Aromas-San Juan trustees OK preschool playground

Aromas-San Juan Unified School District trustees voted 4-0 to approve $36,000 in grant money to purchase and install playground equipment at the district’s Tom Connolly “Mi Escuelita” Preschool at their regularly scheduled board meeting this week.
The student trustee cast an advisory vote in favor of the action and Board President Monica Martinez-Guaracha did not cast a vote because she was absent from the meeting.
The current playground equipment at Mi Escuelita was designed primarily for personal and backyard use and is not the necessary quality or strength for a school setting, according to background information in the meeting agenda packet. A Keenan & Associates Safe Schools report noted the equipment needed to be replaced to comply with their safety standards, according to the packet.
“I think everybody was excited to be able to give students a wonderful playground experience,” said Superintendent Ruben Zepeda in an interview with the Free Lance on Friday. “Our equipment is a little dated and I think what everyone was thinking, ‘This will be a nice opportunity for the kids.’”
Purchasing the suggested equipment will cost $29,149 and installing it will cost $7,043. The new equipment will be purchased entirely with money from a $536,000 restoration award grant, given to the district by the state to preschool services for students “including the number of rooms for students and curriculum materials.” Play equipment that helped students develop large motor skills—including balance and coordination­—fit the grant description, Zepeda said.

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