MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Middletown school officials are figuring out what to do with a $2 million surplus the district has acquired over the years.
Over the past five years, Middletown schools have endured many changes, including how schools use energy, which business manager George Long attributes to the district's success.
"We implemented many cost-saving measures on the electric and gas side that ultimately led to about $450,000 in savings for this school district," said Long.
The district saved an average of $450,000 per year, which over time has accumulated to more than $2 million.
In 2008, district officials decided to reduce costs, but didn't want to impact students' educations. Officials partnered with Innovative Energy Systems, a private company, that helped the district devise a plan.
That plan initially cost the district $132,000.
"They changed the cost per square foot utility wise from $2.13 down to $1.18. With good people management, people watching what they do and how they do it and good technology behind what we're doing," said Long.
The success of the project didn't happen overnight. Long said the district had to work with staff and students to put energy-saving rules in place and install new technologies in schools, such as LED lights.
They also had to change the way they bought gas.
"We're a big vendor when you compare us to most industries and factories. We purchase more gas than many businesses right here in Middletown. We go out on the spot market and buy when it's low," said Long.
Long says because their plan is paying off, they hope to save more in the future, which will also benefit taxpayers.
"In the state of Ohio, eventually if we do things perfectly we still have to go back to the taxpayers at some point and ask for additional funding. In this case they're allowing us to hold off on asking our taxpayers for more funding further out. And that's what I think they should expect of us," said Long.
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