I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

School Concurrency the Subject of a Special Board Meeting Today

Concurrency is simply the method by which local governments mutually cooperate in the management of planned or contemplated construction/development that impact levels of services (fire/rescue, water, libraries, schools, etc.) within a given geographical area. Although relating to Alachua County in particular, an excellent essay on School Concurrency complete with history and examples can be found here:

This afternoon the School Board of Escambia County will be having a special meeting to approve revisions to the School Concurrency plan that was initially approved by the board back in September.

I supported the initial concurrency plan, as I felt it addressed the school district’s interests adequately with respect to managing growth.

The County and the Home Builder’s Association have called for edits to the document, and these edits have been incorporated into the latest iteration of the concurrency plan on which the board will vote this afternoon.

If approved as edited, the Escambia Concurrency plan has some significant issues that differ from what many other Florida Counties are doing in their plans.

Most of the other Florida Counties’ plans that I have seen have a mandatory upfront requirement that at the time of initial application, developers submit a School Impact Analysis (SIA) report. Many counties charge a fee for concurrency review at the time of preliminary review.
The latest Escambia draft does not mandate this.

Most of the other Florida Counties’ plans that I have seen call for concurrency service areas (CSA’s) that are less than districtwide. The original Escambia draft I voted for in September called for CSA’s that are less than districtwide. This has been changed and taken out of the current revision by the county and the Home Builder’s Association.
The Escambia draft now has districtwide concurrency service areas.
(Theoretically, this would allow a developer to build, with no mandatory mitigation required, new residential units in an area that has schools already over capacity [like, for instance, in the Lipscomb attendance area] if the school district has ANY excess capacity anywhere else in the county) This change does not favor the district, and I'm concerned about this revision.

A large number of the other Florida Counties’ plans that I have seen call for the formal/final determination of concurrency to be made at the time of final project approval.

The latest Escambia draft calls for the concurrency determination to be made at the time of preliminary application.

I have spent my weekend surveying what 22 other counties have put into place in their respective concurrency plans, and I have some reservations with the current revised Escambia County Plan. I've voiced my concerns with the Superintendent and also with the Superintendent for Operations.

I have other issues with the draft plan that will be voted on this afternoon, and my hope is that the board will take the time necessary to fully flesh out all of these issues before voting on the current draft, which will be a document in force for the next five years once approved.

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