Commentary: Victory for Davis Schools

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A few weeks ago the community looked on at impending doom with the school system. Instead of panicking however, the Davis community said collectively, not here and not now.

Students and parents flooded school board meetings, marching down Davis streets, rallied in the parks to keep their teachers employed and their school open.

As they looked toward the school board to find a way, it was the community that found a way.

The Davis Schools Foundation was able to raise $1.77 million for the Davis schools. That was enough to “buy back” more than two dozen positions for teachers and libraries.

But it was not the Davis Schools Foundation alone that made Thursday’s victory possible. The governor’s revised state budget gave the Davis school district another $1.2 million to work with.

In all over 100 teaching positions were saved. The crisis averted. Four positions still need to be cut by eight elementary schools. Another 7.3 junior high and high school positions. While not painless, certainly manageable.

As always, it was Amanda Lopez-Lara the student representative to the board that spoke for all:

“I’ve never seen the community come together like this–families, students, people of all races. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for bringing back the teachers.”

Music has been saved. Athletics have been saved.

That is the good news. And it is good. But the challenges will remain.

The school district faces financial ramifications of declining enrollment and an ongoing structural budget deficit.

The school district cannot rely on the schools foundation to provide a permanent source of funding. The $1.77 million marks a crisis-averting surge of donation, but it is not sustainable long term.

The school district will hire a pollster to determine where the community would support another parcel tax this fall.

However, even with another parcel tax, the district needs to adjust its programs. Projections suggest that enrollment will decline for a couple more years before flattening out and even beginning to rise.

We must also be mindful of the statewide economic situation and the statewide budget. The revised budget has added money, but the economic situation looks rather bleak at the moment.

These are all issues that we must deal with in the near future.

We are fortunate that we live in a community that has the ability and the inclination to keep our teachers employed and our schools open, but we should also not forget the hundreds of other districts in this state that are not nearly so lucky.

Today we can breathe a sigh of relief. The school board members, deserve a nice spa and vacation. The stress they have been under the last six months has been unreal and it has taken a toll on them.

The hard work unfortunately will begin again soon enough. In the meantime, let us just rejoice knowing that just once, we have changed the course of the future of a large number of students and a community has shown its ultimate commitment to education.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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92 thoughts on “Commentary: Victory for Davis Schools”

  1. Anonymous

    DJUSD needs to take a really long hard look at how they will plan for the next few years. Things cannot simply stay “status quo”. If there was a good thing about this budget crisis, it was that hard decisions were brought forward for everyone to look at and contemplate. Thankfully, no one has to act on them just yet. But this is not to say that it’s all over. A lot of painful decisions still remain to be considered.

    Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?

    There was a lot of talk about reconfiguring DHS to a traditional four year site. Is this in the best interests of our students? Would they be more successful in this model? While the rest of CA and the nation follows the four year model, DHS has been largely successful for decades as a three year. Everyone needs to think long and hard about the pros and cons of our current situation and ask themselves what the goals would be in altering this structure.

    During the ‘panic’ mode, a lot of hasty decisions and suggestions were being thrown forward. I am glad that we have a breather right now, but I think that these conversations still need to be had. Let’s hope that the community, district staff, and the teachers can have an open and constructive dialogue as to what the best interests of the entire communtiy are and how the students will best be served.

  2. Anonymous

    DJUSD needs to take a really long hard look at how they will plan for the next few years. Things cannot simply stay “status quo”. If there was a good thing about this budget crisis, it was that hard decisions were brought forward for everyone to look at and contemplate. Thankfully, no one has to act on them just yet. But this is not to say that it’s all over. A lot of painful decisions still remain to be considered.

    Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?

    There was a lot of talk about reconfiguring DHS to a traditional four year site. Is this in the best interests of our students? Would they be more successful in this model? While the rest of CA and the nation follows the four year model, DHS has been largely successful for decades as a three year. Everyone needs to think long and hard about the pros and cons of our current situation and ask themselves what the goals would be in altering this structure.

    During the ‘panic’ mode, a lot of hasty decisions and suggestions were being thrown forward. I am glad that we have a breather right now, but I think that these conversations still need to be had. Let’s hope that the community, district staff, and the teachers can have an open and constructive dialogue as to what the best interests of the entire communtiy are and how the students will best be served.

  3. Anonymous

    DJUSD needs to take a really long hard look at how they will plan for the next few years. Things cannot simply stay “status quo”. If there was a good thing about this budget crisis, it was that hard decisions were brought forward for everyone to look at and contemplate. Thankfully, no one has to act on them just yet. But this is not to say that it’s all over. A lot of painful decisions still remain to be considered.

    Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?

    There was a lot of talk about reconfiguring DHS to a traditional four year site. Is this in the best interests of our students? Would they be more successful in this model? While the rest of CA and the nation follows the four year model, DHS has been largely successful for decades as a three year. Everyone needs to think long and hard about the pros and cons of our current situation and ask themselves what the goals would be in altering this structure.

    During the ‘panic’ mode, a lot of hasty decisions and suggestions were being thrown forward. I am glad that we have a breather right now, but I think that these conversations still need to be had. Let’s hope that the community, district staff, and the teachers can have an open and constructive dialogue as to what the best interests of the entire communtiy are and how the students will best be served.

  4. Anonymous

    DJUSD needs to take a really long hard look at how they will plan for the next few years. Things cannot simply stay “status quo”. If there was a good thing about this budget crisis, it was that hard decisions were brought forward for everyone to look at and contemplate. Thankfully, no one has to act on them just yet. But this is not to say that it’s all over. A lot of painful decisions still remain to be considered.

    Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?

    There was a lot of talk about reconfiguring DHS to a traditional four year site. Is this in the best interests of our students? Would they be more successful in this model? While the rest of CA and the nation follows the four year model, DHS has been largely successful for decades as a three year. Everyone needs to think long and hard about the pros and cons of our current situation and ask themselves what the goals would be in altering this structure.

    During the ‘panic’ mode, a lot of hasty decisions and suggestions were being thrown forward. I am glad that we have a breather right now, but I think that these conversations still need to be had. Let’s hope that the community, district staff, and the teachers can have an open and constructive dialogue as to what the best interests of the entire communtiy are and how the students will best be served.

  5. Applauding

    I applaud the comments of Anonymous 6:34 am. It can no longer be business as usual. A lot of corruption was uncovered by DPD in the school district system, which greatly contributed to the mess we have now. In as much as current School Board members claim they have somehow “fixed” these problems, I don’t believe that for a single minute. And if the community’s perception is the same as Anonymous 6:34 am and mine, it would behoove the School Board to think carefully before they ask the public to pony up for another parcel tax.

    I am going to add on to Anonymous 6:34 am’s list, with some concerns of my own:

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?

    2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?

    3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?

    4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?

    5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?

    6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?

    7. Can we better define where money for schools is being spent, rather than pushing for another parcel tax without clearly delineating where the money will be going?

    8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?

    9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?

    10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?

    I would strongly suggest the new Supt. of Schools think about holding a citizen roundtable discussion, on how we can better protect our schools. Obviously the School Board did not do a very good job of it – and made very poor suggestions when in the middle of a crisis.

    Closing a school that serves an entire section of town or at risk constituency is a very poor solution to a monetary shortfall, as is laying off teachers and librarians. The fact of the matter is, Woodland was not going to lay any teachers off, and West Sac was going to lay off very few. That should serve as a stark reminder that Davis has not done things right by a long shot!

    Yes, citizens rallied round, but now the School Board and District need to do their part to obtain citizen input on how best to never find ourselves in a situation like this again. If citizens do not demand better, and strongly, I can assure you nothing much will change – and we could find ourselves in a similar situation again. This should be a wake up call that is not ignored!

    PS Feel free to add to my list and that of Anonymous 6:34 am.

  6. Applauding

    I applaud the comments of Anonymous 6:34 am. It can no longer be business as usual. A lot of corruption was uncovered by DPD in the school district system, which greatly contributed to the mess we have now. In as much as current School Board members claim they have somehow “fixed” these problems, I don’t believe that for a single minute. And if the community’s perception is the same as Anonymous 6:34 am and mine, it would behoove the School Board to think carefully before they ask the public to pony up for another parcel tax.

    I am going to add on to Anonymous 6:34 am’s list, with some concerns of my own:

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?

    2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?

    3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?

    4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?

    5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?

    6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?

    7. Can we better define where money for schools is being spent, rather than pushing for another parcel tax without clearly delineating where the money will be going?

