Commentary: School Board and Parcel Tax Races Shaping Up As Barn Burners

schoolIn the city of Davis it seems that for a long time the city council was the center of political life.  The most intense races, the most interest was generated on issues of growth facing this community.

In the past, city council races have drawn numerous candidates, have been intensely waged along sometimes clear lines of demarcation.  But back in June, there were just five candidates for three spots, the campaign itself was focused more on personalities than clear political lines, and the intensity, with a few notable exceptions, was fairly low.

The city council for the last several years, perhaps ending in early 2011, was the location of some of the most intense political fights and was known for the polarization and acrimony of its membership.

By contrast, the school board saw a quiet revolution in 2005, where new members emerged to eventually clear out some of the more polarizing administrators, notably the former superintendent and former business manager.

And so, despite the period of 2007 to 2012 being one of unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty, the school board’s members were mainly on one page.  It is not that there weren’t bumps along the way – the turmoil of early 2008 stands out, the need for repeated cuts and parcel taxes, and the overall dismal budget climate certainly cast a long shadow over the relative tranquility of the membership.

It is early, but change is in the air.  Richard Harris made the decision not to run and shook up not one but two elections.  First, it was his impetus that led to the parcel tax being on November’s ballot.  The school board may have come to the realization at some point that it was necessary, but at the same time, it would not have been in November.

Second, by opening up his seat, he seems to have opened the floodgate.  We have four challengers and one incumbent for two spots.

The parcel tax is by no means a certainty.  In fact, it is probably the least certain it has ever been, and that includes Measure A which barely passed in 2011.

The influx in the past week of Claire Sherman, Jose Granda and Alan Fernandes has shaken up this race.

The Vanguard believes that the emergence of Jose Granda as a candidate is a positive sign.  One of our concerns has been one of the issues raised by each of the three new candidates – the homogeneity of the school board.

By this we do not disparage the current board – in fact, we continue to give them high marks for shepherding the district through tough economic times.  Since 2007, the district has put four parcel tax measures on the ballot and passed them all.

At the same time, it is healthy to have Jose Granda on the ballot, forcing the other candidates to articulate their positions on the parcel tax.

Susan Lovenburg and Nancy Peterson have both come out in favor of the parcel tax.

“The funding of education is a statewide problem.  Budget cuts have left communities on their own to mitigate the impact on their students and I support the proposed parcel tax,” she told the Vanguard back in July.

Yesterday, the Vanguard met with Alan Fernandes, who also expressed his support for the parcel tax.

Mr. Fernandes, with a young family, feels that his entrance into the race expresses a new viewpoint – the view of elementary school parents – that was previously not represented on the school board.

The vast majority of the members on the board have older kids and are thus not experiencing currently the issues of increased class size and distribution of resources.

Mr. Granda, at least at this point, is the only avowed opponent of the parcel tax.  We have not yet spoken to Claire Sherman and do not know where she is coming from.

Claire Sherman told the Enterprise last week: “There doesn’t seem to be as much discussion as I’d like to see from the board. What you need from a board is wider variance, so you get a true representation of the community as a whole. I don’t see that now.”

She did not take a position on the parcel tax but indicated “she would bring an alternative approach to the school board’s ongoing budget debate.”

“I’m a bit different than most of the other candidates who have run for the school board in recent years,” she added. “I’m not really into personal experiences. Most of the stuff I do for my career is evidence-based decision making. Give me data, give me information to make better decisions. What generally happens at school board meetings, when you get to budget issues, is you get a lot of anecdotal discussion” about the impact of budget cuts on classroom programs.

Sherman told the Enterprise she would “go to the schools, go to the teachers and find out where there are ways we could be more efficient. I think it’s eye-opening when you are there yourself.”

Ultimately, we may not agree with Mr. Granda in terms of the school district’s handling of their finances, the pay structure of the upper administration, or the need for the parcel tax – but it is helpful and in fact healthy to force a discussion on those terms.

