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LA Unified getting $26 million in Prop 39 energy efficiency funds

Vanessa Romo | October 28, 2014

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Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, Gov. Jerry Brown, Tom Steyer (from left)

Governor Jerry Brown today dropped by John Marshall High School to talk about energy efficiency and the millions of dollars LA Unified schools can expect to receive from the state as a result of Proposition 39.

The governor, who’s up for re-election next week, was on the Los Feliz campus with Tom Steyer, the Democratic mega-donor who backed the initiative; and state Sen. Kevin de Leon. The Clean Energy Jobs Act was passed by voters in 2012 and changed how corporations calculate their tax loads, sending the proceeds to schools and other learning centers for use in improving energy efficiency.

“Two years ago, voters closed a flagrant tax loophole and sent hundreds of millions of dollars to California schools with passage of Proposition 39,” Governor Brown said. “Today, with these funds, schools are starting to repair inefficient heating and air conditioning systems, replace old windows and install new lighting, saving money through energy efficiency.”

As the largest school district in the state, LA Unified has been awarded over $26 million for the first year of funding from Prop. 39. Funding is based on a district’s average daily attendance. In all, the state has collected over $400 million to fund energy retrofit projects at every K-12 school district in the first year.

Marshall High School will be the first school in California to receive Prop 39 funds. More than $1.8 million will be spent on new air systems for the auditorium and classrooms, lighting controls for the gym and other high-use areas, a new energy management system and improved lighting throughout the campus.

“It’s the kind of investment that you don’t actually see when you walk into a room,” Mark Hovatter, the district’s Chief of Facilities, told LA School Report. “They are all improvements that are hidden behind walls so you don’t really notice them, but in the end, they’ll save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The energy efficiency upgrades at Marshall are expected to yield 29 percent in energy savings, resulting in an annual reduction of over $100,000 from the school’s electricity bill.

Afterward, LA Unified board member Bennett Kayser thanked the Governor and Senator for choosing Marshall High School, one of the district’s oldest, built in 1930, for the opportunity to “improve our facilities in a sustainable manner.”

“We plan to utilize these critical dollars to address needed repairs,” he said.

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