November 25, 2009
A meeting of the Property/Operations Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kignston, on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at 5:30 p.m.
L. French, Chair
G. Carson, Manager of Facility Services
B. Hunter, Director of Education
D. Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
R. Richard, Superintendent of Business Services
W. Toms, Manager, Information Technology Services
S. Wowk, Manager, Tri-Board Student Transportation Services
Chair French called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting
Approval of Agenda
MOVED BY Trustee Goodfellow, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried
Establishment of Energy and Environmental Technologist Position
Superintendent Richard reviewed an administrative report concerning the need to create an Energy and Environmental Technologist position within the Board.
Superintendent Richard stated that historically, energy prices have been relatively stable with a seemingly infinite supply of resources available. As the demand for energy continues to increase worldwide, so too does the unit price of that energy. The negative effects of green house gas emissions are also becoming more apparent with each passing year.
Superintendent Richard said that it has become very clear that there is an urgent need to manage energy and waste much more efficiently going forward. For the 2008/09 school year, the Board’s total cost for all utilities was approximately $5,182,000. Superintendent Richard advised that the breakdown is as follows:
Electrical Power $2,030,000
Natural Gas $1,896,000
Fuel Oil $ 600,000
Propane $ 19,000
Water and Sewer $ 637,000
Superintendent Richard stated that the above listed energy consumption figures represent the equivalent of approximately15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The Board, in addition to the above, also spends approximately $320,000 annually on the disposal of waste and recyclable materials.
Superintendent Richard said that the International Energy Agency is predicting a 2% increase in global energy consumption every year until the year 2030. Investing in various energy efficiencies now will save more money every year, especially if prices increase according to current predictions. Current and future demands for energy will place a significant strain on the suppliers of energy. This is expected to lead to significant increases in future energy costs, which will definitely result in continually increasing costs for the Board.
Superintendent Richard advised that the Ministry of Education has created an “Energy Conservation Officer” position, as well as an “Incentive Programs Advisor” to assist school boards with various energy initiatives. These positions have been created to help school boards maximize the government funding for energy efficient schools. Limestone District School Board has been allocated $5,035,723 over a two-year period to spend on making our facilities more energy efficient.
Superintendent Richard commented that various other governmental and non-governmental organizations offer generous financial incentives for the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings. These incentives can make proposed energy efficiency projects much more feasible, as they often result in faster pay back periods. The Ontario government is also investing $50 million towards the installation of small-scale solar and wind-power generators. The Limestone DSB is clearly a leader in the province in this innovative field.
Superintendent Richard stated that the hiring of an Energy and Environmental Technologist (EET) would provide the Board with much needed administrative support to take advantage of the various grant programs and assist in coordinating the Board’s energy management and conservation initiatives. The EET would also support the work of the Board’s Environmental Sustainability Committee and in conjunction with the Curriculum Department, could assist with the development of school-level activities related to environmental and energy conservation initiatives. The EET would also be responsible for submitting grant applications to various sponsor agencies in order to reduce the payback period for approved energy management and conservation projects.
Superintendent Richard stated that it is anticipated that during the first five years the cost related to the establishment of the EET position will be more than offset by a combination of savings achieved through the implementation of new energy management and conservation initiatives and the procurement of various energy management and conservation grants.
Superintendent Richard advised that the starting salary for the EET position will be $58,253 (salary range $58,253 to $65,235). The Board, using the services of a casual energy and environmental employee for the past year, has managed to procure approximately $750,000 in energy grants. These grants are completely incremental to any existing Ministry grants already allocated to the Board. In addition, the Board can anticipate annual energy savings/revenues of approximately $40,000 related to currently completed and planned energy conservation projects.
Superintendent Richard reported that the implementation of a comprehensive renewable energy management system is becoming critical given the anticipated continued significant increases in the price of fossil fuels. The use of renewable energy technologies and conservation practices can significantly reduce operating costs, as well as harmful green house gas emissions. The Energy/Environmental Technologist would play a major role in developing and implementing a Board-wide energy management and conservation program, and further, would take the lead in seeking out various energy and environmental grants from the various government and non-government agencies.
In response to a question from Trustee Murray, Manager Carson stated that the EET’s qualifications would include a diploma from a community college program. The EET would have a engineering technologist course and would have specialized in environmental management.
