Guest Commentary: Measure H, A Minimum $4,960 Commitment Why Vote No

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Parcel-Tax-ChalkBy Jose J. Granda, PhD

I appreciate the opportunity to have a dialog with your readers about this important issue to our community.  It may take this article and perhaps others to fully discuss this issue.  I have lived in Davis since 1978 that is 38 years. I love this city and I love the schools because I love teaching which I have done for 34 years.  I have volunteered in the classrooms at Birch Lane, North Davis, Willlet and Cesar Chavez when my kids were in school.  Regularly I am an invited guest speaker in elementary and high schools.  Education and inspiring minds is my call in life, I do it every day.  I have paid every single parcel tax since the beginning in 1984. These parcel taxes had merit at some point.  I began changing my mind when I attended a school board meeting in 2011 and the Board was discussing Measure A, a “temporary two year” measure. One of the board members said: “public education is not free”.  Another asked what is “the maximum amount” we could get (from the taxpayers) and still pass the measure?  It was not how much they needed. Then came the bribe to seniors in the famous letter from Mr. Robertson the superintendent who directly asked seniors to vote yes on Measure A while at the same time offering the exemption. Doesn’t that fit the definition of cheating in an election?  It is representation without taxation, right?  Many Davis residents in good conscience will vote NO on Measure H based on these underhanded tactics.

For those of you who were in Davis at the time I came, you will recall that the Davis schools were just as good then as they are today and we didn’t have parcel taxes.  Davis schools were always different from the surrounding cities and always will be because of Davis demographics.  It has college educated parents, it has UC Davis a world class university, residents have higher income, etc. Scientific studies conclude that the performance in school and the performance of schools is directly related to these factors.  It is not because of parcel taxes. These started as an extra and as an emergency at times.  It is actually illegal to treat them as part of the budget.  California Code Government Code 50075 and 50079 specifically authorizes these only for specific purposes and not as part of the school district budget.

Does Measure H Have Merit?

Does Measure H have merit or is necessary at this time? According the independent audit of the Davis School District conducted by Crowe Horwarth in 2015, a document that is not subject to manipulation by district officials and that we can rely on, the DJUSD budget in 2013 was $69.6 million, in 2014 it was $71.4 million, and in 2015 it was $76.95 million.  In 2015 the district ended up with a surplus of $9.98 million dollars.  With the surplus the 2015 budget is $86.93 million.  By no means a poor district.  According to the Crowe Horwarth audit report, in 2016 the projected budget is $82.50 million and assuming similar surplus would be $92.48 million dollars. This is not pocket change. There is not factual support for those who argue that the district is in desperate need of funds.

If we take out the money for Measure C and Measure E, we get $76.8 million dollars that we the taxpayers paid the district from our property taxes and income taxes.  This is reality.  It is this $76.8 million what really funds Davis schools and keeps them the way they are, not the parcel taxes.  Please see the budget trend in the following chart without even considering the $9.98 million surplus. The actual amounts and trend for the DJUSD budget are clearly spelled out in the chart with the data from the Crowe Horwarth 2015 audit report.

Granda-Chart-1

Even with this reality, those involved in the campaign for measure H are disingenuous with the public and they sell it as if the wonderful schools and programs are due to these parcel taxes.  Their impact in the overall wellbeing of the schools is minimal as they are spread out thin.  As explained above, they cannot be part of the budget but are permitted only for specific purposes.  Therefore without the parcel taxes $76.8 million in 2015 and projected $80.50 million in 2016 is a solid financial position.

There should be no catastrophe as proponents want the public to believe if Measure H does not pass.  The reason, California Proposition 30.  This is an approved Proposition I supported and voted for. It gave Davis schools 10.8 million dollars per year, more money than Measures C and Measure E combined.  It mitigated the need of those two measures and in fact the need for Measure H.  In other words, the state short falls are over and the “emergency” money from Measure C and E has been restored.  Therefore Measure H, is no longer necessary.  Notice that proponents of Measure H do not even try to make such an argument as they did for the passage of Measure A and Measure E.

There are those that believe in infinite funding for schools and I will never convince them.   However for those who live in the real world, those of us that have paid our dues paying these parcel taxes for 32 years, our own families have needs and priorities too. I believe in quality education and in paying a fair share of taxes to fund schools.  I do not believe in the exploitation and taking advantage of the good will of Davis homeowners who trust the money will be used wisely without realizing exactly what the district does. Exorbitant administrative salaries, 3.4% raise to administrators, etc.  At some point enough is enough.  It is time to vote NO.

Moreover, on the November ballot we will be voting on Proposition 51 to give schools money for facilities, a 9 billion dollar proposition which will bring more money for the Davis schools. We also have Proposition 55 which will continue and reinforce Proposition 30 funding for schools producing 8 billion dollars and would last 12 years. Under these circumstances and with the state shortfalls over it is reasonable to ask: Why does the Davis School district want to impose Measure H?  Is it double dipping?  Is it how much they need or how much they can get from the taxpayers?

