Granda Says He Will Lead the No-Tax Campaign

schoolJose Granda and Thomas Randall have never seen a tax that they like, which is their right and it is fine.  However, Jose Granda does not seem to understand a few things.  First, how poor your ballot arguments have to be in order for a judge to strike them as intentionally misleading and deceptive.

Moreover, he does not seem to understand how out of step he is with the rest of Davis.  As he was leading his anti-tax brigade this spring, he got less than 28% of his fellow citizens to buy into it.

So it is not surprising that he would be leading the way against Richard Harris’ proposal, it is also not surprising that he continues to make misleading and factually incorrect arguments.

He wants to lead the anti-tax campaign?  That’s great, he led it last time too, for what good it did him.  At least he is not rehashing his long-since discredited ideas about the unfairness of a mail-in ballot.

Instead, he ironically writes, “The deception of the school board to Davis residents is evident after the passage of Measure C. The board insists that even after passing Measure C, it still wants more of your money.”

We knew when the voters passed Measure C that the district would still be about $3.5 million short.  The result is that we ended up with over 50 layoffs.

The local district is in a cash flow crisis, not due to their own policies, but due to the fact that they are receiving $10 million less from the state than they were just four years ago – a fact that Mr. Granda has never come to terms with.

Instead he writes, “Not only will it renew Measure A, approved deceptively as an ’emergency measure,’ but now one of the members is proposing a new $642 tax for six years.”

Actually, that is not true.  First, Measure A was an emergency measure, and the problem is that the emergency has not passed.  In fact, as we indicated, it has gotten worse.

Second, the board has not said it will renew Measure A.  The only proposal on the table is from Richard Harris, which would replace the measure with a much higher tax at $642 for the next six years.

“Those who voted for Measure C have been deceived. News reports of the past few school board meetings reveal that the board is laying off teachers anyway. Wasn’t its campaign scare tactic that if we do not pass Measure C the teachers will be laid off?”

This is a deceptive argument.  All along the board and supporters of Measure C pointed out that the district had a $10 million deficit but that Measure C only covers $6.5 million of it.  It was in each of our articles.  The problem is that Jose Granda never bothered to understand the district’s financial situation – he was too busy attacking the all-mail ballot.

“I am sure many of you voted for Measure C so that wouldn’t happen. The board deceived you because, even after you voted yes, layoffs are happening. Who pays the price of the deception? Of course, the children in Davis schools.”

We were, in fact, told this all along, so there was no deception.

Instead of blaming the culprit, which is the ten million less that the district is getting than it once did, Mr. Granda blames internal policies.

“Why all this mess? The school board’s own mismanagement of the taxpayers’ money has led to a structural deficit caused by itself,” he writes.

The culprit: “The board employs four administrators who earn the equivalent of 15 teachers. This will never end as long as Davis residents naively keep approving parcel tax after parcel tax as if our pockets are bottomless and school taxes are the only bills we pay.”

There are several problems with this argument.  First, even assuming it a correct statement on its face, the fact that the board hires those administrators is not the cause of the problem.  It’s less than ten percent of the total cuts from the state.

Second, Mr. Granda has never offered a replacement plan.  How does he plan for a large school district to function without a superintendent, a budget director, an educational director and presumably an HR person?

Third, Mr. Granda has never compared the costs that Davis spends compared to other comparably-sized districts.  Unless you can function without those positions, which Mr. Granda has never tried to argue, you have to look at the cost over market value, which if it is true, is a far smaller number and would have almost no impact on the current problems.

Finally, Mr. Granda has never acknowledged that the district has actually cut back on administration, including an associate superintendent and assistant superintendents on the business side.

And that is his entire argument that the finances are mismanaged, a $10 million a year shortfall because of four positions that do not even add up to $1 million in total, especially when compared to other districts.

“Now, one of the authors of these deceptive tax measures, Richard Harris, realizing that he has lost the support of the people of Davis, has decided not to run for re-election, or at least he is testing the waters.”

Really, he has evidence that Richard Harris has lost the support of the people?  Based on what?

He adds, “I think he sees the writing on the wall. This is the arrogant school board member who believes he owns your bank account and now proposes a new $642 tax on top of Measures A and C.”

Actually, he does not think he owns anyone’s bank account.  He believes he should propose the tax hike and the people of Davis then have the right to decide whether they support it.  That’s a far cry from believing he owns anyone’s bank account.

“I do not know about you, but I believe in high-quality education and in respecting the taxpayers. As an educator, I am taking a firm position against Harris and I will lead the campaign against his new tax,” he writes.

After watching his previous work, I’m sure the district is duly frightened of this possibility.  At least we can look forward to more colorful arguments that a court of law can strike down as deceptive.

—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.

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60 Comments

  1. 91 Octane

    Jose Granda and Thomas Randall have never seen a tax that they like,

    that’s okay, because the vanguard has never seen a tax it didn’t like. So if the implication from that opening statement is to write off those two as fanatics, the vanguard deserves that title just as much.

