Oak Creek — Community groups looking to use school-owned facilities may face new fees this school year, with some areas having a rental charge for the first time and other areas having a new fee structure.
The School Board discussed the matter Aug. 26. The proposal, submitted by Superintendent Sara Burmeister, would create usage fees for 14 facilities and adjust existing fees for other facilities. Money collected from renting out school district property would go toward a public service fund and used to upgrade and maintain the facilities.
Fees would vary based on the type of group arranging the rental and facility to be rented. Local groups would pay between $5 and $35 dollars to rent facilities, non-local nonprofit groups would pay more and businesses even more. For example, the soccer field would cost the Oak Creek Soccer Club $10 per hour to rent, a non-local soccer club $20 and a business $30.
The proposal drastically reduces how much businesses have to pay for renting facilities. Previously, a business would have to pay $140 per hour to rent a gym or $100 per hour to rent a classroom. Under the new structure, a gym would cost $60 per hour for a business and a classroom $30. Burmiester said she thought the older fee structure, which predates her career in the district, charged businesses more to dissuade them from using the facilities.
She added that in her 13 years working in the district, she has rarely seen a business rent a school facility.
No surprises for users
The soccer fields are currently free for the soccer club to use, but Milan Maksimovic, club president, said he knew the fees were on their way. For the past five years, field registration forms have noted that the district may charge the group in the future.
Maksimovic said the club has been maintaining the facilities, painting soccer lines and helping cut the grass. If the group is charged to use the fields this year, he said, it would no longer perform those tasks.
"That was part of the deal," he said.
With the change, he noted, "We still do and will have a good working relationship with the school district."
Burmiester said the basketball clubs have historically had to pay to use the gyms and that the new structure would make charging more consistent throughout the district.
Rates and funds
Computer labs, libraries, outdoor stadiums, fields and the pool are now available without a fee. Burmiester said the new system will allow for a buildings and grounds supervisor to be present when the facilities are used. The supervisor would make sure the facilities aren't misused or abused.
"Even something like having gum on the field creates a problem," she added. "That's a costly thing for us to fix."
The district doesn't charge taxes to support a public service fund and instead uses fees from programs and sports events to pay for maintaining and upgrading publicly used facilities. One recent use of public service fund dollars went to upgrading the high school pool.
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