Community Relations


Community Use of School Facilities [1]

School facilities are available to community organizations during non-school hours when such use does not: (1) interfere with any school function or affect the safety of students or employees, or (2) affect the property or liability of the School District. The use of school facilities for school purposes has precedence over all other uses. The District reserves the right to cancel previously scheduled use of facilities by community organizations and other groups. The use of school facilities requires the prior approval of the Superintendent or designee and is subject to applicable procedures. [2]

Persons on school premises must abide by the District’s conduct rules at all times. [3]

Student groups, school-related organizations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations are granted the use of school facilities at no costs during regularly staffed hours. [4] Fees and costs shall apply during non-regularly staffed hours and to other organizations granted use of facilities at any time. [5] A fee schedule and other terms of use shall be prepared by the Superintendent and be subject to annual approval by the School Board.

LEGAL REF.:        20 U.S.C. §7905.

10 ILCS 5/19-2.2.

105 ILCS 5/10-20.40, 5/10-22.10, and 5/29-3.5.

Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 121 S.Ct. 2093 (2001).

Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 113 S.Ct. 2141 (1993).

Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995).

CROSS REF.:        7:330 (Student Use of Building - Equal Access), 8:25 (Advertising and Distributing Materials in Schools Provided by Non-School Related Entities), 8:30 (Visitors to and Conduct on School Property)


Exhibit - Application and Procedures for Use of School Facilities [6]

To be submitted to the Superintendent

This application must be approved before a non-school related group is allowed to use school facilities. School organizations, school-sponsored programs, and organizations whose primary purpose is to provide financial assistance to the school are all considered, for the purpose of this application, to be school-related. Use of school facilities for school purposes has precedence over all other uses.




Organization name


Requested school facility




Adult Supervisor from Organization (must be 21 years of age or older)


Phone/email address






Date(s) and start/end time(s)




Equipment needed


Materials to be brought into facility




Room arrangement, including decorations


Food service required

1.       All non-school related groups must supply adequate supervision to ensure proper care and use of school facilities.

·         The non-school related group is responsible to the Board for the use and care of the school facility. All adult supervisors must have cell phones with them at all times.

·         Sufficient, competent adult supervision must be provided and the adult supervisor must ensure that no minor is left alone after the activity.

·         Only the cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, and athletic field, along with needed hallways and parking areas, are available for community use. Entering any room or area not in use by the group is prohibited. The adult supervisor will vacate the facility at the scheduled end time. Use of the school facility is not permitted past the agreed end time.

·         No furniture or equipment may be moved without prior approval from the Building Principal.

·         Signs, displays, or materials may not be attached, nailed, or otherwise affixed to walls.

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

2.       All non-school related groups must agree to:

·         Indemnify and hold harmless the District and its agents and employees for and from any and all loss including attorneys’ fees, damages, expense, and liability arising out of its use of school property.

·         Pay any damages to school facilities, furniture, or equipment arising out of its use of school property whether such damage was accidental or deliberate.  The cost of damages will be based on the repair or replacement cost, the choice of which is at the School Board’s discretion.

·         Supply proof of insurance naming [insert name of the District] as an additional insured and verifying that the group maintains adequate insurance coverage against personal injury and/or property loss:                                                                                                                                    

                                                                Insurance provider name and contact number

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

3.       All non-school related groups must pay the following fees:

Rental charge (unless waived by Board policy):                                   

Meal and beverage service (cost as determined by the cafeteria supervisor):                                                 

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

4.       Payment Method:          Check               Money Order  Credit Card

        If payment is by check, please make check payable to:                               The District                                   

        If payment by credit card, please indicate the following: Visa  Master Card   Am Ex

        Expiration date:                            Credit Card No.                                                                       Today’s date                 Authorized amount:                                      Authorized signature:                                                                      

5.       All non-school related groups must agree to use appropriate emergency procedures including calling 9-1-1 for medical emergencies and whenever an AED is used.

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

6.       All non-school related groups must agree to follow the District’s Plan for Responding to a Medical Emergency at a Physical Fitness Facility, 4:170-AP6. Important: The District will not supervise the activity nor will it supply trained AED users to act as emergency responders at any time, including during staffed business hours.

           Activity being proposed is not in a physical fitness facility.

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

           Copy of the District’s Plan for Responding to a Medical Emergency at a Physical Fitness Facility has been provided. (77 Ill.Admin.Code §§527.400(a) and 527.800(c). Important: State law encourages all non-District coaches, instructors, judges, referees, or other similarly situated non-District anticipated rescuers who use the physical fitness facility in conjunction with the supervision of physical fitness activities to complete a course of instruction that would qualify them as a trained AED user under Ill. law (410 ILCS 4/10; 77 Ill.Admin.Code §527.100).

                                Initial here that a copy of the Plan was received and that the Applicant has read and understands the above note.

7.       If the request involves a physical fitness facility, the non-school related group must:

·         Designate at least one adult supervisor who agrees to be an emergency responder. All emergency responders are encouraged to be trained in CPR and trained AED users.

·         Give a copy of the District’s plan for responding to medical emergencies to each designated emergency responder.

·         Require that 9-1-1 be called for medical emergencies and whenever an AED is used.

·         Ensure that each designated emergency responder knows the location of first aid equipment and any AED.

·         Ensure that only trained AED users operate an AED, unless the circumstances do not allow time for a trained AED user to arrive.

·         Arrange for at least one emergency responder to have a tour of the facility before the activity.

