District updates facilities use procedures and fees

As a school district, we are proud of our many partnerships with community organizations and believe it is important to make school facilities available for community groups when such use does not interfere with school functions. However, it has recently become necessary to update our facilities use procedures, including fees.

These changes were prompted by an audit that identified the need for a consistent approach to scheduling the outside use of school facilities and charging for this use. This audit stated that it was not appropriate for groups that are separate from the district to use school facilities without a corresponding fee to cover the cost.

Thus, a committee spent the last several months developing a new Facilities Use Handbook and fee structure. These were adopted at the August meeting of the Board of Education.

The new facilities use procedures introduce a tiered fee schedule, with different rates for community-based groups that serve district residents primarily, including youth sports and community nonprofits, and organizations that generally operate outside of the district.

The committee that developed the handbook sought to be sensitive to the financial impact on local organizations, while enabling the district to cover its costs as legally required.

School events and groups directly connected to the district, such as PTOs and boosters/friends organizations, are generally not subject to fees, but will follow the same procedures for requesting facilities as in the past.

The new procedures and request form are available in the Facilities Use area of the website and in all school offices.

The process for requesting facilities is similar to the past: Groups should submit the form at least two weeks in advance of the planned use, and any organization using district facilities must provide proof of liability insurance that names the district as an additional insured.

The district places great value on its partnerships with community organizations, and felt it was important to raise awareness about the need for this new fee structure with this communication. Our goal was to put the required procedures in place to preserve the ability of residents and community groups to benefit from school facilities.