Policy 3280

Community Use of School Facilities, Materials and Equipment

It is the policy of the Board to encourage the greatest possible use of school facilities for community-wide activities. This is meant to include use by recognized civic, social, and fraternal and religious organizations in accordance with law. Groups wishing to use the school facilities must secure written permission from the Superintendent and abide by the rules and regulations established for such use including restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

In the event of a national or local emergency, the Board will make the school facilities available on whatever basis the circumstances of the time indicate as necessary.

Community use of school facilities will be allowed according to the following guidelines:

  • 1. For the purpose of instruction in any branch of education, learning, or the arts.
  • 2. For community meetings and sporting events where such meetings are non-exclusive and open to the general public.
  • 3. For occasional meetings and events when admission is charged when the proceeds thereof are to be expended for an educational or charitable purpose; but such use will not be permitted if such meetings are under the exclusive control, and the proceeds are to be applied for the benefit of a religious society or sect.
  • 4. For use by area churches and/or religious societies or sects, and other community organizations when such occasional use is of a cultural nature and where such events are non-exclusive and open to the general public.

The Board reserves the right to refuse permission for use of school facilities for purposes which it deems are of a type not consistent with proper use of public facilities, harmful to the facility, or against existing law. The Board also reserves the right to refuse permission for the use of school facilities to groups whose compliance with the Board’s rules for such use has not been satisfactory in the past.

Permission for Use

A community group wishing to use District facilities for a purpose listed above must apply in advance through the Superintendent. Applications will be considered in the order they are received.

First priority is given to District programs. All attempts will be made to schedule outside groups when they do not conflict with school events.

Fees

  • a) The Parent Teacher Organization, school booster clubs, and other school sanctioned groups, will not be charged for facility use.
  • b) Other organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Broadalbin and Perth Youth Commissions, Red Cross or any such similar organization may use the facilities free of charge provided the purpose is not fund raising and the District does not incur any expense attributable to their use of the facility.
  • c) Community groups other than the Parent Teacher Organization, school booster clubs, and other school sanctioned groups that receive permission to use facilities for fund raising will be subject to charges as determined annually by the Board of Education.

Use of School Building by Outside Groups

The use of school facilities will be made available on a fee schedule as determined by the Superintendent of Schools and approved by the Board of Education.

Exceptions

Exceptions to the above policy must have the approval of the Superintendent of Schools.

Materials and Equipment

Except when used in connection with or rented under provisions of Education Law Section 414, school-owned materials or equipment may be used for school related purposes only. Private and/or personal use of school-owned materials and equipment is strictly prohibited. The loan of equipment and materials for public purposes that serve the welfare of the community is allowed, as long as the equipment is not needed at that time for school purposes and that the proposed use will not disrupt normal school operations.

The Board will permit school materials and equipment to be loaned to staff members when such use is directly or peripherally related to their employment, and to students when the material and equipment is to be used in connection with their studies or extracurricular activities. Community members will be allowed to use school-owned materials and equipment only for educational purposes that relate to school operations. The Board will also allow the loan of equipment to local governments and other entities that benefit the welfare of the surrounding community. The Board supports such inter-municipal cooperation as it saves taxpayer monies and is a more efficient use of scarce or costly equipment and resources.

Use of District Facilities when Schools are Closed

The Superintendent will determine if the school facilities may be used by members of the community on days that school is closed. On days that school is closed for inclement weather or students are dismissed early for similar reasons the Superintendent, after consultation with the Director of Buildings and Grounds, will decide whether scheduled community events will be held on such days.

The District will develop administrative regulations to assure that use of school-owned materials and/or equipment complies with the letter and spirit of this policy, including a description of the respective rights and responsibilities of the District/lender and borrower in relation to such materials and equipment.

Specific Requirements Relating to Boy Scouts and Other Title 36 Patriotic Youth Groups

The Boy Scouts Act applies to any local educational agency (LEA) that has a designated open forum or limited public forum and that receives funds made available through the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). It applies to any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America or any other youth group designated in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society.

This statute provides for the following:

  • a) No covered entity (elementary school, secondary school or LEA) will deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet, or discriminate against any group affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America or any other Title 36 patriotic youth group that requests to conduct a meeting within the covered entity’s designated open forum or limited public forum.
    • 1. A designated open forum exists when the school designates a time and place for one or more outside youth community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities, including during the hours in which attendance at the school is compulsory, for reasons other than to provide the school’s educational program.
    • 2. A limited public forum exists when the school allows one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after the hours during which attendance at the school is compulsory.
  • b) No covered entity will deny access or opportunity or discriminate for reasons including the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the Title 36 patriotic youth group.
  • c) Access to facilities and the ability to communicate using school-related means of communication must be provided to any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America or any other Title 36 patriotic youth group on terms that are no less favorable than the most favorable terms provided to other outside youth or community groups.

The statute applies regardless of the entity’s authority to make decisions about the use of its own school facilities. However, no entity is required to sponsor any group officially affiliated with Boy Scouts or any other Title 36 patriotic youth group.

The obligation to comply with the Boy Scouts Act is not obviated or alleviated by any State or local law or other requirement.