As we have often discussed, joint use (or shared use) agreements are one of the Safe Routes Partnership’s three primary policy priorities from our Robert Wood Johnson funding. What is really exciting is how we frequently hear more about how much is going on in our seven network states. Here is a sampling:
Our Mississippi advocacy organizer recently blogged about joint use agreements. As Jay reported, the Mississippi legislature passed a law relieving schools and school districts of liability for users of the facilities. The law puts the liability solely on the user. He is now working with the state health department, schools and a playground equipment manufacturer to get joint use agreements in 50 schools. Look for more on that exciting project soon. Our Florida advocacy organizer has also written about such agreements.
Tennessee, another one our network states, passed similar legislation last year and is also involved in a joint use survey. In a third network state, North Carolina, an extensive survey is being completed about state wide joint use. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools continue to be leaders in such agreements. In Ohio, the Governor’s Office released the “STATE ACTION PLAN: Beyond Boundaries A Shared Services Action Plan for Ohio Schools and Governments.” While we haven’t yet fully assessed the impact of this plan in Ohio, the fact that the Governor’s office would release such a document is exciting.
Because joint use is a policy priority for the network project, we continue to collect data on agreements and will work hard to advocate for more and better agreements. We have several network partners with a long history of advancing joint use. Look for more about what we are learning and doing about joint use agreements in our network states.