221 new single-family homes could be built within the district

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    WARWICK-The usual response by a school district is to simply acknowledge the information it receives from a planning board. Last month, however, Florida Schools Superintendent Douglas W. Burnside wrote back to the Town of Warwick Planning Board, giving detailed comments on the impact developments would have on the district if town planners approved the projects. The town is currently considering five developments that would impact the Florida district: Cedar Ridge with 36 homes; Wheeler Road Estates with 31; Hampton Hill with 22; Round Hill with 19; and Connolly with six. The Village of Florida's Planning Board has two applications in front of it that would add 107 more single-family homes to the district: Meadow Creek with 93 homes and Leta Estates with 14. In all, the district could see 221 new-single family homes if the applications are approved as is. In his letter, Burnside addressed the statement from the developer of the Wheeler Road Estates development of a positive net tax revenue. His figures showed that instead of an $18,359 tax surplus if these homes are built, a deficit of $50,123 to the school district would occur. "By using even the lower number of children per unit (.97) multiplied by the 2003-2004 cost per pupil ($9,542), the result is a deficit of $50,123 in costs to Florida UFSD," said Burnside. The total cost of education each student in Florida is $13,356. State aid last year amounted to $3,616 per pupil. Florida is a small district. With one elementary school — Golden Hill - and a combined middle and high school — S.S. Seward Institute - the district has 876 students for the current school year with 423 at Golden Hill and 453 at Seward. This is up from 804 students in the 2000-2001 school year. There is only room for an additional 107 students at Golden Hill, 102 more at Seward. Most data shows that each home brings in 2.5 children to the district. The number used for the Wheeler Road Estates Draft Environmental Impact Statement was 1.25 children per unit, half of what most studies show. This number was based on the Sterling Forest Development figures from 1994, according to the superintendent. Actual reviews of the most recent developments in the Florida Union Free School District show slightly less than one child per new household. However, even using that number - .97 — Burnside said the district would still be at a deficit with this development. In addition, if each home only produces one child to the district, the district will be at capacity when the building is complete. With just 209 slots open in the two schools, 221 homes will certainly take care of that. Burnside noted that the district does not own any property on which to build a new school if needed. "Therefore when viewed both individually and as a whole with other proposed developments, the Wheeler Road Estate will have negative impact on the Florida Union Free School District," Burnside concluded.