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Yorktown School District to Increase Sports Clubs' Usage Fees

School officials have said the fees they currently charge don't cover all the expenses incurred by the organizations that use their facilities.

Starting July 1, the Yorktown Central School District will charge community organizations a little more to cover for its expenses – such as custodial overtime, heating and lighting – incurred during the time clubs use the district's facilities and fields. 

The usage fees would charge non-profit organizations and governmental agencies for the use of the school district's facilities and fields. School officials have said the fees they currently charge don't cover the entire cost of facilities use.

Under the school district's proposal, the groups that would have to pay additional fees are the Yorktown Youth Soccer Club, Yorktown Athletic Club, Mohansic Girls Basketball Club, Yorktown Parks and Recreation, Oxygen Volleyball Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and SPARC Programs. 

Several volunteers for those groups met with Yorktown town board members last week to ask for the town's support in lobbying for them not to have the school district impose any more fees. 

Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, who is also a lawyer, said the school district is "100 percent right" and legal in its action.

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club President Rick Romanski said he felt the higher usage fees would put a burden on parents – some of whom already have more than one child playing multiple sports. He feared club memberships could decrease and the fees for the remaining members, who would have to foot the bill, would increase even more.

"You should be going to the school board," Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco told the volunteers who complained to the town board last week. "You are preaching to the choir."

During an Oct. 22, 2012 meeting on fees and usage, Yorktown Central School District Assistant Superintendent Tom Cole said the district "under its facilities use policy and legal authority, welcomes applications for facility use to share with the community the resources that our taxpayers support for the community good, at times when these resources are not needed by the school district."

When facility use requires the building to be open past building operating hours, a charge for custodial coverage fee is assessed, according to a school district presentation. 

According to the district's presentation, local organizations had used a combined 5,423 hours of classroom, cafeteria, gym, grass field and turf field use in 2011-2012. Also recorded were 27.5 hours of turf field lighting and 791 hours of overtime for district custodians.

Local sports clubs and organizations currently only reimburse the school district for custodial overtime, according to district officials. That cost in 2011-2012 was $53,000. 

"We believe that in order to charge reasonable fees we would need to cover the costs of our utility expenses for the use of outside groups," Cole said during the district's presentation. "This current year we expect to spend $1.2 million on utilities for our schools. We believe we have continue to recoup the maintenance and upkeep of our facility that includes the custodial costs that we currently charge for."

The proposal for what school officials say is a reasonable amount of costs they can charge for and that complies with the law would include the following:

  • Recover utility expenses; 
  • Recover maintenance and upkeep for the additional use beyond regular school; 
  • Depreciation of property due to additional use beyond regular school use; 
  • Turf/stadium use; 
  • Field light use; 
  • Custodial costs associated with hours beyond normal operating hours; 
  • Institute special event fee structure 

According to the NYS Constitutional Law, Article VIII, Section 1: Gift and Loan Clause; "whenever admissions fees are charged by the facility user or where sales are part of the event, a 'reasonable' amount of the proceeds must be paid over for the general educational or charitable purpose."

Cole said the school district did not know about the law previously and officials were told by their lawyers the district was not in compliance with the law.

"We'd love to accommodate everyone to the extent that we can, but we do have costs which go against our 2-percent tax cap and we do have a compliance issue," Cole said. 

Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy suggested last week that sports club representatives "storm" a school board meeting to express their disapproval. Yorktown Councilman Dave Paganelli suggested club representatives ask school board members to "work with them."

Yorktown Central School District officials said in a statement that the "continuingly increasing costs of electricity, heat, upkeep and the accelerated depreciation" of their buildings and fields make it difficult for the district to continue to shoulder the bulk of the costs alone.

For the district's full statement click here.

For the district's presentation, click here.