During our meeting with Alan Fernandes, he expressed similar beliefs that we need to have discussions.  He said that, regardless of what happens in November with Proposition 30 (the Governor’s Tax) and the parcel tax, we need to re-think about how to fundamentally change our system of public service to face the realities and meet the needs of today.

One thing that is clear is that this school board race will not be merely one where everyone agrees on the core issues and core values of our district.  Instead, it will be one where each side seeks to carve out ground to define and ultimately debate what those values should be and how we need to move forward as a community.

From that standpoint, having many diverse voices is an asset.  And to the extent that we can tap into those discussions, it will be an asset not only to our schools and our kids, but to our community as a whole.

—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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50 Comments

  1. hpierce

    David… three questions:
    If the November parcel tax fails, as currently framed, could the District bring a “renewal only” vote back in the spring to maintain the ‘status quo’?
    If the parcel tax is approved in November, and the statewide measure passes, could the board choose to levy the highest rate (renewal + the “ust in case” piece)?
    If the parcel tax passes, and the statewide measure fail, could the board vote to levy only the “renewal” portion?

    Thanks…

  2. Michael Harrington

    Being Saylors 2008 CC Campaign Manager is going to cost Fernandes 1000s of votes, sorry to say As CM, he will be viewed as endorsing the failed public fiscal policies of his boss. The DJUSD simply cannot take a chance on that type of reasoning on budgetary matters.

  3. wdf1

    Vanguard: [i]Fernandes with a young family feels that his entrance into the race, expresses a new viewpoint – the view of elementary school parents – that was previously not represented on the school board.[/i]

    Tim Taylor still has at least one kid in elementary school. 2-3 others had kids in elementary school at the start of their tenure on the school board.

    Vanguard: [i]The vast majority of the members on the board have older kids and are thus not experiencing currently the issues of increased class size and distribution of resources.[/i]

    JH and HS classes have had increased class sizes as well, although their class were generally larger to start with. Most classes have now reached the “fire marshal limit.”

    Vanguard, quoting Sherman: [i]”I’m a bit different than most of the other candidates who have run for the school board in recent years,”[/i] and [i]”she would bring an alternative approach to the school board’s ongoing budget debate.”[/i]

    So far these kinds of quotes seem typical of a challenger attempting to set herself apart in the field. They also beg for more specifics. I’m skeptical that she can produce viable alternatives, but I’m willing to see what she comes up with. When available money is shrinking, and when state and federal regulations define how one runs schools, then options are very limited. You can cut, or you can find other sources of revenue; DJUSD has done both. In terms of volunteer time, it is far easier to make cuts than to fundraise or run a parcel tax campaign.

    Also, DJUSD school board meetings actually have livelier discussions than most. Our school board also tends to demand more deference from the administrative staff; in most other districts the board more frequently goes along with what the administration recommends.

    I also second Mr. Toad’s endorsement of Lovenburg. She consistently shows a lot of preparation for meetings, and tends to steer board discussion as a result. When she doesn’t get her way on issues, she is effective at working out compromises to bring the results closer to her position. Her work with California Forward and Saving California Communities shows big picture perspective on our best way out of this — change at the state level. She is also one of the most responsive board members if you, as a constituent, want to talk to someone. She sets the bar very high.

  4. Frankly

    [i]”regardless of what happens in November with Proposition 30 (the Governor’s Tax) and the parcel tax, we need to re-think about how to fundamentally change our system of public service to face the realities and meet the needs of today”[/i]

    Absolutely. But, if one or both of these two tax increases pass, any re-thinking will be put on the back-burner until the next funding crisis.

    I think we are blind to, or prone to deny, the facts here. We can no longer sustain our education model as designed. Both K-12 and our state-funded system of higher learning need to be significantly reformed to do more with less.

    We need a school board members that will dedicate themselves to working with other stakeholders of a lean government approach, and with pioneers in education delivery services, to developing and execute 5-year and 10-year reform and sustainability plans.

