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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.

George May 16, 2012 at 06:21 PM
the BOE contradicts their own policy...didn't they last year vote to eliminate the $100 fees charged to high school students who play in sports? Now they want to assess a $300 PER DAY rate on the programs for kids below the high school level that want to use the gyms that are in many of the school they attend? Meanwhile for the student who plays high school football program that requires paid coaches, equipment travel, etc they pay nothing? I am not disagreeing with that, it seems a contradiction to the new policy though
eyes wide shut May 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Sorry, Bill, the people in Wayne, especially the kids are owed a lifestyle, thats why people move to Wayne. Imagine if say 5-7% of the people left town over that, that would only put a bigger burden on those that stay..OUR kids are entitled to everything we can and should give them..Id rather payout for this, than to pay town employee's the crazy salaries they get..Oh BTW what is the cost to us to pay the NEW Super?? His Staff? Those who work in town hall that were appointed to "life time" jobs not based on their knowledge but on who they know? Lets take care of that first and not punish the kids because they live in Wayne//
eyes wide shut May 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Nose, the people that live in those areas, that pay those taxes are NOT the ones complaining about this. The vast majority of people that live in average homes and have kids want the best for their kids, so if it means taking away something that was just one of the reason's they moved here kinda sounds stupid in the long run.. They just hired an asst. superintendent with a salary of 160k here in Wayne. The President of the USA makes 400k, talk about waste?? What are the backgrounds of the people on the BOE?? How many have Phd's or Masters? how did they get to be on the board?? talk about waste?? Ill give to the kids anytime over this group..
Concerned parent May 16, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Scondo - You are being shortsighted. People with families want to live in a town with not only good schools, but accessible youth programs and activities. I agree we need to be creative in looking for other areas of funding, but making core youth activities prohibitively expensive for many families will only result in lowered property values....which does none of us any good
Scondo May 16, 2012 at 07:06 PM
http://citiesandschools.berkeley.edu/joint-use.html N.J.S.A. 18A20-34 N.J.S.A. 40:61-5 Looks to me as if it is not only permissable, but seems to be the way it is being done throughout the nation. Oh, well.
Concerned parent May 16, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I've got an idea. Let's have the police department carry credit card devices, and they can charge us a per-call usage fee. Or maybe, the fire department can do a credit check before they come to put out a fire. That'll increase revenue.
Bill May 16, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Eyes, Let's not punish the students; however, why should I pay for someone else's child for their discretionary playtime when I can hardly pay the property taxes (please don't tell me to sell my home in this down real estate market)? Cruz came out of Paterson and is quite successful. As respects to the employees of this town, agreed it is quite incestuous and needs to be targeted preventing further spread of this expensive virus of "government employee entitlement".
eyes wide shut May 16, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Bill, the last thing id want for you is to move out of Wayne, its a great community as we both know. But my point is, the less the town has to offer, the less value in your home. People move here and Wayne is desirable because of what it does have to offer. My 3 kids all graduated from Wayne schools and went on to college, i had 3 in college at the same time. They ALL returned to Wayne after college and live here now. Their reasoning, the town has so much to offer. Can cuts be made, of course but i feel not at the expense of kids. Lets start at the top and work from there, than you and i can both not even think about moving out of town..
Simple Minded May 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
You need to understand that we have an obligation to pay for the 5 to 9% increase that the Administration has earnd over the past year. We also need to fufill our obligation to the State in order to profide prosperity for all through the enlightenment or our glorious Leaders. Those who resist does so to the detriment of our children and there future.
Simple Minded May 16, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Also remember the athletic fee that was imposed upon our poor over worked staff at the schools? Thankfully it was removed to take some of the burden off the staff to allow them to perform there truely glourious work of enlightening our children.
Simple Minded May 16, 2012 at 08:12 PM
In order to continue there glorious enlightment and progress our educational system to new heights it was nessesary to extend the stay of several of our board members beyond there elected tenure there by releiving our citizens of the burden of decision. Voting is not for the masses and should be left for those who understand the workings of our system, our glorious and enlighted ones of the board.
Simple Minded May 16, 2012 at 08:22 PM
OH silly Bill, Once the fees are implemented they become part of the overall glorious solution. Our Board will always need that money to persue greater and greater enlightenment of our children. How else will you pay for future 5 to 9% icrease to keep the truely worthy Administrators in our system to show us the error of our ways and guide us through our ignorance.
Simple Minded May 16, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Your first question to the board should be "Where is my VOTE" They stole that right from us this past April and should be removed for that alone. All Board members agreed to steal my right to vote, what is next, Life time terms. Wake up everyone this dictatorship needs to go NOW.
The General May 16, 2012 at 10:51 PM
We already pay for the maintenance of the Wayne Athletic fields by virtue of our property taxes. We are being taxed twice for the same item.
