A SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS,
THE LAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD AND LAKE COUNTY MUNICIPALITIES
MARCH 16, 2006
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session with the Lake County School Board and representatives of Lake County’s municipalities on Thursday, March 16, 2006, at 1:00 p.m., at Lake Receptions, Mount Dora, Florida, to discuss school concurrency. Commissioners present at the meeting were Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Robert A. Pool and Debbie Stivender. Others present for Lake County were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager; Carol Stricklin, Growth Management Director; Brenda DeMartino, Department of Growth Management; Michael Lauer, Consultant for Lake County; Gene Bowles, University of Florida and Consultant for Lake County; and Judy McAuley, Deputy Clerk.
The Lake County Schools were represented by School Board Members Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Larry Metz, Vice Chairman; Becky Elswick; Kyleen Fischer; and Scott Strong; Superintendent Anna Cowin; Attorney Steve Johnson; Harry Fix, Director of Growth Planning; and by Linda Hines, Consultant for Lake County Schools.
The municipalities were represented by Tim Green, Town of Astatula/City of Minneola/Town of Montverde; Elaine Renick, City of Clermont; Frank Royce and Attorney Lewis Stone, City of Eustis; Greg Beliveau, City of Fruitland Park; Teresa Greenham, City of Groveland; Bonnie Nebel and Janet Shira, Town of Howey-in-the-Hills; Attorney Derek Schroth, Town of Lady Lake; Sanna Henderson, City of Leesburg; Jeff Krull and Janet Shira, City of Mascotte; Melissa DeMarco, City of Mount Dora; Nancy Clutts, City of Tavares; and Attorney Leslie Campione, City of Umatilla; and by Jerry Cox, M.Ed., Consultant for the municipalities.
Commissioner Hanson called the meeting to order and asked the participants/representatives to introduce themselves.
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, announced that staffs for the municipalities, Lake County and the School Board have basically agreed on all of the data in the draft Data Inventory & Analysis (included in the backup material). The draft is a compilation of population and student enrollment projections and capacity numbers.
Mr. Harry Fix, Director of Growth Planning, Lake County Schools, explained that working on the Data Inventory & Analysis gave the staffs an opportunity to better understand each others’ planning processes and to come together on methodologies that are in the best interests of Lake County as a whole.
Mr. Jerry W. Cox, M.Ed., Consultant for the municipalities, confirmed that capacity numbers were agreed on and each group’s level of service position is reflected as well.
Mr. Welstead noted that the intent is to submit this draft to the State as the work product for data inventory and analysis for the comprehensive plan and in satisfaction of the ultimate requirement. There may be changes as we proceed, especially in the money aspect.
INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT DISCUSSION
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that he met with Attorney Lewis Stone (Eustis), Attorney Leslie Campione (Umatilla), Attorney Dan Mantzaris (Clermont), and Attorney Steve Johnson (School Board) regarding the draft Interlocal Agreement (included in the backup material). In identifying the biggest areas in the Agreement, separate options are provided. Today’s goal is to fulfill the March 1, 2006, requirement to send the draft Data Inventory & Analysis and the draft Interlocal Agreement, which will have consensus approval, to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). He stated that the final Interlocal Agreement must be approved by all sixteen governmental bodies and he stressed that this draft is not the final document.
Mr. Steve Johnson, Attorney, Lake County Schools, advised that the draft Interlocal Agreement and the options were reviewed by the School Board at a special meeting on March 13, 2006. He stated that a great deal of the daily and annual obligations and data information and changes that need to be made rests on the backs of the School Board.
Options - Section 1.1.3 - Oversight/Review Committee
Mr. Minkoff explained the three options for Section 1.1.3 (The Lake County Educational Concurrency Review Committee), for an oversight committee which would be charged with evaluating how the entire system is working. He related that the Board of County Commissioners (BCC), at their March 14, 2006, meeting, expressed interest in a committee of nine elected official members (three each from the School Board, the BCC and municipalities).
Mr. Johnson stated that the School Board’s preference was a modified version of Option One with nine members who are citizens or elected officials.
Mr. Cox stated that the municipalities feel very strongly about Option Three with sixteen citizens or elected officials (one from the School Board, the BCC and each municipality).
