ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - With more than 130 campuses spread across the city, Albuquerque Public Schools has a lot of buildings to maintain.
"We spend about $18 million a year in utility costs, including gas, electricity, water and sewer," said APS Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter.
It is a big bill the state's largest school district would like to trim as it tries to find new ways to deal with a shrinking budget.
Winter said in the past, officials have tried to change employees' behavior by asking them to turn off lights when they're not using them, but that hasn't been enough.
So the district is looking at grander ways to cut costs and created a water and energy conservation committee to come up with ideas.
"One of the plans in the future is to start getting more artificial fields at some of our high schools where we won't have that water cost," said Winter.
APS could also put fake turf on playgrounds to cut down on water usage and create their own power supply by putting solar panels on school roofs.
Winter said no idea is off limits.
That also means taking a long hard look at closing schools, something superintendent Winston Brooks brought up earlier this year.
APS's chief operating officer says some of those under-enrolled schools could be made into magnet schools but he told News 13 they are not there yet.
"There are no schools up for closure, but we're looking at the option," he said.
The committee has met once so far. Once they have some solid ideas, they will present them to the school board for consideration. Winter said the goal is to turn those energy saving ideas into policy.
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