McPherson USD 418 announced the district has avoided $1 million in energy costs during the last eight years.

McPherson USD 418 announced the district has avoided $1 million in energy costs during the last eight years.

Evan Stout, district energy manager, was brought to the district eight years ago to begin an energy saving program. After the four-year contract was up, the board voted to continue the program.

“By avoiding $1 million in energy costs, we’re able to put that to much better use,” Associate Superintendent Chris Ruder said. “We’re much more excited to spend it on people, such as teachers and students, than spend it on the cost of electricity and gas.”

Stout spoke during Monday’s board of education meeting about how district employees have worked to avoid water, sewer, electric and gas costs as much as possible. For example, heating and air conditioning are turned down during hours when school isn’t in session. Faculty and staff also work to turn off lights and avoid using appliances, such as personal refrigerators.

“It’s just a whole bunch of common sense, and apply it, and that’s what made the program a success,” Stout said.

Stout said the accomplishment was made possible through a number of individuals. This includes former Director of Operations Ward Nippert, former Superintendent Bob Shannon, several Board of Education members, and current McPherson High School Head Custodian Ron Holm.

Ruder said the district plans to continue the energy avoidance program for many more years.

In other news:

The board discussed the Innovative District Bill that was recently passed at the state level. Conversation surrounded the positive and negative aspects of becoming an innovative district. The topic was for discussion only. An official decision will be made some time in June.The board approved the motion to seek applicants (first within the district, then outside) for an additional College and Career Advocate at McPherson High School, as well as an additional secretary for the advocates.Chris Ruder, associate superintendent, briefed the board on the selling of bonds to fund the recent bond issue project. The sale was locked in at an interest rate of 3.2 percent. This is more favorable than the 4.25 percent originally estimated, which will help maintain a consistent district mil levy from year to year during the bond’s 20-year lifetime.The board accepted changes to the Curriculum Coordinating Council budget and curriculum for 2013- 2014. The $36,200 budget, which is an increase compared to previous years, includes funds for AP government textbooks and moves to Common Core Standards. New curriculum includes an online health class for MHS students and a golf course for elementary students.The board approved bids for roofs from Wray Roofing. At Washington Elementary School, the bid was $28,449. At McPherson High School, the bid was $730,214. Both were under budget. The work is to be completed this summer as part of the bond projects.The board approved the request from Sheldon Anderson, director of operations, to seek bids to refurbish the gymnasium floor at ParkWarehouse. The floor could then be used for seventh-grade athletics. Funds will come from the capital outlay budget.The board accepted two gifts. The first was $50 worth of gloves and hats from Dillons to Eisenhower Elementary School. The second was $2,237.05 from Sunflower Bank’s ABC Grant, which will be used for the retired teacher’s luncheon and the Teacher of the Year Award.Contact Jenae Pauls at and follow her on Twitter@PaulsSentinel