State law encourages and/or incentivizes the community use of school buildings and property for recreation or other purposes.
17 V.I.C. § 45 Use of school buildings and properties
(a) The Commissioner of Education may, upon written request, grant permission for use of school buildings and properties under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education for civic, social, recreational and other purposes; provided, that no school building, facility, or property shall be used for any commercial function, dance, party or similar activity (unless sponsored by a school organization or under the auspices of the Department of Education) except with the prior written approval of the Governor.
(b) Applicants using properties as specified in this section shall be personally responsible for any damage done to such school properties and by written agreement applicants shall agree to clean the premises following any authorized activity at a school facility and to reimburse the Department of Education for any damage done to school property.
(c) The Commissioner of Education, by regulations, shall prescribe the charges to be made for the use of school buildings and facilities. The prescribed charges shall be paid in advance.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000 § 45-1. Policy statement
The public school buildings are community facilities for the education of children and youth. However, the Commissioner of Education may, upon written request as provided herein, grant permission for use of school property and facilities under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education for civic, social, and other purposes as stipulated hereunder.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000 § 45-2. Purpose of regulations
The purposes of these regulations are:
- (a) to insure proper use of and to protect school buildings and facilities;
- (b) to give priority to the schools themselves in the use of school auditoriums, halls, gymnasiums, school lunch kitchens, recreational areas, libraries, study rooms and classrooms;
- (c) to reduce the added cost arising from excessive use of school facilities;
- (d) to prevent the improper use of school premises and facilities.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-10. -- School official in charge
The following public employee will be engaged or assigned by school authorities, charged with the duty of enforcing prescribed regulations, and applying discretionary measures consistent therewith for the safeguard of property and maintaining order: CLASSIFICATION OF USE
Engagement Class A Class B Custodian X X Fireman X Principal's deputy X Electrician X Policeman X
- (See section 45-11 for classification of use.)
The principal of the school to be used by community individuals or groups must designate a person or persons to be in charge of the school premises or facilities throughout time permitted.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-11. -- Charges and fee schedule
- (1) High School-Elementary School Auditoriums: Class A -- Meetings or rehearsals, small gatherings of less than 100 persons not requiring clearing of main floor or rooms, nor full stage lighting -- $ 5 each meeting or rehearsal requiring stage, lighting and custodial services -- $ 35 each occasion.
(b) Other schools
- Class A -- Meetings (rooms) $ 3 each occasion.
- (2) Equipment: The fee for any equipment used by applicant is included in the rental charge.
- (3) Janitorial: The school custodian shall be paid under Class B usage at least $ 5 per meeting or rehearsal for cleaning and supervising the premises during use by applicants.
- (4) Other services: Where accessible, the school toilets and water fountains may be made available to applicants as part of the facilities.
- (5) Deposit of fees: The fees applicable hereunder are to be paid upon the approval of the application. In addition, a deposit of not less than $ 25 and not more than $ 100 may be required by the Commissioner of Education for Class B users to pay extra custodial services and removal of equipment, debris and other material from the premises in cases where the user failed to clear the area by 9:30 a.m. and to pay for repairs to damages. All deposits under this item are refundable when the Commissioner is satisfied that no damage was done and that the user complied with all requests for custodial and other services and removal of user's equipment and property.
- (6) Waiver: The Commissioner of Education may, for good reason, waive all or part of the payment of any fees prescribed hereunder.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-12. -- Application procedure
(1) Use of form: The form "application for the use of school property" is to be used by all applicants applying for use of school property and facilities.
(2) Time for submission of application; planning: Application for use of school property should be submitted to the principal of the school at least two weeks in advance of the proposed date of use. Prospective applicants are urged to consult school calendars, through the principal, in order to plan function dates.
(3) Routing of applications: Applications for use of school property shall be routed as follows:
- (a) Applicant to principal (or person in charge).
- (b) Principal with recommendations to Commissioner of Education through the Deputy Commissioner for Business and Auxiliary Services.
- (c) Deputy to principal.
- (d) Principal to applicant.
(4) Appeals: If permission be denied for the use of the school property or facilities, the applicant may appeal to the Virgin Islands Board of Education. The decision of the Board shall be final.
(5) Compliance: The applicant will cooperate with the Department personnel in securing compliance with regulations, and with instructions given by the Department's agents in the interest of maintaining order and safeguarding school property; and will demand compliance on the part of organization members, participants, and patrons on school premises. Failure to comply with regulations or instructions on the use of school property, facilities and equipment may be grounds for denial of further requests or revocation of permission already granted.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-3. Eligibility for use
Permission to use school facilities may be given to:
- (a) Youth organizations such as: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sea Scouts, 4-H Clubs, Camp Fire Girls, Future Farmers of America, and Future Homemakers of America.
- (b) Nonprofit organizations such as: parent-teacher associations, high school alumni associations, American Red Cross, music and art associations, veteran organizations, official union bodies, community advisory groups, civil defense organizations, and women's and men's clubs or leagues devoted to altruistic purposes.
- (c) Such private firms or organizations which pledge to the Department of Education to contribute at least 50 percent of the gross proceeds of the money-raising event to be held in the facilities applied for.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-4. Activities -- Allowable and restrictions
The use of school property and facilities are permitted for civic activities and meetings for the public good; for social and educational purposes or improvements; and for concerts and plays. Activities are not allowed where they will be associated with religion, politics, and obviously commercial ventures; or where the facilities are to be used by individuals or groups for their own profit, for private parties, secret meetings, or games of chance.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-5. -- Time limit
The use of school property or facilities by the public is restricted to the period of time from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. Matinee hours may be arranged between the principal and the prospective user, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Education.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-6. -- Use of equipment
The use of equipment by applicants for school property and facilities is restricted to: (a) seats; (b) stage; and (c) lights. Any other item of equipment -- piano, organ, movie projector -- can only be used by special permission of the school principal, and then only if it can be shown that a qualified operator will be using the item. In the event of damage, it is expressly to be understood that the user will be held fully liable for all repairs or for replacement if not repairable. Auditorium and stage fittings, fixtures, hangings, scenery, furniture, and/or other equipment and accessories may not be removed, rearranged, or altered without approval of the principal or his representative. Auxiliary lights, electric applicances or accessories may not be attached without prior approval of the principal or his designated agent for this purpose.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-7. -- Custodial services
Only school custodians shall perform custodial services required as a result of use by applicants. The custodian must be compensated by the users for the time spent beyond his regular working hours, at no less than his regular rate of pay; the payment to be made in advance through the office of the Deputy Commissioner for Business and Auxiliary Services. The users of the premises are responsible to clear and clean the school of any debris and property not belonging on the school premises. Any and all property belonging to the users must be removed by 9:30 a.m. of the day following the use of the property or facility.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-8. - Safety
Applicants granted permission to use school property or facilities are responsible for any damage to property and facilities over and above ordinary wear and use. Applicants must make provisions to have the police present to keep the peace, to control traffic and to prevent vandalism and damage to school property and facilities.
Virgin Islands Code 17-005-000, Sec. 45-9. -- Liquor consumption
The sale or use of liquor is prohibited in all school property or facilities. Beer is included in this restriction.