At its March 12 meeting, the Warren Select Board recapped Town Meeting Day. The board revisited some questions that were raised about how a rebuild of the Warren Elementary School playground should be managed going forward. While the school is owned by the school district, the playground is on town-owned land. 


It sits on Brooks Recreation Field – a multi-use facility with basketball courts, tennis courts, a skate park, and the Mad River Dog Park. “It’s an asset of the town,” former Warren Select Board member Bob Ackland said on March 5 at Town Meeting, “and anybody who wants to use the playground in the town of Warren, is able to use it.”

Warren Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) president Jessica Washington said at Town Meeting that the playground is due for a rebuild because some of its equipment is “borderline unsafe.” She said that the PTO is tasked with replacing it and could expect to spend upwards of $500,000.

The most recent renovation of the playground was around 2005, according to select board vice chair Andy Cunningham. At the time, the town owned the school in addition to Brooks Field. The PTO was in charge of raising funds and managing the project. “That’s just always how it’s been done,” Cunningham said.

The PTO raises funds through events, apparel sales and donations. The PTO also gets U.S. Forest Service funds from the town – roughly $21,000 in next year’s budget. Select board member Devin Corrigan said that taxpayers have voted to give those funds to the PTO in order to support school-related programs that were at risk of being cut with the 1997 passage of Act 60 or “The Equal Educational Opportunity Act.”

School district consolidation that came with Act 46 meant that all school buildings are owned by the district versus individual towns and this is the first time the playground has needed upgrades since Act 46 in 2016.

The PTO and the Warren Recreation Committee are working together to develop plans for the playground rebuild. However, those roles, select board chair Luke Youmell said, need be more clearly defined.

“We have these possibly conflicting beneficiaries of this,” Cunningham said – with the school district owning the school itself and the town responsible for Brooks Field.

The select board will discuss this in more detail at their April 23 meeting, reviewing a Memorandum of Understanding that would outline the town’s and the PTO’s responsibilities.