Portage Park Board considers fee waiver policy

2013-02-19T20:15:00Z 2013-02-19T20:55:04Z Portage Park Board considers fee waiver policyJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Portage Park Board on Tuesday tabled a request to waive hall rental fees, saying they need to develop a policy.

Portage Township Schools had asked for the waiver to hold a special prom for special needs students on May 11. The normal fee to rent the Sycamore Hall at Woodland Park would be $400 for the day.

"I think it is a bad practice to waive the fee," said board president Ken Lorenz.

Member Ruth Jones agreed, saying she feared it could set a precedent and that a Saturday, in particular, would be difficult.

Member Rich Piazza suggested the school provide some sort of in-kind service in lieu of the fee.

Superintendent Jenny Orsburn said in the past the board has left the question of waiving fees up to staff. However, last month the board approved new hall rental fees and policies and did not address waiving fees.

Assistant Superintendent Colin Highlands suggested the board meet with staff to develop a policy.

With members Debra Ekdahl and Kevin Bridges absent from the meeting, other members said they should wait to make the decision.

In other business, the board set fees for the rental of the new indoor turf, which can be set up and removed in the Grand Oakwood Hall. Rentals are $50 per hour or $5 per person during open gym periods.

Highlands said the rental rate is low compared with neighboring facilities and that this rate would be temporary. While rentals are going well, he said they will likely pick up in late summer and fall and rates should be reviewed at that time.

The board also approved eliminating the requirement to pay a deposit for hall rentals. Orsburn said collecting deposits is an "accounting nightmare" and that those renting rooms should expect to pay for the room in full when it is reserved.

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