LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It's your money, and the Lee County School District is turning off the lights to conserve cash. The School Board just approved a new county-wide energy policy aimed at using a little common sense to save the School District millions.
A simple flip of the switch is projected to save the Lee County School District $2 million.
"The key is, if it can be turned off when not in use, turn it off," said William Moore, Executive Director of Lee District School Support.
The District's new Energy Guidelines Policy is aimed at curbing consumption by 10% in one year. Their M.O.: tailoring specific plans to each of the District's 98 schools.
"No two schools even have the same electric bill, so we can't say you have to match everyone else. Every school is independent," Moore said Wednesday.
One immediate change: increasing classroom thermostats to 76 degrees. The two degree uptick is estimated to save the District $800,000 in two months.
Another mandate: consolidating electricity guzzlers. A district-wide survey revealed there were 456 coffee pots, 943 mini-refrigerators, and 946 microwaves in Lee County classrooms alone.
"We're saying do we have to have all of those? Can't we consolidate and have two or three stations where we can share?" Moore asked.
50% of each school's energy savings will go back into that school.
"We've got lots of needs for students, and we can use that money to help material purchases and things. That's great," Tice Elementary School Principal James Jackson said Wednesday.
Some say pinching pennies will end in a major payout.
"We're taking a little bit from every area in every school. But when you add them all up, we expect to save $2 million the first year," Moore said.
The energy guidelines also call for teachers to turn off the lights when leaving a classroom, and to rely more on natural light when possible. The new policy is in effect as of today.