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School Board examines relations with County Rec

School District support of County Rec keeps youth program fees low, says Steve Christensen.

Sun Advocate publisher

The Carbon School District's relationship with Carbon County Recreation is almost unique within the state, Carbon School Board members learned in their regular meeting on Sept. 11.

"There are only two other school districts in the state that give funds to their county recreation departments," Carbon School District business manager Darin Lancaster told the board. "And both those are working to reduce that cash contribution."

The issue was raised as Carbon County Recreation Director Steve Christensen spoke to the board that evening in a regular report he gives to them periodically.

"We have had a great relationship with the school district for 24 years," said Christensen explaining that the program of the school district directly supporting the agency began about the time he took over the reins of the recreation department. "Because of that we have been able to keep the fees that residents pay for programs very low. In fact we have the lowest fees in the state. We have been lucky to be able to do this."

Christensen said the fees for classes and activities run between $20-$25.

Presently the county provides $360,000 for the program while the school district contributes $61,000 per year.

"But the district gives us much more than $61,000," said Christensen. "Where would we hold a lot of the classes and activities without the use of the school district's buildings?"

Christensen said that originally the recreation department was started by the school district and the county gave the district money to be part of it. Now it is just reversed.

One of the board members asked about where the funding for the recreation district came from.

"Actually the money is no longer earmarked and it has been reduced over the years," saidLancaster. "We just pay it to the recreation department each year."

A couple of years ago USU Eastern pulled out of the three way contribution system that existed and discontinued classes and activities on their campus. That hurt the recreation department, but they survived. However, the kinds of things offered has been scaled back.

One of the board members wondered about an agreement with the county on the situation, but Christensen said that the entire program and how it works between the two entities has been basically a gentlemen's agreement.

"To be honest we have no written agreement with the schools," said Christensen. "We have just relied on your generosity each year."

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