Ms. Anna Cowin, Lake County Superintendent of Schools, opined that the School Board views this as an equity issue. She suggested that the cities could try to divide the County into three separate regions with one representative from each region.
Mr. Minkoff referred to Page 5, Section 1.1.2, and Page 6, Section 1.2, of the draft Interlocal Agreement regarding the duties of the Committee. They would be making recommendations to all of the participants.
Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney for the City of Umatilla, stated that this is more of a review committee, a problem-solving committee, that would look at how the Interlocal Agreement is working and, in that regard, having representation from each municipality is critical.
Mr. Larry Metz, Vice Chairman, Lake County School Board, opined that, after hearing that this will be an advisory committee, it would be fair to have everyone with a seat at that table.
After further discussion, Mr. Minkoff stated that the consensus is with Option Three with sixteen citizen or elected officials and a quorum of six.
Options - Section 3 and 3.1 - Zoning Categories and School Siting
Mr. Minkoff explained the six options for Section 3 and 3.1 (Zoning Categories In Which Schools Are Allowed; School Siting Procedures) plus an alternative option (Option Seven) which could be added to any of the other six. He opined that the BCC prefers Option Four which is the status quo and which would require school sites to be rezoned in accordance with whatever the local government zoning process is.
Mr. Johnson stated that the School Board prefers Option One which allows public schools as a permitted use in all zoning districts. They realize modifications would be needed with Option One such as dealing with wetlands, industrial areas, etc. Many of these options are an attempt to look at possible compromises to allowing schools to be a permitted use in all zoning districts such as options with hearing officers and different plans. If it is necessary, in order to allow schools to be a permitted use in all zoning districts, the School Board is not in favor of going through those types of alternative plans as a compromise. The preference is Option Four if the majority feels Option One is not available. However, the School Board does not believe Option Four, as currently worded, maintains the status quo. He explained that it requires rezoning prior to acquiring a site. They would agree that they would, prior to beginning construction on a school, have the property rezoned. If the School Board determines, for its future policy, that it will acquire rezoning before closing on the site, that is a decision it needs to make.
Mr. Cox stated that the cities’ first choice is Option Seven. He stated that, in the spirit of trying to move along, their fall-back position is Option Four. They also recognize that the School Board would want the wording “prior to acquiring any site” omitted. He stressed that the cities’ biggest concern with this process is making sure all the infrastructure is in place and that there is communication involved in siting the schools and the development of the property.
Mr. Lewis Stone, Attorney for the City of Eustis, remarked that the cities would want Option Seven as an additive. It is important for everybody to know ahead of time how the necessary infrastructure will be put in place and who will pay for it.
Mr. Strong stated that those requirements are incumbent upon the School Board to do and he opined that it would be redundant to include them. He confirmed that the School Board clearly understands it needs a better relationship with the cities and the County and he opined that they are moving in that direction.
Mr. Stone remarked that it makes common sense to him that something as important as infrastructure does not get lost in the process. He commented that, while it may be overkill, it is easier to do it when everybody is happy.
Commissioner Stivender asked if replacing “prior to acquiring any site” with the last sentence in Option Three would eliminate that concern. All three local agencies would look at the site, going over the infrastructure issues, before they acquire it.
Mr. Minkoff referred to Section 1.5.2 (Co-location and Shared Use) on Page 7 of the draft Interlocal Agreement whereby everyone has agreed to contact each other whenever anyone begins to plan a new facility. Additionally, the staff committees will meet at least quarterly. There should never be a surprise and that will ameliorate a lot of the concerns about infrastructure.
Mr. Fix pointed out that the local governments and the County will be required to adopt the School Board’s five-year plan into the Capital Improvements Element. Along with staffs’ quarterly meetings, that will absolutely assure coordination.
Regarding the wording of Option Seven, Mr. Metz stated that an additional interlocal agreement would be necessary before the site could be acquired. That would be problematic and cumbersome. He agreed with the infrastructure concern but opined that current statutes allow that.
Mr. Johnson stated that the School Board would be willing to consider additional language from the cities regarding cooperation or agreeing to do certain things to the extent that it does not add obligations on the School Board.
