Ecker considering fees increase for groups that use school facilities

January 23, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Carroll schools Superintendent Charles I. Ecker is considering increasing the fees charged to community groups that use county school buildings for their programs and requiring most groups -- even nonprofit organizations -- to pay the same amount.

The changes would eliminate the school system's longstanding exemption that allowed nonprofit groups to pay nominal charges for the cost of custodians and for heating and air conditioning. A church that had paid about $6,000 annually for weekly use of a high school auditorium would pay about $24,000 under the new fee scale.

Youth-oriented nonprofit groups, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, would remain exempt.

School officials say the proposed charges would only recover costs of opening schools to outside groups, but many organizations have complained that the fees are unfair and will drive community groups from schools or force them to end programs.

Ecker will accept public comment on the proposal until he presents the finalized rates to school board members March 12.

The fees are considered administrative regulations, so the school board will not vote on them.

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