Sunday, February 25, 2024
Lake Chelan School District

Chelan School Board discusses minor water damage, celebrates savings initiatives

Levy ballots in the mail


CHELAN – The bitter cold snap that recently passed through the region almost spared Chelan High School – almost.

In a report delivered to the Jan. 22 bi-monthly meeting of the Lake Chelan School Board, Maintenance and Operations Director Rosey Burkhard said a burst sprinkler pipe caused by an HVAC unit outage resulted in some water damage isolated to classroom 163.

“We were hoping that with the moving of some tiles to create some airflow, we would be able to get by until a part was replaced,” Burkhard said.

The damage was contained to a single classroom. Subsequent tests for the presence of water in the walls showed that no moisture spread to other rooms. Burkhard said there was no structural damage, the dryout was complete, and the classroom was ready for occupancy.

The water system is back on and charged except for the small portion damaged by the break. Burkhard said she opened an insurance claim due to the difficulty getting the specialized sprinkler system replacement parts. Repairs will involve several adjacent rooms, and will have to wait for an attendance break to avoid class disruptions.

New lighting cuts costs

Burkhard said a changeover to more energy-efficient lighting with the help of Chelan PUD is paying off.

“It is a very generous and appreciated program sponsored by the PUD,” Burkhard told the Mirror later. “They have been great to work with on this project, and they have allowed us the time to do the installs, which saves money for the district when we use our own people. It might take longer, but it doesn't mean additional costs.”

Burkhard said that the estimated annual utility savings will be $2,864 after one year, which exceeds the $2,481 spent on the entire project. 

“Unfortunately, not all counties had this opportunity, so I'm glad we were able to take advantage of this,” Burkhard said.  


Garbage Can Cost Saving Initiative

One would not think a small thing like garbage bags could result in significant savings, but the numbers tell a different story. 

When Burkhard asked her custodial crew to look for additional savings ideas, they came up with what they call the Garbage Can Cost Saving Initiative.

The custodians noticed that multiple garbage cans in a room were only partially filled. The suggestion to remove one can from each of the 34 elementary classrooms had surprising results. 

“It costs a little more than $4,000 just to buy the bags,” said Burkhard. “By removing just one can saved $2,000 and that is just classrooms in one of our buildings. That does not include common spaces. It does not include offices.”

The elementary school was selected as a pilot project for the garbage savings so that strategy should produce equivalent results in other buildings,

Burkhard said she was also able to sell about $18k worth of surplus items on the GovDeals auction site.

OPMA/Public Records training 

Dr. Michelle Price, Superintendent of the North Central Educational Services District, addressed the board about the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and public records training.

The board is required to hold training on both topics within 90 days of adding any new board members. At its Dec. 9 meeting, the board swore in new members Barb Polley, District 2, Kim Thorpe, District 4, and Christy Nielsen, Position 5 (At Large).

Levy ballots mailed

Superintendent Brad Wilson reminded the board that ballots for the 2024 Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy and the Capital Technology Replacement Levy went into the mail to voters on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Ballots are due by Feb. 13.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here