A Sept. 13 Tomahawk Leader Editorial:
Tomahawk's Girl Scouts went into the Tomahawk School District Building and Grounds meeting with the potential of owing more than $2,500 a year in usage fees this coming year if troops continue to hold weekly meetings at the Tomahawk schools. They left with a recommendation of a one-year, flat-fee compromise of $700.
That still would be a chunk of change - a lot of Girl Scout cookies, if you will.
In these days of tight budgets, the school district should be commended in its efforts to seek ways to cover additional costs it's incurring through the presence of outside groups. A standardized building usage fee, no doubt, makes sense. And $7 per hour for the lowest fee doesn't sound extreme.
That is, unless, you're someone like the Girl Scouts - a group that never had to pay anything before - which have eight troop meetings per week in various parts of the school complex. Suddenly that new $7 per hour per room fee is multiplied by one and a half hours, and then by 30-plus meetings a year, and then multiplied eight times more for the eight different troop and you're looking at a $2,500-plus bill.
As spokesperson and leader J.J. Schiltz observed, "... There's just no way we can afford it. There's absolutely no way we can afford that kind of money!"
Quite frankly, we worry that the new fee will be a strain on many non-profit organizations once they realize the impact. The Girl Scouts, who would see their cookie completely crumble, are just the first because they use the building so much.
We agree with another Girl Scout advocate, Rejeana Ebert, that youth-driven non-profits warrant another tier in the school district's building usage rates. And, since the Girl Scouts meet right after school is dismissed, it seems logical to look at them in yet another light. Evening usage and weekend use probably warrant more significant charges. But, the 3:30 to 5 p.m. time slot when the Girls Scouts meet is basically an extension of the regular school day.
If a fee must be charged, we hope it's nominal - certainly nothing like the $2,500 as it stands right now, and we hope it ends up far less than even the $700 special flat fee that is being discussed.