Focusing the Debate on Davis High School’s Stadium Renovation

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Back in December, the DJUSD school board made the decision to prioritize the modernization of the football stadium over that of Emerson Junior High. This has generated a lot of criticism for the school district from a number of different quarters. In general this criticism has been ill-founded and based on misconceptions of funding and other factors.

The purpose of this article is to clarify some of the issues. While there seems to be a good deal of criticism to go around, it should be criticism that is fact-based rather than based on misinformation.
I largely decided to do this article because the school board and district’s perspective is, we had a full public discussion about this at least twice in open meetings. People can view the tapes of those meetings if they are confused.

That is of course not how it works. The district needs to do a better job of communicating with the public. People do not watch the meetings and they will not watch the tapes of the meeting. At least most people will not. They may not even read the newspaper on the issue. But that will not stop them from forming opinions and even expressing those opinions.

Likely then that means the issue of communication falls to entities such as the Vanguard which can breakdown complex issues and discuss them at length rather than being confined to 500 words, 800 words, even 1200 words.

For that reason I have decided to go ahead with this explanation, even though I’m not sure what decision I would have made had I been a board member in December or February. Criticisms as I said should be fact-based and then people can make up their own minds.

A letter appears February 20, 2009 in the Davis Enterprise from 24 teachers at Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

They wrote:

“Fourth, we oppose the plan to build a $10 million high school stadium while there are schools such as Emerson Junior High which, last year, was under consideration for closure due to dilapidated facilities. Additionally, the long-term effects of the stadium financing on the general fund are not clearly delineated, and a clear payment plan has not been developed.”

For this we need to back up several steps. Last spring, the district was facing a $4.5 million deficit. To that into perspective, what we face now which is roughly $3.1 million is a two year deficit. The scale of that deficit dwarfed this one in a lot of ways. So one thing the district was looking at was they knew off the bat they could save over $600,000 by closing a school.

The next part of this was the condition of Emerson Junior High. The district knew that it needed upgrades and repairs. However, what they did not know at that time was whether those needed upgrades and repairs were safety violations. This all happened so quickly that the district was in danger of making decisions based on less than complete information. This is very important to understand, to a good degree, the condition of the facilities in Spring of 2008 was unknown and all discussions were speculation.

Based on this and the problems of logistics that arose, the district made the decision not to close Emerson Junior High at that time and evaluate the facilities at a later point.

In June 2008, the district completed its evaluation. The evaluations indicate that the district will need to spend between $10 and $15 million on upgrades to Emerson. However, what they were told was that this was not an imminent safety problem. Much of the needed upgrades and repairs were to get it up to date with current code requirements. According to the consultants at the December meeting, that can happen at any time. Basically those requirements only kick in if the school were to do a major construction project.

School board Tim Taylor made it a point to talk about this back in December. He acknowledged rumors of deteriorating conditions in the buildings at Emerson but again added that there rumors were not borne out by the actual surveys by architects.

So when the teachers say there were school such as Emerson that were under consideration for closure due to dilapidated facilities, that is both misleading and really out of date information. The correct statement would have been that the district was looking to cut costs last spring and the conditions of the buildings while not known at the time, were cited as a possible reason for closure of the school.

I have said before and I will say again, I do not believe that any board members or any administrator wants to close Emerson. That is based on personal discussions with just about all of them. Moreover, looking at the three year finances, I do not see a reason that the district would need to close Emerson. They may play with the configurations, but I believe with strong certainty that Emerson is in no danger at this point of closing.

I spent more space than anticipated addressing the Emerson rumor, but that was important to put to bed. At a future point, there will be an article that fully explains the financing of the football stadium at Davis High School.

At this point, here is what we know. The district believes it can get redevelopment money for a portion of this project. That redevelopment money can only be used for school facilities, not for teacher salaries or other instructional expenses.

Second, the district is planning on borrowing about $4 million against future revenues from the school district’s community facilities districts. Again those funds can be used for school facilities only, not for teacher salaries.

See a pattern here. I am uncertain what the teachers meant when they stated: “the long-term effects of the stadium financing on the general fund are not clearly delineated.” To my knowledge there will be no impact on the general fund since these monies do not and CANNOT come from general fund monies.

