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Frequently Asked Questions

What is “school concurrency”?

Concurrency is a growth management concept intended to make sure that the needed public facilities and services like parks, roads, drinking water, sewers, garbage collection, and stormwater systems are available to serve existing and new development. Since 1985 Florida has required all Florida cities and counties to approve new development only when those facilities and services are available at a level of service approved by the elected officials. In other words, a county or city cannot approve a new development if the approval would cause the level of service of a public facility to drop below the approved level.

In 2005 the Florida Legislature required that most counties and cities must also make sure that adequate public schools are available before they approve new residential development. School concurrency applies to residential development. For a residential development to be permitted, adequate school capacity must be available or scheduled to be under actual construction within three years of the final approval. If capacity is not available, the developer, school district and affected local government must work together to find a way to provide capacity before the development can proceed.

The Alachua County School Concurrency Project prepared a helpful glossary of other common terms related to school concurrency.

What are the benefits of school planning?

School planning brings community planners and school district planners together to make sure that a community is adequately served by public schools. It makes county and city land-use decision makers aware of how development approvals impact school capacity and programming. It makes school boards aware of future plans for residential land uses that generate new student or shift locations of student population. This collaborative planning allows for the identification of opportunities to share resources make sure that schools reflect the desires of the whole community. This coordination strengthens the ties between development approvals and school capacity. The steps that a school district and its county and city governments will follow to create school plans are listed in an “interlocal agreement.”

Where can I find examples of how to approach school concurrency?

Pilot Projects. Six Florida school districts and their associated local governments agreed to serve as part of a pilot program for early implementation of school concurrency requirements. Some of these projects maintain websites about their projects and when available, links are provided.

The Department of Community Affairs has posted drafts of planning documents and interlocal agreements prepared by the pilot communities on its school planning website (click here to view the documents). Keep in mind that the draft documents have not been formally reviewed by the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Education for compliance with minimum planning requirements and may be subject to revision prior to final adoption.

Other examples. Even before the 2005 school concurrency requirement, some counties and school districts recognized the importance of planning for school infrastructure and voluntarily adopted their own school concurrency systems. For example, the Palm Beach County school district, the county, and 26 cities pioneered the concept of school concurrency in 2001. Orange County and Broward County also adopted local policies to require school concurrency before it became a statewide requirement. The Alachua County School Concurrency Project (not a government site) maintains a helpful website with extensive background information and links to useful resources; click here for the Alachua County Public Schools School Concurrency webpage.

What is included in a public school facility element of a local comprehensive plan?

To meet the minimum planning requirements, a county or city – in cooperation with the district -- must complete the following:

  • Execute an Interlocal Agreement for Coordinated Planning and School Concurrency – in most cases, this will be completed as a revision to the agreements adopted in 2002
  • Adopt a Public School Facilities Element as part of its local government comprehensive plan
  • Adopt amendments to the Intergovernmental Coordination Element of its comprehensive plan, including establishing “level of service” standards for use of schools and concurrency service areas
  • Create a method, known as “proportionate share mitigation,” for allowing a developer to pay for school capacity improvements needed to off-set development impacts
  • Adopt financially feasible amendments to the Capital Improvements Element of its comprehensive plan

When does school concurrency apply in my community?

The Department of Community Affairs prepared the schedule for adoption of public school facilities elements and revised interlocal agreements (see list in either alphabetical order by county or by due date). To meet the deadline established by the schedule, most counties and cities will submit proposed elements and agreements four to six months in advance of the deadline.

What happens if a local government does not adopt a plan for school concurrency?

If a local government does not work with the school board to execute a revised interlocal agreement and adopt school planning amendments to the local comprehensive plan, it may not amend its comprehensive plan to increase residential densities. Likewise, a school board may be subject to the loss of state funds for school construction.

Where can I learn more about school concurrency?

The Florida Department of Community Affairs has posted many resources on its home page. The DCA has a webpage dedicated to school planning and another with Frequently Asked Questions about school concurrency.

Who can I contact for more information?

Tracy D. Suber
Educational Consultant
Office of Educational Facilities
325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1014
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
(850) 245-9312