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Coupeville schools increase rental costs

In an effort to raise a little more dough for district expenses, the Coupeville school board decided to hike fees on their facility rentals for some community groups, businesses and non-local organizations.

The board members have adjusted the rental fees on a yearly basis and generally tried to set rates that would be fair to participants and allow the district to break even. But simply breaking even is not the goal any more.

“This is not to remain cost neutral,” Superintendent Patty Page said at the May 16 board meeting. “This is to make a little bit of money.”

The old fee schedule had five classes of renters. Class 1 consisted of Coupeville School District school-affiliated groups such as the PTA. Class 2 consisted of governmental agencies or community service organizations. Class 3 consisted of local adult recreational groups. Class 4 consisted of local nonprofit organizations or out-of-district school groups, and class 5 consisted of for-profit organizations or businesses.

Classes 1 and 2 were able to rent for free. Class 3 rates were standardized at $8 per hour for every space, class 4 at $15 for every space and class 5 at $20 with the exception of the athletic field which rented for $100 per hour.

After assessing the rental rates for Oak Harbor and South Whidbey school districts, Page created Coupeville’s new rates trying to remain in between the two.

“We didn’t go high end on everything,” Page said.

The new rate schedules combines classes 3 and 4. Classes 1 and 2 can still rent for free, but the new class 3 groups, which used to rent for $8 to $15 per hour, will now pay $15 to $35 per hour. Class 4 groups will pay between $20 to $40.

Custodian and lighting fees will also increase by $5 to $10 for the classes. Though class 1 groups were not required to pay these fees before, next year, school-affiliated groups will need to pay for custodian services if they’re using the facility when a custodian is not on regularly scheduled duty.

“I think this is going to come with some controversy when people have to pay where they didn’t have to in the past,” Page said.

Between September and April of this school year, the district received $8,477 in rental and custodian/light/sound fees and netted $4,144 in revenue to cover a community liaison, utility and maintenance costs.

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