    We should be voting on a temporary parcel tax that uses the funds to implement technology and school design changes to improve the service and lower the overall per-student cost.

    Tax increases to support the status quo are stupid ideas because they does nothing to address the unsustainability problem. State government is a mess, and cities and counties will undoubtedly continue to see their state-contributions to tax revenue decline. We should be rebuilding the dike instead of working so hard to plug the growing gaps that threaten to sweeps us down the drain of continued education funding crises and falling education outcomes.

  5. Ryan Kelly

    Having kids currently in the local schools is not a requirement for me. In fact, I worry that decisions regarding school discipline, special education or allocation of resources will be made through the eyes of their own parenting viewpoints. I would rather have someone who has raised a few kids and knows that all students do not fit a particular mold. Jim Provenza was a good trustee in that regard.

    I look for a candidate that will view the students’ well-being and success as their only purpose for serving on the Board and will work to use available resources in the best way possible. I want someone who will, always and in every instance, be an advocate for the student, especially when what the student needs most is at odds with the administration or a policy.

    Whether they worked on someone’s campaign in the past, is a good fundraiser, opposes or endorses a parcel tax, matters not for me.

  6. wdf1

    JB: [i]We should be voting on a temporary parcel tax that uses the funds to implement technology and school design changes to improve the service and lower the overall per-student cost.[/i]

    Right now I see technologies that are effective at making rote learning more interesting — typing, math facts, geographic place names — but it still takes a teacher to interact with students to assess progress and determine what options are best. Right now there are fewer teachers working with more students, so the chances of fine-tuning for each student are less.

    The best widespread technology I see worth considering at this time would be school-issued Kindle type readers in place of textbooks. But even still, I question if e-readers currently are durable enough to withstand the physical abuse that students are capable of effecting. And given the choice between teachers or e-readers, I think voters will go for having more teachers right now.

    We have lost our commitment to sustaining economic growth and viability through education. Now that the baby boomers (like yourself) have had their kids through the schools, many of them don’t want to pay for it any more and are looking for arguments that don’t make them look selfish — unions, bad test scores, evil administrators, etc. But if you give up that commitment, then your society loses its economic and cultural dominance over time.

  7. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]If the November parcel tax fails, as currently framed, could the District bring a “renewal only” vote back in the spring to maintain the ‘status quo’?[/i]

    Yes.

    [i]If the parcel tax is approved in November, and the statewide measure passes, could the board choose to levy the highest rate (renewal + the “ust in case” piece)?[/i]

    No.

    [i]If the parcel tax passes, and the statewide measure fail, could the board vote to levy only the “renewal” portion? [/i]

    Yes, but I think they would levy both portions.

  8. Frankly

    [i]”We have lost our commitment to sustaining economic growth and viability through education.”[/i]

    I think we are in agreement here. Where we disagree is how to get it back.

    You gravitate toward a profesisonal labor vision: that is raising the investment in, and profile of, the profession of teaching as a way to improve outcomes.

    There are two main problems with your approach:

    [b]One – We cannot afford it, and even if we did increase spending on teachers, the evidence is that we would get too little in return.[/b]

    All branches of government are either far in debt, or heading toward insolvency because of existing public-sector labor costs and pension committments. Also, the US already spends more per student than almost every other industrialized country. In our own country there is no material correlation with higher spending resuling in better outcomes.

    [b]Two – It would prevent or stall us rethinking education as a service, and start innovating and leveraging emerging technologies that help us lower the costs and improve outcomes.[/b]

    Note that Davis’s education funding problems are part of a nation-wide problem. There is a ubiquitous need for identifying ways to do more with less. We already have a bunch of very interesting and promising developments for technology-enabled education delivery systems. Leveraging these for applicable subjects and students would allow us to reduce the number of teachers needed for these subjects and students, and then redeploy human resources for subjects and students that more greatly benefit from person-to-person instruction and help.

