CHESHIRE – Town officials are considering ways to change building use fees for town sports groups that use schools for practice and games.
Town Parks and Recreation supervisors can oversee activities in school buildings following an agreement between the town and the Board of Education. The school system pays union custodians $28 per hour, nearly twice what the town pays recreation supervisors.
Town Council Chairman Rob Oris said he feels residents want the school board to find a cheaper way to monitor buildings after hours.
“I would hope that everybody in the community can hire someone at $15 per hour” rather than the higher union rate, he said.
Vincent Masciana, the district's chief operating officer, said there are some events that require a union custodian since there is set up and clean up. The schools have more than 9,000 events per year.
Oris said youth programs are losing participants.
“I think we’re at a tipping point,” he said.
Town Manager Sean Kimball said the town heard youth program leaders “loud and clear.” Some attended a council meeting last week where the issue was discussed. A solution to the fee inequity had to be agreed upon by both the town and the school board.
“This is no doubt an issue we want to find an answer to,” he said.
Kimball said with other employee costs, the building supervisors used by the parks department cost about $20 per hour.
The Board of Education charges $50 per hour on weekdays and $65 per hour on weekends, Masciana said.
Kathryn Fabiani, board chairwoman, told councilors last week that the fee doesn’t cover the schools’ costs in hosting events and that the board doesn’t make money on such activities.
The education board is working on a report concerning the fees.
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