CAMARILLO : District Studies Fee Hike for Campus Use

Camarillo community groups that get free use of elementary school buildings may soon have to pay rent while other groups that already pay rent will see their fees increase, a school official said.

The Pleasant Valley School District Board of Trustees on Thursday established a task force to explore charging and raising fees for groups using school facilities to subsidize their upkeep.

The state's Civic Center Law requires school districts to give community groups access to buildings and athletic fields, district spokesman Sherry Cole said.

The law sets out guidelines on which groups should use the facilities for free and which can be charged rent. But, within these guidelines, each school district sets its own rental rates and decides when and how often to make school buildings available.

Pleasant Valley district officials said their buildings are showing the wear of heavy use by various community groups. Meanwhile, budget constraints limit the district's ability to pay for the extra maintenance and repairs, Cole said.

The task force will decide how much to increase fees for adult basketball groups, homeowners associations and dance clubs.

Under the state law, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, parent-teacher associations and school-community advisory councils are entitled to free use of school buildings. But those groups may be charged if they use school buildings to raise money that is not donated to the schools, Cole said.

Under the existing district policy, other groups that are not connected to the school must pay as much as $27 an hour to use a classroom and $31 an hour for a gymnasium.

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