USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES

Introduction

The St. Tammany Parish School Board is an integral part of each community it serves.  It recognizes the large capital investment that the citizens of the Parish have made to school buildings, equipment, and other facilities for the primary use and benefit of school age children to include the education, recreation, physical training and athletics of all such children.  The Board wishes to make facilities available to responsible community organizations and associations for appropriate civic, cultural, educational, or recreational activities that do not interfere with the delivery of education and the best interests of the School System.  The primary function and use of the buildings is first for the education of children, then youth, community and adult group activities.  Community use of School System facilities shall be based on a defined need and shall be consistent with the availability of required support resources, i.e., facilities, work force, funding, and liability protection.  Administrative regulations and procedures for providing community use are intended to promote safe, lawful and fair use and enjoyment of System facilities consistent with the need to establish priorities that recognize the educational purpose of the facilities.   Functions such as polling places or open candidate forums, civic forums and community centers for such purposes as evacuation or civil defense shall be allowed as permitted or mandated by law.  The responsibility for designating regulations and procedures governing the use of School System facilities for purposes not directly related to the School System’s implementation of its educational programs shall be assigned to the Superintendent.  Such regulations shall apply to all buildings and grounds owned and/or operated by the St. Tammany Parish School Board.

General Regulations

Before using a School System facility, organizations or associations must apply and enter into a written agreement with the School Board.  The written agreement with all its components shall incorporate general conditions applicable to the particular facility or activity as the Superintendent may establish.  Requests from non-school groups or organizations will be considered when space is available at times that do not interfere with St. Tammany Parish Public Schools’ instructional programs, student activity programs or ancillary programs sponsored, administered or supported by St. Tammany Parish Public Schools, including St. Tammany Parish Public Schools Parent Teacher Associations.  The Superintendent may restrict the use of designated rooms, buildings and facilities due to the substantial investment of special equipment and technology including, but not limited to, computer labs, science labs, auditoriums, kitchens, agricultural and industrial arts facilities or for other reasons that the Superintendent deems necessary under the circumstances.  Additionally, the Superintendent may designate certain buildings as community use facilities, restricting other sites from community use.

Safety of citizens, students and employees and care of School System property shall be primary considerations in the use of School System facilities.  The Superintendent or her designee reserves the right to deny usage or terminate an existing contract.  Failure to pay promptly all rental charges, damages and obey all rules and regulations established by the Superintendent may be considered sufficient grounds for refusal to grant continued or further use of school property to an applicant.

Authorization for use of School System facilities shall not be considered as endorsement of or approval of the activity group or organization nor the purpose it represents.  Advertising distributed by the rental group or organization in connection with the approved activity shall not be presented in such a way that the Board is endorsing the event.  The facility name can only appear as a location site.  The telephone number of the  site shall not be included.  No advertising in connection with the approved event shall be displayed on, affixed to any part of the School System building or ground unless otherwise approved.

Groups wishing to use District facilities for public activities must ensure that accommodations are available to provide access to individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in the activities or programs.  Persons with disabilities should contact the group contact designee no later than three (3) school/site operational days prior to the activity so that special arrangements can be made.

Reservations

Schools have first claim to the use of their respective buildings at all times, and any agreement made with an outside organization must be contingent on the needs of the programs of the various schools and such agreements may be terminated or altered at any time.

All use of School System facilities by outside groups shall be automatically cancelled when sites are closed due to inclement weather, work interruptions or any other causes.  Any exception shall require the expressed approval of the Superintendent or her designee.

The rental group/organization shall conform to all applicable laws and policies.  The rental group/organization shall ensure that all aisles, hallways and stairways in the building and all exits from the building are kept free from obstruction at all times. 

The Superintendent or her designee reserves the right to limit or deny use of School District facilities during school vacations or at other times when in her opinion such use is not in the best interest of the System or is not otherwise possible.  Inside School System facilities are not open to the general public on Sundays, except in extenuating circumstances approved by the Superintendent.