My View: School Finances Are Tricky, Why You Can’t ‘Right Size’ the District

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We have had some good discussions in the last week on school finances.  To some extent these discussions have paralleled discussions that Alan Fernandes and Joe DiNunzio had over the previous year as they attempted to see what alternatives they might have to simply raising the parcel tax to shrink the teacher compensation gap.

The most difficult part of the discussion is explaining why you really can’t reduce your way to savings here.

One idea that has been put forth is reducing the size of the district through limiting out-of-boundary students (inter-district transfers).  One problem is that it’s hard to limit those numbers because (a) once they are in the district, they become like resident-students, and (b) under state law if their parents live here and the district has space, they are required by state to accept them.

The district would have to be able to demonstrate to the county office of education that they do not have space – this becomes tricky and I want to focus on the finances of reduction rather than the law on out-of-boundary students in this column.

According to Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby, when you shrink the number of students, whether through attrition or by design, you are fortunate if you save 40 cents for every dollar you lose from the loss in ADA (average daily attendance).

This is likely where all of the analysis and discussions, which we have had, have gone awry.

There are several problems that prevent the ability to gain savings on a one to one basis for a school district.  The biggest has to do with economies of scale.  Economies of scale means you get “a proportionate saving in costs gained by an increased level of production.”

As you expand, the cost of providing things shrink on a per unit basis.  Declining enrollment is basically the inverse of this.  As you contract, the proportionate savings goes down and it actually becomes less efficient.

One way to think about this is if we assume about $9000 per student and a class size of 28, the average teacher gets $70,000 in total compensation.  That means that every classroom generates around $250,000 in ADA.  If you remove 28 students from the school district, you can save $70,000 on the teacher but that doesn’t account for the other $180,000 that those students generate.  Some of that is covered by  the school – principal, custodian, aids and safety staff, and utilities.  But a lot of that goes districtwide and some of that really can’t be proportionately reduced.

Bruce Colby and Matt Best, for instance, walked me through an example of what would happen if the district was able to simply close a school and eliminate 500 students.

Those 500 students generate $4.5 million in ADA for the district.

At 28 students per classroom, you can therefore eliminate 18 teachers.  To make it simple, we simply took the average total compensation, but Bruce Colby reminded us that you actually eliminate teachers at the bottom of the pay scale, not the top – but perhaps they get lucky and get some veterans to take early retirement.

Eliminating 18 teachers at $70,000 average total compensation saves about $1.3 million.

By closing the school, you save another $500,000 by their estimates.  Again this is the cost of the principal ($120,000), custodian, aids and other staff, as well as things like utilities.

But guess what, that means that the district saved about $1.8 million but cost themselves about $4.5 million in ADA money.  That’s right at the 40 percent that Bruce Colby estimated.

The result is that what you think will save you money actually ends up leaving you worse off.

Why?  It’s very simple – we could account for the money directly spent on the school and in the classroom when the school was closed and the need for the students was eliminated.  But the district may not be able to shed enough other costs on a districtwide basis to make up for the lost revenue.

Bruce Colby explained that is what is happening to districts like Oakland which are losing students perpetually.  They can shed costs, but they are always chasing that lost revenue.

That’s why he believes that their best strategy is enrollment stabilization, which maintains a more or less steady revenue and costs.

The above scenario actually is a best-case scenario.  Out-of-boundary students are distributed relatively evenly throughout the district.  That means with 740 currently, dividing by 16 schools you end up with 46.25 per school.  They are also relatively evenly divided by grade.  That means at an elementary that’s about 6.6 per grade and about 2 students per section.  It is not even clear you would be able to close a school without massive disruption of forced boundary changes.

As I pointed out earlier, having lived through the reality of closing Valley Oak and the discussions the following year about closing Emerson, the district put forth Measure W as the community’s preference over closing a school.

—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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144 thoughts on “My View: School Finances Are Tricky, Why You Can’t ‘Right Size’ the District”

  1. Don Shor

    “(b) under state law if their parents live here and the district has space, they are required by state to accept them.”

    Should be: if the parents work here

        1. Ron Oertel

          It was already cited, by Hiram.  Look it up yourself.

          There is no state requirement (as in “NONE”) for school districts to accept students whose families live outside the district. Even if they work within the boundaries of the school district.

