2 killed, dozens injured when bus from Huntsville crashes in Mississippi

Jackson County school leaders save $1 million on utilities

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. - Kids in Jackson County were back at school on Thursday. And county school leaders have a few more dollars in the budget thanks to some energy upgrades.

"If you're not paying the power bill, you don't turn the light off," Jackson County school superintendent Kevin Dukes said.

But after years of having sticker shock at the cost of turning the lights on at all 17 schools, school leaders looked for a cheaper way.

"They're trying to do as much as they can with the time and resources they have available," Kyle Keith from Schneider Electric said.

Three years ago, the school district asked Schneider Electric to come up with ways to slow down the meter.

"Weather stripping on the doors, we put the automated light switches in," Dukes said.

Those changes have added up to the tune of $1 million for Jackson County.

"We came in with a solution that was going to reduce their operations by 29 percent. It was really win-win for them," Keith said.

Dukes says a big part of that savings was the air conditioning units. There are over 5,000 kids enrolled in Jackson County schools this year who they have to keep cool. Dukes says once they swapped out the units, that was a big piece of that million dollars.

"When you look at this project and replacing over 100 units across the district. You're talking about a sizable impact," Keith said.

An impact that Dukes says will mean more dollars in the budget, which is desperately needed.

Dukes says they plan to use the savings to help pay for capital improvement projects.