The Riverside County Chapter of the BIA government affairs team has achieved tremendous success in helping to reduce School fees assessed on new development. During the past six years, all 22 Riverside County area School Districts have reduced their development fees. This is an unprecedented accomplishment! On average, over the past six years, school fees have dropped 20% in Riverside County. This average reduction equates to about $1,500 per single family home! Fee reductions of this magnitude are attained after scrutinizing each and every school fee analysis and working closely with school district staff members to ensure accuracy and fairness.
The collection of school fees is mandated by the State of California. Legislation known as S.B. 50 outlines how the school fees are to be calculated. S.B. 50 sets a minimum requirement for schools to collect what is known as a “level 1” school fee. The level 1 fee is currently $3.20 per square foot. If districts can justify the need for more fee revenue to cover their local 50% of the cost of constructing new schools, the districts are allowed to adopt a “level 2” school fee. To justify a level 2 school fee, districts must complete a School Facilities Needs Analysis (SFNA) each year. The resulting fee should cover 50% of what is needed to mitigate the impact of new development. A “level 3” school fee is always double the amount of level 2. Level 3 is only triggered if the State of California exhausts school bond proceeds and cannot cover their 50% share. Therefore, in a level 3 environment, new development would need to cover 100% of the cost of school impact mitigation.
Because of the diligent work by the BIA government affairs staff, level 2 and level 3 school fees have seen drastic reductions in a short period of time. School fees are just one portion of the entire fee load paid to mitigate development impact. The Government Affairs team will continue the fight to keep development impact fees at reduced levels.