    8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?

    9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?

    10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?

    I would strongly suggest the new Supt. of Schools think about holding a citizen roundtable discussion, on how we can better protect our schools. Obviously the School Board did not do a very good job of it – and made very poor suggestions when in the middle of a crisis.

    Closing a school that serves an entire section of town or at risk constituency is a very poor solution to a monetary shortfall, as is laying off teachers and librarians. The fact of the matter is, Woodland was not going to lay any teachers off, and West Sac was going to lay off very few. That should serve as a stark reminder that Davis has not done things right by a long shot!

    Yes, citizens rallied round, but now the School Board and District need to do their part to obtain citizen input on how best to never find ourselves in a situation like this again. If citizens do not demand better, and strongly, I can assure you nothing much will change – and we could find ourselves in a similar situation again. This should be a wake up call that is not ignored!

    PS Feel free to add to my list and that of Anonymous 6:34 am.

  7. Applauding

    I applaud the comments of Anonymous 6:34 am. It can no longer be business as usual. A lot of corruption was uncovered by DPD in the school district system, which greatly contributed to the mess we have now. In as much as current School Board members claim they have somehow “fixed” these problems, I don’t believe that for a single minute. And if the community’s perception is the same as Anonymous 6:34 am and mine, it would behoove the School Board to think carefully before they ask the public to pony up for another parcel tax.

    I am going to add on to Anonymous 6:34 am’s list, with some concerns of my own:

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?

    2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?

    3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?

    4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?

    5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?

    6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?

    7. Can we better define where money for schools is being spent, rather than pushing for another parcel tax without clearly delineating where the money will be going?

    8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?

    9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?

    10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?

    I would strongly suggest the new Supt. of Schools think about holding a citizen roundtable discussion, on how we can better protect our schools. Obviously the School Board did not do a very good job of it – and made very poor suggestions when in the middle of a crisis.

    Closing a school that serves an entire section of town or at risk constituency is a very poor solution to a monetary shortfall, as is laying off teachers and librarians. The fact of the matter is, Woodland was not going to lay any teachers off, and West Sac was going to lay off very few. That should serve as a stark reminder that Davis has not done things right by a long shot!

    Yes, citizens rallied round, but now the School Board and District need to do their part to obtain citizen input on how best to never find ourselves in a situation like this again. If citizens do not demand better, and strongly, I can assure you nothing much will change – and we could find ourselves in a similar situation again. This should be a wake up call that is not ignored!

    PS Feel free to add to my list and that of Anonymous 6:34 am.

  8. Applauding

    I applaud the comments of Anonymous 6:34 am. It can no longer be business as usual. A lot of corruption was uncovered by DPD in the school district system, which greatly contributed to the mess we have now. In as much as current School Board members claim they have somehow “fixed” these problems, I don’t believe that for a single minute. And if the community’s perception is the same as Anonymous 6:34 am and mine, it would behoove the School Board to think carefully before they ask the public to pony up for another parcel tax.

    I am going to add on to Anonymous 6:34 am’s list, with some concerns of my own:

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?

    2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?

    3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?

    4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?

    5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?

    6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?

    7. Can we better define where money for schools is being spent, rather than pushing for another parcel tax without clearly delineating where the money will be going?

    8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?

    9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?

    10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?

    I would strongly suggest the new Supt. of Schools think about holding a citizen roundtable discussion, on how we can better protect our schools. Obviously the School Board did not do a very good job of it – and made very poor suggestions when in the middle of a crisis.

    Closing a school that serves an entire section of town or at risk constituency is a very poor solution to a monetary shortfall, as is laying off teachers and librarians. The fact of the matter is, Woodland was not going to lay any teachers off, and West Sac was going to lay off very few. That should serve as a stark reminder that Davis has not done things right by a long shot!

    Yes, citizens rallied round, but now the School Board and District need to do their part to obtain citizen input on how best to never find ourselves in a situation like this again. If citizens do not demand better, and strongly, I can assure you nothing much will change – and we could find ourselves in a similar situation again. This should be a wake up call that is not ignored!

    PS Feel free to add to my list and that of Anonymous 6:34 am.

  9. wdf

    “applauding said…

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?”

    Funds derived from facilities sales or use usually cannot, by law, be used to fund educational salaries and programs. That’s why the district cannot sell off the Grande property and take care of its budget deficit.

    “2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?”

    Part of the reason the district got into this mess is that it planned for growth that did not happen. It proposed to build three new schools when really the district could support only one or two new schools efficiently. That’s why they decided to close an elementary school (Valley Oak).

    In the late ’90’s, the district proposed the bond measure to build those schools, and the Davis voting public approved it.

    “3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?”

    Davis voters need to be vigilent. Voting for new schools can feel like supporting God, Mom, and apple pie. It feels like a positive thing to support if you don’t study the full context and consequences.

    “4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?”

    Unless the district comes up w/ some creative solutions, it is possible that either another elementary or a JH may have to close.

    “5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?”

    District, along w/ the rest of the state, declares enrollment on a certain date in early fall to be the “official” enrollment for the year.

    Many other districts are also dealing w/ declining enrollment. This is because the kids of baby boomers are passing through schools. There is a minor baby boom passing through. Right now they are passing through college.

    “6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?”

    Elementary music, elementary science, librarians because in the budget modeling, the regular classroom teachers have priority funding. It is considered “less efficient” to be paying those other employees while paying for classroom teachers at the same time.

    “8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?”

    Pay attention to school board meetings, ask questions of district staff and board trustees, make a public information request at the district office for a copy of the budget.

    Right now you can go to the district office (during bus. hours) and obtain a copy of the current budget. It’s a mess to decipher it, but you can schedule appointments w/ district staff and ask questions about the budget.

    “9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?”

    Get involved in PTO’s, volunteer at your local schools. Raise hell w/ your principal, district staff, and school board members. If you are persistent, articulate, and patient enough, you can often get the results you are seeking.

    “10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?”

    I agree w/ you, but a public school system isn’t just one that is accessible to the public, it is one that is accountable to and run by the public.

    A problem w/ a democracy is that voters don’t usually take even proportional accountability for their action or inaction.

    In Davis, the public wasn’t paying attention and asking questions when times were good. The tools for transparency and accountability have always been available to us. Now that we’re waist deep in this mess, we are too ready to blame others.

  10. wdf

    “applauding said…

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?”

    Funds derived from facilities sales or use usually cannot, by law, be used to fund educational salaries and programs. That’s why the district cannot sell off the Grande property and take care of its budget deficit.

    “2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?”

    Part of the reason the district got into this mess is that it planned for growth that did not happen. It proposed to build three new schools when really the district could support only one or two new schools efficiently. That’s why they decided to close an elementary school (Valley Oak).

    In the late ’90’s, the district proposed the bond measure to build those schools, and the Davis voting public approved it.

    “3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?”

    Davis voters need to be vigilent. Voting for new schools can feel like supporting God, Mom, and apple pie. It feels like a positive thing to support if you don’t study the full context and consequences.

    “4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?”

    Unless the district comes up w/ some creative solutions, it is possible that either another elementary or a JH may have to close.

    “5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?”

    District, along w/ the rest of the state, declares enrollment on a certain date in early fall to be the “official” enrollment for the year.

    Many other districts are also dealing w/ declining enrollment. This is because the kids of baby boomers are passing through schools. There is a minor baby boom passing through. Right now they are passing through college.

    “6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?”

    Elementary music, elementary science, librarians because in the budget modeling, the regular classroom teachers have priority funding. It is considered “less efficient” to be paying those other employees while paying for classroom teachers at the same time.

    “8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?”

    Pay attention to school board meetings, ask questions of district staff and board trustees, make a public information request at the district office for a copy of the budget.

    Right now you can go to the district office (during bus. hours) and obtain a copy of the current budget. It’s a mess to decipher it, but you can schedule appointments w/ district staff and ask questions about the budget.

    “9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?”

    Get involved in PTO’s, volunteer at your local schools. Raise hell w/ your principal, district staff, and school board members. If you are persistent, articulate, and patient enough, you can often get the results you are seeking.

    “10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?”

    I agree w/ you, but a public school system isn’t just one that is accessible to the public, it is one that is accountable to and run by the public.

    A problem w/ a democracy is that voters don’t usually take even proportional accountability for their action or inaction.

    In Davis, the public wasn’t paying attention and asking questions when times were good. The tools for transparency and accountability have always been available to us. Now that we’re waist deep in this mess, we are too ready to blame others.

