Offloading burdensome process allowed district to increase revenue and improve community relations
“We’ve always operated as a small district even though we’re large,” says Victor P. Hayek, Deputy Superintendent for Business Services at Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).
“We used a series of different paper calendars to manage our facilities but there was no consistency and no one place to find everything.”
Districts all over the country know it’s challenging enough for a district to manage rental requests and the facility use process for 27 campuses, but doing it on paper is close to impossible.
“It could take up to two weeks for an organization to get their rental permit,” says Maria Ness, who was formerly the facility use coordinator in charge of the rental process.
“I’d fill out a rental request form, mail it to the person at the school who handled that school’s calendar, and they’d mail it back to me. It could take three days for me to get the paperwork back, and then I’d mail it out to the group.”
Because Conejo Valley is a tight-knit community and there aren’t many fields and gyms for the volleyball, basketball, and football clubs to practice and play, people overlooked the inevitable glitches, such as showing up to a school and finding a locked door and no custodian to unlock it.
Hayek knew they could do better.
“I’m forward thinking and always looking for the more efficient, updated way to do things. I wanted to automate the system and deliver better customer service to outside groups.” Victor P. Hayek, Deputy Superintendent, Business Services
That’s when a colleague at another district told him about Facilitron.
“I checked out the Facilitron website and could tell that the company and its offerings were professional. It wasn’t just a glorified spreadsheet calendar hybrid. It’s a true portal,” says Hayek.
After a product demonstration, he was convinced. He loved that Facilitron gave him the ability to offer a platform that community groups could log into for the details—space availability, cost, photos of facilities—as well as responsive and timely communication.
“I was jumping for joy when I heard we were bringing on Facilitron,” says Ness, who is now an administrative assistant for the district. “Facilitron offers a ton of customization. It’s great!”
When Ness handled rentals, it took up 75 percent of her time. The new coordinator is able to take on a number of other tasks. As Ness explains, “Facilitron handles all the processing and billing and there’s a link to check a nonprofit’s status. Even better, Facilitron keeps adding more functionality.”
Both Hayek and Ness say that Facilitron’s data collection has been a game-changer for the district. After Facilitron did a cost-analysis showing in-district usage, external usage, and total expenses, CVUSD was able to update its non-profit and fair rental charges.
“It was an eye-opener,” says Ness. “We had not been charging the right amount.”
“We brought in Facilitron in to improve our systems, and it has done that and more,” says Hayek. “By making it easier for user groups to schedule their events, we may get usage from people beyond the local community. We can attract groups that would not have seen us or used our pen-and-paper process.”
Hayek says Facilitron’s support and customer services is one of the best he’s seen in the education industry. “I always tell them, ‘I'm waiting for you to let me down,’ but they haven’t—so far!”
Using Facilitron has shown CVUSD what it does well and what needs to be fixed. “We needed all the information to make effective decisions, and now we can put measures in place to fix whatever is not working,” says Hayek.
Conejo Valley Unified School District is a school district in Ventura County. It serves Thousand Oaks, California and its subsections Newbury Park and the Ventura County section of Westlake Village.