    If I were going to design an education system from the ground up today, it would look much different than the dinosaur we continue to use. Considering that, why are we still stuck in dinosaur mode? We are because the teachers’ unions, Democrats exploiting the teachers’ union to hold political power and a general lack of vision for how the system can be reformed for significant improvement.

  9. Frankly

    What we should all be working on to transform education:

    [url]http://amplify.com/company#intro[/url]

    [url]http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_the_ipad_is_changing_education.php[/url]

  10. Frankly

    Here is a video that might help those struggling with this vision of technology enabled education improvements. Note that this is just one of several similar product/service endeavors underway.

    When you watch this video, start thinking about how you might design an economical and efficient instruction support system around this. For example, the one-teacher-30-student classroom model becomes unnecessary and overly costly. The traditional model of requiring teachers to be subject-matter-experts is no longer required; as students are better served by the technology and with learning facilitators that can teach the kids how to use the technology to get their answers. Subject matter experts can be 24×7- accessible online tutors and recorded video lectures from the top teachers in the nation. Real subject matter experts can be available for students that struggle. These can be college student tutors managed by a single highly-compensated education professional with expertise in the subject matter.

    This facilitated technology approach will work better with older students… say 8th – 12th grade. We can reduce the number of teachers required in these grades, and use the savings to invest in more teachers to support the younger students and also for increasing the number of industrial arts and arts classes available.

    Ask me to pay more taxes to fund the implementation of a new vision for doing more with less, and I will vote yes. However, I will not vote to pay more taxes to support the status quo because it is inadequate for our current and future needs.

    [url]http://amplify.com/products#access[/url]

  11. udemonia

    This comment concerns the parcel tax, not the Board race and addresses matter of equalizing the burden of the school’s deficit by all whom benefit from the resources. About 12 years ago, I asked the school administration if all families that attend DJUSD pay the additional taxes for our schools. I was told that those households outside the city limits do not. If this is still the case, before I support any more tax increases, I would look for that loop-hole to close. Those that attend our schools (other than persons at low incomes) should participate equally in the tax burden. Many residences outside the city are wealthy households; those in Oakshade, El Macero, and farmers in the unincorporated areas. Those who should certainly be contributing.

  12. wdf1

    udemonia: [i]I was told that those households outside the city limits do not.[/i]

    All families who live in the DJUSD attendance area are assessed by the county. This includes El Macero, Willowbank, North Davis Meadows, etc. The DJUSD boundaries extend beyond the Davis city limits.

  13. wdf1

    To continue Don Shor’s comment: There are students who attend in Davis but live outside the school district — Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon. Usually these are children of parents who work in Davis — for the university, city, or school district, frequently. Such parents cannot be forced to pay the parcel tax amount.

  14. Frankly

    Too bad we don’t issue vouchers. That way it would not matter where the student comes from. In fact, since Davis schools are so fantastically better than Woodland, Winters and Dixon, with a voucher system we could openly market to these outside families and bus in their kids.

  15. wdf1

    JB: [i]Too bad we don’t issue vouchers. That way it would not matter where the student comes from.[/i]

    It’s also a great way to further segregate kids from low SES families.

    You can watch what effect school choice has in Davis alone by watching the evolving population at Montgomery Elementary. Families with the means to taxi their kids away from their neighborhood schools will do so. Those without the means don’t get to take advantage of the choices that are available.

    But I am glad to hear your positive endorsement of Davis schools.

  16. K.Smith

    [i]JB: Too bad we don’t issue vouchers. [/i]

    Where will lower SES families get the funds to “make up” the difference that will invariably exist between their voucher and what the actual private (or other) school tuition actually costs?

    I haven’t yet heard anyone who advocates dismantling the public school system in favor of vouchers provide an adequate explanation for how this would work and how vouchers will truly make things more fair.

