Districts await green legislation vote by Senate
By Kathy Walsh Nufer
June 2, 2009
APPLETON — The Appleton Area School District could receive about $800,000 to improve the energy efficiency of its schools under provisions of the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives in mid May and has been referred to committee in the Senate.
Rep. Steve Kagen D- Appleton, who voted for the bill, visited Fox River Academy on Monday to see what the Appleton charter school has done already to "go green," from installing rain barrels and permeable sidewalks and low-flush toilets to recycled slate flooring and energy-efficient lighting.
"This is exactly where we need to put our tax dollars," said Kagen, calling the school an example of what the legislation can accomplish in giving school systems greater access to funds for modernization, renovation and repairs, energy-efficiency initiatives and the use of renewable resources. "It’s about future-fitting our schools. It’s good for education and it’s good for taxpayers."
Appleton School Supt. Lee Allinger said the funds would be useful, especially considering the fact that half the district’s school buildings are more than 50 years old.
"To be able to be more energy efficient without impacting the property taxpayers through things like referendums would be tremendous," he said.
Bob Zuehlsdorf, Appleton’s director of facilities and operations, said the district chips away annually at energy-saving projects such as lighting controls, and heating and cooling improvements.
It has been able to increase energy savings by 20 percent by replacing windows at Madison and Edison schools, he said. To replace windows in schools in the entire district would cost $15 million.