Source: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Aug 28, 2009 The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) has announced that $484,300 in grant funds have been awarded to develop homegrown biofuels through its Vermont Biofuels Initiative (VBI). The purpose of the VBI is to foster the development of a viable biomass-to-biofuels industry in Vermont that uses local resources to supply a portion of the state’s liquid fuel energy needs in an effort to help the state meet 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2025. The VBI is funded by a Congressionally Directed Award from the Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy through the U.S. Department of Energy, various private foundation sources, and the Vermont General Fund.The VSJF awarded $224,300 in strategically-directed funds, as well as an additional $260,000 from five competitive grant rounds designed to accelerate the development of Vermont’s biofuels production. Funds from the VBI are helping to support over $1million worth of on-going biofuels projects throughout the state.In total, Senator Leahy has secured $2.9 million over the course of three federal appropriations bills for biofuels research, development and demonstration projects in Vermont. The Senator announced the level of funding he has secured for the VSJF while touring the North Hardwick Dairy, a recent grantee, on Friday. Senator Leahy stated that “Vermont Sustainable Job Fund’s new Biofuels Initiative is forging a partnership with farmers across our state that will help identify the best matches among potential new energy sources, the resources on our farms, and the needs of our communities. This is the kind of practical help with the ways and means of production and of marketing that can open the doors to new markets and to greater value for farmers. This initiative fits squarely at the intersection of fuel security, economic development, agricultural diversification and self-reliance. It’s a good step here in Vermont, and it could also benefit other rural communities across the country.”The VSJF is providing farmers, entrepreneurs, and educators with opportunities to build markets for sustainable development through the Vermont Biofuels Initiative. “VSJF grants are supporting diversified, value-added operations, education and workforce training. The projects we fund will help Vermont’s dairy and other farms control fuel and feed costs by producing biodiesel and protein meal, and also create new sources of farm revenue and markets for local livestock feed, vegetable oil, and bio-based energy,” said Biofuels Director Netaka White.According to VSJF Executive Director Ellen Kahler, “the projects we are funding are representative of a unique agricultural model emerging in Vermont and the region. Unlike the large mid-west operations, the “New England model” of biofuel production is focused on rotational cropping of grains, grasses, cover crops and oilseeds for local consumption. VSJF is very grateful for the interest and support Senator Leahy has shown for community-scale biofuel production for local use.”The VSJF is also working with UVM Extension and the Biomass Energy Resource Center on a staff directed Grass Energy Research project and with the Vermont Center for Geographic Information to develop a Renewable EnergyAtlas for Vermont. Even greater levels of US DOE funding will be made available in 2010 through competitive grant rounds and staff directed projects, all aimed at developing a vibrant biofuels market, creating new economic opportunities for farmers and creating new green jobs in Vermont.The VSJF is a nonprofit organization formed by the State Legislature in 1995 to provide early stage grant funding and technical assistance to catalyze and accelerate the development of markets for sustainably produced goods and services. The VSJF currently focuses on biofuels development, sustainable forest products industry development, and the expansion of local food systems in Vermont.For more information on the Vermont Biofuels Initiative and available funding, visit www.vsjf.org(link is external).15 Biofuels Grant Awards Totaling $484,300 Announced Today Include:• Biofuels Feedstock Analysis for Oilseed Crop Research and Development,Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont & State Agriculture College / UVM Extension, Burlington, $67,000.• Biofuels Feedstock Analysis for Grass Energy Research and Development,Dr. Sid Bosworth, University of Vermont & State Agriculture College / UVM Extension, Burlington, $58,500.• On-Farm Oilseed Processing and Biodiesel Production, John Williamson,State Line Biofuels, Shaftsbury, $30,000. • Small-Scale Biodiesel Production Research Facility, Roger Rainville,Borderview Farm, Alburgh, $40,000. • Biomass-to-Biofuels Industry Network Development, Andrew Perchlik,Renewable Energy Vermont, Montpelier, $28,800.• Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Andrew Knafel, Clearbrook Farm,Shaftsbury, $20,000.• Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Jon Satz, Lilyquest Farm /Otter Creek Biofuels, Brandon, $20,000.• Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Larry Scott, Ekolott Farm,Newbury, $17,000.• Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Nicholas Meyer, North HardwickDairy, Hardwick, $13,000. • On-Farm Biodiesel Facility, William & Mark Mordasky, Rainbow ValleyBiodiesel, Brandon $65,000.• Biomass-to-Biofuels Course Development, University of Vermont andState Agricultural College, Burlington, $20,000.• Biomass-to-Biofuels Course Development, Vermont Technical College,Randolph, $20,000.• Algepower, Algae Production Techniques, Gail Busch, Montpelier,$20,000.• Carbon Harvest Energy, LLC, Algae Feedstock Research and Development,Williston, $20,000.• Bourne’s Energy, Biofuel Blending Project, Morrisville, $45,000.
Subject to ratification, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) and Broward Teachers Union (BTU) have reached contract agreements for three employee groups represented by the BTU.These employee groups include Education Professionals, including teachers, media specialists, social workers, and school counselors; Education Support Professionals – classroom assistants, teacher assistants and program assistants; and Technical Support Professionals, which mean miscellaneous positions across the District.Until the contracts are formally ratified by each of the three groups the agreements are being regarded as tentative agreements. However, a spokeswoman for the school district says there are no hindrances anticipated. When they are approved, the contract agreement will be retroactive to the beginning of the 2017/18 school year, or August, 2017.The contract agreements are the outcome of several months of good-faith negotiations by representatives of the BCPS and the BTU. A release from BCPS said the nature of the negotiations was deliberate to ensure every student receives the best possible education in a positive environment.Specifics of each of the three contracts are :Education ProfessionalsThe regarding the Education Professionals employee group reflects an investment by the District of $24.3 million for teacher compensation, including base salary increases and one-time payments. Salary increases vary depending on the applicable teacher salary schedule.Teachers on the Grandfathered Salary Schedule will receive increases ranging from 2.6 percent to 3.5 percent.Teachers on levels T and U are eligible for a $1,000, one-time bonus payment.Teachers on the pay for performance salary schedule will receive the following increases:Teachers rated Highly Effective in 2016/17 will receive a 3.51 percent increase.Teachers rated Effective in 2016/17 will receive a 2.6 percent increase.In addition, eligible teachers with 15 or more years of experience with the District will receive a one-time payment of $300, except for teachers on Levels S, T and U.Education Support ProfessionalsThe tentative contract agreement for Education Support Professionals includes salary increases ranging from 2 percent to 2.57 percent for eligible employees based on step placement.Technical Support ProfessionalsThe tentative contract agreement for Technical Support Professionals includes a 2.2 percent increase to the Salary Schedule for all employees. In reaction to the agreements reached BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said, “We would like to thank all of our employees for their patience and support during this process. Our School Board and District are committed to investing in our dedicated employees to ensure our students receive a high-quality education with the support and resources necessary to reach their highest potential.”Meanwhile BTU President Ana Fusco said, “BTU is very pleased to have come to an agreement with the District. This was a tough negotiation, but we feel we got the best deal based on what the Legislature allocated.”Upon successful ratification by each of the employee groups and the School Board, the District will seek to provide the agreed upon salary increases as soon as possible.