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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, September 20, 2021

Measure E creates tension within community

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.

Since Prop.13 stalled homeowners’ taxes in 1978, school districts have been forced to rely on the general fund. This measure in Davis would give the school district its own tax to draw on. But this is not an expansion, said Richard Harris, a member of the DJUSD School Board.
“What we’re doing in Measure E is just maintaining what we have right now. It’s not an expansion — frankly I wish it was,” Harris said.
Instead, he said it is a measure to make sure that the schools keep receiving the same funding.
On the other hand, Thomas Randall, coordinator of the No School Board Taxes campaign, doesn’t believe that the bill has gone through the right channels.
“This situation is a great contrast to the numerous community organizations that had been conducting forums in regard to the candidacies of the School Board candidates. This is a problem because it precludes extensive and therefore effective community discussion of this issue,” Randall said in an email.
Granda said that there are other legal issues to consider.
“The ballot language is problematic and chances are that it will be challenged in court whether it passes or not,” Granda said. “They knew about the legal problems that an obscure language on the ballot could cause and they still proceeded. They cannot claim it was an error, but a deliberate act of arrogance.”

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 city@theaggie.org.

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Wsdf1 has the job to discredit anyone who disagrees with the unfair new taxes of Measure E and to attempt to convince people that black is white.”

    No, my job is to keep folks like you honest in your criticisms. For instance, the story above quote you to suggest that you weren’t even at the Chavez meeting.

    “For those of us who have paid these taxes for over 25 years and have not seen the results. Have you seen reduced classes? Have you seen money go to improve instructions and help teachers with tools they need?”

    I seen great results in the Davis schools. Perfect? Probably not, but overall Davis schools have an excellent track record of helping students reach the next step in their lives. I speak as a parent of three kids, two of whom have graduated and gone on to college.

    Davis schools have taken plenty of actions to balance the budget in light of shrinking funds from the state — reduced salaries and compensation to staff at all levels, taken furloughs, laid off staff at all levels, offered budget-neutral retirement incentives, increased class sizes, spent one-time reserve money, accepted community donations from fundraising, closed a school, worked to reduce spending on utilities and supplies as much as possible, and proposed school parcel taxes to allow local residents a say in funding local schools.

    Like UCD and UC system, as well as the CSU and community college system, the K-12 system has been affected by cuts in state funding. Unlike college systems, K-12 schools cannot charge and do not have the same fundraising resources. Education spending is an investment in future economic productivity and innovation.

    Vote Yes on E and support stable funding of quality local schools!

  2. Wsdf1 has the job to discredit anyone who disagrees with the unfair new taxes of Measure E and to attempt to convince people that black is white. His comments verify actually what happened. To say that the meeting was just a PTA meeting when actually three of the candidate names were on the agenda veryfies it was a forum. I did not invite myself, I went there and quietly sat in the audience while the three invited candidates spoke. They asked me later if I wanted to say something as they felt very uncomfortable with what they did. I think a recognition that they made a mistake will give them more credibility than the damage control arguments.
    Regarding Measure E, specially students who need to really think on what they are doing because it is very easy to vote for a tax that you do not have to pay. I think the ethical correct position is to vote NO so you do not impose it on someone else to pay. For those of us who have paid these taxes for over 25 years and have not seen the results. Have you seen reduced classes? Have you seen money go to improve instructions and help teachers with tools they need? since this money does not go to the kids as they claim but to feed the $70.3 million dollar white elephant budget of the district, the correct position is to Vote NO on Measure E and send a clear message to balance the budget and be fair to the taxpayers.

  3. “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.”

    Misleading. It was not officially a forum organized by Chavez Elementary. It was a regular PTA meeting, and no candidate was invited to speak. 4 of 5 candidates, including Granda, invited themselves to the meeting to say a few words about their candidacy. The PTA president obliged. Granda had plenty of time to speak and took almost twice as much time as the other candidates.

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