  2. 91 Octane

    Moreover, he does not seem to understand how out of step he is with the rest of Davis. As he was leading his anti-tax brigade this spring, he got less than 28% of his fellow citizens to buy into it.

    First of all, nobody knows out of how many voters that pulled the lever for/against, how many actually bothered to read Jose Granda’s ballot arguments. So I think to deduce he was rejected overwhelmingly by the voters is jumping to conclusions.

    Furthermore, lets even assume that is true and Granda was rejected by 72% of the electorate. So? is the vanguard saying he shouldn’t advocated his position because it is unpopular?

  3. 91 Octane

    There are several problems with this argument. First, even assuming it a correct statement on its face, the fact that the board hires those administrators is not the cause of the problem. It’s less than ten percent of the total cuts from the state.

    His main problem was also how much they are paid. Perhaps the vanguard would like to post those salaries.

  4. medwoman

    I believe very strongly in the right to advocacy for one’s own position whether popular or not.

    I do have a question. Does anyone know how much it actually cost in public funds to have a judge review and actually declare his ballot statements “intentionally deceptive and misleading ” and have them stricken. Do we know how much taxpayer money was spent on this futile exercise ?

  5. David M. Greenwald

    “I believe very strongly in the right to advocacy for one’s own position whether popular or not. “

    Agreed. However, that does not mean that that advocacy, especially when it’s deceptive and not based on sound reasoning and proper inquiry, is not subject to criticism.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    It would really help if you either used quotes or blockquotes to distinguish the text you are pulling from the article from the argument you are making. Especially on a phone, it is difficult to follow.

    “His main problem was also how much they are paid. Perhaps the vanguard would like to post those salaries. “

    I think we have previously. But unless you are arguing we should be paying zero, it is a small marginal cost compared to the overall budget picture – that is the point we make here. If this is your example of fiscal mismanagement, then you are talking less than one percent of the $10 million shortfall. So why is that the point he is making?

  7. medwoman

    Please for give redundancy, but I posted this comment on the wrong thread earlier this am.

    What I would like to see is a change in the way we ask the taxpayers for money. I would like to see complete honesty and transparency in providing the proponents best estimate of what a certain amount of money would actually buy. I would propose putting this forward in a multiple choice question. The ballot argument for the proposal could state the outcome of each amount of money approved for the district in terms of layoffs, programs cut, or positions and programs added in terms of tax amount paid and let the voters decide what kind of educational system they are willing to fund.

    The question could be phrased quite simply as are the multiple choice donation request funds we are all now familiar with. How much tax are you willing to pay for the public education system?
    a ) $ 0
    b) $ 250
    C) $ 500
    d) $ 1000
    e) another amount with write in space provided
    for example.

    The highest number approved by the majority needed to pass is the number that is implemented.

    This would allow the local voters to purchase the system they want and end the posturing around how ballot measures and arguments are worded in order to maximize your chances of getting as much of what you need as the voters are felt likely to approve and would , I think help
    Reduce the deceptive arguments employed against the measure since there is a 0 option available. From my long term experience with the public schools and the level of support for them in this community, my guess is that the community would choose to support a very high level of education since it seems to be a major value in our commununity.

  8. Rifkin

    Randall and Granda need someone who is intelligent to advise them. It does not appear that either of them would do well on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grade Redneck?

    I won’t offer my services, but I would suggest that they pursue a reasonable, logical, fact-based alternative approach to what Mr. Harris proposes, an alternative which shows how the core education mission of the Davis school district can be met without substantially raising the cost of living in Davis by way of endlessly larger local taxes.

    I would also suggest to them that they try to compose an argument that a much larger tax for the schools not only makes Davis taxpayers poorer, but it takes away money from Davis residents which they would have put into circulation at Davis-based and Davis-owned businesses.

    Finally, I think Mr. Randall and Mr. Granda need to address the dollars per hour in total comp that teachers and principals and district administrators are now making, and compare that with what those same positions paid in total comp 25 and 30 years ago in real, inflation adusted dollars. I think they could make a reasonable case that a large part of the funding gap is simply that after adjusting for inflation, all of these positions now make 2 to 3.5 times as much as they did in the past, and thus what needs to be done is not to raise our taxes higher but rather restrain the growth in total compensation.

    They still will likely lose at the polls. But they won’t look like such fools doing so.

    It seems to me that in their past campaigns, all of their arguments have been made on the basis of falsehoods, poor logic and an anti-tax prejudice which does not sell in this liberal town. They need to realize that Davis, CA is not Jefferson Davis, MS.

