School Board Will Raise Facility Rental Fees
New, streamlined rental program could charge for use of school facilities, but school groups, boosters and Scouts will still have free access.
An updated and streamlined school facilities rental program could accept online reservations by the start of the 2012-13 school year, officials said after the Board of Education approved the new fee schedule Monday.
“We had a rate schedule that was 15 years old and had 14 use categories,” said Operations Director John Robinson. “We wanted to simplify it enough to put online.”
The new "Community Use of School Buildings and Grounds" policy splits renters into four categories.
- The first, which includes school groups, booster groups, other government agencies and school-affiliated groups such as Scout troops, can use school facilities for free.
- The second, including residents, local non-profit groups, local churches and school-affiliated groups that don’t directly benefit students, pays the lowest rate.
- Category 3, comprised of local for-profit enterprises and non-local charity groups, pays more than renters in Category 2.
- Non-local businesses in Category 4 pay the highest rental fees.
District staff also raised facility rental fees from the 1996 rate schedule to bring them in line with what other Chicago-area school districts charge.
“We spent a year researching what other districts are doing,” Robinson said. “We didn’t apply a percentage increase across the board. We realigned our program to match those of other districts.”
For example, the board decided to start renting facilities by the hour instead of in three-hour blocks. The district also added separate charges for use of computers, kitchen equipment and other amenities.
Fees in the new schedule range from $12 per hour for use of a classroom by a Category 2 group to $240 per hour for use of Geneva High School’s contest gym by a Category 4 group. Renters in Categories 2-4 will have to pay a $10 contract preparation fee and $27 per every two hours for custodial and security services.
“This is not about making money for the district,” Robinson said. “We have nice facilities that the taxpayers have already paid for. It makes no sense for other people to build duplicate facilities. We’re just trying to recapture the costs incurred by letting people use our facilities.”