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Eureka City Schools using "Prop 39" funds to become more energy efficient

EUREKA- Some tax money that California corporations pay can now be allocated to school districts looking to become more energy efficient.

Officials with Eureka City Schools say “Prop 39” will accomplish multiple goals. “Prop 39” is a state-wide energy program which uses taxes on corporations to fund energy efficiency projects in school districts.

"It accomplishes many things at one time.  It gives us one time dollars that we turn into ongoing savings for the district while at the same time becoming more of a green neutral type of facility for the betterment of our environment," said Fred Van Vleck, the Superintendent of Eureka City Schools.

Savings which can be generated because of updates to technology in the school district, including upgrades to heating, lighting, and ventilation. 

"So that could be a domestic refrigerator in a school classroom or that could be to replace that with a more efficient variety to save money for the district in energy," said Lou Jacobson, the Energy Educator and Manager for Eureka City Schools.

“Prop 39” funds can only be used if a certain project saves $1.05 for every dollar spent.  Officials believe the upgrades to technology in the school district will provide more to Eureka City Schools than energy cost saving, but they will provide a better learning environment.

"If we can work on the heating systems in these schools, we'll have a more comfortably heated facility which of course will mean that there's less temperature differences.  We hope that means the students aren't going from really warm to cold areas and that will make it more comfortable for them," said Jacobson.

The first project is improving lighting to the Eureka City Schools Corp Yard.

"Part of what we need to do when looking at projects like this is, 'How can we be efficient and quick at carrying out these projects while at the same time not interrupting the school day?" said Superintendent Van Vleck.

Future projects will be determined upon completion of the California Conservation Corps’ Energy Core assessments in about 60 days. 

The upgrades to the Eureka City Schools Corp Yard will be finished in 6 to 8 weeks.  Prop 39 is a five-year program.