Durham Public Schools
Terms of Use

Policy Code: 5030 Community Use of Facilities

The Board of Education encourages the use of school buildings and grounds by community organizations to the extent permitted by public school laws and regulations.  The Board will cooperate with other city and county agencies in fostering such use and encouraging the participation of volunteers to support such programs. 

The board delegates to the superintendent the responsibility for developing procedures by which community organizations may use school facilities.  The procedures established by the superintendent shall include provisions governing what types of organizations may use DPS facilities without charge and what types of organizations must pay a fee. 

In addition, the superintendent or designee shall establish a fee structure that seeks to maximize the community's use of DPS facilities while recouping the actual costs to DPS of such use.  At a minimum, the fee structure shall take into account: (1) whether an organization requesting use of a DPS facility is a nonprofit or for-profit entity; (2) what, if any, relationship the organization has with DPS; (3) the purpose of the proposed activity; and (4) whether the proposed activity involves DPS students.  Such fees shall be set forth in the Facility Rental Fee Schedules.  An approved application shall be required of all organizations using school facilities. 

The superintendent is directed to periodically review and reauthorize such fees to assure they are reasonable.  The superintendent shall assure that a log of all community use of school facilities is maintained. 

Legal References: Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.28 C.F.R. pt. 35; Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 4071-407428 C.F.R. pt. 36; Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 790534 C.F.R. pt. 10836 U.S.C. 20101 et seq.G.S. 14-269.2; Community Schools Act, G.S.  115C-203 to -209.1115C-524-527160A-274163A-1046163-129

Cross References: Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying (policy 1710/4021/7230), Student and Parent Grievance Procedure (policy 1740/4010), Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol (policy 5025), Smoking and Tobacco Products (policy 5026/7250), Weapons and Explosives Prohibited (policy 5027/7275), Sale, Disposal, and Lease of Board-Owned Real Property (policy 9400)

Adopted: August 27, 2020

Regulation Code: 5030-R Community Use of Facilities

I. Purpose

The primary purpose of public-school facilities is to provide quality educational environments conducive to the learning of the students they serve. It is the policy of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education (hereinafter the “Board”) to encourage the use of school buildings and grounds by the community for educational, recreational, civic, cultural, and other activities to the extent permitted under public school laws and regulations. Accordingly, community use of school buildings and grounds for educational, recreational, civic, and cultural activities shall be permitted according to the processes established in these regulations to the extent such use does not conflict with the use of public school buildings and grounds for public school purposes and activities, with state and federal laws or local ordinances, or with the proper care and maintenance of school facilities and grounds. In no case may the use of Durham Public Schools (“DPS”) facilities by community groups or organizations interfere in any manner with the operation of the school or endanger school personnel, students, or the public at large. It is the intent of these regulations to establish and define the types of groups and organizations that may rent facilities from DPS, to establish rules that ensure safe and secure facilities for the users and to authorize the superintendent or designee to establish rates (fees) necessary to offset the costs of operating and maintaining the facilities for such community use. These regulations and fees will be reviewed by the superintendent or designee on a periodic basis and amended as necessary.

If the activity for which a group is using a DPS facility is designed to offer services to individual DPS students or involves adults working closely or directly with DPS students in DPS facilities or on DPS property, the adults must register as volunteers, as provided in board policy regarding school volunteers. During hours in which a school office is open, the volunteers must log in using the visitor check-in process in the front office or other similar devices as are in place at the time.

II. Groups Permitted to Use DPS Facilities

The following groups are permitted to use DPS facilities through the Facility Rental process. An approved Facility Rental Application (“Contract”) is required before the group will be permitted to use a DPS facility.

A. District or School-Sponsored or Related Groups

Organizations or groups in this category must be affiliated with a particular school or the district as a whole and support the school or district in an area of recognized need.

1. The term includes, by way of example and not limitation:

a. Parent-teacher associations or organizations;

b. Public school citizen advisory committees;

c. Public school employee organizations;

d. Public school student clubs and associations;

e. Public school alumni groups;

f.  Approved booster clubs 

g. Athletic associations with historical fee waived status; and

h. School Leadership Teams.

2. Groups in this category will be required to execute a Contract but will not be charged rental fees for their use of facilities so long as the use is in the course of their regular activities or meetings, but other applicable fees apply. Requests by such groups to use a facility shall be submitted to the Facility Rental (FR) Department.

3. For events outside of regular activities of the group, such as tournaments, fundraisers, games, or any other activities for which an entry or participation fee is charged, the group must submit a new application through the FR Department. In this case, fees for the usage will apply, according to the fee schedules approved by the superintendent or designee.