Parcel taxes in Measure H were requested as temporary emergency.  It is time for the district to honor the commitment they made that these were “temporary”.  It is time to say thank you to Davis taxpayers and stop using them as if they were an ATM machine where money is readily available.  Davis schools are and will be in solid funding at least for the next 12 years.  Measure H has no merit and is not necessary.

Can You Afford Measure H?

How will Measure H impact you?  The price tag for any property owner who votes yes on Measure H is a minimum $4,960 commitment.  If you vote YES on Measure H, you are acquiring a variable debt which has a minimum price tag of $4,960 = $620 x 8 years plus an undetermined amount for an automatic cost of living increase every year so the actual amount you will pay in unknown.   Measure H is the most expensive parcel tax in Davis history. At a price tag of $4,960 it is too much for too long. It is unreasonable.

The cost of Measure H is exorbitant when compared to all the other measures. We must compare how much is demanded of the taxpayer when they vote yes on a measure.  Not how much you pay per year but also how long you pay.  Then you will know how much Measure H will cost you.  According to the California Education Data Partnership 2015 Report we can examine how much Davis property owners have paid for each parcel tax imposed on them since 1984. See bar chart and data below. It shows the total amount paid for each measure.

Granda-Chart-2

At $4,960 Measure H is 27 times more expensive than the first one, Measure K at $180.  It is four times more expensive than Measure C (2012, $1,280) and six times more expensive than Measure E (2012, $816).  The Davis School Board made a huge mistake in putting on the ballot such expensive and unreasonable proposal which makes it easier for Davis residents to reject and they should reject it overwhelmingly.  The following table shows specifically all costs for each measure considering how much we paid and how long they lasted.

Granda-Chart-3

One has to consider not only how much you pay per year but for how long. When you buy a car, for example you do not look only at how much is the monthly payment but how much the car costs and how long you will pay.  Same here, Measure H demands a financial commitment of $4,960 to be paid by you in 8 years if you vote YES.   It is like a self-inflicting variable interest debt. Measure H is a big increase in the taxes instead of just renewing them. It increases your mortgage bill.

Is Measure H Sending The Wrong Message?

What does this analysis tell you?  If you vote YES, this will never end and you will send the wrong message to the school board to engage in a never ending demand for higher amounts.  They have done it for 32 years and they will continue to do it unless you send the correct message and vote NO on Measure H. The never ending addiction to parcel taxes and mismanaging of resources will not change unless at some point you vote NO. That point has been reached with Measure H.  Vote NO.

Is Measure H Fair?

Measure H forces only those who own property to foot the bill for everybody else. Measure H is a free ride for: out of town residents who send students to Davis schools; seniors; temporary residents.  If you live in an apartment you are not escaping either.  The $4,960 bill of Measure H to be paid in eight years will come to your landlord and he will pass it on to you in the form of raising your rent.

Is it fair and ethical for seniors to take a bribe and get out of paying the taxes and then turn around and vote YES to impose a debt of $4,960 on you?  Any senior under those circumstances should refrain from voting or should vote NO so that others be in your same position.  If you are a senior and took the exemption and intent to vote YES you need to have a meeting with your conscience. The present Davis School Board has no conscience as giving a bribe to seniors so they can pass the tax.  Is that corruption?  Isn’t that cheating on the election?  Why should you pay $4,960 for the benefit of those who do not pay these taxes and those who do not even live in Davis?  One of the candidates, Alan Fernandes, proposed at the forum at Emerson, “to exempt teachers from paying the parcel taxes” in order to attack them. Wow!   If offering bribes to a class of the residents to pass the measure is not bad enough, this is offering another bribe to prospective teachers with the taxpayer’s money.  This is not ethical either.  Cheating is not an American value, unless I am alone in thinking that Davis is a city of ethical principles where fairness and justice are still its values.  These are the kind of things that I will not allow if I get elected to the school board.

Are Davis Residents Tired Of Paying Parcel Taxes?

In the past, like many of you, when one of these measures was on the ballot, I never questioned it and voted yes thinking is for only temporary for four or two years and is an extra money for schools. I did not even think how it will be used.   When my kids were in Davis schools I gladly paid these parcel taxes and have done so even after.  Well the school board in a disingenuous act with the public now wants to consider the parcel taxes as part of their budget for ever, something that it is illegal because the law allows these taxes only for specific purposes and not to be part of their budget.  They have no conscience in promoting Measure H that way and in having taken advantage of Davis taxpayers for 32 years.  Those of us that have paid these parcel taxes for 32 years are tired of this.  I know for sure I am not alone on this.  We made our contribution, it is time for the parents who have children in schools to do it, not just the property owners while everybody else gets a free ride. It is time to vote NO on Measure H.

Don’t our own families have needs too? For those of you who have sons and daughters in college you are up against major tuition money and for you voting NO on Measure H is a no-brainer.