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Ros Kliban January 22, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Finally, some common sense from our school board about our sports programs.. Sports is not the main focus of a School District. Academics and the providing of skills to prepare our children for careers and being functioning members of our community is. Next step in this process is to start having the families of students who play sports in school to start paying their fair share of the true costs of school sports. As a taxpayer I have no problem paying for school taxes that support our children's education. But why should I pay for school sports? Why should seniors on a fixed income pay for school sports. Let the people who use it pay.Just like they would for any outside of school activity. Let Yorktown be know for Academic achievements and not sports achievements. Let's have families move to Yorktown for a excellent educational system. I know of people who have moved to Yorktown because of its sports program, or they get more house and land for their money, No one moves here for its academic program. NOW is the time to change this. Sports should be a supplemental program supported by those who use it, just like families who pay for dance lesson, religious school, gymnastics, art lesson etc. It should not be part of the school tax burden for all citizens of Yorktown.
Sami January 22, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I dont think any of that is unreasonable- they should be paying for what they use. They are outside clubs that have a registration limit, so it's not like ALL Yorktown kids participate, so the kids who do should foot the bill for facility use.
Bob Rohr January 22, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Ros, I understand where you are coming from and i have heard it before. I respectfully disagree. When the current Seniors had kids in the Schools, the Seniors of that period paid for other people's kids Schooling including the Sports program. Now they pay back over time. That is how it works. Nobody pays Taxes equal to the cost of their children education. You are paying Taxes not tuition..The School District also pays for the Buses for St. Pats and all the other private Schools the kids in the District go to. I was on the BOE for 6 years and the Academics in Yorktown is known to be excellent, in fact, a large number of Teachers from other Districts chose to live here for that reason. Sports are important to offering the a complete experience. It is not only Football and Lacrosse funded, there is Bowling and Golf and Skiing. Every kid deserves to do something within their interest and ability. Now, before I am called a Tax and spend Liberal. I was a founder of the United Taxpayers of Yorktown when it was formed. There was plenty of other waste to eliminate without cheating the kids out of Sports, and we bought new books at the same time.
Ros Kliban January 22, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Sorry Bob, but respectfully disagree.The buses for St. Pats is a non funded, mandated expense, not a choice. Sprts is a choice. Even though current seniors many have had their children's sports funded by the district, sometime you need to break the pattern. Given the current economy that time might be now. People move to Edgemont, Chappaqua, Scarsdale Ardsley for the school. They move here due to the balance of a decent place to live, more house and land than down county, and a better education system than other places, but certainly not an excellent system. As to teacher living here sometime its convince and the knowledge that they can get their kids in to the better teachers classroom. Its called Professional Courtesy. Your right, every child deserves the right to do something with their interests and abilities. But I do believe that it is the parents responsibility to take that on.NOT THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS. What happens when a child has interests that are not covered by the school system (IE. NOT SPORTS) ? Who pays for it? The parents. If my child wishes to peruse ballet, I pay, If my child wants to pursue basket weaving I pay. I do not believe it is the communities responsibility to pay for after school sports and the fiefdom its supports. It should be as in my opinion a pay for what you use rule.
Ros Kliban January 22, 2013 at 07:15 PM
By the way Bob, I see nothing wrong with professional courtesy. I Would use any advantage I have to help my kids and I expect every parent to d the same. Truth be told. I am probably more of a tax and spend liberal, but realistic one. I understand that their must be limits on spending. Schools should open kids minds to different possibilities, and then it is the responsibility of the parent to help their child presue it. If my child learns in school that they have a talent for playing the violin, I would give them violin lessons. That is what happens. the students we see and hear play at school recitals do not get all their training in school. Usually their parents hire an outside music teacher. I am not asking for anything different for sports. Why should some parents have pay for additional music lesson, but parents who children pursue sports not be asked to pay for the expenses incurred. Seems unfair and undemocratic to me.
Johnc January 22, 2013 at 07:54 PM
It seems that everyday you watch the news and its either shootings or financial problems. The cost impact is extremely small for the school district which is already charging the parents of these kids an extremely high amount of taxes. There are people who could care less about these kids that say these fees are appropriate and to that I strongly disagree. I live in this town for both education and sports and I believe that I already pay enough. What is the problem with sports for some of you people? Maybe when you were a kid you didn't make the team so you are still holding a grudge? You are talking about kids from 4-18 years old. The parents volunteer a good amount of time to the YAC club, pay fees and pay taxes, I believe that is enough. The baseball fields were paid for with tax money and are maintained by volunteers, why should they pay more? I am a life long resident and I participated in the YAC sports club as a child. This is a tough situation and while I don't want the district to lose money I do t think this is the way to go about it. Lets let our children be children for as long as possible and hopefully with education and sports they can become productive members of our fading society. We need sports both for our children and our own relaxation at times. Try not to be so miserable and take that away.
