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Charter High School Debate: Facts, Myths, TBDs

December 27, 2009

Below is a summary of facts, myths and TBDs regarding the Tassajara Prep charter high school debate. encourages parents to research and debate the issue – all Dublin students will be impacted by the outcome.


  • Tassajara Prep charter high school location is TBD.  At Day on the Glen a Dublin Learning Corp. stated the number one reason for the proposed charter high school as “location” (specifically an east-side location).  The location of the charter high school is TBD and will be for several years if the charter petition is successful.  According to Dublin Learning Corp., the charter high school will be housed in a temporary location for at least the first 3 years.   Charter schools can use Prop. 39 to gain access to district facilities.  The only vacant public school property at the time of this writing is site of  Nielson Elementary School (closed during school consolidation).  Other alternatives in theory could include co-locating at Dublin High or Fallon School (although a shared used facility was stated as undesirable during the Dublin Learning Corp. Town Hall meetings).  Vacant office building space could serve as a temporary location, if suitable for high school students.  Bill Batchelor, advisor to Dublin Learning Corp., reinforced at the Town Hall meetings that the final location likely won’t be known until 2012.  For parents interested in the charter high school mainly due to location, an east-side location cannot be guaranteed.


  • Charter high schools in California out perform district-run high schools.  Both charter-run high schools and district-run high schools have demonstrated success – looking at 2009 API data published by the California Department of Education, district-run high schools had an average API of 731 and charter-run high schools had an average API of 708.  Ultimately it isn’t “charter” in the name that makes a school good, it is the quality of the administration and the program offered.
  • Charter high schools cannot selectively accept students.  Parents at the Town Hall meetings have asked if a charter high school can operate like a private school by selectively accepting only the top students.  Charter high schools are public – and therefore cannot selectively accept (cherry pick) the best students.  A new charter high school will need to provide diverse programming for all student levels.  The need to cover all student levels could limit advanced options in a smaller school.
  • District-run schools have “legacy costs” for employee benefits that charter schools don’t have.  According to Rick Boster, Principal – Murray Elementary Schoool: “Districts do not have “legacy” costs for retired teachers. All active, non-retired teachers have 8% of their paycheck going towards their STRS retirement. The district pays the other 8% for active employees. This would be the same for a charter school. Once an employee retires, there are no ongoing costs to the district. All teachers are responsible for their own medical payments until they reach the Medicare age. They have to pay out of pocket for any care they receive. Most people think that educators have the same type of insurance that auto unions have, the fact is that they don’t have access to this type of insurance that produces ongoing costs.” (source: Around Dublin blog posting)


  • Dublin High prepares students for college95% of 2009 Dublin High graduates reported attending college, including every UC and CSU campus as well as private colleges across the country.  Dublin High’s API score rose 44 points to 842 in 2009.  Dublin High offers 21 Advanced Placement (AP), Advanced and Honors classes for students.  Dublin High Dublin High announced a third diploma option (Dublin High’s Advanced Scholars Diploma) to recognize Dublin High students that aspire to attend the nation’s premier colleges.  Dublin High Student Body President Ravali Reddy recently spoke about her experiences at Dublin High at a Dublin City Council meeting (Ms. Reddy has since been notified of early acceptance into M.I.T.).
  • 29% of charter schools in California have failed. highlighted this fact in a recent article to spotlight the challenges inherent in launching a new charter high school.  Dublin Learning Corp.’s founders have never launched or managed a school of any kind and are highly dependent on Livermore Charter School administrators.
  • Funding is tied to the number of enrolled high school students.  High schools are primarily funded by the number of enrolled high school students.  Increased enrollment increases funding, decreased enrollment decreases funding. outlined in a recent article the benefits of scale in offering academic, performing arts, athletic and extracurricular choice for students.  Many programs depend on a critical mass of students to exist.
  • Many charter high schools depend on donations to overcome funding gaps.  Dublin Learning Corp. has publicly stated that they will not be dependent on donations for basic operations.  This statement, however, is not consistent with the experience of charter high schools in California.  Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz is asking each parent to donate at least $3,000 per student per school year; Community Harvest Charter in Sherman Oaks is asking families to donate at least $1,000 per student per school year and Downtown College Prep in San Jose states on their website that they need to fundraise annually $1 million to be able to offer a full program (which is 1/3 of their annual budget). recommends parents budget for a donation of $1,000-$3,000 per student per year when considering the charter high school proposal.  Bullis Charter School (BCS) has the following statement on their website: “BCS depends on its entire parent community to make generous donations each year. To help cover the funding gap, we ask each family to donate towards the BCS Annual Campaign goal of $1,400,000. Our suggested donation for this year is $4,000 per student.”
  • is an independent, parent-run organization advocating for public education excellence. has publicly announced its goals for 2010.
  1. January 4, 2010 10:11 pm

    This is a great site to educate and rally the parents and students of Dublin.
    I especially liked learning about the percent of students going on to attend college. If you could get more stories from other students about where they’ll be attending college and how Dublin High prepared them, it would help other prospective parents of Dublin High Students, in selecting Dublin as a future home to educate their children at.

    Thanks for your efforts here.

    Sunil Sethi
    Sunil Sethi Real Estate

  2. Jennifer Brans permalink
    January 6, 2010 11:58 pm

    I’m extemely interested in helping to stop a charter high school from coming to Dublin. Our numbers do not support another high school and I believe this would significantly impact Dublin schools in a negative way. As a parent who researched all of this prior to buying a home deciding between the entire tri-valley area, and who became involved with Dublin schools when the elementary school that we purposely bought our first home 2 blocks away from was consolidated to a school that is within 500 ft of a major freeway, which does not comply with current law as a safe enough distance away from a freeway, I have to say it is very frustrating to read the information that we’ve been saying for years posted on this website. It’s very refreshing to hear one Dublin and not east and west as unfortunately that strategy of pitting east against west has been swung around for years by many different people depending on their current agenda. I would love to help continue to facilitate everyone working as one Dublin, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would support a charter HS with our numbers so small and even more odd when we’ve just directed so much money, building, the advance degree etc etc. So how can I help? What is the actual process for approval, who makes the decision? Thank you for your efforts and time and I will pass this on.

    • dublinranch permalink
      January 7, 2010 8:09 am

      The best way to help is to follow the steps in the “Take Action!” link at the top of our website. The charter petition needs to be approved by our local school board. If denied, an appeal process goes next to the County and ultimately the State boards of education. A charter petition is different from ballot measures – the local public does not get to vote on the proposal.


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