Because climate change demands local as well as national and international action, and because the St. Paul Public Schools plans to spend more than $500 million on school facilities over the next five years, five local organizations are joining together to urge the district to make greater use of solar and other emerging forms of energy. We invite you to join this effort.  

St. Paul 350, the East SIde Freedom Library, Saint Paul Federation of Educators, the West Side Community Organization, and the Center for School Change hosted a virtual School Board Candidate forum on April 28th. Questions suggested by students, parents and community activities were included. You can listen to that forum here:

Currently SPPS makes little use of solar energy. Meanwhile, districts like Waconia and Forest Lake report saving more than $200,000 per year by using solar panels as they help reduce CO2 emissions into the air.

But it’s not just about cleaner, energy and saving money. This issue is especially important in terms of racial inequity. Energy insecurity affects almost 1/3 of Americans, and disproportionately BIPOC neighbors (Black, Indiginous, and People of Color). It’s clear that less expensive energy would be a huge benefit.

We also want to see many more opportunities for young people to talk and learn from those whose jobs are in the clean energy field. State officials point out that there will be more and more of these jobs. And regardless of students’ ultimate career choices, we want more opportunities for young people to learn about climate change, solar and other renewable energy sources.

If you want to learn more about this, please contact Ellie Leonardsmith, WSCO Organizer at, or Elizabeth Dickinson, SP350 volunteer at We also encourage you to urge SPPS board candidates to make expansion of solar and other renewable forms of energy a top priority for the next several years—as the district spends $500 million dollars on its buildings.

Clarence White, associate director, East Side Freedom Library

Ellie Leonardsmith,
health and environmental ­justice ­organizer, West Side Community Organization

Elizabeth Dickinson, St Paul 350

Joe Nathan, director, Centerfor School Change

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