Measure H will bring solar power, energy efficiency for schools

Throughout Sonoma the forces behind Measure H have been working hard to rally support from voters prior to election day on November 2. Call centers staffed with volunteers are touching base with voters by phone and walking campaigns canvassing neighborhoods will be underway soon.

Measure H is a $40 million general obligation bond that, if approved by voters, will save the Sonoma Valley Unified School District more than $1 million dollars in energy costs each year.

According to Sonoma Valley Unified School District Superintendent Louann Carlomagno, those savings will go directly into the classrooms. “This bond is designed to decrease our net operating costs each and every year. This means saving money that can be used for education rather than for operating expenses.”

If approved, Measure H would allow the district to “go solar” in all school sites as early as next fall. The $12 million to $15 million installation would be put out to bid immediately with the school district working closely with architects for recommendations on moving forward. In addition to the solar installations, the district would spend an additional $12 million to $15 million in efficiency measures including water, energy and deferred maintenance projects like upgrading heating and air conditioning systems. “We have some pretty old schools in our district,” said Carlomagno.

The solar installation would enable the district to generate enough electricity to offset its entire electricity use. PG&E rebates from moving to solar would begin immediately with savings in the neighborhood of $500,000 per year with another savings of $500,000 in electricity costs for a grand total of $1 million each year for the first five years. All told, the district is projected to save approximately $29 million over the next 25 years on its electricity bills with an additional $3 million in state solar incentives. That money would funnel back to classrooms.

“Among other areas, we’re looking at career and technology education,” said Carlomagno. “We want input from students, parents, teachers and businesses to define pathways that prepare students for jobs in our Valley. Technology will play a huge roll and we’re looking at the best ways to use technology to get the most out of our curriculum.”

Measure H needs 55 percent of the vote to pass. For more information visit sonomaschoolsyesonh.org.


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