Best Practices to Reduce the Financial Impact of Community Use of School Facilities


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Recover Costs for Community Facility Use of Schools – Event Scheduling, Efficient Invoicing and Energy Management

While most school officials want to provide their facilities to serve community groups, 97% of schools lose money on community facility use permitting by not recovering the additional costs for utilities, custodial overtime, and building wear and tear.

Inefficient procedures for managing requests, approvals and event coordination further inflate costs by slowing down your event team with time-consuming paper processes and phone calls.

Best Practices for saving time and money with an automated school facility request and approval process, as well as how the how school districts are tracking event expenses, establishing rental fees and invoicing to recover facility use costs.

•Improve cost recovery by invoicing for facility usage
•Justify rental rates by documenting actual facility use costs
•Shorten response time for facility use requests from days to minutes
•Reduce energy costs by automatically coordinating building automations systems with approved event schedules
•Schedule, view and manage all school and community events on a single calendar
•Automatically task and notify service providers with event setup requirements
•Establish a consistent, fair process for managing facility use permits

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  • With school budgets still shrinking and facility use by outside groups still on the rise, you can’t afford to ignore the significant costs associated with facility use and event scheduling.Most school officials share a common commitment to providing educational facilities for use by community groups for after-hours events, but this service for taxpayers and the community isn’t cost-free, and it actually increases expenses that must be paid from your already tight budget.In fact, 97-percent of schools are actually losing money on facility use and event scheduling.
  • Let’s take a look at why community facility use can be so costly and have a negative impact on your budget.While allowing the outside groups to use your facilities after hours does provide a community service, your personnel costs go up for event service support, such as custodial overtime and event security. And that doesn’t include the labor costs for your event scheduling team.Increasing facility use also raises costs for general maintenance needed due to additional wear and tear of facilities and equipment, as well as increases your utility and energy costs because of increased demand for HVAC, lighting, and water.
  • Another reason for higher utility costs is wasted energy due to lack of coordination between building automation system schedules and facility use schedules. Without a way to connect BAS and facility schedules, some school officials leave the lights and HVAC on in the entire facility, rather than just conditioning the specific space that is being used after-hours, as well as leave the HVAC and lighting running until late in the evening rather than scheduling the systems for the times are events are in progress. This can cause a significant increase in energy usage and costs.Other school officials are conserving energy and money by manually overriding building automation systems to coordinate with event schedules, which does help manage utility expenses but still increases personnel costs to perform the time-consuming overrides.
  • The event scheduling process is complicated and time consuming, and as a result, it can become very inefficient for everyone involved. Without an automated system for school personnel and community members to submit facility use requests, check availability and event status, your work day is frequently interrupted by people calling, emailing or dropping in with questions about space, rates, requests and schedules.Paper processes can slow you down too, such as manually routing forms around your organization for approval and tracking events on paper calendars. This gets the job done but doesn’t give you an easy way to check what space is available, requested and approved, which can cause conflicts and double booking. And you also end up performing extra data entry to track event detail and costs, as well as manually generate invoices.Communicating with everyone involved in the facility event process can also be time consuming…letting people know if their event is approved, coordinating with other departments to schedule needed event resources, and keeping everyone up to date about event changes or cancellations. But technology can help you improve efficiency and reduce costs by streamlining your entire event management process.
  • Let’s take a look at the average number of events schools typically manage so we can estimate the potential savings you can achieve by using technology in your event scheduling process. SchoolDude’s research report on Recovering Costs for Community Use of School Facilities found that the typical district or school hosts a little more than 1 event per student annually. And districts with more than 5,000 students are just under the one event per student mark. So if you’re not sure about exactly how many events you schedule, you can use these national averages to calculate your estimated number of annual events, based on your number of students.