  11. wdf

    “applauding said…

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?”

    Funds derived from facilities sales or use usually cannot, by law, be used to fund educational salaries and programs. That’s why the district cannot sell off the Grande property and take care of its budget deficit.

    “2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?”

    Part of the reason the district got into this mess is that it planned for growth that did not happen. It proposed to build three new schools when really the district could support only one or two new schools efficiently. That’s why they decided to close an elementary school (Valley Oak).

    In the late ’90’s, the district proposed the bond measure to build those schools, and the Davis voting public approved it.

    “3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?”

    Davis voters need to be vigilent. Voting for new schools can feel like supporting God, Mom, and apple pie. It feels like a positive thing to support if you don’t study the full context and consequences.

    “4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?”

    Unless the district comes up w/ some creative solutions, it is possible that either another elementary or a JH may have to close.

    “5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?”

    District, along w/ the rest of the state, declares enrollment on a certain date in early fall to be the “official” enrollment for the year.

    Many other districts are also dealing w/ declining enrollment. This is because the kids of baby boomers are passing through schools. There is a minor baby boom passing through. Right now they are passing through college.

    “6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?”

    Elementary music, elementary science, librarians because in the budget modeling, the regular classroom teachers have priority funding. It is considered “less efficient” to be paying those other employees while paying for classroom teachers at the same time.

    “8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?”

    Pay attention to school board meetings, ask questions of district staff and board trustees, make a public information request at the district office for a copy of the budget.

    Right now you can go to the district office (during bus. hours) and obtain a copy of the current budget. It’s a mess to decipher it, but you can schedule appointments w/ district staff and ask questions about the budget.

    “9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?”

    Get involved in PTO’s, volunteer at your local schools. Raise hell w/ your principal, district staff, and school board members. If you are persistent, articulate, and patient enough, you can often get the results you are seeking.

    “10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?”

    I agree w/ you, but a public school system isn’t just one that is accessible to the public, it is one that is accountable to and run by the public.

    A problem w/ a democracy is that voters don’t usually take even proportional accountability for their action or inaction.

    In Davis, the public wasn’t paying attention and asking questions when times were good. The tools for transparency and accountability have always been available to us. Now that we’re waist deep in this mess, we are too ready to blame others.

  12. wdf

    “applauding said…

    1. Should the school district sell off assets to fund ongoing programs, or rather devise ways to lease out assets to generate a steady stream of income?”

    Funds derived from facilities sales or use usually cannot, by law, be used to fund educational salaries and programs. That’s why the district cannot sell off the Grande property and take care of its budget deficit.

    “2. How can the school district incorporate the natural fluctuation of enrollment, so that a decline in one year or surge in another doesn’t particulary upset the effective operation of our school system?”

    Part of the reason the district got into this mess is that it planned for growth that did not happen. It proposed to build three new schools when really the district could support only one or two new schools efficiently. That’s why they decided to close an elementary school (Valley Oak).

    In the late ’90’s, the district proposed the bond measure to build those schools, and the Davis voting public approved it.

    “3. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure that not too many schools will be built in the future, because of the pressures of developers to promise what cannot be delivered in the way of operating expenses?”

    Davis voters need to be vigilent. Voting for new schools can feel like supporting God, Mom, and apple pie. It feels like a positive thing to support if you don’t study the full context and consequences.

    “4. Do we have too many schools now? If so, how can we reconfigure them in a way that does not impact property values; addresses the need of children to attend a neighborhood school; makes sure there are enough schools to handle any future increases in enrollment?”

    Unless the district comes up w/ some creative solutions, it is possible that either another elementary or a JH may have to close.

    “5. What methodology do we use to determine enrollment? How accurate are our estimates? How does the city of Davis compare with other cities in regard to handling fluctuating enrollment figures?”

    District, along w/ the rest of the state, declares enrollment on a certain date in early fall to be the “official” enrollment for the year.

    Many other districts are also dealing w/ declining enrollment. This is because the kids of baby boomers are passing through schools. There is a minor baby boom passing through. Right now they are passing through college.

    “6. What special programs are in place that tend to be particularly vulnerable to budget and enrollment fluctuations? How can we devise systems to ensure these programs survive either a budget crisis or drop in enrollment (or both)?”

    Elementary music, elementary science, librarians because in the budget modeling, the regular classroom teachers have priority funding. It is considered “less efficient” to be paying those other employees while paying for classroom teachers at the same time.

    “8. Is there some way that parents and teachers can become involved in fiscal oversight, to give them more confidence that the public is aware of any funding problems the schools may have that need addressing? In other words, how can we encourage transparency in the school budgeting process?”

    Pay attention to school board meetings, ask questions of district staff and board trustees, make a public information request at the district office for a copy of the budget.

    Right now you can go to the district office (during bus. hours) and obtain a copy of the current budget. It’s a mess to decipher it, but you can schedule appointments w/ district staff and ask questions about the budget.

    “9. How can we spruce up our school facilities, so they do not have the appearance of being shabby? Is this something the community can get behind, especially those in the surrounding neighborhood of a school in need of a little paint?”

    Get involved in PTO’s, volunteer at your local schools. Raise hell w/ your principal, district staff, and school board members. If you are persistent, articulate, and patient enough, you can often get the results you are seeking.

    “10. It is not appropriate to turn to citizens’ pocketbooks to bail the schools out of whatever crisis the District and School Board have put themselves in. Can we continue the Davis Schools Foundation, for more worthy causes, but not allow it to be a way the School District can address its own malfeasance?”

    I agree w/ you, but a public school system isn’t just one that is accessible to the public, it is one that is accountable to and run by the public.

    A problem w/ a democracy is that voters don’t usually take even proportional accountability for their action or inaction.

    In Davis, the public wasn’t paying attention and asking questions when times were good. The tools for transparency and accountability have always been available to us. Now that we’re waist deep in this mess, we are too ready to blame others.

  13. 無名 - wu ming

    this is great news for davis schools in the short term. i was concerned for a moment there at the beginning that people were not going to step up, but by and large the city did, and that is a relief.

    in the long term, we have a lot of discussions left to have, starting with why it is that the state government can get away with cutting funds to local governments and school boards year after year and pass it off as a local problem, instead of a state one. prop 13, the 2/3 tax and budget requirements all need to be reevaluated and reformed so that we aren’t in this state of starvation and constant crisis.

    additionally, the school district needs to have a long and frank discussion about what it is that we value most, what we need to keep the system running, and how we’re going to go about funding that. that conversation couldn’t even happen until we plugged the short term gap, but now that we have, it’s time.

  14. 無名 - wu ming

    this is great news for davis schools in the short term. i was concerned for a moment there at the beginning that people were not going to step up, but by and large the city did, and that is a relief.

    in the long term, we have a lot of discussions left to have, starting with why it is that the state government can get away with cutting funds to local governments and school boards year after year and pass it off as a local problem, instead of a state one. prop 13, the 2/3 tax and budget requirements all need to be reevaluated and reformed so that we aren’t in this state of starvation and constant crisis.

    additionally, the school district needs to have a long and frank discussion about what it is that we value most, what we need to keep the system running, and how we’re going to go about funding that. that conversation couldn’t even happen until we plugged the short term gap, but now that we have, it’s time.

  15. 無名 - wu ming

    this is great news for davis schools in the short term. i was concerned for a moment there at the beginning that people were not going to step up, but by and large the city did, and that is a relief.

    in the long term, we have a lot of discussions left to have, starting with why it is that the state government can get away with cutting funds to local governments and school boards year after year and pass it off as a local problem, instead of a state one. prop 13, the 2/3 tax and budget requirements all need to be reevaluated and reformed so that we aren’t in this state of starvation and constant crisis.

    additionally, the school district needs to have a long and frank discussion about what it is that we value most, what we need to keep the system running, and how we’re going to go about funding that. that conversation couldn’t even happen until we plugged the short term gap, but now that we have, it’s time.

  16. 無名 - wu ming

    this is great news for davis schools in the short term. i was concerned for a moment there at the beginning that people were not going to step up, but by and large the city did, and that is a relief.

    in the long term, we have a lot of discussions left to have, starting with why it is that the state government can get away with cutting funds to local governments and school boards year after year and pass it off as a local problem, instead of a state one. prop 13, the 2/3 tax and budget requirements all need to be reevaluated and reformed so that we aren’t in this state of starvation and constant crisis.

    additionally, the school district needs to have a long and frank discussion about what it is that we value most, what we need to keep the system running, and how we’re going to go about funding that. that conversation couldn’t even happen until we plugged the short term gap, but now that we have, it’s time.

