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Watauga Schools Named National Campus Champion for Operational Excellence in Energy Management

Aug. 26, 2014. The Watauga County Schools system has been named a national Campus Champion for Operational Excellence by SchoolDude, a firm specializing in asset management software for educational organizations.

Campus Champions are selected annually to recognize the top 25 percent of performers from among more than 6,000 educational institutions using SchoolDude applications. By adopting industry best practices, Campus Champions save time and money through efficient management of facilities and operations, freeing up additional resources for use in the classroom.

Bob Auton, warehouse manager for Watauga County Schools, was designated a Campus Champion for excellence in energy management. He commented that “the SchoolDude system enables us to track everything from service requests to the numbers we need for budget forecasting. We also rely on it for inventory management and for tracking and reporting energy cost avoidance.  It helps us stay on top of our work and complete it more efficiently.”


For the Watauga County Schools as for many school systems, energy costs are the second largest expense after personnel.  At the suggestion of WCS Maintenance Director Dennis Ray, the school system initiated a concerted effort at energy cost avoidance in recent years and those efforts have paid off for schools and taxpayers.  Auton reports that energy cost avoidance for last year totaled nearly $100,000 and the program becomes even more valuable as energy costs rise.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott praised the results achieved by school system personnel in energy cost avoidance. “Being responsible in our use of public funds is an important aspect of keeping our focus on serving students first,” he remarked. “This program is a great example of meeting that responsibility. It shows our commitment to using resources as wisely and efficiently as possible and to putting more of our money to work directly in the classroom. This gives us a better return on our educational investments and strengthens public confidence in our schools.”

Auton noted that the SchoolDude system does not directly control energy consuming systems such as light and heating. “That requires the attention and commitment of school level personnel,” he noted, “but the system does make it easier for us to track what’s happening and provide feedback to schools about how they’re doing in controlling costs.”

As an incentive to building level personnel, a school that reduces energy consumption by more than 10% gets to keep 50% of the additional savings to purchase classroom supplies or other educational resources for the school. Most schools have been successful in beating the benchmark and have received “rebates” to invest on behalf of their students.

SchoolDude President Lee Prevost praised the work of WCS and other Campus Champions saying “The ongoing excellence achieved by Campus Champions reflects their consistent application of best practices in resource management. In an increasingly challenging environment, Campus Champions have embraced the power of technology to improve school operations. A dollar saved in operations is a dollar more for education. Campus Champions are helping their schools make better use of education resources for everyone.”

SchoolDude is a national firm offering web-based services to streamline maintenance and information technology for school operations, including applications for management of facilities, inventory, technology, and energy consumption.  For more information, visit www.schooldude.com.

The Watauga County Schools system consists of eight combined elementary/middle schools and one comprehensive high school for grades 9-12 serving a combined total of approximately 4,400 students.  For more information, visit www.watauga.k12.nc.us.