First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
Kentucky School Districts to share U.S. Stimulus Grants

Press Release Date:  Friday, May 14, 2010  
Contact Information:  Elizabeth Roach

120 Districts to Improve Energy Efficiency

Kentucky at WorkFRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear today announced that more than 120 Kentucky school districts will employ energy managers to create and implement energy efficiency programs over the next two years.

Grants totaling $2.5 million, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, have been awarded to 27 districts or multi-district partnerships through the School Energy Managers Program (SEMP).

The program is a collaborative initiative between the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI) and the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA).

Kentucky received $5.1 million in federal stimulus funds to support the energy manager program in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years.  The grants will cover as much as 77 percent of the energy manager’s salary and benefits in the first year and approximately 50 percent of those costs in the second year. The remainder of the total grant will cover expenses such as training and consultation.

“Not only will this initiative save money and help the environment — it will allow our schools to divert resources from utility bills toward academic enrichment,” said Mrs. Beshear. “By building a healthier, greener atmosphere in schools, we will also create a more comprehensive educational experience for our young people.”

“The School Energy Manager’s Project provides schools with the expertise and resources to implement an energy plan that will ultimately put dollars back into school budgets,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters. “During these economic times, the impact of this program is invaluable.”

The SEMP grants will fund a total of 33 new energy managers. The Kenton County Schools and several districts in the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative that already have energy managers will get funding for energy curriculum coordinator positions.

Fourteen school districts currently employ an energy manager. Funding requests to support those ongoing energy efficiency programs, as well as other district requests, are pending until all of the new positions have been filled. Most of the SEMP grants represent multi-district partnerships.  Christian County, Fayette County, Oldham County and Pike County will operate solo district programs.  Multiple energy manager positions have been funded for partnerships led by Ashland Independent and the Green River co-op because of the number of districts involved.  Due to its large number of schools, Fayette County will get a second energy manager.

KSBA Executive Director Bill Scott said the energy manager program would be an important aid to Kentucky school districts, even if this wasn’t a tight budgetary time for schools and the state. “School boards and superintendents look to make their operations as efficient as possible to squeeze the maximum benefit from the taxpayers’ dollars,” Scott said. “With the limited resources resulting from the hard economy right now, every dollar we can save on heating, cooling, lighting and other operational costs is a dollar that can go right back into classroom instruction.”

The lead districts and their partners (in parentheses) for the energy manager grants are:

  • Ashland Independent (Boyd County, Carter County, Fairview Independent, Greenup County, Russell Independent, Roland and Waveland Independent);
  • Boone County (Walton-Verona);
  • Campbell County (Bellevue Independent, Dayton Independent, Silver Grove Independent, Southgate Independent, Pendleton County, Fort Thomas Independent);
  • Christian County;
  • Clay County (Leslie County, Jackson County);
  • Covington Independent (Beechwood Independent, Erlanger Independent, Ludlow Independent);
  • Estill County (Berea Independent, Garrard County, Lee County, Powell County);
  • Fayette County;
  • Fleming County (Bath County, Rowan County, Robertson County);
  • Grant County (Gallatin County, Carroll County, Owen County, Williamstown Independent);
  • Graves County (Carlisle Independent, Fulton County, Fulton Independent);
  • Green River Region Education Cooperative (Adair County, Allen County, Bowling Green Independent, Butler County, Campbellsville Independent, Caverna Independent, Clinton County, Cumberland County, Daviess County, Edmonson County, Elizabethtown Independent, Glasgow Independent, Grayson County, Green County, Hancock Independent, Hardin County, Hart County, LaRue County, Logan County, Meade County, Monroe County, Ohio County, Owensboro Independent, Russellville Independent, Simpson County, Taylor County, Todd County, Warren County);
  • Henderson County (Union County, Webster County, Crittenden County);
  • Hopkins County (Caldwell County, Dawson Springs Independent);
  • Jessamine County (Woodford County);
  • Johnson County (Paintsville Independent, Lawrence County, Morgan County, Martin County);
  • Knox County (Bell County, Barbourville Independent, Pineville Independent);
  • Marshall County (Calloway County, Murray Independent, Trigg County);
  • McCracken County (Ballard County, Livingston County, Lyon County);
  • Mercer County (Burgin Independent, Danville Independent, Washington County);
  • Montgomery County (Paris Independent, Bourbon County, Clark County);
  • Oldham County;
  • Pike County;
  • Pulaski County (Casey County, Rockcastle County, Lincoln County);
  • Shelby County (Henry County, Trimble County, Anchorage Independent, Frankfort Independent, Eminence Independent);
  • Somerset Independent (Science Hill Independent, Monticello Independent, Wayne County, Russell County, McCreary County); and
  • Whitley County (Corbin).

Grant recipients are in the process of hiring energy managers to begin work on or after July 1.