The process for gaining approval to construct a new school is multi-phased. The process begins by projecting the number of students expected over the next five years. These projections are created by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and are known as Capital Outlay Full-Time Equivalent (COFTE). These projections are based on the number of students that are expected to need a physical seat in the District. Virtual students, home school students and hospital/homebound students are not included. The District is required to use these COFTE projections for planning and to demonstrate the need for additional facilities
If the projections show that more seats will be needed for the upcoming five years, the District must submit an Educational Plant Survey (EPS) to the DOE. The survey must demonstrate that additional seats are needed and that existing seats are being used to the maximum extent possible. The District must also show that they expect to have revenue for the needed seats in the next five years. This EPS must first be approved by the School Board and then by the DOE.
Following approval of an EPS, the District must again request approval for new construction in a Five Year District Facilities Work Plan. The Work Plan must again demonstrate both a need for additional student seats and a funding plan. The Work Plan must first be approved by the School Board and then submitted to DOE for review.
The process to approve a new school through both an EPS and a Work Plan can take 8 – 12 months. Once a new school is approved through both an EPS and a Work Plan, the District may proceed with site selection, architectural design and selection of a contractor through a bidding process.