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The Silver Creek School District needs more classroom space, but can it be funded without a tax increase?

That question was addressed Wednesday by Superintendent James Mills.

In a report to the School Board, Mills outlined a strategy to use a performance contracting plan for energy conservation as a way to offset the cost of a capital project to add classroom space.

The plan, permitted by the State Research and Development Authority, would allow the district to hire a contractor with no bidding process or voter approval, Mills said. The program also provides a guarantee from the contractor that the district would realize energy cost savings.

A maintenance agreement with the contractor would offer the district free replacement on "everything from light bulbs to boilers," said Mills.

If the combination of energy savings and state building aid are enough to neutralize the local share of a capital project, it would represent no tax increase.

Mills said he would not consider performance contracting for a capital project unless the cost appears neutral.

Two contractors are expected to meet with the School Board next Wednesday to discuss the matter.

The board also:

Hired Transportation Advisory Services for a study of the efficiency of the district's school bus operation.

Hired Julius Kiss as a Native American tutor at a cost of $13 per hour for up to 20 hours per week.

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