Petition For Climate Change Resolution Presented To Frederick County School Board

It calls for action on mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases.






Frederick, Md (KM) The intense heat in July and the wildfire smoke from Canada show climate change is a real issue that needs to be addressed now. That’s according to Devin Fair with Sunrise Frederick who addressed the Frederick County Board of Education on Wednesday. “If someone was selling cigarettes in our schools, we would step in  to protect kids whatever it took. In a sense, climate change and pollution are far greater and wider reaching, especially for students,” he says “This is a terrifying time to be a young person growing up in a changing and uncertain world, and it’s crucial that our School System have a comprehensive climate response.”

Faris and fellow Sunrise Frederick member Colin Brown made a presentation about climate change to the Board of Ed, describing its impact and what the School System needs to do. The materials said US schools  emit as much carbon dioxide as 15.4-million cars. The presentation called for 100 percent clean sourced electricity by 2023; 100 percent clean energy in all sectors by 2040; 100 percent clean transportation by 2040; 100 percent zero food waste by 2030; and 100 zero landfill waste by 2040.

“Teaching sustainability whilst integrating STEM and nature-based education not only makes students more knowledgeable about those field, but also has been shown to improve happiness and academic success. Additionally, the money saved with these efficiency measures can be returned back to the classroom and  make these in-class initiatives and other facets of our education system even stronger.” Brown said.

The resolution also calls for the creation of a working group to come up with recommendations to help the School System reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That panel would consist of school personnel, parents, advocates and experts. It would emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic) education and other student initiatives. An action plan would be presented to the Board of Education after six months.

Superintendent Doctor Cheryl Dyson said a working group for this purpose is already being formed. “Doctor{Paul} Lebo is  in the beginning process of forming of a group–that’s we committed to when green schools came here–and to come back to the Board in December with a draft plan for them to respond to,” she said.

While members were impressed with the presentation, Board President Sue Johnson said she was “100 percent reluctant” to support the goals in the presentation because she felt it was taking away services to students. “We have to physically furnish seats for students and that is a realistic issue that we’re grappling with right now at approaching 100 percent capacity in our schools,” she said.

Faris said there is financial help for clean energy projects. “There’s not always financial sacrifices especially in the long term,”: he said. “That’s more true than ever right now because there are all these grants available through many, many avenues through state and federal. Lots of these options do become cost savings at least in a couple of years,” he said

This resolution is similar to one adopted unanimously by the Prince George’s County Board of Education in 2021. Frederick County School Board member Nancy Davis asked about the status of PG County’s plan to address climate change. “Are they in a position that they can share information of what savings they’ve realized, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked,”; she asked.

Faris said Prince George’s County began its plan in last spring. “We spoke recently with Board member {Pamela} Boozer-Strother from the Prince George’s County Board of Education And I think it was basically the consensus there is that it was really too soon to see yields from these projects both in terms of reductions of emissions and cost savings,” he said.

Frederick County School Board Vice President Dean Rose says he’s looking forward to the recommendations from work group set up by the Superintendent. “I, as one Board member,  will hold our staff to account that in December, we receive actionable and achievable goals that we can work for; that we can start taking action,” he said.



By Kevin McManus