In response to comments by Trustee Jackson, Superintendent Richard stated that the Board is at the beginning regarding discussions with its neighbouring townships and the City, and the EET position would play a key role where the lines do cross. He said that the Board would have to see how this plays out, and how far discussions with our partners go.
The Director stated the Board’s needs related to sustainability are different from other organizations, as we have schools and students. She said that Darren Seymour is the Board’s environmental education contact person, and that the City of Kingston has a Sustainable Officer. She said that in planning for our future, we have an educational component, as well as the technical one.
MOVED BY Trustee McLaren, the Property/Operations Committee recommends to the Board, that the Limestone District School Board establish a new position entitled “Energy and Environmental Technologist”; and further; that this new position be advertised as soon as possible.
Review of Effectiveness & Efficiency Follow-Up Report re: Tri-Board Transportation
Manager Wowk provided the following information with regard to Tri-Board Student Transportation Services Inc.’s E&E Phase 3 Follow-up Review.
The Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and Limestone District School Board have been operating the Tri-Board consortium in one form or another since 1996.
Our recommendations are intended to identify specific opportunities for efficiencies and to enhance the effectiveness of the operations. We recognize that this does not mean that all recommendations will result in cost savings. Overall we aim to:
• Modernize current practices;
• Enhance the transparency and accountability of the Consortium;
• Establish a structure that allows for effective joint decision making; and
• Identify opportunities for change to current practices and structures that will help the Boards reduce the gap between transportation funding and expenditure
Manager Wowk reviewed the E&E Review methodology, noting that it is based on a five step approach: Data Collection; Interviews; Documentation of Observations, Best Practices and Recommendations; E&E Assessment of Consortium; and Funding Adjustment.
Manager Wowk advised that with regard to Consortium Management, Tri-Board’s original E&E Rating was High, and it maintained a High rating. He reported that Tri-Board made continuous minor adjustments and improvements to:
• Organizational Structure
• Consortium Management
• Succession Planning
• Strategic Plan
• Purchase of Service Agreement
• Transportation Service Agreement
• Staff Training and Management
• Key Performance Indicators
• Demonstrated commitment to continuous operator excellence
Policies and Practices
Manager Wowk reported that Tri-Board originally received a High rating in the area of Policies and Practices, and that they maintained a High rating. He said that the consortium now demonstrates the following best practices in addition to the best practices outlined in the original report:
• Bell Time Management
• Formal Process for Reviewing French Language Needs
Routing and Technology
Manager Wowk advised that in the areas of Routing and Technology, Tri-Board received an original E&E rating of Moderate-High, and that the new E&E rating was High. He said that the consortium management developed:
• A more formal training program
• New system coding
• Improved digital map maintenance
• Improved student database management
• Developed a comprehensive review of courtesy riders
• Analysis of taxi costs – RFP
• Maintained consistent funding
Manager Wowk reported that with regard to contracts, Tri-Board received an original E&E rating of Moderate, and that it received a new E&E rating of High. He said that the consortium demonstrated the following best practices:
• Bus operator compensation
• Contract clauses
• Bus operator contract management
• Parent drivers
• Standards of performance
• Fee formula amendments
• First Aid, CPR, Epi-Pen Training
• Taxi RFP
• Special Needs Vehicles RFP
• Operator performance monitoring
• Board-owned vehicles
Manager Wowk stated that the Ministry has asked the E&E Review Team to apply their Funding Adjustment Formula to each Board that was subject to an E&E Review in Phase 3B. He said that where boards are incurring transportation costs in multiple consortium sites, the Board’s adjustment will be prorated for the portion attributed to the consortium under review. Manager Wowk reviewed the funding adjustment formula. He said that based on the Ministry’s funding formula, in conjunction with Tri-Board’s E&E assessment of the consortium, Limestone received 100% funding of its 2007-2008 transportation revenue deficit.
In response to a question, Superintendent Richard stated that the Board should be in good shape for this year. However, the Ministry has instituted for 2009-2010 that if a board is in a surplus position, it will not receive the 2% inflation allocation. He said that in 2008-2009, we were in a very small surplus position, and therefore, we would lose $200,000 in additional revenue because we are in a surplus position.
Trustee Goodfellow commended Manager Wowk and his staff for their work.
