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Tassajara Prep – Reasons to Deny the Charter Petition

Tassajara Prep is a proposed charter high school for Dublin that is being petitioned by Livermore-based Tri-Valley Learning Corp. Charter schools are public schools that cannot charge tuition and are funded by diverting tax dollars from other schools or students from private schools. Charter schools can either be administered by a school district, the County or the State to deliver on a defined “charter”. Charter schools have traditionally provided an alternative to low performing and failing schools.

For parents and members of the community here are the key reasons to oppose the Tassajara Prep charter petition:

  1. Tassajara Prep will divert funding from the Dublin’s public schools putting programs at risk and making inefficient use of limited tax dollars. Education funding is largely driven by average daily attendance (ADA) – in simple terms, the number of students. Students attending Tassajara Prep would divert money not just away from Dublin High School, but the Dublin Unified School District in general potentially impacting programming at all levels. Each student diverted out of the Dublin Unified School District into a charter school represents approx. a $6,400 loss in funding for the District. California education funding is already under severe pressure from budget cuts. More information on education funding and budget impacts is available here.
  2. Dublin High School has capacity for at least a decade of growth. Dublin High School currently has approx. 1,600 students vs. an average enrollment exceeding 2,000 students in neighboring school districts (Pleasanton’s high schools average 2,400 students). The renewal and expansion of Dublin High School increased capacity to over 2,500 students. Increasing enrollment directly results in more programming choices for students, such as the recently announced new courses at Dublin High including Mandarin 1 & 2, AP Psychology, Introduction to Engineering Design and more. Adding a charter high school in Dublin would reduce choice.
  3. Tassajara Prep will likely take facilities from Dublin High School. Under voter-approved Prop. 39, the Dublin Unified School District is required to provide suitable facilities if requested by the charter school petitioners. If the Tassajara Prep charter is approved Tri-Valley Learning Corp. has already indicated they plan to seek facilities from the Dublin Unified School District. The only facility currently suitable to house a charter high school is Dublin High. Tassajara Prep’s leadership has promised an east-side location but has provide no credible plans to-date regarding school location.
  4. Tassajara Prep does not offer anything new. Dublin already has four high schools that serve a diverse set of needs: Dublin High SchoolValley Christian SchoolQuarry Lane School and Valley High School. Tassajara Prep has been positioned as a college preparatory high school. Dublin High School already provides a comprehensive college preparatory program including the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) programming, Regional Occupational Program (ROP), and a newly open Engineering and Design Academy.
  5. Tassajara Prep doesn’t have the support of the Dublin community. For a new high school to succeed it must have the support of the community. Tassajara Prep’s leadership team do not have children in the Dublin school district and have been unable to attract community support despite an extensive negative campaign attacking Dublin public schools and teachers. No parents signed the Tassajara Prep charter petition and no parents spoke in favor of the Tassajara Prep charter petition at either the District or County public hearings. Without community support, Tassajara Prep will likely fail requiring the Dublin Unified School District to pick-up the pieces.

The Tassajara Prep charter school initiative is being sold as a “private school for free” – choice without cost. Tassajara Prep, if approved, will reduce choice for Dublin students by creating two undersized public high schools that in all likelihood will inefficiently share the same campus (Dublin High) with redundant administrative staff and overhead. For community members without children, Tassajara Prep wastes tax dollars.

More detail and related articles on the Tassajara Prep charter high school petition and Tri-Valley Learning Corp.:

DHS Students Present a Petition with 500 Signatures to the County Board Members

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