District Formalizes Position Cut List As Community Seeks Alternative Funding Means

schoolscat.pngAt tonight’s school board meeting, the board will vote on resolutions that will authorize layoff notices to around 103 school district employees including over 80 teachers in an effort to close a 5.6 million dollar budget shortfall, mainly resulting from cuts to public education by the state.

Included in the 80.45 FTE cuts to teachers will be:

36 elementary school teachers, 4 Spanish immersion teachers, and a Montessori teacher.

For grades 7-12, there will be five english, four math, three physical education, social science and Spanish teachers cut each, two science and health teacher cut, one art, industrial technical and physical science teacher, and partial positions in computer technology, food sciences, fashion/ textiles, home economics, agriculture, and woods.

In addition, there will be seven secondary counselors, a physical education specialist, and the gate and EL coordinators.

Finally they will cut the flap grant manager, adult school principle, continuation high school principle, and co-director of special education (it’s not clear if these were partial cuts or the elimination of partial positions).

classified_cuts_2010_2

certificated_cuts_2010_2

Last night in an Op-ed in the Davis Enterprise a large number of community members: Jim Belenis, Ann and Bob Blattner, Adam and Jan Bridge, Chuck Foster, Michael Harty, Michael and Susan Hulsizer, Hiram Jackson, Pam Pacelli, Sheryl Patterson, Richard Reed and Dan Troy presented an alternative funding scheme to the community.

The main purpose of the piece was to urge the school board to address a loss of more than $9 million in funding from the state by taking specific actions.

  • Place a new parcel tax before voters in 2010 that provides the Davis community with an opportunity to preserve the core educational services currently targeted for elimination.
  • Include a ‘tax reduction trigger’ that reduces (and eventually eliminates) the new parcel tax when funding owed to the school district by the state is restored.

In the fall of 2007, the voters of Davis approved an extension of the parcel tax.  However, just a year later in response to a budget crisis, the school board placed Measure W on the ballot which would tax each home $120 and $50 per apartment in order to protect core programs.  The voters of Davis passed that measure by a 3 to 1 margin.

However, last year the school board had to continue making cuts and now this year it faces a $5.6 million deficit.

The authors suggest the following:

“The Davis Board of Education has authorized staff to investigate the feasibility of asking Davis voters to approve a new or replacement parcel tax to preserve the programs and services currently targeted for elimination. We believe another stop-gap tax measure that is designated to sunset is the best option…

However, as we consider the likelihood of Davis voters approving any increase in the current DJUSD parcel taxes, we believe the Board of Education should assure voters that increase is temporary and will be eliminated when revenues, owed to the school district under California law, are restored to local school budgets.

Currently, Davis schools are owed more than $1,150 per student, or approximately $9.9 million in ongoing funding by the state of California. The governor’s 2010-11 budget proposals clearly acknowledge this legal IOU and establishes the amount as an 18.355 percent ‘deficit factor.’ Under law, the state is required to pay this IOU when general fund revenues return to normal. Moreover, these IOUs have always been repaid in the past.

That is why we believe the Davis Board of Education should ask for a temporary tax that provides for its reduction and elimination when the current IOUs are repaid. This tax payment reduction and eventual sunset can be included in the measure so there is certainty for the voters that the tax is temporary.

Finally, we ask that any parcel tax increase designed to mitigate cuts be placed before Davis voters in 2010. This is because our students, parents and school officials need additional certainty on funding and service levels as they begin to plan for the 2011-12 school year.

As advocates for strong public schools, we support offering Davis voters the opportunity to consider a temporary parcel tax. Such a measure would protect the children and our community from the long-term effects of devastating program and personnel cuts. It also would guarantee taxpayers that this special assessment must be lowered and eliminated as the state returns the revenues it owes the district.”

As I understand this proposal, if passed, the measure would seek roughly $600 per parcel to start in order to bridge the gap between state money and district costs.  If passed it would replace the existing parcel taxes on the ballot, it would not be $600 on top of the current parcel taxes.  The current parcel taxes are $320.

