3515 - Community Use of School Facilities

Policy 3515

Business/Non-Instructional Operations

Community Use of School Facilities

The Board of Education recognizes that the school, building and grounds, is a community center and a valuable public resource. The Board is committed to making these facilities available to the community as much as possible under proper and appropriate conditions when such use does not conflict with school activities and functions.  The Board of Education shall grant the use of school facilities for activities of an educational, cultural, civic, and other non-commercial uses consistent with the public interest when such use does not interfere with the school program or school-sponsored activities.

Consistent with guidelines in this policy, the Superintendent of Schools shall develop and distribute regulations and associated forms governing use of school buildings by community and other groups.  Applications for the use of school facilities shall be submitted by outside groups to building Principal for approval at least three weeks prior to the date of the intended use.  Agencies using the school on a long-term basis must submit applications annually

If a community group is denied use of Board of Education facilities by a Principal, the group may appeal that decision to the Superintendent of Schools and if necessary appeal the Superintendent’s decision to the Board of Education.

The Superintendent of Schools is authorized to use his/her discretion in approving or disapproving applications under this policy.  The decision of the Superintendent may be appealed to the Board of Education.

School facilities will be allocated according to the following priorities with all possible efforts to adjust schedules for mutual convenience and maximum usage.

            1.         School functions under the direction of the Principal and/or teachers.

            2.         Meetings and programs sponsored by the Board of Education, Town of Newtown Government, Recreation
                        Commission, PTA/PTSA or non-profit agencies. (Non-profit agencies, recognized youth groups, scouts, athleti
                        organizations, 4H groups, etc.)

            3.         Other non-profit community groups composed of local residents.

A custodian must be present when the school building is being used and may be required when using the building grounds to ensure building security, proper maintenance, and to see that it is used appropriately and left in proper order. Any group or organization may be required to pay any or all maintenance costs, including the hourly rate for custodial services when and if a custodian time extends beyond regular employment hours. 

The district reserves the right to assign custodial and security staff as needed.  Non-exempt groups will be billed for facility space used and any overtime incurred for staffing. 

Any group or organization using the school building, grounds, or equipment, is responsible for and must assume the cost of all damages to any school property.

The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or illicit drugs on school grounds or property is prohibited.  Additionally, smoking and possession or use of tobacco products and nicotine products are prohibited in school buildings or on school property.

Parking is restricted to designated parking areas. Parking is prohibited on all grass areas, playgrounds, and those areas designated for emergency vehicles.

The Boy Scouts of America, Big Sisters of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Future Farmers of America, Girl Scouts of America, Little League Baseball, Inc. and any other group intended to serve youth under the age of 21 listed in Title 36 of the U.S. Code may use school property upon payment of appropriate fees and costs according to the Board approved fee schedule.

(cf. 1300 – Public Activities Involving Staff, Students or School Facilities)
(cf. 1331 – Smoke Free Environment – Use of Tobacco Products)

Legal Reference:         Connecticut General Statutes
                                    10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes
                                    Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074
                                    Good News Club v. Milford Central School, Sup. Ct., 6-11-01
                                      20 U.S.C. 7905 (Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act contained in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)

Policy adopted:  July 21, 2016                                                    NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Policy revised: July 18, 2017                                                      Newtown, Connecticut                                                                                                                       

Business/Non-Instructional Operations

Community Use of School Facilities

Application Procedures and Fee Structure

General Provisions

1.             All applications for use of school facilities and grounds must be made in writing at least three weeks prior to the time of the proposed use.  The prescribed form is available or in the office of the school Principal where the activity is planned.

All applications must be completed and signed by an authorized person of the group making the application.  Activity details and date availability will be reviewed and approved first by the Principal, or designee, of the school requested.

Upon initial approval and signature of the Principal or designee, the application will be forwarded to the district’s Buildings & Grounds Department for final approval or rejection.

2.             Use of school buildings or grounds by non-school organizations will be permitted only when there is no conflict with the use of these facilities by the school or its organizations.

3.             All applications, even those initially approved, are subject to cancellation in the event of conflict with scheduled school activities, or if during prior use the facilities were misused by the applicant, or regulations were not followed, or full payment for previous and/or damages were not received, or for any other reason deemed necessary by the Superintendent of Schools or the Board.

