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Policy 10020 - Use of School Facilities

The purpose of this policy is to provide a uniform procedure to establish processes that provide for the use of public school facilities in Howard County.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

Public school facilities in Howard County are devoted primarily to instructional programs and school-sponsored activities. Nonetheless, the Board of Education of Howard County recognizes that facilities paid for by the taxpayers of Howard County should be utilized to the fullest extent possible. It is the determination of the Board that the interests of the Howard County community merit the use of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) facilities. Thus, the use of school facilities for community purposes is encouraged by the Board and is in accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a uniform procedure to establish processes that provide for the use of public school facilities in Howard County.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Adult Sports – Athletic programs offered for participants 18 years and older.

  2. Day Care – A nonprofit licensed or government-sponsored child care program for which a fee is charged and which serves school age children on a regularly scheduled basis as a supplement to the parent’s primary care of the child.

  3. Educational Programs – Activities that provide instruction to students.

  4. Energy Fee – The amount assessed to cover the cost of modifying prescribed temperature settings stated in the Guidelines for Energy Conservation.

  5. Facility Fee – Cost assessed for the use of a specific room or area within a school facility to cover the cost associated with the basic maintenance of the room.

  6. Meetings – Assemblies sponsored by organizations such as civic associations, political groups, home owner associations, religious groups, etc.

  7. Nonprofit Activities – Activities or meetings whose objective is to provide a community service and which neither profit from nor promote the personal gain of an individual or a group of individuals.

  8. Nonprofit Organization – An organization, institution, association, society, club, and/or corporation that is exempt from taxation under Maryland Law 501 classification of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. Section 501 or any successor law), or under another tax-exempt, non-stock corporation.

  9. Performing Arts Activities – Activities involving arts or skills that require performance.

  10. Recreational Activities – Leisure programs or activities of a nonsports nature.

  11. School-Related Support Organization – An entity incorporated as a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to support the HCPSS, an HCPSS school, or an HCPSS school club, and one that carries liability insurance. These include PTAs, PTSAs, and Booster Clubs.

  12. School-Sponsored Program – An activity, event, or meeting developed or organized by the HCPSS, with the knowledge and approval of the associated school principal, that is under the direction and control of an authorized HCPSS employee working within the scope of one’s duties, where the HCPSS assumes full responsibility and liability for the program, event, or action.

  13. Staffing Fee – Cost assessed to cover the cost of school personnel presence and/or services at a school facility. Staffing fees will be charged in accordance with the costs incurred by the Board as determined by the Superintendent/Designee.

  14. User(s) – Agency, organization, or legal entity utilizing public school buildings and grounds.

  15. Youth Organization – An incorporated, non-profit, solely youth-oriented group for participants who have not attained 18 years of age.

  16. Youth Sports – Athletic youth organization programs offered for participants who have not attained 18 years of age.

IV. Standards

  1. Application Process

    1. Nonprofit organizations may use school buildings and grounds for educational, civic, social, religious, and recreational activities.

    2. Users will conduct activities that are:

      1. Orderly and lawful

      2. In compliance with federal, state, and local laws as well as the policies, rules, regulations, and procedures of the Board

      3. Not of a nature to incite others to disorder.

    3. School facilities may only be used at times that will not interfere with regular school sessions and/or other activities and programs of the HCPSS.

    4. Profit-making organizations will be limited to using school facilities for nonprofit activities such as athletic programs, fund-raising activities for charitable purposes, and employee support activities.

    5. Any group or organization using school property will indemnify and hold harmless the Board and/or any officer, staff member, or agent, of the said Board (herein referred to as indemnities) from any and all lawsuits, claims, demands, or actions that may be brought against the aforementioned indemnities as a result of the use of school property by such group, organization, individual, or such suits allegedly arising out of the use of school property by such group or organization, or any person affiliated with the said group or organization. The indemnification and hold harmless obligation will include, but not be limited to:

      1. Reimbursing the indemnities for attorney’s fees, court costs, and all other defense costs

      2. Full payment of any judgment, decree, award, decision, compromise, or settlement rendered against the indemnities

      3. Any group or organization using school property will make all reasonable efforts to maintain the said property in the same condition it was prior to the use of the property, and the group or organization will compensate the Board fully for any and all costs of normal and/or extraordinary maintenance, repair, or replacement to school property which the Board determines is necessary as a result of the use of school property by such group or organization.

