Public Education Costs Associated with New Residential Growth

New housing development requires the expansion of existing public services and its associated facilities. Impact fees are one time payments made by new development to pay for the expansion of these public services and facilities.

In general, The Pasco County School District registers 1 new elementary school student from every 5 and a half new homes built, 1 new middle school student from every 10 and a half new homes built, and 1 new high school student from every 8 new homes built. In other words, for every 100 new homes built in Pasco County, the Pasco County School District needs to make room for an additional 18 elementary school students, 10 middle school students, and 12 high school students.

During the current year of 2017, it’s expected that 1,831 new single family homes will have been built in Pasco County, as well as 1422 new apartments, and 134 new mobile homes.

If development follows these trends, by 2021, Pasco County’s residential growth will necessitate the need to create new school capacity for an additional 2,458 elementary school students, an additional 1,227 middle school students, and an additional 1,592 high school students. That’s a total of 5,278 additional students across all grades.

At current new construction prices, on average, it costs the Pasco County School District $26,333 per student to build a new elementary school, $29,235 per student to build a new middle school and $31,399 per student to build a new high school. The per student cost for land purchases averages to $1,550 for an elementary school, $1,325 for a middle school, and $1,760 for a high school. Additionally, a new school bus can currently cost up to $128,780.

This works out to be an average cost in Pasco County of $8,596 for every new single-family unit built (houses, townhomes, and condos), $5,382 for every new apartment unit built, and $5,634 for every new mobile home built.

If new housing impact fees are not high enough to cover the costs of these expansions, existing residents will most likely end up subsidizing the new development through higher taxes. Currently, only about half of the money needed to build new schools is collected in the form of impact fees when new housing is built. Tomorrow, July 11, The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners will decide if new housing development should pay the full amount of its impact on existing schools, or if existing residents should continue to make up the difference.

Board of County Commission Meeting
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm
Historic County Courthouse, Board Room, 2nd Floor
37918 Meridian Avenue
Dade City, FL 33525