While news of a school closure might generate cheers and high fives from students, it can be a headache inducing, labour intensive turn of events for those employees who oversee facility rentals. Without the proper system in place, unexpected school closures can create a domino effect of phone calls, rescheduling, billing changes and additional reporting requirements.
With 608 schools and individual 560 rental facilities, when a school closure event occurs at the Toronto District School Board it can drive as many as 22,000 different cancellations. Handling the volume of work associated with the daily processing of facility rental permits without an up-to-date system was already a huge challenge for the team, but that wasn’t the only problem. When a cancellation event occurred, the multiple reports that would then have to be generated and the subsequent printing, filing and shredding of those documents wasn’t an effective use of anyone’s time.
Eager to find a solution that would reduce the workload associated with facility rentals and cancellations that could also be integrated into the board’s existing network, the ebase Facility Rentals module was a natural choice for the Toronto District School Board.
ebase Facility Rentals module streamlines the rental permit process through an online public portal. Key timesavers the portal offered the school board’s facility rentals team included:
Easily create a “facility catalogue” to efficiently communicate information about the facilities and spaces available to the public
Structured access to rental facilities that allows public users to access and submit facility use permits and bookings online
Enjoy the convenience of being able to monitor facility usage through monthly calendar and agenda views, what’s booked vs. pending
Up-to-the-minute tracking of financials including invoicing, receipt printing, payment processing, and reporting
While the generic Facility Rentals module met the majority of the Toronto District School Board’s requirements, ebase worked closely with Facility Rentals team to further customize the module to reflect their unique business needs.
Once the module was customized and installed, school board team members who would be regularly using the Facility Rentals module took part in live, in-person training presented by the ebase team. In addition, ebase prepared a series of online videos to help the school board address any questions that might arise from community members who were using the new system to book rentals.
Today, when the need to cancel facility rentals arises, a quick click of a button launches a series of automated tasks that used to take the facilities rental team hours to complete. The ability to select specific date ranges, times and facilities impacted by a closing and have customized email messages automatically sent to those with a cancelled booking is an incredible time saver that allows the team to focus more on activities that add value.
Since implementing the Facilities Rental module in (2016), the Toronto District School Board has seamlessly cancelled over 150,000 permits when unfortunate issues such as inclement weather and COVID-19 mass cancellations occur. By automatically including the history of each permit number when a mass cancellation event occurs, reporting has been simplified and streamlined. In addition, the workload associated with mass cancellations has become much more manageable as a result of a eliminating a number of tasks such as filing and printing, shredding and managing payment refund processing.
With the successful implementation of the Facilities Rental Module behind them, the Toronto District School Board is keen to begin the process of working with ebase on a new online registration system for its Learn4Life program. The ebase Registration module is the tool they have chosen to use. According to the Toronto District School Board’s Facility Permitting Team Leader, Ndaba Njobo,
“The ebase Facility Rentals module without a doubt has allowed us to better support our rental clients and facility staff. I would absolutely recommend the module to other school boards looking to make their facility rentals processes and their team more efficient. The quality of our permit processing has improved because we’ve given our team the right tool to do their best work. My only regret is that we didn’t invest in the Facility Rentals module sooner!”
Ndaba Njobo, TDSB Facility Permitting Team Leader
Learn more about the Facility Rentals module and see for yourself why it already being used by more than 90% of Ontario’s school districts as well as by school boards in British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba.