aging. (St. Lawrence student base has declined by 10,000+ students since 1976.)
  • State Aid varies from a high in the 95% range all the way down to 10% depending upon tax base and seasonal population changes
  • Approximately 78% of the budget in any given district is for staff related expenses.
  • 3% for Heating and Lighting
  • 7% for Transportation
  • 10% for Debt Servicing
  • 2% Misc. expenses- maintenance, supplies, etc.
potential fiscal problems within north country schools
Potential Fiscal Problems within North Country Schools
  • GEA: Gap Elimination Adjustment has removed 75 million dollars from North Country Schools in the past 4 years. This might be going away in a few years. It will probably be too little and too late.
  • North country schools typically receive between 65% and 70% State Aid.
  • Foundation Aid may increase….again, probably too little and too late.
  • NYSED is NOT responsible, NY State will be sued for shortfalls…it has a limited budget too! Not every district that goes insolvent will get a settlement.
  • We’re in unexplored territory here!
slide16

This is only a small part of the entire problem.The amount under both curves is about 2x1012 barrels.This graph contains information that probably will have the greatest effect on those now living and born in the future. Crude Oil cannot be extracted if it has not been discovered! This graph shows very clearly why it is very unlikely that the final amount to be extracted will exceed 2x1012 barrels. So far the amount extracted has exceeded 1x1012 barrels, so we are more than halfway there!

just the facts ma am
Just the facts Ma’am
  • At best most North Country schools have stabilized, most seem to be declining slowly in both population and quality of education.
  • Graduates are not returning to their home towns because the jobs are not there.
  • The buildings that comprise North Country Schools were designed and built in an era of cheap energy and were/are not very energy efficient. Attempts to make them more energy efficient are a bit better than band aids, but not much better and expensive to boot. The ultimate goal being: Net Zero Energy Use
what can be done
What Can Be Done?
  • Continue to make North Country Schools more energy efficient.
    • Energy Audits
      • Phantom load reduction
      • More efficient Lighting, Heating Systems, Variable Frequency Motors, etc.
    • Consider radical strategies for insulation
      • Superinsulation, using the exterior mass as interior mass/exterior cladding
      • Living roof systems
    • Biomass heating systems
      • Edwards-Knox and South Lewis schools
    • Renewable energy systems such as:
      • Wind
      • Solar – DHW and PV
more things that might help
More Things That Might Help
  • Share services between adjacent districts through technology…beware of parochialism problems.
  • Offer more of the ‘extras’ such as AP classes and other college credit bearing courses through distance learning techniques. (Northport vs. any North Country School)
  • Petition the state for variations in graduation requirements: Seat time, Credits, Provide State Aid on sharing core courses between nearby school districts, etc.
  • Petition the state to eliminate the 2% tax cap
radical strategies
Radical Strategies…

Change the school calendar:

Extend the Winter Break to 6 weeks

Shorten the Summer Vacation to 6 weeks

Change the school day & week

- Add two hours to the school day

- Eliminate either Monday or Friday from the school week

-This transfers the cost to the parents in the form of child care on ‘days off’.

space efficiency
Space Efficiency

*Lease out surplus school space to

-Businesses

-Town municipal offices

*Close inefficient schools

-Sell the facilities to businesses such as

~Apartments (low income or elder care, for instance)

~Health care facilities

new strategies
New Strategies

*Build smaller, more localized, super energy efficient schools

-Yes, in a way we’d be going back to the ‘one room school house’ philosophy but with advanced communication and instruction technologies.

*Home Based Public Education Strategies supervised through technologies such as e-mail, Skype and similar emerging communications techniques. Use the present schools on a part time basis for lab, group and testing activities

staff reduction through attrition
Staff Reduction Through Attrition
  • Since school staffing takes around 80% of North Country school budgets we could reduce the cost by developing a tiered system of teaching professionals with those at their peak of teaching performance being used via advanced educational technologies such as a virtual classroom to do the primary instruction and those not in that role to become supervisory instructors.
  • Staff benefits changes???