Why Sustainable Behaviors Are Key to Reducing Costs in School District Budgets

Education forms a vital part of every life. Children rely on quality facilities for safety and to learn, but politics, changes in teaching styles and the threat of climate change force schools to look for new ways to expand their budgets. At the same time, funding for schools is expected to be cut by more than $10.6 billion in the current administration’s budget, reports The Washington Post. Reducing costs in school district budgets is essential to surviving political changes and the growing needs of students and teachers. One of the largest expenditures by any school district is spent on energy. Therefore, it is logical to assume that reducing energy costs and increasing energy efficiency is a sound way of reducing costs in school district budgets. Districts may then reclaim those dollars for more educational based initiatives, such as increased teacher salaries, STEM programs or new technologies for the classroom. Before any sustainability projects are initiated, education facilities managers and school district leaders need to understand their current state of energy consumption and utility spend, and how better management translates into more capital and less operating expense.

Rising Costs for Schools Result in Budget Cuts

Per-pupil spending is on the precipice of crashing. Schools across the country are faced with less money as school choice takes priority over upgrades and new technology investments. In today's age, it can be difficult to grasp the amount of money necessary to provide a cost-free education to youth. The national average of per-pupil spending is now $12,252, and schools in some of the largest states, Texas and California, must operate with less spending, up to $1,956 below the per-pupil funding average. Aside from this problem, schools are under increased pressure to increase teacher wages and contribute more to pensions. A small change in costs or a minor shift in spending could have the net effect of dramatically reducing funds available for new hires, training and more. As with any industry, education also must deal with rising costs of supplies and energy resources, creating an imminent breaking point and deficit spending.

For instance, California school pension contributions will more than double by 2024, asserts the California School Board Association. Higher contributions mean less per-pupil spending for necessities, including textbooks, new technology in the classroom and extracurricular activities. Per-pupil spending will increase $979 by 2024, which makes reducing costs in school district budgets even more challenging. With 33 percent of schools slashing vital programs, including long-term investment opportunities, such as energy management and sustainability, stressed budgets have less wiggle-room.  

Better Management of Expenditures Frees CapEx

The problems surrounding budget cuts add fuel to the fire. In Arizona, asserts the National Education Association (NEA), teachers have faced significant hurdles to basic, clean facilities due to mice infestation and the need to pay out-of-pocket for glue traps. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for high school teachers will grow 8 percent, and more teachers will reach retirement age. In certain states, like Indiana, caps on taxes amount to even greater restriction for K-12 funding, and given the problem in California, this amounts to even higher costs to set up and fund pension programs, so the only solution lies in better management of the budget.

Better management of resources is the easiest way to tap into additional capital and maximize their budgets. Schools may not have the money necessary to start up an energy conservation and efficiency program. Any implemented program must be able to achieve real-world savings in a short period to force the program to guaranteed success. This is part of the reason why Cenergistic has an embedded specialist on-site to monitor KPIs and ensure success, as well as the no upfront cost performance guarantee billing model., This ensures Cenergistic provides to schools, guaranteeing savings for the school district who partners with Cenergistic. Instead of choosing between energy efficiency and having teachers for students, schools can do both.

Ways Energy Efficiency Can Augment Stressed Budgets

The initial and ongoing steps to reducing costs in school district budgets build on one another. As more funds are freed, savings continue to grow. Beyond securing funding for energy efficiency upgrades, schools will have more money to absorb changes in spending. Such changes reflect the ongoing inflation of supplies, textbooks, technology in the classroom, teacher salaries and benefits, as well as less funding from the federal and state governments, which Cenergistic has helped other school districts with when trying to conserve energy and find the right budget cuts in the past.   

Some of the top benefits of implementing an energy efficiency program in schools include:

  • Better use of energy resources. 
  • Lower rates charged by utility companies and eligibility for incentive-based rates.  
  • Increased eligibility for government funding, like Prop 39 funding in California for energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Better learning environments help students succeed. 
  • Proper environmental controls reduce damage to stored supplies. 
  • Clear, benchmarked ROI reduces uncertainty in making budgeting decisions. 

Leverage New Technologies to Reducing Costs in School District Budgets Now

The need to reduce spending in any school district budget will always exist. Knowing which programs to focus on can open the door to new revenue streams and helps schools meet the growing needs of teachers, students and parents. More than anything else, schools must not abandon energy efficiency upgrades or implementing an energy management program to reduce energy costs as a way to reduce costs as a way to combat decreased budgets in education. Have your school district partner with Cenergistic to reduce your energy costs. Submit your query online, call 1-855-798-7779 or email Cenergistic at info@cenergistic.com to inquire about our solutions and start the process of reducing energy costs for your school district today.

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