The Glendale Unified School District should take advantage of a new state law allowing school districts to impose building fees on new homes and commercial development, Supt. Robert A. Sanchis told school board members Tuesday night.
Sanchis said escalating enrollment within the school district, reconstruction needs and more than $6 million in overdue maintenance justifies such fees.
"A large number of our schools are older than 30 years and are in desperate need of refurbishing," he said. "This school district can justify the need to establish local developer fees at the maximum level."
State law allows districts to levy up to $1.50 a square foot on newly built houses and up to 25 cents a square foot on commercial development. The fees would also apply to adding living space to existing homes.
The money collected can be used only for construction and renovation of school buildings.
District officials said estimates on the amount of money the fees would generate in Glendale are not yet available.
Vic Pallos, spokesman for the district, said enrollment in Glendale's 27 schools has climbed by 600 students the last two years, from 19,800 to 20,400, in kindergarten through 12th grades.
Preliminary forecasts show that, within five years, 1,000 more students will be enrolled in the district's 19 elementary schools alone, Sanchis said.
"Even with the fees imposed at their maximum level, we will not be able to cover the financial needs of the district," said Sanchis.
The developer fees are one of two sources available to California school districts for reconstruction and renovation.
An $800-million bond measure passed by the state's voters last November is also available, provided districts meet certain requirements, Sanchis said.
To qualify for the bond money, said Sanchis, a district must first impose developer fees or be forced to subtract from its financial request the amount that could have been collected from a developer assessment.
Board members voted to consider the assessment and are expected to give tentative approval to imposing fees at their next meeting, Feb. 3. Two public hearings will be scheduled after the board vote, Sanchis said.