The “Round Up For Education” program is still going strong in its support of area schools. On Friday evening, October 11, at the Virgin Valley High School football game, a check was presented to VVHS staff for $1805.78 to be used in educational programs at the school. OPD5 representatives Keith Buchhalter and Omar Vallejo presented the check to VVHS Principal Riley Frei in a special ceremony held between the first and second quarter.

“Round Up For Education” started in 2014. The idea is that customers can voluntarily sign up to have their power bills rounded up to the nearest dollar. These small-change donations are meant to be relatively painless, with the average person/business that signs up paying an average of about 50 cents per month.

Participants who volunteer for the program can specify whether they want their donations to go to Virgin Valley High School programs or to Moapa Valley schools.

OPD5 spokesman Keith Buchhalter emphasized that the program is entirely voluntary. “None of the funds come from OPD5 electric rates or any other district funding,” Buchhalter said. “The funds only come out of your bill if you have volunteered to Round Up.”

In addition, OPD5 charges nothing for administering the Round Up program. “Every penny of those small-change donations goes directly to the schools at the end of each year,” Buchhalter said on Friday night. “That is what we are doing here tonight with this presentation.”

Buchhalter said that the Round Up program has gotten off to a good start over the past five years. But recently the program has flattened out in its growth, he said. “It has been pretty steady since it got started, which is good,” Buchhalter said. “But we feel like it has potential to be a lot bigger contributor to local education than it has been.”

Over the past couple of years, the funds donated to the program has declined just a bit. So Buchhalter said that he is trying to put a new focus on the program to encourage people to sign up and help the schools. “For the individual customer, it’s only a few pennies each month,” Buchhalter said. “But that spare change can really add up for the schools if enough people are involved. We just want it to add up to more.”

VVHS principal Riley Frei expressed gratitude to OPD5 for administering the program and to community members who opt to participate in it. “Having grown up in Overton, I have long admired the leadership and employees of OPD5,” Frei said. “A great many of them were my childhood heroes. As a current stakeholder in the community, I have only increased my appreciation of having a locally managed utility company because they display their investment in our kids every day. This kind of thing really is the beauty of living in the valleys where, all around us, people are helping people.”

OPD5 staff also presented a check at the Moapa Valley High School football game on Friday night. MVHS Athletic Director Dallas Larson accepted that check of $1440.08 from OPD5 General Manager Mendis Cooper.

Buchhalter said that the OPD5 board and staff are proud to be able to administer the Round Up program and hope that it continues to grow.

“Let’s face it, our schools need help,” Buchhalter added. “This program offers a convenient, simple and direct way for people to help fund our local schools.”

Signing up for Round Up For Education is simple. Those wishing to opt in can call the OPD5 offices in Mesquite at (702) 346-5710, or in Overton at (702) 397-2512, and simply ask to be signed up for Round Up For Education program.