Smart Schools Don’t Idle

This program began as a pilot at elementary schools in Marion County, implemented by Improving Kids’ Environment and the City of Indianapolis Knozone program, through a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Today, the “Smart Schools Don’t Idle” program has been implemented statewide and is completely free to participating schools.

An increasingly common cause of children missing school is asthma, and air pollution is one of the common asthma triggers. Studies have linked high pollution levels at schools to increased absence and lower academic performance. Even with the high price of gasoline, many people do not understand that idling vehicles can create air pollution “hot spots” that can bring on an asthma attack and make even healthy children and adults feel poorly (headaches, itchy eyes, sore throats). On school grounds, idling vehicles include school buses, parents waiting to pick up or drop off children from school or other activities, and delivery vehicles. Often, the pickup/dropoff areas are located near fresh air intakes, so the vehicle exhaust is drawn right into classroom areas. Improving air quality in and around the school buildings will make students and teachers feel better and will help reduce one of the key triggers of asthma.

School buses are often left idling, meaning their engines are running while they are parked. Many school districts and communities are working to reduce school bus idling in order to reduce fuel use and reduce emissions.

For more information about Smart Schools Don’t Idle, please contact IKE at or 317-253-1312.