ROGERSVILLE — It will cost Hawkins County Schools between $7,000 and $8,000 each school year to eliminate the annual $40 fee charged to teachers who keep refrigerators and/or microwaves in their classrooms.
The Hawkins County Board of Education voted 6-0 with one abstention on Nov. 7 to eliminate the $40 annual fee that teachers pay to place a small refrigerator and/or microwave oven in their classroom beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
The issue was on the agenda of the Nov. 18 BOE Buildings and Grounds Committee workshop meeting, however, to discuss establishing guidelines pertaining to fire marshal inspections and determining if a classroom has the wiring to handle appliances.
Board member Debbie Shedden, who abstained in the Nov. 7 vote, had also asked for a report on the economic impact of eliminating the fee.
Hawkins County Schools energy specialist George Larkins told the committee during the Nov. 18 workshop that there are currently 237 classroom refrigerators across the district ranging from 1.7 cubic feet to about 3.3 cubic feet.
Larkins said the average cost is $25-$26 per refrigerator per school year, which he said equates to an overall energy expenditure of $7,000 to $8,000 per year.
Larkins noted that there are also approximately 115 classroom microwaves, as well as 70 floor lamps with 4-6 bulbs. The cost for those items is minimal, Larkins added, because they’re not running all the time.
“If they ran all the time it would be an expense, but they’re just running a few seconds at a time.” Larkins added.
Larkins said the $7,000 to $8,000 annual refrigerator cost equals about 1 percent of the energy savings that county schools have seen since the system-wide energy savings campaign he is shepherding was launched.
“I believe our teachers are worth one percent,” said board member Bob Larkins.
As for establishing guidelines, the committee agreed that refrigerators would only be allowed in classrooms that have the electrical capabilities and proper outlets to carry the load.
It was agreed that fire marshal standards will be adhered to as requests for new refrigerators are considered.