School facility rental policy draws debate

September 08, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A revised policy for how school facilities can be rented and used will go before the Waynesboro Area School Board in coming weeks for a decision on what should be incorporated.

Policy updates coordinate with the completion of construction at Waynesboro Area Senior High School. That construction gave the school a new, two-story auditorium.

Board members said Tuesday they want to continue renting facilities on a "first come, first served" basis.

"Making one group more favored as a priority, we don't think it's fair," Board President K. Marilyn Smith said.

Allison Hickman, from A&B Dance Dimensions in Waynesboro, addressed the board with several concerns she had regarding the policy. She suggested a few changes.

Among them was deleting a section that prohibits renting the high school auditorium or gymnasium between Memorial Day and the day after graduation.


Hickman referenced an old memo that identified security concerns as the reason for that restriction. She argued, however, that the concerns should be remedied by a new entrance near the auditorium.

Smith said she understands Hickman might want to use the auditorium for a dance recital around that time, but student pranks and vandalism traditionally occur at a higher rate then.

"It is truly a security thing," she said.

"There are 52 weeks in the year. We're only asking the high school be set aside for those several weeks," board member Pat Heefner said, saying she agrees with the potential security problems and also feels the high school is exceptionally busy at the end of the year.

Board members concurred they'd maintain the current hourly custodial rates passed onto renters. The policy also gives school officials authority to deny facility use if custodians are not available.

Hickman asked that the board consider whether a third-party custodial service would be acceptable. She posed the same question regarding security staff.

A custodian from outside the district might not be familiar with the mechanical systems, Superintendent James Robertson said. For example, that person might not know where shut-off valves are if a boiler breaks, he said.

Hickman also requested the board clarify the policy section that identifies what types of entities can rent facilities.

The Herald-Mail Articles