In 2022, Dublin City Schools administrators said they would focused on a number of initiatives, including academic curriculum and building improvements, designed to enhance the quality of the district.
“We hope to start moving dirt in January,” after the district finalizes building permits, said Jeff Stark, chief operating officer for Dublin City Schools.
The 12 classrooms will be constructed adjacent to, but not attached to, eight modular buildings at Jerome.
The budget for the project is $1.5 million, Stark said.
The classrooms will open in August for the start of the 2022-23 school year.
“It’s a project with a lot of moving pieces to get it done in this short of a timeframe,” Stark said.
A permanent addition to Jerome also in the works.
“At the same time, we are working on the (permanent) Jerome High School addition (because) we committed that the modular classrooms would be there only for one year,” Stark said.
Construction of the approximately 60,000-square-foot addition is expected to begin in 2022 and open to students in August 2023 for the start of the 2023-24 school year, Stark said.
“It’s a hefty addition (and) will increase the (overall) size (of Jerome) by a quarter,” he said.
The cost of the addition is estimated at $27 million to $30 million, Stark said.
It is funded as part of a $195 million bond issue that Dublin voters approved in November 2018 with a 5.9-mill operating levy and 2-mill permanent-improvements levy, said Doug Baker, a district spokesman.
The district also will improve Dublin Coffman High School in 2022.
Using revenue from the same bond, the district will spend about $15 million on restoring the “building envelope” of Coffman, including repairing or replacing bricks and windows and other exterior improvements, Stark said.
In early 2022, Dublin also will complete the process began two years ago of installing keycard entries on the exterior doors of every building in the district as well as programmable alarms on interior doors, Stark said.
On the academic side, the district expects to implement a new policy that standardizes how districts screen students for dyslexia and establishes an intervention process.
The policy is spelled out in Ohio’s House Bill 436, said Chris Ondrus, executive director of student services for Dublin City Schools. It was signed into law last January by Gov. Mike DeWine.
The district also is preparing to accept a number of refugee students from Afghanistan who will be a part of its English as a second language program.
“We don’t know how many or when, but we are preparing for it,” Ondrus said.
Tonya Bailey, the district’s new executive director of teaching and learning, said her goals in 2022 include monthly meetings with building principals in the district for curriculum reviews as well as check-ups on policies for the mental and emotional health of students.
The district will continue its effort to maintain the mental and physical health of students through a policy of “warm hand-offs” to counselors or intervention specialists as classroom teachers become aware of such a need, Ondrus said.
Concerning the financial operations of the district, treasurer Brian Kern said Dublin City Schools will receive a modest increase in state funding: about $367,000 in the first year of Ohio’s biennial budget and about $160,000 in the second year.
Dublin receives a total of about $20 million each year in state funding, and it represents about 20% of the district’s general-fund budget, he said.
“From a Dublin perspective, it’s business as usual at the state level,” he said. “We get left behind because they see as wealthy … which has always been a part of the distribution method. It hasn’t been helpful to us.”
Although Dublin is fortunate to have residents with higher-than-average income levels, the district receives far less than the statewide average on returns for every dollar invested, as that revenue is directed to other districts, Kern said.
“We will continue to advocate,” he said. “It is always a struggle for big suburban districts.”
Working alongside Kern and a team of administrators in 2022, many of whom are new, will be Superintendent John Marschhausen, who began his tenure in May.
Marschhausen said he looks forward to working with his team and especially the school board and its new members.
“We will welcome, in January, three new board members,” Marschhausen said. “It’s been a decade or so since we’ve had new board members. To have three at one time is exciting, and we will work with those newly elected (members). It provides opportunity to look at how we have done things in the past and how do we want to pave the way moving forward.”
In November, incumbents Lynn May and Rick Weiniger lost their reelection bids, and board member Stu Harris did not seek reelection.
The newly elected board members are Tiffany deSilva, Lindsay Gillis and Diana Rigby.
Marschhausen said one of his goals in 2022 is addressing different ideologies while returning to a focus on academics.
“We have been pulled off focus when it comes to being intentional about our academic instruction and student performance and have found ourselves in lots of heated debates about things that are not our core function,” he said. “With a new board, there is an opportunity to return that purposeful focus to what we really should be doing.”