School Board to Determine Amount of Parcel Tax to Put on Ballot

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At a special meeting today at 8:30 am, and continuing to a Wednesday night meeting, the school board must approve a tax resolution by June 30 in order for the Yolo County Elections Office to place the measure on the November ballot.

The “status quo” measure would call for a $620 a year parcel tax, which would fund the current level of $9.5 million. The board was unanimous in early June for supporting a measure of at least $620.  However, the board was divided on going to either $750 or $960.

On Monday, the district released draft language as well as potential programs that would be funded.  The key word is “potential” since the board has not approved the language set, and therefore it is subject to change.

$620 Parcel Tax Language

To provide outstanding academics in math, science, reading, writing, instructional technology and programs in athletics, arts and music; provide high quality teachers; limit class sizes; and support student health and safety; shall the Davis Joint Unified School District replace its expiring parcel tax with an eight year parcel tax of $620/year, raising approximately $9.5 million/year, adjusted for inflation; with senior and disability exemptions; with citizens oversight; for the exclusive use of Davis schools?

Purpose

The purpose of the measure is to continue the programs and services currently funded by Measures C and E as follows:

a) Continue to provide opportunities for all students to reach proficiency by supporting improved instruction in math and reading;

b) Continued availability of elementary science instruction programs;

c) Continued reduced class sizes for elementary grades;

d) Continued availability of sufficient numbers of classes in secondary core subjects including science, math, English, history and social sciences;

e) Continued availability of world language programs;

f) Continued availability of elementary and secondary school music programs;

g) Continued availability of advanced placement classes;

h) Continued availability of elective course offerings such as fine art and Career Technical Education;

i) Continued availability of junior and senior high (secondary) school physical education classes;

j) Continued availability of elementary and secondary librarian services;

k) Continued availability of school counselor, school nurse, other student support staff positions;

l) Continued availability of athletics and co-curricular programs including drama, debate and journalism programs;

m) Providing supplemental staff training for classified and certificated employees;

n) Improving student nutrition by providing fresh farm produce from scratch meals;

o) Providing additional classroom and library instructional materials, technological materials, equipment and services, and other educational equipment for schools; and

p) Continued availability of school site safety and support staff.

Basis of Tax

By this parcel tax measure, the District seeks voter approval of a tax that shall be levied on all Parcels of Taxable Real Property in the District at a rate of Six Hundred and Twenty Dollars ($620.00) per parcel (“Parcel Tax Rate”). The new level of parcel taxes will be imposed commencing with the 2017-2018 tax year and will run for a period of eight (8) years.

To account for the impact of inflation on the cost of delivering the classroom programs and student services supported by the education parcel tax, the Parcel Tax Rate as set forth above, shall be adjusted annually, as determined by the Board, commencing as of the 2018-19 tax year, for inflation by the change in the “Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers California (1982-84=100)” published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the event this index is no longer published, the Board shall adopt a comparable index of general price levels as it shall reasonably determine.

“Parcel of Taxable Real Property” is defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the Yolo or Solano County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office, as applicable depending on parcel location. All property that is otherwise exempt from or upon which no ad valorem property taxes are levied in any year shall also be exempt from the special tax in such year.

If more than one adjacent Assessor parcel constitutes a single parcel under the Subdivision Map Act (California Government Code section 66410 et seq.), then the parcel will be treated as a single Parcel of Taxable Real Property for purposes of the amount of tax due, and a claim for refund may be made by the property owner pursuant to the claim procedures outlined below.

Exemptions

Senior Exemption From Special Tax. An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons 65 years of age or over as of July 1 of each tax year, who occupies parcel as a principal residence, upon application for exemption (“Senior Citizen Exemption”). Applications for such exemptions must be made and delivered to the District during the period from May 15 through June 15 (or the next regular business day thereafter) prior to the year the parcel tax is levied in accordance with the process established by the Davis Joint Unified School District Governing Board, or its designee.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipient Exemption From Special Tax. An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) for disability, regardless of age, who occupies the parcel as a principal residence, upon application for exemption (“SSI Recipient Exemption”). Applications for such exemptions must be made and delivered to the District during the period from May 15 through June 15 (or the next regular business day thereafter) prior to each year the parcel tax is levied in accordance with the process established by the Davis Joint Unified School District Governing Board, or its designee.

Social Security Disability Insurance Exemption. An exemption from payment of the special tax may be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI”), regardless of age, who occupies the parcel as a principal residence, and whose yearly income does not exceed 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, upon application for exemption (“SSDI Recipient Exemption”). Applications for such exemptions must be made and delivered to the District during the period from May 15 through June 15 (or the next regular business day thereafter) prior to each year the parcel tax is levied in accordance with the process established by the Davis Joint Unified School District Governing Board, or its designee.

Parcel-Tax-LCAP Parcel-Tax-F-1 Parcel-Tax-F-2 Parcel-Tax-F-3

—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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43 thoughts on “School Board to Determine Amount of Parcel Tax to Put on Ballot”

      1. nameless

        Agreed.  Did you notice one of the items suggested for the $960 proposal was to send kids to a science camp at a cost of $250,000?  I cannot believe there aren’t plenty of opportunities to teach science right here in town, e.g. Discovery Museum, UCD, without the necessity of a special camp.  By the way, I used to teach 8th grade science, so this comment is not coming from an English major!

