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Please Tell Superintendent Hanke that Building More Houses is Not a Solution to School Overcrowding
Dublin Schools make our community great, but our schools are overcrowded and we need relief for our children. Depending on the day of the week, the School District, the Superintendent, the Developers and the City Council have been blamed. Recently, a proposal has been pushed with the hope of alleviating this problem at the elementary and middle school level.
Unfortunately, the information regarding this proposal has been anything but transparent. Fear versus data or analysis has led many to believe this deal makes sense. The deal is this: The School District has an option to buy a school site but doesn’t have the resources to buy it at stated market price from the developer. The City has offered to give up an undeveloped community park site to the School District to allow them to build a school on that site. The City has also been asked to grant the developer vested rights to build more homes (rights that they currently don’t have) on the original school site. This is a financial windfall for the developer who gains new rights to build more homes for little in exchange (they will profit immensely).
How many homes? 150 homes. As part of this deal, these 150 homes will be built now and will further worsen the overcrowding in our schools. To be clear the developer fees that would be paid under the terms of the proposed deal are nowhere near enough to cover the incremental costs of additional students. Think about that for a second. The basic reason our schools are overcrowded is more and more students are coming. How do we solve that problem by building more houses, especially houses the Developer has no vested right to build? Recently this issue has received media coverage including on the local new stations. Given that emotion, why is our Superintendent rallying for the deal and supporting these homes being built? The argument is that incremental short term benefits justify the long term additional overcrowding. As a council member and future parent, this is incredibly frustrating. The logic is let’s just dig the hole deeper. To be clear, we are getting next to nothing from the developer.
Over the last 25 years of developing East Dublin, the School District has given up the rights to acquire parcel after parcel of land. It's the reason, East Dublin lost its high school site. Yes, the East Dublin Plan called for a high school. That land was given up with deals the Superintendent made with Developers. There are other pieces of land that were also lost, including two middles schools in the east. In public meetings, I have repeatedly asked for information about these deals, but the Superintendent remains silent simply chocking these actions up to decisions before his time.
Short-sighted decisions have been made over the past two decades for immediate benefit. Many of these were bad deals. We are now feeling the effect of many of those decisions. Sound familiar? This time, the City Council is being asked to join with the Superintendent in making one of those bad decisions.
The Superintendent believes this deal makes sense. Please don’t be fooled. If this deal comes to pass, it is our kids who will face the consequences while we all deal with more houses. We need a superintendent who does not think that we can build our way out of problems. The challenges Dublin faces are unique, but more of the same won’t solve it. I strongly oppose this deal-- it is shortsighted and only worsens the school overcrowding crisis. I believe the District should not be advocating for even more new home construction especially when the City and District get almost nothing from the Developer.
Please voice your opposition against this deal which will be voted on by the City Council this Tuesday, October 6th at 7 PM at City Hall.
Abe Gupta Vice- Mayor City of Dublin
Vice Mayor Abe Gupta's Open Letter to Community