Last updated: June 01. 2013 6:56AM - 532 Views
Whitney Weaver
Staff Writer

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With a full agenda, the annex of the Ashe County Schools Central office was standing room only when the monthly Board of Education meeting began on Monday, Oct. 1.

Highlights of the meeting included a proposal by Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation for propane-injected fuel assist mechanism for an activity bus, the recognition of Ashe County Middle School teacher Thelma Kastl as North Carolina’s first WindSenator teacher, and a presentation by Kastl’s students on Project Lead the Way and the Technology Student Association.

Blue Ridge Energies Chief Operating Officer Glenda Christian and Ashe County Schools Director of Transportation Shea Coldiron proposed a partnership between the two entities for outfitting an activity bus with a propane-injected diesel economizer kit. Christian said that BREMCO was “so confident in this technology” that they are offering the kit and propane tank to the county for a free trial.

The board approved a one-year trial of the propane conversion kit with Christian’s assurance that it was a “no risk” trial that is completely reversible if the board is not pleased with the results. The kit and tank are valued at around $3500.

Christian said benefits of the new system would include increased service intervals, reduced emissions, increased horsepower and annual fuel savings of around $1500 per vehicle.

BREMCO and a representative from the kit supplier, Rutherford Equipment will meet with Coldiron to perform an initial assessment to select an appropriate kit and tank for the bus.

“This is something I’m personally interested in,” said Coldiron. He will be tracking the fuel efficiency of the bus with the propane conversion kit and comparing the statistics with data collected from diesel-only buses.

After recognizing Kastl for becoming a WindSenator teacher, the board heard Kastl’s update on the Project Lead the Way grant provided by the Golden Leaf Foundation. This grant helped support programs that foster students’ interest in science, technology and engineering. Three of Kastl’s students gave presentations demonstrating the positive effects that the Technology Student Association, PLTW programs, and technology classes have had on their lives.

Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, Chairman Charlie King, and other board members Polly Jones, Dr. Lee Beckworth, C.B. Jones, and Terry Williams were in attendance. In addition to the aforementioned items, the board also:

• Recognized Oct. Employee of the Month: Dean Rupard, custodian at Blue Ridge Elementary

• Approved early graduation for three ACHS students: Dylan Micael Lewis, Logan Ashleigh Reinhart and Jesslyn Brooke Roark

• Approved an overnight trip for ACHS and ACMS chorus students to attend the Gardner-Webb Choral Clinic and the Dollywood Music Festival in the Park

• Approved a Memorandum of Agreement between Ashe Outreach Ministries and the Board of Education outlining terms of use of the kitchen at the West Jefferson site

• Approved personnel recommendations

• Approved a cash management plan and budget resolution for Ashe County

• Continued discussion of Policy 6125 Administering Medicines to Students

• Discussed State Board Chairman Bill Harrison’s visit to three Ashe County Schools

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