Spokane Public Schools No-Idle Zone Program
Spokane Public Schools’ (SPS) Board should adopt a policy establishing the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency’s No-Idle Zone (NIZ) Program at every SPS school. Establishing NIZ for all SPS schools will help promote and protect student health in a way that is equitable across the entire district.
As the lead agency working to ensure clean air in Spokane County, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (SRCAA) offers a No-Idle Zone Program to all area schools. At no additional cost, SRCAA provides 2 metal signs for each participating school as well as program materials and optional math and science activities to support student learning about vehicle exhaust and its impacts on human health.
Signs placed at student drop-off zones indicate that the area is a No-Idle Zone to promote clean air. No fines or penalties are associated with non-compliance.
Current local and regional support for No-Idle Zones:
- 14 SPS schools have individually elected to establish NIZ programs.
- Cheney Public School District has established No-Idle Zones for all Cheney Schools.
- The City of Spokane Municipal Code (Section 15.02.040) prohibits excessive vehicle idling (more than 60 seconds) in the Central Business District.
Health reasons to support No-Idle Zones:
- Vehicle exhaust is hazardous to human health (SRCAA, 2021)
- Children are more vulnerable than adults to air pollution (EPA, 2021)
- Vehicle exhaust is a trigger of asthma attacks. Asthma is the leading chronic illness in children in the United States and asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism (SRCAA, 2021).
Equity reason to support No-Idle Zone program for the entire district:
- SPS Schools that have student drop-off zones on school property, such as Chase Middle School, can install signs with relative ease because these schools need only coordinate within the School District Administration to have NIZ signs installed on metal sign posts. SPS schools with drop-off zones on public streets must coordinate placement, installation and funding for sign-posts with the City of Spokane Streets Department. This barrier has prevented several participating NIZ schools from installing the NIZ program signage at student drop-off zones.
A program that protects student health should be adopted by the entire district and not be dependent on the initiative and resources available at each individual school.
SRCAA provides metal NIZ signs at no charge. Funding may be needed for Spokane City Streets Department to install the signs on posts in the sidewalk along student drop-off areas. We have not yet been able to secure a quote from the City Streets Department due to the variety of potential sign locations. See letter of support from Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs.
Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. (Jan 21, 2021). Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment.
Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency [SRCAA]. (2021) No-Idle Zone Program