Year-Round Schools: What Do They Mean for Parks and Recreation?

Article excerpt

Recently, the State of Maryland began a Limited venture into year-round schooling. This concept generally includes the same number of school days per year, but includes more frequent and shorter breaks. I began to wonder how widespread this concept had become and what impact this would have on park and recreation agencies.

According to Dr. Quinn Raspberry of Eply Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina, year-round schools are in place in 32 states representing more than 300 school districts and approximately 1,500 schools. Approximately one million students now attend year-round schools--about two percent of our nation's school-age children.

Currently, the highest participation in park and recreation programs and activities is during the summer months. What if this changed? What if the flow of children to our facilities was less, yet more consistent on a year-round basis? Does this represent a positive change and an opportunity, or a negative change and a threat?

Consider these few questions:

* Will year-round schools shift parks and recreation to services that should be under the domain of school budgets and thus take away potential funding for local parks and recreation departments?

* Will it become difficult to recruit seasonal employees, and how difficult will the shift to employee recruitment on a year-round basis be? …

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