4.             Since Newtown Public Schools receives federal funds, we must require that all applicants comply with the provisions of Title IX comprehensive federal regulations prohibiting sexual discrimination in programs and/or activities conducted on school premises.  If clarification is needed, applicant should contact the Superintendent’s Office at 203-426-7620.

5.             Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the premises of any school in the district.

6.             The Board requires proof of insurance from any organization or organized group using the school district’s buildings or grounds.  The group is required to provide a certificate of insurance (COI) stating commercial general liability minimum limits as:

$2,000,000           General Aggregate
$2,000,000           Products/Completed Operations Aggregate
$1,000,000           Each Occurrence
$1,000,000           Personal and Advertising Injury
$100,000            Fire Damage – Any One Fire
$5,000            Medical Expense – Any One Person

7.             Smoking is prohibited on school grounds as expressed in Board policy 1331, and in compliance with Connecticut State Statute.

8.             No school may be used by an individual group or society that teaches or preaches any doctrine or theory subversive to the Constitution or Laws of the State of Connecticut or of the United States, or advocates social or political change by violence or revolution.

9.             No school facility may be used for any activity that would support, augment, or foster a business or an individual’s personal financial gain unless the purpose of that use is to provide a direct service to educational programs of the school district. Service or contribution goals must be stipulated on the application.

10.          The individual or group making application for the use of buildings or grounds must agree in writing to indemnify the Newtown Board of Education for any damage or loss resulting from such use.

11.          The Board requires that at least one school custodian be present to represent its interests and enforce its regulations.  Custodial service and school security (if required) will be at the expense of the applicant in accordance with the prevailing wage rate schedule.  All other supervision, including fire/police protection, shall be provided by the using organization.  The Superintendent of Schools may require fire/police protection when considered necessary.  Fees for fire protection coverage are determined by Newtown’s Fire Marshall and are billed through that office.  Police fees are based on that department’s schedule of rates and times and will be billed separately through the Newtown Police Department. The organization contracting for the use of school facilities is responsible for making all arrangements for police or fire protection coverage when required.

12.          Applicants requesting use of cafeteria or kitchen facilities will be charged fees for staffing and use.  The Food Service Manager will confer with applicants to determine their needs and will establish the appropriate charge.

13.          Applicants using school buildings must confine themselves to designated areas approved for their use.

14.          As per BOE Policy 3517, doors shall NEVER be propped open per Fire Code.

15.          The high school gymnasium may be used for athletic events only. Participants must wear gymnasium-type shoes.

16.          Groups using school buildings and grounds must remove all materials and equipment not belonging to the school before the next school day following the event.

17.          Applicants must provide adult supervision for all activities when children are present; an adult must remain until all children have left the premises.

18.          Some School facilities may have additional requirements for their use. For example, all individuals who participate in Project Adventure activities (or their parents or legal guardians, if under 18 years of age) must sign Project Adventure permission forms and hold harmless agreements.

Organizations and Fees
  1. The following organizations will be exempt from all facilities, custodial, and food services fees except when the size of the group and/or the nature of the event necessitate assigning custodians.  This decision will be made by the Superintendent of Schools.
  1. Town officials
  2. Commissions
  3. Duly-elected representatives of the town
  4. Any commission appointed/elected by the town to perform a town function

2.         The following organizations will be exempt from facilities rental fees, but will be required to pay all costs for custodial services, food services, technical support and security when these services are required as part of the application request.  Extended use of facilities may be brought to the Board for approval.

            a.         Newtown Parks and Recreation Commission
            b.         PTA/PTO Councils
            c.         All school organizations and/or their parent/teacher units
            d.         All organized Newtown youth groups
            e.         Newtown Scholarship Association
            f.          Newtown Service/Civic organizations
            g.         Organized Newtown recreational or cultural groups that do not charge regular ongoing fees for instruction or lessons.

All other applicants, including commercial establishments, whose application is approved, will be responsible to pay all fees including rent, energy fee, costs for custodian, security, and technical fees.  Commercial establishments shall be required to pay an additional 25% on the established facility rental fees.

The Board requires that only thoroughly trained high school personnel operate the lighting and sound systems.

The rental fee for the use of the high school auditorium includes the use of two dressing rooms. Makeup may be applied in dressing rooms or boys or girls lavatories only.

The Board requires that only thoroughly trained BOE personnel facilitate workshops and activities on a Project Adventure challenge course.

It is important that anyone using the high school understands that no food or beverages may be served anywhere in the school without the express written consent of the high school Principal.

