Trenton – In an effort to ensure New Jersey schools are meeting the state’s environmental goals, the Senate Education Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Smith that would require school districts to include an environmental sustainability plan in their long-range facilities plan.
“There are currently close to 600 school districts in New Jersey, and while they all vary in size, their facilities consume large amounts of carbon energy to keep them running,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “With the climate change crisis resulting in drastic, observable changes in the environment, it is imperative that we meet our state goals to reduce the production and consumption of greenhouse gasses through expanding our use of clean energy. By requiring our school districts to look into means to become more sustainable, we can set a precedent for the rest of New Jersey to also find ways to be more environmentally friendly. We only get one Earth, and we must find real solutions to reverse some of the damage done by climate change before it is too late.”
The bill, S-434, would require school districts to include an environmental sustainability plan in their long-range facilities plan that is submitted to the Commissioner of Education every five years. The plan currently includes projected enrollment, building capacities, health and safety conditions, and any anticipated facilities projects in the district. Under the bill, the long-range facilities plan would be expanded to also include the environmental impact of district facilities and operations and goals for improving sustainability.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-1.