Chair French thanked Manager Wowk for providing the above-noted information.
Update re: Funding Received for Green Schools Pilot Initiative
Manager Carson provided the following update regarding the funding received for the Green Schools Pilot Initiative:
Ministry Funding Sources
This summer three funding programs were introduced, which aimed to make Ontario schools more “green” and energy efficient.
• $20 million – Green School Pilot Initiative
• $550 million for energy efficient products in schools
• LDSB received $5,035,723 to be spread over two years
• $50 million for renewable energy systems installed in schools
• LDSB submitted four business cases totalling $850,000, and is currently awaiting approval
Green Schools Pilot Initiative (GSPI)
• The GSPI is a funding program created by the Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) and the Ministry of Education
• This program was designed to finance the installation of new products which are not commonly found in Ontario schools
• Only qualifying products are eligible to receive this funding
• A total of $20 million will be funded through the Grant for Student Needs regulation (GSN) for this program
• Boards could submit applications by themselves or in conjunction with other school boards
The Limestone District School Board submitted an application with three other school boards for the installation of four Biomass Heating Systems (wood pellet boilers). This application was approved for a total project cost of $2,000,000. Limestone stands to receive $600,000 of this total.
Also approved was an application for a Solar Thermal heating system at a Limestone school. There were 15 school boards involved with this application. Limestone was approved for a total project cost of $47,365.
Also submitted were two single board applications, which are pending approval:
• A 10 kilowatt photovoltaic system, which provides “green” electricity to the electrical grid. Expected to generate $8,500 annually
• A large solar thermal heating system which would offset a school’s natural gas consumption. It is similar to the system currently installed at Frontenac Secondary School.
• Each company approved by the GSPI was required to complete an application for their product or service
• 33 companies were selected, and deemed eligible to receive funding from the GSPI
• Types of approval products are: renewable energy technologies, water conservation products, as well as heat and electrical energy saving products.
Manager Carson advised of the approved “green” projects, noting that the total exterior funds acquired were in the amount of $759,518.86.
Trustee Goodfellow congratulated Manager Carson and his staff on their work.
Chair French thanked Manager Carson for providing the above-noted information.
Manager Toms stated that he is working closely with Supervising Principal Akey and Senior Staff to get information in place for the Early Learning Program. He further stated that ITS staff have been working with secondary teacher librarians with regard to procuring a new software system; noting that he, Principal Holden and all teacher librarians and library technicians are developing a Needs Assessment Analysis.
Manager Toms stated that ITS is getting ready to move forward with regard to the two pilot projects, one at Napanee District Secondary School and the other at Westdale Park Public School, around technology at those two sites.
Chair French thanked Manager Toms for his update.
Tri-Board Student Transportation Services
Manager Wowk said that Tri-Board’s Integrated Voice Mail System has been upgraded with regard to letting parents of special needs children know when their child’s bus would be late. He said that the program has been piloted this week, and it is working very well.
Manager Wowk advised that Tri-Board is looking at adding on to its software system platform, as the technology site that is currently in place has reached its maximum potential.
Manager Wowk stated that Tri-Board is virtually a paper free environment, as everything is being done electroncially, and all data is saved electronically.
Chair French thanked Manager Wowk for providing a Tri-Board Student Transportation Services update.
Manager Carson thanked Trustees for their continued support in the area of energy conservation.
Chair French thanked Manager Carson for his comments.
Trustee Crawford asked if there is further information with regard to the new school to be built in Greenwood Park.
Superintendent Richard said that the Ministry of Education has changed the process, adding a new step, which slows down the process. He stated that the Board is required to submit a template to the Ministry, as to what the school will look like, and we are awaiting their response. He said that once the approval of the template is received, then the Board will move forward with a Request for Proposal for an architect.
In response to a question, Superintendent Richard stated that another new step in the process is that we need to engage the services of a cost consultant, and that person has to be an independent cost consultant.
Superintendent Richard stated that once everything is in place, a report would be brought forward to Trustees for information.
Trustee Jackson thanked Chair French for her leadership over the past year.
Next Meeting Date
The next meeting of the Property/Operations Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. The location is to be determined.
MOVED BY Trustee McLaren, that the meeting adjourn at 6:50 p.m.–Carried