There has been considerable public outcry to this point about the project. In part the money issue is driving this. Part of that stems from the perception that the district is starving for money on one hand but taking up a $10 million project on the other. Again, that perception is wrong and misplaced because of the differential in types of funding.

The other issue with funding is that the district chose DHS over Emerson. They did this in December. There is no getting around the fact that they consciously prioritized DHS Stadium over Emerson. As I have already explained that does not mean they are closing Emerson. They simply believe that DHS Stadium is more pressing.

Again, I turn to a letter to the editor, this one from New Year’s eve:

“Unquestionably, the appalling condition of the Blue Devils’ stadium calls for its replacement. But in these desperate economic times is a costly restoration the best option? Especially when it likely means stalling desperately needed restoration at Emerson.”

One of the questions is of course whether the restoration at Emerson is really desperately needed.

However, what is clear is that this is not merely an issue of the football program at the high school. This is not merely a matter of putting academics ahead of athletics or the appearance of vice-versa.

What this comes down to is a health and safety issue. The district was told by consultants and by students that there are safety issues not just with the football field, but with the track and with the stands. The district believes they face liability if this issue is not corrected and that liability would come out of the general fund whereas the repair comes from facilities money.

Again, that is the issue and the basis on which they made their decision. Are there alternatives to renovating the field? That is subject to debate and discussion. The district seemed to consider alternatives such as using Toomey Field, that seemed to be cost-prohibitive as well. Moreover it was impractical for everyday usage. Remember it is not merely the athletics programs that use the facilities but there is everyday usage.

Regardless, I think the question about alternatives is a fair discussion point. I also think the question about prioritization is a fair discussion point as long as understand the facts at this time suggest that Emerson is not going to be shutdown due to health and safety issues and the district’s consultants believe that DHS Stadium faces more imminent and significant health and safety concerns than Emerson.

So to quickly summarize here: Emerson is not closing due to health and safety concerns. DHS Stadium will not use monies that could go to the classroom. The district believes the situation is more critical at DHS Staidum where Emerson mainly faces code upgrades that are not needed until construction occurs in the future.

—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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47 thoughts on “Focusing the Debate on Davis High School’s Stadium Renovation”

  1. wdf

    The district seemed to consider alternatives such as using Toomey Field, that seemed to be cost-prohibitive as well.Good article. Thanks, David.I remember school board discussion mentioning that UCD was also not interested in making Toomey Field available (renting) on a regular enough basis to substitute for the DHS stadium (home games, for instance). But I can't remember which meeting discussed this option.I would also question if CFD monies could be used for renting Toomey.Maybe an additional relevant question to ask …could similar financing be available currently for Emerson renovation…? (borrowing against collection future CFD assessments).At the Feb. 19 meeting, staff also made the point that financing and construction costs could be had at favorable rates to the district during these economic times. Also, if such a project could be reasonably financed, then why not put some money in the local economy at this time?

  2. Anonymous

    DPD, Thanks for writing the story, Hopefully it will be clear that the funds can not be used for teachers. Anyone that has seen the facility will realize it has major safety issues and needs to be fixed asap. Are you working on story about that?

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I have been told there is a guest commentary forthcoming early next week. I don't know what this will address precisely. After that I will see where things are and can do more coverage as needed.

  4. Anonymous

    I think everyone is looking at this wrong. Where is the money coming from? Are they borrowing against funds from future real estate sales? Risky business especially in this economy.

