Parents stuck with bill for playground replacements
CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, December 6, 2012 9:32PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2012 9:33PM PST
With little funding available for school playgrounds, parents are being asked to foot the bill to replace aging structures, so their kids won’t go without.
Children at Alex Hope Elementary in Langley lost their wooden playground equipment this September when the structure was condemned and torn out.
The replacement cost is more than $100,000, but the Langley School District said it doesn’t receive regular funding for playground replacements, and can’t afford it.
“The ministry has choices to make and currently there's no playground funding offered to districts for that,” said district spokeswoman Sandy Wakeling.
Instead, the burden has been put on the parents to come up with the money.
“It's a lot to put on parents and it's a lot of asking for money throughout the year,” said Karen Moore, president of the Alex Hope parent advisory committee. “This year we've added a poker night. We've added Entertainment Books. We've added pizza days. So we've added on to the normal amount of fundraising.”
But according to the province, the district does get money for playgrounds as part of each district’s annual facility grant.
With sixty wooden playgrounds needing replacement in Vancouver in the next few years – projected to cost $3.6 million – parents are expected to step in and cover what the facility grant doesn’t.
The province has also offered one-time grants for playgrounds, but although Langley requested 12, they only received funding for one.
Brie Walmsley, fundraising organizer for the Alex Hope PAC, is overwhelmed with the amount parents are expected to fundraise.
“I've had some sleepless nights thinking, ‘How are we going to come up with that?’ And yeah, it's very difficult,” she said.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Michele Brunoro.