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PK-12 Public Educational Facilities Master Plan Evaluation Guide
Use this guide to learn school facilities master plan standards and rate your school district on their use of the guide's standards in planning.

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This guide provides a framework for community involvement in the complex process of modernizing or building new public school buildings.

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Poll: Californians Willing to Borrow Big in 2016 to Help Schools
-- John Myers, KQED News

California: April 22, 2015 -- The times may change, but Californians don’t seem to do so when it comes to two things about K-12 public schools: a sense that they need money for construction and renovation, and a willingness to borrow the cash to make that happen. The latest example: A new statewide poll that shows relatively strong support for a 2016 school construction bond, even as the idea continues to be quietly fought in Sacramento by Gov. Jerry Brown. Wednesday night’s poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California finds 55 percent of likely voters support the general concept of a school bond on the November 2016 ballot. Broaden the sample size to all adults, and PPIC finds even more — 66 percent — who like the idea. “Our polling consistently shows that local school funding is the top priority,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president and pollster. The PPIC survey takes the collective California temperature on a number of education-related issues. But the school bond may be the most politically pressing, given the rollicking debate in Sacramento over the issue.

School Board Asked County Not to Collect Impact Fees in '13 and '14
-- Dennis Maley, The Bradenton Times

Florida: April 21, 2015 -- BRADENTON — Over the past week, there have been many questions regarding school impact fees and why the county has not collected them, despite the fact that the ordinance for the fees being suspended expired in 2013. Communications between the county and the school district reveal that despite growth in the northeast corridor of Manatee County, the school district asked the county not to collect the fees in 2013 and again in 2014. In 2009, the school board, on the advice of then Superintendent Tim McGonegal, first voted to suspend collection of the fees, recommending that the county do so for one year before re-evaluating the potential need for them. The district's position was that the real estate crisis had caused student growth to flat-line and that the 5-year capital plan did not envision a need for new schools (though additions and renovations to existing facilities would begin the next year with borrowed money). The county commission, which has the ultimate say on the fees, instead voted to suspend school impact fees for two years along with other impact fees it had been levying. In 2011, after conducting an impact fee study that did not include school impact fees, the BOCC extended the moratorium on impact fees, including those for schools, until July of 2013.

State uncertainty puts Wilkes-Barre Area in bind for new high school plan
-- Mark Guydish, Times Leader

Pennsylvania: April 19, 2015 -- WILKES-BARRE — With a looming construction project estimated into the hundreds of millions, this is the conundrum for Wilkes-Barre Area School Board: A moratorium on state reimbursement for such projects may or may not happen, no one knows how long it would last if it does happen, and the amount of state money at risk can’t be predicted. Yet despite all those ifs, the school board has been given a firm and potentially costly deadline: Decide what to build and where to build it in the next few weeks. Ignoring the deadline could cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Or it could cost nothing. But the board doesn’t get to know the outcome until after the deadline. Board Vice-President Joe Caffrey said last week that a state official had advised the board to file detailed paperwork regarding the project by July 1 if it wants to be sure it has a chance at getting state money. The problem, Caffrey said, is that the board hadn’t planned on making decisions required to complete that paperwork until later in the summer. What happened?

School facilities study could become plan costing $100 million
-- Rick Wagner, TimesNews

Tennessee: April 19, 2015 -- Sullivan County’s school facilities study, set to be accepted by the county school board May 4, and the parallel but separate Kingsport study may morph into a capital plan costing about $100 million total instead of more than $300 million. Or at least that’s the take county Director of Schools Jubal Yennie gave to the county Board of Education during a Thursday evening work session. When Ohio-based consultant Tracy Richter gives an update on the facilities study to the school board 6 p.m. Monday, Yennie said to look for a plan calling for two new high schools with a twist. Instead of building two new 1,700 or 1,800 high schools to replace the four existing county high schools, Yennie said the plan may be tweaked to build two 1,200-student schools of two pods with a third pod to be built later. He said that would shave about $20 million off the cost of a two new high schools option that would cost more than $200 million.

Districts could soon share construction funding with charter schools
-- Erin Kourkounis , The Tampa Tribune

Florida: April 19, 2015 -- Traditional public schools in Florida could soon be required to share money designated for construction and maintenance with charter schools in their districts. Last month, the majority-Republican House approved a bill that includes a last-minute provision that calls for school districts to divert some of the local property tax money they can raise for construction and maintenance costs to charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run. Local school district officials say the move — praised by charter school operators — could place financial burdens on districts that are already operating under tight capital budgets that go toward expenses like maintaining aging school buildings, building new ones and purchasing new school buses. “We’ve already, over the last several years, had less dollars to use for our own maintenance,” acting Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins recently told the Tribune’s editorial board. “Any additional dollars we would lose would definitely be a challenge for us. It will create a bigger backlog on our maintenance issues for our buildings and a strain on our budget.” A Florida Department of Education analysis distributed to school districts earlier this month estimates that Hillsborough County charter schools could be up for about $8 million of the capital outlay money the school district draws each year from local property taxes, if the Legislature does not set aside money to go to the charters. This year, Hillsborough is slated to receive a total of a little over $100 million from a 1.5 mill property tax. Of that, $66 million will go toward debt service payments. If the Legislature sets aside $100 million for charter school construction and maintenance as the House has proposed, the amount Hillsborough County would have to provide to its charter schools would drop to $1.5 million. Those numbers could change, as state budget talks are not expected to wrap up until this summer.

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