State law encourages and/or incentivizes the community use of school buildings and property for recreation or other purposes.
Maryland Code 7-108. Use of school property for other than school purposes -- In general
(a) County boards to encourage use. -- Each county board shall encourage the use of public school facilities for community purposes.
(b) Application to county superintendent for use. --
- (1) If written application is made to the county superintendent, the county board shall provide for the use of a public school facility for:
- (i) The presentation and discussion of public questions;
- (ii) Public speaking;
- (iii) Lectures; or
- (iv) Other civic, educational, social, or recreational purposes or church affiliated civic purposes.
- (2) These meetings shall be open to the public.
- (3) The county board may refuse the use of any school facility for these purposes if it appears that the use is likely to:
- (i) Provoke or add to a public riot or breach of the peace; or
- (ii) Create a clear and present danger to the peace and welfare of the county or State.
(c) Use by partisan political organization. -- Each county board may permit a partisan political organization that has polled 10 percent or more of the entire vote cast in this State in the last general election to use public school facilities for programs and meetings that relate to a political campaign for nomination or election of a candidate to public office.
(d) Use for religious or other purposes. -- Each county board may permit the use of public school facilities for religious or other lawful purposes.
(e) Use not to interfere with regular school functions. -- Subject to § 7-109 of this subtitle, school facilities may be used only at times that will not interfere with regular school sessions or other bona fide school activities.
(f) Montgomery County. -- In Montgomery County, nonschool use of school facilities for public and community purposes and the manner by which costs associated with such use are apportioned may be regulated by local law consistent with the use criteria set forth in § 7-110 of this subtitle and not inconsistent with any other provisions of this article. The local law authorized by this subsection may provide for an interagency coordinating board and for the appointment of its members by Montgomery County. Membership may include the Superintendent of Schools, the President of Montgomery College, the members of the Montgomery County Planning Board, and such other members as may be provided by the local law.
(g) Talbot County. -- In Talbot County, the county board may enter into a lease with an organization that operates a community-based educational and recreational program to use a public school facility if:
- (1) The county board does not anticipate a need for the public school facility during the term of the lease;
- (2) The county board determines that the public school system will benefit if the organization operates a community-based educational and recreational facility at the public school facility; and
- (3) The lease term is not longer than 99 years.
Maryland Code 7-109. Use of school property for other than school purposes -- Priority for day care program
(a) Use for approved day care programs. -- If the program and public school facility comply with the rules and regulations of the Department that govern group child care centers, each county board:
- (1) Shall give priority to nonprofit child care programs for use of public school facilities before and after school hours;
- (2) May make space available during school hours; and
- (3) May lease any part of public school property for the construction or operation of a child care center if:
- (i) The county board determines that the property will not be needed for public school use during the term of the lease; and
- (ii) The term of the lease is not greater than 20 years.
(b) Rules and regulations for program. -- Each county board shall adopt rules and regulations for implementing this program that are consistent with the rules and regulations of the Department that govern group child care centers.
(c) Additional costs. -- Any additional costs incurred in the administration or support of these child care services shall be paid by the sponsoring organizations in accordance with an annual agreement with the county board that made the facilities available.
Maryland Code 7-110. Use of school property for other than school purposes -- Charges for use and liability for damages
(a) Reasonable charge. --
- (1) A reasonable charge for heating, lighting, and janitorial services for use of public school facilities under §§ 7-108 and 7-109 of this subtitle may be made.
- (2) Charges for commercial use of surplus school space may include rent and recovery of capital costs, in addition to those items in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(b) Liability for damages. --
- (1) The person who applies for the use of school facilities shall be responsible for all damage to the property, other than ordinary wear and tear.
- (2) If the person does not pay for damages to the property, the county board may refuse any other application by that person for the use of the property until the damage is repaired without expense to the county board.
(c) Leaving facilities in same condition. --
- (1) The person who applies for the use of school facilities shall leave the facilities after their use as clean as they were before the use.