Iowa City School District looks to introduce Sustainability Advisory Committee


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Sustainability, an ongoing movement in modern society, has found a place in the Iowa City School District.

After informally ending the Energy Conservation Committee, the School District will look to the Sustainability Advisory Committee to focus on broader issues and sustainability.

“I think it’s really important to look at how we incorporate things our community is already doing,” School Board member Tuyet Dorau said.

While the panel wants to look at energy, its members also hope to examine conservation.

“We want to address broader needs than just looking at energy,” said David Dude, the district’s executive director of resources. “We want to look at sustainability conservation.”

The committee consists of a teacher, custodian, students from West High and City High, several community members, the chief financial officer, and Dude. 

The students took an active role in becoming a part of the committee.

“The students [on the panel] really chose themselves, by being very involved in their school recycling programs and talking to [Superintendent] Steve Murley,” Dude said.

An option for the committee is to partner with the Iowa Energy Bank, but Dorau said it is too early to know what the panel will do. 

The group has not yet made any plans.

At the last meeting, the committee hosted a guest speaker from the Iowa Energy Bank who presented information regarding the organization’s purpose and the projects it finances.

What the program typically does, especially regarding sustainability, is make recommendations to take a look at a school districts’ buildings, said Brenda Easter, the Iowa Energy Bank program officer.

“We’re able to help save time and money,” Easter said.

The Iowa Energy Bank provides low-cost financing to schools, with loans starting at $100,000 with schools typically borrowing $200,000 to $250,000, but that money regenerates through energy savings.

Previously, the Iowa Energy Bank worked with the Central City, Nashua-Plainfield, and East Marshall School Districts.

While the Iowa City School District has not made any agreements or plans with the Iowa Energy Bank, the organization remains hopeful about a partnership.

“The possibilities right now are endless,” Dorau said in regard to projects for the committee.

While the committee is still in its infancy stage, the School Board and the Iowa Energy Bank have common ground in the hopes to conserve spending.

“Everyone is interested in saving money,” Easter said.  “It spreads budgets further while improving learning facilities.”

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