The board voted Thursday to approve the company conducting an energy audit to determine the exact savings the district might expect versus what it spends now in all energy areas.
Johnson Controls spokeswoman Cheryl Aquadro estimated that the cost district-wide could be between $1.5 million and $2.1 million.
However, 25 percent of that cost - up to $750,000 - could be paid through energy savings grants offered by the Mississippi Development Authority. The Tennessee Valley Authority through ACE Power offers additional incentives beyond that, she said.
Financing for the other portion of the cost could be achieved through a 15-year lease purchase agreement which would be paid out of the funds that would have gone to pay the energy bills.
A split 3-2 vote of the board underlined the reservations of board members Carroll Morton and Randy Wilbanks, who each voted against the agreement. Gary Wren, Mary Catherine Coleman and Linda Brooks voted for the plan.
Johnson Controls will present its energy audit findings to the board, which then has the option of accepting the recommendations or not.
Among the improvements usually included in an energy revamp could be installing lighting upgrades; installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning system upgrades; implementing an energy management system; and implementing water conservation measures, among others.
School district HVAC supervisor Paul Joyner noted that about 25 percent of the district's systems probably need replacement now.
If the district implements a performance contract with the company - a guarantee of what savings the district would receive which must receive state approval - the district may use any or all of the energy savings strategies suggested.
A fee of $43,000 charged by Johnson Controls, as well as its ongoing contractor role with the school district, would be paid out of the overall financing for the project. If the district does not pursue a performance contract, it would be obligated to pay the $43,000 fee.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.