Sunburst, MT— Today, wind farm owner NaturEner donated $50,000 to help Sunburst Schools keep their current level of teaching staff for the upcoming school year.
“It’s important to our company that we continue to invest in this community. From the first day we decided to build here, the town of Sunburst has embraced us and has become family to us,” José María Sánchez Seara, NaturEner President and CEO said. “Our employees live here, they send their kids to school here, and it’s become part of our corporate mission to give back through service days and direct donations.”
Sunburst School District is in a financial position that has forced them to consider reducing teaching positions this year based on budget constraints. The donation from NaturEner will fully fund the salary and benefits of one non-tenured teaching staff for the 2017-2018 school year.
“In a town this size, budget shortfalls are sorely felt by every one in the community. In one way or another we all feel it, which makes it even harder to potentially lose good educators based on forces outside of our control,” Sunburst Superintendent Barbachano said.
Because of state statute, a reduction in force requires the district to consider non-tenured teaching staff first for the reduction. The district had six non-tenured teaching staff.
“Our non-tenured teaching staff are the youngest and brightest of our talented teaching force and this is particularly painful for both our school and larger communities,” Barbachano said. “These are the teachers that will be educating our students for the next several generations.”
Sunburst School District serves 165 students between two schools, an elementary school that teaches kindergarten through 6th grade and a middle/high school that teaches 7th through 12th grade. The district employs 21 full-time teachers. “Teachers have an enormous impact on the lives of our children, who they become and what they are passionate about. We are thankful Superintendent Barbachano partnered with us to help keep this teaching position,” Candace Saffery Neufeld, NaturEner COO said. “An investment in our teachers is a direct investment in our future.”
NaturEner is currently working with Sunburst school officials on another project that will be announced later this spring. The company hopes to partner with Shelby and Cut Bank schools to plan similar donations.
About the Company:
NaturEner USA owns and operates 399 MW of wind assets in Montana. NaturEner manages and integrates the production from its Glacier Wind and Rim Rock projects through its wind-only Balancing Authorities, PowerWatch and WindWatch, operated from NaturEner’s Operations Center (NOC), a fully enabled 24/7 facility.
NaturEner is one of the largest employers in the region, providing over 60 full time jobs to support operating activities with a mix of employees and long term contractors.