Hartselle schools cut energy costs by $415kPublished 1:32pm Friday, July 25, 2014
Hartselle City Schools officials are boasting a $415,000 savings in the 2013-2014 budget thanks to electricity cost-cutting measures.
Hartselle chief school financial officer Jonathan Craft said “90 to 95 percent” of the savings came from the new Hartselle High School.
The budget originally allocated $825,000 for utilities, but Craft is now anticipating that total to be just around $410,000 at the end of the fiscal year.
“We based those numbers on the utility bills from April and May of last year,” Craft said. “So we really didn’t know what those numbers were going to be. We looked at everything at each of the schools and found ways we could cut back.”
Hartselle school administrators were staring a $1 million shortfall in revenues at the beginning of the year, mostly due to the high utility costs at the high school.
Craft said is now projecting an end-of-the-year balance of $8 million in the general fund, which is roughly four months of expenditures. School systems are required to keep at least one month of operating expenses by law.
That number is still down $500,000 from the start of the fiscal year, but Craft believes the general fund balance is beginning to stabilize.
“Last month we were at 4.09 months of operating expenditures,” Craft said. “This month it is around 4.02 months. So it is beginning to stabilize now.”
School Superintendent Dr. Vic Wilson said he was worried about the utility cost at the beginning of the year. However, he said Craft, system head of maintenance Chris Wallace and the principals found ways to cut back.
This included having the high school HVAC contractor adjust the system to become more energy efficient and other ways to save money.
“They put in a lot of hard work and came up with a great plan to cut costs and be better stewards of our resources,” Wilson said. “They did a great job.”