Part One of “Going green in CMS means more than recycling” addressed how students and staff are meeting the challenge of being Environmental Stewards. Part Two examines CMS’s Transportation Department.
Policy ECF of Strategic Plan 2014 states: “The Board of Education believes that Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools must be an effective steward of natural resources. The Board hereby commits that the district will continue and strengthen its efforts to operate in a manner that protects and conserves our air, water, and land resources, improves the environment, and promotes environmentally sound behavior.”
There are seven environmental focus areas that Policy ECF provides:
• Environmental Compliance
• Pollution Prevention
• Resource Conservation
• Resource Recovery
• Sustainable Purchasing
• Behavioral Change
The Transportation Department adheres to the policy in several ways. An estimated 84,000 students rode CMS buses on a daily basis last year. (Numbers for this year are not yet available.) There are no numbers available on how many students either ride in cars, walk, or take other modes of transportation. Even though the 1,095 bus fleet consumed about 3.6 million gallons of gas last year, the effects on the environment are still less than putting extra cars on the road.
Carol Stamper, CMS’s Executive Director of Transportation, reports that there are many ways fuel consumption and emissions have been reduced by the department. Consolidating bus stops and utilizing shuttle stops for magnet programs not only saved $3.5 million in transportation costs, but also saved a considerable amount of emissions from leaking into the environment. “Other contributors to reducing operating miles include adjusting school bell schedules, networking buses for two or more schools with similar bell schedules in close proximity for students living in similar geographic areas of the county, and adjusting walk distances to bus stops”, says Stamper.
The CMS fleet currently operates with low sulfur diesel (USLD), which is better for the environment than regular diesel. FedEx and UPS are among many other large fleet companies who have also taken advantage of the performance of USLD. There are currently no plans to upfit the fleet for biodiesel.
To learn more, attend one of Parent University’s courses on ”Going Green at CMS and at Home.”