Bovina swinging, but without playground|School district leaves purchase up to parents

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eight weeks after opening its doors for the first time in almost a decade, Bovina Elementary is in full swing with students, classes and activities inside — but not outside.

The school has no playground equipment and the Vicksburg Warren School District doesn’t plan to provide any.

“The district provided the landscaping and got everything ready, now it’s up to us,” said principal Miki Ginn. “Traditionally it is the job of the PTO to purchase the equipment and because we’re new we had to start from scratch with our fund-raising.”

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“We got out of the playground equipment business long ago because it is a liability,” Superintendent James Price said. “As long as the parents show us the equipment for approval before they put it in, it works for us.”

The goal of getting equipment has become the main focus of the PTO, Ginn said.

Students do have an open field for play as well as a few sports courts that were put in before the school was closed when two larger elementaries were opened to serve the district’s needs.

Plans to raise funds center around a fall festival, to be held sometime during the middle two weeks of November; the festival was a tradition before the school closed down.

“There’s just a lot of interest in doing the carnival again,” Ginn said. “We will do booths for the kids and a dinner of some sort and we’re trying to get entertainment; that’s why we’re waiting to nail down the official date, because we want to see who is available and we think entertainment would give it an extra little punch. We’re also looking at doing a box maze in the auditorium and a raffle.”

Ginn also said the type of playground equipment the PTO will purchase will depend on the amount of money raise though the group has a pretty good idea of what they want.

“We are thinking of getting an all-in-one type set for the younger kids with swings and a slide and all that included in the same set,” said Ginn. “For the older kids we know we want swings; that is the main thing they’ll play on. We also want to make sure we leave some open space for them to play and run around, one, because they love to bring footballs and play games out there and two, because we have regulations from the state that dictate the amount of exercise our students need to have each week and we don’t want to limit that.”

The Mississippi Department of Education began requiring elementary students to complete about 30 minutes of physical education a day, or 150 minutes each week, in an effort to combat obesity and promote health in 2006. Middle school students are required to exercise 150 minutes each week as well and high school students are required to have two semesters of physical education to graduate.

In the meantime, Bovina’s students seem to be having a good time during recess despite the lack of equipment.

“They have fun out there now,” said Ginn, “but we want them to have more.”