There might be a silver lining in the heavy budget cutting at the DeKalb County School System.
Now, it seems, students might get a greener school district because it saves money.
Amid several plans to cut more than $56 million from the school district budget this month, Superintendent Crawford Lewis included several green measures he said could save the district nearly $2 million yearly.
One of the more complicated cost-savers is a plan to move the district to a four-day work week between June and July. District officials would work 10-hour days. Construction programs would be exempted, however. The plan could save the district up to $100,000 yearly, according to district data.
The district’s plan to incorporate green initiatives began before the district announced its cuts, said Tiffany Nowlin, the district’s textbook coordinator and co-chair for its environmental council.
While the measure is not a energy-saving initiative, the district is investigating the possibility of purchasing only biodegradable lunch trays instead of those made of plastic foam.
“That’s something that’s really on the hot list for students and teachers,” she said.
The district also plans to adopt various conservation programs, including the mandatory shut-off of classrooms lights and the installation of new energy-saving light bulbs. Those programs could net the district up to $1 million yearly, Lewis said.
The district has also purchased a computer management system that will shut off all 32,000 district computers at 8 p.m. daily, saving the district nearly $250,000 yearly.
Lewis released three budget plans last month that included $11 million in program cuts, including pre-kindergarten and magnet programs, and $14 million from school-level staffing. Only one plan does not include a millage increase. The board also released a fourth plan at the request of school board member Gene Walker that included a 2 mill tax increase, netting the district an extra $40 million.
Walker’s increase would save all proposed district program cuts.