Two 861 Schools Just Say No
by Cynthya Porter
District 861's new centralized facility scheduling program
is encountering opposition from Rollingstone and Dakota elementaries,
Community Education Director Margaret Schild told the school
According to Schild, the schools have objected to building use
requirements outlined in the district's 1993 facility use policy
which has recently been more strictly enforced through centralized
The policy calls for private insurance coverage and fees for
use for certain groups, as well as that all building use is scheduled
through Robyn Kieffer, the district facility scheduler. A district
facility committee is also weighing the current practice of handing
out keys to users rather than having a district employee present
in the building.
The Rollingstone site based team sent Schild a letter with a
copy of their own current building use policies. Although they
agreed to require a certificate of insurance from non-district
groups, the team objected to the possibility of being forced
to have a custodian or other district employee in the facility
during use. They also asked to retain building scheduling functions
independent of the district facility scheduler, and included
in their facility policy the right to refuse building use rights
at their discretion.
Similarly, two Dakota residents objected to any policy requiring
supervision in the elementary school during after hours use,
and Dakota Elementary staff have continued to provide their own
scheduling services for the building rather than directing potential
users toward the centralized scheduling department.
In a letter from David Albrecht, supervisor of the Dakota adult
open gym program, he said users typically will give a "free-will
offering" for building use, and that perhaps users could
sign an insurance liability waiver rather than purchase insurance
coverage for use.
When individual building staffs dictate their own policies, Schild
said, it raises concerns over equity between buildings. Users
who are required to purchase insurance or pay rental fees at
some district buildings may want to schedule their use at the
buildings that do not enforce those policies, but Rollingstone,
she said, wants to reserve the right to hand-select who may use
their school. "That makes me uncomfortable," she said.
Another prominent issue, Schild said, is whether the district's
new insurance carrier will require the district to have an employee
in a building during any use. Whether they will or won't allow
unsupervised use, Schild advocated the supervision, citing high
district vulnerability when keys for buildings are passed out
to the public.
During her comments to the board, Schild acknowledged that Dakota
and Rollingstone are in communities with fewer meeting area resources
than Winona, but stressed that the district needed to enforce
a uniform policy out of fairness to all and for the efficiency
of the district.
Schild proposed that she could continue to work with the rural
schools to develop guidelines specifically applicable to rural
schools, but also closely aligned to district policies.
The board will revisit the issue at their July 18 board meeting,
after representatives from the new insurance carrier have been