Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek is concerned some people think the school district is poised to see a windfall from a proposed clean energy project in the county.
While the overall payout to schools from the Lincoln Land Wind project would be substantial, District 117 is projected to receive just $75,000 each year for the estimated 25-year lifespan. That’s actually the lowest amount among Morgan County schools districts.
Ptacek believes the confusion resulted from an advertisement by Apex Clean Energy in Wednesday’s Journal-Courier. He said he has received several calls from residents asking about the revenue.
“Since the ad, I’ve had individuals ask if we were going to be able to renovate another school,” Ptacek said. “I’ve had another ask if this would result in lower property taxes. Jacksonville just won’t see that much money from this.”
Franklin School District could see $1.6 million each year from the project, with Waverly and New Berlin districts receiving roughly $100,000 each.
The advertisement gave a total amount for school districts throughout the county.
“I wanted them to be clear about which schools would have the benefits,” Ptacek said.
Helen Humphreys, public affairs director for Apex Clean Energy, said the advertisement was a part of a series to promote the different impacts the project will have – including revenues for schools and roads, as well as new jobs and revenue being brought into the community.
“People care about the benefits the project will provide – job opportunities, revenue for schools,” she said.
While specific figures were not included in the advertisement, Humphreys said the project’s website address was provided. A detailed economic impact survey is available there.
“We’ve been sharing the economic impact analysis with everyone we can,” Humphreys said. “It’s on the website, we’ve given it to news outlets, it’s been talked about during our public forums.”
While she said Jacksonville will not be receiving as much as Franklin, the district will still be receiving revenue from the project.
“It is still $75,000 on average, every year, of extra revenue, tax dollars that can be used in any way,” Humphreys said. “People don’t see the dollar signs, they see computers, music lessons or AP courses. It’s still a good amount of money.”
Ptacek said the district doesn’t have a stance on the wind farm because the project has little impact on the district.
“The district will remain neutral and not get involved in the politics of the project,” he said. “All the politics and environmental discussions are for other groups.”
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