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School rental policy revision given preliminary approval

July 21, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved the first reading of a proposed revised policy on renting school facilities.

The policy was revised after representatives of youth groups objected to being charged to rent facilities they previously could use for free.

Under the proposed revised policy, youth groups, school-related groups, booster organizations, and Boy and Girl Scouts would not be charged a fee.

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However, service clubs and for-profit groups would continue to be charged a fee for using school buildings.

The proposal is scheduled to come before the board for its second and final reading at its Aug. 3 meeting.

The board did not decide at Tuesday's meeting when the policy would go into effect. The earliest it could go into effect is immediately after the Aug. 3 meeting, Facilities Director Rodney Turnbough said.

Board President Edward Forrest encouraged people to read the proposed policy before the next meeting so they can provide feedback.

The policy is available for perusal at www.boarddocs.com/mabe/wcps/Board.nsf on the Web under "new business." A copy of the policy also can be obtained by calling system spokeswoman Carol Mowen at 301-766-2809, she said.

In August 2003, the Board of Education decided to start collecting fees from youth groups to cover some of the cost of building upkeep.

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.

The school board on April 6 voted 6-0 to suspend the fees for youth groups and school-related organizations.

The policy was reworked and revised before being brought before the board at Tuesday's meeting.

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