  17. Frankly

    [i]”Where will lower SES families get the funds to “make up” the difference that will invariably exist between their voucher and what the actual private (or other) school tuition actually costs?”[/i]

    If Davis public schools are so good, then why worry about this?

    Otherwise if you are worried…

    Make the voucher 100% of the statewide total education cost per student if used for a public school. That way those students going to crappy Woodland schools can come to Davis schools without it costing them another penny (except maybe some added transportation costs).

    Then you can reqiuire any private school that receives vouchers to provide means-based tuition assitance up to some number of students and some amount based on a census formula. For example, if in the district being served by the private school there is 25% SES families, then the school located in that district would need to offer tuition assistance to at least 25% of SES applicants meeting the eligibility requirements so that their voucher would cover their full costs. And, the eligibility requirements should be certified by and audited by the state.

    Again though, if the public school model is so good to warrant protection from vouchers that open parental choice, then why worry about SES families being left behind if vouchers were provided? I am really trying to understand this argument… especially when balanced against the sister arument that private schools do not achieve better outcomes. If public schools are better, won’t parents just gravitate to the best public schools?

    Frankly, the arguments from the status quo protectors does not add up. It seems they are more concerned with saving public-sector union jobs than concerned with helping kids get the best education possible.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    “If Davis public schools are so good, then why worry about this?”

    Maybe it is has to do with $10 million in state money cut from the district?

  19. Frankly

    Certainly the drop in state funding has contributed to education being more prone to seek survival rather than reform; however, I think school funding complaints preceeded the Great Recession. I know arguments against vouchers have.

    We don’t fund grocery stores to feed those needing food; instead, we give food vouchers to the purchaser of food. Why not take the same approach with education?

  20. Don Shor

    [i] It seems they are more concerned with saving public-sector union jobs than concerned with helping kids get the best education possible.[/i]

    No, a major concern is the massive transfer of money from the public sector to parents whose kids are already attending private schools. Plus the fact that tax dollars shouldn’t be going to religious schools. There are many, many problems with vouchers which we have discussed at length on the bulletin board.

  21. E Roberts Musser

    Vouchers seemed to have worked well in San Antonio, improving the entire school system dramatically. See [url]http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/San-Antonio-s-proven-that-school-vouchers-work-1541349.php[/url]

    From the article:
    [quote]Many people think that voucher programs will hurt public schools, draining them of the talent and resources they need to succeed. Others suggest that vouchers will improve public schools by exposing them to greater competition. Because most students will remain in public schools even with a voucher program, the most important empirical issue about vouchers is determining how they will affect achievement in public schools.

    We conducted an analysis to determine whether Edgewood’s public schools have been improving or declining since the creation of the voucher program. We compared the year-to-year changes in Edgewood’s performance with those of other Texas school districts, controlling for factors such as race and income.

    We found that Edgewood started producing outstanding academic improvements after the voucher program was created. What had long been an extremely troubled school district began to outperform 85 percent of Texas school districts given their demographic characteristics.[/quote]

  22. K.Smith

    [i]Don: No, a major concern is the massive transfer of money from the public sector to parents whose kids are already attending private schools. Plus the fact that tax dollars shouldn’t be going to religious schools. There are many, many problems with vouchers which we have discussed at length on the bulletin board. [/i]

    Those are my concerns. Perhaps the means testing could mitigate the first issue(no transfer of public funds to families who are affluent enough to already afford a private-school education).

    The second issue is also huge. Not one dime of public funds should support religious schools that teach non-scientific tripe, like humans co-existing with dinosaurs, or that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

  23. Frankly

    Thanks for posting this Elaine. The article comes from the author of a book I read called “Education Myths – What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools–And Why It Isn’t So”.

    Watch what happens next. The posters will start attacking the author.

    Either that or they will rest their shaky foundation of anti-voucher stance on the fear of religion… you know that terrible, awful and critically-dangerous risk that kids will be taught a view different than the absolutism preached by the Gods of scientific theory!

