School Gives Every Teacher Up To $15,000 Raises After Installing Solar Panels

by : Saman Javed on :

A school in Arkansas has given each of its teachers a pay rise of up to $15,000 after installing solar panels.

The Batesville School District installed a total of 1,500 solar panels in the last two years after it was struggling to pay teachers a fair wage under its old budget.


The school made use of an unused field at the back of its school, filling it with the panels. Panels also line a canopy that runs across the roof of the school.

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In its World Energy Outlook 2020, the International Energy Agency said solar energy projects ‘now offer some of the lowest-cost electricity ever seen’.

Before its switch to solar energy, the school was notorious for having some of the worst salaries in the county, with the average salary coming in at $45,000.


‘We weren’t keeping people because of that,’ Michael Hester, Batesville superintendent told CBS News. ‘People arent in this business, obviously. for the money but they should not have to live in poverty to teach either,’ he added.

One teacher at the school, Jeanne Roepcke, had taken up a second job at a local call centre to make ends meet.


Since adding its solar panels, the school has not only saved money but made a profit by selling power back to the local electricity grid.


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As a result, it has been able to give its teachers bonuses two years in a row and is now the best-paying school in the county.

‘Don’t sleep on Arkansas, we’ll surprise you every time. It’s good to know they [the school district] care about us,’ Roepcke told CBS.

Rick Vance, regional director of Entegrity, a local energy company, said the school is ‘pioneered solar panels in Arkansas’.

‘They did it when nobody else was doing it. They reduced the cheques they write to utilities and increased the cheques they write to teachers,’ he said.


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Topics: News, Arkansas, Climate, Now, School, Teacher


CBS News
  1. CBS News

    School's solar panel savings give every teacher up to $15,000 raises