There was further discussion regarding redundancy and tweaking the language.
Ms. Campione referred to Section 2.5 and suggested that might address the concerns.
Mr. Minkoff stated that consensus seems to be Option Four, keeping the first sentence, deleting the second sentence, adding language that we cooperate in trying to locate school sites and that we would try and utilize the factors that are set forth in Section 2.5 when we evaluate school sites.
Mr. Metz opined that restating Section 2.5 in Section 3.1 is redundant. He suggested that the word “acquiring” should be stricken from the second sentence in Option Four and that “commencement of construction on” should be written in.
After additional discussions, Mr. Minkoff remarked that he thought consensus was reached earlier. He stated that putting cooperative language in again, without creating any affirmative duties, does not hurt.
Mr. Johnson clarified that the School Board has the constitutional statutory right and obligation to select school sites. The statute that requires the implementation of this Interlocal Agreement does not relinquish that right to any other group. The list of considerations and recommendations and notifications does not change that the ultimate decision for a school site will remain with the School Board.
Options - Section 5.2.4 - Level of Service Standard
Mr. Minkoff explained the six alternatives for Section 5.2.4 (Level of Service Standard) which is a combination of capacity and level of service. The three basic choices are FISH (Florida Inventory of School Houses), FISH with program and how portables are factored in. The BCC did not have a clear consensus on this section.
Mr. Johnson stated that we are dealing with two issues. The law says you take a level of service and multiply it by the capacity in order to get the number of students who can be served in a particular classroom. He referred to the draft Data Inventory & Analysis handout in explaining the snapshot of school student population and the capacity at each school. These numbers are being worked on to confirm accuracy. He stated that the School Board’s first selection would be Option One which is 100% of permanent FISH capacity for elementary, middle and high schools. Some flexibility would be necessary because the permanent FISH capacity at a vast majority of the elementary schools, most of the middle schools and two high schools are considerably over the 100% capacity level as of 2/6/06. Considering that, the School Board discussed that Option Three might be acceptable with modifications. One modification would be that the portable classrooms are FISH recognized portable classrooms. The other issue is to look at the core capacity in light of the permanent FISH capacity and consideration of some limiting percentage factor over permanent FISH capacity.
Mr. Minkoff referred to Pages 13 and 16 of the draft Data Inventory & Analysis, reiterating that these numbers are a work in progress. The formula is FISH + 25% of permanent FISH for portables or dining capacity, whichever is less.
Mr. Cox stated that the cities’ first choice is Option Three which is 100% of permanent FISH, plus portables up to the core. They are willing to consider 25% of the permanent student stations, not to exceed core, as an option as well.
Ms. Teresa Greenham, representing the City of Groveland and Howey-in-the-Hills, stated that charter schools should be addressed in the Interlocal Agreement because Groveland is building a city charter school of 1300 spaces next year.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the non-conversion charters were not counted in capacity because students cannot be required or compelled to go to them. Groveland could build a city non-conversion charter school but parents could elect to send their children to the public schools. However, in determining student generation rates in schools that were not conversion charters, the students would be counted as if they were private home-schooled or private-schooled so it would impact the student generation rates per house. If those schools are counted in capacity and become unpopular, those students will be back in the public schools. If we do not count them in this capacity, we will be over-populated in our public schools.
Ms. Greenham stated that Florida Statutes say other school spaces can be counted and can be looked at to specifically mitigate the impacts in these residential units. Groveland’s school will provide 1300 elementary and middle spaces next year and the City Council will not be happy to sign up for something that excludes those spaces.
Mr. Minkoff gave the example that a developer comes to the School Board for a concurrency certificate but the School Board shows that public schools in the area are full. If the developer proposes to build their own school and could assure the School Board that those kids would go to that school, they would meet concurrency. He reiterated that there is no assurance that those kids can be compelled to go to Groveland’s city school. If the city school fails, those kids go back in the public schools. The School Board does not own the city’s non-conversion charter school site and there is no guarantee that it will be operated as a school forever. The School Board does own the site for a conversion charter school and gets the site back and can operate it if the conversion charter school fails. He agreed that they do get a countywide mathematical credit on the generation rate. Those kids would be counted and the student-generation rate would be reduced by those kids.