    From my perspective, the religion argument is just a proxy to protect the status quo. It is troubling to me because it essentially says that the welfare of a child stuck in a crappy school is less important than preventing that child from being taught religious beliefs.

  24. K.Smith

    [i]From my perspective, the religion argument is just a proxy to protect the status quo. It is troubling to me because it essentially says that the welfare of a child stuck in a crappy school is less important than preventing that child from being taught religious beliefs. [/i]

    From my standpoint, it has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with having our students be competitive in a global society. Other advanced, westernized countries are not teaching their children some of the crap that is being taught with the type of anti-scientific, completely ridiculous curricula that have already been discussed in the bulletin boards.

    If the religious schools can’t teach what is commonly accepted as “science,” then they get no public funds. It should be as simple as that.

  25. Frankly

    [i]”what is commonly accepted as “science,”[/i]

    As determined by whom?

    I think they have to teach the science, even if they also want to teach the religious view. If they chose to not teach the science, then they get no public funds, fine. However, they should not be refused funds if they teach the religious views AND teach the required science curricula.

    Separation of church and state works both ways. In fact, it was exactly this type of public religious bias that the founders were keen on protecting when designing our Constitution. What’s next… scientists “prove” there is no God, so no reference to God is allowed or else public funding will be pulled? See where this goes?

    The fact is that science will ALWAYS be at odds with religion because religious beliefs are built on faith and not scientific evidence. The supernatural and natural world may one day be explained in comprehensive theory; but until then we have to make room for both… and we have to respect both.

    Besides, Nietzsche-style views of religion and society don’t have a great track record in more recent history. Somehow the anti-religious zealots skip over this and head directly to the crusades as their basis for dismissing religion… especially Christianity.

  26. K.Smith

    [i]I think they have to teach the science, even if they also want to teach the religious view. If they chose to not teach the science, then they get no public funds, fine. However, they should not be refused funds if they teach the religious views AND teach the required science curricula. [/i]

    I might have no problem with this, if it were actually done and such schools were held accountable in some way. However, it looks like a considerable chunk of religious schools use, for example, the A Beka curriculum (the laughable shortcomings of which have already been discussed on the bulletin board), and do -not- include in their curriculum the commonly-accepted scientific curriculum.

    [i]public religious bias[/i]

    This is kind of laughable, especially if you’re talking a public religious bias against Christianity. How much of a chance to you think an openly atheist person would have winning any kind of major election? Pretty much nil; they all have to kowtow to the religious base, which has been shown to be much more extreme in their view than the general public.

  27. Don Shor

    Jeff; Be sure to ask about vouchers at the school board debates! Also, ask if the candidates believe ‘intelligent design’ should be taught in science courses. That should be interesting.

    Note: Catholic schools have no issue teaching science.

  28. Frankly

    I don’t think it is just the religious base. I think, in general, voters are less likely to value and trust a candidate lacking religious convictions. Frankly, I think most people feel it is easier to trust someone owning strong Judea/Christian beliefs, than it is to trust an atheist.

    Even so, this is more a media-driven template… similar to race and gender. The media continues to enflame the story of bias even as it shrinks to immaterial relevance. For example, the media is making the point that Ryan is the first Catholic on the presidential ticket for 30 years. Who the hell cares? The media cares because it supports their lazy-ass reporting methods to drum up stories.

  29. K.Smith

    [i]Note: Catholic schools have no issue teaching science. [/i]

    You’re right, Don. One of the most impressive, thoughtful commentaries I’ve heard on the whole intelligent design versus evolution controversy was by a Jesuit priest.

  30. E Roberts Musser

    I’m not sure where all this religious business came in. It is clear that a voucher system can work, and that is the point. It worked in San Antonio, Texas.

    Secondly, I am not a particularly religious person, but I can tell you I would rather have my child taught some form of religion than the sex education that is taught in our public schools. I find that far more alarming than any religion… just a personal opinion.

