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School board approves fundraising police

Michael Schneider

The Douglas County school board voted Tuesday to make three revisions to policy concerning community use of school district facilities.

Rick Kester, director of business services, told the board the first change deals with private entities using school facilities for profit. Kester said this has always been against district policy, but recently the line has been blurred.

Kester said that lately some groups have been using school facilities for activities such as sports camps and, while the district does get some money, the private entities using the facilities profit far greater from the camps.

“Look at where the bulk of the money goes,” Kester told the board. “If 1 percent goes to the school, on an economic basis, that is not considered a school fund-raiser.”

Board member Don Forrester said he was concerned about a soccer camp he helps with at Carson Valley Middle School in which half of the proceeds go to the district and the other half go to the coach who teaches the camp.

“If we have a good camp and are bringing in outside expertise, then we must pay them,” said Forrester.

“Our facilities are made with taxpayers’ money,” said Superintendent Pendery Clark. “We don’t want to decide who can use them to make money.

“When the line got blurred was when we let some use them. Then others said, ‘Why can’t we?’

“We don’t want a set percentage to go to the school district. We want to do it on an individual basis,” said Clark of the reasons for superintendent approval.

“Some camps are good, but some are primarily money-makers for coaches. We’re not interested in those,” said Clark.

The second change no longer allows district employees to use district facilities for activities that are not district or school-sponsored or approved.

“They can still use parks,” said board member Michele Lewis. “It’s not like they don’t have a place to do it anymore.”

However, district employees must pay for the use of parks while it had been free for them to use school district facilities.

The final change states that school-related youth groups and local governments such as Boy and Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs and other similar groups must now get superintendent approval to use school facilities for fund-raisers.

Also, community groups such as Rotary, Lions, political organizations and religious groups must now get superintendent approval before using district facilities to raise funds.

“We want some look at what others will use the facilities for,” said Kester. “If a community group rents the facilities then leases it to a private group, the whole policy is defeated.

“They (private groups) can’t access it through us but they can do it through a community group. So a private group goes to a community group and says, ‘Rent it and we’ll give you some of the money.’

“We want to look at the fund-raiser.”

Kester said an example would be a craft fair in which sales are done on school property yet only a small amount of money goes into the school district.

“Benefits to kids might be denied because of profit margins,” said board member David Brady.

“The other option is to allow everyone to make money using school facilities,” said Kester. “There has to be some criteria to decide who uses the facilities for fund-raisers.”

Board clerk Diane McCoy moved for acceptance of the policy changes with Forrester seconding the motion.

“I do expect this will be a little bit of an issue,” said Clark.