  17. Anonymous

    There are two sides to this problem – spending and funding. The District can become the most efficient school system in the State and still have a problem. The district is too dependent on state money and that position means there will always be risk. The idea of using excess school space to generate income is a good one. Both the city and schools have a revenue problem and some of that is because the community has erected a fence around itself and has refused to grow. Also, the community has elected to spurn certain types of shopping which forces people to pay their sales taxes in other communties. The choice is out there – either pay higher taxes and stay the same (but poorer) or selectively add development that will generate more income. Doing nothing is not an alternative and time is ticking.

  18. Anonymous

    There are two sides to this problem – spending and funding. The District can become the most efficient school system in the State and still have a problem. The district is too dependent on state money and that position means there will always be risk. The idea of using excess school space to generate income is a good one. Both the city and schools have a revenue problem and some of that is because the community has erected a fence around itself and has refused to grow. Also, the community has elected to spurn certain types of shopping which forces people to pay their sales taxes in other communties. The choice is out there – either pay higher taxes and stay the same (but poorer) or selectively add development that will generate more income. Doing nothing is not an alternative and time is ticking.

  19. Anonymous

    There are two sides to this problem – spending and funding. The District can become the most efficient school system in the State and still have a problem. The district is too dependent on state money and that position means there will always be risk. The idea of using excess school space to generate income is a good one. Both the city and schools have a revenue problem and some of that is because the community has erected a fence around itself and has refused to grow. Also, the community has elected to spurn certain types of shopping which forces people to pay their sales taxes in other communties. The choice is out there – either pay higher taxes and stay the same (but poorer) or selectively add development that will generate more income. Doing nothing is not an alternative and time is ticking.

  20. Anonymous

    There are two sides to this problem – spending and funding. The District can become the most efficient school system in the State and still have a problem. The district is too dependent on state money and that position means there will always be risk. The idea of using excess school space to generate income is a good one. Both the city and schools have a revenue problem and some of that is because the community has erected a fence around itself and has refused to grow. Also, the community has elected to spurn certain types of shopping which forces people to pay their sales taxes in other communties. The choice is out there – either pay higher taxes and stay the same (but poorer) or selectively add development that will generate more income. Doing nothing is not an alternative and time is ticking.

  21. Applauding

    I am continuing to applaud!!! From the comments in this blog, my sense is that citizens do realize it cannot be business as usual, with respect to our educational system. Now if we can just convince the School District and Board of that!!!

  22. Applauding

    I am continuing to applaud!!! From the comments in this blog, my sense is that citizens do realize it cannot be business as usual, with respect to our educational system. Now if we can just convince the School District and Board of that!!!

  23. Applauding

    I am continuing to applaud!!! From the comments in this blog, my sense is that citizens do realize it cannot be business as usual, with respect to our educational system. Now if we can just convince the School District and Board of that!!!

  24. Applauding

    I am continuing to applaud!!! From the comments in this blog, my sense is that citizens do realize it cannot be business as usual, with respect to our educational system. Now if we can just convince the School District and Board of that!!!

  25. wdf

    I think the 2009 school board election could be a little livelier than usual, given all that has transpired.

    I hope we will all take that election very seriously.

  26. wdf

    I think the 2009 school board election could be a little livelier than usual, given all that has transpired.

    I hope we will all take that election very seriously.

  27. wdf

    I think the 2009 school board election could be a little livelier than usual, given all that has transpired.

    I hope we will all take that election very seriously.

  28. wdf

    I think the 2009 school board election could be a little livelier than usual, given all that has transpired.

    I hope we will all take that election very seriously.

  29. Jeremy

    I am glad that you posted this, DPD, and it truly is an enormous achievement. At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder why no one is addressing the bigger problem. The “dollar a day” campaign will work once, but it’s not going to work every year, and the school board has made it clear that this problem is not going to get any better. It is a structural problem and it’s only going to get worse as the Davis’ population ages and enrollment continues to decline. If this school board is responsible it will start on July 1 looking at how to solve its problems and working with the community. Otherwise we’re in for the same ride next year.

  30. Jeremy

    I am glad that you posted this, DPD, and it truly is an enormous achievement. At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder why no one is addressing the bigger problem. The “dollar a day” campaign will work once, but it’s not going to work every year, and the school board has made it clear that this problem is not going to get any better. It is a structural problem and it’s only going to get worse as the Davis’ population ages and enrollment continues to decline. If this school board is responsible it will start on July 1 looking at how to solve its problems and working with the community. Otherwise we’re in for the same ride next year.

  31. Jeremy

    I am glad that you posted this, DPD, and it truly is an enormous achievement. At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder why no one is addressing the bigger problem. The “dollar a day” campaign will work once, but it’s not going to work every year, and the school board has made it clear that this problem is not going to get any better. It is a structural problem and it’s only going to get worse as the Davis’ population ages and enrollment continues to decline. If this school board is responsible it will start on July 1 looking at how to solve its problems and working with the community. Otherwise we’re in for the same ride next year.

  32. Jeremy

    I am glad that you posted this, DPD, and it truly is an enormous achievement. At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder why no one is addressing the bigger problem. The “dollar a day” campaign will work once, but it’s not going to work every year, and the school board has made it clear that this problem is not going to get any better. It is a structural problem and it’s only going to get worse as the Davis’ population ages and enrollment continues to decline. If this school board is responsible it will start on July 1 looking at how to solve its problems and working with the community. Otherwise we’re in for the same ride next year.

  33. Anonymous

    Nice to see that my original post started this strong thread of thinking/questioning/contemplating.Unfortunately for our community, the budgetary problems have not ‘vanished’, they have simply been ‘pushed off’ until the next budget year. So ‘yes’, we’re safe for the moment, but not the future.

    I think that DJUSD needs to continue to explore the emergency measures it was contemplating prior to last week’s ‘temporary reprive’ of Arnold’s revised budget, the DSOMA $200,000 plus, and the DSF’s $1.7 million. We’re good for now but what happens next year?

    Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.

    If there ever was a time to continue to seriously re-examine and re-thing the current educational program, this is it. The community came together and now is not the time to squander the goodwill, focus, and determination of the people. The school board should go back to business as usual. If anything, it’s ‘business as not usual’ and the situation should remain. We averted a crisis and dodged a bullet….but the danger hasn’t gone away.

  34. Anonymous

    Nice to see that my original post started this strong thread of thinking/questioning/contemplating.Unfortunately for our community, the budgetary problems have not ‘vanished’, they have simply been ‘pushed off’ until the next budget year. So ‘yes’, we’re safe for the moment, but not the future.

    I think that DJUSD needs to continue to explore the emergency measures it was contemplating prior to last week’s ‘temporary reprive’ of Arnold’s revised budget, the DSOMA $200,000 plus, and the DSF’s $1.7 million. We’re good for now but what happens next year?

    Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.

    If there ever was a time to continue to seriously re-examine and re-thing the current educational program, this is it. The community came together and now is not the time to squander the goodwill, focus, and determination of the people. The school board should go back to business as usual. If anything, it’s ‘business as not usual’ and the situation should remain. We averted a crisis and dodged a bullet….but the danger hasn’t gone away.

  35. Anonymous

    Nice to see that my original post started this strong thread of thinking/questioning/contemplating.Unfortunately for our community, the budgetary problems have not ‘vanished’, they have simply been ‘pushed off’ until the next budget year. So ‘yes’, we’re safe for the moment, but not the future.

    I think that DJUSD needs to continue to explore the emergency measures it was contemplating prior to last week’s ‘temporary reprive’ of Arnold’s revised budget, the DSOMA $200,000 plus, and the DSF’s $1.7 million. We’re good for now but what happens next year?

    Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.

    If there ever was a time to continue to seriously re-examine and re-thing the current educational program, this is it. The community came together and now is not the time to squander the goodwill, focus, and determination of the people. The school board should go back to business as usual. If anything, it’s ‘business as not usual’ and the situation should remain. We averted a crisis and dodged a bullet….but the danger hasn’t gone away.

  36. Anonymous

    Nice to see that my original post started this strong thread of thinking/questioning/contemplating.Unfortunately for our community, the budgetary problems have not ‘vanished’, they have simply been ‘pushed off’ until the next budget year. So ‘yes’, we’re safe for the moment, but not the future.

