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'Outrageous' New Policy Charges Groups To Use School Facilities

Wayne Boys & Girls Club calls policy “outrageous," says it would have cost group more than $400,000 last year.

Residents are expected to speak out against a new district policy regarding the use of school facilities by municipal and community organizations at a meeting on Thursday.

Organizations and groups will have to pay to use district-owned facilities. The board approved the new policy last month.

The policy groups the various local organizations into different classes. Different rules apply to each class.

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez did not provide a fee schedule but said in a statement that the fees would be “reasonable so they don’t negatively impact community programs.”

Divisions of local municipal government, and organizations indirectly related to the schools, including the Wayne Boys & Girls Club, the Police Athletic League (PAL), the municipal soccer program, little league, senior citizen groups, and community political organizations are class two organizations. They will have to pay to use a facility.

Organizations using school facilities for yearlong, seasonal, or multiple programs will enter into an annual contract with the district. Usage fees will be negotiated by the board and included in the contracts.

Joe Lynch, chief professional officer of the Wayne Boys & Girls Club, said he has seen the policy. He called it “outrageous.”

Lynch said the club performed an assessment of how much it used district-owned facilities in 2011. He said if policy was in place then the club would have paid the district $410,000.  

The club uses the facilities for several outdoor sports programs, including soccer, football, softball, and field hockey.

“We’re all going to feel the pinch,” Lynch said.

Dan Halewicz, director of administration and finance for the Wayne PAL, could not be reached for comment.

A shared services agreement already exists between the board and the township.

The township may use turf fields two nights a week on weekdays after 6 p.m., on Saturdays after any of school programs have concluded, and on Sundays. The township must pay a $500 security deposit prior to a permit being issued.

Private groups and organizations must pay to use the facilities as well. They are classified as class three organizations. They must pay a $1,000 security deposit.

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez said the board developed the fee program to help the district “offset the consistent, ongoing use of our various properties.”

Gonzalez also said the decision is a financial one. The board when the council recommended that amount be cut after residents voted down the budget in 2010. The board during the budget process this year in order to get the tax levy below the state-mandated 2 percent increase cap.

Gonzalez said the budget continues to be trimmed annually to appropriate funds for building and grounds maintenance.

“We remain committed to exploring creative partnerships with frequent community-based users of school facilities that could help us meet our budget and facility needs, while also supporting their service of Wayne Township’s boys and girls.”

School classes, clubs, booster clubs, and Parent Teacher Organizations will be given first preference to use facilities before the other organizations listed in the policy.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Pad May 17, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Fight Now for Wayne Schools, Your are absolutely correct. This guy is bringing all his buddies in to feed on our tax dollars. His Asst. Super was here a week and she offered a job to someone I know. The BOE has a very poor record when it comes to hiring school superintendants. Then when they leave with tons of our taxpayers money the BOE lies to us and like the last one they say he retired. He left with alot of money after only nine months served under his contract. Funny he is working in a neighboring town. Doesn't seem retired to me. He laughed all the way to the bank. The new Superintendant's former districts are rife with nepotism, illegal contracts, outright theft etc etc. We are going to get what we deserve from these two. Believe me this is all about creating job's for connected friends. As fast as the money comes in they will spend it. All the work that the Boy's & Girl's Club, the Scouts and the PAL also in a direct way help our school district succeed. So what doe's the BOE do? They are going to charge them user fee's. What BS. Stop spending and wasting money and all this will be unnessacary. Look at the huge raise's they just gave out to Administrator's and staff. They need to be fiscally conservitive. They are destroying this town and it's reputation. Fee's are just another word for hidden taxes. What's next are they going to charge children to use the playground? Adults to use the track at Wayne Valley? The BOE and these two newbies need to go and go ASAP.
Nose Wayne May 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Scondo,maybe you can run hypnosis on our board members to stop WASTING our TAXPAYER MONEY!! Pad,The curtain must close and the show MUST end.Send them BACK to the city where they belong!!Let's not turn the TOWNSHIP OF WAYNE into the CITY OF WAYNE!!
Rex miatke May 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Scondo see Pad entry from 2:38 Thurs 5/17 and then maybe you will understand what we are fighting for. I have children in the Wayne schools and I refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch our amazing schools fall apart and my tax money be spent to hire Mr Gonzalez's friends and former co workers. How do you have 4 princpals and a tecchnology director all leave at the same time?? Not only that but they already have final people in line to fill the positions??? Take a look who is taking over as the director of technology. Wake up Wayne tax payers.
Scondo May 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM
There are more people in town not using the educational system than there are those using it. Aren't they entitled to have the BOE follow resource use policy and defray the cost associated with providing the facility to private users. Try and stop the thread shift. Try and focus on the single issue.
Nose Wayne May 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
If you don't have children in school, you should be exempt from paying school taxes only!

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