The funding is from Measure Q bond money set aside for green school initiatives. Sacramento voters approved measure Q in November. Projects funded are expected to save the district money on energy costs and supplies.
“Our Project Green is a one-of-a-kind project nationwide,” says SCUSD’s Center for Green Schools Fellow Farah McDill. “When I tell people that Sacramento City Unified is allowing students to make decisions about capital improvements to green their school they are amazed. This is truly a unique venture and one that these students will gain from now and for the rest of their lives.”
Farah McDill is one of only two USGBC Center for Green Schools Fellows in the country. She is here at the Sacramento City Unified School District and the other Fellow is at a Boston area school district. Both districts were chosen through grant applications and placed under a 3-year grant from the USGBC that started in 2011.
Project Green was a program started by Farah and the school district last year. This is the only program of its kind in the country: The difference between this student team competition and others is that the sustainability measures recommended by the students for their school are actually funded through a bond measure and become a reality, either wholly or in part, depending on how the funding matches each project recommendation.
SCUSD’s groundbreaking Project Green adds a real-world application to classroom instruction about the environment and sustainable living. Schools across the district were encouraged to form student green teams to conduct green audits of school facilities. With the help of teachers, parents, district staff and local professionals, the teams then drafted recommendations for green improvements ranging from improving lighting to installing water-wise plumbing fixtures.
Students presented their recommendations to a panel of experts representing local non-profits that focus on creating healthy sustainable learning environments. The panel judged the exhibits, using scoring rubrics. Patty Karapinar represented the USGBC-NCC Green Schools Advocacy Committee as a panel judge.
The team from C.K. McClatchy High School scored the highest for its presentation and report, which included a rationale for upgrading campus bathrooms with low-flow toilets, motion sensor fixtures and hand dryers. The judging panel made recommendations to allocate up to $150,000 for these projects.
In all, the 12 presentations were allocated $1 million in bond funding. Other allocations to potential projects were as follows:
- Crocker/Riverside Elementary – up to $120,000 (solar tubes and reflective paint)
- Fern Bacon Middle School – up to $120,000 (low-flow, dual-flush toilets, motion sensor fixtures and hand dryers)
- A.M. Winn Elementary – up to $100,000 (cool roof, skylights on multi-purpose room)
- School of Engineering and Sciences – up to $100,000 (solar tubes and benches)
- Sutterville Elementary – up to $70,000 (LED lighting)
- Washington Elementary (project at Sutter Middle School) – up to $70,000 (outdoor classroom)
- Luther Burbank High School – up to $70,000 (recycling bins and equipment)
- McClaskey Adult Education Center – up to $50,000 (air conditioning units in select rooms)
- H.W. Harkness Elementary – up to $50,000 (low-flow, dual-flush toilets, motion sensor fixtures and hand dryers)
- American Legion High School – up to $50,000 (exercise equipment and fencing for outdoor sports)
- Isador Cohen Elementary – up to $50,000 (outdoor classroom)
School districts can apply to host a fellow through the Center for Green Schools Fellowship Program, http://www.centerforgreenschools.org/fellowship.aspx