Los Angeles Parents Demand Greener Schoolyards

With asphalt temperatures reaching as much as 150 degrees, parents and advocates are asking the city’s school district to provide more shade, trees, and other heat mitigation features on its schoolyards and playgrounds.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 24, 2022, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Parents and advocates are calling on the Los Angeles Unified School District to implement more heat mitigation measures on its school playgrounds, where asphalt can reach temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit, reports Jasmine Viel for CBS Los Angeles.

“LAUSD is one of the largest landowners in the city, owning 6,400 acres of schoolyards. These schoolyards that are covered in asphalt are some of the hottest places in every single neighborhood,” says Aleigh Lewis of Angelenos for Green Schools. While the district has announced plans to add more trees and greenery to its schoolyards, some parents are calling for more immediate action. “The quickest option, if you can't wait for trees to grow, is to just put shade structures,” said LAUSD parent Connor Clayton.

The Los Angeles Times brought attention to the issue in March, when Tony Barboza detailed the negative impacts of overheated asphalt schoolyards. Barboza noted that LAUSD’s superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, “promised to release a plan within his first 100 days to green schoolyards, starting with asphalt-dominated campuses in neighborhoods with the greatest need for open space.” 

In June, the district announced a new budget that includes funding for ‘greening schoolyards’ as well as a pilot program at Castellanos Elementary, reported Erin Stone in LAist. According to Stone’s article, “A recent study by the Trust for Public Land found that when factoring in benefits gained by greening schools, such as increased student attendance, better test scores, higher teacher retention and lower utility costs as a result of a cooler campus, California schools could save $600,000 over 20 years per campus.”

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