Renting out space to community, sports and arts groups means more money in school coffers after School District 43 made a policy change last year.
Schools now get 10% of money raised from renting out gyms, classrooms and theatres.
During the last school year ending June 30, SD43 earned $2.48 million in revenue, $260,000 above budget, according to a report last week to the board of education.
“Revenues were higher than budget due to increase in participation from schools with the added incentive of revenue sharing as well as higher revenues generated from closed school facilities. In addition, this was the first full year of having the Centennial theatre available for rentals,” according to the rental and lease department annual report.
Last year, schools received 10% of the rentals, or $166,000, with the rate to be increased to 15% for the current school year.
Renting out space at four closed schools also helped the district boost its local capital budget, with the former College Park elementary in Port Moody used for police training on a regular basis, netting $74,909 in revenues; the former Cedarbrook elementary in Coquitlam leased to Children of Integrity Montessori School for $105,624; the former Lincoln elementary in Coquitlam leased to the BC Christian Academy for $240,918; and the former Burquitlam elementary in Coquitlam leased to Mediated Learning Academy, generating $234,835 in revenue.
In addition to paying rent, water/sewer and insurance costs, lessees also pay for maintenance and repairs, according to the school district.
SD43 also rents space to child care operations: 20 in portables and 20 located in buildings, mostly in elementary schools. And the report notes that daycare space on school grounds continues to be in demand as current daycare operators look to expand or new operators look for space.
In all, 785 rental contracts were generated, representing 25,775 bookings for the year. Annual revenue was $1.4 million, with additional billings to cover caretaker costs of a further $264,000.
These additional fees are charged for weekend rentals and for rentals during school breaks when custodial staff would not otherwise be working, according to the district.
School theatres were also busy, with Centennial's rented out to a church group as well as a few community groups; Terry Fox Theatre saw 50 rental contracts, including 142 community events generating $49,560 in rental revenues and $31,475 in extra fees, for total income of $81,034 in user fees. Meanwhile, the school used the theatre 181 times, the highest use since 2013/’14.
Overall, the number of clients remained relatively the same at Terry Fox Theatre, which had its stage floor painted, a scissor lift repaired and new audio and lighting boards installed.
The report notes that Terry Fox students have become increasingly more involved in the operations at the theatre, with Legacy groups offering concession services and ushering services to raise funds for Legacy projects. This past year, they raised $10,000, with $6,000 coming from theatre services.
Contracting out cafeteria services also netted some funds, with the district receiving 9% of sales, totalling $115,00, and each of the five secondary schools using the service receiving $5,000 at the end of the school school year.