ShareThis Page
Brackenridge church sees increased fee for Easter egg hunt on Highlands property |
Valley News Dispatch

Brackenridge church sees increased fee for Easter egg hunt on Highlands property

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:30 a.m.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
The Easter Bunny parachutes into Golden Rams Stadium during the Generations House of Worship Easter egg hunt and celebration on Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Harrison.

It’s going to cost a Brackenridge church a lot more to use Highlands School District facilities for its annual Easter egg hunt, but not as much as church members first thought.

Generations House of Worship, which is planning its third egg hunt at the district’s middle school, initially thought it would have to pay almost $5,000 to hold the event on district property, but now is looking at a bill of about $2,000, according to the church’s pastor.

Still, that’s almost 10 times what the church paid to hold the event in the same location the past two years.

School officials, grappling with a $3.7 million deficit for next school year’s budget, say adherence to already existing rules is what’s causing the increased costs for the church.

“This board is looking at every area where money is being spent and where it’s coming from, including the use of facilities,” said school board President Debbie Beale. “We already have policies in place. It’s time to adhere to them.”

The school district revised and updated its use of facilities policy late last year. Some of those fees increased, but school officials said the biggest problem is the fees haven’t been applied uniformly across all groups using district property.

Fees for requests to use district facilities in February range from $50 for Highlands Little League to use the community center for registration to $500 for the league to use the varsity baseball field for the season.

Some groups, such as Lady Rams basketball boosters, Forbes Road Career & Technology Center and the district’s marching band are not charged to use district facilities, according to district records.

Beale and substitute Superintendent Monique Mawhinney said the district now is going to closely follow its policies, including the fee schedule.

“This fee schedule has been here for a long time,” Beale said. “We’re making sure it’s being followed from now on.”

For the Generations Easter Egg hunt, that meant the church initially was facing a total of $4,700 in fees to use the district’s stadium, gym, soccer field and parking lot. It consisted of a $2,750 facility use fee, a $750 maintenance fee, $600 for personnel/custodian and $600 for security.

That was before the church verified its nonprofit status.

According to church founder and pastor Nick Chybrzynski, the church will have to pay a $1,900 security deposit, of which it would get $600 back. He is hoping to get the remaining $1,300 fee further reduced. District officials said they could not yet confirm the fees that would be charged to the church.

Beale said the initial fees were assessed because the church had not submitted all of its paperwork, most notably its tax-exempt status.

Fee schedules are different for for-profit and nonprofit organizations, she said.

Chybrzynski, the brother of Highlands School Board member Misty Chybrzynski, said his church held the hunt at the district’s middle school the past two years. It’s free for residents to attend and participate.

“We make no money on it at all,” Nick Chybrzynski said.

Last year’s hunt featured a skydiving Easter bunny. This year’s event, on April 20, is planned to include an outdoor Easter egg hunt, a special needs hunt and a community fair indoors.

Any cost charged by the district cuts into the church’s ability to hold the event, for which the church already spends thousands of dollars, Chybrzynski said.

Each of the previous years, the church paid a $200 security deposit, Chybrzynski said.

The school board will vote on facilities use requests at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 18.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.