As Los Angeles confronts a continual drought, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education has unanimously voted to accelerate and expand efforts to bring green space to all of its campuses. The resolution, authored by Board President Kelly Gonez, establishes a minimum standard of 30% green space for all campuses and directs the superintendent to develop a plan to meet the standard districtwide by 2035, prioritizing schools with the most asphalt for immediate action.
“As we confront climate change, our students are more in need of shaded green spaces than ever before,” Gonez said. “For decades, our school district has built playgrounds almost entirely of asphalt with no shade cover, which only exacerbates extreme heat. We are committing to transforming our campuses by bringing tree canopies, plants and outdoor learning spaces for all our students to learn and play. By establishing a clear goal and timeline to make our campuses greener, we are invigorating new urgency, accountability and energy to this cause to ensure every school offers the shade and greenery that our kids deserve.”
Research shows that green spaces on or around a school campus help improve student wellbeing, physical and mental health, and academic performance. Yet, despite LAUSD’s efforts to bring more green space to campuses, only 16% of district campuses currently meet the recommendation that 30% of a school campus be dedicated to green space. The resolution also calls for identifying bond, general fund and grant dollars to fund the green space expansion by the deadline of 2035.
“Green space is rare in many of the neighborhoods served by LAUSD,” Board member George J. McKenna III said. “The expansion of shaded areas and additional school gardens will help students learn and benefit everyone who lives in that area.” For information, visit lausd.net.