The Rock Hill school district last week adopted an environmental sustainability policy aimed at reducing waste, conserving water and energy, and purchasing environmentally responsible products and services.
Anthony Cox, associate superintendent for administrative services, called the policy, which he authored, a “point of pride” for the district. “We’re the first public school district in South Carolina to have one,” said Cox.
Cox said adopting the new practices won’t be a challenge for administration, staff and students because some of them aren’t even new. He said formal energy management has been underway for two years and a district-wide recycling program just completed its first year in the district.
“It should be something that is not only not that hard to do as a practice, in fact, it’s very educational,” he said.
He also said these are practices students are already pursuing, and that some, like the recycling program, were suggested by students.
“It’s something our students have expected,” Cox said. “This was just a logical next step for us.”
School board chairman Jim Vining said for the board, adopting this policy was as much about making a good business decision as it was improving the environment.
“Even though we want to make decisions that are good for the environment, we want to make good decisions for the taxpayers, too,” he said.
In adopting sustainability changes, Vining said the board looks for the opportunity for a short-term payback in energy-saving and cost-cutting solutions, like five years, as opposed to 15 or 20.
Vining said the new practices aren’t about eliminating anything, but about finding alternatives, and encouraged teachers to think about pursuing grants that would allow them to incorporate sustainable practices into their curriculums and school communities.
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072