Tara Watson

Watson

After learning that the district had absorbed thousands of dollars in expenses over the last few years, the Cheatham County School Board has revised its policy regarding outside groups’ use of school buildings.

Organizations unaffiliated with the district have always been asked to pay fees but after a recent review, the district found that some organizations weren’t paying the fees, district spokesperson Tim Adkins said.

In the 2018 to 2019 school year, the district collected almost $12,000 from outside groups using school buildings, Adkins said. If the policy had been enforced, the district would have collected nearly $230,000. 

“The district can’t continue to support that additional expense on a fiscal level,” he said.

The revenue generated by the fees goes toward the general purpose school fund and is used to offset utility costs, Adkins said.

In the past, groups hoping to use the facilities chose from multiple forms. Under the revised policy, there will be only two forms: one for school organizations and one for outside groups, director of operations Tara Watson explained in a recent work session.

Under the policy, groups will submit their requests to school principals before it goes through an approval process in the district finance and maintenance departments. Then they will be invoiced based on what building they want to use and how many hours they intend to be there, Adkins said.

Student clubs and activities, parent-teacher associations and other organizations affiliated with the district will still be allowed to use the buildings without charge, according to the new policy.

Pleasant View resident Shane Allen asked the board members to reconsider the policy during an Aug. 1 board meeting.

“By implementing these fees I’m concerned that the programs that have been part of our county over the past few decades will cease to exist,” Allen said.

The school board approved the new policy on first reading at the June 6 meeting and gave it final approval at the July 11 meeting.

The board will also discuss the policy again at the Aug. 29 work session.

Note: An earlier version of this article misstated that the revised policy had not been given final approval. This article has been updated to reflect correct information that the policy was approved on second and final reading during a July 11 meeting.

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