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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

Editorial: Endorsing education

The highly anticipated Nov. 6 date is approaching — the day we vote on the prospect of changing our nation for the better. But let’s put the presidential election aside and focus on Davis education for a moment.

The Yolo County ballot will contain four local measures. One of the four measures lands particularly near and dear to our hearts: the matter of local education.

We’d like to fully endorse Measure E in the hopes of maintaining quality primary and secondary education in Davis.

Measure E is a Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) parcel tax. If approved, the measure will renew Measure A and expire July 2017 instead of June 2013, according to the DJUSD. Measure E will renew the existing parcel tax of about $200 a year, which raises $3.2 million annually for Davis public schools. It charges $17 a month per home and $2 a month per apartment unit.

Measure A currently funds science, history, foreign language and elective course programs in Davis schools. It also reduces English and math class sizes for K-6, retains counseling staff and the district’s funding, and protects teachers and school programs from state budget cuts if Prop. 30 does not pass on Nov. 6.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30 would prevent budget cuts to the state’s public schools and colleges by temporarily increasing personal income taxes on the highest earners in the state — those with incomes exceeding $500,000 a year — while also increasing sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent. The money would go into a dedicated fund for public schools, preventing another $6 billion cut to already-meager school budgets.

Richard Harris, a member of the DJUSD School Board and the one who put Measure E forward, told the Editorial Board if Prop. 30 fails, a new parcel tax would add an additional $42 to the current $200 tax in order to offset the costs of a potential $3.7 million budget cut. Harris said Davis has a very strong school system that is well-supported by the city and UC Davis, and if there is no renewal, about 8,600 students would be affected.

“Higher education is useless if K-12 education fails,” he said.

Conversely, Jose Granda, an opposer of Measure E, a candidate running for the DJUSD School Board and a professor at CSU Sacramento, told the Editorial Board he supports public education but still had issues with the measure.

Granda purported senior citizens who don’t have to pay parcel taxes are deliberately bribed by the DJUSD School Board to approve Measure E. He also said it’s not fair that the measure only considers residency, since those who live in apartments pay less than those who live in homes, regardless of income. Additionally, he said approximately 500 students are from out-of-town and do not pay the parcel taxes, thus receiving free rides to education.
“Taxpayers are not an ATM machine,” Granda said. “People voting are putting money in education, not knowing the fine details.”

While we understand and have considered both stances on Measure E, we believe the measure will do more good than harm to Davis’ local education. We don’t agree with Granda’s demand that every Davis resident should be paying equal taxes, because Davis has such a high turnover rate for residency.

It’s already bad enough that we can relate to extreme slashes to school budgets. Plus, we like kids.


  1. Reading the end line of this editiorial: “It’s already bad enough that we can relate to extreme slashes to school budgets. Plus, we like kids.” made me think about the upcoming election. In reality, we don’t really know what maelstrom is coming our way next. Hurricane Romney – possibly. Typhoon NIMBY – present and accounted for. The defeat of Proposition 30 and Measure E – if the latter happens, children’s education will suffer another body blow. If Proposition 30 goes down, plan on university fee increases like you’ve never contemplated before. We rightfully pride ourselves on educating our children who are high achieving and go on to universities, but with limited resources what happens to the kids whose aspirations may not be as societally lofty but deserve just as much out of life as everyone else.

    Why aren’t these issues being discussed more in public? Is it because the people with the money and the power are risk-averse or that they just don’t want to rock the indigenous boat? Look closely at the financial disclosures for the School Board Race: three candidates have spent close to (or more than) $10,000, while two (including yours truly) have scarcely spent anything. Davis School Board for sale – get your School Board here! Is it any wonder that the heavyweight endorsers in town: the Enterprise, the Davis Teacher’s Association, and the Davis Democratic Club have all endorsed one of these three candidates? Are you surprised to know that the local politicians proffered their endorsements before the filing date for all candidates? Isn’t it rather ironic how the two candidates (including me) who lack both the financial resources and power endorsements have by far the most experience teaching – from elementary/secondary schools to universities. In a parallel universe, one might think that nobody knows more about education than educators, that nobody knows better what children in a classroom need than educators, and that nobody knows more about running a school district than educators. But that’s in a universe far, far away.

    Heck, even the on-line Davis Vanguard, which purports to be “The Investigative Eye” of Davis, has one of these “top three” candidates as a “Featured Sponsor.” Nicely done.

    Like it or not, we can run but can’t hide from these pressing issues. I want to see a School Board that pays more attention to and seeks advice from people in their own neighborhoods, and not just those who have the time and energy to show up at chambers in the evenings (which is exactly when many working parents get home and need time with their children). I want to learn more about the challenges facing families with children who are living precariously on the margins. If the powers that be (or, by proxy, voters) decide to further exsanguinate public schools, then I want to see how we can work with some of the thirty thousand-plus students at UC Davis to help out in our classrooms. If we have to increase class sizes, let it be in the high schools in classes for college-bound students – they’ll be getting used to it soon enough so that more personal attention can be given to the students at the elementary school who really need it. Or better yet –what about college-bound high school students taking courses at the community college or UC Davis if the high school can’t provide for all their needs? “No Child Left Behind” has become bureaucrat-speak for assessment, but if my campaign means anything at all, it’s that we have to be cognizant of every child’s needs. It isn’t happening now, but it should, because along with the Cal Aggie editorial board, I like kids too!

    I’m Claire Sherman, and I’m running for Davis School Board.


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