Ms. Becky Elswick, Lake County School Board, stated that they have to consider adjacent service areas when concurrency service areas are established. If that charter school is successful, it will reduce the populations in the adjacent service areas which will equalize it all.
Mr. Strong stated that the student generation rate is based on elementary, middle and high schools. He expressed certainty that a compromise could be reached. He suggested that students could be considered in the calculation if the school is constructed to state standards and if the city would be willing to turn it over to the School Board if the city decides to get out of the school business.
Mr. Johnson agreed that something along the lines of Mr. Strong’s suggestion could be taken into consideration in the formula.
Further discussion occurred regarding capacity.
Commissioner Hanson opined that it might be possible to add more language to allow for and clarify Ms. Greenham’s concerns. She confirmed that there is consensus on Option Three but asked if there are additional comments.
Mr. Greg Beliveau, representing the City of Fruitland Park, pointed out differences in the draft Data Inventory & Analysis, Table SF19 on Page 18 and Table SF21 on Page 19, concerning capacity at Eustis High and Leesburg High.
Mr. Minkoff explained that Option Three essentially says that every school will have 100% of FISH, at a minimum, and that can be increased by up to 25% through the use of FISH recognized portables if there is dining capacity. He opined that there is consensus for this option. The tables will be corrected.
Ms. Renick asked if we can say core capacity rather than core dining capacity.
Mr. Cox stated that we are basing it on dining only, not media as well. Most of the media center figures are not correct, having been lowered somehow with class size reduction.
Options - Section 5.3 - School Concurrency Service Areas
Mr. Minkoff explained the three options for Section 5.3 (School Concurrency Service Areas). There was consensus with this group earlier that we did not want to do this on a county-wide basis. However, Option One does determine concurrency on a county-wide basis. Option Two uses attendance zones for all schools. Option Three uses planning areas. The School Board wants to discuss another planning area type proposal today.
Mr. Johnson stated that the School Board previously looked at the elementary, middle and high schools as being individual concurrency service areas. Their concern is that it is possible that a developer on one side of the County could look at capacity on the other side of the County because the school attendance zones are not necessarily geographically drawn. That creates a problem because of the requirement to rezone attendance zones for different schools if the levels of service rise over what is agreed to in the Interlocal Agreement so as not to stop development by having one school with a great deal more capacity than surrounding schools. From a practical aspect, the action that has to be taken at that point is either to rezone the school every time the developer comes in on one side of the County and is looking to the capacity on the other side of the County or you zone that particular area and incur tremendous transportation costs. He advised that the School Board would like to consider some combination and take into consideration a travel time or travel distance from each school, and set some maximum to get some more uniform concurrency areas. One purpose of that is to avoid having to go through a rezoning of attendance zones for each school every time a developer meets concurrency.
At 2:25 p.m., Commissioner Hanson announced a ten minute break.
Mr. Fix stated that Mr. William C. “Will” Davis, President, LPG Mapping & Computer Services, Inc., will present slides for options regarding Concurrency Service Areas (CSAs).
· Attendance Zones - Mr. Fix stated that he has heard discussion by the School Board and the County Commission that the high school attendance zones are too large, especially in respect to travel distances. He explained that the legislation says, in looking at concurrency areas, that one is allowed to look at adjacent zones in order to approve development. For example, the Tavares High School attendance zone is contiguous to five other attendance zones.
· Planning Areas - Somewhat reflective of Joint Planning Areas. In each option, if the concurrency service area does not have an elementary, middle or high school, it needs to be adjacent to a service area that does.
· Attendance Zones - Zones broken up more. East Ridge divided into two zones; Tavares into three; Leesburg divided into three; Mount Dora divided into two; Umatilla divided into three or four.
· High School/Middle School/Elementary School Drive Times - Mr. Davis explained the drive time analyses which range from ten minutes to forty minutes.
Mr. Fix remarked that this suggestion is not set in stone and may need more input. Adding too many more lines might be difficult because we have to be sure a facility of each type is located in each concurrency service area or in an adjacent area.