My View Of Funding Schools

I do not pretend to have all the answers nor a magic wand but I believe in funding the schools the right way.  This means with everyone’s contribution, not by exploiting just one class of Davis residents. In principle this means through our income taxes and property taxes which come to the schools through the State of California.  Opportunities to fund schools are Proposition 30 (already approved), I voted for that.  It is bringing $10.8 million to Davis Schools.  This restored the money of the short falls which Measure E and C were covering, making these and Measure H no longer necessary.  Restoring funding for schools was the right way of doing it. However receiving $10.8 million, more than the two propositions combined and wanting to keep what was supposed to be temporary, is “double dipping” and that is not right either.  Measure H is double dipping.  Now we have another opportunity to fund schools the right way.  On the November ballot we will vote on Proposition 51, a 9 billion proposition that will give DJUSD funding for school.  We will also have Proposition 55 which will continue Proposition 30 and stabilize the funding for schools, an 8 billion proposal which no doubt will bring a lot of money for the Davis School District for the next 12 years. Under these circumstances of new sources of funding and having restored the funding needed from Measure A, C and E, Measure H is not necessary and no negative effect should happen to this district if it does not pass.  It will be a positive step and will force the School Board to behave responsibly towards the taxpayers and use the resources efficiently with the right goals in concentrating the investment on the students rather on the political special interest groups that fund their campaigns.  I don’t have these political commitments and if elected my commitment is to the best interest of the students and the taxpayers.

Besides these sources of funding I am for more money for schools the right way.  I have proposed the establishment of a grant writing department in DJUSD.  This will be a self-funded department dedicated exclusively to write grants for the district and do it consistently and professionally coordinated with similar efforts at each school. I am really happy to know that someone else, Bob Poppenga agrees with me on this.  He was very clear at the Vanguard forum and I believe this is the way to go.  The parcel tax money would look small compared to what you can do this way.  Another idea is to coordinate the fund raising efforts that the PTA’s have now.  If there would be a coordinated effort and assistance from the district to help the PTA’s in fund raising both, the district and the specific schools will benefit. Besides these sources of funding, no one is stopping anyone from voluntarily contributing to the funding of schools unless the idea is voting on a good idea to pass Measure H thinking someone else will pay the bill.

When you go into that ballot box, ask yourself, am I willing to make the $4,960 commitment that Measure H demands from any property owner that votes yes?   Or am I voting yes to make someone else pay?  If you are convinced, you can afford and you are going to pay it, it is your money, then vote yes, otherwise vote NO.

As we continue the dialog there will be more we can discuss, but I hope I have given clear and honest reasons to vote NO on Measure H and also to consider voting for me.  Whatever you decision is in the end, I am glad we had this dialog.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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62 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Measure H, A Minimum $4,960 Commitment Why Vote No”

  1. Tia Will

    I certainly applaud Mr. Granda’s article making clear his objections to the current parcel tax and his alternative ideas for the “right” way of funding the schools. I am only going to touch on a few of his main points which struck me as I read the article.

    1. “ It is this $76.8 million what really funds Davis schools and keeps them the way they are,”

    The key phrase here is “and keeps them the way they are”. The way we are from the little that I have read, is pretty middle of the road as opposed to being near the top of school districts of similar demographics. Many have made the case for UCD becoming a “top notch” or leading university in  more areas than just the veterinary school and ag fields.  If we aspire to greatness for our adjacent university, why would we aspire to any less for our public schools ?  I do not believe that this will be achieved without additional financial support for our schools.

    2. Another thought about “keeping them the way that they are”

    This attitude overlooks the costs of new projects and ventures. It is ironic in one way that this article is posted on the same day as the article on the ground breaking of the high school student center estimated as an approximately $ 8 million dollar project. Personally, I want our schools to have a surplus. I want them to be able to have flexibility and be able to fund special projects.

    3. The graphs showing comparisons with other parcel taxes are eye grabbing but hardly persuasive. A comparison between costs of 1984 and today over 30 years later would look dramatic no matter what financial parameter we choose. What he does not lay out is a comparable comparison of what virtually every other aspect of education cost then vs now.

    4. The concept of “unfairness”. I do not believe that it is necessary for everyone to pay equally in order to have a “fair” system. I do believe in exemptions for those who are less able to pay. Now one could certainly differ about which groups that should apply to, but I do not think it is unreasonable for folks on a fixed income ( most seniors who do not have children in the schools) to have special consideration. Also, we do not have the data on how many will avail themselves of this option. I am aware of three families who fit this profile, and are going to vote yes on H, and are going to pay the tax. Mr. Granda also undercuts his own argument by pointing out that renters also contribute, so it is not just homeowners who are footing the bill. I personally would prefer “means testing” for deciding who is exempt, but believe that would require a change in the law. If Mr. Granda wants this change, I would certainly join him in that endeavor. However, I do not feel that the students now in the pipeline and soon to enter should have to pay with their education for our personal preferences in taxation.

