This article was originally published on the website of the Office of Governor Steve Bullock as "Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Cooney Recognize Montana Schools Leading the Way to Improve Energy Efficiency and Save Taxpayer Dollars," and is adapted with permission. Read the original article

Gov. Steve Bullock recognized 13 Montana public schools as the winners of the 2015–16 SMART (Saving Money and Resources Today) Schools Challenges. Through these challenges, schools found ways to improve energy efficiency, promote healthy and environmentally sound practices and reduce waste by implementing or expanding recycling and composting programs. Each school will receive a $1,000 award to support their ongoing efforts.

“When Montana’s schools and students succeed, our state succeeds,” said Governor Bullock. “I’m honored to highlight so many talented Montana schools leading the way to encourage energy efficiency, conservation, waste reduction, and health promotion across Montana, which ultimately saves taxpayer dollars.”

The winning SMART Schools are:

SMART Energy Challenge (promotes energy efficiency):

  • Billings Senior High School, Billings, MT
  • Sweet Grass County High School, Big Timber, MT
  • Meadowlark Elementary School, Billings, MT
  • Alkali Creek Elementary School, Billings, MT

SMART Green Challenge (promotes more environmentally friendly practices):

  • Helena High School, Helena, MT
  • Sleeping Giant Middle School, Livingston, MT
  • Arlee Joint School District, Arlee, MT
  • Alder Elementary School, Alder, MT

SMART Recycling Challenge (implements or enhances recycling programs):

  • Will James Middle School, Billings, MT
  • Central School, Roundup, MT
  • Red Lodge High School, Red Lodge, MT
  • Brorson School, Sidney, MT
  • Cohagen School, Cohagen, MT

“My students make recycling possible at Central School,” said Nicole Hanson, a sixth grade reading teacher at Central School in Roundup, Mont. “Students are learning how to make our community and world a better place through the education SMART Schools provides and the hands-on work they complete. I am proud of our students, our staff and our community. Together, we can make a difference.”

The SMART Schools Challenge just wrapped up its second year in a partnership among the Governor’s Office, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and USGBC Montana. Funding for the SMART Schools Challenge is made available through the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Gov. Bullock and Lt. Gov. Cooney will be visiting several of the winning schools to acknowledge their work and encourage them to build on their successes to save money and resources in their schools.