The Arkansas Joint Use Agreement (JUA) Grant is a competitive application process made possible and supported by Arkansas’ Governor Mike Beebe and the Arkansas Tobacco Excise Tax created by Arkansas Act 180 of 2009. These funds aid schools in adoption and implementation of joint use policy and forming collaborative partnerships with local community resources with the intent of maximizing resources while increasing opportunities for physical activity. Funds are available each fiscal year based on Tobacco Excise Tax appropriations or until funds are expended. The JUA is a collaboration of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI).
Joint use agreements are formed to meet shared goals and community needs while focusing on maximizing resources and increasing opportunity for physical activity. A JUA allows schools and communities unique opportunities for children and adults to be healthier individuals. A JUA refers to a school forming an ongoing partnership with one or more entities, organizations, or cities to share indoor or outdoor space/s to meet shared goals and community needs. Through the shared use of space, schools and communities save money while providing more amenities and services to both students and community members.
According to the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), health and success in school are interrelated. Strong school based policies have the ability to impact student health. Policies regarding the encouragement and implementation of joint use play an essential role because often times the schools recreation facility is the only existing facility available in an area or within walking distance of neighboring residential areas.
Joint use policies and practices can provide schools and communities with access to safe and attractive indoor and outdoor recreation facilities for physical activity and are an important obesity prevention strategy in communities that lack access to safe places to be physically active. The State’s efforts will lay the ground work to advance state and local policies that increase community access to school physical activity and recreation facilities outside of the regular school day.
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