  5. Dissatisfied Custome

    DPD, I have to respectfully disagree with some of your points. 1) IMHO, the decision to keep Emerson open was because there was huge public outcry at the idea. DJUSD would have had a public relations nightmare on its hands had it tried to close Emerson when it considered doing so. The only thing that stopped the closure of Emerson was parental and community uproar.2) At the time closing Emerson was under consideration, the first reason given was to save the school district $650,000. When that didn't fly very well with the community, then and only then did the school district float the idea out there that the school needed closing bc of structural deficits, code violations and the like.3) When DJUSD seriously considered closing Emerson to save money, using the excuse the school needed upgrades bc it did not come up to code, the DJUSD/Board made it sound like the need was very immediate and absolutely necessary. So immediate and necessary that it was imperative to close the school, because the school district just did not have the money to make the necessary fixes. 4) Now, when DHS needs renovation, suddenly the need for Emerson upgrades is not so immediate anymore. "Necessary" upgrades are not so urgent that it can't wait until upgrades are done to DHS Stadium first. Funny, I stated as much long ago on your blog. I asked the simple question "Are the Emerson upgrades something that would be nice to do, but are not really necessary to keep it open at this time? Is the upgrade issue just being used as a ruse and excuse to close Emerson to get DJUSD out of its financial hole?" I guess I got the answer to my question.5) Why is it that there is no money to make upgrades to Emerson, yet money can be borrowed to make the necessary renovations to DHS Stadium? The stance of DJUSD/Board on these two issues appears very hypocritical at best.6) All appearances give the impression that DHS Stadium is being renovated as "payback" for the Blue & White Foundation's having raised substantial funding to bail out our Davis schools from their financial dilemma last year.7) Many folks do not show up at school board meetings anymore because they have been shot down too many times to be bothered. The School Board is arrogant and disdainful of public comment.8) The elistist folks are well organized in this town, and push their fancy courses down the throats of the rest of us, such as "Baroque Chamber Music", Mandarin Chinese 5, and the like – and that includes renovating the new stadium. 9) The community did not rally round the closing of Valley Oak as they did around the closing of Emerson. But then I think part of that reason is that parents had forewarning when Emerson was threatened. When Valley Oak closed, things changed, and parents began to see a pattern. Parents really got in back of saving Emerson. Da Vinci went for charter status rather than take a chance of being closed down. (Good for them!)10) The whole "reconfiguration" issue smells. It smells too much like an end run around parents, to close Emerson. I don't care how much subterfuge DJUSD uses, such as housing part of Da Vinci at Emerson (that can be changed in a heartbeat)- it still has that taint. Color parents suspicious for good reason. DJUSD/School Board have hardly been above board in their dealings with the public.12) Giving Bruce Colby, an administrator, a raise in the middle of a fiscal crisis, makes no good sense. It is shameful, arrogant, wasteful, not matter how small in relation to the budget nightmare we face. How many other "little things" like this are going on that we don't know about?13) If we are so much in the hole financially that we cannot renovate Emerson, then how come we have the wherewithal to borrow money to fix DHS Stadium? Some say it is fiscally prudent, others say we cannot miss the opportunity to get redevelopment funding to do this. It all sounds too much like the mess with the elementary schools, when we accepted some federal or state money (forget which?) to build one too many schools, and got ourselves into a real mess that ultimately resulted in the closing of Valley Oak.In short DPD, the ethics of the DJUSD and School Board are both askew and suspect – for very good reason.

  6. wdf

    I think everyone is looking at this wrong. Where is the money coming from? Are they borrowing against funds from future real estate sales? Risky business especially in this economy.If you're willing to watch about an hours worth of explanation, the first part of the Feb. 5 school board meeting explained the financing.But basically they are parcel tax assessments that are being collected, but haven't yet been allocated (listed on your parcel tax statement under CFDs). Parcel tax assessments are a more secure funding source than sales taxes. The district is borrowing with the guarantee that those unallocated assessments will pay back the loan.

