The cost of new homes built in Central Unified School District is likely to go down slightly. The Central Unified board on Tuesday will vote on lowering developer fees that are collected to help pay for new schools.

If the board approves the change, Central’s fees would be $5.16 per square foot for Level 2 and $10.32 for Level 3. The district two years ago raised its fee on new home construction to $5.25 per square foot after providing a justification study.

After a more recent justification study the district was prepared to consider raising the fee even higher, to $5.58 per square foot, Joseph Martinez, the district’s director of facilities planning, said Friday.

Fee Decrease Proposed

But after discussions with developers, district officials decided against recommending the higher rate and instead are recommending the rate be lowered by nine cents per square foot. That would lower the cost of a 2,000-square-foot home by about $180.

Fresno Unified, Clovis Unified, and Golden Valley Unified in southern Madera County all have Level 1 fees of $3.79 per square foot.

In addition, Clovis has a Level 2 developer fee of $5.15 per square foot for residential construction that includes multi-family developments, while Sanger’s Level 2 developer fee is $5.46 per square foot. Sanger is charging the Level 2 fee for new homes, said Ryan Kilby, the district’s chief operations officer.

While developers are responsible for paying school construction fees, the costs are passed onto buyers.

Level 3 Fee Under Consideration

The resolution that the Central Unified board will consider would also create the Level 3 fee that could be initiated if the state no longer has funds for new school construction.

Central is citing several reasons for setting developer fees above the statutory rate of $3.79 per square foot. The district’s incurred debt for new schools, such as the new high school under construction at Ashlan and Grantland avenues, is more than 30% of its bonding capacity. In addition, almost 40% of Central’s classes are held in portable classrooms.

If approved by the board Tuesday, the new Level 2 fee will take effect immediately.

Disclosure: GV Wire publisher Darius Assemi is president and CEO of Granville Homes, which is an active builder in Central Unified.  

Correction: Based on information in Central Unified documents, the story originally reported that the district was considering increasing developer fees.


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