One of the highly touted 5B District projects is to replace lighting in all schools with LED lights. However, the District has not said what the cost of this project is, merely lumping it into project costs at schools. The District has said that this project will provide annual savings of approximately $10M. Since normal expected payback for lighting projects similar to this is around 3 years, this would mean that the cost of installing this lighting would be in the range of $25-$30M, or 5% of the Bond ask. Is that calculation close?
What we don’t know is the life expectancy of these bulbs. While LED bulbs have a long lifetime, will they last the length of the 20 year payback period of the Bond, or will the District be paying the costs of multiple sets of bulbs toward the end of the payback period?
We don’t know the answers to these questions as Jason Glass and the District won’t answer them and most likely the bulbs will last far less than 20 years. (Unanswered JeffcoGenerations Facebook question)
One would think however, that if the project is financially sound, the District would be quick to highlight how they will be saving money that can be put directly into teacher salaries, books and more teachers. When you don’t hear those things, when there is complete silence on the complete costs and benefits of this project, taxpayers can only wonder whether the project is financially sound over the long term and what the real costs are.
Once again, Jason Glass and the District strike a blow to the “transparency” they so often claim to be one of their core principles.