4. Under no circumstances are the groups operating under this category permitted to sub-lease or grant permission to other organizations to use DPS facilities without a Contract. All such requests must be made according to processes set forth in this regulation.

B. Non-Profit Groups or Entities

This category includes civic, service, political, fraternal, governmental, religious, charitable, or recreational agencies, associations, organizations, corporations, or partnerships that are not engaged in a business or enterprise to produce income or a financial gain and have been afforded tax-exempt status under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

1. Groups in this category include, but are not limited to:

a. Non-profit civic and service clubs;

b. Adult fraternities and sororities;

c. Churches and religious organizations;

d. Political parties (or any affiliate thereof) recognized by the Board of Elections of the county or state;

e. YWCA, YMCA, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, Little League teams; 

f. Small groups (family reunions, birthdays, neighborhood meetings, etc.) and

g. Professional and occupational organizations.

2. Proof of nonprofit status, such as documentation of tax-exempt status under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, may be required when applying for use of district facilities under this category.

C. Enrichment Entities

This category includes non-profit groups or organizations that offer educational or cultural enrichment services at no cost to DPS students through their use of DPS facilities.

1. Organizations applying in this category must, provide their programming and curriculum on a form provided by the FR Department which requires principal endorsement. The FR Department will route the submission to the appropriate assistant superintendent/principal supervisor or designee for approval before approving an activity under this category. This form must be submitted by the group with its application at least thirty (30) days prior to the requested usage start date.

2. If the activity for which a group is using a DPS facility is designed to offer services to individual DPS students, or involves adults working closely or directly with DPS students, the adults participating in the activity must register and be cleared as volunteers, as provided in school board policy regarding school volunteers.

3. It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that instructional staff are available as necessary to supervise activities offered to students by enrichment entities and to ensure that the activities conducted with students are in accordance with the programming and curriculum submitted for approval.

D. Groups with Memorandum of Understandings for Field Usage 

Upon approval of the superintendent or designee, a school’s fields may be used by a for-profit or non-profit organization on a regular basis for an extended period of time with a modified fee structure upon the execution of an MOU Agreement.

Groups are eligible for MOU Agreements under the following terms and conditions:

1. The group has created the field (e.g. a baseball, softball, or soccer field) it desires to use under the Facility Rental Contract and agrees to provide ongoing maintenance, subject to the approval of DPS, for such areas; or

2. The group agrees to provide ongoing maintenance, subject to the approval of DPS, for a field built by DPS which the group desires to use under the Facility Rental Contract; and

3. The use of the field does not interfere in any manner with the operation of the school and does not endanger school personnel, students, or the public at large.

E. For-Profit or Commercial Entities

This category includes persons, partnerships, associations, organizations, or corporations engaged in a business for profit that desires to use a school facility to engage in a profit-making enterprise for its owners, members, officers, directors, or stockholders and has not been accorded tax-exempt status under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The term does not include the recreational use of school facilities by employees of commercial enterprises, but it does include, by way of example and not limitation, the following: retail merchants, dance studios, auction sales and entertainers or promoters. The Board does not encourage the use of school facilities by commercial enterprises. If a commercial organization and a non-profit organization submit applications to use the same school facility at the same time, the non-profit organization's application shall be given preference. This category includes but is not limited to for-profit services offering tutoring, enrichment, or test preparation (by DPS or non-DPS educators) that charge student participation fees.

F. Governmental or Political Groups

This category includes local, state, or federal government agencies or departments. Uses permitted under this regulation include, but are not limited to:

1. Durham County Board of Elections: As provided in N.C.G.S. §163-129, the Durham County Board of Elections has the right to use school facilities without a facility fee charge for the purposes of conducting registration and voting for any primary, special, or general election. The board encourages collaboration between the board of elections and school administration. It is the policy of the board that the safety of students be the priority when considering use of school facilities during school days when students are present.

2. Informal Governmental Use: From time to time DPS enters into agreements with governmental entities, such as the City of Durham, Durham County or towns located in Durham County, allowing use of school or administrative space. In certain instances, these entities may not be assessed fees for their use of DPS facilities but must complete a Facility Rental application. Fee waivers will generally be granted for meeting or training purposes.

3. Durham Parks & Recreation Department: Upon approval by the superintendent or designee, the Durham Parks & Recreation Department shall be allowed to use the District’s athletic and recreational facilities on such terms and conditions as approved by the superintendent under an Interlocal Agreement, provided such use does not interfere in any manner with the operation of the school nor endanger school personnel, students, or the public at large.