Ros Kliban January 22, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Sorry John, respectfully disagree. Kids should be kids as long as possible, but sports is not the only way to do that. Why are the people of the town obligated to pay for a sports field to begin with? Why is the school district obligated to pay for the use of the fields? If someone or a group wish to use school facilities then they should shoulder the full costs. Are the taxpayers supposed to pay twice for sports? Once through town taxes and then again through school taxes? Does not sound fair to me. I also feel I pay enough in taxes so why should I pay for your child's after school interests(sports), but you do not pay any for mine since they do not involve sports?
Johnc January 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I paid my share when your kids were in school and you should now do the same, isn't that fair? What is your share for field use? Do you even know the amount? This is the global problem, the answer is flat out no. I respectfully and adamantly disagree with your view. I hope that when my children are old enough that I won't be bitter and comment on articles about youth athletics. Where are the facts of how much this is actually costing each household in Yorktown. It is sad that some people have this opinion but it is a free country and I wish you could see what sports means to a lot of these kids.
Ros Kliban January 23, 2013 at 02:36 AM
One of my children is still in the YCSD. I will never mid paying my fair share of taxes for education. I have never voted against a school budget and do not plan to do so even after my child no longer attends. I strongly feel that sports is not in the purview of school system. It should be a choice supported by those who chose to avail themselves of it. I think youth athletics is wonderful, but the expenses should be born by those who use them. What is so unfair about that? Do you pay or expect the town to use your tax money to pay for my child's art and ballet lesson? I don't. it is a choice we made as parents based on my child's interests. You should be paying for the activities that peak your child's interest. Why should, what could be part of my disposable income, be used to support your child's extra curricular interests and not mine.
Bob Thomas January 23, 2013 at 09:25 AM
I can only hope that this will result in No Usage other than Education Purposes. That way, Yorktown schools will have only their diminishing standards to entice families to this area and into their schools. Then we can close the underutilized schools, lay off teachers, decrease our tax base and the average income of residents to boot. I hope "Obamacare" covers glasses for the increasing shortsightedness of our policy makers.
Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Don't you want to live in a community that supports our children. Yes, academics is important, but so is athletics. We want well rounded children in our town. Sports keep kids healthy and out of trouble. I am very proud that our town supports our seniors. (the senior center/the bus that brings the seniors shopping) We pay enough taxes in this town. I am very disappointed with our school board. They are hurting many families in this town with this usage fee. Maybe they don't have young children anymore.
Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Why do young families have to pay for the bus that transports seniors???It's very sad how people get very cranky in their old age!! How about when you want to turn around and sell your home? Are you going to let the buyers know about our great schools and sports program. We need to support all the people in our community!!!!
Ros Kliban February 28, 2013 at 09:47 PM
First of all why are you Anonymous? Next, the town allocates funds for the seniors' bus and if I am not mistaken they also give funds to the YAC and maintain the fields. Thats fine as it certainly is in the scope of a towns responsibility. The Town is not a school district. The purpose of a School District is to provide an academic and/or technical education to our children so that they can go out into the world and take their place in society. It is not the School Districts responsibility to provide an after school sports program or supplement one.
Ros Kliban February 28, 2013 at 09:56 PM
To go along with your line of thought, why isn't the School district supporting ALL types of after school activities to the same extent as sports. Dance lessons, music lessons, art lessons, sewing lessons, girls scout , boy scouts, 4h clubs. The list could go on and on and are taxes could go up and up. Let the people who make use of the activity support it. This way you will be an educated consumer and pick and chose the programs that are right for your child and I'll pick the one that are right for my child and MY taxes won't go up as much and neither will YOURS. Its pay as you go and pay for what you need and want. You can use the tax savings to support your child's interests.
Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Seniors in this town can sell their homes for big money because of the great school system and sports offered. Our middle school and high school offer many other activities besides sports. What about students who want to study sports medicine or physical education when they get older.

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