NEWTOWN SQUARE–In part two of the five-part series of recommendations to the budget made by the appointed seven-member Community Budget Committee, is recommendations on facility usage for the district.
The committee was formed in September and has been meeting monthly since then to review the district's budget and to analyze revenues and costs of district operations. Committee member Jim Lanzalotto urged the school board to communicate more openly with the public about the limitations they are faced with in the budget due to state mandates.
Opportunities to reduce costs and for potential revenue growth in the budget were discussed in five areas: Transportation, Facility Usage, Activity Fees, Advertising & Sponsorships, and Virtual Learning.
Marple Newtown Patch will cover the topics in a five-part series.
Lanzalotto shared the purpose of looking at the budget is how to generate more revenue as opposed to eliminating cost.
Bruce Killen, a member of the Community Budget Committee stated that there were a number of facilities that could be utilized in the Marple Newtown School District that are currently not being fully utilized.
"What we looked at was the facilities of Marple Newtown School District that may be costing us money outside of a regular school schedule, or may be under-utilized because they're empty on a weekend when we, in fact, could be using those facilities for outside events," said Killen.
Possible facilities in the district that can be fully utilized include:
- Football Field
- Swimming Pool
- Ball Fields
Killen said, currently, the district is losing money by allowing organizations to use the facilities at no cost.
"We think what's necessary is to quantify the maximum revenue potential that exists for the schools right now," said Killen.
According to Killen, the potential of utilization of facilities is approximately 20 percent. "We're looking at an opportunity of about $100,000 if we were able to aggressively market and make better use of these empty facilities."
Killen shared that as a parent of a Marple Newtown student, he had tried to have a birthday party at the high school swimming pool but was "priced out."
"Prices have to be set in such a way that you're not going to discourage people You want to attract the market,"said Killen.
In terms of utilizing facilities now, Killen said the cost to the district is approximately $30,000 per year but not receiving any compensation for. Killen said the board also has to consider the community's response of what it will mean to start charging facility usage when they weren't charged in the past.