The members of the Marysville Exempted Village School District Board of Education couldn't decide which pieces of an energy-conservation proposal to pursue, so they opted not to pursue any.

The members of the Marysville Exempted Village School District Board of Education couldn't decide which pieces of an energy-conservation proposal to pursue, so they opted not to pursue any.

Approval of the project would have authorized the district to borrow money to pay for the installation of the energy-saving measures, but the short-term impact on the district's general fund and lack of short-term significant energy and cost savings of several aspects of the proposal were sticking points for some board members at a special meeting Friday.

At issue was $379,454 to install new HVAC controls at the "old" middle school building. After agreeing to pare about $220,000 from the original $922,856 proposal, board members could not reach agreement on the short-term versus long-term benefits of the middle school project.

The proposal was prepared to take advantage of Ohio House Bill 264, which allows school districts to borrow funds without having to pass a ballot issue for the purpose of making energy efficiency improvements and using the cost savings to pay for those improvements.

The program would have included changes in lighting for a number of district facilities, specific improvements at Northwood and Mill Valley elementary schools and the middle school project.

Of the middle school project, board member Doug Lassiter said the installation cost minus the energy savings negatively impacted the district's general fund.

"There are some good projects" in the proposal, Lassiter said, citing a number of projects that would begin paying for themselves right away, which, he said, "the middle school doesn't."

According to Samantha Schneider of Sabo/Limbach Energy Services, which prepared the proposal for the district, the plan doesn't begin saving at the middle school right away because it is currently unoccupied and therefore is not currently using much energy.

Superintendent Larry Zimmerman explained that savings would increase once the school is re-opened, something the district plans to do in two years. In the meantime, he said, there is other renovation work taking place, making this an ideal time to do the HVAC work as well.

"It seems to me pound-foolish," Zimmerman said. "It's money you're going to spend anyway on utilities."

Lassiter expressed concern that the savings wouldn't come soon enough to impact the operating levy the district expects to place on the ballot in 2011.

"But not in the next two years," Lassiter said. "I don't know what the district or the economy is going to look like in two years. Right now it has a negative impact on the general fund."

Board president Jeff Mabee made a motion to approve the proposal, minus the $220,000 but including the middle school. Mabee and board members Roy Fraker and John Freudenberg voted in favor, with Lassiter and board member Tracy Greer opposed. Needing four votes to pass, the motion was denied.

Lassiter replied with a motion to approve without the middle school.

"That would not be my recommendation," Zimmerman said.

Lassiter, Greer and Fraker voted in favor, with Freudenberg and Mabee opposed.

"I was willing to take something," Fraker said.

"We tried to bring a proposal consistent with what we've done in the past," Zimmerman said.

He said this would have been the fifth time the district had made use of the H.B. 264 funding mechanism.