DUBLIN -- The public school system will add up to 18 portable classrooms at three elementary schools to keep up with growth.
Six portable classrooms will be leased for the Green Elementary School site and six for the Kolb campus in time for the next school year starting in August, the Dublin school board decided last month. Those 12 new classrooms could cost up to $2.7 million, school officials estimated.
Another six classrooms may be added at Dougherty Elementary School by fall of 2014 if student population continues as projected, officials said. That could cost another $1.35 million. School officials said they need the portable classrooms because home-building is exceeding the school district's classroom capacity.
"The kids are coming," said Stephen Hanke, superintendent of the Dublin Unified School District. "We have to plan for it."
Some parents were critical of the plan in a school board meeting last month and said the district should have taken earlier action to avert the need for the temporary classrooms. The parents asserted that the portable classrooms are ugly, undermine the learning environment and that the extra students in the new classrooms will aggravate traffic and safety problems with so many students arriving at and leaving schools.
In response to parents' concerns, the school district is creating a committee of parents and school officials at Kolb and Green schools to discuss ways to ease traffic and safety concerns. The most pressing need for space is at the Green and Kolb campuses, school administrators said.
The school district will monitor population growth at Dougherty Elementary School to decide if portables are needed there as well, school administrators told the school board. The temporary classrooms will be in place until the $45 million new J.M. Amador Elementary School is built and ready to open in the fall of 2015. After that, the portables will be removed.
The school district also has long-term plans for building another school, but funding for that new campus remains in limbo until a state bond measure is proposed and passed by California voters to provide more state funds for new schools, Dublin officials said.
New schools are typically paid for through a combination of state assistance and development fees collected in a school district. The state fund for building new local schools has little money left but many requests for financing.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.