School District #27 works on new policy

School trustees looking into pros and cons of creating a joint-use policy

A new policy is being developed for public use of School District #27 facilities and grounds.

The draft policy was received by trustees at their regular meeting on Nov. 26 and will be further reviewed at the committee level before being returned to the board for consideration of approval.

In the meantime, Trustee Doug Neufeld says the board hopes to get a closer estimation on the true cost to the school district for public use of school facilities and grounds.

Some of the issues the trustees are working to address in the new policy relate to cost recovery for public use of facilities; liability protection for the district; and issues around security.

In part, the preamble says the school board develops school facilities and grounds primarily for student use, but also recognizes that use of school facilities by the community may provide additional opportunities and activities for students.

“Because of these mutual benefits, the board believes in joint-use or community use arrangements with communities,” the report states.

“It believes also that any joint-use or community-use arrangement should not put the district in competition with private business and other organizations in providing facilities for commercial and private users,” the report continues.

In arranging joint-use and community rental agreements, the report notes the board recognizes the value of community involvement for students and acknowledges the many community groups who donate money and equipment to schools.

The policy also outlines a long list of guiding principles for public use of school facilities and grounds.

For instance, use of lighted tobacco is strictly prohibited on school property.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed in or on school district property. However, in some extenuating circumstances, such as where other non-school district facilities are not available, the secretary treasurer has authority to approve the serving of alcohol.

Gaeil Farrar is a reporter for the Williams Lake Tribune.