School system looks for outside aid in cutting costs

Nomaan Merchant

Administrators for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 discussed forming a long-term plan for cutting energy costs in school buildings Tuesday during a Finance Committee meeting.

The district recently hired an outside energy consulting firm, Grumman/Butkus Associates, to analyze a proposal made by ARAMARK that would reduce the district’s current energy costs by an estimated 10 percent within three to four years.

A representative for Grumman/Butkus, George Freeman, said the firm’s analysis “indicates that the District’s buildings are operating very well,” and no major equipment needs immediate replacement.

But committee members expressed skepticism that outsourcing work to ARAMARK was necessary.

“Do we have the capacity to be a performance contractor on our own?” Interim Chief Financial Officer Lutaf Dhanidina said.

Kathy Zalewski, the district’s comptroller, also presented the District’s revenue and expenditures statement for the current fiscal year.

The District is currently on track with its original projections with the exception of its capital outlay fund, which paid for many purchases for the entire fiscal year early on.

The committee also recommended the Board of Education approve the district’s budget calendar for the upcoming fiscal year.

-Nomaan Merchant