Grambo picked to head Harford school board

Members of the Harford County Board of Education unanimously elected Rick Grambo board president during their meeting in Bel Air Monday night.

Grambo, who has been serving as interim president since the sudden death of Dr. Leonard Wheeler last month, had been the board's vice president. Nancy Reynolds was elected to that position Monday.

Both Grambo and Reynolds will serve the remainder of the officer terms, until the end of the current school year next June.

Grambo and Reynolds the only members nominated for the post. Like Grambo, Reynolds was elected unanimously.

Reynolds thanked her fellow board member for their confidence in her and vowed to "continue to support and continue to focus on quality education for all out students."

Each board member offered his or her congratulations to the new president and vice president.

Grambo thanked the board for "all the kind words of encouragement" and said he is "confident this board is coming together and will work hard" to earn the trust of the people who depend on them most.

Dr. Wheeler's vacant seat on the 11-member board will be filled by the governor.

Energy improvements

In other action Monday, the school board approved a multi-year contract of $16,069,958 with Johnson Controls Inc. for the third phase installation of energy initiatives in school buildings.

"In an effort to reduce energy consumption, reduce utility costs, improve indoor air quality and realize capital improvements, the facilities management department has formulated a plan to reduce energy consumption and also improve the learning and teaching environment in [27] schools," a report on the decision reads.

Four high schools, seven middle schools and 15 elementary schools were identified for the project that will include improvements such as interior lighting retrofits, attic and crawl space insulation and HVAC system upgrades.

The contract is for 15 years and will have an interest rate of 2.75 percent.

According to school documents, there will be an estimated construction savings of $628,451 and BGE rebates are estimated at $1,193,081.

Patti Jo Beard, director of facilities management, said the first two phases of energy improvements at various schools reduced energy and various emissions produced by the schools.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Cornell Brown noted that during phase one, it was estimated that HCPS would save more than $4 million over 10 years in energy savings and rebates. After an energy performance audit, it was determined that more than $6.8 million was saved over the same time period.

Those savings, Brown said, was used to pay back the financing for the project, as well as redirected toward other initiatives.

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