CHESHIRE – The Board of Education will consider policies and fees for the use of school buildings after a request from the Town Council to lower costs for town youth programs.
The council now charges $15 per hour for a Parks and Recreation Department building supervisor after lowering the rate from $28 per hour earlier this year.
A building supervisor is sometimes sufficient to oversee the use of schools by outside groups, according to Vincent Masciana, the school district’s chief operating officer. However if cleanup or other work is needed, the schools charge $50 to $65 per hour for a custodian. The school’s don’t have building supervisors and if someone is needed to attend an event, it’s always a custodian.
Leaders of local youth sports programs had complained to councilors that the fees charged for building use were hurting their organizations.
After lowering the rate for building supervisors, councilors asked the school board to consider its policies to lower costs for groups.
Since reserving school space through the town’s Parks and Recreation Department can be much cheaper, councilors were worried about the town turning into a booking agency. Kimball said that hasn’t happened yet.
“So far we’ve had some inquiries. But we haven’t seen an increase in bookings just yet,” he said. “Many of these groups have already set their schedules for the season.”
Masciana said groups aren’t charged for a custodian if there’s already one in the building. Often clubs such as Girl Scouts meet right after school when a janitor is present.
The district’s fees are only charged to help cover the costs of paying custodians.
“It’s primarily cost recovery,” Masciana said. “It’s not a net generator of revenue.”
The district had 9,300 events at the schools in the last academic year.
The school board’s finance and policy subcommittees will review information on the booking policies and fees later this month.
Kathryn Hallen, education board chairwoman, said the board is interested in the issue.
“We are trying to figure out if there is a way to provide some relief,” she said.
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