    I think that DJUSD needs to continue to explore the emergency measures it was contemplating prior to last week’s ‘temporary reprive’ of Arnold’s revised budget, the DSOMA $200,000 plus, and the DSF’s $1.7 million. We’re good for now but what happens next year?

    Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.

    If there ever was a time to continue to seriously re-examine and re-thing the current educational program, this is it. The community came together and now is not the time to squander the goodwill, focus, and determination of the people. The school board should go back to business as usual. If anything, it’s ‘business as not usual’ and the situation should remain. We averted a crisis and dodged a bullet….but the danger hasn’t gone away.

  37. wdf

    “Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?”

    At more than one board meeting, Hammond and the staff suggested that running a 9-12 HS was more efficient than running 10-12, and that it offered greater course options to 9th graders.

    Following that line of thinking, it suggests that it is also more efficient to run a 6-8 middle/JH school. But the district has never really introduced that option publicly for consideration.

    If a 6-8 middle school configuration were run, then it could put pressure on to close another elementary school. Up to 600 6th grade stduents would be taken out of the elementary system, a little bigger than the size of a standard elementary school in Davis.

    Or an elementary could be converted to another magnet, such as Montessori.

    Just ideas to throw out there.

  38. wdf

    “Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?”

    At more than one board meeting, Hammond and the staff suggested that running a 9-12 HS was more efficient than running 10-12, and that it offered greater course options to 9th graders.

    Following that line of thinking, it suggests that it is also more efficient to run a 6-8 middle/JH school. But the district has never really introduced that option publicly for consideration.

    If a 6-8 middle school configuration were run, then it could put pressure on to close another elementary school. Up to 600 6th grade stduents would be taken out of the elementary system, a little bigger than the size of a standard elementary school in Davis.

    Or an elementary could be converted to another magnet, such as Montessori.

    Just ideas to throw out there.

  39. wdf

    “Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?”

    At more than one board meeting, Hammond and the staff suggested that running a 9-12 HS was more efficient than running 10-12, and that it offered greater course options to 9th graders.

    Following that line of thinking, it suggests that it is also more efficient to run a 6-8 middle/JH school. But the district has never really introduced that option publicly for consideration.

    If a 6-8 middle school configuration were run, then it could put pressure on to close another elementary school. Up to 600 6th grade stduents would be taken out of the elementary system, a little bigger than the size of a standard elementary school in Davis.

    Or an elementary could be converted to another magnet, such as Montessori.

    Just ideas to throw out there.

  40. wdf

    “Of immediate interest, there were two pressing issues that came up in the last two months.

    1. Emerson/Holmes/Harper

    Do we really need three junior highs? The student populations are not balanced between the three and Emerson has been running a small site of roughly 500 plus students. Do we need three? Could we reconfigure the middle schools to a 6-8? Could we go to a 7-8 model and close one of the schools? Emerson still needs modernization – is it worth it to upgrade the facility? Do we geographically balance the town by keeping Holmes on the east and Emerson on the west? Do we consider Harper as a site for another high school?

    2. Davis High School 9 through 12?”

    At more than one board meeting, Hammond and the staff suggested that running a 9-12 HS was more efficient than running 10-12, and that it offered greater course options to 9th graders.

    Following that line of thinking, it suggests that it is also more efficient to run a 6-8 middle/JH school. But the district has never really introduced that option publicly for consideration.

    If a 6-8 middle school configuration were run, then it could put pressure on to close another elementary school. Up to 600 6th grade stduents would be taken out of the elementary system, a little bigger than the size of a standard elementary school in Davis.

    Or an elementary could be converted to another magnet, such as Montessori.

    Just ideas to throw out there.

  41. applauding

    “Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.”

    AMEN to your first statement indicating we need to take a fresh look at the school budgeting process. Don’t entirely agree with five points you raised – but I am ready to discuss each issue, and work out mutually agreed upon solutions!

    However, I am going to add another important component – some sort of citizen/teacher oversight of the budgeting process. And I don’t mean a committee formed by friends of the School Board/District. Some push needs to be made for more transparency of the budgeting process.

    Just simply going to School Board meetings is not enough. The School Board was certainly not receptive to citizens during the Valley Oak controversy, and were quite resistant on the issue of Emerson – just delaying the notion of closure rather than taking it off the table altogether. Yet the issue of one too many elementary schools – the real problem – was taken off the table!

    Furthermore, the School Board was asleep at the switch when creative bookkeeping was used to disguise a serious budget deficit. Thus I do not consider them trustworthy at all. In addition, parents and teachers may be able to come up with some creative ways to make sure music and library programs are never at the mercy of budgetary fluctuations.

    If parents can be trusted to raise the necessary funds in a crisis via the Davis Schools Foundation, then let them oversee the budgeting process to some degree. I think teachers and parents deserve that much, as does our city as a whole. After all, who was it that bailed the school district out of its financial crisis? It sure as heck was not the School Board, that seemed to flounder around, its collective hands wringing in distress. On the other hand, the parents and citizens of Davis got the job done!

  42. applauding

    “Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.”

    AMEN to your first statement indicating we need to take a fresh look at the school budgeting process. Don’t entirely agree with five points you raised – but I am ready to discuss each issue, and work out mutually agreed upon solutions!

    However, I am going to add another important component – some sort of citizen/teacher oversight of the budgeting process. And I don’t mean a committee formed by friends of the School Board/District. Some push needs to be made for more transparency of the budgeting process.

    Just simply going to School Board meetings is not enough. The School Board was certainly not receptive to citizens during the Valley Oak controversy, and were quite resistant on the issue of Emerson – just delaying the notion of closure rather than taking it off the table altogether. Yet the issue of one too many elementary schools – the real problem – was taken off the table!

    Furthermore, the School Board was asleep at the switch when creative bookkeeping was used to disguise a serious budget deficit. Thus I do not consider them trustworthy at all. In addition, parents and teachers may be able to come up with some creative ways to make sure music and library programs are never at the mercy of budgetary fluctuations.

    If parents can be trusted to raise the necessary funds in a crisis via the Davis Schools Foundation, then let them oversee the budgeting process to some degree. I think teachers and parents deserve that much, as does our city as a whole. After all, who was it that bailed the school district out of its financial crisis? It sure as heck was not the School Board, that seemed to flounder around, its collective hands wringing in distress. On the other hand, the parents and citizens of Davis got the job done!

  43. applauding

    “Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.”

    AMEN to your first statement indicating we need to take a fresh look at the school budgeting process. Don’t entirely agree with five points you raised – but I am ready to discuss each issue, and work out mutually agreed upon solutions!

    However, I am going to add another important component – some sort of citizen/teacher oversight of the budgeting process. And I don’t mean a committee formed by friends of the School Board/District. Some push needs to be made for more transparency of the budgeting process.

    Just simply going to School Board meetings is not enough. The School Board was certainly not receptive to citizens during the Valley Oak controversy, and were quite resistant on the issue of Emerson – just delaying the notion of closure rather than taking it off the table altogether. Yet the issue of one too many elementary schools – the real problem – was taken off the table!

    Furthermore, the School Board was asleep at the switch when creative bookkeeping was used to disguise a serious budget deficit. Thus I do not consider them trustworthy at all. In addition, parents and teachers may be able to come up with some creative ways to make sure music and library programs are never at the mercy of budgetary fluctuations.

    If parents can be trusted to raise the necessary funds in a crisis via the Davis Schools Foundation, then let them oversee the budgeting process to some degree. I think teachers and parents deserve that much, as does our city as a whole. After all, who was it that bailed the school district out of its financial crisis? It sure as heck was not the School Board, that seemed to flounder around, its collective hands wringing in distress. On the other hand, the parents and citizens of Davis got the job done!

  44. applauding

    “Let’s continue to rethink and contemplate the possibilities of the following areas:

    1. Junior high consolidation
    2. Early incentives for retirement (aka “Golden Handshakes” to free up money from top-tier salaries for entry-level)
    3. Excess property that can be sold or leased
    4. Stipends for coaches and extra duty
    5. Consolidating positions, not offering low-enrolled courses, and gradually reducing services in areas not as critical as classroom teachers.”

    AMEN to your first statement indicating we need to take a fresh look at the school budgeting process. Don’t entirely agree with five points you raised – but I am ready to discuss each issue, and work out mutually agreed upon solutions!

