Decision on Mountain House school use fees postponed
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 20, 2014 | 2468 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — In response to growing concerns about access and costs to use school facilities in Lammersville Unified School District, the creation of a Facilities Use Policy has been delayed, according to Matthew Balzarini, chairman of a facilities use committee.

“We’re not going to meet the current timeline,” he said. “We have a lot more questions (than answers).”

Originally slated to present a policy to the school board on July 1 for a vote, the committee decided to delay that presentation until August, Balzarini said.

After a June 4 committee meeting on the cost to use facilities at Mountain House High School, an online petition was circulated by resident Corey Strock about use restrictions. The petition called for the all-weather track at the high school to be open to residents in the evenings and one weekend per week. It was signed by more than 200 people.

Balzarini said it raised more questions for the committee.

“The petition is great, but it doesn’t tell me anything,” he said.

He said he and Strock sat down and discussed the matter, which resulted in more ideas to meet the needs of the residents and still protect the facilities for students.

“We had a good flow of ideas,” Balzarini said. “We’re hearing issues we didn’t know existed, causing our delay to file it (policy). It’s a good thing. I’d rather get it right the first time.”

One suggestion was installing a card reader on one of the high school track gates, Balzarini said. A resident who wanted to use the track would apply, pay a fee and use the card to gain access. The idea is under review by Superintendent Kirk Nicholas and officials of Turner Construction, who are building the high school, slated to open in August.

“A lot of people want (track) access,” Strock told the board.

“That came across loud and clear,” Balzarini said. “Everyone wants to use the track. I get it.”

Another petition that is reportedly circulating around Mountain House requests the abolishment of proposed fees to use K-8 facilities, Balzarini said.

The committee hopes to have a facilities fee policy in place by Sept. 1, if the committee’s recommendations are approved by the board. Groups wishing to use LUSD fields could then apply, and if approved, they would not have to pay a fee until after Sept. 1 if it applied.

Balzarini said the school board has also decided to not allow the use of indoor school facilities until after the start of school, which has been a board policy in previous years.

In the case of multiple applications for the same facility, the committee members decided to suggest a lottery system based on the date of each application.

On the issue of renting out school kitchens, the district’s food service director, Bernie Hall, said that a member of her staff would have to be present at all times.

“There’s a liability using the equipment,” she said. “That equipment is very dangerous, especially at the high school. You can’t take a finger off on the football field, and you can take a finger off in a kitchen.”

Committee member Alvina Keyser, an LUSD chief business official, suggested charging renters a $20 hourly fee to have a food-service worker present, with a two-hour minimum. Rental fees would be placed in a separate district account and used to maintain the facilities that were rented with those fees.

When a woman asked if groups could pay for the total time they used a field, rather than by hour, Balzarini explained that the committee had looked at other school districts and found that they charged hour by hour.

“This is a work in progress,” he said. “I believe we’re making progress.”

The committee decided to cancel a meeting that had been scheduled Monday and will meet next at 6 p.m. July 7 in the district office.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

 
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