Barrington School Committee to review facility use policy

Barrington School Committee to review facility use policy


BHS sign

The Barrington School Committee will take another look at a use of school facilities policy approved last year.

School committee member Paula Dominguez broached the topic at a meeting Thursday night. The policy spells out a fee structure for the use of various school facilities by different groups.

Previously, the policy classified users into three categories – civic no admission/donation, civic admission/donation and non-civic or commercial. Civic no admission/donation paid the smallest fees while non-civic or commercial paid the largest.

In November, however, the school committee voted to adopt a new policy that added a fourth category: Non-profit or Barrington business. Organizations in this category pay more than civic admission/donation groups but less than non-civic or commercial groups.

Some fees within the structure were also increased. Civic admission/donation groups, for example, previously paid $40 to use the middle or high school auditorium for four fours plus additional hourly fees for necessary personnel. The new policy bumped the rate to $50 for four hours.

Ms. Dominguez said the new policy’s “inconsistencies” concern her. She also expressed concern with how the school committee communicated its new policy to facility users and a lack of criteria for determining how organizations are classified.

Ms. Dominguez said the policy opens up the school committee to criticism and potentially, litigation. She said it makes sense to take a “thoughtful pause” and re-consider the issue.

School committee member Kate Brody agreed it is important to developer specific language detailing how organizations are classified. She also noted the change was aimed at generating consistency between policies concerning the use of municipal and school facilities.

Ms. Dominguez asked that the matter be put before the school committee’s policy sub-committee. She also asked the school committee revert back to the previous policy while the sub-committee works on a revision.

Superintendent Michael Messore said the matter will be placed on the school committee’s next agenda, currently scheduled for Feb. 14.

Ms. Dominguez said about 120 groups around town use school facilities.