Skip to content
Advertisements

Contentious Dublin School Board Meeting Sets Funding and Size for Second High School

August 23, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–By the end of Tuesday’s bi-monthly Dublin Unified School District meeting, the final vote on the last motion was three to two. It was a result that left many residents and even two Trustees feeling unsatisfied. The key item on the agenda was a discussion and then decision of what portion of Measure H funds would be devoted to a second comprehensive high school in Dublin.

DSC_0003

The moment represented a continuation of the significant debate as to not only where to locate a new campus, but also how to pay for it. Unfortunately, it has also resembled a chicken or egg discussion. In late spring, the District hosted a public forum to display the merits of what was deemed to be a practical location at the site of Carl Zeiss Meditec. But the blow back was swift as most residents that spoke cited two flaws: a question of safety due to the proximity to Santa Rita Jail and a small parcel footprint that would virtually eliminate the ability to build a comprehensive high school.

As significant as the decision on where to locate, an equally vital issue is how to finance such a project. As we have stated previously, in 2014 the State of California elected to suspend financing support to many projects, including public school construction. This decision effectively ended the “three-legged stool” structure which included state financing, local bonds and housing developer fees. The urgency is impacting all schools in Dublin – through each grade level. Thirteen portable classrooms were installed at DHS over the summer. Additionally, the planned and approved Science & Engineering building should offer immediate benefits. However, by any enrollment projection a moment of critical mass will occur at some point.

So after dozens of residents made their public comments, it was then up to the trustees to make the final decision. On the net and over time, Measure H will represent approximately $261 million in funds. And the district maintains that these funds are to support construction and renovations for the entire district. Given that the bonds cannot all be sold at once, there seemed to be consensus that a project of this size would be treated as a phased approach. Many enrollment limits were tossed about. While a final cap of 2,500 students was determined, an initial enrollment goal needed to be agreed upon. Ultimately, a motion was offered the devote $100 million to the first phase of the project. An earlier motion established a capped goal of 1,000 initially enrolled students and that the final project would not represent a “satellite” or a non-conventional high school campus. Trustees Joe Giannini and Dan Cherrier had advocated for a more aggressive enrollment and /or a higher initial enrollment figure.

So now the district returns to the chicken or the egg. A Community Review Committee (CRC) will commence sessions in September to research potential sites and deliver recommendations for DUSD to consider. The hope is to gain greater clarity and certainty as the district moves into 2018.

Official press release from the Dublin Unified School District:

DSC_0006

At Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, the Board made several key decisions related to our district’s rapid student growth following an extensive staff presentation and public comment.

The Board voted on three important issues Tuesday night, all related to the construction of a future high school on the east side of our community:

  • The Board, in a 4-1 vote, affirmed their commitment to build a new high school, in a phased approach, with a final capacity of 2,500 students
  • In a 3-2 vote, the Board also affirmed that the future high school will not be a satellite campus, but a self-contained campus and that the first phase will be built for 1,000 students
  • The Board also voted by a 3-2 margin on a staff recommendation that set the initial amount of funding for a future high school at $100 million out of the Measure H Bond, with the remaining available funding from Measure H going toward modernization projects at Murray Elementary, Frederiksen Elementary, Fallon Middle School and Wells Middle School. These modernization projects will increase science classroom spaces as well as address the need for added capacity at these sites. A summary of the funding allocations voted on Tuesday can be found here

“The Board has been committed to a new high school in Dublin since it approved a plan in 2016,” said Board President Megan Rouse. “The approval of capacity, first phase implementation and funding now gives clear direction to our new community committee to begin their work analyzing land options in order to make a recommendation to the Board.” Superintendent Dr. Leslie Boozer said Tuesday night’s decisions address capacity needs across the District, with new students coming to Dublin at all grade levels.

“Our facilities needs are District-wide and the staff recommendation was to provide funding to aid our campuses in absorbing the influx of new students,” Dr. Boozer said. “I am confident that we will be able to deliver the first phase of an outstanding high school to our community with the funding that has been allocated through Measure H.” A site for a new high school has not yet been identified. A Community Review Committee (CRC) is being convened following input from community members about their engagement in this process. The 18-member CRC will meet for the first time during the week of September 4 in order to thoroughly examine options and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees. We expect the CRC to work for approximately 3-6 months to arrive at recommendations.

Members of the CRC are being selected by School Site Councils at each site. The CRC will also include two community-at-large members, representatives from DTA and CSEA, a member of the senior community, a DHS student and a member of the District’s leadership team. The committee will work under the direction of an outside project manager. We expect to have regular updates on the committee’s work at Board meetings.

 

Advertisements

Comments are closed.