Board tables KUSD potential fee increase

KINGMAN - Members of Journey Church voiced their concerns over potential fee increases for use of Kingman Unified School District facilities at Tuesday's board meeting, asking that members of the district's Governing Board hold off on the increases until 2012.

Recently, the Board asked that a committee be formed and a new fee schedule for facility use be created, as what people and groups are charged to rent facilities hasn't changed much in about a decade.

The committee created a fee proposal that resembles what other districts charge, especially the Lake Havasu Unified School District. One of the key components to the proposal is a classification system, which changes the amount charged based on the type of organization attempting to rent.

There are four classifications.

Class No. 1 is exempt from facility use fees, but subject to all personnel fees and out-of-pocket costs incurred by the district. Groups directly connected to the district, including school athletic teams and school-related clubs, fit into this classification as do volunteer groups conducting events for district school-age children. The key component to this classification is that the organizations make no money from events held in facilities.

Class No. 2 is charged 11.25 cents per square foot for extended facility use. Organizations that fit into this classification are non-profit and not sponsored by schools but of the people involved in the activities, 75 percent must be KUSD school-age children. These groups are also responsible for all personnel fees and out-of-pocket costs incurred by the district.

Class No. 3 is charged 15 cents per square foot for extended facility use. Groups that fit into this classification do not meet requirements of Classes No.1 and 2 but are nonprofit. Similar to the other classes, these groups must also pay for personnel and district costs associated with events. Examples include local, state and federal government groups not conducting "official business," such as fundraisers. Also, non-profit groups conducting in-services or job training and performing arts groups fit into this classification.

Class No. 4 is charged 30 cents per square foot for extended facility use. Journey Church fits into this classification. Any group, no matter what its purpose, that generates any type of revenue from facility use fits into Class No. 4 as well.

Also, extended use is not indefinite. Groups looking to use facilities for extended periods of time must get 6-month leases that cannot be renewed more than three times. In effect, this portion of the fee schedule limits groups to 18 months of district facility use.

What does this mean for Journey Church?

Currently, according to the church's lead pastor Mark Rice, the church pays approximately $18,720 a year to use White Cliffs Middle School for Sunday services, but under the proposal, the church's yearly rental fee would balloon to $93,660. That amounts to an increase of about 500 percent.

Rice said that's an unrealistic amount for the church to absorb, especially since it's looking to purchase land so it can create its own home.

"We don't want to stay in your facility forever," said Tom Meadows, a member of the church.

School Board Vice President Charles Lucero said the fee schedule is not about Journey Church but about a philosophy change. He recommended approval of the schedule but suggested KUSD Superintendent Roger Jacks begin negotiating a transition with the groups most affected by the increase.

Board member Jeri Brock suggested having a workshop to go over the proposal before approving it, as several members need more time to review the document.

Board member Laurie Barthlow made a motion to table the proposal until the Board understands it better.

Bill Goodale, another Board member, said he wanted to know how many people and groups within the different categories would be affected by the proposed increase.

"This is the wrong time to be changing philosophy," Goodale said, pointing to the need for people in the district.

About 90 percent of the document is great, Goodale said, but there is need for more information on the groups.

Barthlow's motion passed and the proposed fee structure was tabled.

Oz Enderby, who's on the committee that came up with the fee structure, said until the proposal is approved, Journey Church would pay $2,582 per month or $30,984 per year. Once approved, the amount would jump to $7,105 per month or $85,260 per year.

Though that is closer to a 300-percent increase than a 500-percent one, it's still a substantial amount of money.