CASD changes facilities policy
Members of Catasauqua Area Showcase Theatre and other community organizations attended the Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education meeting Oct. 8 to hear the revised policy regarding the use of district facilities by outside groups.
One of the major changes to the use of facilities policy revolves around access to the district auditorium. According to the policy, no outside groups will have access to the auditorium, effective May 5, 2020.
The discussion opened with Lois Reed, district business supervisor, reporting she has received numerous complaints about school groups not having adequate access to school facilities due to usage from outside groups. She noted Thomas Moll, district director of student activities, has also had problems in the past with scheduling all the various groups who want to use the space.
Reed reported the district has had problems trying to clean the auditorium of glitter and sequins after outside dance groups have used the space. She mentioned the debris has damaged equipment in the process of cleaning the space, and often times, not all of the glitter is able to be cleaned.
It was decided to place the cutoff at May 2020 because that is the start of a busy time in the district for student-sponsored groups and other school district activities, such as spirit events, baccalaureate and graduation.
This news was met with concerns from outside groups such as Catasauqua Area Showcase Theatre, which has had a long relationship with the school district.
The board decided to see how the transition and new policy works and will re-evaluate if necessary. According to Superintendent of Schools Robert Spengler, the board will review the policy again in June 2020 and may adjust.
Bill Nothstein, director for CAST, noted the organization is willing to be as flexible as needed and will work with the district in any way it can.
A representative of another local community organization questioned whether it would be possible for the board to change the policy and limit usage only to Catasauqua-based organizations, such as Suburban North Family YMCA.
Board President Carol Cunningham noted the board already decided to eliminate usage to all outside groups. Board member Jason Bashaw noted the good of the students must come first, and the board will stand firm in its decision. Spengler emphasized no community groups will be receiving any preferential treatment.
“It’s tough, but our students and district-sponsored events have priority over outside groups,” Spengler replied.
Other changes to the policy include rate increases and clarification about which rooms and areas can and cannot be rented. The music room at Catasauqua High School and the music and band rooms are off limits to organizations and groups renting space at the school. Also excluded are the computer and STEM labs in the schools.