School board sets fees for youth sports
After a two-year long process, the Haywood County Board of Education has finally agreed on a fee schedule that will now consistently charge local youth activities for use of the school’s facilities.
The fee agreement applies to both youth league sports organizations and other groups like the Junior Appalachian Musician (JAM) program.
In previous years, youth sports organizations were allowed to negotiate with the school principals as to how much they would pay for the facilities. Some youth sports groups would make a donation or contribute items like a new storage building instead of paying regular rental prices, which raised a lot of questions about fairness to the other sports groups.
“Things were being done so unfairly, so we started studying redoing the policy,” said Mark Sheppard, Haywood County Schools support services director. “One of the things legally that people are looking for is it to be very consistent. The school board really took their time pondered it and we wanted to ensure that the youth leagues get a fair shake.”
In a 6-1 vote, the school board agreed Monday night to approve the proposed facility use fee schedule, with board member Bob Morris opposing.
According to the new fee schedule, a youth league basketball team would be charged $1 per hour to use the gym, $2 per hour to use the gym lights, $18 per hour to use gym heating, and $25 per hour for the custodial time.
When the fees are factored into an estimated number of practice dates (60 per season), the number of home games (five per season) and custodial time (60 Saturday hours), a youth league basketball team would be charged an approximate total of $3,300 each season.
When asked why he opposed the vote, Morris said it was because he didn’t think the youth sports would be able to afford the set rate.
“They said they could afford $2,000 not $3,000,” he said after the meeting.
For groups like Canton Youth Basketball, a price like $3,300 is a little steep, said Allan Clontz, president of Canton Youth Basketball and the WNC Youth Basketball Conference.
“I’m not really happy with that figure but I think it’s manageable, to be fair,” Clontz said. “As far as Canton goes, we’re not going to gauge the parents — we will figure out a way to get it done. If it’s set in stone, we’ll work with it. It will be feasible but it’s really going to make us think a whole lot harder about how to get the funds without gauging the parents.”
Wayne Stines, vice president of Bethel Youth Basketball, also is concerned about the new fee schedule.
“It’s going to be hard for a lot of these groups,” Stines said. “We have a lot of kids we’re able to pay the fee for. We have to pay (the facility use fee) plus do that — it’s going to be tight for basketball.”
Stines said he had previously made contributions to the field in exchange for being able to use it. He said in the past, he had done things like add a new score board, and mow and paint the fields.
While he understands the need for a fee schedule, Clontz said he believes that the principals and schools should be able to negotiate as in previous years.
“The principal sees what’s going everyday … and they know what it takes to fund that,” he said.
Clontz said it was also important to note that the local youth activity groups also are responsible to pay for referees, concessions and liability insurance, in addition to paying for security, as mandated by his conference.
“It could cost $8,000-$10,000 a year depending on uniform, referees, concessions,” Clontz said.
The fee schedule now applies to five criteria groups: Categories A and B, which represent the school or a school group, which are not charged; Category C, which is a scale for nonprofit groups that could apply to a religious group or a fundraising benefit; Category D, which charges any for-profit group about three times more than a nonprofit; and Category E, has been added to charge for local youth activities.
While the fees have been set in stone, there is a clause in the fee agreement that states that any group that doesn’t fit the criteria could be approved by the superintendent or a designee.
“That way if a movie company comes in again and wants to rent from us, we can allow that,” Sheppard said.
Haywood County Community Schools Facility Use Fee Schedule
Local Youth Activities
Library $10 per hour
Gymnasium (use) $1 per hour
Gymnasium (lighting) $2 per hour
Gymnasium (heating) $18 per hour
Auditorium (use) $25 per hour
Dining Room (use) $15 per hour
Kitchen (use) $20 per hour
Stadium (use) $5 per hour
Bethel Middle School lights $21 per hour
Pisgah High/Canton Middle lights $35 per hour
Tuscola High/Waynesville Middle lights $35 per hour
Central Haywood High lights $11 per hour
Baseball/Softball field (use) $1 per hour
Tuscola High baseball lights $27 per hour
Tuscola High softball lights $12 per hour
Waynesville Middle baseball lights $20 per hour
Other athletic fields $3 per hour
Concession (outdoor use charge) $3 per hour
Concession (indoor use charge) $2 per hour
Conference Center (use) $15 per hour
The custodial rate is currently $25 per hour.