Saturday, August 12, 2006

Charter Schools Must Pay Special Assessments

Despite that fact that they are publicly funded, established by statute, and otherwise must have open enrollement, the 5th DCA held that charter schools while are not public schools their exemption from Chapter 1013 means that they do not enjoy the statutory exemption from the payment of special assessments and other capacity fees that public schools enjoy, becuase it is provided in that chapter.

Seems like a silly piece of legislative oversight that could have dramatic impact on the fiscal viability of charter schools.

The case is Remington v. Education Foundation, here's the link to the opinion.


  1. As usual, there's more to the story. I'm counsel for the Appellant, which is a CDD that imposed special assessments. The charter school legislation specifically preserves certain exemptions for ad valorem taxes, impact fees and service availability fees, but does not carry forward the right to not pay special assessments it does not consent to. In this case, the charter school came into the CDD after adoption of the assessments and sought not to pay them while accepting their benefits. Even a public school would not be exempt under those facts. The 5th DCA ruled more narrowly, because the school/ special assessment legislation relates to public school districts and not charter schools.
    The decision probably stands more for the proposition that local government assessment programs, once in place and with bonds issued, should be supported.

  2. Probably does - also see the convoluted and repeated litigation between Gainesville and the DOT on this. The courts get all hung up as to whether stormwater fees for a stormwater utility are special assessments or "fees for service".

    Nonetheless - if a school built by the school district had been located there, no assessments would have been due - or at least not under the theory that was litigated. Instead we would have had the VERY interesting question of what happens when a use locates in an CDD (or other improvement area) with validated bonds based on special assessments -- does the legislation trump the assessment resolution and bond validation?