SA school board denies facility request from The Bridge

Authored by Manda Arnold on Jul 11, 2012

With more than 40 people from The Bridge Community Church in attendance for the work session and the regular session, much of Tuesday evening’s South Adams school board meeting and a one hour work session prior to the regular session were taken up with discussion on Policy 7510 – Use of School Facility. Changes and updates by the board to Policy 7510 were brought to the table when a request was made by Mo Hodge on May 8 to use the facility as an extension church of The Bridge Community Church in Decatur. They requested the use of the auditorium and six classrooms every Sunday for an unspecified amount of time.
The request has been tabled since then as the board has held two work sessions and discussed the request during the regular board meetings to decide what is best for the school and the taxpayers and to discuss what changes they felt needed to be made to the current policy. Several areas of concern were brought up by various board members, including rental fees, student privacy, facility wear and tear, use of the facility by non-education related organizations, and a request for the use of the facility with no specified amount of time attached.
After much discussion, the board passed a motion 4-3 to add the following paragraph to the policy.
“Frequent facility usage will be taken to the board for its consideration. The board in making its determination will be guided by principals of law and by the policy guidelines. It may assess additional fees for such frequent facility usage on a weekly or monthly basis. A written lease agreement detailing the specific conditions of the frequent facility use must be approved by the school board. The school board reserves the right to limit the length of all frequent facility use requests.”
Those opposing the motion were John Buckingham, Amy Orr, and Tony Mellencamp.
A motion to revise the facility application form as presented passed unanimously.
However, despite a majority vote on the previous motion to alter the policy, the first motion to approve the first reading of the revised policy failed to pass with a vote of 3-4. Opposing were Buckingham, Orr, Mellencamp, and Julie Mansfield.
After more discussion of problems with the revised policy, Buckingham made a motion to accept the revised policy with the “frequent facility usage paragraph” being replaced by “In regards to frequent use of facilities, school facilities will only be rented to educationally-related organizations that offer post-secondary classes/programs.”
The board passed Buckingham’s motion 6-1, with the opposing vote coming from Steve Dobler.
After coming to a vote on the facility request policy, the board once again entertained the request made by Hodge. The board voted 6-1 to deny the request, the opposing vote once again coming from Dobler.

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