The South Adams Schools Board once again tabled the matter of granting permission to The Bridge Community Church to use the school's auditorium and six classrooms from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Sunday, beginning September 9, for an extended length of time.
Prior to the regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday, board members met in a work session to discuss the matter. Board member Tony Mellencamp said, "Every question that came up resulted in 10 more questions."
Superintendent Scott Litwiller made the recommendation that the schools' board revise the existing policy regarding long-term use of the school facility by adding that "requests for continuous weekly usage of two or more months will be taken to the board for consideration. The board may assess an additional fee for long-term leases, and the board reserves the right to limit the length of all long-term requests."
Mellencamp began the discussion by saying, "Personally, I have a problem with any long-term use of school property unless it's directly school related. It's not to pick on any one group; it's that there are several things that could be problematic for any group coming in."
Mellencamp explained that the schools' Energy Savings status could be affected because the group would be using the electricity and utilities during times they normally wouldn't be used.
Amy Orr suggested that the long-term use policy include wording that requires the use to be educational or academic.
Julie Mansfield said that when other groups such as the John Jay Center for Learning or Ivy Tech use the facility, that school is in session and the utilities are already being used.
Board President Arlene Amstutz added that there is the issue of "outside entities being in classrooms because of the Student Privacy Act." She added, "The auditorium is one thing, classrooms are another."
Steve Dobler requested that the board look into when The Bridge used other school facilities and how it worked for those schools. "This isn't the first time this group has used a school facility. Let's look at what the results were at those schools." Dobler mentioned that the church has used the North Adams, Adams Central and Jay County school facilities in the past.
A motion was made by Mellencamp to table the revision of the policy and discuss it further at a later date. The motion passed with no opposition.