7030 Coffman Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
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Some redistricting necessary prior to 2016-17 school year
For more than a year, we have been engaged in a collaborative discussion with our community about our need for additional classroom space.
In 2008, our community approved bond funds for Elementary 13 on donated land within the Jerome Village subdivision. At approximately the same time, the global economy entered one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression and housing starts slowed to a crawl, greatly altering the time frame for when a new elementary school would be needed in Jerome Village.
The district was able to adapt to market conditions and did not issue the bonds for Elementary 13 which would've locked in its construction. The construction of Elementary 13 would have required about $1.9-million in annual operating costs and resulted in significant redistricting.
While the construction of Elementary 13 was on hold, our district began to feel the effects of growth in different geographical areas, other than the northwest quadrant where the next growth spurt was expected.
We have been adding students in the areas south and east of U.S. 33. These growth patterns necessitated a change in our thinking regarding where additional elementary classrooms are needed.
At the beginning of 2014, the district's planning department presented our enrollment growth challenges to our Board of Education. Throughout the winter and spring of 2014, district officials participated in an ongoing dialogue with our community regarding the best way to address the need for more space for students.
In June 2014, a survey of our parents indicated 92 percent of respondents favored the construction of classroom additions to existing elementary schools, rather than building Elementary 13.
Three public meetings took place in July 2014 where we discussed enrollment growth solution options with community members. The meetings revealed, once again, additions were the much preferred option to help address student housing needs for the next four years.
After this considerable public input, in September 2014, the board passed a resolution to construct 22 elementary classroom additions.
A study was then conducted to determine which buildings would be expanded and in February of this year we announced four classrooms will be added to Glacier Ridge, Scottish Corners, Chapman, Thomas, and Bailey elementary schools, and two classrooms will be added to Olde Sawmill Elementary School.
The additions at Thomas will be specifically to house preschool students. This plan requires the least amount of attendance boundary changes and will not increase transportation costs.
Throughout this community conversation, we have consistently stated the construction of the classroom additions will require some K-8 redistricting, but not as much redistricting as would have been necessary if Elementary 13 were constructed.
We anticipate about 5 percent of our K-8 families will be impacted by the attendance boundary changes we must make in order to best utilize our new spaces.
All of us at Dublin City Schools are aware this can be an emotional issue for parents and we intend to conduct a transparent and thorough process beginning this fall.
While long time residents of the district might remember frequent redistricting during high growth periods in the 1990s, we have not done any significant redistricting since 2005, when attendance maps were redrawn in anticipation of Glacier Ridge opening in the fall of 2006.
Our district has changed dramatically since the fall of 2006 and has grown by more than 2,000 students. Since 2006, we have already added on to Karrer and Davis middle schools and Wright, Thomas and Wyandot elementary schools. This summer we are installing eight portable classrooms at Dublin Jerome High School.
The outcome of the process will likely not make every single parent happy, but please be assured we will make decisions in the best interests of students and in the best interests of our district as a whole.
We have an obligation to our taxpayers (including the 65-70 percent of them who do not have students attending our schools at any given time) to use our existing classroom space to its fullest potential, and this requires some K-8 redistricting.
Our process will begin in the September-October time frame and decisions will be made and announced prior to winter break in order to provide our families plenty of time to adjust prior to the 2016-17 school year.
Once we have completed the boundary map changes, we will turn our focus to our long-term plans. We will be developing a 10-15 year construction plan during the next 12-18 months.
A portion of those plans will involve millage rolling off the district's debt service beginning in 2018.
An estimated 5.08-mills will roll off the books between 2018-2021. Like a mortgage on a house, older debt from previous bond issues will be paid off during those years.
This would allow the district to look at funding the construction of Elementary 13 with no additional millage when it is needed in the future.
Please continue to watch this column, our website, our social media outlets, and our video communications about this topic as we move closer to the fall.
Todd F. Hoadley, Ph.D.
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7030 Coffman Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
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