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School board mulls new policy on rental fees for school usage

May 05, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

William Blum, Washington County Public Schools' chief operating officer, recommended Tuesday that youth groups not be charged rental fees for using school buildings but that service clubs and for-profit groups be charged for using the facilities.

The Washington County Board of Education's Facilities Committee - made up of board members Russell Williams, Roxanne Ober and Paul Bailey - discussed the recommendation at a one-hour committee meeting but took no action.

Williams, the committee chairman, said he thought the group should not immediately recommend the change to the full board. None of the board members spoke against Blum's recommendation.

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"I'd prefer to get it right this time and not have to revisit it," Williams said.

He said his comment was a reference to the board's August 2003 decision to start collecting fees from the youth groups to cover the cost of upkeep of the buildings.

The school board on April 6 voted 6-0 to suspend the fees for youth groups, including booster organizations, recreation and parks groups, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Representatives of some youth groups opposed the fee system, arguing that it was draining their finances and forcing them to pare activities or start charging children more to participate.

Under the recommendation Blum made Tuesday, youth groups and booster clubs would not pay building rental fees. For-profit groups and service clubs would pay higher rental fees than they were charged prior to adoption of the policy, Blum said.

The increase is appropriate because there had not been a change in fees in 10 years, Blum said.

The change, if approved, would take effect in July or August, Blum said.

Youth groups had been charged $10 to $40, depending on which facility they used, for up to two hours per use. If they used the facilities on a day school wasn't in session, they were charged an additional $50 to pay for custodians and $60 in utility fees for up to two hours of use, according to the policy.

Under Blum's recommendation, the youth groups would have to pay custodian and utility costs, but not the building rental fees.

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