In the wake of criticism from community youth organizations, the District 200 Board of Education on Oct. 13, took a first stab at rewriting its policy concerning outside groups who use campus facilities.

OPRF has proposed a $10 per-participant fee for a group’s practice time, plus additional charges when school staff is used at events, a change from a much higher fee that was implemented during the 2010-2011 school year.

The fee structure was written into policy when the measure was updated in the spring of 2010. It went into effect later that fall but stirred complaints from youth sports groups who said their costs increased significantly as a result.

Policy 1410 was up for first reading at the board’s meeting last Thursday. The policy includes six “classes,” covering the types of groups who use campus facilities and athletic fields, and what each is charged. The board decided to approve a seventh class specifically designated for feeder groups. Members said they will eventually come up with criteria on who can qualify as a feeder group, but for right now, the policy will cover those groups who currently use facilities.

The revised policy also calls for a two-year review period where a group can seek to be classified as a “feeder group.” Board members acknowledged that the feeder groups were receiving a “discount” compared to other groups in different classes. But several board members cautioned against making the policy’s guidelines too strict, insisting that the goal is to support those outside youth programs.

“I hope we don’t get lost in the minutiae of making very stringent guidelines,” said board member Amy McCormack. “These are volunteer organizations working primarily with kids who are hopefully going to be active participants of co-curriculars at this high school. … I just don’t want us to lose that.”

The policy was approved unanimously for a second reading at next month’s meeting.

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