  9. hpierce

    Find it interesting… voters renewed the Parks assessment… City employees are laid off, and whether they have accepted compensation concessions, or not, face additional concessions AND even further layoffs. Voters approved a measure to renew the school district assessment, with a rate inflator. Teachers want no concessions, no layoffs, and a new tax is proposed to shield them from any concessions OR layoffs. Nice.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    In essence, hpierce, the DJUSD has done what your city employees are doing – taking layoffs, forgoing cola.

    Why am I more willing to give schools tax money? (A) because the damage has been externally imposed upon them and (B) because I think education is an investment in the future.

    I am non-committal on Harris’ proposal but am unwilling to dismiss it out of hand.

  11. Frankly

    Rifkin: [i]”I would suggest that they pursue a reasonable, logical, fact-based alternative approach to what Mr. Harris proposes”[/i]

    The problem with this approach is the inherent difficulty for any outsider without insider knowledge, experience, connections and credibility to develop anything other than a resource that can be used for target practice by the entrenched establishment. Even those people will be turned on by the powerful protectors of the status quo if they step out of line.

    Here is the way it works…

    Smart motivated people that share the goal of significantly improving education value put their heads together and get some financial and political backing to implement some change. The entranced establishment blocks it and demands compromise that ensures they will have data to use to decry the eventual lack of material improvements.

    So, the better approach is to starve the entrenched establishment (the beast) so it starts to support substantive reforms from the inside out. At some point things will get bad enough that change will be the clear better option… then we can all start working together for the benefit of the kids.

  12. Don Shor

    [i]Smart motivated people that share the goal of significantly improving education value put their heads together and get some financial and political backing to implement some change.[/i]
    That’s already happening. Organizations like the Gates Foundation are working to improve public education. Public schools offer more choices, particularly districts like DJUSD. There are other groups working to reform and improve public education. Reforms are often being implemented with the cooperation of unions.
    We’ve shown all this before. You just choose either not to believe it or to ignore it.

  13. Frankly

    The interesting thing here… if employees had accepted a significant roll-back of their benefits, there would be fewer, if any, layoffs.

    The level of defense over these way too high benefits is indicative of a particular problem with public sector labor in general… it is that many of these employees have their eye on retirement. They are just putting in their time until they reach their primary goal of not having to work. It is a mindset and motivation issue that I think somewhat affects their capacity to reinvent and improve work processes to achieve greater efficiencies.

    If you think about it, were all of our city employees to accept benefits more in line with what the private sector gets, there would be little need for layoffs, and there would be less pressure for pay reductions. The cost of benefits is where we are getting killed.

    To my public sector friends: Change the career mindset. Plan on working more years of your life. Plan on having to save more for your own retirement and retiree health care. This is not the end of the world. You would still likely have a better situation than your peers in the private sector. However, you would move the needle to a more sustainable and reasonable level of compensation. If you hate your job so much that your primary motivation is provided by dreams of fully-funded early retirement, then you should consider a career change. Life is too short to be doing work you don’t enjoy.

  14. rusty49

    David:

    “Why am I more willing to give schools tax money?”

    David, should you have said ‘Why am I more willing to give schools
    (more of your) tax money?’

  15. Frankly

    [i]”Reforms are often being implemented with the cooperation of unions.
    We’ve shown all this before. You just choose either not to believe it or to ignore it.”[/i]

    To date, the only reforms supported by unions are the ones that ensure their adult jobs program is protected. See DC for an example of how the unions support substanitive reforms that present any risk to teacher jobs.

    I agree that this is changing though. States moving to right-to-work will help.

  16. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty:

    David, should you have said ‘Why am I more willing to give schools
    (more of your) tax money?’

    What I actually said was: “I am non-committal on Harris’ proposal but am unwilling to dismiss it out of hand.”

  17. E Roberts Musser

    The $642 parcel tax being suggested is what the schools have arbitrarily decided they need, not necessarily what citizens can afford. Just as the city has to make tough choices now, so does the school system, and SO DO CITIZENS. CITIZENS ARE NOT GOING TO BE WILLING TO WRITE THE SCHOOLS A BLANK CHECK BASED ON WHAT THE SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS CONVENIENTLY DECIDED ITS NEEDS ARE. I suspect if you do a sample poll, there is no way in heck a $642 parcel tax will fly in the current economic climate. And w the local teachers union taking a stance of no concessions, that is not helping the cause for a $642 parcel tax…

    Personally, I very much doubt the school board is going to be foolish enough to take the $642 parcel tax idea very seriously. Some increase may be warranted. But $642 from $200 parcel tax is just too big a jump in a time of extreme austerity…

  18. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The question could be phrased quite simply as are the multiple choice donation request funds we are all now familiar with. How much tax are you willing to pay for the public education system?
    a ) $ 0
    b) $ 250
    C) $ 500
    d) $ 1000
    e) another amount with write in space provided
    for example. [/quote]

    As appealing as this idea seems, I don’t think it would pass legal muster. How are you going to get a 2/3 majority on any single amount, when that is what is legally required? Or am I missing something?

