The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners recently voted to increase impact fees for public schools. The money will be used to build new schools like Sumner High School, which is scheduled to open in August.

Hillsborough County Commissioners voted last month to increase the amount of impact fees local schools will receive.

“Students in Hillsborough County Public Schools will have a more conducive learning environment thanks to a vote tonight by the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners,” said Tanya Arja, media outreach with Hillsborough County Public Schools. “County Commissioners voted to increase school impact fees, which will help our district properly plan for population growth.”

According to Arja, the new impact fees will give the district $59.4 million annually, an increase of more than $30 million per year.

“A recent study commissioned by our district determined the need for 38 new schools in the next 15 years to keep up with the number of new families moving into our area,” she said. “Because of Florida’s inadequate state funding for schools, we may still not have enough funding for all of our needs.”

Arja explained that the fees had not previously been raised in close to 15 years.

“In that time, the southern part of our district has experienced incredible growth and that growth continues to this day,” she said. “In the next five years alone, our district may need space for nearly 17,000 new students. School impact fees have not been raised in nearly 15 years.”

Following the vote, the school impact fees will double from $4,000 to $8,000. Impact fees in other school districts include Orange County, which receives $8,784; Pasco County, which receives $9,028; Broward County, which receives $9,049; and Polk County, which receives $10,484.

“What happened tonight will allow us to keep up with the growth. We won’t have to wait to build schools, we won’t have overcrowded schools like we experience now, especially in South Hillsborough County. We’ll have the right number of students in the buildings, which will only help with student success,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins, just moments after the vote.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners sets the impact fee rate. Developers then pay the one-time fee when a new home is built. Impact fees can only be used to pay for growth and cannot be used on repairs, maintenance, technology or security for existing schools.

“Our district is grateful to commissioners for voting for this much-needed funding that will accelerate a plan to build new schools in overcrowded areas,” said Arja.

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