School board raises rent for facilities

Neil Corbett, Maple Ridge News

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board has passed a 2013-2014 budget that made up for a $5.6 million shortfall in funding from the province, and already faces challenges living within it.

Wednesday night the board’s trustees reviewed increases that will be faced by groups renting gyms and other school, district facilities, as well as increased class sizes for the coming year.

Secretary-treasurer Flavia Coughlan reported rental rates had been unchanged since 2009, but it was an area identified as a potential revenue source in the budget process

She said the new rates reflect a philosophy that will see classrooms, libraries, gymnasiums, kitchens and multi-purposes rooms rented for fees, charging “at a minimum, full cost recovery.”

However, she said non-profit groups serving children and licensed child care organizations would continue to be billed on a break-even basis for the district.

“From commercial groups, we would actually like to make some money,” said Coughlan.

“If someone is going to use public facilities to make money, the public deserves to make some money, too,” echoed board chair Mike Murray.