        1. wdf1

          nameless:  Did you notice one of the items suggested for the $960 proposal was to send kids to a science camp at a cost of $250,000?  I cannot believe there aren’t plenty of opportunities to teach science right here in town, e.g. Discovery Museum, UCD, without the necessity of a special camp.

          You’re ignoring the modifier, “outdoor” that goes in front of elementary science camp.  Students already do field trips to the Discover Museum and UCD.  The science camp referenced is for 6th graders to go to Sly Park or Walker Creek (the two most common options) for a week.  This has been a part of the 6th grade science curriculum for most (probably all) elementary schools for at least a couple of decades, and probably more. As one who has seen all of my kids go through it and chaperoned at least once, I found it a valuable experience for every student, especially “higher needs” students.  It was as hands on and relevant a science experience as can be provided.  But if you think a classroom or museum is as equally relevant and hands on as field studies, then I question how much background you have had in science.

          nameless:  By the way, I used to teach 8th grade science, so this comment is not coming from an English major!

          I say this as one who has a graduate degree in science which involved field research.

          As I understand it, the district used to play a bigger role in funding it.  Over time school sites have taken on a bigger role.  Usually there is a family contribution, with some way to subsidize shortcomings.

          Many of the items proposed above the $620 level are things that have been taken on by school sites (usually PTAs/PTOs) in some way.  There is an ongoing debate among parents and staff about what sites should be funding or not.  For a while many school sites were funding credentialed counsellors, but for last year the school board directed the district to pick up that funding.

        2. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

          Completely agree! We have one of the finest universities around with various science departments. I see this as an opportunity to work on a collaboration between DJUSD and UCD to offer science camps for students at no cost or minimal cost. I bet there are other UCs that have this type of partnership.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        My commentary is that three board members were concerned that if the board pushed it past $620, they would risk passage. Alan Fernandes and Susan Lovenburg clearly wanted to go bigger. Madhavi Sunder wants to think big, but start with this as an eight year baseline and Barbara Archer seems to feel similarly. I’ll have an extended commentary Wednesday or Thursday.

        1. Barack Palin

          Sounds like they plan to take another bite at the apple in a few years or so?  I might have to rethink voting for the $620 if that is their plan.

        2. The Pugilist

          “Sounds like they plan to take another bite at the apple in a few years or so?  I might have to rethink voting for the $620 if that is their plan.”

          Vote yes on this and no on the next one.

    1. hpierce

      Board passes an eight year term by a 4-1 vote.

      Was there a COLA?   And, technically, they voted to recommend  a proposed an eight year term…. voters will decide.

  1. nameless

    “But if you think a classroom or museum is as equally relevant and hands on as field studies, then I question how much background you have had in science.”

    What’s wrong with the Arboretum as a venue for learning?  And it is right here in town!  As for my background, I hold a bachelor’s degree in math, and a master’s degree in applied math.  As such, I took a physics series and zoology, as well as minored in computer science.  I used to take my 8th grade students on little outdoor walking excursions to teach them science.  It cost nothing in $$$, but their enthusiasm was priceless.

    1. wdf1

      The arboretum isn’t exactly an ideal natural setting to see what you can see in the wilderness areas of Sierras (Sly Park) or the Coast Ranges (Walker Creek).  There are units on geology, ecology, wilderness biology, weather and climate, which can be appreciated best by contrasting different areas (how is this different from Davis?).  The beauty of California is that you have this available to you and you don’t have to travel far.  If you lived in the Plains states, this wouldn’t be as accessible, and it would be more challenging to see how the concepts work.

      Did your kids have outdoor science camp?  From your comments, I’m guessing it didn’t make much impression on you if they did, possibly because you don’t seem to know as much about those other fields of science.  Physics is only one part of the larger universe of science.

      The more variety of curricula that can be provided (including expanded elementary art and music which you seemed to disparage), the more that students will be engaged.  Outdoor science camp is one way to add that variety.  It does cost money, but is it worth it to engage more students?  In this case, I think it is well worth it, especially for that age (6th grade) when student engagement becomes critical as students are just entering secondary grades.  Maybe we agree to disagree.

    2. MAli

      The sixth grade week in the redwoods has been in the curriculum for many years. This was about where the funding should come from not whether the program should be in the curriculum.

    3. The Pugilist

      I resent the idea that we are trying to nickel and dime education in Davis.  The only question should be whether the science camp has value – if it does, then fund it.  If not, then find something that does and let’s fund that.

    4. wdf1

      And one thing that you’re overlooking by focusing on the curriculum (science) is the experience of being away from parents while away for a week.  For many students, this is the first time that they’ve experienced that kind of independence.  I maintain that foundational education (grades K-12) is more than just covering the content of the curriculum, but in developing non-cognitive skills as well.

      1. Barack Palin

        This sounds like a nice-to-have.  But it’s not a must have.  Sure, a thousnad nice-to-haves could be pointed to but we don’t have the funds and the electorate is already overtaxed.

