Specifically, it heard a report by the head of the Trane company in San Antonio on the status of the district’s air conditioners.
Scott Naab told the board that of the district’s 259 units, 122 are 10 years or older; 49 are 15 years or older.
“These older units,” Naab said, “are only half as efficient as the newer ones.” Their inefficiency, he said, results in numerous breakdowns and increased repair costs.
For instance, some of the older units have refrigeration systems no longer manufactured. The cost of the scarce coolant has risen 250 percent in two years.
To make matters worse, some of the older units, Naab said, are turned on in April and run constantly through November, resulting in unnecessarily higher utility costs.
Higher maintenance costs also are the product of the 259 units being manufactured by a number of different companies.
“If all the district’s units were made by the same company,” Naab said, “maintenance costs would be reduced because all the spare parts would fit any unit.”
Naab then presented what Trane suggests would be a two-part cost-saving plan.
Part one is for the district to develop a replacement plan to upgrade the oldest units along with a timetable for replacing the remaining units.
Part two requires the district to develop a financial plan to begin the replacement of the units.
Trane analysts show that next year, the district could replace from 50 to 80 units for $1 million. The use of district funds coupled with equipment and utility rebates and the collective energy efficiency of the new units would equate to an $800,000 savings over 15 years.
Naab explained that his presentation was preliminary, and that the next step would be for the company to conduct a field survey of each unit. With that information, he said, the company then could present a final proposal for the board to authorize.
Although the board listened intently to the presentation, board member Matt Huie seemed to speak for the board when he said “This is a lot of material to absorb all at once.”
The board took no action on approving the field study. Board members Velma Elizalde and Viola Salazar did not attend the meeting.
After adjourning the meeting they were called back to hear a mother, who had patiently sat through the entire session, talk about an incident that occurred at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School last week when an 8-year-old second-grade boy threatened to “go home and get my BB gun and shoot” some of his female classmates, one of them her daughter, who were bothering him during a physical education class.
The mother complained that the little boy was neither sent to the office, nor were his belongings searched for any kind of weaponry.
She cited an incident in Washington where an 8-year-old girl was shot by a classmate.
She complained that no one at the school had notified her immediately after the incident, which occurred around 10 a.m.
BISD Superintendent Dr. Sue Thomas admitted that “we messed up,” because the teacher involved told Principal Jean Blankenship that she was going to call the mother, but didn’t until the end of the school day.
Thomas says the youngster was disciplined and that she reviewed school policy with both the teacher and the principal outlining that in the case of a similar incident parents should be contacted immediately.
Thomas said from now on, any child making a threat would be sent to the principal’s office.
She said the principal did not take any harsher action because the little boy had no previous discipline record.
Noting that normally such sensitive issues before the board are handled in executive session, “without the press being here,” Thomas said “it was a learning moment.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.