CISD approves budget, hires energy firm

Commerce – The Commerce ISD Monday approved its budget for the upcoming school year, plus took steps toward hiring a firm that will help save the district millions for years to come.

The current tax rate of $1.04 per $100 valuation will not change and no additional taxes will be imposed on citizens. The district does, however, face a budget deficit of over $313,000; which will be paid for through its fund balance (savings account).

The other major money item is a pending agreement with Energy Education, a firm that will act as a consultant for the district in saving on utility fees. Approval of the four-year contract at $94,000 is pending review from the district's attorney, with a savings valued at $2.3 million over the next 10 years.

If approved, Energy Education would help the district hire and train an individual to locate and apply energy savings measures to any area possible. Those measures could be as simple as turning off lights and shutting down computers to adjusting room temperatures on a frequent basis.

The company has been in existence for the past 24 years, with over 1,000 clients in 48 states. In their history, only seven times has a client failed to save money on its energy costs from the previous year. If a client were to lose money while participating in the program, Energy Education would pay the difference.

The district would not need to pay the cost up front, but will pay Energy Education from the savings incurred by the program.

Commerce ISD Superintendent Blake Cooper said during Monday's meeting that according to Energy Education, CISD had one of the highest energy outputs/student that the company had seen in any of its clients.

The agreement is thought to alleviate those costs, providing the district with more money for other items. At the end of the four-year contract, Energy Education will stay on board as a consultant, but would not longer receive payment.