If the measure fails, the current parcel taxes would remain in effect until their sunset date at which time the school board would have to move to renew.

One version of this proposal is that it would not only have an automatic decelerator, decreasing the parcel tax as more money becomes available, but it would actually pay back the citizens as the stay repays local school districts.  In short, this would act as a loan from the taxpayers to the district.

The board is currently polling the voters to see what is plausible and what the voters are willing to do.  Obviously Davis residents are struggling, however, we have a choice to make at some point, we can either bunker down and hope to ride out the storm and hope that our schools survive the funding crisis or we can shell out more money in hopes that we can keep them afloat.  We face a similar conundrum at the county level as well.  This is another reason why without some sort of revenue sharing agreement, I cannot support a renewal of the city’s sales tax.

As we examine this possibility, there are really several different groups in play.  There are those voters who will support any school parcel tax period.  There are those voters who might support this if the assurances are iron-clad.  And then there will be those voters who simply oppose any measure.

One of the reasons I have taken a sanguine view of city taxes is that I believe funding priorities need to fall toward schools and health care and away from exorbitant salaries for firefighters and city managers and department heads.  Unless we can reign in city spending on contracts, the resources for the serious problems will not be available.  Imagine if all of the department heads, managers, and firefighters in the city took a voluntary paycut and gave it to the school district – that alone would save most of the jobs and create a huge amount of good will.

Short of miracles, it might be that this parcel tax plan would be the best approach, although I think we still need to look into revenue sharing as a parcel tax is extremely regressive, charging each parcel the same amount regardless of value.

But in desperate times, we need some innovative measures to create funding to survive.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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.

Related posts

27 Comments

  1. johnnyrotten

    gee wiz, only one comment, i wonder why? could it be related to the fact that you won’t let people make annonymous comments anymore? You blog’s guage of health and wealth is guaged by the number of reader’s comments.
    No comments, no political impact. Do you still want people to register for comments on your site?

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Readership has gone up since we made the move. We had to do it, there was far too much bickering and too many people posting under multiple headings. Comments have gone up and down since we’ve implemented the changes. Readership has gone up.

  3. Ryan Kelly

    $600 per parcel. Hmmm….This will be tough to pass, considering that sewer/water fees are going to skyrocket, budget cuts at the University leading to layoffs, 30% furloughs at state jobs, unemployment, declining enrollment in local schools and on and on. It’s just too much.

  4. Ryan Kelly

    How about getting rid of the Open Space tax, which is not doing what it was intended to do and reducing the overall tax burden? People might be more inclined to increase taxes elsewhere, i.e. schools.

  5. rusty49

    “Readership has gone up since we made the move. We had to do it, there was far too much bickering and too many people posting under multiple headings. Comments have gone up and down since we’ve implemented the changes. Readership has gone up.”

    Mr Greenwald, you need to stay on topic or Mr. Shor will have to delete your posts. What’s good for the goose…….

  6. David M. Greenwald

    “How about getting rid of the Open Space tax, which is not doing what it was intended to do and reducing the overall tax burden? People might be more inclined to increase taxes elsewhere, i.e. schools.”

    That’s one of the reasons why I am likely going to oppose the sales tax extension. You bring up another good idea.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “$600 ?
    Sorry, no way.
    The districy needs to cut more. “

    I don’t understand what you think they can cut at this point that will amount to $5.6 million.

  8. johnnyrotten

    Thus far, on this blog there has been 5 ppl posting on this one issue. I think we need to make it more open like the good ole days. David, if you only knew just how important this blog is to the ppl of Davis. I’ll have you know, that powers that be, actually look at the numbers and comments on your blog. You make a difference but shoot yourself in the foot by limiting ppls’ right to post annonymously and in different names. The Vanguard got good ratings because ppl were not so restricted in their ability to speak freely. Ok so there’s bickering, so what. Just delete the unnecessary rude comments and let ppl continue to say what they want…plz, I know you’re all for it, but can you rethink this whole registering thing?
    If you say readership has gone up then how come there are so few comments? The schitty council needs to see that ppl are logged in and being made aware of your impact. I fear the registration process has only served to dampen the enthusiasm and growth of your blog.