  31. wdf1

    ERM: [i]I can tell you I would rather have my child taught some form of religion than the sex education that is taught in our public schools.[/i]

    Religion as apposed to sex education? Meaning no sex education?

  32. medwoman

    “I don’t think it is just the religious base. I think, in general, voters are less likely to value and trust a candidate lacking religious convictions.”

    I think you are probably correct in this statement. And I find it quite appalling that generally speaking voters confuse “religious convictions” with moral /ethical convictions. It is entirely possible to be a strong believer in the principles taught by all of the world’s major religions and to live a life commensurate with those teachings without believing in the story line used to indoctrinate new converts be they children or adults to one particular religion.

    I think that an example of this which would be funny if it were not so indicative of many “religious people’s viewpoints is the following:

    [quote]Louisiana Republican Rep. Valerie Hodges wants a do over. When she enthusiastically supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s private school voucher program this year, she had no idea Muslim schools and Christian schools would enjoy the same access to public funding.[/quote]

    [quote]“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges told the Livingston Parish News. The paper said Hodges “mistakenly assumed that ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian.’”
    Unfortunately [the voucher program] will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “…There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”
    [/quote]

  33. hpierce

    [quote]… for the university, city, or school district, frequently. Such parents cannot be forced to pay the parcel tax amount. [/quote]Correct. They get a ‘free ride’ here, but pay their “home” fees. I see this as a problem with the concept of Davis picking up the slack.

  34. hpierce

    I asked some basic questions at the beginning of this ‘thread’…. no response. OK… My comments, questions are dismissed as irrelevant. Get it. Best wishes to all.

  35. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]I asked some basic questions at the beginning of this ‘thread’…. no response. OK… My comments, questions are dismissed as irrelevant. Get it. Best wishes to all.[/i]

    I answered them yesterday. Maybe you overlooked them?

    hpierce: [i]If the November parcel tax fails, as currently framed, could the District bring a “renewal only” vote back in the spring to maintain the ‘status quo’?[/i]

    Yes.

    [i]If the parcel tax is approved in November, and the statewide measure passes, could the board choose to levy the highest rate (renewal + the “ust in case” piece)? [/i]

    No.

    [i]If the parcel tax passes, and the statewide measure fail, could the board vote to levy only the “renewal” portion?[/i]

    Yes, but I think they would levy both portions.

  36. Mr.Toad

    Last week I was talking with a mom who works at UCD but lives in Woodland and has a kid in DJUSD. She was quite sensitive about the parcel tax issue and told me they donate to the dollar a day program. Yes this is anecdotal but it is more common than you know. Many of the parents of inter-district transfer students realize that they need to step up and pay their share. My sense is that those who can afford to give do give.

  37. Mr.Toad

    ” Frankly, I think most people feel it is easier to trust someone owning strong Judea/Christian beliefs, than it is to trust an atheist. “

    You mean like Jim Baker or Jimmy Swaggert?

    People are fallible.

    You are showing your own biases here Jeff. We had muslim neighbors who we trusted to watch our kids. So really a person’s religious or atheistic view should have no bearing on who to trust with your children.

    I also want to challenge your assertion on the return on investment for school funding. California spends less than many states on a per-capita basis especially due to recent cuts to funding. As a percent of GDP the I think US spends less than most industrialized nations on education.

  38. Mr.Toad

    “Louisiana Republican Rep. Valerie Hodges wants a do over. When she enthusiastically supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s private school voucher program this year, she had no idea Muslim schools and Christian schools would enjoy the same access to public funding.”

    This is the least of their problems. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina the Bush administration remade the New Orleans schools in the image of Friedman style free market charters. The results are coming in and its not a pretty picture. As one example, there are special needs children that no schools will accept, and are effectively locked out of school. Now the Federal courts are stepping in. Watch the courts and New Orleans schools to see how the conservative vision of education plays out. It was the Bush administration model.

