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Council looking at a 60/40 split with school district

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By Jenny Hartley

County Council is considering collecting fees from developers that could go to the Lancaster County School District.

Council has started talking about splitting fees it collects through development agreements for residential developers 60/40 with the school district. If the county collects $10,000 per home, $4,000 of that would go to the school district, for example.

A committee of school board members and County Council members began meeting last year to talk about the effects of growth on the school district. Due to state law, the school district is not allowed to charge impact fees to build new schools in response to growth.

However, the county may charge development fees that it can share with the district. It has been collecting development fees, or fees per home, since it approved Sun City Carolina Lakes a few years ago.

School district personnel have suggested that developers pay $6,411 per home to offset costs to taxpayers for new schools and school renovations. That's the average per home contribution school district officials have figured it would cost to build a new school, with a new elementary school costing $14.6 million, a new middle school at $16.5 million and a new high school at $23.9 million, as examples.

Councilman Jack Estridge disagreed with giving money to the school district.

"The state ought to help building some buildings," Estridge said. "I simply don't think it's in our line of work."

Council will discuss the issue at Monday night's meeting.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1151