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Facility Use Fee Hikes Considered by Huntington BOE

Revised rate schedule could provide needed revenue for school district.

The Huntington School Board spoke mostly in favor of a plan last week to revise its seasonal facility use schedule as a means to raise extra revenue — although some warned the change might cause a negative reaction from a few local groups.

If approved, three-month seasonal useage rates for gymnasiums, classrooms, libraries, outdoor playing fields, tennis courts and locker rooms would be affected at Huntington High School, Finley Middle School, Jack Abrams, Woodhull Intermediate and primary schools.

The schedule revision would allow profitability and flexibility while keeping Huntington in line with rates of other districts, according to Superintendent Jim Polansky. 

Fees for groups which serve the primary benefit of Huntington students would be waived. 

"I don't think you'd want to take the ability to use our facilities away from any groups out there who serve kids, particularly those non-profit organizations and those serving our own kids," said Polansky at a meeting at March 19. 

Board President Emily Rogan and Trustee Jen Hebert spoke in favor of the resolution at the meeting.

"For the most part, I am really comfortable with this," said Hebert.

"I think this is going to benefit the district," said Rogan.

Trustee Kim Brown, seemingly in favor of the plan, questioned facility usage fees paid by the Town of Huntington.

District Assistant Superintendent of Finance David Grackin said a discounted flat fee is currently being paid by the town to the school district for facility usage — although the town charges the school board full price for facility usage of their facilities.

Discussions regarding use fees between the town and school board are ongoing, according to Grackin.

"It's not been a productive conversation to this point," said Polansky.

Trustee Rich McGrath warned that reaction from groups currently paying no facility use fees could pose a problem in the future.

"I predict we may underestimate some of those situations," said McGrath. "I don't think you are going to like the reaction."

If approved, the plan is expected to take affect July 1, the first day of the new school year.

The school board meets Monday at Jack Abrams school at 7:30 p.m. Agenda

lauren March 26, 2012 at 09:16 PM
How about charging the Town the million or so they owe us!
Linda Otta March 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM
and the TOWN gets a usage fee reduction? On top off all the other things they are doing to this school district? They should charge DOUBLE! No more courtesies! Especially since Mr Polasky indicates the discussions are not going well with the town! I say, This is the fee, you pay or or you don't.
Ron March 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Leave it to Polansky to try and institute this. The unnamed district he came from let's every group,program and team utilize and destroy the school fields and buildings with nary a care or fee.Why not......just let the dopey taxpayers pay for the repairs.
Linda Otta March 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I hate being a dope for being quiet! And if I do speak out against anything I must be a NIMBY or a radical! Or I hate teachers, or Unions, or the Paramount or or or or.....shesh!
JSC March 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If other districts are charging, then why not Huntington? Those groups who aren't paying a dime should be happy they'll still be allowed to use our facilities - the fees can't be that overwhelming! The town has been getting away with low fees yet charging us full fees for their facilities? Again, too bad - pay or go find some other place for your town activities. This is a community - we are supposed to help support each other. If one group is taking advantage of another, that's not right.
douglas stretton March 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM
This is a 'no-brainer". Fees should be charged and the free ride should end.

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