Village News Reporter
The State of California periodically adjusts the maximum developer fees a school district can charge, but the school district must have a study which demonstrates a reasonable relationship between the additional development and the need for additional school facilities. Key Analytics will be preparing a pair of justification studies for the Bonsall Unified School District.
The BUSD board voted 4-0 Nov. 15, with Pascal Lapoirie absent, to enter into a professional services agreement with Key Analytics. The Ladera Ranch company will perform both a developer fee justification study to determine the necessary relationship and a school facilities needs analysis which will determine the district’s eligibility for Level II developer fees.
“We have quite a lot of development coming to our community,” said BUSD Superintendent Joseph Clevenger.
“With the increase in construction costs, we continue to closely monitor what a fair amount is for us to ask,” Clevenger said. “It is important for us to keep up on that.”
The current state maximum Level I developer fees are $4.79 per square foot for residential development and $0.78 per square foot for commercial or industrial construction. The maximum amount is adjusted every two years based on the change in the statewide cost index for Class B (based on building amenities) construction.
The most recent fees were approved in February 2022, and the State Allocation Board is expected to approve the adjusted fee in early 2024.
Level II developer fees are assessed only for residential construction and are intended to cover half of a school district's facility construction costs per new home served.
To qualify for Level II fees, the school district must meet two of the following four requirements: capital facility debt at 15% of bonding capacity, at least 20% of the district's classrooms being portables, at least 30% of the district’s students being on a multi-track year round program, and a general obligation bond election held in the past four years which received at least 50% of the vote. A Level II study is valid for 12 months.
BUSD staff requested fee justification proposals in October 2023. Two companies responded, and Key Analytics was the firm recommended by district staff. Key Analytics also performed the 2022 developer fee justification study.
Key Analytics will be paid $16,000 which will cover $8,500 for the developer fee justification study and $7,500 for the school facilities needs analysis.
The developer fee justification study will calculate student generation factors by housing category (single-family or multi-family) and school level, review the school capacities to determine how many students can adequately be housed at each school level, review development plans and tract maps to estimate the number of future residential units by housing category, and project the number of students future residential units will generate.
The study will also compare existing enrollment to facility capacity by school level to determine whether any surplus can house students generated from future residential development, estimate the number and type of school facilities which will be needed to meet the projected enrollment, review and analyze BUSD documents to estimate the cost to construct or expand school facilities needed to accommodate additional students, and estimate the actual school facilities impact per unit and square foot of residential floor space.
Further study will estimate employment generation rates for new commercial and industrial buildings and the student enrollment increases each building will bring, factor employment-related interdistrict transfer rates, and prepare draft and final versions of a report with the findings of the study.
Key Analytics will also complete a preliminary review of the school district’s ability to justify and levy Level II fees and make recommendations regarding the preparation of a school facilities needs analysis.
The developer fee study will be available for public review in early March. The study must be available at least ten days prior to a required public hearing, which is planned for March 20.
“This all comes down to adequate facilities for learning,” Clevenger said.