I wanted to pull this issue out from the Seattle Schools This Week thread because I believe this could affect many, many schools and their after-school programs.
Amending School Board Policy #4260, Use of School Facilities.
It has come to my attention that the district wants to create a change in usage of facilities. The district says it is "working with SCPTSA" over using facilities and there is a rent waiver process for groups wishing to use facilities for "youth enrichment that meet requirements." This is a change from type of organization to type of use.
The issue is that the district now wants the group - not the district - to pay for aides or support for any special needs child.
With respect to all non-District uses of school facilities, the organization conducting the activity shall be responsible for assuring that youth are able to participate consistent with these requirements. This includes providing appropriate services and accommodations and, if necessary,paying the costs of providing services or accommodations for youth who require such assistance to participate. School staff will convene Section 504 meetings as appropriate, of those knowledgeable about the activity and the youth’s needs in order to be able to participate in the activity, to determine what services or accommodations are needed to allow the youth to participate, and will include a representative of the organization conducting the activity to assure their understanding of the requirements.
Obviously, this would be a huge issue for any group - PTA or not - to have to find the dollars to give to support for a child with a disability. This is NOT to say that students with disabilities should not be able to access any or all programs on-site at their school, during the school day or not.
But the costs would likely be prohibitive to any group wanting to sponsor an activity. Also, it appears that many students in this category would be attending under a 504 which would seem to be squarely in the district's responsibility.
I would urge you to write to the Board in opposition to this move. PTAs or other groups could continue on without offering services to students with disabilities but naturally, would run the risk of a lawsuit or denial of space by the district. Write firstname.lastname@example.org and include "Use of School Facilities" in the subject line.
I know this is a matter of deep concern to the SCPTSA and I'm sure you will be hearing about this from your own school PTA. It might mean the end of many after-school activities.