by Anna Annicelli
March 30, 2005
Last year, the School Board revised the policy regarding community use of the Kayhi Auditorium to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the District and user groups. The accompanying fee schedule was also modified with the intent of making charges clear for all categories of user groups. Primary users, such as First City Players, Ketchikan Theatre Ballet, and the Arts Council, were involved in giving input and reviewing the policy prior to its adoption and believed that it defined their understanding of how fees would be charged, as well as clarifying responsibilities. The intention of this process, as I understood it as a School Board member at the time, was not to increase revenue from community groups who use the Auditorium, but to formalize how groups were currently using the facility.
The unintended consequence of these policy revisions has been up to a 300% increase in charges for auditorium use. This has meant a cost of over $6,500 for staging a play such as Peter Pan. Until the School Board's clarification last week, the fee for two people painting sets on stage during school hours was the same as having a full audience for a performance.
The user groups took their concerns regarding these new interpretations and greatly increased costs to Kayhi administration and District Administration in the fall, and staff indicated that this was a policy issue best addressed by the School Board. I respect the Board's decision to address this issue in an even-handed manner - the user groups will be charged based on how they are using the facility, and will be able to continue to bring great programs to our community.
These are challenging financial times for the School District, and all local government, but budget shortfalls should not be made up through fees charged to nonprofit community partners whose very ability to provide rich opportunities for our students and other citizens is threatened by how they are charged for use of this facility (which was funded, to the great benefit of the school district, as a community facility.) These groups have worked in collaboration with school administration to obtain new equipment, replace supplies, and to provide learning opportunities not available in the current curriculum. We are proud of the partnership that we have with the schools and with the community, and we're looking forward to doing lots more great shows at Kayhi.
Anna Annicelli, President
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.