4. Precinct Meetings and Conventions: Precinct meetings and Conventions may be held one time a year without a facility fee charge, but other applicable fees apply, by each political party recognized by the Durham County or State Board of Elections at any school or facility that is designated as a polling place. Each party should schedule all of its precinct meetings on the same date. All other use of school facilities by political parties shall be on a fee basis in accordance with the fee schedule approved by the Board for use by Non-profit Groups.

5. Candidates Seeking Political Office or Current Office Holders: Persons in this category may rent district facilities for campaign fundraising activities, meetings, or “town hall” gatherings at the Non-profit fee schedule. Fees will not be waived for this category. Use of the DPS logo in advertisements is not permitted nor is any statement that the Durham Public Schools endorses any candidate for office.

G. Filmmakers and Videographers (Commercial and Non-Commercial)

Filmmakers and videographers are permitted to film at schools or administrative facilities only as set forth below:

1. Requests must initially be submitted to and approved by the DPS Public Affairs Department. Requests are not to be submitted to a school principal or facility supervisor.

2. Upon approval by the Public Affairs Department, the requesting party shall submit a Facility Rental application.

3. Filmmakers and videographers are subject to Board Policy and Regulations regarding the filming of students.

4. Users are subject to rental fees based on the applicable Fee Schedule.

5. Users that require a location contract with DPS must submit the appropriate documentation at the time of application. Such contracts will be processed according to the typical DPS procedures for executing contracts.

6. Users will be required to provide reimbursement to DPS for staff required to show facilities in the location scouting process.

7. A $200.00 surcharge will be imposed in the following scenarios:

a. schedule changes received fewer than 3 business days in advance of the requested change (if the change can be accommodated);

b. requests for more than three (3) revisions;

c. each occurrence when the cast and crew stay beyond their scheduled times.

8. At its sole discretion, DPS may require these organizations to employ an officer or officers of the Durham County Sheriff Department or City of Durham Police Department to be on-site for the duration of filming at any DPS facility.

H. DPS High School Class Reunions

Requests by groups to use school facilities for high school reunions must be submitted directly to the FR Department. The prospective users must make application for the space and execute a Contract for the desired usage. In such cases fees will be applied at the non-profit fee schedule. Proof of insurance will be required.

III. Prohibited Groups and Uses

A. Groups/Uses Not Permitted

Board Policy permits groups to use school facilities for educational, recreational, civic, cultural, and other activities. Therefore, individual users and uses of a private or personal nature may not be permitted. Accordingly, by way of example and not limitation, the use of school facilities will not be permitted for events such as traditional funerals, auto shows, events with alcohol, tobacco, gambling, loud noise, weapons, or open flames.

B. Other Prohibited Users

Users operating enterprises or programs in conflict with this regulation or with the policies of the Board of Education or who attempt to circumvent the rules established in this regulation shall be denied usage.

IV. Available Facilities

Facilities of DPS available for use by groups described in this Regulation are listed in the fee schedules approved by the superintendent. Applications for the use of school facilities or grounds must be for a minimum of two hours per use.

Following are rules applicable to the use of particular areas of schools or other facilities:

A. Administrative Facilities may be available for use according to the published fee schedules, as determined by the FR Department.

B. Kitchen Facilities may be rented at reasonable times and places as deemed appropriate and approved by the FR Department and DPS Child Nutrition Services Department and may be used only if under the supervision of an authorized DPS Child Nutrition staff member. Groups requesting kitchen rentals may receive an invoice for additional services from the DPS Child Nutrition Services Department.

C. Parking lots are available for all groups according to the published fee schedules. Any group applying for rental of parking lots must provide proof of insurance that meets DPS criteria and may be required to provide police and/or traffic control officers.

D. Outdoor Athletic Fields and Courts are requested through the FR Department.

V. Procedures

Unless specifically exempted from the facility rentals requirements, each Group desiring to use school facilities must submit a valid application requesting use of the facilities it desires, along with any applicable application fees.

A. Applications

1. Unless specifically exempted from the Contract requirements, each Group desiring to use school facilities must submit a valid application requesting use of the facilities it desires.

2. Each application must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee. If an application is denied or later withdrawn by the applicant, the fee will not be refunded. If the Contract is cancelled by the Board for reasons for which the applicant is not responsible, the fee will be refunded. Otherwise, the application fee is nonrefundable and nontransferable.

