School board OKs fee hikes

GLENDALE — The school board this week cleared the way to charge higher fees to for-profit groups that rent district facilities.

Nonprofit and civic groups would be exempt from the rates, but for-profit companies that are not youth-centered would see rates increase 50%. Youth organizations would see their rates increase 10%, officials said.

The rewritten policy would amend proposals last month for all rates to double. But Glendale Unified school board members said that kind of raise could scare away clients, and told officials to tone down the charges.

"I think what it is, is trying to bring these fees comparable to what other neighboring districts are charging," district comptroller Mike Lee said.

Thirty-six for-profit companies rent district facilities, but the greatest source of revenue comes from film and television productions, officials said. With the current rate structure, the district earned $100,000 last year.

Having laid off 66 teachers to try to reduce expenses, the state budget crisis has forced the school board to look for revenue wherever possible, President Greg Krikorian said.

"Specifically now, we're charging parents more and more for summer school now, arts and athletics programs, it would behoove us not to charge for-profit organizations a fair and reasonable increase to the facilities, which are already at a low," he said.

Rentals are based on hourly rates, and the bulk of district facilities do not jump more than a few dollars. But the policies update outdated rates for some in-demand facilities, like the Glendale High auditorium, which seats 1,500 with recently upgraded equipment, Krikorian said.

The Glendale High facility would move from $250 to $275 for youth groups and $375 for other organizations. For-profit companies pay $545 an hour to rent Burbank High School's auditorium.

The fees apply to nearly all middle and high school auditoriums, as well as athletic fields, classrooms, cafeterias, multipurpose rooms, gyms, dance rooms, lecture or music rooms, pools and stadiums.

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