Race is on in DJUSD School Board

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schoolscat.pngYesterday we reported that the three incumbents had all announced this week that they were running for reelection.  There are three spots available and therefore, as one might expect, all could be seated.  But now we have a fourth candidate, according to Thursday’s Davis Enterprise, Mike Nolan.

On Thursday, the Vanguard reported that Tim Taylor, Gina Daleiden, and Sheila Allen are all running for re-election.

Mr. Nolan has four children all in Davis public schools, according to the article.  Two of them are in high school, one of them is at Emerson Junior High and the other is at Willet Elementary.  Mr. Nolan has also, according to that article, served on the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee under the last four superintendents.

According to him, “The problem for Davis is that the current funding system funnels money to big urban districts, and also to schools that aren’t performing well … at the expense of school districts like ours that are performing well.”

Mr. Nolan added, “the major problem facing the school board is the (school district’s) $4.5 million structural deficit, which stems largely from continuing reductions in funding from the state.”

“I believe that we have to fix that problem sooner rather than later,” Mr. Nolan told the Enterprise. “I was disappointed that the school board decided not to put a supplementary parcel tax before the voters this year. I think if you’re running for re-election, you have to lay out for the voters now – before the election – your plan to solve this structural deficit.”

He continued, “I’ll bring a fresh perspective and more energy to deal with this really big problem that we’re facing.”

Mr. Nolan according to the Enterprise is a former law school graduate and practiced law in San Luis Obispo, he now describes himself as a stay-at-home father.

The filing period will end on August 6.

Commentary

Whether you agree or disagree with the incumbents, I do not believe it is healthy for a democracy for people to get anointed to elective office rather than elected.  We saw several county level candidates and officeholders, Don Saylor, Matt Rexroad, Jeff Reisig (DA), Ed Prieto (Sheriff) among others who faced no competition.  They never had to justify their actions while in elective office.  Don Saylor never had to face the voters and explain his record while City Councilmember in Davis.

I fully recognize that lack of opposition can speak loudly about the strength or perceived strength of a candidate, but in the end, I do not think that is healthy for democracy.

Everyone in Davis was pleased that Rochelle Swanson, for example, entered the Davis City Council race in order to give voters a choice in who they decided should lead.

Now we have Mr. Nolan entering the race for school board.  I do not know much about him.  He seems on the surface to have been active in the schools with his children, and that is a big plus.  I think it would be extremely difficult for the incumbents to be defeated.  But at least the incumbents know that they have to justify their actions for the past five years and answer for them.  The voters can decide whether they did the right thing.

I would urge more people to enter as well and we can really have a battle to see who makes the decisions. 

In terms of his substantive statements, I am not sure that the current system funnels more money to urban districts or to schools that are not performing well.  I think the problem with the current system is as he said later, the continuing reductions in funding from the state.  As such, there is very little that a local school board member can do other than practice good fiscal discipline.  The voters need to decide in this election whether the three incumbents did that or not.

I would encourage Mr. Nolan if he is reading this to contact the Vanguard and we can find out more about his candidacy.

—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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4 thoughts on “Race is on in DJUSD School Board”

  1. Mr.Toad

    What can someone on the school board do about the way state funding is allocated? I don’t see why this is a reason to run except to argue that the inequities in our funding system that favors the poor are unjust and if that is what you think I’m not sure I would support you anyway. What is really odd about this argument is that Davis ends up with more than its share through local support as do most of the best districts throughout California. So to be so provincial as to become myopic doesn’t seem to be a good fit.

    I’m really surprised that the three incumbents all are running again. They have been through four years of hell with the budget and managed to keep their composure and ability to work together. On top of that they brought in Hammond, the best Superintendent I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I hope they have done it again with the new Super. If ever there were incumbents who deserved to be re-elected this group does.

  2. wesley506

    “I was disappointed that the school board decided not to put a supplementary parcel tax before the voters this year.”

    It sounds like his #1 priority will be to get that $600 parcel tax on the ballot. I’m sure a pledge to raise taxes will go over well with the ever expanding pool of downwardly mobile Davisites.

    Having been to several school board meetings I agree that they have had a tough job. Mr. Taylor in particular always seems to be on top of things as evidenced by his willingness to tackle the tough issues and come up with thoughtful comments and suggestions. All of the incumbants have my vote.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    dpd: “In terms of his substantive statements, I am not sure that the current system funnels more money to urban districts or to schools that are not performing well. I think the problem with the current system is as he said later, the continuing reductions in funding from the state. As such, there is very little that a local school board member can do other than practice good fiscal discipline. The voters need to decide in this election whether the three incumbents did that or not.”

    I read an expose in the Sac Bee some years ago, that claimed the urban districts, particularly LA County, were getting a disproportionate share of school funding in the form of grants – and never had to justify how effective they were in using that grant funding. So I believe this criticism of state school funding is true. However, I don’t necessarily agree that a supplementary parcel tax is the answer…

  4. wdf1

    It sounds like his #1 priority will be to get that $600 parcel tax on the ballot. I’m sure a pledge to raise taxes will go over well with the ever expanding pool of downwardly mobile Davisites.

    Having been to several school board meetings I agree that they have had a tough job. Mr. Taylor in particular always seems to be on top of things as evidenced by his willingness to tackle the tough issues and come up with thoughtful comments and suggestions. All of the incumbants have my vote.

    I think Nolan and the incumbants only differ as to the timing of when to put a parcel tax renewal on the ballot; all would likely support renewing the parcel tax, and possibly raising it to respond appropriately to the state shortfall. Nolan probably would have prefered November (I think the deadline has already passed for that). Most recent school board discussion suggested May 2011.

    The difference is that if it had run in November and passed, it would soften the impact and stress of putting together the 2011-12 budget. By running it in May, the district has to go through the exercise of pink slipping a bunch more teachers before finding out if the parcel tax passed.

    But by running it in May, it will be responding to more realistic budget numbers. If it were run in November, the school board would have had to guess in July where the 2011-12 budget is going before the state has even passed the 2010-11 budget.

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