At Monday evening’s Herscher CUSD2 meeting, the board declared district owned items as surplus, approved payment for coaching the Powerlifting Team, and approved a list of meetings for the 2023-2024 school year.

In addition, the board considered a proposal for solar energy arrays on the farmland owned by the district.

Rachel McLaughlin, Marketing VP for Forefront Power, a solar power company, presented the details for the Herscher District to use 27 acres of their farmland as a community power location. The deadline to take advantage of the government incentives is May 31.

According to Forefront, with community solar, homeowners and renters don’t need to install solar on their own properties. Instead, they can enroll in their local community solar program, at no upfront cost, to immediately reduce their utility bills.

ForeFront Power will pay the District to lease the land for the community Solar. The District also has an off-take agreement with ForeFront Power in which it will purchase 10% of the power produced by the array at a 10% discount, yielding $274,000 in electricity savings over 20 years.

An on-site solar energy portfolio will be developed for the District at four facilities: Bonfield Grade School, Herscher High School Bus Depot, Limestone Middle School Bus Depot, and Limestone Middle School which are proposed to offset 47% of the electricity used.

Under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Herscher  CUSD, ForeFront Power will develop, own, and maintain the District’s solar energy portfolio.

ForeFront Power will charge the District a fixed, below-market rate for electricity, which will be locked in for the 20-year duration of the PPA agreement. ForeFront Power will continue to operate and maintain the system at no cost to the District.

Additionally, operating solar systems also help engage students in new STEM learning opportunities with included curriculum offerings that bring solar into the classroom. These educational resources provide students with hands-on materials to experiment with solar power and understand how solar projects operate.

Combined, the Community Solar Project plus the District's own Solar Energy Portfolio will yield savings of $5.2 million in 20 years, or $6 million in 30 years.

After the presentation, the board agreed to move forward with the letter of intent for the solar power project, but did not commit to the project yet.

Also, the board approved the joining of (18 other) Illinois School Districts’ grant application for the purchase/installation of a micro-grid on the Herscher Complex for backup energy storage.

Regarding personnel, the board approved resignations from Jeremy Heck – HHS Asst. Principal, Cathy Damptz – BGS Parapro, Beth Stillwell – LMS Parapro, and Steven Wilcox – BGS Head Custodian.

 The following were hired: Andrea Riordan – LMS ELA 23-24SY, Scot Boudreau – LMS Parapro, and Kyle Brazeau – Maintenance.

 Mike Mosier – HHS JV Girls Softball, Pete (Skip) Grigas – HHS JV Girls Softball-volunteer, and Austin Headrick – HHS Baseball-volunteer were appointed for extra-curriculars.