Shared Use Policies and Agreements
Move More: A Toolkit for Promoting Open Use of School Property in North Carolina provides information on how schools in North Carolina can make their facilities availability to the public for physical activity. It includes background on the importance of increasing access to places for physical activity, relevant North Carolina law, a checklist for developing open use policies and a list of resources that support open use.
In 2014, Shared Use of School Property in North Carolina: The Role of Unorganized Recreation was created to provide education on existing North Carolina policies that govern shared use (opening access to recreational facilities to community residents) of school facilities, and specifically addresses the role of "unorganized use" of school facilities by the public.
In 2015, an amendment to NC General Statute § 115C-524 put open use of school grounds for recreation on the same legal footing as joint use agreements. Previously, the law recognized the ability of schools to enter into agreements with non-school groups to allow use of school property (e.g., a rental agreement with the YMCA to hold an after-school program on campus or with a local soccer league to use fields). The law provided that schools have no liability for injuries that occur during activities arising out of these agreements. The law was previously silent on the ability of schools to allow the general public to use school grounds for recreation outside of these agreements (open use). This was a gap, because people who use playgrounds and school tracks and walking trails on an informal basis are not going to be entering into an agreement, or a contract, with a school to do so. The new amendment makes it clear that schools are allowed to open their grounds to the public for recreational purposes outside of agreements. It also specifies that schools will have no liability for injuries that occur during this "open use" of school grounds.
Promoting Physical Activity Through Joint Use Agreements: A Guide for North Carolina Schools and Communities to Develop and Use Joint Use Agreements can be used to provide information on how to share physical activity resources through joint use agreements in North Carolina.