Sequim School District votes to increase facility rental fees

SEQUIM — Rental fees for Sequim School District facilities are going up.

The School Board voted 4-0 Monday, with board member Heather Short absent, to raise the fees for facilities rented to commercial and private groups and nonprofits.

“For me, it comes down to the last time we did this [adjust fees] was 2007,” said board member Jim Stoffer.

“These are very moderate changes.”

Board member Michael Howe, who recommended tabling the possibility of raising the fees at the board’s March 21 meeting, said he initially had contact with groups who wanted to discuss the change but never heard back.

In March, district business manager Brian Lewis recommended the board consider applying cost-of-living adjustments to reflect what rates should be and apply them as of Sept. 1.

To make up for an eight-year gap in static rate fees, the district would bump fees about 16.8 percent for groups that use school facilities for for-profit, private or certain nonprofit uses.

Use of athletic fields for those groups, for example, will rise from $50 to $60, while use of the Sequim High School auditorium for a performance would rise from $60 to $70.

Fees for other, predominantly youth-oriented uses help meet costs for custodial and supervision fees, Lewis said, while comparatively higher rates for other groups will help toward upkeep of costs such as sound systems and lighting.

Now taking plastic

Also Monday, the board voted 4-0 to accept a contract with InTouch Receipting Suite that will allow the district to accept debit and credit card payments for any fees on-site at Sequim Middle and Sequim High schools, for items such as uniforms, pay-to-play fees and fines for lost books.

The district won’t be able to accept debit and credit cards for entrance fees to athletic events, Lewis said, but people could use them to buy season passes at the schools.

Previously, the district accepted debit and credit cards only online and for items such as meal tickets. All other payments had to be by cash or check.

“Our service hours are somewhat limited, [and] people aren’t using checks anymore,” Lewis said.

The contract with InTouch is $8,710, and the school district recoups 40 cents per transaction via a convenience fee.

Lewis said the district eventually might add the service at the district’s two elementary schools.

The board also approved a $72,186 contract to remove carpeting in 20 classrooms at Helen Haller Elementary School and replace them with new vinyl tile.

Carpet over carpet

Lewis said that 12 years ago, the district installed carpet over carpet, which can lead to unhealthy conditions.

Lewis said the district also is looking at bigger major maintenance issues, including roofing at both Greywolf Elementary School and Sequim Middle, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) issues at Sequim High.

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Michael Dashiell is an editor with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mdashiell@sequimgazette.com.

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