The province of British Columbia announced today it will begin investing up to $5 million annually into new playground equipment for schools across the province.
Students at 51 B.C. schools will return to school in September to new and improved equipment that is safer and more accessible for students of all abilities, as part of the new, ongoing Playground Equipment Program.
“All students deserve quality, safe and accessible playgrounds at school, regardless of how much their parents can fundraise,” Premier John Horgan said during Tuesday afternoon’s announcement at Quadra Elementary School in Victoria.
“That’s why we’re lifting the burden off of parents by investing $5 million today, and every year moving forward, to build playgrounds where they are needed.”
The money will go to local school districts to buy new or replace older playground equipment.
— Kristyn Anthony (@kristyn_anthony) May 8, 2018
This year 26 schools will receive $90,000 for standard equipment and 25 schools will receive $105,000 for a universally accessible playground.
“I’ve heard from parents that they need relief from fundraising tens of thousands of dollars for playground equipment — that’s a lot of bake sales and bottle drives for today’s busy parents,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.
This fund is to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need, he added.
Much of the fundraising responsibility in the past has fallen to parent advisory councils, according to the province, and those schools without fundraising capabilities were often left without other options.
Playgrounds will be funded based on those with the greatest need, following an application school districts sent out earlier this year. Priority was given to those schools without a current playground, and then to those with aging facilities.
The province said those districts that did not receive funding this year will receive funding next year, if they apply for it.