Poll: Should Schools Have Generators?
Watchung schools have a long-term goal of having generators—but would it be worth it?
Member if the Watchung Borough Board of Education reviewed the challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy and how to prepare for the next long-term power outage, during its meeting Wednesday.
The district has had a long-term goal of installing generators at the borough's two schools, but there were many unanswered questions about any possible installation.
First, as board Vice President Jeffrey Bonner noted, the first question to answer is how much power do you want the generators to provide? Bonner said a generator large enough to supply enough power to hold classes could create problems.
"These are large, loud units you're putting next to people's houses," he said. He said the school grounds would be considerably reduced by the structure needed to house such a generator.
Then there's the cost—the board didn't have any idea on the costs to install, maintain and operate such generators but does plan to get some preliminary information.
Following Hurricane Sandy, Watchung residents without power could go to some area residential facilities or the Warren Township courtroom for warming up or charging devices—but the borough did not have a shelter of its own.
Board members discussed having at least one school powered which could be used as a shelter in an emergency—although the board acknowledged the district does not have the expertise to run such a shelter, and some weren't comfortable with the liabilities that could result from doing so.
A growing number of residents are turning to their own generators to make it through the power outages which seem to be occurring with increasing frequency—but does it make sense for school to do it, too?
And if so, how much would you be willing to spend to assure schools can open, even if the power supply is disrupted? Should it be a priority for budgeting?
Tell us what you think—add your comments in the box below and take our poll.
And watch for the discussion at the board meeting as the idea is studied further.