Eubank ready for a new role

Published: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 12:22 a.m.

A new law that some said would be too cumbersome to handle has been readily accepted by one Alachua County School Board member.

Under a rule that requires municipalities and school boards to improve coordination on the impact of growth on schools, board member Wes Eubank attended his first Alachua County Planning Commission recently.

"We're doing what's required of us but we're ready to do it," said Eubank, who was elected last fall as one of three new School Board members.

"All board members have been appointed to serve on the local planning boards."

As part of the requirement of the law, a representative from the School Board must weigh in on issues of comprehensive plan amendments, rezonings and development proposals that may affect residential density and student enrollment.

The law is supposed to help determine more accurately the numbers of students expected to enroll in schools so county and school officials will better know which schools will be the most impacted.

On Tuesday, the School Board will ask the Department of Community Affairs for a $10,000 grant to provide technical assistance with the law, which was passed last year by the Florida Legislature.

"We have to develop an agreement that we will all approve," said Keith Birkett, deputy superintendent for planning and budgeting for Alachua County schools. "Some districts have hired people to come in and assist them to write the agreements, but we probably won't do that because the county has a pretty good handle on what it wants to do."

According to a sample agreement created by the Department of Education, the School Board would have to submit its district facilities plans to the planning agencies each year and the counties and cities would have to submit a report on growth and development trends within their jurisdictions to the School Board.

According to Birkett, a committee is working with the county to develop an agreement establishing how the process works, how populations will be predicted and how to solve issues related to population density. The agreements must be delivered to the Department of Education by next year.

In addition to the one made with Alachua County, agreements must be approved with city planning agencies in Gainesville, Archer, Alachua, High Springs, Hawthorne, Micanopy and Waldo.

Cathi Carr can be reached at 374-5086 or carrc@gvillesun. com.

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