High Schools Go Green to Save Some Green

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, June 7, 2012

Schools may be closed for summer vacation, but they aren't getting a break from funding cuts. In fact, lawmakers in many state capitals aren't arguing over whether to trim education funding, but how much to cut.

Illinois, for instance, cut $161 million in state aid for schools in a 2012-2013 budget approved last week. Oregon's Beaverton School District cut 344 jobs, eliminated elementary school art and technology teachers, and either cut off or decreased funding for several other programs this week in order to compensate for reduced state funding.

For high schools struggling to fill holes in their budgets, investing in energy efficiency may be the least of their concerns. But it should be near the top of their priorities, says Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools, part of the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit group.

"This is something you can't afford not to do," Gutter says. "A green school … is actually one of the only opportunities, in a moment when budgets are already stretched so thin, to be able to unearth funds that are available for the taking."

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