San Francisco supervisor helping to reopen schoolyards on weekends 

click to enlarge Supervisor Mark Farrell has played a large part in getting school playgrounds open on the weekends in San Francisco again. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Supervisor Mark Farrell has played a large part in getting school playgrounds open on the weekends in San Francisco again.

More of San Francisco’s schoolyards are opening up to the public over the weekends thanks to the efforts of Supervisor Mark Farrell, who is calling on more principals to get on board.

Due to budget cuts years ago, the San Francisco Unified School District started shuttering schoolyards on weekends. But under the Shared Schoolyards project, which is receiving a boost from Farrell, more and more are reopening.

Farrell has spearheaded a campaign that has raised about $100,000 annually to pay for the unlocking and locking of the gates, cleanup and programming.

Since he began his effort in June, 24 schoolyards have reopened. Not only does it provide space for kids to bike and play sports, it’s also curbing vandalism and break-ins at some sites and even leaving the schoolyards cleaner.

A hearing on the effort was held Thursday by the Board of Supervisors City and School District Select Committee in part to get the word out and also persuade other principals to participate.

Farrell said he was inspired to tackle the issue after once trying to take his sons to Roosevelt Middle School, near where he lives, to teach them how to ride bikes without training wheels.

“I thought Roosevelt would be a great place for them to learn,” Farrell said. “We went over there on a Saturday morning and were very frustrated by the fact that the schoolyard was closed and was locked up.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

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