  19. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine:

    A few comments in response.

    The schools have not arbitrarily decided they need anything. They have needs and the citizens have choices. I have not seen the analysis of where the money goes with this yet.

    What I would like to see happen is that the schools figure out what they need, lay it out to the public and let the public decide if they can afford it.

    “I suspect if you do a sample poll, there is no way in heck a $642 parcel tax will fly in the current economic climate”

    You don’t have to suspect at all, we have done polling and at that level the public would not reach two-thirds TODAY. But that’s what a campaign is for. They have to make their case to the public and see.

    “Personally, I very much doubt the school board is going to be foolish enough to take the $642 parcel tax idea very seriously.”

    Define what you mean by seriously? Have you talked to any of the board members? I have. Right now he has one supporter for sure and several are going to need to do the analysis to see if they want to do it.

    In the end, they may not, but it won’t because they won’t take it seriously.

    “Some increase may be warranted. But $642 from $200 parcel tax is just too big a jump in a time of extreme austerity… “

    I’d really like to see the analysis and what we need to fund and what we can fund. I’d at least like to have the community discussion and see where we end up.

  20. 91 Octane

    vanguard: “Why am I more willing to give schools tax money?”

    I am in agreement with Rusty, but I would reword it a bit –

    Why am I more willing to give schools OPM (other peoples money)? Because that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

  21. 91 Octane

    btw: the vanguard has gotten cocky over its victories in the school parcel taxes, and is very cocky in its attack on Granda, but the vanuard needs a reminder that the school board got it to pass by margins it did by writing in a senior exemption. In other words, pass a tax where entire sections of the community don’t have to pay it. Because lets face it, when that tax truly starts to hurt people’s bottom line, we see a different tune.

  22. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Agreed. However, that does not mean that that advocacy, especially when it’s deceptive and not based on sound reasoning and proper inquiry, is not subject to criticism.[/quote]

    However, the criticism doesn’t have to be demeaning, to wit:
    [quote]never seen a tax that they like[/quote]
    [quote]he does not seem to understand how out of step he is with the rest of Davis[/quote]
    [quote]leading his anti-tax brigade[/quote]
    [quote]he led it last time too, for what good it did him[/quote]
    [quote]This is a deceptive argument.[/quote]
    [quote]Jose Granda never bothered to understand the district’s financial situation[/quote]
    [quote]After watching his previous work, I’m sure the district is duly frightened of this possibility[/quote]

    Like medwoman, I feel everyone has the right to put forth an opinion. I have no problem of someone being critical of that opinion, but I do have a problem when the criticism is dripping w sarcasm. I did not particularly agree with Granda and Randall’s position, but I support their right to say what is on their minds.

  23. 91 Octane

    Brian: “Seems you cannot defend Granda on the facts Mr. or Mrs. Octane, so you have decided to launch an attack.”

    actually if you read my earlier posts, I defended Mr. Granda on a key point which was not refuted, maybe you would like to re-read my posts.

  24. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]hpierce: Find it interesting… voters renewed the Parks assessment… City employees are laid off, and whether they have accepted compensation concessions, or not, face additional concessions AND even further layoffs. Voters approved a measure to renew the school district assessment, with a rate inflator. Teachers want no concessions, no layoffs, and a new tax is proposed to shield them from any concessions OR layoffs. Nice.[/quote]

    [quote]dmg: In essence, hpierce, the DJUSD has done what your city employees are doing – taking layoffs, forgoing cola.

    Why am I more willing to give schools tax money? (A) because the damage has been externally imposed upon them and (B) because I think education is an investment in the future.

    I am non-committal on Harris’ proposal but am unwilling to dismiss it out of hand.[/quote]

    In so far as I am aware, the Davis Teachers Union is taking the position of preferring to throw younger teachers under the bus than everyone take any more concessions, much as the DCEA’s position is. You seem to be willing for the tough choices to be made in terms of laying off city workers as a necessity, which may mean downgrading city services. But I certainly don’t get the same sense of urgency on your part in addressing the school budget problem in the same way. You seem willing to entertain the idea of taxpayers forking over whatever the school says it needs to make them whole again according to the school’s world view. Are you willing to do the same for the city? Increase the parks tax, for instance, by whatever amount is necessary to cover the costs of maintaining our parks? How about for roads? Other basic services? Or do schools get a special austerity pass?

  25. Siegel

    “I do have a problem when the criticism is dripping w sarcasm. I did not particularly agree with Granda and Randall’s position, but I support their right to say what is on their minds. “

    You support their right to lie so egregiously that a court of law had to remove huge portions of their argument?

  26. medwoman

    [quote]As appealing as this idea seems, I don’t think it would pass legal muster. How are you going to get a 2/3 majority on any single amount, when that is what is legally required? Or am I missing something?[/quote]

  27. Steve Hayes

    Comment by E Roberts Musser 06/15/12 – 12:49 PM…

    “… I do have a problem when the criticism (of Granda and Randall) is dripping with sarcasm.”…

    As do I! Well said, Elaine!

