Many of our clients struggle with implementing a cost recovery program. We hear everything from “tax payers have a right to our facilities” to “We don't know what to charge." But it can be done—let’s look at some facts:
- Community use of your facilities is increasing.
- Coordinating community event requests take time (if you have not streamlined your community event process, take a closer look at CommunityUse).
- The cost of community use of your facilities, adds up. From managing requests and possible overtime to increased utility costs and wear and tear of your facilities, the cost of community use of your facilities is real.
So to help clients get started with their cost recovery program, we interviewed several top users of our event management/facility usage solutions and after hearing their stories, 10 distinct key steps emerged. In this upcoming 5-part blog series (subscribe via email to the series here), we will discuss these key steps.
Step 1: Distribute event management
It is critical to find a balance between which aspects of the process are centralized and which are distributed. Consideration should be given to school personnel regarding control and decision-making so authorization of who can use the school at what times can be centralized or distributed as appropriate. Districts with the most successful facility scheduling programs have determined that billing and policies must be centralized. Concerns such as risk management and community image drive this need for centralization. However, a method must also be created to allow decentralized decision-making regarding groups, event conflicts and ownership of the schools. The ability to empower school-level administrators, while at the same time maintaining centralized invoicing and policies, makes having both centralized and decentralized processes a necessity. An automated, role-based, multi-user facility scheduling solution makes this possible.
What did your peers do?
The above holds true for Tamalpais Union High School District in California. The district’s principals ultimately have control over who can use the buildings, but assistant principals and administrators in the athletic program are also involved. While decision-making is distributed to accommodate multiple layers of event management, only one person at the district serves as the go to for invoicing and scheduling. This structure helps harness the collection of money to recover costs associated with community use.
Those at Missoula County Public School District in Montana share a similar event management mentality. While principals maintain approval rights, the maintenance and operations specialist, is the central figure who collects requests and handles billing. This enables easy access to a group’s rental history, while also providing a solid point person for those with questions regarding facility usage. Having managed approximately 15,500 events last year alone, those at Missoula can vouch for the benefits of this semi-centralized distribution.
Step 2: Automate the process
Paper, spreadsheets, calendars and email systems lack the efficiency gains provided by an on-demand facility scheduling and tracking tool. With multiple parties – such as principals, teachers, custodians, coaches and community groups – involved in the process, communication is key.
What did your peers do?
At Coppell Independent School District in Texas, automating the methods of communication used prevents duplicate entry of requests and schedule overrides.
After years of using paper calendars, Clayton School District in Missouri, grasped the importance of this automation, as well. Thousands of facility use requests flowing into the district’s facility scheduling department, creates the necessity of molding a process to implement the most efficient method for all departments involved. Using a web-based program to communicate approval and set-up details saves time and money for the district, which enables those resources to then be allocated elsewhere.
Learn more about streamlining your community use of facilities requests.
Coming up next: Start Small and Recognize the Importance of Leadership