3. Deadlines for Applications 

a. Applications are due not less than fifteen (15) DPS business days prior to the desired date of use.

b. Applications will not be accepted more than six (6) months in advance of the initial desired date of use.

c. An expediting fee will be assessed for an application received less than fifteen (15) DPS business days prior to the desired date of use, if the application is approved.

4. Applications submitted without signatures or without payment of application fees or that are otherwise incomplete or inaccurate will not be processed.

5. Applications will not be accepted for any facility currently being leased by or from the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.

6. Applications may not be accepted for the part of a facility that is currently included in an Interlocal Agreement or MOU with another governmental agency or entity.

B. Approval and Denial Processes

1. Approval Process

a. The FR Department will review application(s) and assure all necessary fees and other required information are included and that the requested use is consistent with these regulations.

b. The FR Department shall also determine the group category of the requesting user.

c. The FR Department shall forward applications that meet these requirements to the principal or supervisor of the requested facilities for their approval.

d. For groups in the Enrichment category the FR Department will forward the application to the appropriate academic supervisor for review of the curriculum of the proposed programming.

2. Denial Process - The FR Department may deny a request for any of the following reasons:

a. The application is incomplete or inaccurate;

b. The non-refundable application fee or other applicable fee does not accompany the application;

c. The applicant has not provided a certificate of insurance;

d. During a previous use the applicant violated the "Rules Governing the Use of School Facilities" as set forth in these procedures/regulations;

e. The applicant failed to pay the required fees on a previous occasion;

f. The requested facilities or required DPS staff are not available on the date(s) or at the time(s) requested; or

g. The activity, in the opinion of school officials, would cause or be substantially likely to cause damage to school property; for example, using playing fields during inclement weather or when their use will render their condition unfit for school purposes.

C. Contracts

1. All Groups desiring to use school facilities must have an approved Contract which sets forth the terms and conditions by which the applicant must abide in connection with any use of school facilities.

2. A contract may not extend beyond the remainder of the school year and under no circumstances exceed a maximum of (12) months in duration.

3. Upon approval by the FR Department, the applicant will receive confirmation of the approved Contract showing the approved facility, school, term, permitted use and applicable use fee.

4. A maximum of two (2) revisions will be permitted to any Contract. A revision fee will apply to each requested revision above the two maximum. Requests for changes must be received by close of business (5:00 PM) at least three (3) DPS business days prior to the scheduled event.

5. Contracts may be cancelled by the applicant by giving the FR Department at least three (3) DPS business days’ notice prior to the scheduled event. Custodial Fees may not be refunded.

6. Minimum Contract terms include:

a. The user shall be responsible for maintaining the Facilities;

b. The Contract (or the user's interest therein) shall not be transferred, assigned, or subleased from one user group to another;

c. The Contract may be terminated by the Board at any time for any reason permissible under federal and state laws and board policy;

d. The user must agree to hold the Board of Education free, harmless, and indemnified from any claims, suits or causes of action arising from or out of its use of a school facility.

D. Payment of Facility Fees

1. Fees for use of a facility shall be according to the fee schedules approved by the superintendent. The facility fees are in addition to application, Child Nutrition, Custodial Services, damage, equipment, false alarm, security, supply, technology, and technician fees.

2. Payment of facility fees is due within five (5) business days prior to the start date. Failure to pay may result in a cancellation without refunding of fees. Damage fees are due upon receipt of invoice.

3. Payments will not be accepted at any schools or DPS facilities. Payments must be made through the FR Department.

4. Any potential or active user that attempts to avoid payment of applicable fees or to make payment directly to school-based personnel, or who attempts to make unauthorized donations directly to a school in lieu of paying Facility Rental fees, may be subject to a ban on usage of school facilities for three hundred sixty five (365) days and will be charged fees according to the For-Profit or Commercial Group fee schedule for one year from the expiration of the ban on usage. Further violations may result in a permanent ban from usage. Any DPS employee who accepts such payments, either in his/her individual capacity or capacity as a DPS employee, is subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.

5. DPS personnel are subject to internal audit by the Finance and Facility Rental Departments at any time. Any DPS employee who accepts payment or any other goods or services for usage of DPS facilities or who accepts payments or unauthorized donations directly to the school in lieu of paying Facility Rental fees without directing the users to the FR Department is subject to discipline, up to and including termination, under applicable board policies.

E. Insurance

The FR Department requires insurance in amounts established by the Board of Education and specified on the fee schedule. In such cases, a certificate of insurance, evidencing the insurance required by the Board of Education, must be received from an applicant prior to the desired date of use. Certificates of Insurance must name Durham Public Schools Board of Education; 511 Cleveland Street, Durham, NC 27702 as certificate holder and additional insured.