  28. medwoman

    Oops… nothing like just learning.
    In response to the above quote from Elaine.

    No you didn’t miss anything that I had made clear in my post sleep haze this am.
    My intent was to indicate that whatever amount had 2/3 of the voters stating that amount or higher, would be the amount “elected”. So if for example, 2/3 of the voters voted for either $500 or $ 1000 in the example I gave, $500 would be the chosen amount.

    I have no idea whether or not a process like this would pass legal muster. I suspect at the very least, since it is such a departure from what we are used to, that it would meet with a lot of resistance. However, it seems to me that it would avoid a lot of the political shenanigans that we now see people essentially forced in to in order to
    gain enough funding for whatever service they are attempting to provide.

    I just came up with something that I had not seen suggested before and threw it out there hoping to get people’s feedback. So thanks Elaine for even taking a quirky idea seriously enough to respond.

  29. E Roberts Musser

    To medwoman: Hey, “quirky ideas” sometimes turn out to be a stroke of genius!

    If you set up the ballot language as you suggested, I don’t think there is any way you would ever get a 2/3 majority on any particular amount. Just as an example, if 70% supported a continuation of the current tax, but only 67% supported a tax increase, that 67% is likely to be split no less than two ways on any particular $$$ figure increase, so you would never reach a 2/3 majority on any choice.

    What might be an interesting exercise is to word the ballot language in such a way that said something to the effect: “A vote yes for the ballot measure is a vote to increase the existing school parcel tax as is. Please check one of the boxes below as to how much you would be willing to increase the school parcel tax in the near future.
    $0
    $50
    $100
    $150
    $200
    $250
    $300
    $350
    $400
    $450″

    It would be a cheap way of getting a handle on how the community feels w/o going to the expense of a poll. Of course the info would be outdated very quickly, but it might be an interesting exercise nonetheless…

  30. hpierce

    [quote]DJUSD employees have taken concessions. Teachers have been laid off. [/quote]Yes. City workers have seen positions unfilled/eliminated (increasing workload/remaining employee), layoffs in the works, concessions on retiree medical, medical insurance contributions, proposed substantial contributions toward retirement, proposed additional contributions towards retiree medical, furloughs, and more layoffs to come.

  31. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]You support their right to lie so egregiously that a court of law had to remove huge portions of their argument?[/quote]

    Of course not. However I’m sure they are not the first, and will not be the last, to run afoul of the law inre to improper language in a ballot initiative…

    For instance, between 1912 and Dec 2002, of a total of 1,187 initiatives titled and summarized for circulation, 824 failed to qualify for the ballot. See [url]http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/init_history.pdf[/url]

    Also:
    [quote]Litigation may occur at various points during the above process or may ensue post-election.[/quote]
    See following link: [url]http://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/dynamic/guide.php?id=29[/url]

  32. medwoman

    [quote]“… I do have a problem when the criticism (of Granda and Randall) is dripping with sarcasm.”… [/quote]

    While I agree with the principle that sarcastic criticism is unnecessary and counter productive, I do not agree that all of your examples represent sarcasm. The statement that an argument is deceptive may be a statement of fact that is completely devoid of sarcasm. I believe this to be the case with some of the assertions put forward by Mr. Granda in his previous ballot arguments.

  33. Rifkin

    For years and years, every single time I have seen this Vanguard schoolgirl …

    [img]http://davisvanguard.org/images/stories/school.jpg[/img]

    … she has had her fingers pressed up against her mouth like she is trying to hold back from upchucking a bad school lunch. My advice: puke or get off the pot, honey!

  34. 91 Octane

    furthermore, the school taxes themselves don’t exactly have the most honest language on the ballot. We get the usual litany of proposals from the school board : smaller class size, afterschool programs – blah blah yada, without spelling specifics. Second, the school board simply asks for money it thinks it can get – not needs based. I mean, while we agreed to their taxes, did the prior school board think to tell us it built one too many schools previously – and the current board thinks to tell us they closed a school because the previous board made a major financial boo boo in opening another? no. So we “saved” all sorts of programs while the board gutted a school. How honest is that?

  35. wesley506

    The school board is starting out with a plan for a $650 schools tax in addition to what we already pay. The Davisites will scream and groan about how they are not going to roll over any more and the schools need to be held accountable. Our esteemed board members will then say they feel our pain, will promise to cut the waste and try to get by on a diet of half the original amount, but will want this $325 and all existing taxes to be permanent. Davisites will then feel good about themselves that they drove a hard bargain and received promises of accountability, and vote for the $325 new permanent schools tax.
    Davis will then become even more of a magnet and double number of out of district students from it’s current number of 350 to a new high of 700 or more students. These 700 students will put significant demands on the system for additional services but will be paying none of these additional taxes. With existing and the $325 new tax now permanent, the board will be free to ask for another “temporary emergency” tax in a year or two to fund a system that is busting at the seams.

