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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Davis community and organizations vote on Measure C

Since Feb. 6, Davis voters have been mailing in ballots for the Measure C parcel tax. Measure C would fund student programs under the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD). The last day to submit a ballot is March 6 by 8 p.m.

Measure C calls for a renewal of Measures Q and W, which are set to expire June 30. The measure would be instigated beginning of the 2012-13 school year. Currently, homeowners pay $320 a year to fund DJUSD’s yearly budget of $6.5 million.

If Measure C were to pass, homeowners will continue to pay $320 and apartment owners will pay $150. The one difference from Measures Q and W is Measure C will have a five-year term because of a scheduled school board election at the five-year mark.

“The measures are very specific as to what it funds,” said Parent Co-Chair of the Measure C Campaign Barbara Archer. “There’s an oversight committee to make sure the money is spent in which it is labeled.”

Numerous organizations and over 250 people have endorsed the parcel tax. Among those are every school board member and every city councilmember.

“Our schools are one of the things making living in Davis great,” said Director of the Davis Downtown Business Association Stewart Savage. “We have a quality educational program here, our students are well-taken care of and are well-educated.”

The Davis Schools Foundation President Maria Ungermann said the organization supports K-12 public schools in Davis and essentially measures associated with the schools.

“We’re a nonprofit organization, comprised of Davis parents and community,” Ungermann said. “As a nonprofit, we have endorsed Measure C, but legally, we can’t actively campaign.”

Savage and Ungermann said members of the respective organizations may individually campaign.

Archer said Measure C would continue funding elementary science and music, campus libraries and counseling.

“Measure C will continue keeping K to 12 libraries open in Davis,” Archer said. “Some librarians are split between two sites because we don’t have enough money to fund one librarian per campus.”

According to Archer, science, music and libraries are big deals for elementary schools. For junior high and high schools, staffing and access to classes are important.

“California already has the second to last ranking in terms of student to counselor ratio,” Archer said. “We rank 49th among 50 states in how many counselors serve our students.”

The parcel tax will fund counselors in secondary schools, as well as give more access to core classes such as English, math, science and the like.

The current opposition to Measure C is by two local residents who do not want to pay more taxes.

“They’re throwing a red-herring out there that residents will have to pay more in rent,” Archer said. “I don’t believe that’s true because it’s the same amount homeowners have been paying for the past four years.”

By California state law, a two-thirds majority is required to pass any measure.

“It’s not a simple majority,” Archer said. “But since we’re a college town, a lot of us who live and work in Davis are in the business of education, so we put education as the priority in this town.”

Archer said she feels optimistic about Measure C passing.

“We feel strongly that we want to preserve these programs in our school system,” she said. “Instead of having a special election at the four-year mark and be a cost to taxpayers, we’re doing it to coincide with the planned school board election.”

If Measure C doesn’t pass, the programs will be axed. Archer said about 90 percent of the budget goes to teachers so about 87 teachers would also lose their jobs.

“If we have good schools, we attract more families and people who are able to shop downtown,” Archer said. “We believe it benefits the whole community and you don’t need a kid in the school system for it to benefit you.”

CLAIRE TAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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