GKD(LEGAL) - COMMUNITY RELATIONS: NONSCHOOL USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES
An officer or employee of a district who is acting or purporting to act in an official capacity may not, because of a person's race, religion, color, sex, or national origin:
- Refuse to permit the person to use facilities open to the public and owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of the district;
- Refuse to permit the person to participate in a program owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of the district;
- Refuse to grant a benefit to the person; or
- Impose an unreasonable burden on the person.
Civil Practices and Remedies Code 106.001(a)
Right to Preserve Use
A district, like a private property owner, may legally preserve the property under its control for the use to which it is dedicated. Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993)
Forum for Communication
A district may create a public forum of a place or channel of communication for use by the public at large for assembly and speech, for use by certain speakers, or for the discussion of certain subjects. Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983); Chiu v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 260 F.3d 330 (5th Cir. 2001)
A district is not required to allow persons to engage in every type of speech when the district establishes a limited public forum; the district may be justified in reserving its forum for certain groups or for the discussion of certain topics. A district shall not discriminate against speech on the basis of viewpoint, and any restriction must be reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum. Good News Club v. Milford Cent. Sch., 533 U.S. 98 (2001); Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993)
Fees for Use
The board may set and collect rentals, rates, and charges from students and others for the occupancy or use of any of a district's facilities, in the amounts and manner determined by the board. Education Code 45.033
A district may not require a campus or campus program charter that is the result of the conversion of the status of an existing district campus to pay rent for or to purchase a facility in order to use the facility.
A district may not require a campus or campus program charter, or an open-enrollment charter school, to pay for any service provided by the district under a contract between the district and the campus, campus program, or open-enrollment charter school an amount that is greater than the amount of the actual costs to the district of providing the service.
Education Code 11.1543
If a district has a designated open forum or a limited public forum and receives funds made available through the United States Department of Education, the district shall not deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet, or to discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society), that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed as a patriotic society.
The United States secretary of education may issue and secure compliance with rules or orders with respect to a district that receives federal funds and that denies equal access, or a fair opportunity to meet, or discriminates, as described above. If a district does not comply with the rules or orders, no funds made available through the Department of Education shall be provided to that district.
[For provisions related to a patriotic society's access to students, see GKE.]
"Youth group" means any group or organization intended to serve young people under the age of 21.
Limited Public Forum
For purposes of this policy regarding Patriotic Societies, an elementary school or secondary school has a limited public forum whenever the school grants an offering to, or opportunity for, one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after the hours during which attendance at the school is compulsory.
Nothing in this policy shall be construed to require a district to sponsor any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any youth group listed as a patriotic society.
Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 7905
Facilities as Polling Places
A district shall make its buildings available for use as polling places in any election that covers territory in which the buildings are located. If more than one authority requests the use of the buildings for the same day and simultaneous use is impractical, a district shall determine which authority may use the building. Election Code 43.031(c)
No charge, including a charge for personnel, utilities, or other expenses incurred before or after regular business hours, shall be made for the use of a district building for a polling place if the day of the election is a day on which the building is normally open. If the day of an election is a day on which the building is not normally open, a charge may be made only for the reimbursement of actual expenses resulting from use of the building in the election. Election Code 43.033(a)
[For provisions related to polling place security, see CKC.]
Political Party Conventions
A district shall not assess a charge for the use of a school building for a precinct, county, or senatorial district convention, except for reimbursement for the actual charges resulting from use of the building for the convention. The district shall provide an itemized statement of expenses to the reimbursing authority. Election Code 174.0631
Facilities as Places of Worship
"Disaster" has the meaning assigned by Government Code 418.004.
"Governmental entity" includes a political subdivision of this state, including a county, municipality, or special district or authority or an officer, employee, or agent of the entity.
"Person" has the meaning assigned by Government Code 311.005, except the term does not include an employee of a governmental entity acting within the employee's scope of employment or a contractor of a governmental entity acting within the scope of the contract.
"Place of worship" means a building or grounds where religious activities are conducted.
"Public official" means any elected or appointed officer, employee, or agent of this state or any political subdivision, board, commission, bureau, or other public body established by law.
"Religious organization" means an organization open to the public that is a religious organization under Civil Practice and Remedies Code 110.011(b).
Prohibition on Orders Closing Places of Worship
A government agency or public official may not issue an order that closes or has the effect of closing places of worship in this state or in a geographic area of this state.
Notwithstanding any other law, a religious organization is an essential business at all times in this state, including during a declared state of disaster, and the organization's religious and other related activities are essential activities even if the activities are not listed as essential in an order issued during the disaster.
A governmental entity may not at any time, including during a declared state of disaster, prohibit a religious organization from engaging in religious and other related activities or continuing to operate in the discharge of the organization's foundational faith-based mission and purpose or during a declared state of disaster order a religious organization to close or otherwise alter the organization's purposes or activities.
A person may assert a violation of this prohibition as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain injunctive relief; declaratory relief; and court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
A person may commence an action and relief may be granted regardless of whether the person has sought or exhausted available administrative remedies.
The attorney general may bring an action for injunctive or declaratory relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity to enforce compliance with this provision.
Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 110.001(a), .0031; Gov't Code 2401.001–.005