Alva Review-Courier -

Alva School Board hears about wind energy project

 

Marione Martin

Kristi Sproul with PSO and VIckie Ayres Portman with Invenergy describe the effects of the Sundance wind project on the Alva School District.

Alva School Board members heard about expected impacts of the Sundance wind project planned for the southern part of Woods County. Kristi Sproul of PSO and Vickie Ayres Portman of Invenergy visited the meeting Monday.

Sproul said PSO provides electricity to 232 towns, mostly in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. In January 2019 they put out a request for companies to build some energy projects. Invenergy contracted with them to build wind farms which will then be purchased by PSO. Invenergy will operate the wind farms for ten years.

Portman said Invenergy is building three of the North Central Energy Facilities: Sundance, Maverick and Traverse. Sundance is the smallest of the three. Invenergy purchased the project from another company that had contracted with property owners and received approval for declarations of no hazard (DNH). However, Invenergy followed up with Vance Air Base and found there were still some conflicts with aircraft training patterns. After working these out, they refiled in September and are now waiting for new DNH's. The project is expected to be completed this year.

According to Portman, the Sundance project will bring in a number of construction workers. Once built, it will provide six to eight full time jobs for wind technicians. The construction phase will have an impact on area businesses due to added population. Both women pointed out Sundance will bring money to the area in the form of ad valorem taxes which will go to schools and the county. Several of the wind turbines will be located in the Alva school District.

The women also emphasized that their companies are generous to programs focusing on STEM education, veterans, emergency services and schools.

Personnel Changes

All members of the school board were present. The board approved renewing the contracts of three principals for next school year. They are Stephanie Marteney of Alva Middle School, Alysson Tucker of Longfellow Elementary and Shane Feely of Washington Elementary. High school principal Les Potter is retiring and Lincoln principal Madison Williams is resigning.

Alva High Spanish teacher Rose Stout is retiring after this school year.

Superintendent Tim Argo said Paul Hamilton has agreed to coach boys' track at the middle school. When sign up was held for track, Argo said Kaye Christensen had close to 100 students express interest. Due to the numbers, a second assistant has been added for the program. Henry Hornsby will be the boys' assistant coach and Baylei Hada will be the girls' assistant. Argo said that way they can have two adults on each of the two buses for the student athletes.

Strategic Plan

In the strategic plan update, Argo reported on the resources goal area. He has been in contact with the architect and construction manager. The drawing for the track has been delayed by a need for a topographical survey. That has been done now. He said that's the reason for the flags around the high school area.

They also met with Greg McClure who made suggestions about what he would like to see accomplished for the art room. Argo said he hopes to have drawings to show the board at next month's meeting.

Out of State Travel

Two requests were approved for out of state travel. The Alva FFA is approved to attend livestock judging contests April 3 in Fort Scott, Kansas, and April 21 in Hutchinson, Kansas. Electric Gold has been approved to travel to Texas April 8-11.

Dropout Report

On last year's state report card, Alva High School was marked down for not keeping track of the senior cohort members who did not graduate with their class. High School Principal Les Potter reported that he has updated the current students and there are no dropouts. All students entering high school in one year are considered a cohort. Schools are expected to track them until graduation and record why they might not have finished at the school.

Potter said he had tracked down all students who are no longer at the high school. This included six freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors and one senior. Generally they transferred to another school. Board member Karen Koehn commented it was probably easier tracking down rural school students than those in larger populations. Potter said Facebook had been a great help.

Contract Approved

The board approved a contract with Ignite Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab for physical therapy service for the remainder of the school year. This will replace the company that provided services earlier in the year.

Financials

Argo went through the financial reports, noting one report comparing revenue and expenses this school year with last year. He said they are about the same, although the school system has actually spent less this year.

Income from gross production (oil and gas) taxes continue to show a significant decrease this year; however, they were up for February.

Argo pointed out Alva Middle School made a payment to high school track for working concessions at middle school games.

He said the high school had $33,701 income from concessions at basketball and football games. After paying expenses and keeping some carryover for next year, about $16,000 was divided among the activity groups who worked the concession stand.

The superintendent noted some expenditures in general fund encumbrances. Merrifield Office Supply had an open invoice of $7,500 for district supplies. The school district contracted for physical therapy for a homebound student in the amount of $3,000. A payment of $4,976.92 was for football protective equipment like shoulder pads and helmets. An encumbrance for Peak Environment was for spraying the school lawns, which will probably occur during spring break.

 

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