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Kasie Hildenbrand for City of Dublin Mayor Answers 5 Questions on Education Issues

The City of Dublin will elect a new mayor this November. To help Dublin voters make an informed decision, OneDublin.org asked candidates the same five questions. Below is the unedited response received from candidateKasie Hildenbrand. Responses from candidates Kevin Hart and David Haubert are available here.

OneDublin.org: Given the importance of schools to attracting and retaining families, what will be your top three priorities as Mayor to ensure we have the best schools in the East Bay?

City of Dublin Candidate for Mayor Kasie HildenbrandKasie Hildenbrand: “In order to a ensure we can continue to attract and retain families in Dublin my top three initiatives will continue from where I left off after serving eight years, from 2004-2012, on the Dublin City Council. First and foremost, a vibrant community and school district is one that welcomes and embraces residents of all socio-economic backgrounds. In order to provide diversity, we must make homes available and continue to build world class parks and public facilities for those who wish to live here. By offering first time homebuyers programs, a variety of housing opportunities, dynamic parks and open space we will continue to attract families to Dublin who have in the past, present and future made our schools strong and successful.

“My second initiative would be to grow the relationship between the City Council and School Board in order to allow for better collaboration and understanding of one another’s goals and objectives. During my tenure on Council we began joint public sessions with the School Board, even going so far as having a meeting regarding the vision of the community and its priorities for schools and the city. This was the first time ever the two agencies came together to share goals and objectives, to collaborate and better understand each other’s future plans and immediate needs. It is now a standing meeting between the Council and Board and I would like to take it one step further to find joint goals and objectives to meet the needs of all our residents whether preschool or retired.

“Lastly, after having worked in the Dublin Unified School District for six years, I know and understand the needs of the children across our community. I have worked in schools in the east and west and what I came to learn is that we as a whole city must find means to support all students of different socio-economic backgrounds. I would propose setting up endowments for the district by partnering with our local businesses, colleges, Camp Parks. My vision for these endowments would vary from local internships, apprenticeships and one on one mentoring.”

OneDublin.org: There are significant concerns in the community about school overcrowding and the conversion of commercial property into housing. What will you do to help address this problem?

Hildenbrand: “Overcrowding at the schools has been an issue I have personally dealt with since my daughter started at Dougherty Elementary in kindergarten. At the time it was the only school past Dougherty Blvd and much discussion was being had regarding portables or diversion to Nielson Elementary. With that said, I believe in the overall plan for the build out of Dublin. I am committed to seeing it through. However, over the last 20 years past councils, which I have been a part of, have learned multiple lessons and have responded by making changes to land not yet entitled to the developer.

“As a Council we also learned, traditional demographics do not apply to Dublin. This is an attractive city to raise and educate children. It is also a city with high housing costs. Because of this, families moving to Dublin make different choices in their housing than in a ‘typical’ suburban community. Families of four or more are willing to live in more dense projects, such as townhomes, in order to provide their children with all that Dublin has to offer. Until the traditional or accepted method of calculating growth is changed, Dublin schools will continue to be challenged with the city’s growth. As Mayor and a Dublin High parent I commit to working with the school district to plan for the growth and develop plans to more quickly build schools to accommodate our schoolchildren.”

OneDublin.org: Students are under tremendous pressure due to global competition, the cost of education and the challenge of being accepted into college. What role should the City play in supporting students?

Hildenbrand: “The Federal government and states such as California decided to implement Common Core curriculum because students across the USA continue to fall behind other countries in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) achievement. High STEM achievement is an indicator of a highly-skilled workforce, and there is wide-spread belief that Common Core will address that need and move our education structure and delivery from the 19th century to the 21st century and beyond.

“The City of Dublin can fund and train for STEM across Alameda County by tapping other government agencies, public and private sources, with emphasis on student internships, technological support and infrastructure, STEM competitions and university mentorships and collaboration. With UC Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore Lab, Sandia Lab, and many other STEM-related global leaders within Alameda County, I embrace the vision to secure funding and develop networking for K-14, ROP and community college education with STEM providers around the Bay Area. This will allow our school district the opportunity to provide the very best training and opportunities in the state and nation. Innovation Tri Valley is a perfect place to link this with and the City of Dublin has long been a supporter of Innovation Tri Valley. Facilitating these connections and partnering with the school district will provide our students with a global advantage many cities in California could only dream of.”

OneDublin.org: Not all students are college bound; what role can the City play in helping connect students to other career paths?

Hildenbrand: “For many of our graduates, college is their next journey; however, for some, they prefer to seek out other opportunities. I believe the city can help by partnering with the school district, local technology schools, schools of cosmetology/massage, culinary institutes, trade union apprenticeships and military chapters to inform, educate and provide options for our youth. I would propose a yearly job fair for our students in grades 11-12 and would work with these institutions to provide high school internships so that our youth can gain skills to be successful outside of high school. Choosing a trade is noble and those who work in them make our city stronger. We must help provide opportunities for all.”

OneDublin.org: One of Dublin’s strengths is the ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our community; what role should the City play in ensuring all families have an equal opportunity to a quality education?

Hildenbrand: “The socio-economic diversity of Dublin is one of our greatest strengths. As a parent of a high school student I feel incredibly blessed knowing my daughter has known such welcomed diversity. In order to ensure we continue to embrace our socio-economic diversity we as a city must continue to provide housing opportunities and job growth to those who choose to live here. By working collaboratively with the school district the city can help the school district plan for changes from our growth. This will in turn, better prepare the schools for future diversity to ensure ALL students are successful in Dublin.

“In closing, having been raised by a single parent and personally knowing the challenges associated with that, I truly believe as a city we must make homes and apartments available to all income levels. We must be environmental stewards of our city in order to adapt to the ever changing world around us. We must provide world class parks and community facilities for all residents to experience. We must make available public portals for increased community engagement and collaboration with all agencies that serve Dublin. With these in place Dublin will continue to be one of California’s most desirable communities. After all we are an All America City. We won that title because we demonstrated our commitment to housing, schools, preserving our past yet planning for the future and for our collaboration of residents, service groups, and the school district to build a strong and vibrant Dublin.”

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