Schools can save money in many ways

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This letter is regarding the article that ran in the Nov. 16 Augusta Chronicle dealing with the Richmond County Board of Education's efforts to cut wasted money with the conservation team.

I think that conserving energy to help defer costs is wise, but I'm not sure that taking away mini-fridges is the thing to do. Teachers have them in their rooms for a reason. Maybe they can stay in their room and get more work done. Maybe it saves them money instead of having to go to the vending machine. By my calculations it costs the county 21 cents per day, if that much, to run a mini-fridge. If a teacher is paid $32,000 a year, that equals $168.42 per day (divided by 190 school days,); that equals $21.05 an hour, which equals 35 cents a minute. How many 35-cent minutes are saved by not leaving the room?

If you need more money I would look elsewhere:

- Wasted time on maintenance. Each time a change or addition is made to a school's electrical, video surveillance, fire alarm, HVAC, Internet, panic buttons and intercom systems, there is no adjustment on the blueprints. Each time there is a problem there is wasted time looking for how the stuff was installed.

- Registration fees. My children go to school in Aiken County, and we pay a registration fee at the beginning of each year (with the exception of those students with free or reduced lunch.) Even if half of the student population in Richmond County paid a registration fee that would equal $680,000.

- More efficient bus routes. With the price of diesel about $2.50 a gallon and buses getting about 11 mpg, big money is wasted on bus routes that need to be updated to be more efficient.

- What if a four-day school week was implemented? Stretch the day by an hour and 45 minutes for middle- and high-school students, making each period 17 minutes longer. Elementary students don't get left alone on the off-day, and the other schools are closed. No buses, no electricity and no breakfast and lunch with their ridiculous amount of wasted food.

There are lots of ways to save money. At least the RCBOE is trying.

Aaron Hobbs

North Augusta, S.C.


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