August 06, 2003 2 min read

Helping Hand

The coastal town of Lincolnville, Maine, needs a new K-8 school building. Barbara Tarantino, a retired teacher, wanted to help. As she didn’t have a lot of cash on hand, she decided to donate a parcel of land to help raise money for the cause.

Rather than simply post a “for sale” sign on the 2.3-acre lot, the town’s school committee decided to hold a raffle for the property. Tickets will be sold for $100 each this month, and the community hopes to raise $100,000. The lot, which is located in the town and is suitable for building a home, is valued at about $34,000.

As an extra incentive, MBNA Corp., a national credit card company that has offices in the state, has offered to match any money the community raises locally, up to $1 million, said school committee Chairman Edmund A. Hartt.

Mr. Hartt said he didn’t know how much the new school would cost, but said the raffle has generated a lot of interest. In addition to state funds, districts in Maine must raise about 30 percent of their school construction costs, he said.

The town’s only school building was shut down unexpectedly four years ago because of mold infestation. The district’s 200 students have attended classes at a temporary facility provided by MBNA.

Ms. Tarantino grew up in Lincolnville, and attended a one-room school. She donated the land in memory of her mother. “My mother taught in Lincolnville for about 40 years,” she said. “I’m not that rich, but I thought, ‘I do have some land,’ and this was something that was fairly easy to do.”

Power Costs

“Energy Efficient Schools: Policies and Opportunities” costs $15, plus $7 shipping, and can be ordered by calling (303) 364-7812.

Most school districts are not the most savvy consumers when it comes to energy use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a new report, the Denver-based group says that districts could save $1.5 billion annually if they upgraded major equipment, such as air-conditioning systems and cafeteria appliances, to more energy-efficient models. While such equipment would cost more than the average, it would save significant money over the long run, according to the report.

The report also offers other tips, such as asking the local utility company to reclassify school facilities into a new and less costly billing category. Such a shift would help save money during the summer, the most demanding time for energy needs, when most school facilities are not fully used.

Joetta L. Sack