    However, I am going to add another important component – some sort of citizen/teacher oversight of the budgeting process. And I don’t mean a committee formed by friends of the School Board/District. Some push needs to be made for more transparency of the budgeting process.

    Just simply going to School Board meetings is not enough. The School Board was certainly not receptive to citizens during the Valley Oak controversy, and were quite resistant on the issue of Emerson – just delaying the notion of closure rather than taking it off the table altogether. Yet the issue of one too many elementary schools – the real problem – was taken off the table!

    Furthermore, the School Board was asleep at the switch when creative bookkeeping was used to disguise a serious budget deficit. Thus I do not consider them trustworthy at all. In addition, parents and teachers may be able to come up with some creative ways to make sure music and library programs are never at the mercy of budgetary fluctuations.

    If parents can be trusted to raise the necessary funds in a crisis via the Davis Schools Foundation, then let them oversee the budgeting process to some degree. I think teachers and parents deserve that much, as does our city as a whole. After all, who was it that bailed the school district out of its financial crisis? It sure as heck was not the School Board, that seemed to flounder around, its collective hands wringing in distress. On the other hand, the parents and citizens of Davis got the job done!

  45. FRW

    Other declining enrollment districts are implementing a charter magnet school plan to draw in students from other districts, rent their unused facilities,and make a profit by contracting district services to the charter schools.
    Example, according to demographic study, (both of them), enrollemnts in South Davis will fall, leaving a need for about “one and a third” elementary schools over there.
    Still, the BUSSTF thought it unwise to ask South Davis elementary students to cross I-80 to get to school.
    To encourage interdistrict transfer students would legally commit the DJUSD to educate those students throught 12TH grade, exacerbating the over crowding at the senior high.
    A charter school could handle the “one third” surplus Davis enrollment, fill up with out of district enrollees, and produce a small stream of positive cash flow for the district, without the legal commitment to providing classroom space for the matriculating grade schoolers at the secondary level.
    Some background on this current school configuration situation:
    The current DHS facility is about 650 students over ideal enrollment. Harper was built after the large junior high population bubble had passed. At the time, the state provided matching funds for that facility cost so the campus was built (at half price for Davis residents)as a dual-use facility, to address the expected issue of over crowding at the senior high level.
    Harper as a DHS Annex?
    A smaller academy/specialty high school?
    DaVincic?
    Vocational?
    All this was publicly discussed two or three boards/superintendents ago. The next meeting Public Comment was filled with angry Harper neighbors protesting a high school in their neighborhood. Traffic. Noise. Negative impacts on their property values…All valid points. (Has anyone tried to cross at Oak and 14TH at noon on a school day?!)
    I suggest a closer look at the charter school idea, with an open, but questioning, mind.
    Additionally,I would like to put out there that in coming up with a new plan, we need to seriously rethink the teacher pay scale and benefits package of the DJUSD. Our teachers are invaluable and should be made an integral part of the solution. In the next decade, Ca. is going to experience a shortage of qualified teachers at all levels of public education. Complicating that, other states are mounting campaigns to lure what teachers we have to their states. The DJUSD id one of the lowest paying distrcits in the area, starting its teachers at $10,000 below Elk Grove. A new pay scale and benefit package costs for teachers should be realistically figured into the solution.
    Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?

  46. FRW

    Other declining enrollment districts are implementing a charter magnet school plan to draw in students from other districts, rent their unused facilities,and make a profit by contracting district services to the charter schools.
    Example, according to demographic study, (both of them), enrollemnts in South Davis will fall, leaving a need for about “one and a third” elementary schools over there.
    Still, the BUSSTF thought it unwise to ask South Davis elementary students to cross I-80 to get to school.
    To encourage interdistrict transfer students would legally commit the DJUSD to educate those students throught 12TH grade, exacerbating the over crowding at the senior high.
    A charter school could handle the “one third” surplus Davis enrollment, fill up with out of district enrollees, and produce a small stream of positive cash flow for the district, without the legal commitment to providing classroom space for the matriculating grade schoolers at the secondary level.
    Some background on this current school configuration situation:
    The current DHS facility is about 650 students over ideal enrollment. Harper was built after the large junior high population bubble had passed. At the time, the state provided matching funds for that facility cost so the campus was built (at half price for Davis residents)as a dual-use facility, to address the expected issue of over crowding at the senior high level.
    Harper as a DHS Annex?
    A smaller academy/specialty high school?
    DaVincic?
    Vocational?
    All this was publicly discussed two or three boards/superintendents ago. The next meeting Public Comment was filled with angry Harper neighbors protesting a high school in their neighborhood. Traffic. Noise. Negative impacts on their property values…All valid points. (Has anyone tried to cross at Oak and 14TH at noon on a school day?!)
    I suggest a closer look at the charter school idea, with an open, but questioning, mind.
    Additionally,I would like to put out there that in coming up with a new plan, we need to seriously rethink the teacher pay scale and benefits package of the DJUSD. Our teachers are invaluable and should be made an integral part of the solution. In the next decade, Ca. is going to experience a shortage of qualified teachers at all levels of public education. Complicating that, other states are mounting campaigns to lure what teachers we have to their states. The DJUSD id one of the lowest paying distrcits in the area, starting its teachers at $10,000 below Elk Grove. A new pay scale and benefit package costs for teachers should be realistically figured into the solution.
    Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?

  47. FRW

    Other declining enrollment districts are implementing a charter magnet school plan to draw in students from other districts, rent their unused facilities,and make a profit by contracting district services to the charter schools.
    Example, according to demographic study, (both of them), enrollemnts in South Davis will fall, leaving a need for about “one and a third” elementary schools over there.
    Still, the BUSSTF thought it unwise to ask South Davis elementary students to cross I-80 to get to school.
    To encourage interdistrict transfer students would legally commit the DJUSD to educate those students throught 12TH grade, exacerbating the over crowding at the senior high.
    A charter school could handle the “one third” surplus Davis enrollment, fill up with out of district enrollees, and produce a small stream of positive cash flow for the district, without the legal commitment to providing classroom space for the matriculating grade schoolers at the secondary level.
    Some background on this current school configuration situation:
    The current DHS facility is about 650 students over ideal enrollment. Harper was built after the large junior high population bubble had passed. At the time, the state provided matching funds for that facility cost so the campus was built (at half price for Davis residents)as a dual-use facility, to address the expected issue of over crowding at the senior high level.
    Harper as a DHS Annex?
    A smaller academy/specialty high school?
    DaVincic?
    Vocational?
    All this was publicly discussed two or three boards/superintendents ago. The next meeting Public Comment was filled with angry Harper neighbors protesting a high school in their neighborhood. Traffic. Noise. Negative impacts on their property values…All valid points. (Has anyone tried to cross at Oak and 14TH at noon on a school day?!)
    I suggest a closer look at the charter school idea, with an open, but questioning, mind.
    Additionally,I would like to put out there that in coming up with a new plan, we need to seriously rethink the teacher pay scale and benefits package of the DJUSD. Our teachers are invaluable and should be made an integral part of the solution. In the next decade, Ca. is going to experience a shortage of qualified teachers at all levels of public education. Complicating that, other states are mounting campaigns to lure what teachers we have to their states. The DJUSD id one of the lowest paying distrcits in the area, starting its teachers at $10,000 below Elk Grove. A new pay scale and benefit package costs for teachers should be realistically figured into the solution.
    Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?

  48. FRW

    Other declining enrollment districts are implementing a charter magnet school plan to draw in students from other districts, rent their unused facilities,and make a profit by contracting district services to the charter schools.
    Example, according to demographic study, (both of them), enrollemnts in South Davis will fall, leaving a need for about “one and a third” elementary schools over there.
    Still, the BUSSTF thought it unwise to ask South Davis elementary students to cross I-80 to get to school.
    To encourage interdistrict transfer students would legally commit the DJUSD to educate those students throught 12TH grade, exacerbating the over crowding at the senior high.
    A charter school could handle the “one third” surplus Davis enrollment, fill up with out of district enrollees, and produce a small stream of positive cash flow for the district, without the legal commitment to providing classroom space for the matriculating grade schoolers at the secondary level.
    Some background on this current school configuration situation:
    The current DHS facility is about 650 students over ideal enrollment. Harper was built after the large junior high population bubble had passed. At the time, the state provided matching funds for that facility cost so the campus was built (at half price for Davis residents)as a dual-use facility, to address the expected issue of over crowding at the senior high level.
    Harper as a DHS Annex?
    A smaller academy/specialty high school?
    DaVincic?
    Vocational?
    All this was publicly discussed two or three boards/superintendents ago. The next meeting Public Comment was filled with angry Harper neighbors protesting a high school in their neighborhood. Traffic. Noise. Negative impacts on their property values…All valid points. (Has anyone tried to cross at Oak and 14TH at noon on a school day?!)
    I suggest a closer look at the charter school idea, with an open, but questioning, mind.
    Additionally,I would like to put out there that in coming up with a new plan, we need to seriously rethink the teacher pay scale and benefits package of the DJUSD. Our teachers are invaluable and should be made an integral part of the solution. In the next decade, Ca. is going to experience a shortage of qualified teachers at all levels of public education. Complicating that, other states are mounting campaigns to lure what teachers we have to their states. The DJUSD id one of the lowest paying distrcits in the area, starting its teachers at $10,000 below Elk Grove. A new pay scale and benefit package costs for teachers should be realistically figured into the solution.
    Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?

