Legislative Update: SB 1404 Expands Scope Of Costs That A School District Can Charge for Civic Center Use of Facilities

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KMTG is continuing our series reviewing new legislation.  Unless noted otherwise, the new laws take effect January 1, 2013.

Senate Bill 1404 amends Education Code section 38134, known as the Civic Center Act, which allows the governing board of a school district to authorize the use of school facilities or grounds under the district’s control to certain organizations or clubs.  In making these changes to the Civic Center Act, the Legislature declared that it intended to “encourage all school districts to maximize opportunities to make available and accessible public school facilities and grounds to their communities as civic centers.”

SB 1404 expands the scope of direct costs that school districts can recover for allowing Civic Center use of its facilities.  SB 1404 notes that it was the intent of the Legislature to amend the Civic Center Act in order to “ authorize a school district to charge an organization using school facilities or grounds an amount proportional to the organization’s use of the school facilities or grounds to maintain, repair, restore, and refurbish the school facilities or grounds and to limit the proportional costs related to maintenance, repair, restoration, and refurbishment to only a school’s nonclassroom space and grounds.”

The Legislature recognized that severe budget cuts have jeopardized the ability of school districts to maintain facilities.  Under existing law, a school district may charge an amount that does not exceed the direct costs for use of the facilities or grounds.  Under the existing Civic Center Act “direct costs” include, “[t]he share of the costs of supplies, utilities, janitorial services, services of school district employees and salaries paid to school employees directly associated with administration of this section to operate and maintain school facilities or grounds that is proportional to the entity’s use of school facilities or grounds.”  SB 1404 expands this definition of direct costs to also include ongoing costs related to maintenance, repair, restoration, and refurbishment of the school facilities or grounds.

What This Means To You

School districts often rent out space to community organizations under the Civic Center Act.  This amendment enables the sharing of costs among multiple parties who use the school facilities.  Districts should review any agreements to ensure that they are recouping direct costs, which now include a broader definition of those “direct” costs. 

Questions

If you have any questions concerning the content of this Legal Alert, please contact the following from our office, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

Christian M. Keiner or Meghan Covert Russell | 916.321.4500