YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Several local volunteers are upset over a proposed fee that would charge non-profit organizations and athletic clubs each time Yorktown Central School District facilities are used.
Under the school district’s proposal, groups like Yorktown Youth Soccer Club, Yorktown Athletic Club, Mohansic Girls Basketball Club, Yorktown Parks and Recreation, Oxygen Volleyball Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and SPARC Programs would have to pay an hourly $10 fee for using school district's facilities.
According to a presentation given by YCSD Assistant Superintendent Tom Cole, those organizations combined to log 5,423 hours of classroom, cafeteria, gym, grass field and turf field usage in 2011-12. The groups also used 27.5 hours of turf field lighting and 791 hours of overtime for district custodial staff.
YYSC President Rick Romanski, YAC President Rich Campanaro and YYSC Board Member Al French were among the volunteers who complained about the fees Tuesday night to the Yorktown Town Board. Campanaro said higher fees could result in a deceased membership, and would force remaining members to pay a larger share of the usage fees.
Currently, the organizations only have to re-imburse the district for the custodial overtime, which Cole said was $53,000 in 2011-12. The new plan would incorporate custodial expenses into the usage fees, and “the clubs will no longer need to be surprised about overtime fees,” a district statement said.
Cole presented the plan (attached below) at an Oct. 22, 2012 board of education meeting and said the reason for the fees is simply to comply with a New York State law.
According to NYS Constitutional Law, Article VIII, Section 1, Gift and Loan Clause, whenever admission fees are charged at a facility or where sales are part of the event, the organizations must donate a “reasonable” amount of the proceeds back to the school.
Superintendent Ralph Napolitano stressed the district did not seek out a way to recoup extra fees, but was informed by attorneys that it was not in compliance with the law.
The district-released statement also said the user fees will be deposited into a newly created Athletic Fund, and will not use the fees "for capital improvements nor will it make any profit or gain from the money."
"The Athletic Fund would serve as a place to keep the monies collected every year until representatives from the school district, the Town of Yorktown and the clubs could meet to jointly decide where best to use the funds for that year."