  • Let’s also take a look at a conservative estimate of the time and labor costs involved in managing an event…approximately 40 minutes per event, or 2/3 an hour.Example for 4,000 student district using national average of 1.24 events per student.
  • Because the event management process is so time consuming and labor intensive, helping your facility scheduling team save time helps you reduce costs, and using technology like FSDirect from SchoolDude is the key to improving efficiency. You can find significant time savings in your facility use process by receiving requests and managing approvals online, as well as automating communication with event requesters. And making your calendar of approved events available online reduces interruptions by making it easy for everyone to see what facilities are scheduled and when.You can also save time and improve event coordination across your organization by automatically notifying service providers with setup requirements for each event.
  • In addition to efficiency cost savings, you can lower your energy costs 2-5% by only operating your building automation systems when facilities are occupied. Technology like FSAutomation from SchoolDude automatically schedules your BAS to coordinate with your approved event schedules, saving your HVAC staff 15-minutes per event by automating BAS overrides for facility schedules.Having a system like FSDirect in place to accurately track your event expenses gives you the data you need to establish fair rental rates and start a cost recovery program, as well as a means to easily generate invoices to recover facility use costs.Our speaker for today, Beth Kerr, is from Clarkston Community Schools – which is among the top 10% of districts nationwide in recovering facility use costs, so I’ll let her share best practices for making a cost recovery program successful.
  • So what could you be achieving with a cost recovery program?SchoolDude’s research on Recovering Costs for Community Use of School Facilities found that the average school or district charging for community facility use recovers approximately $14 per student, while schools in the 90th percentile exceed $52 per student.
  • When you consider the typical cost recovery rate of $14 and the 90th percentile cost recovery rate of $52, you can easily estimate what your average cost recovery income could be, based on your number of students, as well as how much money you could be recovering with very diligent cost recovery program.A typical school or district with 4,000 students could easily be recovering more than $67,000 a year!
  • As you can see, the savings potential of using technology to help you improve event scheduling efficiency and recover costs is significant. Beth Kerr’s school district has put facility scheduling best practices into action to recover nearly $850,000 in facility use costs and reduce energy costs by about $1 million!Beth Kerr is Clarkston Community School’s district scheduler and has been with the district 11 years, also serving as a teacher, and she previously worked for 11 years at another district. She enjoys working with the community and regularly deals with the challenge of collecting past due payments. Beth – thanks so much for joining us today. Could you start by telling us a little more about your district?
  • Can you explain how you managed the transition from your paper system to an automated, online facility request process, and also share how you got everyone to buy in to the new system?
  • How did you determine which groups should be charged for facility use?
  • How did you determine which groups should be charged for facility use?
  • Once you implemented SchoolDude FSDirect and got everyone on board with the new request and approval process, how did it help you improve accountability and resource coordination?
  • Once you implemented SchoolDude FSDirect and got everyone on board with the new request and approval process, how did it help you improve efficiency?
  • Once you implemented SchoolDudeFSDirect and got everyone on board with the new request and approval process, how did it help you improve cost recovery and reduce costs?
  • Once you implemented SchoolDudeFSDirect and got everyone on board with the new request and approval process, how did it help you improve cost recovery and reduce costs?
  • You’re also using SchoolDude’s MaintenanceDirect work order system to manage your maintenance work requests and ITDirect to manage technology work requests. Can you explain how you’re using them together with FSDirect?
  • For additional resources, we encourage you to go to where you’ll find more resources on event management, articles and files on event scheduling best practices, and links to related websites.
  • Best Practices to Reduce the Financial Impact of Community Use of School Facilities