  7. Mike Hart

    DPD- now this is just like you, spoiling a perfectly good emotional issue with facts ;-)Well done and about time someone explained it so folks can understand what is really going on.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    Dissatisfied:I going to take some time here to address your points since they go to the heart of the issue.1. The decision to keep Emerson open was in part because of the public outcry at the idea, there is no doubt. I would not say that was the only thing because I think the issue of transportation, which was brought up during this process was a huge factor in and of itself. The geography of the layoff of the JRH's vs. the geography in Davis is a contributing factor.2. "At the time closing Emerson was under consideration, the first reason given was to save the school district $650,000. When that didn't fly very well with the community, then and only then did the school district float the idea out there that the school needed closing bc of structural deficits, code violations and the like."This is not true. The cost consideration explains the timing of the discussion but the repairs and code violations were mentioned in the original meeting. So your claim here is completely false.3. This was essentially a repeat of No.2. There was a concern longer term about repairs and upgrades to the site as a reason that could cause it to close in the future. They had not had a full site evaluation which is what occurred last summer and changed the thinking.4. "Now, when DHS needs renovation, suddenly the need for Emerson upgrades is not so immediate anymore."Again you have to refer to the report from June 8, it changes the thinking. You are not taking this into account."I asked the simple question "Are the Emerson upgrades something that would be nice to do, but are not really necessary to keep it open at this time? Is the upgrade issue just being used as a ruse and excuse to close Emerson to get DJUSD out of its financial hole?" I guess I got the answer to my question."Once again you are wrong. Emerson upgrades are not something that would be nice to do. The law is complicated but the site is out of compliance with current code, but is not required to get up to compliance retroactively unless and until there is further repair and construction done on the site. So this is something that will need to occur without a doubt, the timing though is more flexible.This is really an important point that you need to understand.5. "Why is it that there is no money to make upgrades to Emerson, yet money can be borrowed to make the necessary renovations to DHS Stadium?"This is a false question. There is not enough money to do both. The School Board in December made the decision that there was more urgency in the DHS Stadium matter rather than Emerson.6. "All appearances give the impression that DHS Stadium is being renovated as "payback" for the Blue & White Foundation's having raised substantial funding to bail out our Davis schools from their financial dilemma last year."I think you are conflating the Blue & White Foundation with the Davis Schools Foundation.The rest of your comments are basically you venting your spleen. I think I covered the substantive issues in the first six points. If you have other specific questions fire them off.

  9. Anonymous

    …The elistist folks are well organized in this town, and push their fancy courses down the throats of the rest of us, such as …Baroque Chamber Music…, Mandarin Chinese 5, and the like – and that includes renovating the new stadium….After subjecting us to complaints that kids were being given fresh salads as part of the school lunch program, you've moved on to a new rant of the moment. At least the salad criticisms had a certain entertainment value.I note that another blogger at another time said that there is no Mandarin Chinese 5 class being taught now in the Davis schools. So far that statement hasn't been challenged. But given that Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and that China has one of the strongest economies in the world (2nd?), I'm definitely for offering Chinese. I see more current value in that course over French or German.I'm not sure what your beef is with the music program either. Music classes have a much much higher average enrollment, and it has only continued to grow. If DJUSD has a fine arts requirement for graduation, then I'm very happy to see those high class sizes. It means the district is being more efficient in delivering those courses.

  10. huh?

    …Dissatisfied Customer said……If I were take your moniker at face value, then I would presume that you feel like your kids have not received a good education in the Davis schools. And that your kids' education has directly suffered because of the 13 detailed reasons you give. Is that the case? Have your kids received a good education in the Davis schools or not?If so do you think you could finish the argument and make that connection?

  11. Anonymous

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the facts of the situation. I applaud the school board for this decision. It took courage in this town to put forth a project that they knew would not go over well with the public. THe Stadium is the oldest facility in the district and a lawsuit ready to happen. Let's not forget about the visiting vice-principal a few years ago that fell down the bleachers and broke her leg. This should not be an Emerson vs. DHS battle. WE are one community and we should act as one. A renovated facility will benefit EVERY student in this district. It will also generate revenue. In other districts, their stadiums have brought in $200,000-$300,000. This does not include the money that visitors will spend at our local businesses. Once again, I applaud the board and the Blue and White Foundation for their forward thinking. In this economy, anything that has the potential to generate that much income is a GREAT decision.

  12. Anonymous

    Bad time (wrong image) to spend $4 million on something like this. You could make more money by putting the money in a CD. There are two perfectly good and underutilized stadiums at UCD – time to learn to share. Besides both of those fields have lights.

  13. get er done!

    anon 11:55 am:According to Bank Rate.co mhttp://www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/deposits_home.aspThe highest return for a CD right now is 2.86% for a one year investmentThe return on 4 million dollars would be $114,400 a year. So NO building the stadium is a higher return on investment. That does not include the hidden cost of increasing construction cost over the next several years because of the stimulus plan and the construction bonds California passed last year. For DHS to use the UCD facilities it cost 15k PER EVENT MINIUM. So once you consider Soccer, Track and Field, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, football and Graduation. It is easy to see the yearly cost to rent UCD facilities would be in the HUNDERS OF THOUSANDS. Not a good option either. Also you need to account for Scheduling issues with UCD events ECT. So at first it makes perfect sense but once you find out the details it does not pencil out.This is a classroom, it teaches leadership, interpersonal communication skills, teamwork, goal setting and Physical fitness. The Facility needs to be fixed now, before someone sues DJUSD!

