Education, Local Government, News

Saugus to amend school rental policy

SAUGUS — The school district’s Policy Sub-Committee is in the process of updating its rental policy to determine the types of organizations that will be allowed to rent out district-owned facilities, the level of security necessary for each rentable building, and the rates at which facilities should be rented.

According to School Committee member Dennis Gould, the district’s current rental policy, which was last updated prior to construction of the Saugus Middle/High School complex and the renovation of the Belmonte STEAM Academy, is out of date.

“Now that we have these new facilities — one modified and one brand-new — we expect more rental requests, and the rental agreement we had was quite old,” Gould said. “It really didn’t reflect the use of the new facilities.”

Another change to the rental policy, School Committee member John Hatch said, will be to limit the renting of school-district properties to Saugus-based nonprofits, or Saugus-based for-profit businesses that service the town in some way.

“It’s all Saugus residents —Youth Basketball, the youth sports programs, Saugus Youth Football, etc. Those types of programs are what we’re looking at,” Hatch said.

While the School Committee has not yet decided a new rate for the summer renters, Gould said the modified rate will be consistent, since the district is no longer accepting out-of-town organizations to rent the facilities at a different price.

The modified rates, Gould said, will also take into consideration the new security, sanitation, and technology personnel hired to maintain the new facilities, but will not go up.

“With the auditorium, we have millions of dollars worth of AV equipment in this state-of-the-art facility and we can’t have just anybody in there. We have to be very mindful of security, of hiring an audiovisual technician that understands the equipment,” Hatch said. “We have to protect this complex that we’re all so grateful to have.”

The rental fee and hiring of maintenance and security staff will ultimately depend on the Financial Committee’s approval.

“It’s a work in progress, and the whole goal of what we’re trying to do with this policy is to serve our community, and protect this wonderful complex,” Hatch said.

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