Polk County Public Schools is the eighth-largest school district in Florida and is among the largest 40 school districts in the nation. With an enrollment of more than 90,000 students, Polk County operates 160 school sites and centers, including 65 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, and 18 high schools, as well as charter schools, career centers, adult schools, and alternative schools. The district is also the largest employer in Polk County with nearly 13,000 employees, more than half of whom are teachers. The mission of Polk County Public Schools is to ensure rigorous, relevant learning experiences that result in high achievement. To support this mission and serve its students and staff, Polk County established the following goals for its energy management program: help improve energy efficiency to save the nonrenewable resources of the planet; help maintain a quality learning environment for students, teachers, and staff; and help save dollars that the district can productively reinvest in ongoing educational activities.
Polk County Public Schools has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving its average energy performance by 10 percent. The district has previously been recognized as a Leaders Top Performer for achieving a portfolio-wide energy performance score of 96. Polk County School Board has also earned the ENERGY STAR label for superior energy performance for 115 of its facilities. In the last year alone, the district avoided the emissions of nearly 5,800 metric tons, the equivalent of planting more than 1,300 acres of trees. The energy management department has achieved these savings by: