Dilley – Behind the Dilley Elementary School is a one-quarter mile running track used by about 285 students for a variety of activities – or, at least, they would use it if it weren’t rapidly turning back into a field or completely covered in water in many places.
“We prep it for our fund run [in May], and then it’s good until the October rains come,” says Sara Pullum-Pinon, the Dilley Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization president.
The existing track is a strip of land that is inaccessible to students and staff who might rely on a wheelchair to get around. It circles a grass playing field, and is covered annually by bark chips funded by the Dilley Elementary PTO in a continuous battle against the elements – with water covering the track much of the year, the bark chips disappearing into the mud, and the grass growing over the track, PTO leaders say that they’re going to find a better solution for the track and the students.
“We would really appreciate community help,” says Pullum-Pinon. One temporary solution would be to excavate the track and re-mulch it. A better solution, according to PTO leaders, is to replace the track with a rubber surface, which would keep the grass and mud from reclaiming the running area.
That’s a solution that comes with an $8,000 price tag, and so the PTO is asking for donation to help cover the costs of a new track.
Students use the track, when it’s in a usable state, for P.E. classes, special activities, an annual fund run, and to use up excess energy during snack and free times during the school day.
Sources and more information:
On-scene reporting from Gales Creek Journal editor Chas Hundley
Dilley PTO leader interviews