$80,000 is latest transfer to keep Elementary School lights on

Feb 18, 2023

Rising electricity costs prompted the School Committee to transfer $80,000 to the Elementary School’s utilities account, the latest in a series of such transfers.

“It's been a perfect storm of not knowing what [energy] the new school is going to consume,” District Finance Director Kristin Flynn said during the School Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16.

The “spike” in electricity costs, as well as this being the school’s first full year of in-person use, made it difficult to pinpoint the exact price tag.

Flynn said the Middle and High Schools have not needed budget transfers but additional electrical systems at the Elementary School have made its energy bills higher.

“There are so many systems that are running constantly throughout the day to maintain the efficiency,” said Flynn. “Perhaps in an older building, that may not be occurring.”

Flynn believes that the utilities budgets for the Middle and High Schools will stay roughly the same.

The current utilities budget for the High School is $270,000, while that of the Middle School is $180,000.

This isn’t the first time that the Elementary School utilities account needed a transfer.

During the School Committee meeting on Oct. 6, 2022, Flynn said that the Elementary School’s utilities account only had $65 in it.

That August, the school had a $46,000 electricity bill due to the summer heat. The School Committee voted to transfer $70,000 to the account. 

Flynn hopes that the $80,000 should cover electricity costs until June.

Covering other costs, such as water bills, could require another transfer.

“There is a possibility that I could be coming back to [the School Committee] for more funds,” Flynn said.