On Thursday, July 29th at 1 pm, the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign met with Superintendent Dr. Baker, Board Member Kerr, and LBUSD Facilities Director. The campaign represented many Long Beach Schools, including Poly, Lakewood, Milikan high school, and Helen Keller middle school. The campaign was also joined by representatives from the LA Climate Reality Project and Sierra Club's Ready for 100 Campaign, who were both instrumental in passing a 100% Clean Energy Resolution at Los Angeles Unified School District.
The meeting began with a quick recap of the progress of the campaign. Specifically, student leaders discussed how the 100% clean energy movement has gained support from countless other Long Beach schools. The movement has also met with multiple community groups, including the Long Beach Sunrise Movement, the LB Gray Panthers, and the LB Environmental Alliance. The students reviewed a Case Study/FAQ sheet regarding a transition off of fossil fuels for school districts. The campaign focused heavily on the process of passing a resolution. Mary Lunetta, from Sierra Club's Ready for 100 Campaign, explained that first a 100% clean energy resolution is passed, and then a task force is assembled. This team consists of district facilities leaders, parents, teachers, board members, students, energy experts, etc. Although there are many concerns regarding passing a resolution that will actually be followed through on, the goal of passing a resolution sooner rather than later is to make a commitment that binds the district to be efficient with its time and to ensure that the plan that is coming together is representative of all the stakeholders. As Ms. Lunetta explains:
The goals are to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030 and electrify all buildings by 2040. Given the technology we have today, these timetables provide plenty of time for school districts to meet these goals. Red Wing Public Schools in CA achieved 100% solar energy for its seven schools through their Community Solar Garden, commissioned in 2016; and San Diego Unified is anticipating achieving 100% clean electricity before their 2030 target.
The students also discussed a future timeline for a 100% Clean Energy Resolution passage, suggesting a vote take place at the September 15th board meeting. As the students aim to hold a Climate Rally on September 18th, they were hoping that a September 15th vote would allow the rally to either serve as a celebration or call to action for the passage of a clean energy resolution.
Facilities director Alan Reising discussed the current developments in the district, including the completion of a 5.4-megawatt solar installation district-wide. He also discussed the upcoming facilities master plan, and suggested that our campaign serve as a stakeholder voice of sustainability for the plan. Reising explained that his team will bring the master plan to the board in the Spring of 2022.
As timing remains the issue for passing a clean energy resolution, the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign looks forward to assisting Reising's team in the facility's master plan. The students also look forward to connecting to board members Otto, Miller, and Benitez, and working with board president Dr. Benitez to get on the agenda of a board meeting. The students also look forward to connecting to district staff to prepare the resolution for a board meeting vote!
The Long Beach Green Schools Campaign would like to thank Dr. Baker, Ms. Kerr, and Mr. Reising for taking the time to meet with us during the summer. We also look forward to continued collaboration in developing and passing a meaningful resolution!