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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Land Acquisition Practices of the Miami-Dade County School District, Report No. 01-26, May 2001
Full report in PDF format

With over 368,000 students and averaging 8,750 new students each year, the Miami-Dade County School District is facing substantial overcrowding and need for new school facilities to meet its growth. The district estimates that it needs over $1.6 billion in new facilities. The district has several policy options that could meet $1.5 to $1.8 billion in facility needs without raising taxes or obtaining additional state funding. In addition, there are a number of fiscal options that could raise $1.1 billion to $2.9 billion in local revenue to meet its facility needs without additional state funding.

However, the district may lack the public support it needs to obtain voter approval of its fiscal options or to implement some of its policy options. One way the district could obtain this support is to improve its land acquisition and facility planning processes and thereby strengthen the public’s confidence in its ability to make efficient use of resources.

  • The district has a generally effective process for identifying school facility needs, but it lacks a broad-based committee to establish the district’s highest priorities.
  • The district’s land acquisition office frequently has not acquired the land it needed because it often did not use the five-year construction plan to guide its acquisitions.
  • The district also has not established good land acquisition procedures to help it ensure that the prices it pays for land are reasonable. 
  • The district generally builds cost-effective schools, but could meet more of its facility needs through policy and fiscal options that reduce the need for new facilities and makes available more local resources to meet facility needs. 
  • The district and county government should conduct an independent review of Miami-Dade County’s education impact fee along with the district’s practices relating to its contributions in addition to those impact fees to ensure more equity and fairness.

    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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