Tenants & Facility Users

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“State says [City] school operating improperly”

MID-WEST CITY: October 3, 2002 – A state-funded charter school is operating without approval in a YMCA building and hasn't submitted required criminal background examinations of staff members, the [state] Department of Education said Thursday.

Education department spokesman [name] said the school did not get state approval to run the school this year, did not submit a business plan and must refund $588,253 the state had provided for operations.

The department demanded refund of the money in letters sent this week to [school’s corporate managing entity], which operates the school. Benton said the state may sue the company if the company does not respond.

There was no telephone number listed for [school’s corporate managing entity]. A telephone message left Thursday with the desk in the YMCA branch building where the school was operating was not returned.

The school, formerly known as [former charter school name], was unable to use the building it was in last year due to a dispute between the school's board and its former operator, [prior school’s corporate managing entity].

The school's board fired [prior school’s corporate managing entity] last year, saying the company was more concerned with profits than education. The company responded by suing the board for unpaid rent.

[School’s corporate managing entity] was sent a letter Tuesday stating that it must receive approval from the state before relocating.


This article really is not about a YMCA… it is about a charter school, one that is receiving bad press. Unfortunately, the YMCA gets to share that undesirable publicity because they did not have, or did not follow, adequate policies and protocols regarding outside entities who use their facilities. It could have been much worse. Inadequate policies regarding tenants or facility users can allow a YMCA to be drawn much deeper into bad publicity or even litigation. They can connect the YMCA with improper behavior if the YMCA failed to screen, monitor, or control the actions or behavior of their tenant or facility user.


What we know:

  • The charter school cited is in real trouble with the state.
  • The YMCA is not directly involved, but, because they lease space to the school, and because they utilize inadequate protocols concerning tenant and facility user controls, they get to share in the bad ink.

What we must remember:

  • For entities who lease or rent a building or part thereof that is owned, managed, or leased by your YMCA for the purpose of operating a business or engaging in non-YMCA activity:
    • Require an affirmation that the entity is involved in a legal business activity and that they will comply with all local, state, and federal laws and statutes.
    • Require written verification of any licensing and/or certification required to run their business or to operate their program. You must proactively determine the documentation necessary and not rely on your tenant to automatically provide you with all that is needed.
    • Require an indemnification and hold-harmless agreement in favor of the YMCA regarding all activities by the entity.
    • Require proof of financial responsibility, normally in the form of certificates of comprehensive general liability (CGL), workers’ compensation (WC), and automobile liability insurance, preferably with cancellation notification clauses.
    • If their business involves service to or interaction with children, require proof of background checks on their staff and volunteers.
  • For groups or entities who rent or use your facility for short-term events or programs:
    • Verify that the activity is legal, moral, and ethical; know the purpose of the event and understand activities that are planned.
    • Review rules and expectations with the entity’s representatives before any activities begin.
    • Require hold-harmless and indemnification agreements from all groups; if possible, get individual waivers from all participants. Such agreements make them a more serious partner in protecting the children, a benefit to the entire community.
    • Require groups that are businesses or corporate entities to provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility, normally in the form of a certificate of commercial general liability (CGL) insurance. This is not necessary for parental sponsored birthday parties, etc.
    • Require the group to provide adequate adult supervision for all participants. Adequate refers both to number and quality of attention provided. No child should ever be unattended.
    • Require the use of your staff for critical activities such as aquatics, climbing wall, etc.
  • If your YMCA becomes involved with (or without) a tenant in educational endeavors like charter schools,
    • Investigate and determine how to comply with all the rules and regulations promulgated by local and state governments regarding the education of children.
    • Develop procedures and protocols to address the special exposures attendant to public and private educational services, specifically failure to educate, corporal punishment, etc.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.

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