Shaker superintendent tells her board she'll try & work things out with Belmont on the facilities use front

BELMONT — After the Board of Selectmen recently expressed frustration at the apparent reluctance of the Shaker Regional School District to make its athletic facilities available to the Parks and Recreation Department, Superintendent of Schools Maria Dreyer told the school board last night that she intended meet with town officials in hopes of resolving differences.
When the Selectboard met last month, Janet Breton, director of Parks and Recreation, asked Dreyer for greater access to the district's playing fields along with the gymnasium at the Belmont Middle School for its soccer and basketball programs as well as extending the hours of its summer camp. When Dreyer replied that the request posed logistical problems, Selectman Jon Pike remarked "I'm looking for a little give and take and I'm not seeing it" while the chairman of the Selectboard Ron Cormier said "every time we ask, (the answer) is always no. This board is tired of no."
Speaking to the School Board, Dreyer said that the policy of the district is "first come, first serve" and organizations from both Belmont and Canterbury use the facilities. She added that "the schools are owned by the communities" and noted that many groups have used the facilities for years. "It is a matter of availability," she said.
Moreover, Dreyer said that programs offered by the district are free while those offered by the town are "pay to play." She also suspected that there would be some duplication of programming.
In response to suggestions that the district's facilities are not used to their full extent, Dreyer said that "once a facility is booked, it's booked," but acknowledged that Doug Ellis, director of Building and Grounds, lacked the ability to keep track of cancellations.
Since the Selectboard met, Dreyer said that she had spoken with Cormier, who she said "would like to get together." She said that "I am more than willing to meet with them again" and to suggest a way of addressing the summer camp at the middle school. She explained that Breton asked to extend the hours of the camp to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate working parents. Because Ellis begins his day at 6 a.m. he is not available to lock the building and set the alarm, but if Breton accepted that responsibility the hours could be extended.
Dreyer said that she would report to the board on her conversations with the selectmen and town officials.