    5. The idea of an independent department for grant writing.

    While I certainly support obtaining any available grant funding for our schools, I actually find the establishment of a new and separate department to do so rather incongruous. We are going to pay a grant writer ( at what cost ) and support staff ( at what cost) to do nothing but solicit funds and “coordinate” with the individual sites to raise ( time and metric limited) money for the schools ?  From where will this additional funding for this “department” come ? Presumably these positions would have nothing to do with the actual instruction of our students but would only be charged with obtaining money that we are not willing to put up ourselves for our children’s education ?  I am not seeing the creation of a solely administrative department as a viable means of improving our children’s education. I believe that if Mr. Granda truly means what he says about the increase in administrative costs, he would not either. I would find this persuasive only if Mr. Granda had the means for making this a purely volunteer endeavor ( which I believe we have already seen).

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > The way we are from the little that I have read, is pretty middle of the road

      > as opposed to being near the top of school districts of similar demographics.

      Do you remember where you read this?

  2. wdf1

    Granda:  If you vote YES on Measure H, you are acquiring a variable debt which has a minimum price tag of $4,960 = $620 x 8 years

    If Granda wants to throw around a figure of $4960 ($620 x 8), then I think it’s fair to point out that the median income in Davis is actually $429,000 ($53,482 per year x 8 years) over the same period.

    1. Davis Progressive

      he’s playing fast and loose with numbers here to strike his fancy.  it’s a dishonest campaign and he won’t log on here to engage with the vanguard readers.

        1. South of Davis

          Sam wrote”

          > if you buy a car and pay $500 per month

          > for 60 months are you driving a $25,000

          > car or a $500 car?

          It is a $25K car for those of us that have never bought a new car, but “only $500 a month” to the people that try and “sell” new cars to people bad at math.

          It is a $4,960 parcel tax to most people, but “only $620 a year or $310 per tax payment” to the people that try and “sell” the parcel tax to people bad at math.

          P.S. I spent $2,500 for my current car when I bought it used a few years back, and despite the fact that I am not a fan of people that play games to get people to buy (or vote for) things they really can’t afford I’m going to vote for the parcel tax.

        2. wdf1

          On the comparison to cars:  Cars have material value that generally diminishes over time.  Education value doesn’t diminish over time.  A high school graduate will always be a high school graduate.  A college graduate will always be a college graduate.

        3. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > Education value doesn’t diminish over time

          If “a higher quality of K-12 education is required for future success” is’t the “value” of a 6th grade education less today than it was when my grandfather decided to go to work after 6th grade in early the 1920’s ?

          P.S. I don’t know about you but most of what I learned in calculus and linear algebra sure has “diminished over time”…

      1. Sam

        Yes, it is the same thing. If you sign a contract to buy a car you just obligated yourself to pay for the $25,000 car. If you vote yes on H you have obligated yourself to pay $4,960. The monthly, semi-annual or annual payments might be lower, but there is still a total amount that you are obligated to pay. Stating that is in no way “playing fast and loose” with the numbers.

    2. Tia Will

      If you vote YES on Measure H, you are acquiring a variable debt which has a minimum price tag of $4,960 = $620 x 8 years”

      This makes a huge assumption that may or may not apply to any given individual. The assumption is that the individual will be living here throughout this entire time period. If one moves, then obviously the amount will not be $4,960. It will be $620 x the number of applicable years. For example, Marina has indicated that she will be moving soon. It would be completely invalid scare tactic to quote her cost as $4,960. Therefore, I believe that the more accurate way to look at this is $620.00 per year. There is no need to multiply it out pretending that you know everyone’s future in order to provide a scarier number.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > If one moves, then obviously the amount will not be $4,960.

        And if you sell your car in year three you don’t have to pay the full $25K. If we were voting on a one year tax it would be a $620 tax but we are not voting for a single year of tax.

        > Marina has indicated that she will be moving soon. 

        Marina has also said (many times) that she plans to keep her Davis home and will probably pay the full $4,960 (writing the checks from her new home in a different county) …

        P.S. Like Tia I’ll be paying close to $10K in new parcel taxes if Prop H passes…

        1. Tia Will

          Like Tia I’ll be paying close to $10K in new parcel taxes if Prop H passes…”

          Or, $ 1,240 / year for as long as we own those homes. I will likely be selling one within one to two years making the ” $ 10 K” an untrue and potentially needlessly alarming number. I don’t choose to make decisions on “worst case” scenarios that may or may not occur.

    3. Don Shor

      Yes, and since the current rate appears, from my tax bill, to be $531.04 per year, the actual change people are voting on is $88.96 per year. Over 8 years, that’s $711.68 more. Not a bad increase for the benefits received. Certainly my kids got excellent value from the Davis schools. DJUSD has a lot of great programs that are unique and high value. DSIS alone is worth the cost.
      I can’t vote on this, even though I pay it. So I urge you all to vote for Measure H.

