Pasco School Board members look to protect teaching jobs from impact fee cut
Pasco County School Board members have not opposed a proposal to cut in half the county's $4,800 education impact fee on new homes. But on Tuesday board members made clear that they cannot support any change that would hurt the school district's ability to pay off its construction bonds.
The district relies on about $4 million annually in impact fee income to cover a portion of its yearly repayment on $276 million in new school construction projects. If the county were to reduce the impact fee, the district might not have enough money in its capital funds to pay the bill.
In that instance, the district would be required by law to tap into its general operating funds to pay the bonds. "That's the first bill we have to pay," board member Cynthia Armstrong said.
The board has asked for data to help determine what level of fee reduction it could accommodate without dipping into the money it uses for salaries, benefits and school programs. It called a workshop on impact fees for March 21, in advance of a joint session with the County Commission.
"I know we're talking about builder jobs," Armstrong said, acknowledging concerns that the county's higher fees have dampened new home construction in Pasco. "But we've also got to consider teacher jobs."