Maria Meller

Highland parent Maria Meller shows the school board renderings of the proposed playground in December.

As a percentage of the overall proposed bond issue, the upgrade of the Highland Elementary School playground is small.

But for students who cannot easily get through the mulch that covers the playground, the proposed playground upgrade is huge.

Highland school district voters head to the polls on Sept. 10 to decide a $3.7 million bond issue for improvements to district facilities.

Those improvements include installing a rubberized surface at the elementary school playground and new equipment that will be more accessible to all students. The cost of the playground work is $376,000, about 11% of the bond money.

According to a parent of a girl restricted to a wheelchair, the playground upgrade is a safety issue as well as an access issue for students who cannot traverse the current mulch-covered playground.

April Stumpf, a parent with a handicap second-grade student at Highland, told the school board in December that the playground is important for students like her daughter, Quinn.

“Quinn is unable to walk on her own, stand on her own,” Stumpf said. “Currently the playground equipment and the mulch … that is not providing her the ability to have the inclusive play and interaction with her fellow students.”

She said the school has a handicap-accessible swing, but aides need to lift Quinn into the swing. That is not safe, she said, for both her daughter and the people lifting her into the swing.

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Where To Vote:

Highland school district voters will need to go to one of two precincts to cast their ballots in the special election on Sept. 10.

Ainsworth Precinct: Ainsworth Elementary School building, 835 Park St., Ainsworth. For the city of Ainsworth, Crawford Township, Highland Township, Jackson Township and Oregon Township.

Riverside Precinct: Riverside City Hall, 60 Greene St., Riverside. For the city of Riverside, Iowa Township in Washington County and the Liberty Township in Johnson County.

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