Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) trustees approved a resolution that would renew their ability to charge Level 2 school development fees. The passage of the resolution was necessary in order for DUSD to invoke Level 2 fees, which are about double the fees allowed by Level 1.
The unanimous 3-0 vote was taken at the board’s June 11 meeting in the nick of time, a day before the deadline.
The resolution became effective immediately after the vote. The public hearing was noticed in a newspaper ad in May. No one showed up to speak at the public hearing.
DUSD has the ability to increase its Level 1 fees. In 2016, the Measure H parcel tax was passed. It allows the district to move to Level 2 when its debt reaches more than 30% of its bonding capacity. Currently, the district has incurred debt at 84% of its bonding capacity.
The district’s consultant on development fees, Doug Floyd, said the current level is $3.79 per square foot of residential development. The residential growth impact on developer fees is reviewed annually. The consultant looks at the numbers of students over the last five years that were generated at each of the three school levels — elementary, middle school, and high school. The consultant also looks five years ahead at student generation projections.
The data points are poured into a formula designed to come up with a figure for Level 2, and another figure for Level 3.
Qualifying districts can charge Level 2 if the state is contributing up to 50% of local school construction costs. If the state declares that it cannot or will not contribute, then Level 3 can be invoked by the district. Level 3 fees are designed to collect 100% of the costs of construction from developers’ fees.
The Level 2 fees projected for the coming year are $8.55 per square foot. Level 3 will be $17.09.
Neither figure is realistic for Dublin, considering that land and construction costs are much higher than in most of the state, said trustee Megan Rouse.
“We know that it costs us $63,000 to $70,000 to house a single student. Those are Cottonwood Creek K-8 school numbers from two years ago. The state provides us with about 20% of the cost, claiming that’s the number, but it’s 20%, and then they give us one-half of that. This is a one-size-fits-all number. It does not fit us,” said Rouse.
The consultant also provided figures addressing the need for additional school facilities. Middle schools have a surplus of 122 seats, and elementary schools a deficit of 149 seats. The high school level shows the largest deficit, falling short by 591 places.
The district spent several years trying to find the right property for a high school on the East Side. It located one last year at Central Parkway and Dublin Boulevard, the 23-acre former Promenade site, and has been proceeding with that location.
Gabrielle “Gabi” Blackman took a seat on the dais next to trustee Dan Cherrier. Her election has not been certified yet by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, but she is allowed to join board discussions currently. She may not vote, make motions, or attend closed sessions. She also can attend board workshop discussions.