  3. Frankly

    Public education is the only business that gets to demand a constant increase in funding with the argument that if we don’t hand over the money they will steepen the decline in service.

    Since students are captive customers lacking choice, this is no different than extortion.

    1. Robert Canning

      Two cents:

      1. Public education is not a “business” in the sense that one usually thinks about business (profits, losses, etc.). You may (and I have read these sorts of comments from you before) believe that it would be better if we ran our public education more like a business, but the consensus on public (non-profit) vs. private (for-profit) school systems is still out, in my opinion.

      2. There are many entities that demand more money yet show a decline in service. Cable companies do it all the time – although I will admit they claim to improve service but service declines (again in my opinion since I cancelled my cable earlier this year.)

      1. Frankly

        Disagree completely on your cable TV example since you can go to satellite as the alternative.   Also, there are new providers popping up that will disrupt this industry too.  Sony is offering service through their Playstations that is about 60% the cost of Cable.

        The only way that the TV content providers behave like the school system is if the government blocks competition.  Then instead of adopting a mission to provide increasing customer value, it locks into a constant “do the same for more” practice… which is unsustainable.  And because it is unsustainable it will always have to come back and ask for more just to maintain the status quo.

        Time to shut of the free ATM and force the system to figure out how to work within its budget to provide top-quality service.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          Disagree completely on your cable TV example since you can go to satellite as the alternative.”

          There are also alternatives to the public schools. They are called private schools. There is even a free alternative that parents can opt for if they choose. It is called home schooling.

          I am thinking that perhaps it is not the lack of alternatives that you object to, but rather having to support public education at all.

        2. wdf1

          Frankly:  Disagree completely on your cable TV example since you can go to satellite as the alternative.   Also, there are new providers popping up that will disrupt this industry too.  Sony is offering service through their Playstations that is about 60% the cost of Cable.

          Problem with your example is that you use items that are luxuries.  I have never had cable TV or satellite TV, or Sony Playstations.

          Education is an economic necessity.

    2. wdf1

      Frankly:  Public education is the only business that gets to demand a constant increase in funding with the argument that if we don’t hand over the money they will steepen the decline in service

      Education is a public commodity.

      And if the community doesn’t take an interest in public education, then it will decline.  A significant reason that the Davis schools are pretty good is that there is a strong community interest in them.

      In 2016, a higher quality of K-12 education is required for future success than was required when you graduated from HS back in the 70’s.

      1. Frankly

        And if the community doesn’t take an interest in public education, then it will decline.

        In your narrative “taking an interest” means constantly agreeing to give it more money.  I think if you are really interested in the long-term strength of any enterprise/organization you first need to practice intellectual honesty in its assessment of its history of performance relative to the alternatives.  And in this country we have the most expensive education per student than all but one or two other industrialized countries, and our outcomes have declined relative to almost all other industrialized countries.  Constantly demanding more money to deliver what is basically the same or, compared to when I attended public school… diminished, service is a sign that the system is broken and unsustainable.

        I know a lot of young retired employees of the education system that travel to Europe every year or two.  Good for them.

        1. Don Shor

          and our outcomes have declined relative to almost all other industrialized countries.

          Have outcomes declined in the Davis Joint Unified School District?

        2. wdf1

          Frankly:  I know a lot of young retired employees of the education system that travel to Europe every year or two.  Good for them.

          What’s that supposed to mean?  That retired teachers have salaries ‘exorbitant’ enough to travel to Europe?  As a younger single man, I travelled to Europe a few times on the cheap, buying Eurail passes and staying in youth hostels, probably spending about ~$2000 for about 3 weeks.  I ran into retired teachers from the U.S. traveling the same way in Europe.

          Frankly:  I think if you are really interested in the long-term strength of any enterprise/organization you first need to practice intellectual honesty in its assessment of its history of performance relative to the alternatives.

          Problem is that not everyone has the same expectations or would agree to use the same measures.  For instance, you seem to like standardized tests; I don’t particularly give a damn about them.  Davis schools have a good graduation rate, and DHS has a good matriculation rate to college.

          Frankly:  And in this country we have the most expensive education per student than all but one or two other industrialized countries, and our outcomes have declined relative to almost all other industrialized countries. 

          And we have had higher rates of childhood poverty for decades.  If you compare performance of students by equivalent income level to other countries, then the U.S. performs well.

          Frankly:  Constantly demanding more money to deliver what is basically the same or, compared to when I attended public school… diminished, service is a sign that the system is broken and unsustainable.

          And there are more lower income students in the Dixon schools than existed when you went there.  Again, you’re slamming the performance of lower income students.

        3. Frankly

          And there are more lower income students in the Dixon schools than existed when you went there.

          Doubt that.  Do you have cites?

          And while you are at it, please cite evidence that increasing school funding in low income neighborhoods causes any material improvement in education outcomes.

        4. wdf1

          wdf1: And there are more lower income students in the Dixon schools than existed when you went there.

          Frankly:  Doubt that.  Do you have cites?