  9. Don Shor

    There have been many blog posts on this topic, with substantial numbers of replies. The one in January on basically the same issue (when the cuts were proposed) got 64 replies. And the way you’ve participated, johnnyrotten, is one of the options we were looking for: using a consistent pseudonym if you prefer not to post under your real name.
    I think people may be just running out of ideas for how to resolve fiscal issues when they are all converging at city, county, and district at the same time. I know I’ve reached the point where I think they all just have to live with their current revenue sources, make the cuts, and tough it out. I hate to say that, because the impact at all levels is going to be serious. But I don’t think raising taxes on people who are already facing income loss is a reasonable alternative at this point.
    There is no tax option that is fair and that doesn’t burden people who are already facing economic problems. No higher parcel tax, certainly no higher sales tax. In fact, i think that getting the sales tax renewed will be a challenge. I’m on record as opposing it in the absence of serious fiscal reform. I could be persuaded otherwise, but I start from a pretty negative base at this point on all tax increase options.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    Yeah Don brings up a good point, but people are still reading these topics (and it’s what is happening) and I have often found that there is an inverse relationship between the number of posts and the number of times someone opens a page. I’m not sure why, but some of the most read articles are not highly commented, some are.

  11. E Roberts Musser

    “There is no tax option that is fair and that doesn’t burden people who are already facing economic problems. No higher parcel tax, certainly no higher sales tax. In fact, i think that getting the sales tax renewed will be a challenge. I’m on record as opposing it in the absence of serious fiscal reform. I could be persuaded otherwise, but I start from a pretty negative base at this point on all tax increase options.”

    Well said Don!

  12. Sue Greenwald

    I believe the open space tax is $25 a parcel. It gets highly leveraged with other funds to purchase permanent open space easements such as areas along Putah Creek and the Davis-Dixon buffer. We can certainly repeal it if folks want to — but it isn’t enough to make a dent in any of the needs that we have been discussing.

  13. johnnyrotten

    Why should we pay more taxes for teachers and the school districts to continue their downward spiral towards a prison industrial complex. I don’t think teachers deserve what they get paid, especially since they are failing children at such a rapid rate. The schools and teachers are the ones that are failing the children, NOT the other way round.
    All teachers making over 50k/year need to take a 10% pay cut. THe administrators and schools are next on the chopping block. Only then will the public be willing to justify such large failures of education on the part of the teachers. Teachers are constantly blaming their failures on the families and the kids.
    It’s called “blaming the victims.”
    It’s a perfect example of how perpetrators get away with murder by pinning the blame on those they oppress and suppress. It starts in the schools. Slavery..alive and well, where kids get screwed, parents suffer and lament while the slave traders and overseers get away with the contunual use and abuse of the system for thier financial gain.
    Typical. WHen the hell is anybody willing to come forth and fight against this system of oppression and injustice….
    it’s time to stop!!!!

  14. Sue Greenwald

    I think that most of us believe that the job that public school teachers do is equally important as the job the firefighters and police do, yet the disparities in pay are enormous.

  15. wdf1

    Why should we pay more taxes for teachers and the school districts to continue their downward spiral towards a prison industrial complex. I don’t think teachers deserve what they get paid, especially since they are failing children at such a rapid rate.

    Dude, you are way over the top. I’ve seen some pretty good teachers doing really good work who could have earned more money being fire fighters or stock brokers. I can think of plenty more obvious villains in society before considering school teachers.

  16. johnnyrotten

    [edit]
    sorry but i will say that yes, education in california is very very far less than substandard.
    so why should the taxpayers pay for less than substandard services?
    this is a fair and honest question.
    [edit]

  17. johnnyrotten

    wdf1 said there are plenty of great teachers..well, there are also more than plenty of awful teachers.
    face it, the school district is failing the children
    BOTTOM LINE
    You are the failures… not the students.
    I think ppl are realizing this more and more as time goes on and is the main reason why voters are turning away from supporting the schools. They are realizing that it’s just a bottomless pit of money being thrown away into teacher’s salaries who are rarely if ever truly held professionally accountable.
    is that tone better?

