School Districts Prepare for High Heating Costs
While most school districts budgeted for heating bills to go up this year, very few expected increases as high as 50%. Many school districts will use their reserves to make ends meet.
"If it is significant we would have to dip into our reserves or our savings account as folks at home would have to do," Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Lynn Barnett said.
Schools that use natural gas are trying to minimize the costs by bringing the temperature down at night. The Missouri School Boards' Association has been trying to help schools save money when purchasing natural gas since 1999.
"We went to the seven investor owned utilities and asked them if they would be interested in a cooperative program to benefit school districts through energy purchases. The utilities complied and through legislation enacted in 2002, House Bill 1402 enabled these experimental tariffs to be put in place, whereby school districts could benefit from the same savings opportunities and low energy costs that are usually only available to industrial and commercial customers," Associate Exec. Director of MSBA Jim Cherrington said.
School administrators say larger districts will feel the impact of natural gas price increases this winter, but small districts will be left out in the cold the most.