August 10, 2017

Ontario schools to enter mediation over turbine issue

Courtney McNaull, Reporter | Mansfield News Journal | Aug. 9, 2017 |

ONTARIO – Ontario Local Schools board of education will enter into mediation with Rock Road Wind to resolve a dispute over the company’s wind turbine at Stingel Elementary.

“It’s been broken for nearly a year, and we want to get it resolved that that thing gets fixed,” board of education president Sam VanCura said. “According to the contract, it’s not our liability to fix it.”

After a conversation with the board’s attorney in executive session, the board voted 4-0 Tuesday to enter into mediation. Board member Brett Baxter was absent from the meeting.

“We feel mediation is a good step forward before exhausting other remedies,” VanCura said, adding that the board’s attorney will contact the other party to schedule mediation.

The turbine has sat idle since November 2016, when its transformer stopped working.

In April, the school board refused to approve a contract amendment proposed by Rock Road Wind under which the energy company would agree to replace the faulty transformer and the district would agree to keep buying power from Rock Road Wind for six more years after the current contract expires.

At the time, school district officials argued the energy company defaulted on the contract and demanded the company uphold the current contract by fixing the turbine without the assurance of a contract extension.

The turbine still has not been fixed, prompting the district to move forward with plans to remedy the situation.

“We’re going to try to see if there can be a way it works out so that we can both live with what has been agreed upon,” board vice president Tom Beck said Tuesday.

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