Originally created 09/29/05

Later school starts can save energy



It's nice to see that Gov. Sonny Perdue is starting to care about how much schools spend on energy costs. Maybe now he will put his support behind a law prohibiting school districts in Georgia from starting school before Labor Day.

A Texas study by Comptroller Carole Strayhorn estimated the average electricity cost per-student, per-day in August to be 89 cents, vs. 45 cents in May and 78 cents in June. Extend this to Georgia's estimated 4.3 million students (for the 2003-2004 school year) and you have an estimated statewide electricity cost for an average August day of approximately $3.8 million. The cost of a May day is about $1.9 million, while the cost of a June day is about $3.4 million.

So why are we wasting taxpayers' money having school in August when we could cut our energy costs in half by starting after Labor Day, and going through the first of June?

Just one school district in Oklahoma - Tulsa - saved nearly $500,000 last year by delaying the start of school until after Labor Day. Just imagine what our school districts could do with that extra money if our school board cared about energy costs.

We need substance, not show. Closing schools statewide for two days to save some gas is a nice show, but prohibiting Georgia schools from starting in August would be real, solid energy savings for everyone for years to come.

Stephanie Wilson, Evans