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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Operations & Maintenance Roundtable: Community Use of Facilities

The Community Roundtable on operations and maintenance that was held on Monday, Dec. 14, included lively discussion on a variety of topics. In order to keep the conversation going, we invite readers to post their thoughts on each question that was presented to participants at the Community Roundtable. Click here to read notes on what was discussed at the Community Roundtable.

In the past, Broadalbin-Perth schools have been available to a variety of community organizations for them to use for regular meetings and special events. Traditionally, the Board of Education has not charged community organizations for most events that are held at the school.

However, during years when the district has operated under a contingency budget, New York State law has required the district to charge these community groups for the costs associated with their use of the buildings. These costs include electricity and fuel oil use, overtime for custodians and maintenance of any equipment that is used.

Depending on the size and duration of each event, these costs could add up to between $200 and $1,000 per event. During years when the district’s budget is passed by voters, the district generally absorbs these costs into its operating budget.

In addition to community organizations, individuals in the community also use Broadalbin-Perth schools for recreation during the evenings. The fitness center in the high school is open for use by community members during designated hours. Many walkers utilize the school’s hallways to maintain their fitness routines during inclement weather.

Do you think the Board of Education should consider charging community groups to use district facilities in non-contingent budget years? Do you support the district keeping its buildings open for community use until 10 p.m., on weeknights? Or do you think the district should consider closing its buildings at 6 p.m., or earlier?

Additional Information
  • Over the past five years, the district has taken steps to address the security concerns associated with keeping its doors open after the traditional school day ends. This includes the use of video surveillance, which has helped the district catch and prosecute people who do harm to its buildings.
  • Closing its buildings at 6 p.m. versus 10 p.m. on most weeknights would save the district less than $10,000 per year.

1 comment:

  1. I have a few comments on this subject I would like share. One would be myself, as well as, many other parents have taken advantage of coming back to the school for supplies and/or books that our children have forgotten and need to have to do or finish their homework. I personally have been there as late as 8:00 pm and support leaving the doors open (a designated door).
    Secondly, as far as community members walking through the school in the off months due to the weather, maybe we should suggest or ask that it only be done during daylight hours, but they are always welcome to use The Fitness Center after that. This might increase our memberships and generate more money to pay for the running of The Fitness Center. I would also question why do we pay staff $10. an hour to staff The Fitness Center. Why do we not just offer Free Membership. It is my understanding that we are not generating enough funds to pay for the amount of hours? Is it an option to train our high school seniors to staff The Fitness Center and it count as Community Service Hours?
    Thirdly, as I mentioned above I support leaving the doors open till 10 pm. If we have custodial staff in the building working how does that cost us more money to leave them open?
    Finally, are the community groups you are referring to the Youth Commission? If we have to charge, we have to charge. No one wants to pay extra, but if that is how we have to handle one year to the next we should be able to work it out.