Taking the kids to the playground at your neighborhood school might become possible if the and County Commission come to an agreement.
The two boards discussed Wednesday morning at a joint session inside the about opening up schools for community use after hours and on the weekends — especially ball fields and playgrounds.
County Administrator Randall Reid said he will work with Schools Superintendent Lori White and city managers to discuss shared resources and how and when the schools can open up their resources.
School board member Frank Kovach became nostalgic recalling that in his day, kids could easily walk over to and play.
"We have concerns with vandalism, but still back then all the kids went over to Gulf Gate and play football, baseball, basketball and whatever else is going on," he said.
Most schools are fenced in and locked up after hours preventing anyone from using them. School Board Chairwoman Caroline Zucker joked she considered sneaking under a fence opening with her grandchildren for them to use the playground at a nearby school, but thought otherwise if she were to be caught on camera. But the point is, she said, is that kids and families can't access something so useful that's so close.
"I don't hear the kids playing in the backyard at the school like I used to anymore," Zucker said.
The key components will be how to provide proper security and how prevent vandalism and in case of vandalism, the process for quick repairs and replacement, she said.
And there's also the case of personal responsibility of cleaning up your or your pets mess, School Board member Shirley Brown said, such as what had happened at .
"People would walk their dogs on the playing field and kids were out there on the playing fields and run into dog doo all the time," she said.
Commissioner Carolyn Mason believes that discussion of responsibility has to start at the neighborhood level.
"It affects us all, and I think a wonderful way to do it is to use neighborhood associations and homeowners associations around the schools to help start conversations with neighborhoods and people so that we can get their input, so they can fully understand what their responsibility will be in all this," she said.
Would you like your neighborhood school's playgrounds and fields to be open for use after hours and on weekends? What about other parts of the school? Tell us in the comments.