Kudos to the Manatee County School Board.
On Tuesday, Dec. 13th ,the Manatee County School Board voted to restore collection of school impact fees at 100 percent of the recommended rate. No impact fees were collected from 2008 until April of this year and only at the 50 percent rate since then for an estimated loss of $100 million.
Impact fees are collected to help offset the cost of new infrastructure required only because of new development. The fees are collected from the developers who add the cost to the price of new homes, thus adding to their “cost basis.”
When impact fees are suspended or discounted, other school funds must be used to fund the required infrastructure, thus reducing the amount available for the educational process. Programs are cut, teacher compensation stagnates, and many kids do not get the special attention they deserve.
With the resumption of 100 percent collection of school impact fees, the school district will turn a corner. There is no valid reason for the school board to ever volunteer to reduce funding for the schools and it should never happen again. One of the most important responsibilities of our community is to educate our children, all of them.
When any student drops out of school or is otherwise deprived of a good education, it hurts the whole community sooner or later. Often those students get in trouble and end up having a lower quality of life than their better educated peers.
Our new school board is to be commended for recognizing that it is their first responsibility to facilitate the education of our children by providing the maximum funding to help our teachers do the best job possible, the tools they need, and first-class facilities for all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.