|Series 1000 - Community Relations|
PUBLIC USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES
Policy # 1500
While the district’s school buildings and grounds are maintained primarily for the purpose of educating students within the district, the Board of Education recognizes that the buildings and grounds are a valuable community resource and believes that this resource should be available to the community for specific uses that will not interfere with educational activities. This policy is intended to identify the uses that community groups may make of those facilities.
District facilities may be used for the purposes listed below, subject to the conditions and restrictions set forth in this policy.
A. Instruction in any branch of education, learning or the arts.
B. Public library purposes, subject to provisions of the Education Law, or as stations of public libraries.
C. Social, civic (including but not limited to meetings of parent associations and parent-teacher associations) and recreational meetings and entertainments, or other uses pertaining to the welfare of the community, so long as such uses are non-exclusive and open to the general public.
D. Meetings, entertainment and occasions where admission fees are charged, when the proceeds are to be spent for an educational or charitable purpose.
E. Polling places for holding primaries and elections, and for the registration of voters.
F. Civic forums and community centers.
G. Recreation, physical training and athletics, including competitive athletic contests of children attending a private, nonprofit school.
I. Licensed school-based health, dental or mental health clinics as defined in Education Law §414, operated by an entity other than the school district.
J. Graduation exercises held by not-for-profit elementary and secondary schools, provided that no religious service is performed.
K. Classes of instruction for intellectually disabled minors operated by a private organization approved by the Commissioner of Education.
Additionally, as a condition of receiving state funding, the district permits access to military recruiters to school buildings, grounds and facilities to the same extent it provides access to those who inform students of educational, occupational or career opportunities.
Any use not permitted by this policy is prohibited. In addition, the following uses are specifically prohibited.
A. Meetings sponsored by political organizations.
B. Meetings, entertainments and occasions, where admission fees are charged, that are under the exclusive control of and the proceeds are to be applied for the benefit of a society, association or organization of a religious sect or denomination or of a fraternal, secret or exclusive society or organization, other than veterans’ organizations or volunteer fire fighters or volunteer ambulance workers.
Conditions of Use for District Facilities
A. Use of district facilities may be permitted unless such facilities are in use for school purposes, or during educational programs. The district reserves exclusive and nonreviewable judgment to determine if a requested use would interfere with or disturb the district’s educational programs.
B. To ensure that district facilities are preserved for the benefit of the greater district community, only community based groups and organizations (that is, groups which are located within the geographic area covered by the district) may be granted access to district facilities.
C. Use of district facilities will be permitted only where the applicant agrees to pay the district a user fee according to a schedule adopted by the district to cover the costs of heat, electricity, maintenance, custodial services and any other expenses associated with the requested use. Use is further conditioned upon the applicant’s agreement to pay additional fees associated with the use of any additional services or equipment. The district retains the right to condition use upon an applicant depositing with the district a sum equaling the estimated costs and fees associated with the proposed use 10 days in advance of the requested use. The district retains the further right to waive user fees for groups that are associated with or sponsored by the district.
D. Where, in the judgment of the district, the requested use of district facilities requires special equipment or supervision, the district reserves the right to deny such use, or in the alternative, to condition such use upon the applicant’s payment of additional fees in accordance with paragraph C above. Only authorized personnel shall operate district equipment.
E. Use of district facilities will only be permitted where the organization provides the district timely evidence of adequate insurance coverage ($1,000,000 minimum) to save the district harmless from all liability, property damage, personal injuries and/or medical expenses. The district will exercise complete and unreviewable discretion regarding what constitutes adequate insurance coverage for each proposed use.
F. The Board reserves the discretion to deny use of district facilities described above, or to terminate use of district facilities:
1. By an applicant who has previously misused or abused district facilities or property or who has violated this policy;
2. For any use which could have the effect of violating the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution or other provisions of the United States or New York State Constitutions;
3. For any use which, in the estimation of the Board, could reasonably be expected to or actually does give rise to a riot or public disturbance;
4. For any use which the Board deems inconsistent with this policy;
5. For any use by a private for-profit entity that has the direct or indirect effect of promoting the products or services of such entity;
6. In any instance where alcoholic beverages or unlawful drugs are sold, distributed, consumed, promoted or possessed;
7. For any use prohibited by law.
Application Procedure for Use of District Facilities
Ref: Education Law §§2-a; 414
1000 - Community Relations