  18. wdf1

    the school district is failing the children
    BOTTOM LINE
    You are the failures… not the students.

    Here’s Davis High School with a national ranking based on student measures:

    [url]http://www.usnews.com/listings/high-schools/california/davis_senior_high_school[/url]

    I wonder how they got that.

  19. indigorocks

    Oh hi there, I was looking at the comments and such. I would like to concur with johnnyrotten. Where’s sid and nancy?
    any whoooo…wdf 1.
    I know you’re so interested in trying to make the schools look better than they actually are. The reason why the davis school district is doing so well, is because the students for the most part have the social, and economic privilege of having two genetically blessed parents, that have money for tutoring and extracurricular activities.
    So, aside from your very impressive school listing, I think we need to dive more deeply into the facts. You will find that there are a huge number of victims of an inadequate school system, that relies mostly upon the parents and students to do all the work.
    Erstwhile, the socially and economically disadvantaged kids get tossed to the side, kicked out, or moved to another school district.
    Many times students are belittled and harassed by teachers and students alike.
    Many schools do everything they can to prevent the “failure” kids from taking the STAR test. This test is absolute and honest and is a guage of how kids are really performing in school. I’ve spoken to many parents who complain about the DJUSD. They say it’s a good school district if the child is a good student.
    Quite frankly, the treatment of kids that are low performing and the tactics of administrators to cover up the real statistical facts is why DJUSD is considered a great school district.
    Bottom line, it’s pathetic. It relies on the kids and parents to do most of the work and by and large the teachers get by with many infractions and injustices.
    What’s sad to me is they constantly victimize and vilify “failures” so they can shift blame from the schools and teachers to the parents and children.
    So wdf1, thanks for your input, but it’s clearly skewed and lacking in substance. You fail to acknowledge the deeper and hidden forces at work within the DJUSD. Your posted ranking is impressive, but in the words of the great Winston Churchill. “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”
    We can manipulated the numbers any which way we please to satisfy our theories.

  20. indigorocks

    They do this by going to the parents and asking the parents if they would like to have their child be precluded from taking the test. Actually, they don’t ask, they encourage and strongly recommend to parents whose kids are failing, to not take the STAR test. If there are any administrators reading this blog, you know I am speaking the truth. It’s the dirty ugly truth behind the schools and how they operate in Davis.

    Also, they will find excuses to suspend the child for as long as possible during the testing. When the children come back, they are not given the opportunity to make up the test. Kids are allowed to make up the STAR test if they have been sick or suspended during the official testing. Principals do everything they can to make sure that the failing kids don’t get to take or make up the test, and will overextend this opportunity to the A+ Kids.
    Ask any administrator. Of course they’ll lie and cover it up. If you want the truth, go to the parents of kids who are “failures” and you’ll get the real truth

  21. wdf1

    If you want the truth, go to the parents of kids who are “failures” and you’ll get the real truth

    I’ll take you up on that one. I have had such a kid. We felt no pressure to keep him from taking the STAR test during that time. I happen to think that this district was the best shot we had at getting him through school. For us the goal wasn’t for our child to be valedictorian, but just to get a high school diploma. I also observe 4 other kids with autism-related conditions that seem to be working okay in district schools. I know the parents of three pretty well, and they seem to be content with what the school is doing.

    However I know that Ms. Musser can present a counter example. I can only respond that life doesn’t guarantee happiness, but you do the best you can with what’s available.

  22. wdf1

    So wdf1, thanks for your input, but it’s clearly skewed and lacking in substance. You fail to acknowledge the deeper and hidden forces at work within the DJUSD. Your posted ranking is impressive, but in the words of the great Winston Churchill. “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

    We can manipulated the numbers any which way we please to satisfy our theories.

    Or was it Mark Twain who said that? or Benjamin Disraeli? Oh, hell. Anyway it had to have been someone wise and famous —

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damn_lies,_and_statistics[/url]

    — or not.

