Category K: Community Relations
Procedure K1: Use Of School Grounds And Facilities
Hours of Operation for District Purposes
District property consisting of school buildings, school grounds, and other facilities and assets owned by the district are reserved for exclusive use by the district during regular hours of operation. Grounds and facilities used by students are not available for community use when schools are in session or when they are otherwise engaged for district purposes. District activities will always have priority use.
A listing of normal district operating hours will be made available to the public by the Superintendent or her/his designee. General hours of operation may vary by school and between buildings and grounds.
Notably, the public is not allowed to use district grounds, including playing fields, during normal hours of operation.
Any requests for use by the public of district buildings, grounds, facilities or assets for non-district purposes during normal hours of operation must be approved by the Superintendent or her/his designee(s).
Use of School Grounds & Facilities Outside of Normal Hours of Operation
It is the District’s desire that maximum use of school grounds and facilities be enjoyed by the general public whenever appropriate and reasonable. Use by the public must at all times promote safe conditions and preserve the property for district use.
Use of district grounds and facilities by organizations will be permitted only when an appropriate educational, civic, or charitable purpose will be served or a substantial group of citizens from the community will be benefited. District grounds and facilities will be used according to the regulations and rental fee schedules recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the School Committee. Permission for the use of district grounds and facilities must be obtained through the Office of the Superintendent, the Athletic Director, or the Director of Facilities. Applications will be made available by the District administration.
School facilities will be available for the following:
- Public school activities
- Parent-teacher activities
- Official town public hearings and political activities
- Meetings and activities sponsored by the School Committee or district school personnel
- Recreational activities
- Local nonprofit and noncommercial organization activities
- Metropolitan civic, educational, social, and religious organization activities if a substantial portion of the members are residents of the town
- The activities of other organizations, when approved by the School Committee or the Superintendent
School and Town PreferenceThe priority for use of school grounds and facilities will be considered in the following order:
- District/school sponsored activities;
- Programs sponsored by the Towns of Amherst, Pelham, Leverett, and Shutesbury;
- Amherst Leisure Services/Supplementary Education Department;
- Other agencies associated with the four towns; and
- Other programs/purposes.
Use Of District Facilities For Recreation Outside of Normal Hours of Operation
Use of district facilities for recreational use outside of normal operating hours is coordinated by the Director of Facilities. Use of gymnasiums, in particular, is coordinated by the Athletic Director. Unless district-organized and supervised activities are previously scheduled, use of district playing fields outside of normal hours of operations are under the supervision of the Director of Leisure Services and Continuing Education (by prior agreement).
All playing fields are to be used only for appropriate recreational use. Unless otherwise stipulated, policies and procedures of the District shall apply even outside of normal hours of operation.
All District playing fields are under the supervision of the principal for the associated school immediately before and after school hours, unless the principal has made other arrangements.
The “cut-off” time for use of school grounds is 9:00 p.m. Up until the cut-off time, use of district grounds is permitted, consistent with this procedure. After the cut-off time, any use will be considered improper and those using it will be considered unauthorized.
Questions regarding any digression from these rules should be referred to the Superintendent of Schools.
General Rules and Regulations Regarding Use of District Grounds and Facilities
- No permit for use will be granted without a clear and legible completed facility request form, submitted a minimum of two weeks prior to the event.
- If a use fee is applicable, all payments to the District shall be made within 30 days following the activity.
- A certificate of insurance (including liability and workers’ compensation, if applicable) is required with the application. The district must be named as an additional insured on the certificate. Groups using the grounds or facilities agree to hold the District and the Town of Amherst and its employees and agents harmless for injuries of those taking part in or attending an event/program.
- If the permit is granted, the holder will be subject to the rules and regulations of the District, Town of Amherst codes and ordinances and Massachusetts General Laws.
- The District is not responsible for any accidents or injuries to persons or property resulting from the issuance of a permit.
- The District and its Facilities Use Office reserve the right to change the rules, regulations and/or fees as deemed necessary.
- Presence of animals on district grounds or in district facilities will comply with district policies. The Director of Facilities or the Director of Athletics reserves the right to require removal of animals from school grounds and facilities, as necessary.
Request for Use Procedures
Requests for use of grounds or facilities should be submitted in writing to the Facilities Office. No confirmation will be made until a completed request form is submitted, required forms are signed, certificate of insurance provided and proper fees paid. Within ten (10) days of receipt of a request, a decision will be made by the District administration.
The District reserves the right to make a final determination regarding the level of personnel required to support the activity. Groups must pay the costs for supporting personnel.
A fee schedule will be maintained by the Facilities Office for rental of district grounds and facilities.
POLICY KF: Use Of Public School Facilities After Regular School Hours