    In the 1920’s my aunt was forced to leave school at 16 because she was blind. With vouchers a return to early 20th century accessibility standards seems unavoidable.

  39. medwoman

    I would have no problem with vouchers as long as the following criteria were met:
    1) All comers accepted regardless of “disability”
    2) Voucher covers full cost, just as public schools cover cost
    3) Transportation provided to the same extent as by public schools
    4) No faith based instruction ( many reasons for this, none of which including “hating religion”)
    5) Equal opportunity for both genders in all areas (no gender limitations in classes or extracurriculars)

  40. wdf1

    hpierce: [i]They get a ‘free ride’ here, but pay their “home” fees. I see this as a problem with the concept of Davis picking up the slack.[/i]

    Don Shor lives outside of the DJUSD attendance area, enrolled his kids in Davis schools, and pays the parcel tax through his business, Redwood Barn Nursery (according to Don). And it is a state rule, not a district rule.

    Davis homes have retained more of their value (using median price) than any other community in the Sacramento area that I can find, 72% of Sept. 2005 high value, according to zillow.com. Davis prices have also been more stable compared to many other UC communities — Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Riverside.

    We were able to refinance to a lower interest rate a year and a half ago. We could not have done that if our home were in nearly any other Sac. area city. I attribute the value of the local schools as a factor. So maybe you think it’s unfair that someone living outside the district, with kids attending DJUSD schools, isn’t paying the parcel tax, but there are other perks that you get. For our situation, with refinancing, we saved more than the cost of the parcel tax.

  41. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]And it is a state rule, not a district rule.[/i]

    …that determines that someone who lives elsewhere can enroll kids in the schools where she/he works.

  42. wdf1

    medwoman: [i]I would have no problem with vouchers as long as the following criteria were met:[/i]

    I would add that schools accepting vouchers meet the same standards of transparency as public schools.

  43. K.Smith

    [i]medwoman: I would have no problem with vouchers as long as the following criteria were met:

    I would add that schools accepting vouchers meet the same standards of transparency as public schools. [/i]

    I could get behind this.

    And I would add that I would have no problem with (for example) the religious schools providing instruction on religion. But, in order to accept the public funds, they would have to also teach the commonly-accepted science/reason-based curriculum (so, no teaching that the earth is 6,000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs co-habitated, etc.).

    @Elaine: -That’s- where “all this religious business” comes in. We want to compete in a global, information-based society, so if these religious schools want to participate in a voucher system and receive public funds, they must teach certain subjects as they are taught in the public school system. Or they can choose not to participate.

  44. Frankly

    [i]That’s- where “all this religious business” comes in. We want to compete in a global, information-based society, so if these religious schools want to participate in a voucher system and receive public funds, they must teach certain subjects as they are taught in the public school system. Or they can choose not to participate.[/i]

    I agree with this up to a point. I think it should be fine that the school teaches both views in their correct context. For example, teach one view in a theology class and the other in a geology class. If done correctly, the private religious school would better prepare students to compete in a global, information-based society still filled with people holding religious beliefs despite the dreams of secular atheists. It is better that the kids learn about as many views as possible so they can adequately relate to others holding a specific view… while also deciding for themselves what they believe in personally.

  45. Frankly

    medwoman:

    [i]I would have no problem with vouchers as long as the following criteria were met:
    1) All comers accepted regardless of “disability”
    2) Voucher covers full cost, just as public schools cover cost
    3) Transportation provided to the same extent as by public schools
    4) No faith based instruction ( many reasons for this, none of which including “hating religion”)
    5) Equal opportunity for both genders in all areas (no gender limitations in classes or extracurriculars)[/i]

    These are interesting given that the public schools don’t comply with #1, #2 and #5, #3 is becomming less and less available as funding problems force public schools to cut bus services, and #4 is obvioulsy a social/cultural bias problem for you and we should not teach this type of bias to our kids.

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