Civic Center Act - Public Access Fees
Ocean View School District is comprised of a number of school campus sites and large site footprints providing an abundance of field space for public access. The District's community is very engaged in civic use and welcomes community use. In order to provide safe, healthy, and inviting community spaces, OVSD needed assistance in maintaining, repairing, and evntually replacing their facilities and fields.
The purpose of this Facilities Usage Fee Justification Study ("Study") is to determine the facility usage fees ("Usage Fees") that Ocean View School District ("OVSD") can legally charge for the use of its facilities pursuant to Education Code Sections 38131 and 38134. Currently, the Study calculates Usage Fees for outdoor facilities (e.g., fields, playgrounds, etc.). In the near future, calculations will be added that represent the utilization rates for the indoor facilities (e.g., classrooms. multi-purpose rooms, gymnasiums, etc.)
The Civic Center Act states that “[e]very public school facility is … a civic center.” Accordingly, districts are frequently under pressure from businesses, public entities, and members of the public to provide access for use of their facilities. This could pose a significant premises liability exposure to the District if the use is not controlled and strictly risk managed. The goal of these guidelines is to balance the mandate for the use of school facilities as a civic center with the need to manage appropriate and safe use of school facilities while maintaining minimal liability impact to the District. Every public school facility is a civic center. The Civic Center Act, Education Code Section 38130 et seq. provides that:
“[e]very public school facility is considered a civic center where citizens, school-community councils, and clubs as well as senior, recreation, education, political, artistic, and other organizations may meet. The school district may grant the use of school facilities and grounds upon certain terms and conditions deemed proper by the governing board and subject to specified limitations, requirements, and restrictions set forth within the law.”
School districts have the ability to charge Usage Fees because of the cost impacts associated with allowing the community to use its facilities, including direct costs and amortized costs. If school districts do not charge Usage Fees, then the usage of the facilities by community groups will create an unfunded impact on the facilities of a school district, which will have to utilize General Fund revenues to cover the shortfall. The costs of using facilities are identified below along with the corresponding fee structure.