  36. medwoman

    Rich

    [quote]For years and years, every single time I have seen this Vanguard schoolgirl …
    [/quote]

    You are very good at finding entertaining and appropriate pics….why not find a new one more to your liking.
    I’d like to see your choice !

  37. rusty49

    wesley506, well said. That’s the game they play. I’ve often wondered how much an out of town student actually costs our school system. All you hear is they bring in more state money, but enough to cover their actual costs and burden on the system? Why should out of town parents be able to throw their kids in our schools and not have to pay for them and expect the citizens of Davis to take on extra parcel taxes to educate their kids?

  38. wdf1

    rusty49: [i]wesley506, well said. That’s the game they play. I’ve often wondered how much an out of town student actually costs our school system. All you hear is they bring in more state money, but enough to cover their actual costs and burden on the system? Why should out of town parents be able to throw their kids in our schools and not have to pay for them and expect the citizens of Davis to take on extra parcel taxes to educate their kids?[/i]

    Most of the out district students that I’m aware of have a parent who works in Davis (I am aware that Da Vinci’s charter school status allows for out of district students to enroll without a parent working in the city, but DV out of district transfers represent a small total of all the out of district transfers). State code permits employment within a school district to count as residency for purposes of school attendance; when the parent loses local employment, then he/she is no longer entitled to have his/her kid in the local schools. I believe this is how Don Shor (who moderates and posts here regularly) was able to have his kids attend Davis schools. He lives in Solano County but has his nursery business in Davis. Are you suggesting that someone like Don was a drain on district resources? I understand that his business pays school parcel taxes.

    I know a number of DJUSD teachers who live outside the city, but have their kids enrolled in the district. Is that unfair? It doesn’t seem that way to me. Seems that if a teacher is willing to consume the product he/she is producing, then that teacher might have a greater interest and stake in the system.

  39. medwoman

    rusty49

    06/15/12 – 08:30 PM

    wesley506, well said. That’s the game they play. I’ve often wondered how much an out of town student actually costs our school system. All you hear is they bring in more state money, but enough to cover their actual costs and burden on the system? Why should out of town parents be able to throw their kids in our schools and not have to pay for them and expect the citizens of Davis to take on extra parcel taxes to educate their kids?

    Rusty and Wesley 50
    At the risk of sounding like Jeff, I see this somewhat differently. As Californians, we are all in this together. The talk about where one’s house or business happens to be located with regard to a district line is, for, me all a matter of distraction from what should be the main goal, the optimal education of all of our students. Now here is where Jeff and I part company. I would choose to stop fiddling around with parcel taxes, and agree as a state to fund education to a level capable of providing an excellent education for all of our students. I would start by doing away with Prop 13.
    Next, I would increase taxes on those like myself who have, yes, worked hard, but also enjoyed tremendous help from the taxpayers before me who were willing to fund my education, provide opportunities for the economically disadvantaged and who were able to see that having “a little more taken out of their pocket” would result in tremendous advantages for them eventually in terms of my taxes then helping to support their needs as they reached senior citizen status. It never ceases to amaze me how many are willing to accept the benefits to them personally from taxation, but are unwilling to accept themselves being taxed. No one is “self made” in our society. Those who cannot afford to pay should not have to. Those of us who can, should stop quibbling and contribute our fair share.

  40. Frankly

    medwoman, you are a crack-up. The best thing that can happen is that you start soundling like me! 😉

    I guess you can make the case that “taking our medicine” should include paying higher taxes to feed the beast. The problem is that you have 6 billion or so people on the planet struggling to take a larger slice of the economic pie and the trickle-down impact from that is that higher taxes are liabilities of competition. If you raise property taxes (your “doing away with prop-13” idea), you will have an immediate impact on the housing market You will also cause many small business startups and expansions to no longer pencil out. You will reduce discretionary income and spending will decline… the spending that generates economic activity that can be taxed. In addition, increasing property tax rates will result in fewer jobs and fewer producers contributing to the task of feading the beast.

    We simply cannot afford to raise taxes. California and the country no longer enjoy a significant advantage that allows us to charge a premium for the privilege of living here. Many parts of the world have caught up. They have watched long enough burning with envy for our wealth, and have learned the lessons of our economic success, and what they lack in creative enterprise, they have made up for in their ability to copy us.

    We have to take our medicine by reducing our spending, and keep our tax burden as low as possible so we can effectively compete for the business and economic activity that feeds a smaller, more effective and more efficient beast.

    I see education as our current bubble and our next great opportunity for industrial advantage. Just continuing to feed the beast ensures the bubble grows and the opportunities are lost.

