All slides used in this presentation may be viewed at http://santarosa.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=2500&MeetingID=91
This item was addressed later in the meeting since Mr. Boles' flight did not arrive at the expected time. Gene Boles is a Senior Fellow and Project Coordinator for the Center for Building Better Communities at the University of Florida. At the June 11, 2015 meeting the Board approved Phase 2 of the partnership with the University of Florida for the development of a School Facilities Planning “Geodatabase” and assistance in the application of the Geodatabase to school planning decisions.
Superintendent Wyrosdick began by introducing Gene Boles' presentation. Mr. Boles is here to present a growth management “Geodatabase” tool that he has been working on with Assistant Superintendent Joey Harrell to project growth in our district. Mr. Harrell thanked the School Board for allowing Mr. Boles to partner with the District on this huge endeavor.
Mr. Boles shared some of his background. Even though he is associated with the University of Florida he is not a professor; he considers himself a planning director and his approach is from the local government perspective. He has worked with several Florida school districts over the years and has served as advisor to Alachua County which is similar in size (number of students) to Santa Rosa. Mr. Boles has also worked with Walton County which is similar geographically to Santa Rosa (significant south end population) and coastal geography.
In 1985 when the Growth Management Act was adopted schools were intentionally left out; in 1996/97 legislation was enacted that schools had to enter into an inter-local agreement with local governments on how they would site schools. In 2005 school concurrency (having facilities in place before development takes place) became mandatory.
Mr. Boles emphasized that while he will be using a lot of numbers in his presentation today, he is not here to talk about numbers specifically - they change constantly; but they do frame the picture. How do we build the community we can live in? We are talking about linking residential development to school capacity. Schools are a critical part of infrastructure; as a community grows we need brick and mortar schools in the right places. As a community grows it translates to enrollment. We are talking about brick and mortar (schools) to brick and mortar (houses). This is the relationship we need to understand.
School planning and community development are a synergistic concept; should not be antagonistic. Small and mid-sized school districts don't always have a good way to manage data; we will be putting in place a Geographic Information System (GIS). The county has this and will be the repository for most of this data; it is designed for the purposes of school planning and school capacity. GIS is a spreadsheet attached to a map; the slide Mr. Boles used showed layer upon layer of information. GIS is a powerful technology tool that can manage millions of pieces of data.
We have Educational Service Areas (north, central, and south) as well as attendance zones. Mr. Boles shared information on the number of parcels (95,268) and address points (113,084) as well as a breakdown on the number of dwelling units - 53,605 single family, 9,066 mobile homes; 2,303 condominiums; and 4,342 multi-family. This is a lot of data - what is it telling us? Two key pieces of information are the number of parcels held by the property appraiser and address points; the GIS shows a development pattern. Student addresses are "geocoded" to address layers; this includes the type of dwelling by service zone. The number of students per dwelling type may vary by service area. A large database is better; when using the Student Generation Multiplier (projecting student enrollment from proposed residential development) we usually average unless there is a significant difference between areas.
Board member Dr. Diane Scott asked if the August numbers Mr. Boles used, specifically Pre-K, are students actually enrolled or if they are eligible students. Mr. Boles referred the question to Santa Rosa staff who responded that the number represents students who were enrolled on that date. Mr. Boles pointed out that these numbers can be reassessed at any time and are used for projection purposes only but they do remain remarkably consistent.
Mr. Boles went on to share that one of the perplexing elements that came out of 2005 legislation was the requirement that school capacity be matched to school enrollment based on the use of COFTE (Capital Outlay Full Time Equivalent). Mr. Boles presented a chart showing this. The last three years of enrollment become the basis for the next ten years of projections. This is a lagging indicator; we really need to base it on residential development not on enrollment history. He then showed comparison charts of COFTE enrollment projections by grade level. COFTE does not allow for differences in projection numbers within different areas of the district.
Superintendent Wyrosdick pointed out that using the GIS tool enrollment projections could be amalgamated to differentiate between the type of dwelling (single family, multi-family) as well as the location of the dwelling.
Mr. Harrell stated that it's important to keep in mind that the capacity number shown on these charts is a district wide number; you don't get to pick and choose where those empty spaces are - they may be in an area of the district that cannot be utilized. Empty space at the north end of the county will not help us in the south end - we have to keep a "district mentality."
Mr. Boles reiterated that COFTE is a lagging indicator; if things go along smoothly you may be able to use COFTE enrollment projections but looking at our comparisons it did not work well for us – particularly during the recession.
The next chart showed a projection of student population over the next 25 years based on residential development (annual increase of 1%). This shows a high growth rate but gives us a sense of what we see happening. The county and the city of Milton have to use the 1% annualized growth curve for the comprehensive plan. He then reviewed a bar chart showing increases by year in the last 15 years (2000-2013) of residential units built district wide; data is not complete at this time for 2014. The years 2000-2007 showed an annualized growth rate of 4.8%; when the recession came in 2008-2013 our annualized growth rate decreased to 1.1%. He went on to compare the COFTE projection with a 1.1% growth trend and a 1.6% growth trend. The question is - will Santa Rosa return to the growth rate we had prior to the recession?
Mr. Boles clarified that a projection is not a prediction but a set of assumptions that will show a result. When we get out to 2030 or 2040; these are simply projections based on assumptions. We want to become more knowledgeable about development activity that is taking place. By working with local government (building permits, etc.) we should be able to make a very good five-year projection.
