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New rate structure would slash soaring utility bills; half-mile Husky Fun Run ahead

Administrators at Hynes Charter School are working through the Orleans Parish School Board and Entergy to reduce soaring utility bills.

The Entergy bill for each of the past two months topped  $25,000 – $12,000 more than the school had budgeted monthly. Principal Michelle Douglas said the bills reflect an erroneously high rate structure.

Under the City Council’s contrat with the utility company,  public schools – but not charter schools, such as Hynes – are eligible for a reduced municipal rate structure. Charter schools are billed at a much higher rate and have to work directly with utility companies to reduce it.

“I have contacted several schools which have had issues with high utility bills and we are currently working to address this problem,” Douglas said. “Everyone at OPSB and Entergy has taken this issue to heart and have been very helpful with the process.”

On the advice of Ken Ducote, the school’s  facilities manager, Hynes has negotiated a five-year contract  under which Entergy will bill the school at the rate reserved for large commercial structures – a rate even lower than the City Council’s municipal rate.

Hynes expects to pay $12,000 to $15,000 per month under the new rate.

The board will decide whether to accept the contract after it is reviewed by member Alvin Meister, an attorney.

Another issue on the agenda was an update on the upcoming Husky Fun Run, sponsored by the school’s parent-teacher organization. Douglas said the fundraiser, a half-mile run around the Hynes campus, will help pay for continuing construction of an outdoor play area. The event takes place on April 21, a Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In other business, the board went into executive session to review  applications to replace board members Todd Schexnayder, the board president, and Elizabeth Sigler, secretary. Both leave their post at the end of the school year.

The board is expected to announce the new members at the next board meeting, April 23.

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