HIGHGATE CENTER, Vt., April 6 – At a news conference today at Highgate Elementary School, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced energy efficiency grants and after-school program funding for Highgate Center.
The town and elementary school received stimulus funding totaling $124,405.88 through the Sanders-authored Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program at the U.S. Department of Energy. Sanders also secured $25,000 for summer school and after-school programs at the elementary school.
Through the block grant program, Highgate Elementary School was awarded $36,958.50 to replace parking lot lighting with more energy efficient fixtures for an expected saving of more than $3,000 per year – the school will invest the remaining funds to cover the $41,065 total project cost. The school also received $44,668.38 to replace interior lighting with more efficient replacements for an expected saving of more than $10,000 per year. Additionally, the town of Highgate Center was awarded $42,779 to make efficiency improvements to other lights around town.
"I helped write the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program because I believe that it is absolutely imperative that we involve citizens at the grassroots level in this effort,” Sanders said. “We want and need the thinking of people at the local level as to how they can move their cities and towns forward in this area because they know the needs of their towns, schools and public buildings better than anyone else – and this program gives them the flexibility to prioritize how these federal funds should be spent.”
Sanders also secured $25,000 to expand the “Crossroads After School” program at Highgate Elementary School. The program will use the funding to provide more choices for children, expanded anti-bullying initiatives, incentives for more adults to lead before- and after-school groups, greater support for at-risk children, and greater resources for improving numeracy and literacy skills for K-6 students.
"Most parents know that these are tough times in which to raise kids. We worry about drugs, we worry about kids dropping out of school or doing poorly, we worry about kids getting involved in criminal activities,” said Sanders. “Obviously, there are a lot of ways to respond to these concerns, but what I have always believed is that we take a giant step forward when we provide young people with constructive activities. Whether it is an after-school mentoring program, employment-internships, athletics, music, camping or just a place for kids to hang out together - our young people do much better when they are able to channel their energies into constructive and positive activities.”
Sanders, a member of the Senate education, energy and environment committees, was joined at the press conference at Highgate Elementary School by David Jescavage, the Highgate Center town administrator, and Madeline Young, principal of the elementary school.