The following in published un-edited.
Dear Steve Eichman, CBO, San Bruno Park School District
I am writing you on behalf of Cub Scout Pack 290 and Boy Scout Troop 72 regarding the proposed new facilities use fee structure. Our two Scout units have regularly used John Muir in the past. The Troop meets once a week during the school year (about 35 time a year) for 1.5 to 2 hours per week. The Pack meets at John Muir 6 times a year. Five of those Pack meetings run about 2.5 hours, including time to set-up and clean-up.
I was shocked and dismayed to learn from District staff that you had determined that the hourly rate for the DIRECT costs to use the John Muir multipurpose room will be $50 per hour for our organizations. While I fully support the initiative to have groups using those facilities, including ours, pay for the direct incremental costs of occupying those facilities, I do not understand how that fee structure was arrived at. Other than electricity for lighting, which based on the number of lights in the room I estimate costs no more than a couple of dollars an hour, the District incurs no additional direct costs from our use of the site. I also recognize that there is a small amount of administrative time spent by district employees processing our use permits, but as we turn in a single permit for each unit that covers the entire year, staff time can only be a couple of minutes per hour occupancy. We do not even have access to the bathroom. I would also point out that we are billed separately for janitorial service, when needed. Based on this, I request that you provide me with the analysis that was performed to arrive at the new fee structure so I can understand how the rate was arrived at.
When I heard about this initiative, I supported it and figured the actual out of pocket costs incurred by the District from our use of the facility would be well under $10 per hour, which is something we can afford and would be glad to reimburse the District for. I am dismayed by what appears on the face to be an attempt to recover fixed costs from our units.
I would also like to let you know about the consequences of implementing this fee structure on both our units as well as District and John Muir.
1. Troop 72 will no longer be able to meet at John Muir. The proposed fee represents over 25% of our recurring annual fundraising proceeds. We are also strapped to cash and are already trying to raise additional fund in order to send more Scouts to summer camp who cannot afford it. So please consider that that the proposed fee structure will not result in any fee generation from the current primary use of John Muir.
2. Pack 72 will most likely continue to use the facility, but use will be limited to most likely 10 hours per year. Revenue generated from these meetings will obviously be nominal in regards to the District budget, although it will reduce funds available for other Pack activities by about 10%.
3. John Muir (and the District) will lose the support of Troop 72 for community service projects. Last year we contributed over 50 hours of volunteer work at the PTA’s pancake breakfast alone. We also send Scouts to the school’s periodic beatification days, and in 2012 our Scouts completed Eagle projects for the benefit of the District. In the future our limited service hours will inevitably be spent benefiting whatever organization hosts our meetings.
4. There is a distinct potential this will force San Bruno’s largest Boy Scout Troop to meet outside of the City of San Bruno. We have looked for meeting places in the past and other than the Schools, sites we can afford to meet at weekly in San Bruno appear to be non-existent. While there a couple of facilities available to us in South San Francisco, please understand that meeting outside of San Bruno will mean that weekly participation by youth in Scouts will inevitably decrease.
I understand fully the very difficult financial position the District is currently facing. I am a proponent of any effective measures the District can take to increase funds available for education. Unfortunately, the proposed fee structure will not make a meaningful difference to the District, but will greatly harm two Scout units in San Bruno that benefit our community’s youth. Therefore, I respectfully request that you reevaluate the fee structure and only include those incremental costs that can be avoided when our units meet at John Muir.
Assistant Scoutmaster, Boy Scout Troop 72
Pack Committee Chairman, Cub Scout Pack 290
San Bruno, California
Dr. Dr. David Hutt
Board of Trustees, San Bruno Park School District
Fran Dunleavy, Principal, John Muir School
Henry White, Scoutmaster Troop 72
Marcie Gigena, Cubmaster Pack 290
Robert M. Riechel, San Bruno Patch