  14. Anonymous

    Is a stadium really necessary for soccer, track, field hockey and other minor sports? You do not need a stadium for an audience of 100 people.The field and track will be there so the …classroom… will still be there. When matching investment opportunities it is important to assume returns from like term investments – at least use a 7-10 year CD rate.Agreed a new stadium would be nice, but the timeing is bad from a PR standpoint.

  15. Anonymous

    If people understood the facts of the situation- there wouldn't be any bad PR. As elected officials our board has to make informed decisions regardless of the public opinion. This is especially great in this case because many are not taking the time to educate themselves. Bravo to the board for doing the right thing and not caving to the uninformed.

  16. Anonymous

    really? 7-10 year cd? that may be the worst idea ever. Lets lend money at record low interest rates locked in for 7-10 years, while we let our school facilities get in even worse shape. Then take the tiny amount we earn and fix something. Oh yea the ROI wont even beat inflation 3-4 percent.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    Another Dissatisfied Customer:…That's right, which is an admission that the school board would have closed it had you and other community members not said anything….No. I don't know what they would have done. They were looking for ways to cut money, the process was far from ideal. And yes it was proposed as a cost-cutting solution before they had fully explored the state of the facilities. Had they not been $4.5 million in the hole at that point, they would have viewed the facilities report first. They did not have that option last February when they had a March 15 deadline….This language is how the school board gets to switch its position on the importance of maitenance on a whim. …I don't feel like you have a clear concept of what happened or what steps were involved. They didn't switch importance, they acquired more information….DPD, your excuse here is they did not have all of their facts straight before they made a proposal to close Emerson, which you admit would have happened if the people had not got out and marched….Wrong on both accounts. They had enough facts at their disposal to close the school in February based on costs. They did not know the extent of the maintenance needs and ADMITTED as much at the time.I do not admit it would have happened had people not got out and marched. I don't know. It's naive to suggest it played no role, but they didn't exactly change their position on Valley Oak based on marching either. I think were it not for the logistics/ transportation issue they probably would have closed it at that time. I don't know whether they would have had the people not complained….which is irresponsible. simple maitenance of schools should come higher on the priorities list. …I disagree here as well, the severity of the problem and the health risk enter into your factors….DPD, I think you were fine for awhile, but right now you are becoming an apologist for the school board. …Sorry that I actually look at facts and let them determine my position on a given topic. I have a number of criticisms of the board. I have not come out either way on this particular issue. But I think any discussion ought to start with the facts rather than half-truths and pure fictions which the public debate has taken on up until this point. It was at this point I decided to weigh in on the side of presenting a full story, the public can then make up their own minds.I don't understand exactly what …smells…–what do you see as the board's gain from pursuing DHS at this point and incurring the wrath apparently of much of the community? I don't see much upside in it frankly.

  18. barbara

    I think our students should have better and safer facilities for P.E. Therefore, I support the DHS renovation. I have been embarrassed by our crumbling facility when DHS hosts an athletic event, but I'm not willing to pay $10 million to alleviate embarrassment. What I'm concerned about is what the $10 million will buy. Will it be overkill, or just the basics? I'm in the mood for just the basics right now, and I suspect others are too. It's easy to Monday morning quarterback huge expenditures like this. My favorite example is the video and sound systems available in all classrooms in junior and senior high. According to my kids, these are rarely, if ever, used and it just makes me see red and wonder who spent the money so frivolously! My kids also tell me that the computers in their classrooms are rarely if ever used, and when students need to use computers, they all go to the library. Why do they put the computers in the classroom?? After the stadium is updated, I don't want to look at gold-plated toilets and wonder where the money went.

  19. Anonymous

    I have no dog in this fight but there is no evidence that UC Davis was ever approached about using Toomey Field. As a campus employee I can only say that if UC Davis was approached it was only through some back channel. I have no idea if the campus would be interested but I do know that they would at a minimum consider it. People should be careful about relying assumptions.

