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Dublin School District Publishes Answers to Questions Regarding Growth, Overcrowding

January 21, 2016
Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dr Stephen Hanke

Superintendent Dr. Hanke

DUBLIN, CA–Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke sent an email and FAQ to parents and community members Wednesday regarding rapid growth and overcrowding impacting multiple schools. Dr. Hanke also announced a “School Facilities Academy” to be held on Monday February 1 (6:30 – 8:30pm) in the Dublin High School Performing Arts and Education Center. As per the invitation, “a panel of experts in school construction financing, real estate and legal counsel will be providing relevant, current information on issues related to Dublin’s growth challenges and the impact on our schools.”

Below is the text of the email and FAQ that were issued earlier today. Have questions that were not answered by the District FAQ? Leave your questions as comments and we’ll forward to the District.

Dear Dublin Community,

We have been working very hard on the process of successfully dealing with the district’s challenges related to the rapid growth in our community.

In this process we have heard some consistent questions from our community. We have answered those questions in our White Paper format and posted them on our district website [editor’s note: for convenience, the full text is included below]. It is called “Five Community Questions”.

In addition, we will be posting a lengthy Q&A based on questions generated from our Community Forum on January 11 at Dublin High School. That Q&A will be posted by week’s end at the LPA Website.

As always, we welcome community questions and concerns. You may send those to communications@dublinusd.org. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner.

Best Regards,
Stephen Hanke
Stephen Hanke, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Five Community Questions White Paper

As we work to successfully manage challenges related to the rapid growth of our community, we know there are a number of issues of concern in our community. We have heard some frequently asked questions and would like to provide some answers here:

1. Are Dublin Schools overcrowded?

To make an official statement that the entire district is overcrowded is inaccurate. Although many of our schools in the east side of our community are full, and we have expanded capacity at sites with portables, we have available seats in our district at the middle and elementary schools west of Hacienda. We also have an empty school site on the west side of our community. The school board believes in neighborhood schools, and chose at this time not to change boundaries and/or divert many students to available seats. We recognize that we must add significant capacity to our district, preferably through neighborhood schools, in order to keep up with growth in our city. We continue to work through the Facilities Master Plan Committee and process to plan for those additions.

2. Has the district ever considered a second high school?

The district has never owned land for a second high school. Examination of historic documents over the last 15 years indicates the district was focusing its attention on acquiring land for and building a second middle school (Fallon Middle School). The best information available at the time showed there was sufficient capacity at Dublin High School to handle the high school needs in our district.

We understand the desire to know when and why this decision was made, but the bottom line is that today we must focus our attention and resources on high school options that meet our students’ future needs while being fiscally responsible.

3. Why aren’t we charging higher developer fees?

A review of surrounding school districts, including Fremont, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Castro Valley and Livermore all indicate that Dublin developer fees are in line with what is charged in those communities.

Fees assessed to developers are not set arbitrarily. They are determined based on legally established formulas, referred to as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The district is charging the maximum amount of developer fees allowed by law, which is currently Level 2.

We are moving ahead with a new School Facilities Needs Analysis (SFNA), and anticipate that the district’s Level 2 fees may  increase as a result.

We are also reaching out to the State Allocation Board (SAB), the state agency that approves the level of developer fees. We are requesting that the issue of developer fees be agendized at their next meeting. Our aim is to request that the SAB raise fees to Level 3, a decision that has heretofore not been made by that agency.

4. Is the district open to building a new high school now?

Absolutely. Updated demographic data shows the need for a second high school on the east side of our community, and we all agree that thoroughly exploring that option is of paramount importance. That is the process taking place in the Facilities Master Plan Committee.

We hear the strong voices advocating for a comprehensive high school on the east side. Facts may bear out that this is the best solution. We want to explore all possibilities and make a decision that is best for students, today and tomorrow.

Examining innovative solutions does not mean we are dismissing the possibility of a comprehensive campus. It simply means we do not want to miss the opportunity to be forward-thinking and look beyond the traditional model we all know. Our students are worth a deep examination of options that might further expand our programmatic offerings and enhance 21st-Century learning.

5. Is it true the district is hiring a new demographer?

Yes. Per the Superintendent’s recommendation and direction of the Board, the district has completed interviews for a new company to provide demographic services to the district. The contract for the new demographer will be brought to the January 26 Board meeting. Once approved, the successful company will begin work right away.

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3 Comments
  1. January 21, 2016 8:17 am

    While it may be factually correct, it is misleading to say the least…..here’s only one example.

    1. Are Dublin Schools overcrowded?
    To make an official statement that the entire district is overcrowded is inaccurate.
    No one in the community has EVER stated that the “entire district is overcrowded.” You continue to repeat this, and although factual, it really has no meaning in a constructive conversation.
    As you should be aware, Dublin Municipal Code section 9.36.060 “Conditions of overcrowding defined” clearly states that ““Conditions of overcrowding” means that the total enrollment of a school, including enrollment from proposed development, exceeds the capacity of such school as determined by the governing body of the district. (Ord. 1-91 § 1 (8-9.5))”
    The key term in this short section is “a school.” Nowhere does it make mention of the “district” or “entire district.”
    Further, if one were to continue reading the Dublin Municipal Code that it clearly states in section 9.36.130 “Findings for development approval” that “Within an attendance area where the City Council has concurred in a school district’s findings that conditions of overcrowding exist, no discretionary permit for residential use and no building permit for new residential construction shall be approved in the attendance area…”
    The key term here is “attendance area” “in a school district” and NOT the ENTIRE DISTRICT. Thus, the overcrowding does NOT have to occur in the entire district, but rather in a school, or in an attendance area, at least according to the Dublin Municipal Code.
    So while factually you are correct to state that there is room in the district, you fail the community by not following the actual Municipal Codes which were established to protect the children in the community from people who continue to exploit them.

    • Bill permalink
      January 22, 2016 7:57 am

      Maybe OneDublin can ask Dr. Hanke for a definition of overcrowding. With DHS population expected to increase 200 to 300 per year over the next 10 years, at any point is that “overcrowded” in the districts view? What is the Trustees view? I know a couple flat out reject a second high school, but I would like to hear their vision of how a 5000 student DHS is a good for the community.

      If you read his response, he seems to be saying the district can never be overcrowded because they can always use more portables, or shifts, etc

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