          In 1988 Dixon Unified had 26.8% students on free/reduced lunch, whereas Davis JUSD had 15.2%

          Go here and click on dist1988.  It is a .exe file that will download a .dbf file spreadsheet of free/reduced lunch for all California school districts for 1988 that you can open in Excel.

          In 2014-15 Dixon Unified had 52.5% on free/reduced lunch, whereas Davis JUSD had 21.7%.

          Go here for Dixon.  You can figure out how to find Davis after that.

          Another way that Dixon has changed is that it has gone from majority white students to majority Latino students.  In 1993 it was 56.7% white and 39.1% Latino; last year it was 34.7% white and 55.8% Latino.   All other school districts in Yolo County (Winters, Esparto, Woodland, West Sac/Washington Unified) have seen the same demographic shift over that general period of time, except for the Davis district which is still majority white, but will probably be less than 50% in about 3-4 years.

    3. quielo

      “Public education is the only business that gets to demand a constant increase in funding with the argument that if we don’t hand over the money they will steepen the decline in service.”

       

      You have forgotten healthcare

      1. Frankly

        I think healthcare does constantly improve to provide greater service value, but does not in principle work to lower costs.   The reason for this is that healthcare is a vertical industry where companies that make drugs and medical equipment are striving to constantly improve and competing with others in their markets.  But the end-user service providers are like schools in that customers are largely captive and without choice and thus there isn’t motivation in the system to strive to provide more value… in general.

        However, I would even temper that as Kaiser, Sutter and other providers tend to survey customers and work on improving their service delivery… especially Kaiser.  And they do this because they compete with each other.

        The main problem is that because of the layers of bureaucracy that sits between the various parties involved in the industry, there is no price transparency.  So customers are not only captive because there are limited providers (and growing fewer because of Obamacare), but they don’t really even know how to value shop because there are no posted prices for anything they need to shop for.

        One thing that both healthcare and teaching have in common… lot’s of unionized labor.

        1. Tia Will

          The reason for this is that healthcare is a vertical industry where companies that make drugs and medical equipment are striving to constantly improve and competing with others in their markets”

          This is only partially true. You forgot the part about how they strive to continually make exorbitant amounts of profit off the work of others by purchasing the rights to a product or process and then dramatically increasing the cost without any substantial improvement. The Epi pen situation is only the most recent example. I could name many others.

           I would even temper that as Kaiser, Sutter and other providers tend to survey customers and work on improving their service delivery… especially Kaiser.  And they do this because they compete with each other.”

          Another partial truth. The health care systems you named are in competition with each other. However, there have been many, many innovation projects that came about not because of competition, but rather because someone saw an opportunity to improve patient care and saw that the best way to achieve that was through a collaborative process with other providers and/or other departments. It seems to be hard for you to believe, but the majority of the improvements that I have seen during my 30 years in medicine with Kaiser have been due to collaboration with patient well being, not profit and competition in mind.

        2. Frankly

          Tia my friend, you are so profit-is-a-bad-word obsessed you really don’t understand the related drivers of human motivation.   For most people… moral people… profit is only a secondary result of trading value produced… and an attribute motivation for striving to the best in a peer group.   For most people and business that earn profit in a sustainable way, it is a secondary result of the long-term pursuit of the creation of value and for being recognized as being the best in a peer group.

          But there is status quo value and the motivation to constantly improve value.

          The motivation for Kaiser employees to improve patient care is no different than is the motivation of a bank to improve the ways it lends money.  And both are driven by competition to be recognized as being the best in a peer group.  And the cases in the medical industry where immoral doctors prescribe medication and perform procedures that are unneeded but for the fact that they help the doctor earn more money is no different than immoral Wells Fargo sales people selling new bank accounts that were unneeded so those employees would earn more money.

          The bottom line here is that you as a Kaiser doctor do not sit on some higher moral perch looking down on the rest that you can claim only earn profit.  Kaiser earns profit even though it is structured as a non-profit.  And it pays its employees very well.  And those employees are motivated to do a good job creating value so they are rewarded in all they ways that humans crave… basically to be recognized as being successful.. as defined by being recognized as best in their peer group.   And if they stop creating value then more business will go to Sutter Health and there will be fewer Kaiser employees and smaller rewards… because Sutter is more successful and people want to associate with the most successful competitor.

          The public school system has no competition.  The employees of the system know it.  They don’t have any incentive to compete.  They don’t have any natural driver to be the best… only to be adequate within their own protected bubble of performance expectation.  They really don’t care that value is declining (quality and scope of service relative to its cost) because it does not impact their perception of individual success… to have a feeling of winning in their peer group.

          Private schools are not in competition with public schools because public schools get public funding.   They are two different industries.   Private schools cater to the wealthy that can afford to pay the cost.