F. Termination

The Board reserves the right to terminate Contracts. The superintendent or designee, Facility Rentals Department, and principals are all authorized to act on behalf of the Board to terminate Contracts. By way of example and not limitation, the Board may cancel a Contract at any time for any one or more of the following reasons:

1. The school is needed for school purposes or a non-school facility is needed for district purposes;

2. Renovations of any kind are being performed or are scheduled to be performed at the school or district facility, whether or not the particular building, facility or field being used is affected;

3. A pending Interlocal Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding, lease, or other agreement with another organization affects the school or other district facility;

4. There is a pending sale of the school or other district facility or a portion of the grounds.

G. Determination of Fees

Fees are assessed as provided in the fee schedules approved by the superintendent or designee. Fees may not be waived by the FR Department, the principal or facility supervisor without superintendent or designee approval. Principals may request a fee waiver by completing a Fee Waiver form.

VI. Rules Governing the Use of School Facilities

A. Rules Governing the Use of School Facilities (the “Rules”) are approved by the superintendent and are available at the Facility Rental office or on the DPS website. Upon the approval of the superintendent, the FR Department may from time-to-time modify such Rules. In that case, the FR Department will notify users of such modification and provide them access to the current Rules.

B. In addition to the Rules, the following terms are applicable:

1. The principal or designee shall be in charge of the building(s) whenever opened for public use.

2. Every group (except District or School-Sponsored or Related Groups operating a regular meeting or activity) must present to the principal or designee, upon request, a fully executed Contract (including all attachments thereto) in order to gain access to the school facilities each scheduled day of the Contract.

3. Contracted groups do not have the right to request services of any kind, including but not limited to supervision of the users, from the principal or designee representing the school during the contracted hours.

4. The Contract is for the use of building space and associated furniture only. The Contract does not include moving, set-up or take-down of furniture or the use of sound equipment, microphones, overhead projectors, Smart or Promethean Boards, other classroom or school-based technology, kitchen equipment, etc. Some technology may be requested, and an additional cost may apply. Additionally, the use of lockers, weight rooms, other apparatus, athletic equipment, and other DPS personal  property may not be permitted.

5. Upgrades or enhancements to the facilities by any renter will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances. Any group wishing to upgrade or enhance the facility, enhance technology, or affix anything to the building must receive prior permission from DPS FR Department. Principals are not authorized to grant permission for building enhancements.

6. Signage in conjunction with a rental may be installed under special circumstances. Any signage larger than 4x8 must comply with any zoning ordinances of the Durham County or City or other jurisdictions. Users are responsible for securing any necessary approvals from appropriate regulatory bodies. Temporary signage may only be installed during the actual time the event is taking place. Any signage installed on DPS property in conjunction with rented space must be removed immediately after each usage of the rented spaces. No signage shall deface any portion of the facility or property. The display of signage must comply with federal laws.

7. Concession rights shall be reserved for the school where the facilities are being used unless otherwise granted by the principal. Concession rights may be denied by a principal or the school’s athletic director due to co-mingling of user supplied and school-owned products.

8. If school activities are cancelled due to inclement weather or other emergency conditions, the scheduled facility rental is cancelled as well. In the event that DPS schools are closed or released early on a Friday due to inclement weather or some other major event, all Facility Rentals for the weekend shall be cancelled. A credit, refund or make-up time will be issued as appropriate equal to the amount of time lost only.

9. Because of the wear and tear on facilities caused by large groups, DPS reserves the right to limit rental of its facilities to groups of no more than 500 people.

Any person or organization may request a review of any decision made by a school employee pursuant to this policy in accordance with policy 1740/4010, Student and Parent Grievance Procedure.

Legal References: Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.28 C.F.R. pt. 35; Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 4071-407428 C.F.R. pt. 36; Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 790534 C.F.R. pt. 10836 U.S.C. 20101 et seq.G.S. 14-269.2; Community Schools Act, G.S.  115C-203 to -209.1115C-524-527160A-274163A-1046

Cross References: Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying (policy 1710/4021/7230), Student and Parent Grievance Procedure (policy 1740/4010), Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol (policy 5025), Smoking and Tobacco Products (policy 5026/7250), Weapons and Explosives Prohibited (policy 5027/7275), Sale, Disposal, and Lease of Board-Owned Real Property (policy 9400)

Adopted: August 27, 2020