Saving energy at BES

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By Ashley McDougal, Staff Writer

It's affecting more than just the pocketbooks of the general public.

Rising energy costs are also taking a toll on Levy County Schools.

Cheryl Beauchamp, the principal at Bronson Elementary, presented recommendations to the School Board on ways to conserve energy as determined by an energy committee that was previously formed.

"I think right now the climate is good for us to work on this. It's affecting us at home and the school. People know the price of fuel and electricity," said Superintendent Cliff Norris.

A motion was made to implement the guidelines and changes. Some of these include starting ballgames as early as possible to make use of natural lighting; having a checklist for custodians to ensure equipment and lights are turned off before they leave; limit employee travel by having more meetings via conference calls; limiting the number of refrigerators and microwaves, which cost $14 a month each to run, by having teachers share where possible; having standard thermostat settings for use and non-use; and also turning off lights and equipment when a room is not in use, plus total blackouts for the interior of the schools at night and on the weekend or any other time that the schools are closed.

"The superintendent and staff will work with principals and principals will work with teachers and staff on this," said Rick Turner.

"If we're all going to cut, let's cut," said Billy Morrison and called into question the number of county vehicles that are going home with employees every day. There's generally at least one vehicle in each community that goes home, so that if the maintenance person gets a call in that area, they can go directly there instead of wasting the fuel to go all the way in to work and then back to the area of the problem. They'll also have access to the tools they need. County employees also have to pay a fee to use those vehicles. Norris suggested that the use of each vehicle be evaluated. Implementing a card system for fuel was also suggested as a future possibility.