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School Revises Facility-Use Fees for Youth Sports

Paul Steinbach

The South Middleton School Board in Pennsylvania this week revised its facility-use policy to allow nonprofit youth sports programs to host activities on weekdays without having to pay an hourly rental fee.

As reported by The Sentinel of Cumberland County, to be eligible for free facility use, a program must serve as a feeder that channels athletes toward sports offered at either Yellow Breeches Middle School or Boiling Springs High School. Under the revision, user fees will be charged for youth sports program activities held on Saturday and/or Sunday.

This latest revision came two weeks after wrestling club president Mike Longenberger told board members an earlier revision made in June would increase fees beyond what the club could afford to offer 90-minute weekday practice sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from late October through late February. The club serves two age categories spanning kindergarten through sixth grade, and many wrestlers have gone on to compete at the high school level.

He said the revision approved Monday will save the club almost $7,000 in user fees, enabling it to keep intact its schedule of practice sessions. However, the club is still looking at an expense of $3,000 to $4,000 to host four weekend home matches this coming season.

Athletic director Karl Heimbach was tasked by the board last year to review the district’s policy where certain groups were exempt from having to pay an hourly fee for the use of district facilities. Under that policy, it was hard to determine where some groups fit into four levels of classification. A meeting was held on Oct. 14 between the school superintendent, its director of business and operations, and representatives of youth wrestling, soccer, baseball, football and cheerleading.

The revision creates a three-tiered classification system with district teams, clubs and parent-teacher organizations under Group 1, youth sports programs under Group 2 and any other organization under Group 3. Group 1 continues to be exempt from hourly rental fees. Group 2 will be exempt Monday through Friday but charged for Saturday and Sunday. Group 3 will be charged rental fees for weekday and weekend use.

“It is a much better situation,” Longenberger told The Sentinel. “We have already taken some of the money we are saving to replace a mat in the wrestling room.”

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