  20. Give me a Break!

    … Anonymous said… Is a stadium really necessary for soccer, track, field hockey and other minor sports? You do not need a stadium for an audience of 100 people….So those kids and families dont deserve a safe facility? And they dont deserve something to be proud of. Not to mention PE that would use it and the entire community of davis that could benifit from a public all weather track and field.

  21. Another Dissatisfied Customer

    Dissatisfied Customer had it right. The decision to keep Emerson open was in part because of the public outcry at the idea, there is no doubt. That’s right, which is an admission that the school board would have closed it had you and other community members not said anything….Once again you are wrong. Emerson upgrades are not something that would be nice to do. The law is complicated but the site is out of compliance with current code, but is not required to get up to compliance retroactively unless and until there is further repair and construction done on the site. So this is something that will need to occur without a doubt, the timing though is more flexible….The language you present here is very weasel-worded. This language is how the school board gets to switch its position on the importance of maitenance on a whim. There was a concern longer term about repairs and upgrades to the site as a reason that could cause it to close in the future. They had not had a full site evaluation which is what occurred last summer and changed the thinking.DPD, your excuse here is they did not have all of their facts straight before they made a proposal to close Emerson, which you admit would have happened if the people had not got out and marched. There is not enough money to do both. The School Board in December made the decision that there was more urgency in the DHS Stadium matter rather than Emerson.which is irresponsible. simple maitenance of schools should come higher on the priorities list. DPD, I think you were fine for awhile, but right now you are becoming an apologist for the school board. I agree with the other dissatisfied customer (DC). This smells and we all know it. DC said it: THE STORY KEEPS CHANGING. They keep changing their arguments on a whim, and when you pin them down, they switch to something else.

  22. Anonymous

    Another disatisfied customer said:…simple maitenance of schools should come higher on the priorities list…. I would like to remind you that the Stadium IS part of the school and its most used classroom.

  23. Incompetent

    No. I don’t know what they would have done. They were looking for ways to cut money, the process was far from ideal. …And yes it was proposed as a cost-cutting solution before they had fully explored the state of the facilities….which is irresponsible as all hell. You don’t lay such a draconian proposal out on the table before you have the facts. Its that simple. You knew what was done to valley oak. You knew that was what they were planning with Emerson so you joined in the march to stop it. Come the blank on. Don’t re-write history and pretend the situation was different than what you know it to be. Had they not been $4.5 million in the hole at that point, they would have viewed the facilities report first. They did not have that option last February when they had a March 15 deadline.I wouldn’t care if they were 100billion in the hole. You don’t make grand proposals without having your facts straight, which you admitted they did. Either they are very decietful, or incompetent.

  24. David M. Greenwald

    In real fairness, they found out they had $4.5 million to cut in two months. It was hardly ideal scenario. They had to explore all budget options at that point.You see a big difference between this year and last year because Colby and the district have known this was coming for some time and could plan for it. If they had known about the deficit for a year, and threw up trial balloons, then I’d agree with you. They didn’t.Do I think they should have proposed it? No, I don’t. it was a mistake. They made a lot of mistakes last year. They then got fortunate that the May revise came in better than expected and the DSF raised the remainder.

  25. Anonymous

    barbara to answer your????I saw the presentation by the District staff. It sounded like a standard High School facility. They said the major cost were because of California state building laws for schools and prevailing wage labor. Also the last meeting Mike Adell the facilities Director said that cost were going down for building and that the project would most likely cost less than the 10 million estimate by the Architect.I also hope the facility gets renovated, its the only school classroom used by ALL STUDENTS.

  26. barbara

    Thanks Anonymous 8:19. I’m glad to hear it sounds standard and might come in at less than originally estimated. I can’t help but think that my kids might have taken more than the minimum P.E. requirements if the facilities had been more enticing.

