Community groups using Fairfax County public school facilities face a 49 percent increase in fees starting July 1.
In a unanimous decision, the county school board has agreed to charge outside organizations 100 percent of the county's costs for providing the space, rather than the old figure of 67 percent.
The shift by the board at its meeting last week is expected to generate an additional $30,000 a year in revenue for Fairfax County's $390 million school budget, according to Philip J. Sharpe, director of school budget services. Sharpe estimated that total annual revenue from community use of school facilities will top $100,000 under the new fee schedule.
"It doesn't look like too much money," Sharpe said, "but it will help."
The new guidelines maintain the current policy that activities which benefit the school itself or the community -- lifesaving classes, for example -- do not have to pay a fee for using school facilities in most instances.
Under the new guidelines, however, private organizations and individuals will have access to school facilities for the first time. Previously, access was limited to public-oriented groups, such as churches, cultural and civic concerns, colleges and state and federal agencies.
The regulations stipulate that if questions arise about whether an orgainization should be allowed to use school facilities, the matter will be decided by county officials, rather than by officials at individual schools.
Following is a sampling of fees listed in the new guidelines:
$18.70 per hour for a cafeteria (without the use of a kitchen) with less than 4,000 square feet, plus cleanup time.
$23.40 per hour far a gymnasium up to 9,000 square feet, plus cleanup time.
$18.70 per hour for an auditorium that seats up to 700, plus cleanup time.
$2.70 per hour for classrooms, plus cleanup time.
$335 per hour for a lighted high school football stadium.