DUBLIN — The Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) Board of Trustees provided direction for the distribution of $651 million to top priority projects throughout the district.
The amount included $385 million for phases one and two of Emerald High School; $58 million for Murray Elementary construction and updates; and $33 million for Dublin Elementary School (DES) modernization. The board voted 3-2 on the plan, titled 3A, with trustees Dan Cherrier and Gabi Blackman offering the ‘nay’ votes.
Plan 3A was one of six options presented to the board for consideration by staff. Cherrier said he preferred option 1A because it offered more funding for Cottonwood Creek K-8 School.
“I made a motion for 1A and Trustee Blackman made an amendment to that, and that got voted down,” said Cherrier. “1A is a better alternative. The biggest problem the Cottonwood Creek parents have been talking about for a long time is the lack of elective choices for their middle school program. There are almost no foreign language options, and it’s due to the small size of the school.”
Cherrier said he believes the future K-8 school in The Boulevard development will be in a similar situation; he felt 1A was the only way to alleviate overcrowding. Blackman did not respond to requests for comment.
Both options gave DES $33 million for its projects.
Despite the promise of funds to make vital repairs at DES, some of the school’s parents expressed a lack of confidence about how the money will be spent. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the parents held a rally asking the board to secure funding for DES and begin work quickly.
“Even though the money is earmarked, it doesn’t mean it will get there,” said Christina Mordoff, whose son attends DES. “The money was awarded, so that was the goal and that was good. But $33 million really isn’t enough. It won’t make the school modern — it will just fix what is broken.”
DES parent Erfan Gunawan expressed frustration that Emerald High School has received significant funding while older elementary schools have been left to crumble. He highlighted an incident where a ceiling tile fell to the ground in an occupied classroom.
“My kids will go (to the high school) eventually, and I will reap the benefits, but what doesn’t make sense to me is the high school will have all the bells and whistles, while the elementary schools, Dublin Elementary and Murray Elementary, have urgent needs,” Gunawan said. “But we keep getting brushed off by the board of trustees.”
Cherrier said he believes those concerns are unfounded.
“(Dublin Elementary) will get their full $33 million just like Murray got their $55 million,” he said. “The next step would be to hire an architect and so forth, and then all the plans would have to be approved by the state, but I would imagine work would start within a year or two.”
Work at Murray Elementary School has been ongoing, and phase 2 of construction is being designed. Cherrier said any perceived issues with Murray are just part of the challenges of building a school while students are still attending it.
During the meeting, the board also voted 3-2 to end discussions about moving sixth grade to elementary school, with trustees Cherrier and Blackman offering the ‘nay’ votes. The vote came after a presentation stating 60% of polled community members were against the move.
“If we did this, we would have to expand capacity in our elementary schools, but our elementary schools are full,” said district spokesman Chip Dehnert. “We are also going to have to offer developmental kindergarten for every 4-year-old who wants it. Currently, we only have to offer it to kids in a four-month window. So, in theory, you would be opening up a grade at the bottom and the top, and our schools aren’t built for that.”
For more information, board minutes and agendas, visit https://www.dublin.k12.ca.us/.