Dublin Villager

From the Superintendent's Desk

Community's input sought in tackling overcrowding issue

The enrollment challenges the Dublin City School District will face by 2016 will be discussed publicly many times during the coming weeks and months.

Our collaborative process of identifying solutions will be transparent and will involve multiple conversations with our parents and staff.

Student enrollment growth has taken place in the southern, northwestern and eastern portions of the district, while the center of the district has remained stable in terms of growth numbers.

By 2016, multiple elementary schools are projected to be over their capacities. Davis Middle School and Jerome High School are also both projected to exceed their capacities by 2016.

During a presentation to the Dublin Board of Education Jan. 27, the district's planning department shared some of the enrollment challenges we already face. This presentation has also been given to our Business Advisory Council and PTO presidents.

Whereas the Jerome Village housing development in the northwestern part of the district has not grown as fast as was initially anticipated, growth in the development has begun to speed up during the past year and about 100 new homes annually in the northwest portion of the district are predicted to be built during the next few years.

The northwest portion of the district is not the fastest growing area. The southern and eastern portions of the district are growing at a more rapid rate.

Fortunately, our planning department, consisting of Joe Riedel and Ralph Feasel, has done an outstanding job of keeping tabs on where the district is growing.

The geographical center of the district has remained relatively stable and some neighborhoods have begun to produce fewer students than they once did. Bailey and Deer Run elementary schools are projected to have fewer students enrolled in 2016 than they do today.

The district has begun discussing possible solutions to this overcrowding dilemma and we are interested in hearing the opinions of both our parent and non-parent stakeholders.

There are four basic options we have to address the future student overcrowding. The school board could decide one of these four offer the best solution, or any combination of these four options.

* Redraw attendance boundaries.

Attendance boundaries could be redrawn to better accommodate the growing portions of the district and lessen the overcrowding we will be experiencing in several buildings by 2016.

Attendance boundaries have not been redrawn since 2005, when the district was preparing for the opening of Glacier Ridge.

If growth rates persist, redrawing attendance boundaries alone would not solve the problem long term without additional space.

* Portable classrooms.

Portable classrooms could be added at some schools where there is enough space to do so. There is not enough space or infrastructure at Riverside for example, to add portable classrooms or an addition.

* Additions to existing schools.

Glacier Ridge Elementary School and Jerome High School were designed to be added on to, but both of these schools are in the northwest portion of the district, not the southeast portion where the most overcrowding is taking place. This option could be viable if some attendance boundaries are redrawn.

* Construction of elementary school No. 13. The community approved the funds to construct elementary 13 in 2008.

The building was scheduled to be constructed on donated land in the Jerome Village subdivision, but the housing development has not been built as quickly as was anticipated when the building was approved by voters.

Building the school in a different location on property already owned by the district is a possibility.

The bonds to build elementary 13 have not been issued and residents are not paying taxes for the building at this time.

If elementary 13 is constructed, it would require operating dollars currently not in the five-year financial forecast, and elementary attendance boundaries would have to be redrawn to accommodate the new school.

A recommendation to our board of education will likely be made over the next two months.

We are asking for your feedback as we move through the planning process during the coming weeks and months. To express your opinion, email it to: info@dublinschools. net.

We will keep you informed as we move through the process.

Dublin City School District Superintendent Todd Hoadley, Ph.D., submitted the From the Superintendent's Desk column.