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Friday, 02 February 2007 00:49

ACUSD Asks County For Support With Development Impacts Through General Plan Update

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slide2The Amador County Unified School District has been working to incorporate language into the County’s General Plan that will provide some assurances that the district’s future growth needs will be met by developers. Superintendent Dr. Mike Carey explained that Senate Bill 50 adopted in 1999 “pretty much took schools out of the business of being players when developers come in and counties and cities are looking at building infrastructure to meet the new residential growth.” He said unlike the Amador County Recreation Agency we cannot come to a City or County and ask that money be provided per residential units for the district, because supposedly the school district is already guaranteed the money from SB 50.

slide4 SB 50, otherwise known as the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998, established a state program to provide funding for new construction and modernization of existing school facilities. The bill provides guidance for accessing state bond funds (including those specifically allocated for construction of charter schools) approved by the voters. Dr. Carey explained that while intended to provide funds for the district to build facilities to meet new development, SB 50 has gone awry. “The plan was very simple the developers would pay for 50% of new school facilities and the state would pay for the other 50%. Well, since that time, two things have happened. The ratio is more like the state’s willing to pay for 40% of those facilities and the developer fees maybe reach 40% and the rest is up to the local community.” Which he commented is unfair, putting an extra burden on the County and cities. He said that the district needs help in order to build the needed facilities and to meet future developmental needs. “So what we are asking…the General Plan Advisory Committee(GPAC)  to consider is really a 5 sentence statement that simply allows the schools, or requires, schools and the developers to sit down and talk about the impact that these developments are going to have on schools, and that it be part of a condition of approval for those developments,” said Dr. Carey.

slide10 The language proposed by the ACUSD states that adequate school facilities are a priority for the community and that they must also be maintained as they are essential to accommodate new development, thus schools should be considered while approving developments. The language goes on to read, “Project developers shall work closely with the Amador County Unified School District Residential developers are strongly encouraged to coordinate with the school district to ensure that needed school facilities are available for use in a timely manner. To the extend, possible, projects shall be phased or conditioned to provide that new school facilities are constructed and operating prior to occupation of the residences which the schools are intended to serve.” Dr. Mike Carey and the school district will continue to work with the County and language will be developed to present to the General Plan Advisory committee so they can consider whether or not to include it in the future general plan. to mitigate the impacts of these projects to the educational system.

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