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School board to review costs charged for groups using facilities

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Several years ago the Bedford County School Board passed a policy setting standard prices for groups using school facilities. That policy is now again under review after District 6 board member Kelly Harmony questioned the prices some groups have been quoted for facility use.
    Board Chairman Gary Hostutler said the original policy was put in place not to make money, but rather to make sure the school system is recovering the costs of letting outside groups use facilities. It was also put in place to make it comparable to what other school systems charge.
    But Harmony gave several examples of groups that chose to go outside the county for events—a dance studio and a wrestling group—because of lower costs. She said those costs may need to be reviewed because the groups were finding better prices in other counties.
    Groups that aren’t a part of the school system’s clubs, or a non-profit, must pay all of the costs established in the policy.
    “Let’s just make sure we’re not out of line,” City School Board member Mickey VanDerwerker said of the need to go back and compare costs with surrounding jurisdictions.
    In other action Thursday, the school board heard a report from Chief Financial Officer Randy Hagler on how the funding set aside in this year’s budget will be used to help compensate bus drivers for their increased health insurance costs. Bus drivers are no longer being treated as full-time employees, something that had been done in the past, for their health insurance costs.
    In order to help with that transition, the school board set aside $150,000 to help ease the increased cost for this year. According to Hagler, that funding will be used to split the increased cost between the school system and the bus driver, regardless of the plan selected or percentage of their contracts. The amounts provided will vary from $560 to $1,660, depending on the plan selected.
    A letter will be sent out to each driver, notifying them of the amount they will receive.