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2000 Opinions

Date:   September 18, 2000
Prepared By:   Margaret O'Sullivan Parker
Phone:   (850) 488-7707
Suncom:   278-7707
Opinion No.:   00-06
Staff Contact:   Margaret O'Sullivan Parker
MEMORANDUM OPINION
TO:   Ms. Effie L. McCartney-Donaldson, Associate Counsel
FROM: Margaret O'Sullivan Parker
SUBJECT: Obtaining prior approval from the Department to lease property
RE: Letter of September 15, 2000

QUESTIONS PRESENTED: Is it required that a school district obtain prior approval from the Department of Education to lease property it owns for a period of ten years or more?

CONCLUSION: In brief, a school district is not required to obtain Department approval when leasing its own property to others. Section 235.056(1), Florida Statutes, permits a school board to lease its own property "for such term, for such rent and upon such terms and conditions as the board determines are in its best interests." The Department approval mention in Section 230.23(9)(b)5, Florida Statutes, is only needed when a district is leasing property from an entity, rather to it.

DISCUSSION:

The State Requirements for Education Facilities (SREF) Manual, promulgated by the Department under Rule 6A-2.0111, Florida Statutes, further explains the scope and procedures when a district leases its own property. According to Section 1.4(7)(e) of the SREF, it is not necessary to determine that the property is unneeded for education purposes. The school board must advertise the proposal and hold a public meeting prior to entering into the agreement. Section 2.2(1) of the SREF addresses lease contract provisions. Additional noticing provisions apply if the arrangement is a lease-purchase, or lease with option to purchase.

I hope this response adequately addresses your concerns. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,

Margaret O'Sullivan Parker
Assistant General Counsel

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Enclosures

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