        1. Barack Palin

          Then why not ask for a private tutor for every child in school if money should be no  object, talk about going from a good school to a great one.

          Simple answer, we can’t afford to.

        2. wdf1

          quielo:  great school system for who? For those who would benefit from AIM or those on IEPs? Or those kids in the middle somewhere?

          The usual thinking, when deciding what to fund in a school parcel tax, is for programs that would benefit everyone enrolled in the district — AIM students and those on IEPs.

        3. quielo

          Wdf1:  “programs that would benefit everyone enrolled in the district “. Having been on parent committees at two very different school districts that would not be possible with the possible exception of upgrading the food. When people say this it generally means that they are blowing smoke. They have downsized AIM to near extinction despite it being popular with parents and not expensive. “benefit everyone” does not mean aspiring AIM students so who does it mean?

        4. wdf1

          quielo:  Having been on parent committees at two very different school districts that would not be possible with the possible exception of upgrading the food. When people say this it generally means that they are blowing smoke. 

          Care to clarify how I’m blowing smoke?

          The school parcel tax currently funds elementary science, elementary music, 7th period for secondary grades, and libraries, for starters.  Can you explain how those programs specifically benefit or disadvantage one group of students (to use your groups, AIM, IEP, or “somewhere in the middle”) over another?

      2. South of Davis

        wdf1 wrote:

        > And one thing that you’re overlooking by focusing on the

        > curriculum (science) is the experience of being away from

        > parents while away for a week. 

        My kids learned a lot (and got to practice their Spanish) on an educational trip to the Belize rainforest.  I think everyone knows that kids learn a lot when they travel without their parents, but my guess it that not a lot of people want to pay a $2K/year parcel tax so the kids in town get to see the world.

        1. wdf1

          SoD:  …but my guess it that not a lot of people want to pay a $2K/year parcel tax so the kids in town get to see the world.

          Which makes a week away at outdoor elementary science camp a bargain, and even more worthwhile, IMO.  But all this discussion is a moot point, as additional funding for this program isn’t going to come in the school parcel tax.

  2. hpierce

    Funny… my parents, HS education only, with a less than median household income (for that time), took me to Muir Woods, Huddart Park, Monterey, taught me how to read, be inquisitive, actually brought me to Gettysburg, Antitem, Washington DC (Capitol, Smithsonian museums, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington), Springfield IL, Mount Rushmore/Black Hills, Devils Tower, Craters of the Moon, Hannibal MI, USS Constitution, Old North Church, Eisenhower’s farm, encouraged my reading of books on geology, botany, ETC., ETC….

    Yet they did it because I was their child.   No public subsidy, no public mandate.  All before I was 17.

    Obviously my parents were fools, not having the public fully fund my “education”.

    Was willing yesterday to strongly consider funding the DJUSD lower parcel tax, but so many posters, have convinced me, that except for specific students whose parents have less than median income, HS education or less, I’d rather take $1,000 a year out of our budget to help those, and for the others… those who can  take responsibility for their children, DO SO, but don’t expect everyone else to fund it.

    1. South of Davis

      hpierce wrote:

      > Funny… my parents, HS education only, with a less than

      > median household income (for that time), took me to Muir

      > Woods, Huddart Park, Monterey…

      Your parents didn’t have iPhones to entertain them so they probably paid a lot more attention to you than the typical well educated high earning Davis parent.

      We were recently at a local kids event and of the parents that took the time to show up most (well over half) spent more time looking at their iPhones than their kids…

      P.S. When I ride by parks in town it seems like most (well over half) of the adults are staring in to the screen of a smartphone…

      1. hpierce

        Understood… but all of us are responsible for picking up the “slack”? [not directed to you, because I think, by your tone, you GET it…]

    2. wdf1

      hpierce:  Funny… my parents, HS education only, with a less than median household income (for that time), took me to Muir Woods, Huddart Park, Monterey, taught me how to read, be inquisitive, actually brought me to Gettysburg, Antitem, Washington DC (Capitol, Smithsonian museums, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington), Springfield IL, Mount Rushmore/Black Hills, Devils Tower, Craters of the Moon, Hannibal MI, USS Constitution, Old North Church, Eisenhower’s farm, encouraged my reading of books on geology, botany, ETC., ETC….

      No public subsidy, no public mandate.  All before I was 17.

      Obviously my parents were fools, not having the public fully fund my “education”.

      I’m sorry that you find my point of view offensive.

      Perhaps I am sensitive to this issue because I was not lucky enough to have parents like yours.  We rarely traveled, we never went camping.  Sometimes we went to museums, and there were plenty of books around the house.

      I never went to a national or state park until I was in college and went with fellow students.  That experience was enough to make me decide to pursue science degrees in college.  I best understood the science that I was interested in when I saw it firsthand in nature.  If I had had some nature experiences like that in grade school, it would have helped me feel more engaged with the material.

      Your argument is that everyone else’s parents ought to be more like your parents.  Some parents are willing and able to do full on homeschooling.  Mine weren’t equipped to do so.  God bless the public schools!

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