    1. 1. Best Practices to Reduce the Financial Impact of Community Use of School Facilities
    2. 2. 1. Approximately 97% of schools are losing money on community facility use.2. But most school officials still want to use their facilities to serve the community.
    3. 3. Event related expenses that are notrecovered: • Increased utility usage • Custodial overtime • Additional Security (lock/unlock facilities) • Additional maintenance and supplies • Facility / equipment wear and tear • Food service • IT services
    4. 4. Energy and money wasted byinefficient BAS scheduling:•Conditioning the entire building instead of just zones in use•Conditioning until building close instead of timing with facility events•Manual BAS overrides to coordinate with event schedules•Last minute facility schedule changes
    5. 5. Time-consuming processes for eventmanagement, coordination andcommunication: • Interruptions – phone calls, emails, drop ins • Paper forms and calendars • Keeping all parties informed about event approvals and schedule changes • Coordinating internal event resource personnel • Data entry and manually generating invoices
    6. 6. •The average school districthosts 1.24 events perstudent per year•Districts with more than5,000 students average .93events per students or4,650 events in a year • According to SchoolDude’s study, Recovering Costs for the Community Use of our Schools
    7. 7. What is the average time spent (in minutes) perevent? • 10 minutes for Event Administration – receiving requests, answering questions, checking calendars for availability, getting approvals • 10 minutes for Event Coordination – coordinating with staff to support event (custodial, energy, grounds, food service, Tech/AV, etc.), getting approvals • 10 minutes for Invoicing – create and manage invoices / contracts • 5 minutes for BAS Overrides – coordinate energy management schedule • 5 minutes for Miscellaneous40 minutes per event or .66 hours per event# students x average # events = total annual events 4000 x 1.24 = 4,960 events# events x hours per event = total hours spent 4,960 x .66 = 3,273hours# hours x hourly labor rate = total cost of event hours 3,273 x $25.00 = $81,825 laborcost
    8. 8. • Automate event scheduling requests and approval routing• A single, real-time calendar online, showing approved events and facility availability• Reduce phone calls, emails and in person inquiries about facility availability• Coordinate all departments and resources needed to support events
    9. 9. • Coordinate BAS schedules with event schedules • Reduce energy costs 2-5% • Save 15-min per event by automating BAS overrides• Invoice and recover facility use costs • Track event related costs • Automate invoice generation
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    12. 12. Featured Success Story:Beth Kerr – District SchedulerClarkston Community Schools, MI
    13. 13. 8,100 students1.2+ million square feet of building space13 buildings1000 district staff1 person eventmanagement team• Scheduled 16,000 events in 2010• Invoiced/recovered $850,000 (2007-2011)• Energy savings of $2 million in 4 years
    14. 14. • Scheduling was done by hand in notebooks by each school• Time-consuming process• Started using a scheduling system but only collected $13,000 (none went to cost recovery)• No way to invoice and track payments• Difficult to coordinate across district for event support resources
    15. 15. •Wanted one department / person to handle alldistrict scheduling•Make it easy for outside groups to rent facilities•Make it easy for the district to accommodatefacility use needs of outside groups•Quickly view all scheduled events for any day orlocation on one calendar•Coordinate event resources across districtdepartments•Effective process for invoicing & tracking payments
    16. 16. Establishing a Fee Structure • Established a task force • Looked at fee structures for surrounding communities • Set new district fee structure and guidelines • Gave outside groups time to adjust to the fee • Initially gave discounts and slowly increased over a couple years to get back to the full, established rates
    17. 17. Change Management • Determine which buildings and which areas can be used • Now everyone must fill out facility use applications • Educate staff and community on why the district needs to charge for use of facilities • Explain why rates may increase periodically
    18. 18. Determine which groups are charged forfacility use and establish rates – 4classifications initially • General User – charged full price • Discounted Organizations • District Scouts – 50% discount after 6pm, free before • Government Entities – 50% discount • Non-profit Clarkston Community Based – 20% discount • Community Based Athletic Groups – 20% discount • Payment Exempt – only pay for after-hours personnel • Charitable Organizations – waived up to $5,000
    19. 19. Determine which groups are charged forfacility use and establish rates – now have 3classifications to streamline the processes, make iteasier and more fair • General User – charged full price • Discounted Organizations – all receive 20% discount • Payment Exempt – only pay for after-hours personnel
    20. 20. Improved accountability and resourcecoordination• Comprehensive method to monitor/schedule events• User-friendly; easy to manage/view schedules for all facilities at any given date/time• Coordinates all departments and resources for events (custodial, performance management, security, catering, IT)• Office staff likes seeing all district event needs and getting notifications for work to complete
    21. 21. Improved efficiency – saving time andmoney!• Saved time in the event request, approval and scheduling process• Eliminated writing and calling in work orders for coordinating event setup and support resources• Increased productivity for everyone involved in event management processes
    22. 22. Improved cost recovery and achievedsavings • Invoiced/recovered $850,000 (2007-2011) • Invoiced/recovered $166,318 in 2011 YTD • Covering all personnel costs, recovering expenses • Putting aside money for future repairs and capital improvements • $341,000 contributed to general fund over 5 years
    23. 23. Improved cost recovery and achievedsavings • Energy savings of $2 million in 4 years • Not heating and lighting areas that are not scheduled
    24. 24. Integration with MaintenanceDirect and ITDirect • Can create event related work orders in MaintenanceDirect (maintenance) and ITDirectAlso using UtilityDirect, PMDirect and PlanningDirectHope to add FSAutomation • Would coordinate facility schedules with Building Automation system schedules and eliminate manual overrides
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    29. 29. Don’t miss these helpful resources from SchoolDude’sResource Library: • Sample facility use fee structures • Cost Recovery with Community Use • Sample facility use agreements / applications • Recovering Costs for Community Use of Schools (white paper)
    30. 30. Beth KerrClarkston Community Schools, MIbkkerr@clarkston.k12.mi.usMartha Harmon, Marketing Manager, 1-877-868-3833