Following the announcement that Brock Elementary would be receiving a new playground as part of the provincial government's new Playground Equipment Program, DPAC asked the VSB to help clarify the criteria that are looked at when such decisions are made and to provide guidance on the question we have received from multiple PACs, "Should we stop fundraising for a new playground?" Here's the answer we received. Please forward us any questions and we will update this page with new information as it becomes available.
I spoke with the Ministry today, and this is the information they provided:
- Although the Ministry does ask for the amount of fundraising to date, this does not necessarily factor into the decision of what project is approved.
- While fundraising does not influence the decision, continued fundraising is seen as a good idea, for two reasons:
- the funding provided ($90,000) may not be enough to fully cover the costs for a playground, taking into account the site and what work needs to be done for installation, and any incremental funds raised can be applied to the project; and
- given that there are a maximum of three submissions per year per district, it will take a significant time to get to our 90+ elementary schools.
So to answer the PACs question, ‘should we stop fundraising?’, I believe the answer is ‘no’, given points 1) and 2) above.
The criteria that the Ministry does look for are:
- No playground at the school;
- Age of the equipment, older equipment is more likely to be replaced;
- If there are safety concerns about the existing playground;
- For accessible playgrounds, the number of students with special needs designations of physically dependent.
The Ministry considers that three projects per year for each district (regardless of size) does not take into account the size of the larger districts, so the Ministry will be considering how to factor that district size differential in the future of the program.