Dubliners for Change
1st/3rd Tuesday Every Month
100 Civic Plaza
7471 Larkdale Dublin
Our response to Dublin Unified School District's White Paper "Answering the Community's Questions on Growth"
While The White Paper's Answer to 5 Questions may be factually correct, it is misleading to say the least and proves that questions must be answered in order for this community to gain back trust and move forward in a productive manner.
1. Are Dublin Schools overcrowded?
DUSD Answer: "To make an official statement that the entire district is overcrowded is inaccurate."
Our response: 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 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 exploit them.
2. Has the district ever considered a second high school?
DUSD Answer: "The district has never owned land for a second high school."
Our response: Again, factually correct, but misleading in that the original Dublin Master Plan called for a second high school in the East. However, the land for this high school was never purchased by the district, so it was never “owned by the district.” The land, instead, was allowed to be developed by the developer and additional homes were built where the high school should have been built. This was all done by the school board, which at the time included the current Mayor, Dave Haubert and Councilman Kevin Hart, who were also instrumental in allowing the developer at Jordan Ranch to build additional homes on the site where the new elementary school was to be built. It would also be factually correct to say that “the district never owned the land for the Jordan Ranch school” which also interestingly was given back to the developer.
DUSD Statement: "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."
Response: This is an interesting statement as it continues the idea of “let’s not talk about the past but rather look to the future” which is convenient as it seems that most of the people that got us to this situation are still in office in one form or another. Looking back to understand how we got here would clearly be inconvenient and uncomfortable for many people, some of whom are still holding elected office, and have aspirations for higher offices in some cases.
It is also interesting that you mention fiscal responsibility given the fact you are asking the community to pass yet another bond to expand high school capacity when the same people just spent some $180 million to expand the high school to 2,500. The work is not yet completed at the high school, and already the “expanded” high school does not meet the needs of the community.
In essence, you are asking the community to forget all the previous fiscal irresponsibility and give all the same people that got us into this current situation even more money and not ask questions. Let’s just make that clear to the public.
3. Why aren’t we charging higher developer fees?
DUSD Answer: "The district is charging the maximum amount of developer fees allowed by law, which is currently Level 2."
Response: Again, factually correct. The district is charging the “maximum amount of developer fees allowed by law, which is currently Level 2.”
What many in the community are wondering is not “why the district is not charging anything above Level 2 fees,” but rather they question if the Level 2 fee charged by the district is appropriate. Construction costs have increased by 32% and the demographic estimates have gone up significantly. Both of these factors would drive level 2 fees for Dublin more than 100% above what DUSD currently charges. While it is nice to know that the Level 2 fees that the district charges are in line with other cities in the area, you fail to mention our particular circumstances which may NOT be in line with other cities. You have made great pains to remind everyone what extraordinary circumstances we have here in Dublin. How Dublin is “one of the fastest growing cities in California.” Yet, you then turn around and say we are just the same as everyone else. Somehow that does not seem correct.
In sum, yes, the minimum that a developer should pay are Level 2 fees. What those fees should be is really what the public is wondering. The lack of transparency and the “its complicated” argument does not sit well with an educated population, many of whom understand that this is NOT some complicated formula, but a simple math problem that any fifth grader could figure out once given real numbers to work with.
4. Is the district open to building a new high school now?
DUSD Answer: "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."
Response: This may be a bit of a stretch as many on the FMPC feel that the district and the consultant are trying to lead the discussions away from a comprehensive high school in the east. This can be seen by the recent meeting at the high school where it was implied that the FMPC, after months of deliberation, had arrived at the proposal presented at the meeting. Of course, many now understand that was NOT the case. If this statement is correct, where are the slides to show the various ways that this may become a possible way forward? Please share that with the community, as no one seems to have heard or seen anything to support this statement, including those on the FMPC.
5. Is it true the district is hiring a new demographer?
DUSD Answer: "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."
Response: After years of defending the demographer, even you could not cover for him any longer. The fact that DUSD retained him all of these years and based your decisions on his findings while the community begged you to get a second opinion clearly shows error on the district's part. If for no other reason than the fact that our Superintendent and school board supported this demographer for so many years, you should step down. It is clear that the community cannot be allowed to entrust the current decision makers with any further funds in the form of a general obligation bond going forward.
Dubliners for Change is a diverse group of resident volunteers working together to ensure that our city is governed in an ethical, constituent-driven manner. We are dedicated to the preservation of open space and the environment, quality education free from school overcrowding, sufficient infrastructure to support our city, and the development of a premier pedestrian friendly downtown.
2nd/4th Tuesday Every Month
100 Civic Plaza Dublin