  27. listen

    The track needs to be built. The bleachers need to be replaced and increased in size so students can participate. The money to be used for this doesn’t affect teacher salaries or the general fund. It is using money intended for the building and upgrading of facilities.As a graduate of Davis High School and parent of children who have graduated from Davis Schools (and attended Emerson), I think that this discussion is awful. How many times must it be stated that the money is supposed to be used for facilities and has no impact on teacher’s salaries? Emerson is fine. The upgrades needed would be invisible to the students (i.e. upgrades to the electrical system, etc.), maybe some dry rot repairs, etc. Nothing that will really impact the teaching environment. The P.E. facilities at the high school will have a visible and direct impact on all students at the High School into the future.The University of California requires a year of fine arts. Music classes fulfill that requirement. Classes are huge, and efficient. Of course, shrinking budgets will force the administration to cancel under-enrolled classes, but not because the subjects are not valuable or worthy of being taught.David, you did a good job of explaining the issue. Apparently, people are just not listening. There is not much that can be done if people are not willing to read or listen.(Remember, the adults in this town are not the …customers… – the students are. We would do well to start listening to them.)

  28. Dissatisfied Customer

    …David, you did a good job of explaining the issue. Apparently, people are just not listening. There is not much that can be done if people are not willing to read or listen….Or maybe you and DPD are not listening to us? Because you already have your minds made up? DPD admits he thinks DJUSD made a mistake in trying to close Emerson. He admits parental uproar was a factor in keeping Emerson open. The only thing he refuses to admit, is that the target argument keeps changing, depending on what DJUSD wants at the time. It is a typical tactic, and has been very effective in obfuscating the issues.

  29. Dissatistied Customer

    …This is not true. The cost consideration explains the timing of the discussion but the repairs and code violations were mentioned in the original meeting. So your claim here is completely false….I beg to differ. Cost cutting of $650K in operating expenses was the first reason floated out to the public in a concerted way. When that didn’t go over very well, then DJUSD/Board pushed the other idea of cost cutting in facility expenses as the major reason floated out to the public for closing Emerson. You can rewrite history all you want, and try to obfuscate the issue by insisting both issues were …discussed… by DJUSD/Board at the same time. However, when it came to the PR end of things and when the public read about it in the Enterprise, the first reason to save operating expenses was the one pushed. Only when that didn’t go over very well w the public did the DJUSD/Board decide to push another agenda – the high cost of repairs. Frankly, DPD, you are beginning to sound like an apologist for the DJUSD/Board.

  30. Dissatisfied Customer

    …which is irresponsible as all hell. You don’t lay such a draconian proposal out on the table before you have the facts. Its that simple….Amen. Let’s face it, had the public reaction not been heated, they would have closed Emerson in a heartbeat to save $650K, and not looked any further.

  31. Mike M.

    anon. 12:07.FYI-You must not have been working for UCD in the fall of 2006 when DJUSD rented Toomey field for the DHS vrs Woodland Football game. I was present in one meeting and UCD has to charge at least 15k per event because of NCAA Division 1 rules. UCD has been approached and using UCD would be too costly and not solve the current saftey issues at DHS.Also please read the comment by …get er done… that person talks about the reason as well.

  32. Crunch Lunch lady

    …After subjecting us to complaints that kids were being given fresh salads as part of the school lunch program, you’ve moved on to a new rant of the moment. At least the salad criticisms had a certain entertainment value.I note that another blogger at another time said that there is no Mandarin Chinese 5 class being taught now in the Davis schools. So far that statement hasn’t been challenged. But given that Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and that China has one of the strongest economies in the world (2nd?), I’m definitely for offering Chinese. I see more current value in that course over French or German.I’m not sure what your beef is with the music program either….Interesting how anyone that disagrees w you or is critical of our schools is always going on a …rant…. As for Mandarin Chinese 5, I believe a teacher initially said such classes had low attendance rate, so seemed a waste. Mandarin Chinese 5 may be widely spoken, but it is the French and German languages that give us a lot of our vocabulary in the English language, e.g. deja vu.Secondly, I never, ever said anything about our music programs. So conflating posts is hardly a persuasive argument.

