Policies Implemented Last Year and Passage of Measure W Put Davis in Good Position Relative to Neighbors

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One of the constant refrains posted on the Vanguard for much of the last year, has been the consistent comparison between the Davis school situation and that of Woodland.

That refrain is typified by this question posted on September 22, 2008:

“Why were Woodland schools able to weather the storm, w[ith] no teacher layoffs, yet we were going to lay off nearly 100 teachers in Davis? That is a huge discrepancy that has not been answered satisfactorily for me.”

The implication of the question was that the problems that Davis faced last spring and that necessitated Measure W were based on local problems rather than statewide revenue shortfalls.

The answer generally given to that question was that Woodland was able to survive in part on reserves and one-time money and that their problems were going to come in future years.

It is very unfortunate that those answers have largely been proven right. Davis stands in relatively good position to whether at least the first year and a half of the financial storm based in part on the passage of Measures Q and W, and a good job of managing its carryover funds.

Woodland, unfortunately, on the other hand, is facing what Davis faced last spring.

In article published on Saturday, entitled, “Deep cuts are near for WJUSD,” Woodland Daily Democrat reported:

“With no solution in sight to the state’s financial problems, Woodland Unified School District staff are bracing for future lost revenue by planning staff reductions and putting cost-saving measures in place.”

Oh but there is more:

“But that’s just one of the financial hurdles the district faces. Not only are they expecting close to $6 million in cuts in the next 18 months — about $300 less per student — but declining enrollment is producing a nearly $700,000 loss.”

Wait a second, I could not have read this right. Did they say not only do they face, $6 million in cuts, but are facing $700,000 from declining enrollment. I thought Woodland had a lot of development recently and development helps ensure there is no declining enrollment? I thought Davis needed to develop more so that we did not suffer from declining enrollment. I am very confused.

The district must start making hard budgetary decisions even without a clear plan from the state, interim superintendent Carmella Franco said.

“The problem is that we have to have a plan to the board by February so we can’t wait for the legislature,” Franco said. “We know they’re going to be horrible cuts but we can’t wait.”

Harsh cuts in personnel and teachers will need to be made by March 15 so that employees will know whether they will continue to work next year.

“We’re operating with no guidance,” Interim Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Paul Disario said.

Davis is in a similar situation in terms of not knowing what the budget is going to look like, but having been through this last year, Davis is now in far better shape to get by than Woodland.

Woodland is now looking to approve an Energy Saving Program–something DJUSD already has done. They are looking at an across the board reduction of all district department budgets, 10% reduction in discretionary budgets, and a 10 percent freeze in the school categorical funds. Finally they are talking about an early retirement incentive plan with about 120 eligible employees.

The bottom line is that these are tough times for education, the state is going to make deep cuts no matter whose budget plan we look at. Davis is in far better shape now as opposed to last year because of the steps already taken and because of public generosity.

—David M. Greenwald 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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16 thoughts on “Policies Implemented Last Year and Passage of Measure W Put Davis in Good Position Relative to Neighbors”

  1. Chuck

    …Has anyone ever looked into how many students that attend Davis schools actually live in Davis? And I know you all know what I’m talking about……What’s your point?Some students live outside of Davis and transfer in. That’s been known for a while. Astonish us with something we don’t already know, please.

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting article. I don’t think the Davis community can go out and raise $1.7 million now, nor would I think Davis be as supportive of a Measure W passed now rather than earlier in November.People are not feeling as wealthy nor as generally secure now as they were this time last year.News items suggest that we probably have an additional budget year (2010-11) in this economic cycle before anything improves.

  3. Anonymous

    Special meeting of DJUSD school board, this Wednesday, 5 p.m. at City Hall community chambers. Budget workshop. This is where the administration lays out what some possible options are for cuts. I hope the school board has the guts to press for a wider range of options for cuts.Jeff Hudson article in today’s (Monday) Enterprise.

  4. Anonymous

    Chuck,Obviously, anon 6:42 is referring to the DJUSD’s ability to maintain headcount at its schools by filling seats with interdistrict transfers. It looks like you’re aware of this, but based on David’s response (unless it was typed with heavy sarcasm), not everyone is.Based on the article, could we potentially see declining enrollment in other Yolo school districts if the DJUSD further opens its doors to interdistrict transfers? The last time I checked, the DJUSD allowed interdistrict transfers to students whose parents worked in Davis.

  5. my view

    I hardly think DJUSD is doing a better job than Woodland. Woodland weathered last year’s storm bc it was prepared. DJUSD was not prepared bc of prior mismanagement, and had to give pink slips to about 100 teachers, which Woodland did not have to do. DJUSD managed to fight its way out of its mess bc parents and taxpayers ponied up the money to get DJUSD out of its economic hole. Woodland parents and taxpayers as a whole are not as wealthy as Davisites…so don’t necessarily have that sort of option. Don’t try and cover over the continual mismanagement of DJUSD – such as giving Bruce Colby a raise, developing five new programs, one of which is …Baroque Chamber Music….

  6. David M. Greenwald

    What’s happened is that Woodland had to burn up all of their flexibility last year in order to avoid problems–so they ate into their reserves and one-time money. Now they have to lay off teachers. As you will see today, Davis is now in better shape than Woodland to ride out at least the first part of this storm.

  7. wdf

    To My view:Have you spoken with anyone who lives in Woodland about your sentiments? There are some bad feelings in Woodland about how their school district is being run.In the past year, a scandal over mismanaging the acquisition of a new administration building, a grand jury investigation over that issue, allegations and evidence of Brown Act violations, attempted recall of four trustee members, and now this round. I wish Woodland schools well, but I prefer Davis’ situation for now.

  8. Anonymous

    …What’s happened is that Woodland had to burn up all of their flexibility last year in order to avoid problems–so they ate into their reserves and one-time money….As if Davis didn’t? And Davis also has the advantage of wealthy citizens coughing up what was necessary to clean up the Davis school district’s mess.

  9. Vincente

    …As if Davis didn’t?…In fact Davis starts this year with a several million dollar fund balance surplus. Davis will in fact be doing what Woodland did–over the next three years–meanwhile Woodland will be laying off teachers. It would help if you actually read the budget numbers before you opened your mouth.

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