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Western Placer Unified passes developer agreement for school funding

Board appointment retain status quo at Tuesday's meeting
By: Mackenzie Myers, Reporter
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Although Lincoln City Council did not pass the Village 5 development plan yet, opting to continue the discussion next Tuesday, the school district passed its own agreement. That agreement positions itself for school funding if and when the city approves Village 5.

Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman said there has been a funding gap for future school construction, since state dollars and developer fees are sometimes not enough to cover the whole cost of building a school. As a way to fill that gap, especially as the city expands and more students come to Lincoln, district staff met with Richland Developers Incorporated and negotiated an agreement outlining how developer fees will help fund future schools.

In the agreement, according to Leaman, the state will pay for half the facility funding and developers will pay for the other half. He said this plan is contingent on the city’s decision to move forward with Village 5 and annexation of the land itself. It will not be implemented until that point.

Village 5 is one of seven expansion areas within Lincoln, incorporated into the city’s General Plan. The village’s specific plan provides insight on the development of 4,785 acres on the western side of the city. According to the project’s website, each village will contain residential areas, commercial spaces, public facilities, parks and schools.

Megan Macy, a representative of the district’s legal counsel, said this village in particular is a large project, clocking in at up to 8,200 residential units and 4.6 million square feet of space for businesses and offices.

Since new residential areas will increase student enrollment as families move in, developers are obligated by the agreement to help fund construction of new schools. Fees are based on square footage of each residential unit built and can be adjusted annually for inflation, according to the staff report. The agreement involves five facilities: three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school.

School board President Paul Carras expressed some worry over the agreement, citing possible changes from the proposed federal tax bill and previous funding gaps that led to the agreement at hand.

Leaman also acknowledged that state funding for school facilities could change in coming years.

“That’s probably the biggest risk of any mitigation agreement, including this one,” Macy said.

But as current circumstances stand, Macy added, this agreement can provide the district with “significant dollars” for future schools.

The agreement passed unanimously.

 

In other news:

 

-          As part of an annual reorganization process, the board of trustees voted upon president, vice president and clerk appointments for 2018. All positions remained the same, with Paul Carras as board president, Paul Long as vice president and Brian Haley as clerk.

 

-          Leaman outlined the district’s holiday office hours. Once schools close after Dec. 21, the district office will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. From Dec. 26 through 29, the district office will be closed and inaccessible because Lincoln City Hall will be closed. The district will resume its regular schedule when school is back in session on Jan. 8.

 

The next regularly scheduled Western Placer Unified School District board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 on the third floor of Lincoln City Hall, 600 Sixth St.