(KCPW News) Building green and energy efficient schools isn’t a priority for the Legislature this year. A resolution encouraging school districts to seek LEED certification for new school buildings was voted down yesterday after a short debate in the House of Representatives. Democratic bill sponsor Representative Mark Wheatley said it was an encouragement for the State Board of Education to follow more environmentally friendly building codes.
“Twenty percent of America goes to school every day,” said Wheatley. “Too many of these students and teachers attend schools that are inefficient and miss important opportunities to reduce operational cost, foster learning and protect student health.”
The bill had already been amended to remove any potential reference to climate change. According to the resolution, schools could be improved by implementing carefully planned acoustics, lighting, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality, resulting in energy savings, fewer sick days for children and greater teacher retention. But Republican lawmakers were concerned the non-binding resolution could eventually lead to a costly mandate. Only one member of the GOP voted for it, while the rest shot it down by a large margin.