  41. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Why are you comparing failed ballot initiative qualifications with deceitful arguments on ballot statements?[/quote]

    I would be willing to guess that some of those failed ballot initiatives were because of misleading arguments…

  42. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Most of the out district students that I’m aware of have a parent who works in Davis…[/quote]

    It appears there can be many reasons other than a parent works in Davis for inter-district transfers, but working parents get priority. Thus it would seem Wesley506’s point is well taken.

    See [url]http://dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=9313[/url]
    [quote]Davis school district opens door to transfers

    February 23, 2007
    By Allison Leung

    If you do not live in Davis but would like your kids to go to school there, now you have the chance.

    Through interdistrict transfer, students living in districts outside Davis can now enroll in the district’s schools for kindergarten through seventh grade.

    And this is why being a UC Davis employee matters — under the rules, students who have parents or guardians employed within the school district’s boundaries have priority [u][b]over other interdistrict transfers[/b][/u].[/quote]

  43. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The school board is starting out with a plan for a $650 schools tax in addition to what we already pay. The Davisites will scream and groan about how they are not going to roll over any more and the schools need to be held accountable. Our esteemed board members will then say they feel our pain, will promise to cut the waste and try to get by on a diet of half the original amount, but will want this $325 and all existing taxes to be permanent. Davisites will then feel good about themselves that they drove a hard bargain and received promises of accountability, and vote for the $325 new permanent schools tax.
    Davis will then become even more of a magnet and double number of out of district students from it’s current number of 350 to a new high of 700 or more students. These 700 students will put significant demands on the system for additional services but will be paying none of these additional taxes. With existing and the $325 new tax now permanent, the board will be free to ask for another “temporary emergency” tax in a year or two to fund a system that is busting at the seams. [/quote]

    You make a very interesting point…

  44. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I would choose to stop fiddling around with parcel taxes, and agree as a state to fund education to a level capable of providing an excellent education for all of our students. I would start by doing away with Prop 13.
    Next, I would increase taxes on those like myself who have, yes, worked hard, but also enjoyed tremendous help from the taxpayers before me who were willing to fund my education, provide opportunities for the economically disadvantaged and who were able to see that having “a little more taken out of their pocket” would result in tremendous advantages for them eventually in terms of my taxes then helping to support their needs as they reached senior citizen status. It never ceases to amaze me how many are willing to accept the benefits to them personally from taxation, but are unwilling to accept themselves being taxed. No one is “self made” in our society. Those who cannot afford to pay should not have to. Those of us who can, should stop quibbling and contribute our fair share. [/quote]

    First, if I am not mistaken, one of the reasons Prop 13 was enacted is because senior citizens were being driven out of their homes by high taxes. Secondly, even if the state gov’t were to tax the rich, it is my understanding that it would be a drop in the bucket compared to what we need to keep this state afloat. Does anyone have a link to some information on this?

  45. medwoman

    Jeff

    [quote]I guess you can make the case that “taking our medicine” should include paying higher taxes to feed the beast.[/quote]

    Thanks Jeff. But I think that I have done fine so far sounding like me.
    Part of the difference between us is that you seem to see “the beast” as something outside of us, such as the government. I perceive “the beast” as ourselves. It is our own greed that keeps us from having the kind of society that I would like to see. One in which everyone has enough to live with enough food, shelter, education and necessary medical care before the “extras” are enjoyed by those who choose to put in extra to earn them.
    The difference between our views of private vs public enterprises is that the people as a whole get to choose the latter with their vote in our society. We do not get to choose the activities of private enterprises nor do we have any say in their management, choice of whether or not to give back to the community or not. Now I know that you will say that is not true, that we can vote with our dollars. And my response is to tell that to the person who is working for a subsistence wage and works harder than you and I ever have just to be able to eat. Think they don’t exist ? Come with me to any number of hospitals and I will be happy to show you.

  46. wdf1

    ERM: [i]It appears there can be many reasons other than a parent works in Davis for inter-district transfers, but working parents get priority. Thus it would seem Wesley506’s point is well taken.[/i]

    I think wesley506′ point is a reach. I’ve been affiliated with the school district through my kids for about the past 13 years, and up until about a year ago, every student that I learned who lived out of district had a parent working in Davis. The one student a year ago who was an exception was recently enrolled in Da Vinci. My take is only anecdotal, but it gives me a hunch that parents in Davis account for the largest chunk of out of district students.

  47. Don Shor

    Given the lack of reasonable public transit between Davis and the surrounding communities, it takes a very motivated parent from Dixon, Woodland, or West Sac to enroll a child in DJUSD unless they are already coming here for employment. The overwhelming majority of interdistrict students have always been children of people working here.
    Interdistrict students are a very manageable impact on district facilities, because the district can turn off the spigot at will and simply stop accepting new ones if there are too many. DJUSD took that one step further and (illegally in our opinion) tried to throw out interdistrict students when the district was over-enrolled in the 1990’s. A few of us appealed and won the continuation of our students here. But the vast majority of interdistrict parents, told they couldn’t continue their kids, just said ‘oh, ok’ and went away.
    Interdistrict students allow the district to fill classes that are underenrolled, allow them to fill schools that are underenrolled. They help bring funding to magnet programs such as DaVinci. The notion that we are/were a drain on the district is a fallacy that I have been arguing with for years. The district has control over interdistrict enrollment. It doesn’t have control over resident enrollment.

