The Swanton Board of Education on Wednesday approved a solar power agreement. Board member David Smith cast the lone no vote on the agreement.
The power purchase agreement is to include no upfront cost to the district. Energy costs would also be a fixed rate for 30 years, according to Mike Campo, CEO of En-Trust. That rate would be nine cents per kilowatt hour, compared to the current 11.25 cents per kilowatt hour rate.
The proposed solar array is 620 kilowatts and would cover just under three acres of land north of the high school.
Smith had several questions about the agreement, and voiced concerns about possible costs to the district that might come up.
Superintendent Chris Lake said he talked with officials at schools with the solar arrays already in place and no one has been able to identify a cost to their district.
“We’re looking to do something that will be a benefit to the district,” said Lake. “Try to save the district money. And have a lasting impact that will be positive for the district.”
Board President Steve Brehmer said he appreciated the research and questions from Smith but was ready for a vote. There are many unknowns with school funding, and he believes the deal would be good for the district.
“We end up having to go with what we know. And what we know is what the other schools have told us,” said Brehmer.
Board member Kris Oberheim added that the company accepted changes suggested by the district’s attorney.
Board member Ben Remer said he also appreciated the green aspect of the project.
The agreement is with En-Trust, which concentrates its business with school districts and municipalities. The company currently has eight solar fields at northwest Ohio schools including one for Wauseon Exempted Village Schools.
Also at the meeting, the board approved multiple personnel items. They included the resignation of fourth grade teacher Abby Jones.
Other approvals included a three-year limited contract with transportation director Jeffrey Bella; a one-year classified contract for Connie Smith; and a contract for Alison Burch as recreation director.
Supplemental contracts approved for the 2020-21 school year include Ernest Ruiz, head wrestling coach; Josh Eppert, high school quiz bowl advisor; Dakota Ulrich, high school football and basketball cheerleading coach; Kristina Newman, head girls track coach; Joe Nye, head softball coach; Josh Siewert, head baseball coach; Nick Staler, bowling coach; Kyle Dockery, varsity football assistant; and Lucas Braatz, varsity football assistant.
• The board also approved:
• Agreements with the Northwest Ohio Juvenile Detention Training and Rehabilitation Center and LEAP.
• Linda Slaninka as a new Swanton Public Library Board of Trustee member. Her term starts immediately and ends Dec. 31, 2026.
• The non-union fringe benefit package.
Swanton Elementary School Principal Kristi Molter reported that Safety Village was canceled for this summer. There is a chance they could hold it over a weekend or integrate some of the speakers into the school year so that students still have the opportunity to engage with Safety Village goals.
She also reported that, so far, only 66 students have been registered for kindergarten.
Middle School Principal Matt Smith reported that the school had its final house competition of the year. Dignitas won the Swanton Rotary Cup for the second straight year.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010