RIDGEFIELD \u2014 Anticipating a budget surplus at the end of the fiscal year, the education board hopes to use that money to make the school playgrounds more accessible. The school board has requested to the Board of Finance that a non-lapsing fund be created for playground enhancements. What schools would see the work is still being determined, but the idea is that the projects would make the playgrounds accessible to all students. \u201cWe\u2019re not just looking to the standard of the law,\u201d Elizabeth Hannaway, assistant superintendent of special services, told school board members at last Monday\u2019s meeting. \u201cWe\u2019re looking to create an inclusive environment, but until we can fully get to that point we\u2019re at least improving to get to the standard of law.\u201d School board members unanimously supported the request, which the finance board is expected to consider at a June meeting. Exactly how much money will be leftover in the budget is unclear, but the district expects savings due to a \u201cone-time adjustment in insurance,\u201d Superintendent Susie Da Silva said. The town is responsible for upgrade the school playgrounds, and school and municipal officials have been collaborating for almost a year on identifying priorities for potential upgrades, she said. \u201cIn some cases, some are fine right now but certainly need to be on a cycle for updates at some point,\u201d she said. \u201cSo we prioritized that \u2014 sometimes that\u2019s just based on the condition of the playground, that could be based on accessibility. It also could have been on the dynamics of the schools.\u201d Some schools have programs with students with physical disabilities who \u201cneed to be able to access their program and that includes our facilities,\u201d Da Silva said. \u201cBut all playgrounds aren\u2019t created equal \u2014 the fencing that some need, the prep work that others need,\u201d she said. \u201cWhat we really thought was important was we have a memorialized plan of what will be the priorities based on what we know about our kids our schools and accessibility.\u201d The proposed fund wouldn\u2019t be able to cover the full cost of projects, so Ridgefield would look to combine fundraising dollars and town funds to complete the work, she said. \u201cWe know that the amount of money is not going to cover the needs, but at least it's a start, right?\u201d she said. \u201cAnd then between us, between the town, whoever, then perhaps we can be thinking about how this might go into capital and create some type of cycle. What I do know is that this will help, and I'm hopeful that the Board of Finance will believe this will be helpful.\u201d Da Silva said \u201cgenerous\u201d Parent Teacher Associations have traditionally raised money for upgrades to playgrounds. Some of those projects are close to funded but the town is still needed to do the preparation work and cover surfacing costs. It\u2019s possible that those projects could be completed as part of this effort, even if they\u2019re technically lower on the priority list, she said. \u201cBut in any event, whether it\u2019s the PTA, the town, whoever is paying for it, we are looking at those plans, so we are ensuring that whatever plan is going to be at our schools that it\u2019s going to be accessible for the children that we need it to be accessible for, bottom line,\u201d Da Silva said.