  49. applauding

    “Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?”

    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.

    However, I like your idea of charter schools. It takes the fiscal power out of the hands of the School Bd/District, and puts the decision-making into to hands of the teachers and parents. I am all for that!!! And I agree, we need to pay our teachers better – the brain drain could be devastating.

  50. applauding

    “Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?”

    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.

    However, I like your idea of charter schools. It takes the fiscal power out of the hands of the School Bd/District, and puts the decision-making into to hands of the teachers and parents. I am all for that!!! And I agree, we need to pay our teachers better – the brain drain could be devastating.

  51. applauding

    “Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?”

    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.

    However, I like your idea of charter schools. It takes the fiscal power out of the hands of the School Bd/District, and puts the decision-making into to hands of the teachers and parents. I am all for that!!! And I agree, we need to pay our teachers better – the brain drain could be devastating.

  52. applauding

    “Finally, what is the difference between asking each family for “a dollar a day for schools” and raising the parcel tax by thirty dollars a month, except a parcel tax is then handled by qualified professionals and publicly elected officials, rather than an all-volunteer non-profit group?”

    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.

    However, I like your idea of charter schools. It takes the fiscal power out of the hands of the School Bd/District, and puts the decision-making into to hands of the teachers and parents. I am all for that!!! And I agree, we need to pay our teachers better – the brain drain could be devastating.

  53. Anonymous

    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

  54. Anonymous

    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

  55. Anonymous

    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

  56. Anonymous

    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

  57. Doug Paul Davis

    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

  58. Doug Paul Davis

    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

  59. Doug Paul Davis

    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

  60. Doug Paul Davis

    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

  61. Oops!

    ” Anonymous said…
    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

    5/19/08 9:31 PM

    Doug Paul Davis said…
    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

    5/19/08 9:36 PM”

    DPD, I think Anonymous 9:31 pm was being sarcastic! Correct me if I am wrong Anonymous 9:31 pm…

  62. Oops!

    ” Anonymous said…
    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

    5/19/08 9:31 PM

    Doug Paul Davis said…
    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

    5/19/08 9:36 PM”

    DPD, I think Anonymous 9:31 pm was being sarcastic! Correct me if I am wrong Anonymous 9:31 pm…

  63. Oops!

    ” Anonymous said…
    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

    5/19/08 9:31 PM

    Doug Paul Davis said…
    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

    5/19/08 9:36 PM”

    DPD, I think Anonymous 9:31 pm was being sarcastic! Correct me if I am wrong Anonymous 9:31 pm…

  64. Oops!

    ” Anonymous said…
    I think we need to build another new school because of declining enrollment. Also, hiring another superintendent would be just what the DJUSD needs.

    5/19/08 9:31 PM

    Doug Paul Davis said…
    The school board did the right thing in terminating David Murphy and the right thing in hiring James Hammond. They have done things wrong, but this is not one of them.

    5/19/08 9:36 PM”

    DPD, I think Anonymous 9:31 pm was being sarcastic! Correct me if I am wrong Anonymous 9:31 pm…

  65. FRW

    “The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”
    That is what alarms me. Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.

  66. FRW

    “The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”
    That is what alarms me. Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.

  67. FRW

    “The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”
    That is what alarms me. Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.

  68. FRW

    “The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”
    That is what alarms me. Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.

  69. #1

    “applauding said…
    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”

    Amen! The reason I did not participate in the dollar a day is that I did not want to watch the School Board/District make another mess of money that I contributed. But if it all works out, then my kids get a good deal, the value of my house remains stable, and I was able to spend a weekend in Reno the money saved.

    Also, what DSF was asking at $365was way more than the current parcel tax I have to pay in Davis. So I’m definitely glad it was voluntary.

  70. #1

    “applauding said…
    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”

    Amen! The reason I did not participate in the dollar a day is that I did not want to watch the School Board/District make another mess of money that I contributed. But if it all works out, then my kids get a good deal, the value of my house remains stable, and I was able to spend a weekend in Reno the money saved.

    Also, what DSF was asking at $365was way more than the current parcel tax I have to pay in Davis. So I’m definitely glad it was voluntary.

  71. #1

    “applauding said…
    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”

    Amen! The reason I did not participate in the dollar a day is that I did not want to watch the School Board/District make another mess of money that I contributed. But if it all works out, then my kids get a good deal, the value of my house remains stable, and I was able to spend a weekend in Reno the money saved.

    Also, what DSF was asking at $365was way more than the current parcel tax I have to pay in Davis. So I’m definitely glad it was voluntary.

  72. #1

    “applauding said…
    The difference is the dollar a day campaign was voluntary, the parcel tax is not. Very simple. There are some of us who may not be eager to pony up money for another parcel tax, to watch the School Board/District make another mess of things.”

    Amen! The reason I did not participate in the dollar a day is that I did not want to watch the School Board/District make another mess of money that I contributed. But if it all works out, then my kids get a good deal, the value of my house remains stable, and I was able to spend a weekend in Reno the money saved.

    Also, what DSF was asking at $365was way more than the current parcel tax I have to pay in Davis. So I’m definitely glad it was voluntary.

  73. wdf

    Piedmont USD (an Oakland “suburb”) voters passed a residential parcel tax of $1,100! It is a more affluent community than Davis (we have $200 parcel tax). They seem to operate a model in which voters, who might otherwise consider private/prep schools, instead voted to pass that money on to the school district.

    They fund at a rate of $11,200 per student. Davis at $8,600. State average is $8,900. California is already below national average in ed funding. Even Piedmont is below the funding rate in New York and New Jersey which is more than $12,000 per student.

    So, #1, you’re making out better than the national average even if you had donated to DSF.

  74. wdf

    Piedmont USD (an Oakland “suburb”) voters passed a residential parcel tax of $1,100! It is a more affluent community than Davis (we have $200 parcel tax). They seem to operate a model in which voters, who might otherwise consider private/prep schools, instead voted to pass that money on to the school district.

    They fund at a rate of $11,200 per student. Davis at $8,600. State average is $8,900. California is already below national average in ed funding. Even Piedmont is below the funding rate in New York and New Jersey which is more than $12,000 per student.

    So, #1, you’re making out better than the national average even if you had donated to DSF.

  75. wdf

    Piedmont USD (an Oakland “suburb”) voters passed a residential parcel tax of $1,100! It is a more affluent community than Davis (we have $200 parcel tax). They seem to operate a model in which voters, who might otherwise consider private/prep schools, instead voted to pass that money on to the school district.

    They fund at a rate of $11,200 per student. Davis at $8,600. State average is $8,900. California is already below national average in ed funding. Even Piedmont is below the funding rate in New York and New Jersey which is more than $12,000 per student.

    So, #1, you’re making out better than the national average even if you had donated to DSF.

  76. wdf

    Piedmont USD (an Oakland “suburb”) voters passed a residential parcel tax of $1,100! It is a more affluent community than Davis (we have $200 parcel tax). They seem to operate a model in which voters, who might otherwise consider private/prep schools, instead voted to pass that money on to the school district.

    They fund at a rate of $11,200 per student. Davis at $8,600. State average is $8,900. California is already below national average in ed funding. Even Piedmont is below the funding rate in New York and New Jersey which is more than $12,000 per student.

    So, #1, you’re making out better than the national average even if you had donated to DSF.

  77. applauding

    “Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.”

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!

  78. applauding

    “Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.”

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!

  79. applauding

    “Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.”

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!

