Kevin Hart 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 candidate Kevin Hart. Responses from candidates David Haubert and Kasie Hildenbrand 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?
Kevin Hart: “We already have the best schools in the East Bay. We have for a long time. The work I am most proud of is having spent 8 years on the Dublin School Board working with administrators, teachers, parents and students to create the school district we have today. I was part of a group of hard working parents that wanted more for our children. Dublin was for many years considered a lower performing school than Pleasanton or San Ramon because we were originally part of the Pleasanton School District for the high school and middle schools. The elementary schools were part of the Murray School District.
“We Rolled up our sleeves and worked collaboratively with the teachers and service workers unions, and made significant changes in structure, curriculum, salary, delivery, technology and facilities to improving the teaching and student learning environment. We are no longer in the shadows of Pleasanton and San Ramon because we addressed issues and set ourselves on a path of outstanding student performance. Just look at our API scores and our advanced placements courses.
“As Mayor, I will work closely with the school district and board members to find way to partner together for the betterment of all students. As your City Councilmember for the past 6 years, I have sat on the Liaison committee with the School district where we meet quarterly to discuss items of common interest. No other Mayor candidate has that one to one contact and involvement with the school district like I do.
“We will continue to find ways to finance items of common interest, such as the joint agreement we have with the district on the pool, tennis-courts, sidewalks in front of the high school, performing arts center, etc. We are currently in the process of discussing the partnership of a land swap for a park site, which would give the school district land to build a school. The problematic part of this issue is that the district has no money available to put towards a new school. Amador is currently under construction as most people know.”
- Expand and explore collaborative partnerships of mutual interest.
- Partnership together with state legislative leaders to have a construction bond on the next ballot.
- Work with district to ensure planned development in city stays ahead of student population increases and reduces over-crowding.
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?
Hart: “Over the past six years since I have been on the city council, we have decreased our number of housing units as originally planned from previously approved projects. This has significantly helped the school district. During this same time, the school district has increased their API score and increased their out of district student acceptance. Dublin is a well sought after school district for students and teachers alike. That is a benefit and a curse to those of us that have children attend Dublin schools. There must be a balance of housing and commercial building. One drives the other.
“As for eliminating commercial property into housing, I have publicly challenged the current council a number of times not to approve the elimination of commercial in light of housing. Two examples come to mind. First, I voiced significant concerns over adding 1200 additional housing units to the downtown area. Second, I have actively opposed eliminating 400,000 sq feet of commercial in favor of 400 housing units off of Hacienda. These will have a devastating impact to our schools. However, both are set to be approved by the majority of the city council.
“I will continue to fight against this ongoing conversation as your next Mayor. We must have planned, smart, slow growth and attempt to allow the school district to catch up. At this rate, the school district will never catch up and will always be chasing its tail.”
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?
Hart: “The city must continue our partnerships with the school district. The schools must continue to meet with city staff to discuss issues of common interest. We have done a good job in this area, but there is always room for improvement. This is mainly a school board question, but the city can do its part to attract and sustain good economic health for the city and the businesses. We must bring in new high paying employers to the city. We must have good fiscal health which attracts people looking to move to Dublin. The city should continue to partner with our schools to host grant programs and assistance to programs like DPIE, technology interventions, media, etc. Dublin is a thriving city today, partly because we have great amenities such as parks, recreations fields and of course schools.”
OneDublin.org: Not all students are college bound; what role can the City play in helping connect students to other career paths?
Hart: “There are school to work programs and city funding of programs which allows the district to spend money in other places. The school district has great counselors and great programs if the path is not college. The city is a significant employer of young Dublin students who work in our recreation programs which could lead to full time employment after school. The school district is also a partner is the ROP programs which give the student real life experiences and training in a professional field.”
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?
Hart: “Obliviously every student should receive a quality education and the city stands behind and supports the school district in this endeavor. We do have a diverse community and Dublin attracts people from all over the world because of our great schools and city. It’s about investing in our community and students alike. As your Mayor the city will continue to work with the district in obtaining grants, free or reduced breakfasts, early or fresh start and lunch programs. We have several recreation programs for which many of the participates are students or future students alike. We have a fee waiver for low income families. The city partners with the school district in just about every endeavor we can. As a former school board member, I have seen firsthand the difficulty the school district has with limited fiscal resources. The city stands shoulder to shoulder with our schools for the betterment of the entire community.”