The Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Chris Hobbs as the assistant superintendent of business services at a board meeting earlier this month.
Hobbs, who had served in the role on an interim basis since September, said he and district leaders have worked diligently to improve financial practices over that time, even with increased funding difficulties.
"This past year, even during the pandemic, as a leadership team we began learning about a budgeting methodology called 'priority-based budgeting.' It focuses on identifying the programs and services that the district offers, scoring those against our vision and goals, and assigning real costs to each," Hobbs said.
"As an interim assistant superintendent, and in the midst of the pandemic, I opted not to fully implement that program this year. This next school year, as we budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, we will be using priority-based budgeting to develop our budget. I'm really excited about that," he added.
Hobbs joined DUSD in 2018 as the director of fiscal services, working closely with the department of business services ever since. He was promoted to interim assistant superintendent of business services in September 2020 after the retirement of previous assistant superintendent of business services Joe Sorrera.
Having more than 24 years of experience in the education field, Hobbs previously served as the director of technology services in other school districts, including Pleasanton Unified. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University, chief business official certification from California Association of School Business Officials and certification from ITIL Certification Management Board.
Hobbs has also been actively engaged in the community by volunteering to campaign for facility bond Measures E and J, supporting the increased funding for new schools and modernizing current schools in the district.
Interim Superintendent Daniel Moirao recommended Hobbs for the permanent position, and the school board agreed, affirming his appointment on June 8.
"It's critical that we have the right person in this executive-level role to guide us and ensure we are incorporating the best financial practices in our day to day operations for our district," Moirao said. "Mr. Hobbs has been a key leader on our team and we look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure our long-term financial sustainability."
Regarding the upcoming fiscal year, Hobbs expressed his excitement with providing students with the best resources as students return to full-time, in-person learning and millions of dollars of state and federal funding rolls in to support that.
"My objective is to work closely with our instructional leaders to implement the plans they have developed and to use the funding being made available to us in the most effective way possible. The goal is to ensure that all students have access to the support they need to accelerate their learning in 2021-22," Hobbs added.
With the district's continuous growth, along with planned new addition of Emerald High School and other renovations, the appointment of Hobbs to continue to lead the business services division comes at a critical time as the district has encountered issues with funding in the past year.
"I work closely with Thomas Moore -- our assistant superintendent of facilities, planning and construction -- to find solutions to the budget shortfalls identified in our facilities projects," Hobbs said. "This is a team effort, and we work together weekly to identify cost-savings options and opportunities, as well as ensuring that we provide the best data possible to our Board and community about the needs of the district. It's a tough challenge."
Hobbs' new contract is effective July 1 and runs until June 30, 2023, with an initial salary of $223,011 annually. The DUSD board affirmed the summary of the terms of his contract and voted 5-0, approving and passing the recommended contract unanimously.