We write to address certain inaccuracies included in your article “San Benito High trustees okay first reading of school impact fees policy,” published on October 19, 2021. The article suggests that the District will be taking action on October 26, 2021 to impose increased development impact fees. This information is not correct. On August 10, 2021, in accordance with a specific legal process that was noticed to the public, our Board of Trustees approved an increase in some development impact fees that must be paid by persons who develop or redevelop property in our boundaries. These fees are permitted to be charged and are imposed by school districts across California because development creates the need for new, expanded, or upgraded schools.
Our district’s fees are approved annually, after study, hearings and opportunity for input from the public. Our current fees are in place until August 2022, at which time the issue will once again come forward to our Board for action. On October 26, 2021, our Board will be reviewing and considering approval of an updated Board policy on development impact fees generally, but adoption of the policy has no impact on fees currently charged, and no fees will be changed, ceased, increased or amended as a result of the Board policy update. The sole purpose of the Board Policy update is to ensure that the SBHSD’s general practices reflect existing legal requirements.
SBHSD has worked hard to earn the trust of Hollister residents through careful, prudent stewardship of public funds in recent years. We have openly shared and attempted to educate the community about the challenges we face as rapid development brings more families to Hollister without adequate resources and mechanisms in place to fund the creation of more schools for their children. Development impact fees are one of very few funding sources that are available to us to help fund facilities needed as a result of growth that the City and the County – not SBHSD – have approved and plan to approve in the future, and these fees provide only a tiny fraction of the amounts needed to build and upgrade schools. If you would like to read more about the challenges we are facing with school capacity and the pressures created by new and future development, we invite any member of the public to review our Facility Master Plan and SFNA available on our website.
Shawn Tennenbaum, Superintendent, San Benito High School District
John Corrigan, President, San Benito High School District Board of Trustees