This website is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, you are seeing this message because your browser does not support basic Web standards, and does not properly display the site's design details. Please consider upgrading to a more modern browser. (Learn More).

You are here: home > opinion > chatlist chatters

Utility costs for Chatham Schools

By Gerald Totten
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004

e-mail E-mail this page   print Printer-friendly page

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2004 22:19:41 -0500
From: "Gerald Totten" <>
Subject: Fw: Utility costs for schools

Last week there were several comments made concerning schools having to cover their own utility costs. I forwarded some of those comments to Ms. McManus since they did not meet the standard of common sense and asked her to comment.

The following is her reply to me which she gave permission to share. At the Board of Education meeting tonight, it was mentioned by some parents the schools had to cover their own long distance charges which some parents of children in the schools raised funds to pay.

The bulk of the utility costs are apparently paid by the school system as outlined by Ms. McManus. Perhaps she jumped to the conclusion I did not think they were paid by anyone other than parents.

Gerald Totten

----- Original Message -----
From: Deb McManus
To: Gerald Totten
Cc: Allan Zimmerman ; Ronnie Collins ; Ernest Dark ; Cadle Cooper ; Larry Mabe ; Paul Joyce
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 5:28 PM
Subject: Re: Utility costs for schools

Colonel Totten,

You can't believe everything you read on the Chatlist or the Bulletin Board. There is no required standard for accountability, accuracy or honesty and this leads to widespread sharing of misinformation and opinions presented as facts. Chatham County Schools does pay for all basic utilities for each of our schools. That includes electricity, water and sewer, local phone service and internet service. Individual schools do pay their long distance charges out of their general fund. They are also expected to pay for outdoor athletic lighting (this applies primarily to football and baseball) but the system does pay the first $5000 for each of the high schools. High schools also pay for their field houses and for the power bill for the field houses.

Principals do have some say in when their buildings are used. Any school function or activity takes priority over any organization wishing to rent the facilities. All rental requests come to the Central Office through the principals. The fees for the use of school facilities go into the general fund of the school system and the school system then pays for the utilities used as well as the maintenance and upkeep of both the gyms and public areas, as well as the parking lots. The schools do have to provide a facilities supervisor if they wish to rent out their facilities (the BOE approves supervisors who are not employees of the school system but are recommended by the principal). The facilities supervisor can either volunteer their services or be paid by the renting organization for their time (standard rate is $15 per hour). The children using the schools for recreational athletic events are primarily our children from here in Chatham County.

The school system pays coaching supplements for all head coaches in every school. Schools keep all the gate receipts from all athletic events and this money is intended to fund their athletic programs. Concessions are handled differently at different schools. Unless concessions are managed by a booster club, the school also keeps all concessions profits. Booster clubs usually pool the funds and redistribute it back to the athletic programs. Scoreboards are often provided to schools as part of a contract for exclusive beverage services (such as selling only Coke or Pepsi products) and this is arranged by the individual school. Schools can choose to buy a scoreboard out of their general fund or athletic revenues. A scoreboard can range from around $1500 to over $6000, but the type used by most middle schools would be in the $2000-$3000 range. Schools also pay for their bus drivers to athletic events and for the officials. Uniforms and equipment are the responsibility of the school, some schools have booster clubs that raise money to help offset these expenses.

Feel free to share this information with those who have been misinformed and who are sharing incorrect information. Thank you.

Deb McManus

On Saturday, March 6, 2004, at 12:51 PM, Gerald Totten wrote:

The following items were pulled off of the Chatham County Bulletin Board. This is a matter which should be addressed without any delay. If true, you should correct it. If incorrect you should make a statement correcting what is untrue.

This is not the first I have heard of this but I wondered how the parents could be made to pay for school utilities and playground safety items. This time, I bring it to you because something is very wrong here.

Gerald Totten

POST 1[b]
We should all be appalled that Chatham Co. Schools does not provide any money to individual schools for utilities (i.e. electric, water, sewer, phones, etc.). Our schools must come up with their own general funds to pay these bills. I can recognize the need for fiscal responsibility, but that seems to go a little far. The schools do not have any say in who uses the buildings during non-instructional hours and get no money for the usage. Yet the system charges a fee! Who gets that money? Consider the wear and tear, water and electrical and I hope you will agree that the money should go directly to the school itself. The school must also provide a key or keyholder for these activities. On a recent weekend, I saw rec ball events at North Chatham all weekend so I know there was a lot of usage and a lot of someone's time, yet the school received no financial compensation. I don't know about you, but my house wouldn't get used like that unless I was getting paid. Anyone have ideas on how we might change this?

[b]POST 2
Horton has a very old gym that is centrally located and used by the public.
The scoreboard has broken, and the students, faculty, and parents must raise thousands of dollars to replace it. The administration claims no responsibility. Do you all agree with this?

e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page

Got Feedback?
Send a letter to the editor.

Chatham Chatlist

Sign up for the Chatham Chatlist. Find out what your friends and neighbors are saying about what's going on in Chatham County.

Promote your business at

Subscribe now: RSS news feed, plus FREE headlines for your site