  48. E Roberts Musser

    To Don Shor & wdf1: Ah, but there is now a drive for inter-district transfers bc the attendance #s are down in our schools – in other words we don’t have enough students, no?

  49. wdf1

    ERM: [i]To Don Shor & wdf1: Ah, but there is now a drive for inter-district transfers bc the attendance #s are down in our schools – in other words we don’t have enough students, no?[/i]

    Don has made a strong case that although attendance spiked in ~mid 2000’s, it hasn’t declined in any significant amount over the long term. Demographic projections suggest steady enrollment over the next 5-10 years. I think we’re luckier than most school districts in that regard.

    It’s an interesting line of opposition. Because on the one hand, Granda makes the case that voters shouldn’t approve school parcel taxes because the quality of the schools is bad, in part because no Davis school is in the top 15 in the Sacramento area (Willett Elementary is #16; if Willett were #6, then I’m sure his argument would be that no Davis school was in the top 5). And wesley506’s suggestion is that we shouldn’t pass school parcel taxes because then the schools will be too good and will attract out of district students who don’t pay the parcel tax.

    I’m not bothered by it. I don’t see it being a drain on the school budget; if it were, I’m certain the school board and administration would be adopting a different stance. And it is a net plus to the overall local economy. When a few extra people are present in Davis, then they’re likelier to do extra shopping in Davis. And employees with kids might think twice before taking a job elsewhere. Seems like a win-win to me.

  50. Don Shor

    [i]in other words we don’t have enough students, no?[/i]

    No, DJUSD has too many schools. They built two new elementary schools when they only needed one. Enrollment is trending toward the higher grades. As I’ve said before, their facilities logistics are manageable. And in fact, interdistrict transfer students help them manage enrollment deficiencies.

  51. wesley506

    [quote][/quote]And wesley506’s suggestion is that we shouldn’t pass school parcel taxes because then the schools will be too good and will attract out of district students who don’t pay the parcel tax.
    [quote]
    My point is actually the absurd little dance that will go on with the school board asking for $650, Davisites outraged and claiming they will not pay without accountability, the board feeling our pain and promising accountability but wanting all the existing taxes to be permanent, the taxes becomong permanent…….AND the next “temporary emergency” schools tax that will show up on next years ballot which will start the process all over again.
    The whole transfer process is interesting to say the least. Anybody working in Davis or UCD including the Med Center in Sacramento can get their kids in our schools with very little effort. We have over the years had neighbors who told us they were claiming to be the guardian/parent of a relative who lived in Woodland so the relative’s kids could attend school in Davis. Davis schools are now to the point where DHS has told an acquaintance of ours who often has foreign exchange students that they cannot accept any more high school foreign exchange students because DHS is too full. I also know of families who lived in Davis,bought a McMansion in Woodland, and were able to keep their kid in Davis schools. They merely claim that little Jonny/Suzie will be emotionally traumatized if they have to transfer to a new school system.

  52. Don Shor

    [i]Anybody working in Davis or UCD including the Med Center in Sacramento can get their kids in our schools with very little effort.[/i]
    Yes, that’s kind of the idea. Why should there be any “effort”? They work here, their kids can go here if there’s room. If enrollment pressure increases, the district can start turning ID transfers away in an orderly fashion.

    [i]We have over the years had neighbors who told us they were claiming to be the guardian/parent of a relative who lived in Woodland so the relative’s kids could attend school in Davis.[/i]
    Yes, we were told these same stories fifteen years ago when our kids were ID students. If someone wants to defraud the district, there isn’t much the district can do about it. They don’t send cops around to check. But they do have to actually lie and present fraudulent documentation.

    [i]Davis schools are now to the point where DHS has told an acquaintance of ours who often has foreign exchange students that they cannot accept any more high school foreign exchange students because DHS is too full.[/i]
    So are you saying foreign exchange students should take priority over interdistrict students? What’s your point?

    [i]I also know of families who lived in Davis,bought a McMansion in Woodland, and were able to keep their kid in Davis schools. They merely claim that little Jonny/Suzie will be emotionally traumatized if they have to transfer to a new school system.[/i]
    No, the point is that continuity is desirable for the kids. Do you disagree with that? If there’s room, their kids can certainly be allowed to continue in DJUSD. They would, at least by the ranking system in place when our kids were ID students, have lowest priority among ID requests.

    You seem oddly hostile to interdistrict transfer students.

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