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.