Members of the Jay Public School Board of Education took a step during the August board meeting which may save the district a considerable amount of funds in the coming years.

On Thursday, Aug. 10, board members voted unanimously to approve a plan by Oklahoma LED to replace all of the district's current lights with LED bulbs.

The conversion, which includes a potential rebate of $32,265 from Public Service of Oklahoma, could save the school up to $28,875 per year, or a total of $321,015, according to Josef Schrader, president of Oklahoma LED.

Schrader walked the board members, and Jay Superintendent Kenneth Bridges, through the study his staff conducted on all of the lights, sans the baseball field, within the district.

He gave the district two options for payment, a cash based payment, which would cost the district $125,211, and a lease purchase payment, which would bring the total to $153,756, depending upon the interest rate from the prospective lender.

Schrader's packet included lease purchase rates from Government Capital Corporation, based in Southlake, Texas. 

Bridges said district officials would seek lease purchase proposals from local lenders, as they move forward with the purchase.

Schrader said he anticipates district officials will see a 63 percent savings in electrical costs, based on the conversion. He called the lease purchase payments the "secret sauce" and said school officials could use the savings each month to make the needed payments.

Schrader said his company did a similar conversion for the Colcord School District. Board President David Holcomb said he discussed the issue with Colcord Superintendent Bud Simmons, adding Simmons was pleased with the results.

Holcomb and the other board members quizzed Schrader for a period of time, asking him about the various aspects of the proposal.

"We're in a budget crunch," Holcomb said. "If we do this, we have to answer to our people."

Schrader said out of the 50 schools Oklahoma LED has worked with, the lowest savings return a school encountered was 60 percent. Most receive a 73 percent savings. 

"I know in my heart this is a win win," Schrader said. "LED lights are a miracle of modern technology."

Bridges said the savings the district will see, made converting to LED lighting a "no brainer."

He said the district will pursue a lease payment option, and pay for the lighting out of the rebate and savings. 

Bond issue

Board members also quizzed J.T. Boynton with Boynton, Williams & Associates, about the delays with the bond construction projects.

Boynton said other than the main parking lot, and the agricultural education building, most projects were to be completed by the time school began on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Boynton said some finishing touches may need to take place, but for the most part the $4.4 million project is wrapping up.

He told board members the construction crews benefited from the additional seven days of work, which became available when the first day of school was pushed back a week.

He said the school parking lot should be completed in early September and the district's ag building by Halloween.

Bridges said weather-related factors, as well as some additional issues, caused the delay in construction.

Some issues were related to the compaction testing done connected to the parking lot. While construction officials with the subcontractor, Hoey Construction based in Tulsa, said the lot may be finished by Aug. 25, Bridges hopes it will be ready for traffic after the Labor Day holiday.

Until then, Bridges said, district patrons will utilize the drop off and pick up procedures put in place at the end of the 2016-17 school year.