    With a response like this, you excuse yourself from presenting or acknowledging any quantitative information by claiming that it is probably manipulated anyway. Then all we are left with is trading anecdotes.

    Unfortunately, we live in a data-driven society, for better or for worse, so your arguments would have wider credibility if you presented “statistics”.

    A couple of years ago, DHS was in danger of sanctions because not enough of their students were taking the STAR test. That’s because apparently a number of students were excused from taking the test by their parents who wanted them to focus on upcoming AP and SAT tests. There was no personal benefit to the students to take the STAR test.

  23. johnnyrotten

    Jeff Boone, I concur with you exactly. Don’t listen to indigorocks…she or he is obviously crazy. I mean really raise taxes for the rich? what is he smoking? actually i think we should raise taxes for the poor, and let them pay for the rich. that’s how’s it’s always been and how it should always be. i love this country cause i can get cheap labor so easily. just get a bunch of illegal immigrants and if they get too lazy, call ins on them. now that’s when i don’t mind paying my taxes. as long as it goes to the military and INS or ICE.

    I can go to a lake, fish all the fish I want, and then turn around and teach someone how fish in a lake with no fish. i love it. the poor have always been paying for the rich and they should continue to do so in my humble opinion. we need to get rid of big government. welfare has made people lazy, so now i can’t get them to work for low wages any more. with welfare around, and all these bloody governmental laws that make me pay over time, it’s getting harder and harder to make a quick buck. so what if it’s at the expense of others.
    right now the goddamned epa is up my arse for pooring too much pesticides and fertilizer on MY field. now they want me to pay for water? no way. let everyone else pay for the water, that’s what i say. they don’t want me pollutin the planet. hey it’s my planet, my land i can do what i want with it. now you’ve got these wacko environmentalists trynna take away my rights, claiming that i’m harmin the earth and their health. well, good, i don’t want em around anyway. if they die from cancer, good. when i’m gone, it won’t matter how dirty the air and water is. i made my money and lived a good life. that’s ALL that matters Jeff. Here here Jeff. We need more real Americans like you in Davis to set these dumbass liberals straight.
    i’m so glad there are illegal immigrants, but they too are becoming lazy. it’s going to have to get to the point that we’re gonna have to bring back slavery.
    i feel sorry for those poor farmers back in the day. they had to spend money their hard earned money to buy slaves. that was a huge cost. with the fall of slavery, they weren’t able to recoup the cost of the slave. what a travesty. then they had to go and actually pay people. people don’t need money. they did so much for the slaves. they fed the slaves, housed them and all they did was complain.
    why does the government have such a problem with us rich people making money? so what if it’s at the expense of the health and safety and freedom of the masses. screw the poor. we should let them starve to death like they do in third world countries.
    i think we need to completely do away with government regulations entirely. no more minimum wage, no more OSHA, no more environmental protection, no more taxes..for the rich only..i mean everyone else should pay taxes.. not us. we’re rich, we can do what we want. we’re doing all of you lazy people a favor.
    the rest should pay for the rich. i want you to pay for my lavish lifestyle. why should i give up anything to you? this is America goddamit. FREE COUNTRY. I can do what ever the hell I want because I have the money to pay for it. This is the way it should be, this is the way it should always be. God Bless America. The bible says it’s okay to have slaves. women should not have abortions, because the more desperate poor people there are, the better for me, cause I can buy and sell their labor for pennies on the dollar. just like the good ole days. damn those abolitionists.
    where’s my gun. i’m gonna go shoot some rabbits and bears.. yeah…..
    I think we should completely do away with taxes for the rich. after all, it’s us that are paying for you people. stop being so greedy. I got mine.. that’s all that matters.
    i’m so sick and tired of these goddamned liberal demosissies. this is America. Our nation was founded upon hard work. if i want to hire someone for 2 dollars an hour, i should be allowed to do so.
    this is a free country. why do you communists and socialists want to take away my rights.. Free country goddammit. stupid liberals.!!!

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for