Mr. Cox pointed out that, when the municipalities agreed to attendance zones, this option was not on the floor. He asked if any thought has been given to using this for middle and high schools and using attendance zones for elementary schools as a separate concurrency service area.
Mr. Fix confirmed that is an idea as well. He opined that this could be refined by taking it back to a staff working group.
Ms. Elswick expressed that her only concern is that the schools do not sit in the center of some areas and there could be a situation where a child lives within two miles of a school but has to go eight miles away.
Mr. Johnson explained that attendance area zones would stay the same. The child would still go to the school that it was zoned into depending upon adjustments in the zoning as they reach level of service capacity. This concurrency service area line will not automatically change where the student will attend school.
Regarding consensus, Mr. Minkoff opined that we are describing Option Three with some modifications by the staffs to the map which was shown earlier. He opined that the School Board has proposed Option Three as written. He asked for a consensus on that option.
Commission Hanson concurred and asked for comments.
Mr. Derek Schroth, Attorney, representing the Town of Lady Lake, opined that they had a consensus on using the particular schools as their own concurrency areas. He remarked that a lot of this information was presented today and it is difficult to represent a consensus on this item when looking at some of the other options. He asked if the group can agree on some language at this point that would be broader to allow tightening the lines later.
Mr. Minkoff remarked that it appears that everyone agrees with the concept of Option Three. The map details can be worked out later.
Mr. Johnson stated that he hopes there is an agreement to use a map, hopefully, that takes the school attendance zones into consideration as well as geographic distance between the concurrency service areas to the various schools. He opined that the exact lines on the map can be agreed upon at some future time.
Commissioner Hanson reiterated that we will move forward with Option Three.
Mr. Tim Green, representing the Town of Astatula, the City of Minneola and the Town of Montverde, remarked that the cities have looked at having all three levels of schools considered.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, from the cities’ perspective, the smaller zones are probably better. He reiterated that we would be agreeing on the concept and that we will work on a map that probably will be something other than exact attendance zones.
In response to an inquiry by Mr. Green regarding three maps, one for elementary, middle and high schools, Mr. Fix remarked that we might accomplish what we want to on one map but three maps can be considered.
Further discussion occurred regarding the map or maps and language in the agreement.
Mr. Minkoff agreed that “map series” or similar language could be included. He explained that the actual map does not have to be submitted now for the March 1 compliance. If we have consensus, we will use some type of planning level map and we will work to solidify the maps.
Mr. Johnson suggested that we apply Mr. Davis’ ideas to the other concepts that have tentatively been agreed upon today and apply it to the schools in the various areas to see what the numbers look like. Hopefully, that information will be available before the next joint meeting.
Commissioner Hanson confirmed that there is a clear understanding on Option Three, with language to be developed.
NEXT STEP DISCUSSION
Mr. Minkoff remarked that this joint group would meet one more time, in about a month, with the final Interlocal Agreement and final maps that would go to, and be adopted by, the individual cities, the BCC and the School Board.
INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT CONSENSUS
For the minutes because it was one of the deliverables due March 1, 2006, Mr. Minkoff asked for a vote or consensus that the participants basically agree on the draft Interlocal Agreement and the options adopted today and that the draft Interlocal Agreement should be sent to the Department of Community Affairs.
On a motion by Commissioner Pool, seconded by Commissioner Stivender and carried unanimously, by a roll-call vote of 23-0, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, the Lake County School Board and the Lake County Municipalities agreed on the draft Interlocal Agreement and the options adopted today and that the draft Interlocal Agreement should be sent to the Department of Community Affairs.
Mr. Greg Beliveau, representing the City of Fruitland Park, was not present for the vote.
Ms. Janet Shira, representing the City of Mascotte and the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills, asked if the draft Data Inventory & Analysis will be attached to the draft Interlocal Agreement that will be sent to DCA.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the Analysis is not part of the Interlocal Agreement but is required information and will be sent to DCA. It does not require approval. It is recognized that changes will need to be made to it.
Ms. Shira stated, for the record, that the City of Mascotte and the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills do not agree with all of the data that is included in the draft Data Inventory & Analysis. As long as it is not part of the Interlocal Agreement, they have no problem.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK