Dear Germantown School Board Members,
Recently, the Germantown School Board announced its intention to start charging fees associated with the use of school spaces. We understand the reasoning behind the change is driven by an increase in space use requests because of improved facilities. However, we do not support a blanket policy that does not provide exemption to organizations dedicated to serving our community and its schools. Increasing costs to critical programs is not supportive of community members that are funding the facility improvements through the 2016 referendum.
For example, the new policy change would include the Village of Germantown. For many years, the School District and the Village have partnered to provide low cost, high quality recreational programs to community participants. The Village is already facing increased competition from many outside clubs and teams. Given our close proximity to other suburban communities, the Village also faces competition from similar offerings through other area Rec departments. Increasing costs would likely reduce community participation in Germantown Rec programs as well as reduce the attractiveness of the Village to potential new residents.
The families in our community, especially those with multiple children that wish to participate, should not have to pay additional costs on top of the referendum for Village programs. Recreation programs are an important resource for families that want to give children the chance to experience activities, to try new things. Every child should have that opportunity within their community. The Kids Club program is a critical service provided to community families; increasing those costs will have a significant impact on many household budgets.
It was suggested that groups such as Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) could apply for waivers. It would be more sensible to include language in the policy exempting such organizations and eliminating the need for unnecessary work and bureaucracy. PTAs are committed to improving our District schools and the school experience for both teachers and students. What possible motivation could the Board have to impede their efforts by either charging unnecessary fees or requiring needless approvals?
Please reconsider your fee schedule and provide permanent exemptions to school-focused organizations like PTAs and the Germantown Parks & Recreation department.
Concerned Community Members