Adding residents to an area often increases the number of children attending local schools. The current school system may accommodate a few new students easily, but adding a hundred or more could strain it. Many older municipalities may also be facing a need to upgrade or remodel their schools. Some local authorities do charge an impact fee for each new residence being built to cover the cost over time, but others negotiate with the developers. Building a new school as part of a large housing and commercial development project could be a winning situation for all parties involved.
Smaller towns may be facing increasing costs when it comes to maintaining their current public buildings. Older school buildings often do not fit the current needs of residents. They may not have enough classrooms, or they could be difficult to heat or cool with the seasons. Some of them might have closed off areas waiting for enough funds to rebuild. All of this can add up to less than ideal learning conditions.
It may seem ideal to choose an amount of money per house to add to the government coffers, yet charging impact fees is not always the best plan. Many of them require the local government to issue bonds that must be paid over time. The impact fees sufficient at the beginning of a project may not be enough to cover the needs of future residents.
One of the reasons it may be best to have the developer build a new school could be a cost consideration. While many local governments find their coffers relatively empty at the end of the year, they are often rich in land. A large part of building homes or commercial projects begins with the cost of the land, but smaller towns that own additional lots are often able to simply choose the one that works best. There is no cash outlay, so it might be easier to negotiate with developers to build a new school.