OSAWATOMIE — The Osawatomie USD 367 school board has voted to delay payment of the district’s exorbitant February natural gas bill which covered charges for the prolonged, record cold snap that month.
Superintendent Justin Burchett told board members at their meeting Monday, April 12, the district received a $49,764.80 invoice for February from Symmetry Energy Solutions. The invoice, dated April 5, was due April 15. The district’s January bill was $10,999.09 by comparison.
Osawatomie USD 367 is a member of KJUMP, the Kansas Association of School Boards energy purchasing consortium. KJUMP retained legal counsel Jim Zakoura to assist the member districts deal with the elevated prices. Burchett said the recommendation to all KJUMP-member school districts was not to pay the bill at this time.
Since the board meeting, KASB stated Symmetry has agreed to a 30-day stay on bills to give KJUMP districts time to make decisions, Burchett said in a follow-up email Friday, April 15. He said the new due date is May 15.
Districts that pay in full by May 15 will receive a 5 percent discount on their bill, or districts can pay in full over the April 15 to September 15 time period, but without the 5 percent discount, Burchett said.
“Our Board of Education voted to join KASB’s legal action and will only pay the statutory maximum of $4.57 per MMBtu by May 15th while contesting the remaining balance of the bill,” Burchett said in the email. “Our (February) bill was calculated using a price per MMBtu of $17.87.”
In other business, the board approved the following:
- Land-lease agreement with the city of Osawatomie to cover the portion of the Flint Hills Trail that crosses district property behind Trojan Elementary.
- Senate Bill 40 hearing request document and named Burchett as the hearing officer.
- Parents as Teachers Memorandum of Understanding.
- Administrator and supervisor contracts for the 2021-2022 school year.