Refining and redefining citizenship in Sarasota County, Florida.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Schools suffer as Developers get free pass
Dan Lobeck: School impact hardly begins to meet unfunded needs
By Dan Lobeck, Guest Columnist
Published: Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 23, 2015 at 2:31 p.m.
On Oct. 20, Sarasota County School Board members betrayed taxpayers and schoolchildren and bowed instead to the developers who bankroll their campaigns.
The School Board adopted a very low school impact fee on new residential development — less than 26 percent of the full fee recommended by their expert consultant. It will be the third lowest school impact fee in Florida.
This despite an unfunded need of $326 million to build at least six new schools over the next 10 years, mainly to serve urban sprawl east of the interstate and south of Venice. The new low fee will cover only 13 percent of that cost, putting 87 percent of the expense on the backs of the tax-paying public.
So how will the School Board pay for new schools? Even the recommended full fee would only pay half of the cost, but with 87 percent unfunded the shortfall is severe.
The School Board, through its state association, is trying to get the Legislature to raise our school property taxes. MORE . . .