The Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) recently held public hearings in consideration of increasing residential and commercial development fees for school facilities funds.
Passing two resolutions unanimously during its regular May 6 meeting, the board approved a school fee justification study and a school facilities needs analysis. For residential, commercial and self-storage, the fees increase by $.45, $.04 and $.06 per square foot, respectively. Those funds can only be used for the purpose of funding construction and the reconstruction of facilities. The money charged to a developer then gets split between OUESD (70%) and the Liberty Union High School District (LUHSD) (30%).
“Every year the State Allocation Board (SAB) looks at what developers are charged in fees for residential, non-senior housing that go to school districts,” OUESD Superintendent Greg Hetrick said. “Every other year, the SAB looks at the rates for commercial development.”
LUHSD Superintendent Eric Volta’s district encompasses the three area high schools — two in Brentwood and one in Oakley. He noted every district conducts a school facility needs analysis, which will go before the LUHSD board at its next regular meeting May 26.
“Based upon our need, we get 30% of developer fees for what we can justify in terms of our needs,” Volta said. “With the way AB 50 was first enacted, we draw our money from three buckets.”
He then named those buckets: local contributions, such as Measure U; developer fees; and state funds from the Office of Public School Construction.
Cooperative Strategies, a company that offers financial and demographic planning for education, compiled the justification study and the needs analysis for OUESD.
The justification study outlined means for establishing a tie in OUESD between development and three components: the need for school facilities, the cost of such facilities and the amount of statutory school fees. The study evaluated the number and cost of new facilities required to accommodate a student population generated from future development, while indicating more than 2,600 residential units are expected to be constructed within the OUESD’s boundaries through the 2040 calendar year, according to data provided by the Association of Bay Area Governments.
The needs analysis provided information on the following three elements: SAB eligibility to receive funds from the State of California for new school construction; designation by the OUESD of satisfying at least two of the four statutory requirements; and calculation of the amount of permissible alternative fees. The district met three of four of those statutory requirements in that it placed at least one general obligation bond measure on the ballot in the last four years, with the measure receiving at least 50% plus one of the votes cast; it issued debt or incurred obligations for capital outlay in an amount equivalent to the percentage of its bonding capacity; and at least 20% of its teaching stations are relocatable classrooms. The one requirement the district did not meet was having substantial enrollment of its students on a multitrack year-round calendar.