Community use of schools
Q: Can community groups use school space?
School buildings and schoolyards are often used for community events, continuing education programs, Scouts and Guides, after-school programs and community sports.
The provincial government provides some funding to school boards to help them keep rental fees more affordable for use after-hours, and it has designated 175 “priority schools” where not-for-profit groups have free after-school access.
But most school boards charge fees for groups using school space, to cover the costs of maintenance and caretakers. Some boards charge very low fees for not-for-profit organizations using school space, while others have high fees, particularly for weekend or summer access, or for certain types of facilities. Fees for community use have made schools unaffordable for many groups.
The Ontario Ministry of Education has an overall provincial policy for the community use of schools. In addition, the SPACE coaltion, composed of diverse community organizations in Toronto and across Ontario, works to ensure that the investments made by the provincial funding of the Community Use of Schools program is increasing access to schools.
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I am amazed at the thought that school councils would be charged rent for the use of their own school building! This is the kind of thing that is used by those who hate bureaucracy to give all institutions a bad name. View the full discussion.