Coast to coast K12 schools find funding to do more with less

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Across the country, many of America’s educators face similar problems: aging school buildings and a backlog of deferred maintenance, but little-to-no available funding to make the meaningful improvements necessary. Many facilities are 50 to 70 years old and serve an ever-growing student population. This compounds to more than just wear and tear, as issues can quickly become more expensive and complex with each passing year. In a worst-case scenario, building equipment fails unexpectedly, resulting in a reactive, costly emergency repair debacle.

Faced with a growing list of critical infrastructure needs, how can K12 school districts find the funding needed?

For a growing number of school leaders, the answer lies in innovative, technology-based solutions. Energy performance contracting allows school districts to dramatically reduce operating and utility costs, then reinvest those savings back into infrastructure and capital improvement projects. This also creates a proactive, not reactive, approach to such needs.

School buildings are renewed with the latest technologies including water conserving fixtures, interior and exterior LED lighting, major HVAC upgrades and new building automation systems, among many other innovative solutions. These improvements often generate such significant savings that districts can then tackle other priorities such as replacing old windows, dilapidated mechanical equipment and aging roofing.

Not only do these solutions bring school buildings into the 21st century, they also make classrooms much more comfortable for students and staff. Along with increased comfort comes a more conducive learning environment.

Here’s a look at some school districts on both coasts that have used this formula successfully. Click on the videos to learn more about each one.

California school district funds $12 million in improvements

This school district was stuck in a deferred maintenance trap that seemed impossible to escape. With over 22,000 students and 32 schools, making the sweeping improvements was going to be a big job. But thanks to its 5-year infrastructure plan and California’s Proposition 39, it was able to reinvest $12 million to tackle some of its most pressing needs without increasing local taxes. Additionally, the school district is now saving more than $800,000 a year that it can re-invest in classrooms. Watch the video.

Pennsylvania school district reduces utilities budget with energy efficiency improvements and secures better energy costs

This district was struggling with aging facilities that constantly needed patching just to stay operational. Studies have shown that air quality and classroom discomfort detract from student productivity. There just wasn’t enough money to tackle the big improvements officials knew were necessary. But an energy performance contract changed all that, generating $2.6 million in savings combined with a $500,000 grant from Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, a new energy purchasing consortium means the district can also achieve more buying power and secure better rates on energy, producing even greater savings that can be reallocated back into the schools. The district used those funds to address its top infrastructure goals. Watch the video.

What are your district’s infrastructure goals and how can Schneider Electric help you meet them? Get answers to those questions and learn more about how school districts nationwide are tackling capital improvement plans at