Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and we were so proud that our class collected enough money to buy our teacher a mini-fridge for her classroom next year.
I bought the fridge last Thursday with the plan to give our teacher the present Friday afternoon. I stopped by the school Friday morning around 9 a.m. to ask our head custodian for help lifting the fridge that afternoon. She said I don’t think you want to give it to her. She won’t be allowed to use it next year.
Jaw drops! Mouth agape! What!! But this is our class present! What do you mean she can’t use it next year.
The county sent out a memo earlier that week announcing to help save money it will not allow teachers to have personal refrigerators in their rooms next year.
How much money could that possibly save you might ask?
Well actually quite a bit according to Jorge Quintana, director of media relations for Gwinnett County.
The county estimates it can save $698,000 a year by eliminating the personal fridges and removing personal desk/floor lamps. (I would fight the desk lamps – sometimes you need extra reading light!)
“Energy audits conducted by utility providers identified the removal of personal desk/floor lamps and compact refrigerators as no-cost initiatives that would have immediate and significant savings. By asking local schools for their participation in removing these items, the district could see a savings of an estimated $698,000 a year. To help accommodate the needs of employees and students, the school system is suggesting full-sized refrigerators to be located on the school campus, in centralized locations such as teacher workrooms.
In addition, the district also is asking employees to turn off lights and computers and unplug all nonessential electronic equipment at the end of each day.
These energy initiatives will help to raise awareness, reduce consumption, save money, and protect the environment.”
As much as I hate for teachers to lose the convenience of the mini-fridges, it seems to be a cut that will affect students the least. If it helps prevent the county from needing extra furlough days or increasing classroom sizes, it’s probably a smart cut to make.
Now I know some of the teachers use it in their curriculum. Our kindergarten class had a cooking center every week and our third-grade class has used the class fridge for storing food for their solar cooking tests.
I guess they will just have to walk further to the central fridges. (I’ve only seen one of the two fridges our school has now and they are always packed! They will definitely need more fridges.)
A friend of mine questions couldn’t the teachers or the class offer to pay the difference so they could keep their fridges? Is that accounting nightmare worth the result of a cold Diet Coke mid-day? Will the class lose teaching time going to the big centrally located fridges?
So what do you think: Should teachers be forced to give up their personal fridges and desk lamps? (Again I would fight that desk lamp! Those don’t run all night like the fridges.) Is that loss of convenience worth a $698,000 savings?
Does your teacher have a fridge in class? What does she use it for? Would she be mad to lose it?
Is this a smart solution or a bad one? What would your solution be?