School District Thinking Green To Save Some Money

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Thinking green can help save some green.

Payson Unified School District is urging employees to Go Green. In a memo distributed districtwide, Superintendent Casey O’Brien asked employees to turn off lights when leaving a room, close doors to decrease heating and cooling costs, and turn off computers and copiers at night to save money.

Green font peppered the memo, including O’Brien’s signature.

“While these may seem like small things, collectively they can make a huge impact,” O’Brien wrote. Besides salaries and benefits, utilities represent the largest portion of the district’s budget.

Payson schools stands to lose nearly $336,000 this year from statewide budget cuts. Next year, as state legislators work to close an expected $3 billion shortfall, the district could lose an estimated $2.5 million.

By going green, O’Brien hopes staff can work together to “mitigate the impact of these cuts.”

Lawmakers are also considering eliminating a state formula that compensated school districts for rising utility costs. Payson’s share of the cut could reach $309,000.

Although district officials have imparted a fresh urgency to increasing efficiency, the sentiment is not novel.

Last year, the district received a $200,000 state energy-efficiency grant. Payson tied with one other district to receive the highest dollar award, according to the district. Through the upgrades, which include energy efficient lights, the district expects to save $177,000 annually on utility bills.

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