Mr. Boles talked about student projection based on enrollment history as well as building activity; using COFTE the student projection is actually under estimated. He also noted that the projection varies from one area of the district to another (north, central, south). Board member Jennifer Granse asked if the total capacity given is actual student seats. Mr. Harrell responded that you can't go precisely by the number of seats; it depends on what programs are in place at that specific school site. For example, an elementary school may have reading or math intervention programs that would normally house eighteen to twenty-two students but are being used for a lower number of students. Mr. Harrell stated that he is working closely with Bill Emerson to find out how many classrooms are being used for those types of programs. He emphasized that it's not that the schools are misusing space; these are required programs. Superintendent Wyrosdick added that this is an example of an instructional delivery program surpassing what the building was designed for and it's intended use. He also mentioned that each area of the district is unique (north, central, and south) but Mr. Emerson has worked to ensure that the programs are generally consistent district wide with the same instructional delivery/design to see how the programs are playing out and how it relates to COFTE. Mr. Boles stated that the take away from this should be that if we grow at a 1.6% rate, in ten years we will be at capacity at all grade levels.
Mr. Boles then shared twenty-year student enrollment projection charts by grade level which compared the 2015 COFTE, 1% growth prediction, 1.6% growth prediction, and actual enrollment, with total capacity.
Mr. Boles' next slide addressed numbers in each service area of the district based on August 2015 enrollment as well as the five-year facilities plan in terms of capacity. The north end (ESA1) of the district is at low capacity with low anticipated growth; the central area (ESA2) is at 84% capacity; and the south end (ESA3) is at 93% utilization. Superintendent Wyrosdick pointed out that each of these service areas span all the way from east to west; so while we may have low capacity in the eastern section, we may be at full capacity in the western section of a service area. Mr. Boles added that the value of this tool is that it can be used in many ways based on geographic data.
Mr. Boles presented slides showing the residential/student data for the south end of the district (ESA South) which is the service area that is closest to capacity at this time and is considered a "contained" area. Since students don't typically travel from the north end to the south end to attend school he feels it's important to look at the max build out for that specific area. In addition to the 30,000 existing residential units, there is a potential for 6,800 single family lots which would only require a building permit. If developable land is built out, there could be an additional 14,824 single-family units OR 14,022 multi-family units; note these are soft numbers but could result in an additional 20,000 students in that service area. Joey Harrell is working with Beckie Cato on a more accurate projection of developable land (removing wetlands, etc.). We are trying to project where these needed schools will need to be and where they can be built in a confined area.
The next graph showed a 1%, 1.6%, and 2% growth rate over a 25-year projection for the south end. We will be at total capacity by the fifth or sixth year; middle schools are already at capacity. Mr. Boles then shared graphs/maps showing projected enrollment/capacity at south end schools by grade level and individual school. He stated that the growth rates shown could very easily occur in this area; projecting growth rates 15-20 years out is difficult but a 5-year plan should be fairly reliable based on development plans known at this time. What you take from this is that we have capacity problems at all levels especially middle and high using any of these trend lines in the south end (or service area). We will continue to work on improving this data by working with the county. Note: Mr. Harrell pointed out a needed correction on Navarre High enrollment which results in 96% capacity for that school.
The central area (ESA2) contains 27,019 existing dwelling units and a total of 14,928 students. The development potential is an additional 47,783 single family homes and 12,524 multi-family homes for an additional 39,000 students. This is not as critical since there is not a shortage of land and so Mr. Boles does not use the "build out" method for this area. He did share capacity/enrollment figures (by grade level) with capacity percentage which is approximately 90% for this area. Using the same growth trend lines (1, 1.6, and 2%) projection graphs show capacity concerns in the second five-year time frame for the central area.
Mr. Harrell pointed out that developers are starting to come in to the area north of Pace as well as Chumuckla and if that development continues growth may increase sharply. Mr. Boles added that due to the availability of land in that area growth is certainly possible.
Geographic Information System will allow us to evaluate choices and modify as we move forward by changing boundaries as needed, revising growth rates, etc. GIS will be a great help to us in decision making in the future since it can manage huge amounts of complex, changing data.
Board member Dr. Diane Scott asked Mr. Boles if he had been able to, in his consultation work with other counties, use this data/map to challenge that we have existing capacity to build schools where needed. Mr. Boles responded that it has not been used in this way yet but he is working with a DOE employee on this. DOE has contracted with him to supply a template using this tool. State law used to mandate that COFTE be used for projections; it no longer does but DOE mandates the use of COFTE. Dr. Scott stated that this tool gives us concrete data to support what we already knew.
Assistant Superintendent Joey Harrell came forward and stated that this gives us data to support our position with DOE when we are requesting additional facilities. We first have to look at rezoning; we have done this successfully in the south end in the past. We currently have one piece of property at the south end but need to be looking for another.
Board member Scott Peden asked if this tool could be used to focus on one specific school area (projected lots, student enrollment). Mr. Harrell confirmed the tool could be used in this way and thanked the Board again for allowing this.
Dr. Diane Scott asked if concurrency would be used in the joint meeting with the County Commissioners to identify/negotiate for needed land for school sites. The Superintendent responded that concurrency is very softly defined but he thinks the data we are bringing to the County Commissioners will allow us to develop some common goals in common areas. Access to this kind of good, solid data is new; we will have to look at how we plan to use the data as well as COFTE. He spoke of how desirable and complimentary growth is for our school district – we want growth; we just have to manage and plan appropriately together with the County Commissioners. This can be a win/win for everyone; it benefits all of us and we can be a catalyst for planning good growth. Superintendent Wyrosdick expressed his appreciation to Mr. Boles and Mr. Harrell for their work on this presentation.