In a meeting at the Culver City School District on Jan. 20, the Environmental Sustainability committee met to talk about how to make our schools greener, and save funds while saving energy. As ES Committee Chair Todd Johnson stated, “We can save money on infrastructure, and then we’ll have it to spend on teachers and programs.”
The Phase One proposal for the photovoltaic system looks good on paper, with $177,613 savings projected for the first year, and more than $7 million in savings over the life of the system. The debate now is over what the cost will really be, with all the factors of architecture, placement, maintenance, insurance and construction. But this is more than following the green revolution; by installing a solar system in the CCUSD schools, we are not just turning sunshine into electricity, but turning capital improvement money into operating funds.
With both CCUSD Interim Superintendent Patti Jaffe and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Ali Delawalla present from the district staff, and Catherine Vargas, the Environmental Coordinator for the city of Culver City in attendance, the small group present for the meeting had considerable wattage. In preparation for the presentation to the school board this coming Tuesday Jan. 25, the meeting was an extended presentation of meticulous research by Johnson and a review of that research by the committee and community members.
With an incentive program from the state quickly coming to a close, the main message from the committee to the board will be that time is crucial, and decisions need to be made quickly in order to take maximum advantage of the program. While Delawalla emphasized that it could take “between six months and year to get the project approved.” Johnson countered that getting the board to approve would be the key to getting the best rate locked in.
Vargas reminded the committee that what she saw as vital to the process was that CCUSD was “working towards being the model. Keep the transparency of what you are working on, so that people can get it, and we can be the model school district for other communities to follow in their solar and green objectives.”
If you think CCUSD needs to get into solar energy, come to the next school board meeting on Tues. Jan 25 at 7 pm at the District Office at 4034 Irving Place. For more info, call the district as (310) 842-4220.