While other counties are waiting to see if Proposition 30 will pass and how many cuts they may face next year, the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) is trying to take a preemptive measure.
The proponents for Measure E state that this is a way to safeguard against Prop. 30 failing. Opponents argue the measure isn’t a transparent process and creates new taxes that would cost residents more than necessary, especially in a recession.
Public school funding has become so controversial that there are two propositions on the ballot to increase funding. Gov. Jerry Brown and Molly Munger, an attorney, both proposed initiatives to help public schools: Prop. 30 and Prop. 38, respectively.
According to the California Voter Guide, Prop. 30 and Prop. 38 both allocate money to K-12 schools, although they propose different ways of doing it — Prop. 30 plans to tax those who make over $250,000 for seven years and increase the sales tax by 25 cents. Prop. 38 proposes a tax for incomes over $7,316 for 12 years.
Measure E replaces a current parcel tax, Measure A. However, Don Saylor, member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, said there is guaranteed money if Prop. 30 doesn’t pass.
“[The bill is to] anticipate the possibility that Prop. 30 will not pass, and to support the school system,” Saylor said.
If the proposition doesn’t pass, then there will be a supplementary tax allocated toward school children, grades K-12.
“Davis has supported parcel taxes since 1982,” Saylor said. “It’s a long-standing tradition in the community. The Davis community values education. I think it’s largely from the university’s location here.”
However, some of the support has turned to threats. Jose Granda, a candidate running for the DJUSD School Board, received a letter written on Oct. 17, referencing a “No on Measure E” sign.
“Davis supports schools. Take down your no on C [sic] sign or we will do it for you (and f— up your house). Vote Yes! on C,” the letter said.
Granda was upset when he received the threat.
“Measures are won with solid, logical arguments, not with threats and intimidation,” he said. “The fact that supporters of Measure E have resorted to these tactics is an indication of the weakness of their arguments and their concern that I may get elected.”
Granda said that he has been subject to attacks because of his stance, and that he was not invited to the Measure E forum at Cesar Chavez Elementary School.
“With intimidation, taking our signs from front yards, replacing others with theirs, the only thing they may accomplish is to put the Yes on E campaign on life support,” Granda said.
Saylor, on the other hand, disagreed based on the current financial situation of Davis schools.
“The ever-increasing financial challenges that are facing school districts make Measure E even more important,” Saylor said. “The reason this is included here is that in the past, over the past several years, they’ve been too late to adjust the budget or to address new problem[s].”
Prop. 30, Prop. 38 and Measure E, in part, come after increasing anger over reduction of school teachers and an increase in prices for university education.
The latest poll by the California Business Roundtable indicates 49.2 percent in favor of Prop. 30, while Prop. 38 is behind with only 33 percent of “Yes” voters.
While Prop. 30 only needs a simple majority, Measure E needs a two-thirds vote. Yet Harris feels confident about the measure passing despite the difficulties of attaining a supermajority.
“That’s why it’s tough to adopt local funding. But we’ve always done it. We’ve never failed, and frankly I don’t plan that we’ll fail this time,” Harris said.
JULIE WEBB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.