  33. David M. Greenwald

    Well I pulled the Enterprise article from the original March 21 meeting, you note that the issue of facilities were raised at this time, and at that point you will also note that at that time they said that there was not a safety issue AND that it would be studied in the summer:…Mike Adell, director of facilities, acknowledged that …there are definitely issues… with the Emerson campus, including …places where water has gotten in… and caused problems with the buildings, which are just under 30 years old.Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby said the school district has a structural engineer studying the Emerson campus….It’s not the prettiest site, but it meets health and safety questions,… Colby said. He added that an architect’s report, due early next month, may answer some of Lovenburg’s cost questions. …So I disagree with you that the issues were not raised simultaneously.Here is the configuration staff report if you are interested. Of course you could have done this just as easily as I, rather than insisting that you were right without documenting it.

  34. Get It?

    DPD – you seem to be missing my point. The DJUSD pushed the idea of closure of Emerson to save on operating expenses. There was a huge hue and cry from the public. Then they pushed the idea that Emerson needed to be closed for facilities reasons.

    This does not mean that both items were not discussed simultaneously at Board meetings, it is a matter of what was “pushed” as the primary motivator for closing Emerson and when.

    And my point still remains the same:
    There was discussion about closing Emerson when
    1) not all the facts were known
    2) when the facilities problems at Emerson were considered an “imminent” threat.

    When closing Emerson was taken off the table bc of the public uproar
    3) Emerson’s facilities problems were downgraded to “not an emergency”
    4) to make way for spending money on upgrading DHS Stadium rather than upgrading Emerson.

  35. David M. Greenwald

    Yes I get your point, I see no evidence to support your claim. In fact, a perusal of the minutes of the meetings suggests that the issue of facilities was never pushed as the primary reason for closing the site at any point in time. When the issue arose, it was always secondary and always presented as a consideration that was not fully understood at the time, whereas the cost savings in the main public meeting took up the bulk of the documentary evidence and evaluation. The school board listened to the full report, realized that given time considerations and logistical considerations the exploration of closing Emerson was premature, they then tabled the discussion and eventually pulled it off the table.

    Nowhere in the either the newspapers or the minutes to the meeting was the issue of facilities featured as the dominant consideration. If you can find evidence of it, then you can point me towards it, otherwise you are simply engaging in revisionist history and discourse.

  36. Mike McDermott

    I think we have some miss communication…. UCD was approached I was one of several people that looked into the possiblity. So UCD was talked to. As far as the 15k goes that was UCDs costs to hold the event. It was the price tag for UCD security and clean up crews. I also think it included the cost for people selling food (that may be wrong though)…..

    If anon… has some kind of evidence that they would like to bring up in public with a real name that would welcome by all!

  37. Mike McDermott

    I think we have some miss communication…. UCD was approached I was one of several people that looked into the possiblity. So UCD was talked to. As far as the 15k goes that was UCDs costs to hold the event. It was the price tag for UCD security and clean up crews. I also think it included the cost for people selling food (that may be wrong though)…..

    If anon… has some kind of evidence that they would like to bring up in public with a real name that would welcome by all!

  38. David M. Greenwald

    Mike’s info is what I have been told as well. There discussions about this about a year ago.

    But one other consideration is that a large portion of the athletics program is funded by gate receipts and concessions. These go directly to DHS athletics.

    By renting the facility from UCD, those revenues would not be available for athletics but rather would go to rental expense and thus would not cover the total athletic department expenses.

    Thus this would not be a viable solution as it would be the program in fiscal difficulties.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    Mike’s info is what I have been told as well. There discussions about this about a year ago.

    But one other consideration is that a large portion of the athletics program is funded by gate receipts and concessions. These go directly to DHS athletics.

    By renting the facility from UCD, those revenues would not be available for athletics but rather would go to rental expense and thus would not cover the total athletic department expenses.

    Thus this would not be a viable solution as it would be the program in fiscal difficulties.

  40. Emerson parent

    [i]And my point still remains the same:
    There was discussion about closing Emerson when
    1) not all the facts were known
    2) when the facilities problems at Emerson were considered an “imminent” threat.[/i]

    I attended those meetings, and what I understood for some of the reasons not to close Emerson was:

    1) not all the facts were known
    2) the facilities master plan was not done at the time, so it was impossible to know fully what the conditions of Emerson were.

    The suggestion to reconfigure the secondary was made to see if there were savings to be had in the budget. And the school board decided those savings weren’t sufficient in light of the other reasons above.

    I would personally like to see upgrades at Emerson, but I don’t have a problem with the stadium project.

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