Solar panels are a great way to become more energy efficient, save money, and, in the case of Batesville High School, give teachers the compensation they deserve!
A few years ago, schools in Batesville, Arkansas, were struggling with a $250,000 budget deficit. They could barely keep their teachers on, let alone pay them a fair salary. Then, in 2017, a company called Entegrity found a way to save them millions.
After assessing the Batesville School District’s energy use, Entegrity pointed out that if Batesville High installed solar panels and upgraded their lights, windows, and heating and cooling systems, they could save a whopping $2.4 million over 20 years! Batesville superintendent Michael Hester was sold, agreeing to add 1,400 solar panels to the school. He was thrilled about the future savings — and already knew how he would use the extra cash!
“Let’s use that money to start pumping up teachers’ salaries,” he said.
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Over the following three years, their deficit turned into a $1.8 million surplus! And Michael made good on his word, giving between $2,000 and $3,000 pay raises to teachers.
What’s more, the surrounding areas have since followed suit!
“There’s at least 20 school districts just in our area that have emulated our model,” Michael said. “We have the numbers to prove and to show from performance that we’re walking the walk. That’s a slam dunk for districts around us.”
The city is less than 20 miles away from a coal-fired power plant, so Michael wasn’t sure locals would be happy about their tax money being used for the solar panels. But they turned out to be surprisingly supportive, proving that their community is ready to move toward a more eco-friendly future.
Talk about a win-win situation! Not only is the school becoming more environmentally friendly, but they’re also treating their teachers like the valuable treasures they are!
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