‘Pay-to-plug’ in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Birmingham School District teachers will have to "pay-to-plug" beginning in January, according to a student newspaper, as the district stops footing the electric bill for extra appliances that teachers bring to school.

An inventory of Seaholm High School turned up more than 280 appliances, including space heaters, microwaves and small refrigerators that belong to school employees, the Seaholm Highlander reported.

Principal Terry Piper told the Highlander that, "When we didn't have to worry about finances, we figured okay, whatever they cost we can just cover that as a district. But now, you know, we're looking for every possible way to save money."

The Birmingham School District pays about $5 million annually for utilities, with electricity costs as the major share, according to the Highlander. Teachers now will have to pay an annual amount to use personal appliances, such as $26 for a radio or $151 for a full-size refrigerator.

Piper said she expects electricity use to decrease, which will save money and also make the district "greener," the Highlander reported.

Seaholm Highlander, "BPS staff now must choose between tossing extra electronics or paying to keep them," Dec. 17, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007