Large school systems join forces to advocate for sustainability

Large school systems join forces to advocate for sustainability

The Green Schools Alliance District Collaborative will seek to leverage its purchasing power and influence to promote environmentally friendly school facilities and operations.

A group of 21 of the nation's largest public school systems have come together to collaborate on and advocate for sustainable schools.

With the support of the Green Schools Alliance, the school systems have formed the GSA District Collaborative. The group's goals are to leverage the districts' collective purchasing power to increase access to sustainable alternatives; influence local, regional, and national policy decisions; develop and share district-level best practices; and help develop district-level sustainability programs.

"Over the years, district sustainability officials had shared frustrations over higher prices for more sustainable products and policies that encumbered their work," Green Schools Alliance Executive Director Sharon Jaye said in a post on the U.S. Department of Education's blog. "This sparked a conversation about collaborating to affect major change, particularly in purchasing."

The 21 districts account for 3.6 million students in 5,726 schools. Combined, the school systems have budgets of $53 billion, and their facilities have more than 550 million square feet of space.

"Our mission is to leverage our collective knowledge, experience and influence to accelerate the implementation of sustainability principles that incorporate sound environmental, economic and equitable decisions in schools," the collaborative explains on its web site.

The 21 districts that are the initial members of the collaborative:

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Clark County, Nev.
  • Broward County, Fla.
  • Houston
  • Orange County, Fla.
  • Fairfax County, Va.
  • Palm Beach County, Fla
  • Philadelphia
  • San Diego
  • Denver
  • Austin, Texas
  • Virginia Beach, Va.
  • San Francisco
  • Boston
  • District of Columbia
  • Oakland, Calf.
  • Detroit
  • Lincoln, Neb.
  • Fayette County, Ky.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
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