LAURINBURG — the Scotland County school board is considering amending its rental policy to lower fees for use of school facilities.
Officials discussed the policy this week after hearing complaints earlier this month about how high the rental fees are.
But school staff told the board that Scotland’s rental fees were similar to other school systems in North Carolina.
“We fall pretty much in line with what other districts are doing,” said Meredith Bounds, the school public information officer. “Most make non-profits pay some sort of fee. We certainly want to be a welcome mat here. But as you said before if you have to do it for one then we have to do it for all.”
Scotland does differ from other school districts in that school employees here are not exempt from the fee.
Another difference is other districts have a flat fee for renting the facility as well as a staff fee. Scotland County’s fee includes cost of having a staff member present.
Each Scotland County school has a per hour flat rate and the costs vary from $55 to $125. For the schools, the cost includes a custodian and utilities. Security, light and sound technician are included at Scotland High.
Covington Street, North Laurinburg, Shaw and Wagram Elementary schools charge $55 per hour with a minimum rental of two hours. The rental fee for Carver, Laurel Hill, I. Ellis Johnson, Spring Hill and Sycamore Lane Middle Schools is $75 per hour with a two-hour minimum.
Scotland High School rental is $125 per hour. If the auditorium is used, the cost rises to $175, also with a two-hour minimum.
Most of the rental requests are for parties, receptions, as well as games and recitals.
Board member Jamie Sutherland said he would like to see the board consider something at the lower end of rate scale like $50 a day for the track and field with no lights.
“That to me seems a little more responsible than $250 a day, that’s what we would end up charging under our current policy,” he said.
Board member Darrel “BJ” Gibson agreed.
“ Even if we just drop it down to $50 a day, make it feasible,” Gibson said.
Gibson added that he has received phone calls asking why the Optimist Club can use the athletic fields for baseball practice for free, but other organizations have to pay.
Bound said that in this instance the Optimist Club is considered an entity of the Scotland County Recreation and can use the fields at no charge under the agreement between the county and the school system.
The board asked Superintendent Ron Hargrave to bring back suggestions on the policy at the June 13 meeting.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Valarie Williams presented a revised field trip policy for the board’s consideration.
Under the proposed policy, if trips are aligned with the curriculum, there will no costs to the students. Schools will pay for the trips. The proposed policy would also require that when teachers request approval of a field trip, the form must include the purpose of the trip, any activities the class will be doing to prepare, activities planned during the field trip. Also there is a request for activities in the classroom after the trip.
Not all trips will be at the schools’ expense, such as competitions and the annual fifth grade trip to Washington, DC.
Some parents were under the impression that students would no longer be allowed to take field trips.
The board will consider the revised policy in June.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 910-506-3171.