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9/15/2015 - Joint Statement from Hamilton Township Municipal Government and Hamilton Public Interim Superintendent of Schools Regarding School Playgrounds

Joint Statement from Hamilton Township Municipal Government and Hamilton Interim Superintendent of  Public Schools Regarding School Playgrounds


Yesterday, in a collaborative effort, officials from both the Hamilton Township Municipal Government and the Hamilton Township Public School District met at the request of Mayor Kelly Yaede to discuss the School District’s plan to address the currently closed school playgrounds, as well as ways in which the Municipal Government may be able to assist the School District (which is a separate government) in reopening the District’s playgrounds.


Interim Hamilton Township Public School Superintendent Thomas J. Ficarra presented information regarding the recent school playground inspections that the School District contracted for and conducted in the spring, explained that the School District is awaiting additional inspection reports on remaining school playgrounds (which should be received by the end of September) and outlined a preliminary plan of how the School District hopes to evaluate subsequent report recommendations and address issues that will lead to the reopening of the School District’s playgrounds.


The priority discussion items involved the age and condition of equipment, as well as fiber playground mulch, which is a protective base material at school playgrounds and which is recommended at certain depth levels.  Based upon remaining school playground inspection reports, the School District will work to determine school playgrounds that can be quickly reopened with the excavation and filling of additional fiber playground mulch at school playgrounds. Upon receiving details from the School District on school playgrounds that will require additional fiber playground mulch, the Municipal Government will consider the requests for fiber playground mulch by the School District and, if necessary, provide municipal employee assistance or special equipment if possible, which the Municipal Government has historically provided to the School District.    


“As a former Board of Education member and now as Mayor, I understand the importance of ensuring safe playgrounds for our children,” explained Mayor Yaede.  “If there are ways in which the Municipal Government can assist the School District so that school playgrounds can reopen quickly, I am committed to that goal.  I believe my administration has enjoyed a positive working relationship with Dr. Ficarra and School District administrators; and I look forward to continuing that positive working relationship.” 


“I believe today’s meeting was a positive effort and can attest that the number one goal of everyone is reopening playgrounds as quickly as possible and ensure the safety of our elementary school children,” said Interim Hamilton Township Public School Superintendent Thomas J. Ficarra.  “During my brief tenure with the Hamilton Township School District, we have had a positive working relationship with the Municipal Government and this summer, thanks to the assistance of their Inspections Office, we were able to complete needed repairs in time for the opening of school.”


“As Chair of the BOE Facilities Committee, I welcome any and all assistance from the Mayor’s Office as we work to refurbish our school playgrounds,” said Board of Education member Jennifer Kraemer.  “By working together as a community, we will be able to open the play areas sooner for the benefit of our children.”