Concordia R-2 school board votes on amending solar power project
During the March 7 regular meeting of the Concordia R-2 Board of Education, the board voted to make amendments to a solar power project previously approved by the board. According to District Superintendent Brent Cooper, the contractor for the project, MC Power, informed school administrators that the roof at the high school cannot structurally support the load of solar panels the district planned to purchase and have placed there.
“The building was built in 1950 and the roof is not strong enough to withstand the added weight of the panels. Thus, we are looking at alternatives for the high school,” Cooper said. “The ag building and elementary building plans are approved and ready to go.”
Cooper said the school could either put the panels for the high school on the ground somewhere in the vicinity of the ag building, or possibly wait on the high school implementation until a later date.
The board voted to not install solar panels set for the high school at this time, and to continue with the project as presented for the elementary and ag buildings.
“The actual work on the elementary and ag buildings is scheduled to begin the first week of April,” Cooper said. “It is estimated the work will take just a week or two to complete.”
Snow make-up days were also on the agenda for the meeting. The state requires the district to make up 10 snow days annually if 13 or more days are missed. The number of snow days so far this school year now stands at 13.
“Since we have only put eight days in place, we need to add two more snow days to the schedule,” Cooper stated.
The board unanimously voted to approve May 24 and May 28 as make-up days for the 2018-2019 school year.
The board also heard about the need to increase adult lunch prices.
“After the food service audit of our district by DESE, we have learned that we need to increase the price of our adult lunches from $2.72 to $3 to be in compliance with the state,” Cooper reported.
The board voted unanimously to make the stated changes.
During his report to the board, Cooper reported that bills seeking to expand charter schools in the state are waiting to be debated on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives. These include HB 581 and Senate Bill 292.
“These bills seek to expand charter schools by allowing them to be sponsored in school districts located in counties with a charter form of government, such as Jackson County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and St. Louis County; in cities with a population of 30,000 or more; and in any accredited district in the state if ‘evidence of community support’ is provided,” Cooper stated. “Even if a charter school is not sponsored in a district, the district would be required to pay tuition for its students to attend a charter school if they want to enroll.”
In other legislative news, Cooper told the board about tax credit vouchers, known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, (or ESAs), that soon could be debated by both the house (HB 478) and the senate (SB 160).
“Under these bills, a taxpayer could make a qualifying contribution to what’s called an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit for 100 percent of the amount of the contribution,” Cooper reported. “The tax credits in the bills are estimated to cost the state $50 million in revenue.”
Cooper also reported that, nationally, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently announced support for a federal tax credit plan designed to subsidize private schools with public money.