    6. An employee of the Board must be on duty at all times when a school building is being used. If damage should result, it will be reported promptly to the Use of School Facilities Office by the principal/designee. All damages will be paid in full by the using organization.

    7. Users may be required to have public liability and property damage insurance if it is deemed in the Board’s best interest to insure adequate protection against damages to property and/or liability claims by members of the public against the Board, its officers, agents, and/or employees.

  2. Scheduling Priorities

    1. HCPSS programs and activities including, but not limited to, curriculum and extracurricular activities are given priority in determining use and scheduling of school facilities.

    2. Regularly scheduled school-related support organization meetings will be accommodated before scheduling any other activities.

    3. Community activities will be assigned in accordance with the priority rankings indicated in the facility use schedules in the implementation procedures of this policy.

  3. Fee Structure

    1. Users may be charged fees for use of school facilities.

    2. Users will not be discriminated against based upon race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, and/or any other legally protected status.

    3. The following organizations are exempt from the charge of a facility fee:

      1. Board meetings and activities

      2. HCPSS meetings and activities

      3. HCPSS employee organizations

      4. School-related support organizations

      5. Howard Community College

      6. Howard County Government and Departments

      7. Nonprofit youth organizations.

    4. The following organizations will be charged a facility fee for use of school facilities:

      1. Schools other than the HCPSS

      2. Churches/religious organizations

      3. Nonprofit organizations, except as provided in C.3.g. above, sponsoring events where an admission or participation fee is charged, or at which participants engage in activities to raise funds or other items of value for the organization, regardless of the intended or actual use of any receipts

      4. Profit-making organizations holding nonprofit activities

      5. Nonprofit adult organizations such as partisan political groups, civic associations, social/fraternal groups, and square-dancing groups.

    5. All users, with the exception of HCPSS programs and activities, including all school-related support organizations and community groups, will be charged staffing fees when:

      1. Use occurs on weekends or holidays (when schools and offices are closed)

      2. Use of school facilities for activities results in overtime costs for school personnel

      3. Use requires staffing services beyond the staff members’ normal working schedule.

    6. All users, with the exception of HCPSS programs and activities, will be charged an energy fee when a change in the prescribed temperature is requested. All requests must be made in writing. The Use of School Facilities Office will provide the user, upon request, any pertinent energy management policies, procedures, and associated costs.

    7. All fees associated with the use of school facilities will be reviewed by the Board annually.

  4. Permitted use of a school building/grounds and future use of school building/grounds by any organization are contingent upon:

    1. The organization taking proper steps to protect the school property and to ensure complete safety

    2. The payment of any HCPSS expenses to the Finance Office.

  5. Groups claiming nonprofit status may be required to provide a letter of determination from the Internal Revenue Service or incorporating state explaining their nonprofit status and/or a copy of their bylaws or incorporation papers.

  6. Exceptions

    1. The Superintendent/Designee may refuse and/or disapprove the use of any school facility for the purposes stated in the Public School Laws of Maryland.

    2. Any exception or special request not covered under these regulations will be referred to the Use of School Facilities Office for a decision.

    3. Energy fees may be waived or reduced by the Superintendent/Designee for school-related support organizations, considered in consultation with representatives of those organizations.

V. Compliance

  1. The Use of School Facilities Office will be responsible for coordinating the use of all HCPSS outdoor areas and facilities.

  2. The principal/athletic and activity manager is responsible for submitting school needs within the established timetable.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

C. Other

  • Application for Use of School Facilities

  • Cancellation - Use of School Facilities Permit

VIII. History

ADOPTED: November 25, 1975

AMENDED: July 13, 1989, July 8, 1993, March 23, 1995, May 23, 2002, February 10, 2011

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2011