Floyd County Schools’ board members are considering a policy that would allow any organization the chance to rent out a facility owned by the school system provided they pay a set fee in advance.
“If we allow other folks to use our facilities we need to put this in place to make it fair to everybody,” Superintendent Jeff Wilson said.
If the board members vote to pass the policy from Monday’s caucus it would allow any non-school related group, regardless of affiliation, equal access to school facilities. The use of the school facilities is conditional to rules and fees which were presented with the policy.
The entirety of that proposed policy is posted on the Floyd County Schools Board of Education’s website and outlines the stipulations that come with renting out one of the system’s facilities.
School sponsored activities will always be given first priority with second priority given to booster clubs, parent teacher organizations or any extension of the school as determined by the board of education. Non-school groups will not be allowed to schedule events that conflict with school activities. Only Floyd County residents can sponsor events held on FCS property.
“Just know if another group we don’t politically or philosophically agree with wanted to rent the facility, we could not deny anybody specifically to rent,” Wilson said.
When an outside organization rents out a county school facility they will not only be responsible for paying the fees associated with the lease, but will also have to pay a Floyd County School employee to be present. The non-school organizations will have to make a request to use the facilities at least 30-days before their event. Notification of acceptance or disapproval will be given within two weeks of the event. All fees will have to be paid with a check made out to the Floyd County School system and are due two weeks before the event.
These fees will help offset the costs of organizations using the facilities currently, Wilson said.
All applicants must provide a certificate of insurance which can be waived by the superintendent under special circumstances.
Applicants who advertise their event must put a disclosure in their published or printed materials which states the event they are conducting is not endorsed by the school system or by the board of education.
“What are the pros and cons to this? Is it worth the hassle,” board member Melinda Jeffers asked Wilson.
“That is something you need to decide,” he said.
Board members have the month to think about if they want to make the policy official or re-write it to where no outside organization can use school facilities.
“We have people who are using the facility now and others who know they are using it, we have to be consistent,” he said. “We are a public entity and there is often a feeling from the public that they should have the right to rent or use facilities.”
Wilson did specify the policy will allow other public entities such as the Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation Department to continue the usage of the school facilities free of charge regardless of the way the board votes on the policy.
The next board meeting is scheduled for March 18 with a caucus at 5 p.m. followed by the regular board meeting at 6 p.m.