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Davis, California

Monday, July 15, 2024

Davis Joint Unified School District, Davis City Council consider housing concerns

New construction and potential housing projects discussed at recent City Council and DJUSD 2×2 meeting


By JILLIAN MARCH — city@theaggie.org


On Nov. 16, members from the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) and Davis City Council met for their monthly 2×2 meeting on Zoom to discuss ongoing city and district projects. Davis Vice Mayor Will Arnold opened the meeting at 5:15 p.m. and introduced the participants in attendance, which included Tom Adams for his final city/district 2×2 as a DJUSD School Board Trustee. 

The first discussion item included the various ongoing site projects. DJUSD Superintendent Matt Best reported on the projects the district has recently completed or is in the process of completing. One of the spotlighted projects was the newly unveiled Tech Hub at Da Vinci High School, which is dedicated to beloved long-time educator and founding principal, Pamela Mari.

Alain Contreras, the DJUSD facilities project manager, discussed plans for new pathways to be added to the Career Technical Education (CTE) center, which included transportation, agriculture and engineering for Davis Senior High School. These projects are set to be completed by February 2024.

As for the city, Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz updated the committee on several ongoing projects, the largest being crossing improvements on Tulip and Ponteverde. These changes include newly-added midblock crossing zones, flashing beacons for visibility and new striping and speed bumps, which should slow down vehicles as they approach the intersection. 

Following construction updates, the meeting proceeded to the second discussion item, housing. Best first addressed this item by introducing the concept of workforce housing. DJUSD Trustee Joe DiNunzio followed up and discussed the importance of the district undergoing a project of this nature. 

“This is something we’ve looked at historically, even in just the four years that I’ve been on the board,” DiNunzio said. “Districts that have tried to do it, there have been some struggles. I am eager to get an expert on board to help us with this. At the end, it has a real opportunity to provide housing for our workforce and in a way that especially teachers that are earlier in their careers or other educators may not be able to access.”

During the prior school board meeting on Nov. 3, teachers, parents and other community members emphasized that housing for educators within the city was one of the biggest challenges that the DJUSD was facing. Workforce housing is being presented by the DJUSD as a potential solution to this issue.

“This is rapidly becoming a community issue,” Adams said while recounting a recent high school classroom visit during which students were asked to propose solutions to community issues. According to Adams, many of the students he spoke with believed housing was a large issue for the city.

Council member Josh Chapman also commented on the concern for affordable housing in Davis, claiming that there are members of the public safety staff in Davis who do not live within the community because of the cost of living. Chapman explained that the city is looking into available properties and discussing potential routes a project like this could take.

“It’s great to hear that those discussions are happening,” Chapman said. “[It’s important] for us to step back and look at properties that we own and the ways that we can create affordable housing options for folks in our community. It’s one of the ways that we, as two separate bodies that govern separately and have totally different interests, can work together on this issue.”

 No official plans have been proposed in terms of workforce housing; however, there are no current objections to the onboarding of an expert to assist in the design and planning of a potential housing project.

Written by: Jillian March  — city@theaggie.org