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updated: 7/30/2014 5:49 PM

Batavia may increase developers' school fees

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The Batavia school board got some perhaps-surprising news Tuesday: Mayor Jeff Schielke has suggested the city increase the amount of land or cash developers give to school districts.

The matter was discussed during a joint meeting of the school board and the city council's committee of the whole. Schielke set up the meeting to discuss common interests between the two bodies.

A donation of land or the cash equivalent to the school district is required of developers building housing. They are required to offer land for a new school based on the number children the development is expected to generate.

For example, Batavia expects an elementary school to hold up to 600 students; the building requires at least 11 acres. If the district doesn't want land, the developer must donate its cash equivalent.

The city has not changed its land-cash values in many years. Currently, the city values land at $100,000 per acre. Geneva uses $185,000, and St. Charles uses $240,500 or $175,000, depending on where the development would be located.

"I look at those numbers, and I don't like being at the bottom of the Tri-Cities," Schielke said. "I think we need to come up with a new number that will support the Batavia school district going forward in the future."

The amount of land required depends on the type of housing. A studio apartment, for example, is expected to have no children; a four-bedroom house would be calculated to have .53 children in kindergarten through fifth grade, .298 in middle school and .36 in high school.

The formula also takes in to account how many students could be in a school, and how much acreage would be needed for an elementary, junior high or high school.

The council directed the city's community development director to meet with the school's assistant superintendent for finance to hash out new numbers.

Almost all of Batavia is in the Batavia school district. A small portion is in the Geneva school district, and a small part of Aurora is in the Batavia district.

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