Source: The Daily Telegraph, Education Reporter Katherine Danks, Oct 29 2012
PUBLIC schools pocketed more than $16 million last year by leasing out buildings and playgrounds to community groups and private organisations for ballet practice, sports days and market stalls.
Education department data shows 49 primary and high schools earned more than $50,000 for commercial activities last year, helping pay for everything from library books to support teachers.
All schools – many with multi-purpose halls and buildings provided with government BER money – earned a total of $16.23 million, up from $14.5 million in 2010.
The commercial agreements include dance classes, weekend markets and sporting clinics, and provide a welcome revenue stream for cash-strapped schools.
Bondi Beach Public School topped the list, with its popular weekend fashion and farmers markets contributing to an annual income of more than $197,000.
The market is held in the beachfront playground every Saturday and Sunday and charges stallholders between $70 to $120 per week.
Markets also boosted cash reserves at Glebe Public School ($160,000), Rozelle Public School ($137,000), Orange Grove Public School ($101,000), Riverside Girls High School ($118,000) and Como Public School ($8600).
According to department guidelines, private organisations must pay higher fees than non-profit groups. For example, a private organisation would pay $43.50 per hour for use of a large hall, but a not-for-profit would only pay $26.
Private companies can lease playing fields for $17 per hour, the canteen for $9 per hour and the staff common room for $7 per hour. Schools offer a 10 per cent discount for arrangements involving 50 or more hires per year.
Dance Sensation owner Elizabeth Cooper said she hires the hall at Rydalmere East Public School on an hourly basis three afternoons a week for ballet, hip hop and musical theatre classes, contributing to the school’s income of about $6000.
She opened the school two years ago, charging 60 students a minimum of $105 per term. “We stumbled across Rydalmere East and we liked that it had a beautiful hall and the principal was really excited for us to be there,” Ms Cooper said.
“The facilities are great, they’ve got a stereo available, so it’s easy for us.”