How does it work?

Joint-use agreements facilitate a partnership between two or more entities, often school districts and local government agencies (e.g. parks and recreation or nonprofit organizations, to open up spaces such as playgrounds, athletic fields, pools, and gymnasiums to the community outside of operation hours or to open up community facilities to schools at a reduced cost or free.

Joint-use partnerships can be very formal, based on legal documents, or informal, based on a simple handshake! Formal agreements offer the added benefit of increased protection for both the facility and the community group. Since staff can change over time, personal relationships are not the most secure way to sustain this endeavor. A formal agreement can also help prevent problems related to maintenance, operations, liability, ownership or cost from arising.

Things joint-use agreements commonly cover:

  • Maintenance:
    How can we keep the space in good condition? These agreements can detail each partner’s goals to help ensure that properties are respected and maintained. It’s important to specify who needs to make repairs or who will address wear and tear to the property.
  • Operations:
    Agreements can determine who is responsible and for what.
  • Liability:
    Experts say most schools’ existing liability insurance is sufficient to cover any liability issues.
  • Owernship:
    Agreements can help outline a process for resolving any conflicts that may surface; they can also highlight how the partnership will benefit each party.
  • Cost:
    Agreements can outline how much each partner contributes. These agreements do not have to be expensive to be successful.


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