Board canvasses facility rental rates

As promised at budget meetings last winter, Park Rapids superintendent Glenn Chiodo presented increased school facility rental rates to the school board this week.

As promised at budget meetings last winter, Park Rapids superintendent Glenn Chiodo presented increased school facility rental rates to the school board this week.

A list showed how much rates would be for various facilities if they doubled or tripled. Rates now differ for nonprofit and profit organizations.

Chiodo suggested raising rates for either group may not be as easy as it would appear since there are some inconsistencies based on past practice. Some groups are charged and some aren't.

For example, he said, booster clubs aren't charged because they donate equipment and money back to the school. Similarly, there is no charge for the Relay for Life.

Board member Dianna Dotson suggested the district also should include the cost of staff, either overtime or putting on additional staff, such as custodians. Because 4.5 custodial positions were cut for 2006-07, Dotson pointed out, existing staff already will be spread thin.


Board chair Frank Schaap said while Dotson's point was legitimate, an alternative might be for the custodian to ask his or her supervisor what his priorities are.

"All activities are different," said Gauldin, adding some require a lot more set up or clean up than others.

Schaap said he was concerned if the district charges too much, groups will go elsewhere and the district will loose financially and politically. "If we throw up barriers, we are going to have less support," he added.

"On the other hand," Schaap continued, "I'm not interested in cutting another teacher next year."

"I'm ready to increase fees, but I'm not sure where," said Gauldin. "Do we charge the American Legion for the Memorial Day service?"

"We need to be fair and we need to be consistent," said Schaap, adding the district is going to be raising fees for parents and students as well.

Board member Helen Dickson asked if it would help to see if the fees are comparable to those other districts charge.

"Our situation isn't comparable to other schools," said Chiodo. "We have to do what we have to do."


Chiodo also presented proposed increases on lease agreements, but recommended waiting until next year to implement them so the agencies and programs could include any increases in their budgets.

Business manager Olive Springborn said fees for older leases were increased a year ago. Some others are new.

The board agreed with the recommendation regarding leases, but made no decision regarding rental fees.

Activities director John Schumacher presented calculations on a suggestion made at a budget-cutting meeting last spring. The idea was to have the district pay 80 percent of the cost of each sport and fine arts activity and ask parent and booster clubs to come up with the remaining 20 percent.

Sports that have already been cut - girls hockey, cross country, boys and girls golf and boys and girls tennis - were not included. Schumacher also pointed out that uniforms, equipment and supplies are no longer included in the budget.

Still, the 20 percent would amount to more than $6,000 each for boys and girls basketball, for example.

Schumacher said Park Rapids' participation fees are already high compared to other schools' and will go up again in the fall. And, he added, "I have heard from parents saying, 'We don't want programs cut but we're stretched to the limit.'"

Another dilemma, Schumacher added, is booster clubs have begun "fighting for themselves and they're not as unified as I would like to see them as activities director."


If more cost is put onto programs, Schumacher suggested, groups that are "rich" with active booster clubs are going to say they're not going to subsidize someone else.

There appeared to be consensus the 80 percent-20 percent idea was worth exploring but not feasible.

In other action Monday night, the school board:

* Heard another presentation from Sandy Eberhardt, community education director, summing up programs for 2005-06. She also reviewed proposed budget changes, hoping to find grants to expand programs at the Law Enforcement Center, obtain revenue from a new online learning option and gain income based on an increased census count. The secretarial position will be cut from 40 hours a week to 30 hours a week.

* Adopted the 2006-07 budget without discussion.

* Approved the resignation of John Strom, counselor at Century Middle School, and Glenn Hillyer, custodian, as well as extracurricular resignations from Leo Jacobson as assistant football and boys track coach and Angie Kuehn, Middle School track coach.

* Approved hiring Nicole Brandt, kindergarten teacher, Joshua Cook, second grade teacher, and Christina Ridlon, third grade teacher. None are new positions, but are replacement hires.

* Agreed not to meet July 3 and, rather than reschedule, will have only one meeting in July.

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