Youth Groups Wary of New Rental Fees

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October 27, 2010; Source: Herald-News | Even among nonprofits and government-supported institutions, the old mantra “share and share alike” is being substituted for “you want to share, then pay your fair share.” For example, in the past when groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the Y needed space for programs, schools would typically give it to them for free. Now, at least one school district in Illinois wants to charge these groups for using their space.

The Plainfield, Ill. School Board has proposed fees ranging from $5 to $10 an hour, in addition to administrative fees that could top $100 a year to use a multipurpose room. The district, which is facing a $6.7 million deficit and is likely to lay off employees and cut programs, needs to find revenue from other sources.

It’s no surprise to read groups that would be subject to new fees aren’t greeting the idea warmly. One Cub Scout leader thinks the charges would hamper his pack of 50 boys who hold programs at one of the district’s elementary schools. Jon Harper told district officials not “to try to balance the budget on our backs. We want to do some service projects in the schools. We want it to be a real partnership not just a business.”

Not all school districts are going this route, though. The nearby Valley View School District does not charge rental fees because officials recognize the value of these outside programs for students. While fees for space aren’t likely to win much support, another idea being floated might gain some traction. In return for free use of space, perhaps Scouts or other groups could pick up litter on school grounds or help with landscape projects.—Bruce Trachtenberg

  • James David Morgan

    Ah yes, the old [url=]death by a thousand cuts[/url] trick!

  • Karrissa Thayer

    I know as a NFP renting the local Girl Scout Camp, fees recently doubled. It used to be that NFP’s would give discounts to other NFP’s. That has gone by the wayside too.

  • Karrissa Thayer

    There used to be the day when a NFP would help other NFP’s. Recently, the fees doubled for using our local Girl Scout Camp and there were no breaks for Non-profits. It has been VERY difficult for us to find locations where we can balance our attendance (for some events 200-300) and the cost of the sites without additional undue burden for our attendees.

  • Anthony F. Bandelato

    Some school districts are aware that non-profits are funded by foundations and state & local service contracts. They charge rental fees that could be derived from these contracts. Other the otherhand, scout groups and other npo’s that are not funded for these afterschool activities should not be charged rent, but should consider this a partnership opportunity.