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Q&AZ: Why are playgrounds closed when schools aren't in session?

Q&AZ is supported in part by Abrazo Health

Schools typically close their playgrounds when not in session. A listener said she used to take her kids to a Scottsdale elementary school to play, but now sees the grounds are closed. Through KJZZ's Q&AZ project, the listener asks why not let taxpayers use that space even when schools isn't in operation. 

Allowing playground use before or after school or on weekends creates a liability issue if they are not being used appropriately at all times, said a Scottsdale Unified School District spokeswoman. She added that playground equipment has been vandalized and damaged, which is costly and time-consuming to repair.

The spokeswoman argued that keeping playgrounds closed when schools are not in session is a more responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

"Thankfully, Scottsdale is home to many excellent city parks and recreational facilities," she said. "Our No. 1 focus is to make sure that our students have a safe playground to use during the school day."

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Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.