Orange County Schools Impact Fee Study

Orange County Public Schools | Lake County, FL
photo of an Orange County School

Located in central Florida, Lake County is a growing community and ranks 8th out of 67 Florida counties in its projected growth rate through 2045. Lake County Schools is the 19th largest school district in Florida, with an enrollment of 42,600. Given the growing maintenance needs in existing older schools and limited revenue sources available to capital facilities, Lake County Schools retained Benesch to update its school impact fee.

Using an understanding of countywide growth as it compares to the variation in growth rates in subareas of Lake County, combined with knowledge of the financial impact of maintenance costs on available funding sources and the role of impact fees in school planning and funding, Benesch conducted this impact fee study. It was determined that the County had stable countywide enrollment with high levels of growth in “hot spots”/subareas.

There was a need to use a local school infrastructure surtax for maintenance, which left no funding for new schools/additions. This was further complicated by variations in the cost of building schools. Benesch calculated student generation rates using address data, which provided more accurate estimates. In addition, Benesch developed an updated impact fee program that reflected the cost of building schools in Lake County.

Finally, a tiered fee schedule was developed to support attainable housing supply by lowering the fees for smaller homes that tend to generate fewer students. The team presented the study results to the School Board and Board of County Commissioners and gained approval for the methodology and approach. All calculated fees were successfully adopted.