Sampson County Schools officials are continuing to update their facility usage policy and are researching ways to handle insurance.
Mark Hammond, the executive director of facility services, presented an update on Policy 5030 which regulates community use of school facilities. It was presented to the Board of Education during a recent work session. One of the issues of concern is the insurance requirement.
Under the damage and liability insurance section, all user groups, except school-sponsored organizations must provide a certificate of insurance for general liability coverage of $1 million.
“Apparently, that’s been done a little bit differently in the past,” Hammond said. “We had a waiver and it has come up with different people who’ve been using the facility.”
Hammond added that he deals with questions regarding the waiver and people not having insurance.
We had (Board Attorney Benjamin Lee Wright) look over it and he said that the use of a waiver is not going to protect the school system at all,” Hammond said.
Before the meeting, it was suggested by Wright to remove a portion that reads: “Alternatively, the superintendent or designee may require the user group to execute a waiver of liability that states that no liability will be attached to the board of education, individually or collectively, for personal injury or personal property damage by reason of use of the school property.”
While discussing the impact on groups, Hammond said an organization wanted to use the Charles E. Perry building for a gospel concert. The proper forms and payment were submitted, but an insurance policy was not submitted. That’s something the group was not required to do previously.
“It’s groups like that where it’s the biggest issue,” Hammond said. “Obviously our school groups don’t have to have coverage.”
Depending on certain type of events, a one-day policy for $1 million is usually between $50 and $200. Hammond said it could be aggravating for some, although it’s a simple process.
From a liability standpoint, SCS Vice Chair Kim Schmidlin believes it’s a smart thing to do. Board Chair Tim Register said he’s a little concern about the expense of renting facilities and insurance.
“I’m a firm believer in that the facilities should be used more, if they can be,” Register said. “But I understand the need for us to have the liability insurance.”
He made a suggestion to have the district’s insurance provider to cover special events.
“We might be able to get it at a cheaper rate than it would cost the individual groups,” Register said. “I think that might be worth asking. We’re trying to send a message to the community that we’re look after their interest.”
Register said there’s going to be times where the insurance cost is a lot of money for certain groups. Hammond agreed and said facility usage is encouraged by groups.
“But at the same time, we need to be covered as well,” Hammond said regarding insurance.
If the district was to pay for insurance, it will probably be included in the total fees. After contacting school agencies, Hammond reported that SCS’s fees are close to other nearby districts. As an example, gym rentals in Sampson County are $100 per day, in addition to custodial and utility fees. Auditoriums are $150.
“We are the low end, but we’re right in line with what other groups charge,” Hammond said.
Board members are scheduled to discuss paying for insurance at their next regular meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26 at Salemburg Elementary School, 404 E. College St., Salemburg.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.