          The problem with public schools as with any public “business” for example the USPS… is that the employees, including managers, are made fat and happy with the status quo and have no natural motivation to constantly challenge themselves to improve the value they provide their customers.  Then when we add union protections, they dig in more to resist calls to innovate and change.  They get no reward for doing the extra work.  They don’t get external validation that they are the best in their peer group because they are their only peer group.  The are better off lowering the bar for what defined best… and they will always be motivated to lower the bar.

          I believe that very few direct customer services should be provided by any government.  They should all be outsourced and made competitive with competitive bidding, multiple service providers and choice.  There are a few exceptions… for example anything to do with safety and law enforcement.  But not education.  In fact, education is the very first thing we should outsource.

          1. Don Shor

            you really don’t understand

            Always a great way to start a comment.

            education is the very first thing we should outsource.

            You were always welcome to send your children to private schools.

        3. Frankly

          You were always welcome to send your children to private schools.

          Yup.  Made a mistake believing the myth of great Davis schools when it was really just Davis having a large percentage of helicopter parents in the education industry and an academic gene pool that is high on academic intelligence and suffering a bit in emotional intelligence and common sense.

        4. Frankly

          Always a great way to start a comment.

          I know Don.  One of your most difficult things to handle is someone telling you or someone you feel the need to protect as being wrong or ignorant about something.   This leads me to the obvious question… is there anything you or Tia don’t hold supreme knowledge about?

  4. Napoleon Pig IV

    I plan to vote FOR Measure H DESPITE the following facts:

    1. I do not respect or trust the majority of the current school board – Lovenburg, Archer, and Adams.

    2. I did not respect or trust the former Superintendent – Roberson. The new one is still an unknown.

    3. Common core is crap.

    4. The teachers union protects incompetence.

    5. The government is lousy at running anything and manages to introduce propaganda and deception into most of what it touches.

    I plan to vote FOR Measure H for the following reasons:

    1. I’m an optimistic young porcine who believes in betting on kids and providing them with resources even if those resources are not ideal or are not used efficiently.

    2. There are some amazing programs in Davis schools created by dedicated, energetic, and often brilliant teachers, and even if a majority of Measure H is wasted, if only a portion of it ends up in these hands, it will be worth it.

    3. For many of my fellow barnyard critters, there is no viable alternative to government schools, so we need to do what little we can to raise quality and make progress.

    4. There are ways to eliminate corruption, incompetence, and waste without risking harming kids – even though those methods might take longer and be very frustrating.

    5. I will vote for Bob Poppenga and hope he can help make sure Measure H funds are not wasted and that Lovenburg fades into a forgettable, distant speck in the rear view mirror.

    Oink!

    1. kronning

      When California adopted Common Core, the number of math standards increased along with a call for increased rigor and precision in student outcomes. Is this the “crap” of which you speak?

      Teacher unions do not protect incompetence, they merely insure a teacher with permanent status cannot be dismissed without cause.

        1. Greg Brucker

          Frankly, in order for this money to go to increased teachers’ salaries, there would have to be a cut somewhere major from the programs supported by parcel tax monies to pay for it. Do you have absolute proof of that happening in the past?

        1. Greg Brucker

          Sam,

          It would greatly benefit your cause to not instantly attack people without provocation. Considering you have chosen to start with a personal attack with no proof that I’m actually lying based on the “evidence” you site, I don’t have much to say to you here, really, at all. But, I’m willing, if you would like, to have a conversation about the points you brought up and others in previous comments about the DTA, you can find me at the farmer’s market tomorrow morning at the Measure H table. Feel free to come by, introduce yourself, and I’d be more than happy to talk with you about your concerns.

          Past that, if you are concerned that parcel tax funds were used to increase teachers’ pay, please refer to the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Reports (http://www.djusd.net/ptoc), and you’ll find that the money has been spent appropriately (ie, not on increased teacher salaries).

          -Greg

           

           

           

      1. Frankly

        Great teachers should be paid more.   Average teachers should not be paid more and should be given the opportunity to become great teachers.  Low performing teachers should be given opportunity to improve and then been escorted to a different career if unable.

    1. Yes_on_H

      “We all know that the money from this tax is going to fund increased teacher-union member pay.”

      That is wrong.  The school parcel tax funds specific positions and programs as summarized in the ballot language.  Staff positions connected to those programs are outlined annually in the report of the parcel tax oversight committee, as described by Mr. Brucker, above.

  5. Tia Will

    Frankly

    We all know that the money from this tax is going to fund increased teacher-union member pay.”

    You may “know” that. But please refrain from telling the rest of us what we “know”. And even if this were to be true, which I most certainly do not “know”, as the mother of a teacher ( although not with the school district) I would say “good, we should be paying our teachers more in line with other professionals.”

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > we should be paying our teachers more

      > in line with other professionals.”