·         Ensure that if an AED is used, the Superintendent is informed and all appropriate forms are completed.

                                Initial here if this is agreeable

I certify that I am authorized to act for the above-named organization. I understand that: (1) the granting of this request does not constitute recognition of my organization as a school-related group or activity, and (2) my organization may not represent itself or any of its activities as school-related.

I agree to: (1) abide by the conditions stated in this application, and (2) adhere to all Board policies and administrative procedures applicable to this use of the school’s facility. 





Applicant name (please print)


Telephone number




Email address

Applicant signature




The Superintendent or designee will base his or her decision on the information being provided in this application as well as other criteria deemed important.  (Note to Superintendent or designee: After approving or denying this application, return a copy of it to the person making the request, keep the original in the central office, and send a copy to the appropriate Building Principal.)

  Approved                          Denied




Superintendent or designee





[1] State or federal law controls this policy’s content. If a board wants to allow community organizations to use school facilities, it must adopt a policy (105 ILCS 5/10-20.40). The policy must “prohibit such use if it interferes with any school functions or the safety of students or school personnel or affects the property or liability of the school district.” This policy may be implemented using 8:20-E, Exhibit - Application and Procedures for Use of School Facilities. A board should discuss the implications of any access to school facilities policy with its attorney.

This policy concerns an area that is frequently litigated because of its many complex legal and practical issues. The Constitution’s Free Speech and Equal Protection Clauses, as well as the Equal Access Act, are triggered. As a general rule, school officials can avoid constitutional problems and still open facilities to community groups by treating requests to use school facilities according to uniform rules that do not discriminate against a group on the basis of its viewpoint.

Of course, a board may avoid constitutional controversy over community use of its facilities by refusing to permit such use by all non-school groups (thereby creating a closed forum). A board may also avoid triggering the constitutional clauses and the Equal Access Act by allowing all non-school groups to use of its facilities (thereby creating an open forum). If the board creates an open forum, it may still impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the use as long as the restrictions are the same for all groups. However, practically speaking, it is difficult for a board to either completely close its facilities to non-school groups or to open its facilities to all non-school groups. Most boards decide to create a limited open forum.

This policy creates a limited open public forum by allowing public use of school facilities provided the use is consistent with the public interest. See Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981). A public school district may not discriminate on the basis of a group’s purpose, message, or goal. Thus, any restrictions on the use by non-school groups must not discriminate against speech on the basis of viewpoint. Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, 113 S.Ct. 2141 (1993); Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 121 S.Ct. 2093 (2001). A board must show neutrality to all viewpoints.

A board runs afoul of showing viewpoint neutrality if it prohibits single sex youth organizations, even those that discriminate against homosexuals, to use school facilities. Note the U.S. Supreme Court refused to apply the N.J.’s public accommodation law to the Boy Scouts because forcing the Scouts to accept a homosexual as a member would violate the Scout’s freedom of expressive association. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 120 S.Ct. 2446 (2000).

This constitutional jurisprudence was codified as §9525 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. §7905). Schools are prohibited from denying equal access to school facilities to the Boy Scouts or any other youth group “for reasons based on membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country.”

See sample policy 7:330, Student Use of Buildings-Equal Access, for a discussion of the Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. §4071 et seq.

[2] However, at the request of election officers, any publicly owned building must be made available for use as a polling place (10 ILCS 5/11-4.1 and 5/19-2.2). For the day of the election, a school district is encouraged to (a) close the school, or (b) hold a teachers institute on that day with students not in attendance (10 ILCS 5/11-4.1, amended by P.A. 98-773). Election officers must place markers 100 horizontal feet from a polling room’s voter entrance and, if the 100 feet marker ends within the building’s interior, the markers must be placed outside of the building at each entrance used by voters. The area within where the markers are placed is a campaign free zone where electioneering is prohibited. The area on polling place property beyond the campaign free zone is a public forum for the time that the polls are open on an election day and may be used for campaigning and to place temporary signs (Id.). A child sex offender is permitted to vote early or by absentee ballot when his or her polling place is a school (10 ILCS 5/11-4.1).

[3] See policy 8:30, Visitors to and Conduct on School Property.

[4] The decisions concerning facility-use fees are at the local board’s discretion. However, the general rule applies: school officials can avoid constitutional problems by treating requests to use school facilities according to uniform rules that do not discriminate against a group on the basis of its viewpoint.

[5] This option adds an additional restriction: “Facilities and grounds will not be made available to individuals for personal or social reasons or to business enterprises for commercial gain.”

This option recognizes that districts should require bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability in specified amounts as recommended by the district’s own insurance carrier: “All non-school sponsored groups, before using the facilities during non-regularly staffed hours, must provide a certificate of insurance naming the District as an additional insured or otherwise show proof of insurance.”

[6] When a policy allows for community use of school facilities, the application and implementing procedures should have provisions to protect those facilities from damage and the district from unnecessary liability. The application and procedures should also clearly identify which groups are considered “school-related,” what facilities are involved, and fees (if a tax supported body within the district wants to use a school facility, a board may want its fees to cover only direct costs to the district, e.g., personnel, utilities or other out-of-pocket expenses). The application and implementing procedures should also require that non-school related groups follow the district’s Plan for Responding to a Medical Emergency at a Physical Fitness Facility (See 4:170-AP6). No trained AED user is required on the premises when the activity is not directly supervised by an employee of the district (210 ILCS 74/5.25) and the activity occurs outside of staffed business hours (210 ILCS 74/15 (b), amended by P.A. 96-748).