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Money Maker Series Part 6

‘Sheepish’ About Cutting School Costs

Need to take a bite out of your budget? One Pennsylvania school district is doing just that—with the help of sheep. Yes, live sheep.

The Carlisle Area School District has brought in a flock of sheep as a free way to keep the grass trimmed near its field of solar panels. The sheep, which eat grass, belong to an assistant principal for the district and are on loan. The district’s only expense for the live lawn mowers is providing the sheep with water.

“Currently there are seven sheep in the solar field. Depending on the weather and how the grass grows, we may need to increase or decrease the number. My farm, Wooly Wonders, is only 15 minutes away from the school, and we plan on bringing in and/or taking away sheep as needed,” said assistant principal Eric Sands, the animals’ owner.

This creative method of saving money is expected to trim roughly $15,000 from the district’s maintenance budget. It normally takes workers six hours a week to keep the grass in the fenced-in area trimmed.

“As the sheep are in the field, they will eat it down relatively short. The grass will never look well manicured, as the height will vary with the weather (rain versus drought),” said Sands.

The district plans to expand the program to a second solar field, Sands said. Both fields are fenced in, which is a minimum requirement for the fussy landscapers.

This is part of the district’s strong commitment to going green. The solar fields, for instance, help power the district’s main campus, which includes two high school buildings, a middle school, an elementary school and administrative offices, explained Sands. Though the campus still purchases some energy from power companies, it’s still a big savings. According to a fact sheet on the district’s solar program, “The solar array should annually generate $163,695 dollars in electricity savings and $446,500 in Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) revenue per year.”

Beyond the sheep and solar panels, the district does more to ensure that it reduces its carbon footprint. “In addition to the solar panels, we are continuously striving for new ways to conserve energy. Most recently, the district has implemented a four-day, 10-hour-per-day work week for the summer months, as compared to five 8-hour days. The district also utilizes green cleaning techniques and a recycling program,” said Sands.

Related resources

Other articles in the Money Maker series:

Part 1 - A Madison Ave. Education: Schools use ads to raise money

Part 2 - Gold Digging: School’s cash-for-gold event raises eyebrows

Part 3 - Taking a Gamble: Schools rake in casino profits

Part 4 - Cheating for Dollars: Schools fix grades to get more funding

Part 5 – Filling Seats: Bribing kids to come to school


Article by Sarah W. Caron, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
Education World
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