  80. applauding

    “Since when do we let the responsibility of public education sink to the option of “voluntary?” It is everyone’s responsibility, not a “voluntary” act. Everyone benefits from an educated society; everyone is equally responsible for the costs of public education. It is the foundation upon which our democracy rests.”

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!

  81. wdf

    “applauding said…

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!”

    I applaud many comments you have offered, but I have to respectfully disagree w/ some assumptions here.

    A significant reason for the DJUSD fiscal house not being in order is that the district has built more schools than it can staff efficiently. They projected for growth that did not happen and is not likely to happen soon.

    If we were to close Emerson (or another JH), the district could save close to $600K per year in salaries for administrative and site specific staff – principal, V principal, secretary, librarian, etc.

    If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.

  82. wdf

    “applauding said…

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!”

    I applaud many comments you have offered, but I have to respectfully disagree w/ some assumptions here.

    A significant reason for the DJUSD fiscal house not being in order is that the district has built more schools than it can staff efficiently. They projected for growth that did not happen and is not likely to happen soon.

    If we were to close Emerson (or another JH), the district could save close to $600K per year in salaries for administrative and site specific staff – principal, V principal, secretary, librarian, etc.

    If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.

  83. wdf

    “applauding said…

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!”

    I applaud many comments you have offered, but I have to respectfully disagree w/ some assumptions here.

    A significant reason for the DJUSD fiscal house not being in order is that the district has built more schools than it can staff efficiently. They projected for growth that did not happen and is not likely to happen soon.

    If we were to close Emerson (or another JH), the district could save close to $600K per year in salaries for administrative and site specific staff – principal, V principal, secretary, librarian, etc.

    If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.

  84. wdf

    “applauding said…

    Yes, and it is the responsibility of citizens to keep an eye on where their taxpayer dollars are going. From what I can tell, Davis is not doing a great job with keeping its fiscal house in order. Why is it that Woodland was not going to lay ANY teachers off, but Davis was slated to lose 110 teachers and librarians? To give more money to the School District for another parcel tax will result in business as usual, IMHO. With water and sewer rate increases on the horizon, a public safety tax looming, etc… We must be sure any parcel tax is used wisely. To put our heads in the sand as in the past will result in the closing of Emerson Junior High. Remember, that issue was merely tabled, not taken off the table!”

    I applaud many comments you have offered, but I have to respectfully disagree w/ some assumptions here.

    A significant reason for the DJUSD fiscal house not being in order is that the district has built more schools than it can staff efficiently. They projected for growth that did not happen and is not likely to happen soon.

    If we were to close Emerson (or another JH), the district could save close to $600K per year in salaries for administrative and site specific staff – principal, V principal, secretary, librarian, etc.

    If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.

  85. applauding

    “If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.”

    Please note, that enrollment for junior and senior high has INCREASED in Davis, whereas enrollment in the elementary schools has dipped slightly. So how does it make sense to close a junior high that serves the entire west end of town, with a burgeoning teen population? It was made clear to the School Board that such a fiscal solution as closing Emerson would have the dire effect of overcrowding the junior highs, while negatively effecting the property values of an entire section of town.

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!

  86. applauding

    “If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.”

    Please note, that enrollment for junior and senior high has INCREASED in Davis, whereas enrollment in the elementary schools has dipped slightly. So how does it make sense to close a junior high that serves the entire west end of town, with a burgeoning teen population? It was made clear to the School Board that such a fiscal solution as closing Emerson would have the dire effect of overcrowding the junior highs, while negatively effecting the property values of an entire section of town.

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!

  87. applauding

    “If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.”

    Please note, that enrollment for junior and senior high has INCREASED in Davis, whereas enrollment in the elementary schools has dipped slightly. So how does it make sense to close a junior high that serves the entire west end of town, with a burgeoning teen population? It was made clear to the School Board that such a fiscal solution as closing Emerson would have the dire effect of overcrowding the junior highs, while negatively effecting the property values of an entire section of town.

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!

  88. applauding

    “If we don’t close a JH, then we have to find other cuts or other sources of revenue.”

    Please note, that enrollment for junior and senior high has INCREASED in Davis, whereas enrollment in the elementary schools has dipped slightly. So how does it make sense to close a junior high that serves the entire west end of town, with a burgeoning teen population? It was made clear to the School Board that such a fiscal solution as closing Emerson would have the dire effect of overcrowding the junior highs, while negatively effecting the property values of an entire section of town.

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!

  89. wdf

    “applauding said…

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!”

    I probably don’t disagree w/ your observation on enrollment trends.
    I agree that it is probably as necessary to close another elementary school or a JH. It depends on how the district chooses to group grades. A 9-12 DHS and 7-8 JH configuration can’t really allow 3 JH campuses to run.

    But if the district chose to go w/ 6-8, it probably makes more sense to close an elementary.

    It will probably be difficult to go w/ status quo because too many entrenched interests. Emerson refuses to allow a self-contained GATE program that would easily balance out the populations.

    As a result Emerson is obligated to run less efficient class sizes than the other campuses. It costs more to teach Emerson kids than other JH kids.

    If Davis voters are willing to accept that in a parcel tax, well, then fine.

    If not, then I think the pressure will be greater to close Emerson in a status quo condition.

    Mind you, it isn’t what I want, because my kids have attended Emerson and I have a personal attachment to it.

    But I’d rather not see some of the other budget choices that have been made in order for Emerson to stay open.

  90. wdf

    “applauding said…

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!”

    I probably don’t disagree w/ your observation on enrollment trends.
    I agree that it is probably as necessary to close another elementary school or a JH. It depends on how the district chooses to group grades. A 9-12 DHS and 7-8 JH configuration can’t really allow 3 JH campuses to run.

    But if the district chose to go w/ 6-8, it probably makes more sense to close an elementary.

    It will probably be difficult to go w/ status quo because too many entrenched interests. Emerson refuses to allow a self-contained GATE program that would easily balance out the populations.

    As a result Emerson is obligated to run less efficient class sizes than the other campuses. It costs more to teach Emerson kids than other JH kids.

    If Davis voters are willing to accept that in a parcel tax, well, then fine.

    If not, then I think the pressure will be greater to close Emerson in a status quo condition.

    Mind you, it isn’t what I want, because my kids have attended Emerson and I have a personal attachment to it.

    But I’d rather not see some of the other budget choices that have been made in order for Emerson to stay open.

  91. wdf

    “applauding said…

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!”

    I probably don’t disagree w/ your observation on enrollment trends.
    I agree that it is probably as necessary to close another elementary school or a JH. It depends on how the district chooses to group grades. A 9-12 DHS and 7-8 JH configuration can’t really allow 3 JH campuses to run.

    But if the district chose to go w/ 6-8, it probably makes more sense to close an elementary.

    It will probably be difficult to go w/ status quo because too many entrenched interests. Emerson refuses to allow a self-contained GATE program that would easily balance out the populations.

    As a result Emerson is obligated to run less efficient class sizes than the other campuses. It costs more to teach Emerson kids than other JH kids.

    If Davis voters are willing to accept that in a parcel tax, well, then fine.

    If not, then I think the pressure will be greater to close Emerson in a status quo condition.

    Mind you, it isn’t what I want, because my kids have attended Emerson and I have a personal attachment to it.

    But I’d rather not see some of the other budget choices that have been made in order for Emerson to stay open.

  92. wdf

    “applauding said…

    If anything needs to be closed, it is another elementary school – but that will not happen as long as the brand new elementary schools that were built unnecessarily are in the neighborhoods of School Board members. So, with all due respect, I cannot agree with your assertion – it belies the facts!”

    I probably don’t disagree w/ your observation on enrollment trends.
    I agree that it is probably as necessary to close another elementary school or a JH. It depends on how the district chooses to group grades. A 9-12 DHS and 7-8 JH configuration can’t really allow 3 JH campuses to run.

    But if the district chose to go w/ 6-8, it probably makes more sense to close an elementary.

    It will probably be difficult to go w/ status quo because too many entrenched interests. Emerson refuses to allow a self-contained GATE program that would easily balance out the populations.

    As a result Emerson is obligated to run less efficient class sizes than the other campuses. It costs more to teach Emerson kids than other JH kids.

    If Davis voters are willing to accept that in a parcel tax, well, then fine.

    If not, then I think the pressure will be greater to close Emerson in a status quo condition.

    Mind you, it isn’t what I want, because my kids have attended Emerson and I have a personal attachment to it.

    But I’d rather not see some of the other budget choices that have been made in order for Emerson to stay open.

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