Santa Rosa County School District Superintendent Tim Wryosdick shared with School Board members how the more than four-hour joint meeting with the County Commission affected him.
“I left the meeting last night feeling somewhat despondent,” he said during the School Board’s Thursday meeting. “I didn’t sleep last night much. That’s just a tendency I have. I feel like I played a game or athletic contest.”
Wryosdick and School Board members didn’t get the red carpet treatment they expected Wednesday from the commissioners or county residents after sharing their proposal to create impact fees on citizens who buy new homes.
To build up to five schools in the next 10 years, the district said it must levy $5,000 per single-family home. Additionally, it set impact fees for multi-family units at $3,000 in the north end and $1,500 in the south end.
The district reported that the $5,000 impact fee on 1,734 homes built in 2018 would have generated $8.67 million.
Originally, the School District gave county commissioners a deadline of Monday, June 24 to vote on its proposal.
However, the School Board voted Thursday to leave the date open ended. The board talked about conducting workshops, holding public hearings and considering other funding options. They also voiced support for creating a campaign to educate Santa Rosa County voters about the district’s need to collect impact fees in an effort to gain support for the proposal.
Multiple phone calls, emails and Facebook posts boosted Wyrosdick’s spirits Thursday morning, he said. He told his board “There is tremendous support for you and that’s growing.”
District 5 School Board member Wei Ueberschaer encouraged her cohorts to push forward.
“I was frustrated,” Ueberschaer said. “But I’m not ready to roll over yet. It’s too important of an issue to roll over right now. Part of it is a messaging issue. There is a lot of misinformation out there.”
Like Wyrosdick, District 2 School Board member Buddy Hinote said he left the joint meeting “totally discouraged.”
Hinote said he disliked the idea of holding public hearings on the impact fee, as commissioners suggested.
“I question whether involving the public is the right angle,” he said. “They get out of hand. You know the HBA (Home Builders Association of West Florida) will show up en mass.”