Board eyes fees charged to use school facilities

By Chase Jordan -
Schmidlin -
Register -

Members of the Sampson County Schools Board of Education will take another look at how organizations are charged for using facilities.

Wayne Edwards, an organizer for the Miss Spivey’s Corner Scholarship, made a request to use Midway High School and have the fee waived. The request was later denied by the board. While addressing the board, Edwards said the program provided scholarships for many years and help young ladies build character. One of the major expenses is facility rentals. Last year, Edwards said he paid $1,400 for two days. Sometimes he’s paid more than $2,000.

“It’s adds up in a hurry,” Edwards said.

According to Policy 5030, nonprofits will be charged for rental, kitchen, utility,custodial and supervisory needs. Some of the board members questioned if waiving those fees for one group would set a precedent for other request in the future. Board Chair Tim Register applauded the work of the Miss Spivey’s Corner group, but he stressed that a policy is already established for nonprofits.

“At one point, we’re going to have to start measuring,” he said in regards to making waiver decisions. “Is this one worthy? Is that one worthy?”

Vice Chair Kim Schmidlin later made a request for Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy to find out how much others, such as the Miss Greater Sampson County Pageant, are being charged for equity reasons. But Register reiterated that set fees are applied for usage, which goes back to the rented school through the district’s general fund.

Finance Director Stephen Britt estimated that the district receives about $8,000 per year in rental request from groups. The majority of rental money comes from the Telamon group for the Head Start, which provides early childhood education.

Board Member Telfair Simpson added that the policy was put in place to have more control over schools when they’re rented for liability purposes. Board Member Mary Brown said it’s probably another reason the usage is not as frequent as it was in the past. Schmidlin also wanted to be sure fees are not being waived at schools by administrators, while other groups are paying more than $1,000.

Before an official decision, Edwards mentioned that neighboring counties charge less for rental services. Edwards said the organization enjoys using Midway since it’s next to Spivey’s Corner.

Schmidlin made a request for the board to get more information before making a decision on the waiver request. But the motion did not carry after a split vote was made. Schmidlin, Dewain Sinclair, and Tracy Dunn were in favor while Simpson, Brown and Pat Usher were against it. Register broke the tie as chairman by voting not to table the request.

A second vote followed to deny the request to waive the the policy for Miss Spivey’s Corner. The same group of board members stayed on the same side of the decision, which Register to be the tiebreaker. He voted to deny the request.

In upcoming months, the board will review fee schedule information and other groups using school facilities.

“I think we still need that information because I’m concerned as well if there’s a situation where the policy is not being carried out,” Register said.

It was also noted by Usher that it would be a good idea to review policies from other districts as well.

“If we’re out of line, we don’t want to be in the money making business at the expense of our civic clubs or nonprofits,” Register said.



By Chase Jordan

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.