      When I was a professional working for a “Big 8” accounting firm in the late 80’s (just before we became a “Big 6” firm) a co-worker married to an elementary school teacher figured out (using a spreadsheet like any good MBA/CPA) that while he was making almost exactly twice as much as his wife he was working almost exactly twice as many hours as she was every year (we didn’t get summers off, two weeks off for Christmas, a week long spring break or get to go home at 3:00 pm like his wife)…

      P.S. With that said I think the Yes on H people should avoid talking about teacher pay and focus on how home prices in areas with good schools are always the highest in the region.  They sit anyone that does not want to vote for the tax in front of a laptop with Zillow and show how Davis homes have gone up in value a lot more than Dixon homes.

       

  6. Misanthrop

    I  voted for Measure H.

    I also wanted to point out that the car that you make payments on is a depreciating asset while a child’s education is an appreciating asset that returns the money to future generations when they grow up and pay taxes. In essence when we educate people we increase their earnings power and increase the commonwealth of the community  and help secure our future economic security.

    Measure H pays it forward. Please support Measure H.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Good points and good bottom line recommendation by quielo.

      I found this interesting:

      http://changetheequation.org/blog/new-data-inequities-k-12-science

      Not so much because of the differences between racial groups or economic groups but because overall around 50% of science teachers nationwide do not get sufficient support for supplies they need to teach science. If our government schools are doing this badly in science, a discipline vital to our future success as a nation in a very competitive world, the situation must be really, really bad in the arts.

      Throwing money at the problem certainly doesn’t assure success, but starving the schools doesn’t either. Perhaps the local administration and teachers union and school board majority and state are all so bogus that Measure H is a swindle, but if some of the money helps some of the kids, it will be worth it. As for the free-riders and the bureaucrats at the trough, if I believed in hell I’d suggest they roast there. But, I know for sure that some of the DJUSD teachers are not bogus, in some cases are actually inspiring, and need more support than they often receive.

  7. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Tia my friend, you are so profit-is-a-bad-word obsessed you really don’t understand the related drivers of human motivation.”

    I do not consider profit a bad word. Profit is fine, as long as it is not achieved to the detriment of someone else. Not everything has to be a win lose, or zero sum game. People actually do achieve more when they work collaboratively. This is how Kaiser became a major player in health care provision. It is why many groups are now trying to emulate this model.

    an attribute motivation for striving to the best in a peer group.”

    This is an admirable goal as long as it is done in order to make the best contribution to the advancement of the endeavor rather than to simply call attention to one’s self.

    The motivation for Kaiser employees to improve patient care is no different than is the motivation of a bank to improve the ways it lends money.”

    I fundamentally disagree with this statement. At least at the provider level, the goal is not only to improve patient care, but to improve health with the ultimate goal of patient’s needing less care. I sincerely doubt that it is ever the goal of a banker to have less business from any individual as a goal.

    The public school system has no competition.”

    I do not agree with your statement that these are “two different industries”. First, public education is not an “industry” at all. It is a public service. Secondly, there is a competition between public and private schools for students.

    This is obviously incorrect on another level. There are many different types of private schools, some religious, some secular, and home schooling. In addition there are differences between schools districts with some being more desirable than others. Parents and students do have the ability to make choices within these means of education.

    They really don’t care that value is declining”

    This is also erroneous. I know from personal experience that my daughter as a teacher and her peers care very much about educational value. I do not know who your mythical “they” is, but it is certainly not the teachers.

    The bottom line here is that you as a Kaiser doctor do not sit on some higher moral perch looking down on the rest that you can claim only earn profit.”

    This may be the only point in your entire post on which we agree. But even here there is a problem. This is your construct completely made up by you for the sole purpose of being derisive as best as I can see. . I do not see myself as on “some higher moral perch looking down “on anyone. I see Kaiser as a more collaborative, better integrated, more efficient model which provides better service. and better care for the patients.  I didn’t have the foresight to design it and although I have initiated a number of projects that are innovative within the group, I could not have done this without the model of those who came before me and the inspiration from the most collaborative of my colleagues.

    is there anything you or Tia don’t hold supreme knowledge about?”

    And how in the world did I get dragged into this little ego spat you are stirring up with Don ? I find this particular allegation particularly ironic in view of the fact that you started the whole flap by discussing how lacking in knowledge I was which surely must mean that your believe that your knowledge is superior.

     

  8. Marina Kalugin

    The thought of a 3/2 majority on the board, that we have suffered under for more than 8 years now, actually got me thinking about voting NO….

    It would be the first time since I arrived here as a student in 1970 …that I was going to vote no.

    If I can be sure that the Board will be including Bob and Alan, then it will get my yes vote.

    Along with Sunder, that would mean a return to some sanity  🙂

    If the lone woman incumbent gets voted in, it will be more stupid decisions and many thousands of wasted dollars, and parental time, and children time…for those who are above the level of common core, the only alternative is GATE.

    And, this woman and her cronies, managed to stop a third tier of bright children from their rightful opportunity for more challenging work.

     

  9. Marina Kalugin

    It is about CHOICE and OPTIONS>>..not exclusion and penny pinching, which has resulted in many many more thousands of dollars spent on who knows what their agenda is…

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