Dublin Villager

'Best' option to address crowding coming into focus

By

Dublin City Schools could repurpose a $14.5 million bond issue approved by voters in 2008 to deal with enrollment issues in the district.

Over the past few months, the district has been looking into how to deal with elementary schools that are nearing or over capacity.

Last month Dublin Board of Education members were presented with three options for dealing with enrollment issues: shifting students from Riverside Elementary School to Indian Run Elementary School and moving some Indian Run students to Bailey Elementary School; building a 13th elementary school on Bright Road to help elementary schools in the area that are over capacity; or adding classrooms and space onto five or six elementary schools.

Two of the solutions could be funded through the 2008 bond issue that was approved to construct a 13th elementary school in Jerome Village. Construction of that school has been delayed, however, after the economy tanked in 2008 and the development slowed.

District staff members previously said they thought they would have to get voter approval to use the 2008 bond funds to add on to schools around the district, but Superintendent Todd Hoadley told board members this week legal counsel said the district is in the clear to use the money on additions without a vote.

"We found out the way (bond) wording was in 2008, we actually have a lot of flexibility," Hoadley said.

Adding onto Chapman, Glacier Ridge, Riverside, Pinney and Scottish Corners elementary schools would be faster than building another elementary school and it would also save in operating costs, Hoadley said.

"Plan three is much less per year in operating expenses," Hoadley said. "With the authority to do that it changes the discussion a bit."

"Many staff are already built into the 5-year budget right now," Treasurer Stephen Osborne said, adding that building additions to elementary schools would not tax the budget too much.

The additions to elementary schools would cost anywhere from $8 to $10 million, leaving some money to deal with capacity issues at Jerome High School, Hoadley said.

"We have a growing need growing every day with new enrollments at Jerome," he said.

Although repurposing the 2008 bond issue for additions seems to be the most attractive option for the district, Hoadley said he does not want to move forward without the community's OK.

"We need to make sure we have the understanding and blessing of the community," he said.

"I talked to a few parents over the weekend and I think we would be hard pressed to find someone against it," board member Stu Harris said. "It's the least disruptive plan."

Hoadley said he plans to get community feedback starting next month.

"I'd like to do an email survey within the next two weeks," he said.

"Summertime is not conducive to community forums, but I'd like to have one or two by the time school is in session and a little side group of community members for recommendations."

Comments