Snowline Joint Unified School District Taps Energy Efficiency to Bridge the Budge Gap

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The Snowline Joint Unified School District (USD), California, received $365,000 in approved funding as part of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) through Proposition 39, which allows for much needed lighting upgrades and other building improvements with Schneider Electric.

“We have always been very proactive in regards to energy conservation for our district,” said Karen Winkler, assistant superintendent of business for Snowline Joint USD. “From our solar initiative to partnering with Schneider Electric to plan and implement our Prop 39 strategy, incorporating energy efficient measures significantly cuts our energy costs every year — enabling us to direct more funds towards programs for our students.”

“Our Prop 39 allocation is allowing us to address a project I have wanted to accomplish for years, but never had the funding for. Without this funding, this project wouldn’t be a reality,” added Mike Schene, director of maintenance and operations. “A school that is dedicated to conserving resources also creates a healthy, comfortable and productive learning environment for the students. I see it every day.”

Snowline Joint USD has made great advances in incorporating energy efficiency measures and securing its Proposition 39 allocation, but more funding is needed to help the district modernize classrooms, upgrade technology, and improve safety and security. In early August the school board voted to take a $60 million bond election to the ballot in November. The district has carefully analyzed, with citizen input, what the district needs to get done, what the students require, and how much it can afford, says Winkler. “Our goal is to provide a 21st century learning environment for our kids — and without a bond, this effort will not be possible.”

Snowline Joint USD consists of 11 schools and Snowline Virtual School located within San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. The district’s allocation of state funds was significantly reduced during the recession, leading to a greater need for construction funds. Education leaders are experiencing cuts on a national level as demonstrated in a recent report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Research shows at least 35 states are providing less funding per student for the 2013-14 school years than they did before the recession hit.

“It’s our mission to help school districts, large and small, use energy efficiency and smart funding options to get the job done,” said Jordan Lerner, regional director of Schneider Electric. “Snowline USD is deeply committed to the success of every student. It’s important for communities to rally around public schools like Snowline USD at this time to support classroom priorities that build the foundation for student success.”

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