The 55,000 delegates in town last week for the National Baptist Convention got an education -- some of it in city schools.
Memphis City Schools officials let delgates use Vance Middle, Booker T. Washington High, Carver High, and Hamilton High for classes last week at no charge.
"Most of the things we have are on weekends, and they require someone actually having to come to the school, open it up and stay there, which requires us to charge them," said Vince McCaskill, communications manager for the school district. Because the schools have employees working in them and because the conventioneers needed facilities during the week, the school district didn't need to charge a fee.
McCaskill says anyone who wants to use the school district's facilities can make a request through the district's business operations division. "Generally, community organizations want to use our facilities on weekends, and we have to charge a them."
Unlike last week's conventioneers, most groups who use school facilities only want a specific area such as the auditorium or the gymnasium.
According to the district's fee schedule, groups wanting to use an air-conditioned school are charged $200 to $400, depending on the day and the school.
Now that the delegates are gone, the city schools are lending their hospitality to the Johnny Cash biopic, I Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, which will be filming at Humes Middle, gratis.