Bath School Board meets for March

     When the Bath County School Board met on Tuesday evening, March 5th two predominant issues were: the budget for 2019-2020, and a progress report on the first year of the solar project.

We’ll hear from Justin Ryder, Business manager of Bath County Schools, and Mike Keyser, CEO of BARCelectric.  One request from School Board members of residents towards the end of the meeting was to please attend the next Supervisors meeting, March 12th to show support for the schools and encourage adequate funding. 

Justin Rider began,

“Our budget that I have on the screen tonight is based on the Governor’s budgeted revenue, with an average daily membership of five fifteen.

At this time there was only 5,533 dollars difference between the Governor’s, House and the Senate’s budgets, and as of late last week and the first of this week we have our official revenue which you all will receive on Monday. So for the first time in a long time we will be able to submit our budget with official state revenues.”

Mr. Rider described some other items, such as health insurance plans, with figures still being fine tuned.

“We do know now that the General Assembly budget requires a three percent salary increase effective July 1, and a two percent salary increase effective September 3rd. It’s a five percent salary increase.”

The School Board has a work session on Monday to prepare for presenting the budget to Supervisors on Tuesday evening.  When presenting the update for the Solar project ’s first year in place at all three schools, Mike Keyser, BARCelectric CEO, began with an overview of the project.

“The project cost us 1.78 million dollars;  we put one point one megawatts of solar on the three schools, backed by an operation and maintenance agreement that Barc is providing, so it’s really turnkey, hence very worry free for the school district. We bear responsibility for maintaining the system.  Back about a year ago we forecasted it would provide about fifty percent of your annual power needs, 100% of Valley’s. We’ve been forecasting that Valley would be a net zero school. Now once the loan is paid off at the twenty year fixed rates, it will be free to the school.  It will be free to the school district at that point.  Solar Projects will lat about thirty-five years or so before you need to start replacing the panels.”

Mr. Keyser explained more about the specifics of the system, as well as demand, and distribution. 

“The project produced about one point one four million kilowatt hours.  The forecast was one point one seven, so it fell short by about thirty thousand kilowatt hours in the forecast. Now, this was also the wettest year in the history of Virginia.”

Even though it underproduced we did hit that mark of about fifty percent of your annual energy consumption was produced by the solar project.  You guys are by far, in the entire commonwealth, have the most amount of solar of any school district in the commonwealth.  You’ve outstripped any other school district in terms of the amount of solar and what it’s producing as a percentage of your total consumption.”

At the same meeting the board tried and was very challenged by a fast-paced question and answer game students use to practice standards of learning.  7th graders were demonstrating and were also victorious.

The Board noted as well this month that Bath County High School Graduation is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st at 10:00 in the morning.

For AMR . . .

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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