Cathy Kazan May 16, 2012 at 11:52 PM
This was never brought up during the budget process before the public. This was not discussed as a possibility at a BOE meeting. The budget has been approved and passed. Why do we suddenly need new revenue? The town sports programs should be allowed to use the fields. The fields belong to the community. They are paid for with property tax dollars.
Chicken Little May 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Something you can raise at the board meeting tomorrow night. Or ask your friend on the board, Hutchison.
Michael Mahler May 17, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Our taxes pay for this stuff already. And the whole idea on community is to, amongst others, provide a safe haven for our children and encouraging them to be outdoors. Charging them for the use of a field we already pay for is ridiculous. And for those that might not be able to pay, what do you tell those people? The BOE is a collection of fools. Cut your spending elsewhere. The town doesn't even maintain those fields properly anyway. Perhaps the BOE would like to charge us for using the sidewalks in front of the buildings.
Jen May 17, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Excessive use? Why did the town ever put in fields if they were not going to have town-run programs or be used? My taxpayer money already goes to maintain them. So your kids don't play sports. That's your choice! If we do not have affordable sports programs to help our children get exercise, you might as well hand them a doughnut.
Jen May 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Where does the board get the money for the fields? From us, the taxpayers. I pay for the field already and they owe it to my children to be able to use them. Otherwise, why did they put them in in the first place? And like they would ever drop them in the future. How long have you been around not to know that government entities always find a way to spend the money, not give it back. We don't need an Asst. Super or PR person or 4 people to stand around leaning on a shovel watching 1 person doing work. No wonder why our country is in the shape it is in. My husband is a lifelong resident of Wayne who wants to build another home for us but I told him, if I move it will be out of Wayne. It is certainly not the same town he grew up in or the reputable one people once knew.
Nose Wayne May 17, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Simple,MAYBE i'm missing something, But WHEN was the last time you heard ANYBODY(EXCEPT THE POLICE) get a 5 to 9% RAISE?
Fight Now for Wayne Schools May 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
This current Board of Ed in Wayne has made a mockery of our town! Their incompetence has made us the talk of the state! Their arrogance is one that needs to be stopped! This new Super has been a disaster in a very short time! In case you’re not paying attention he is in the process of bringing many of his colleges from Hackensack and Paterson to take the leadership positions in Wayne! Wayne was recently ranked in the top 50 of schools! Hackensack was 198, Orange was 320, and Paterson 290! I guess those districts have been the model of success! He has narrowed his choice of the Wayne Hills Principal position to the Hackensack HS principal who was recently let go and a Middle School principal from Orange! He never even considered the qualified VP’s in the district with the exception of token 20 min interviews. Now some of the great VP’s that are being passed over from the district are looking to get out! Who can blame them! Do you know he just hired an IT director from Paterson’s district who was recently working at Best Buy! Are you kidding!
Fight Now for Wayne Schools May 17, 2012 at 05:33 PM
If you are ok with him hiring an assistant super, who was a friend of his in Paterson for big money, replacing principals because board members don’t like them with political favors from failing districts, replacing the board attorney to put in his former colleague, reorganizing our athletic departments in a way that has failed in 3 similar districts over the last couple of years and finally, and hired a PR firm that he apparently doesn’t use, then just sit back and do nothing! The fact is, if we sit back and do nothing, our kids are going to suffer, our taxes will increase, and the value of our homes will decrease! It was not long ago that our school system and programs were the model of what others aspired to be! It is why many of us chose this town and moved here. If you are fed up and want to put an end to this you can! Attend tonight’s, May 17th Board of Ed meeting and tell them to end this crusade of destroying this district! We all have the power in November to begin the process and get qualified board members, however, look at the damage being created before then. Remember they control and spend 100's of millions of dollars of our money, and yet they walk out, hide behind the new lap tops we all bought them and don’t even pay attention when citizens get up to speak to them at a meeting!! Stand up and demand your voice be heard before its to late!
Rex miatke May 17, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Fight you and Pad have the direct line. The tax payers have to wake up. They think we are making this stuff up and we are not!!!! The Hackensack principal to replace Dr. Beckerman?????????????? You have to be kidding. What happend to moving people up from inside?? I will be at the meeting tonight and hope MANY others will also. This has to stop.
Rex miatke May 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Please please please attend tonights meeting. Fight for Wayne and our schools. Our kids are way to important to sit on the side and do nothing. Hope to see the room full tonight. We the parents who love our kids and want the best education possible for them are not going to sit by and watch our district be destroyed. Stand up and fight.
Scondo May 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
So what is it that we are fighting. Are we fighting a BOE that will attempt to secure additional dollars that can be applied to the overall budget making more money available to fund educational pursuits ? Or are we fighting for the private organizations to have the right to use public resources at no cost to them ? We should define what we are fighting for. If we are fighting for the latter, I want in on that deal. I want to use the Wayne Valley auditorium to run hypnosis for smoking cessation programs , a worthy public goal, and something that benefits many.
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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