When in the opinion of the building administrator the assignment of security personnel is essential for the adequate supervision and protection of the building and its grounds, and/or the applicant requests a security presence, the applicant shall be responsible for that cost.

Anyone using school facilities accepts the responsibility for any and all damage done to the building, site, or equipment.  At the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools, a security deposit may be requested which will be refunded in all or in part after the building and site are inspected after use.

3.         Per Diem Schedule of Room Fees:                                                                            
Facility Rental Fees:                                          Minimum                  Hourly After 4 Hours

High School Auditorium                                   $1000.00                  $250.00
(Including two dressing rooms)
Middle School Auditorium                                $500.00                    $125.00
High School Gym                                              $500.00                    $125.00
Middle School Gym                                          $250.00                    $62.50
Reed Intermediate School Gym                        $250.00                    $62.50
Elementary School Gyms                                  $200.00                    $50.00
Cafeteria                                                            $200.00                    $50.00
High School Kitchen                                         $250.00                    $62.50
Middle School Kitchen                                     $200.00                    $50.00
Reed Intermediate School Kitchen                   $250.00                    $62.50
Elementary School Kitchen                              $200.00                    $50.00
Classrooms                                                        $100.00                    $25.00
Library                                                               $125.00                    $31.25
Shop, Art Room, Science Labs                          $200.00                    $50.00
High School Lecture Hall                                  $200.00                    $50.00            
Pool                                                                    $200.00 / hour          $50.00
Stadium                                                              $1,000.00                 $250.00
High School Project Adventure                         $300.00                    $75.00
         Challenge Course                                     

Service Fees:

Sound & Lighting Supervisor                            $42.50 / hour           
Sound & Lighting Technician                            $10.10 / hour
Computer Support                                             $35.00 / hour
Trained Project Adventure Facilitator               $75.00 / hour

Sunday Energy Fees:

High School                                                       $313.00
Middle School                                                   $313.00
Reed Intermediate                                             $313.00
Head O’Meadow                                               $188.00
Hawley                                                               $125.00
Middle Gate                                                       $125.00
Sandy Hook                                                       $125.00

Security Fees:

Security fees are applicable on Saturday, Sunday, holidays, and weeknights when security is requested and/or deemed necessary by school administration. 

$29.44 - $39.04 hourly rate (Weeknights and Saturdays)
$39.25 - $52.06 hourly rate (Sundays and Holidays)

Custodial Fees:

Custodial fees are applicable on Saturday, Sunday, holidays, and weeknights when a custodian needs to be called in for the activity. 

$40.50 - $52.38 hourly rate (Weeknights and Saturdays)
$54.00 - $69.84 hourly rate (Sundays and Holidays)


4.         If a charge for custodial overtime is required, the rate shall be at time-and-one-half on weekdays and Saturdays and double-time on Sundays and holidays in accordance with existing labor agreement terms plus FICA and Medicare.

5.         Fees for custodial services, if required, will be billed by the Building & Grounds Department and must be paid within two weeks of billing.  Checks should be made payable to the Newtown Board of Education.  Charges for custodial services begin when the custodian reports for duty and terminates when the building is restored for school use. Should cleanup require more time than estimated, the applicant will be responsible for actual time spent.

6.         If food services are utilized, bills will be issued from the contracted food services company and must be paid within two weeks of billing.

7.         When an organized service club, fraternal group, charity, or civic agency plans a special program or activity with an admission fee, and the proceeds are to be used for substantial scholarship awards to a Newtown resident, facility rental fees may be waived at the discretion of the Superintendent of Schools.

8.         Each application will be reviewed to determine whether the purpose of the program, along with its admission charges, merit an increase in the rental costs.

9.         Facility use fees must accompany applications.

10.       A copy of the insurance certificate should accompany applications, or must be supplied prior to approval.

Legal Reference:         Connecticut General Statutes
                                     10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes
                                     Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074
                                     Good News Club v. Milford Central School, Sup. Ct., 6-11-01
                                     20 U.S.C. 7905 (Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act contained in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)

Regulation approved:  July 21, 2016                                         NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Regulation revised:  December 6, 2016, July 18, 2017,                                Newtown, Connecticut
October 10, 2017, January 24, 2018, August 22, 2018,
September 13, 2018, July 1, 2019, March 22, 2021

Inspiring Each Student to Excel

3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470
Phone: 203-426-7600