By Deb Henton, Ed.D.
At North Branch Area Public Schools we are challenged daily to do more with less; a challenge we meet head on. Three years ago we embraced a solution to funding inequities that has proven to be highly successful: our partnership with Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE).
When we build budgets we have to look not just at what affect a decision will have for that budget year, but what affect it will have over many years.
Our decision to partner with SEE to reduce energy use in the school district has paid big dividends for the school district and the community that supports it through tax dollars.
We have been told that we have been a model district for the results we have achieved in such a short time. We are now at the end of the third year of the partnership and the school district has avoided energy costs totaling $369,385 in that time.
Of that, $128,304 were realized just in the last year. By the end of next year we will have avoided roughly a half-million dollars in energy savings in four years!
The savings figures for this year represent a 17 percent reduction in energy usage in our school district. That is a testament to every staff member and student who have embraced this program and made it work. Many, many people – sometimes even at a sacrifice to themselves – keep a watchful eye on energy usage here.
For instance around this office people know to turn off their lights when they leave their office, even for a short time, or watchdog Deb will turn it off for them.
Of course, the money saved relieves the budgetary burdens we face each year and that is a good thing for education and for the community.