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Emergency services workers won't be charged for using Washington County schools

March 26, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County Public Schools officials agreed Tuesday not to charge the county's emergency services employees for their use of school classrooms last year.

Last month, officials said that Kevin L. Lewis, interim director of the Division of Fire and Rescue Services, wrote a letter to school system officials saying he does not believe the division should have been charged for using classrooms at South Hagerstown High School for paramedic training last year.

Tony Mayhugh, operations manager for the school system, said in February that a charge of $217 was applied for the use of the building Nov. 3, 2007, and another $265 was charged for the use of the facility on three other occasions.

It was believed at the time that the division would be using the classrooms through June, but Mayhugh said Tuesday that was not the case.

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"We did get more information," Assistant Superintendent for School Operations Boyd Michael said. "They aren't even using the facility at this point."

Officials and Washington County Board of Education Vice President Donna Brightman and Board Member Wayne D. Ridenour said Tuesday that they would waive the fees.

Officials said that the county's emergency services employees and the school system collaborate often, including the scheduling of ambulances for athletic events.

"They're very helpful to us," said Steve Ganley, Safety & Security/Risk Manager for Washington County Public Schools.

Lewis said in February that free emergency management training has been provided for school system employees. He said that because of those collaborative efforts, he did not expect to be charged for using school classrooms.

According to the school system's application to use facilities, which the Division of Fire and Rescue Services filled out before using the classrooms, the fee to use a classroom is $24 for up to four hours of use, and $6 for each hour beyond that.

The custodial fee, which was applied because the group used the building on a Saturday, was $100 for up to four hours of use, and $25 for each hour beyond that, according to the document.

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