School impact fees suspended, again
Members of the Marion County School Board discuss closing Evergreen Elementary before voting 3-2 to close the school during the Marion County School Board meeting in Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.
The Marion County School Board once again voted to suspend school impact fees, extending the move for the 11th straight year.
The request to suspend was approved by the Marion County Commission on June 15.
The school impact fees, which are levied on new residential construction, are meant to help pay for school growth. The board first suspended the fees in 2011 during the global recession, which saw a deep drop in new construction.
“The board will continue to visit the topic annually, but for now, there are no impact fees for Marion County Public Schools,” said Gregory Davis, a spokesman for Marion County Public Schools.
In a letter to commissioners, school board Chairwoman Nancy Thrower said that while there are instances of localized school overcrowding, in general, the school system has ample capacity for new students at each grade level, from a districtwide perspective.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a reduction in attendance for portions of the 2020-21 academic year. The school board expects school attendance to rebound for the 2021-22 school year, but capacity should not be an issue.
From 2011 to 2016, the suspension of the educational impact fees has cost the school district a total $13.7 million. Officials have not tracked the total since 2017.