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Shawnee School Approves Proposal For A Brighter Future


November 5, 2020

The Shawnee Board of Education has approved a project which will literally make the future of Shawnee schools brighter.

After listening to a proposal from Josef A. Schrader, President and CEO of Oklahoma LED, during the meeting on Nov. 2, the board voted to replace all the fluorescent and incandescent bulbs and ballasts in every Shawnee school, as well as the Administration Building, with LED bulbs. The project will not include the lights on the ball fields.

Oklahoma LED recently conducted an inventory of bulbs in the school district, and Schrader said by replacing those bulbs with LED, the lower wattage will pay for itself.

"I will tell you this, it all begins with a 65 watt light bulb that burns 65 watts. ... When I convert the 65 watts to gigawatt hours when you pay your bill, I can tell you exactly how much it costs," said Schrader. "When we replace that with a nine watt LED light bulb, I've just dropped your power by 86% ... This project, as proposed, will not cost Shawnee Public Schools one new budgeted dollar. The savings will pay every dollar of your lease purchase."

The board also approved a lease purchase contract with Vision Bank, in Shawnee, for the amount of $759,286.25 to pay for the project.

"During the lease purchase, the savings cover 100% of the payment," Schrader said. "After the lease purchase, if it's on a five year lease purchase, the school district saves north of $10,000 every single month."

Brent Houston, Assistant Superintendent and chief financial officer, said the idea for the project came from listening to other superintendents, followed by calling schools who had undergone the transition, including Tecumseh, Choctaw, and Yukon.

"They had a positive experience all the way around," said Houston. "We're spending almost $14,000 (per month) just on lights ... Our lease payment will be just a little bit under that."

Houston estimates that the LED lighting will be installed by April or May of 2021.

Also during the meeting, Superintendent Dr. April Grace reported that the Shawnee football game on Nov. 6 will include makeup senior recognitions before the game at 6:30 pm, and Hall of Fame honorees at halftime. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg high school essay contest, sponsored by Shawnee artist LeAnne Henry Wright, was won by Shawnee junior Destin Rogers. The State Cross Country meet was rescheduled for Nov. 4 at Edmond Santa Fe, with three high school students qualifying, Andrew Shepard, Michael Pearne, and Kailey Henry. Finally, Shawnee has been invited to the Jenks All-State Preview Meet on Nov. 7 for the first time. The meet includes the top six 6A swim teams in the state.

Board president Larry Walker said he was impressed with how Shawnee athletes are playing against much larger schools and holding their own.

Speaking about the state championship quarterfinal fast-pitch softball game with Owasso, Walker said, "They're picking from probably 50 girls to play, and we're trying to field a team. So, I'm really proud of those achievements. They're a 6A big school, one of the biggest ones in the state. I think we do that in other disciplines as well."

Houston reported on the 2020-2021 fiscal year Estimate of Needs/Budget, which was approved last month and went before the county excise board.

"There's a slight increase to all the three major funds - the general fund, the building fund, and the child nutrition fund - over last year," said Houston. "It's very slight, but it is an increase."

Houston later clarified that the increase in approved appropriations was $1,753,905.35, which equals a 4.9% increase.

All consent docket items were approved unanimously. A proclamation declaring Nov. 16-20 as American Education Week was also approved. Personnel items were approved as written, as well, without an executive session.


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