          Don wrote a complete article regarding this, as well. (During the period in which the district actually tried to “kick out” current out-of-district students.) Are you saying you didn’t see that article from a day or two ago?

          In fact, approval is required from both the “sending” AND “receiving” districts.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I find the following citation particularly “amusing”:

          (4) The school district to which the pupil is to be transferred under this subdivision may prohibit the transfer of the pupil if the school district determines that the additional cost of educating the pupil would exceed the amount of additional state aid received as a result of the transfer.

          Here’s a link to Hiram’s comment, citing the law:

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2020/01/measure-g-campaign-explains-why-we-need-another-parcel-tax-part-ii/#comment-418728

  2. Ron Oertel

    Again, each student is creating a $2,200 deficit.

    $2,200 X 700 out-of-district students = $1,540,000 annual deficit. Davis property owners are already making up that difference. An additional burden would be created, as a result of a teacher raise.

    There is no math which shows that maintaining a student population that is creating a deficit “saves money”.

    One cannot depend upon objective financial claims written on a blog written by someone who has the same advocacy interests as the school district itself.

    1. Don Shor

      One cannot depend upon objective financial claims written on a blog written by someone who has the same advocacy interests as the school district itself.

      “Bruce Colby and Matt Best, for instance, walked me through an example….”

      There is no math which shows that maintaining a student population that is creating a deficit “saves money”.

      So basically, you didn’t read the article.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Again, each student is creating a $2,200 deficit.

      There is no math which shows that maintaining a student population that is creating a deficit “saves money”.

      Perfectly correct.  No kids, no students, no deficits. No district.

      Given your previous concerns about procreating… logical conclusion appears to be (in your view) is…

      1. Ron Oertel

         logical conclusion appears to be (in your view) is…

        . . . 1) to not deceive regarding costs, 2) to not “adjust the city” to meet the needs of a school district in denial, and 3) to provide an opportunity to address actual city needs.

        1. Richard McCann

          Why is the district in denial? It’s pretty clear that unless the district enrollment goes into freefall, that stopping outside enrollments, or even closing a school in the current state, will lead to a WORSE fiscal situation for both the district and the city. Please make a logical case backed by facts and analysis that support your contention that the district is in “denial.” Assertions are worthless at this point without support.

        2. Ron Oertel

          It’s pretty clear that unless the district enrollment goes into freefall, that stopping outside enrollments, or even closing a school in the current state, will lead to a WORSE fiscal situation for both the district and the city.

          Who said anything about a “freefall”?  Regardless, your claim regarding impact is not backed up by any evidence.

        3. Richard McCann

          It’s so funny to read your concern for other towns when we bring up how stopping development here will just simply shift it to another town, which will then suffer the consequences of that development instead, you completely dismiss that concern. Your hypocrisy is quite blatant.

        4. Richard McCann

          Ron O

          I’m pointing that your scenario only works if the enrollment is in freefall. I don’t know what “impact” your referencing in my comment, unless it’s the fiscal situation. And I’ve provided all sorts of evidence here, both in the math supporting David’s article and with the reference to the District budget. Where’s your evidence?

        5. Ron Oertel

          And I’ve provided all sorts of evidence here, both in the math supporting David’s article and with the reference to the District budget. 

          No supported evidence has been presented here.  Other than the fact that ADA is not fully covering the cost of students, and that the difference is paid by those responsible for DJUSD parcel taxes.  (Of which there are essentially a limited number, regardless of the number of students.)

  3. Ron Oertel

    Here are some of the “suspect” (unsupported) numbers in David’s “analysis”:

    But a lot of that goes districtwide and some of that really can’t be proportionately reduced.

    In fact, a number isn’t even included in the analysis, above.  Is this where a major portion of the deficit is created?  Let’s see a breakdown.

    Also, has there been any consideration of combining districts with others in Yolo county, as has occurred in other counties?

    By closing the school, you save another $500,000 by their estimates. 

    Let’s see a breakdown of this.

    Also, let’s see what the possible (broader) ramifications are by selling a school site, itself.

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      And by “breakdown”, I mean the complete annual cost of running a school.  (Not just selected figures.)

      Also, let’s see a complete breakdown of the money that is going to the district, itself. (In other words, not assigned to a particular school.) And from there, we can start exploring reductions based upon excessive costs, possible elimination of a school, and/or combining with other districts.

    2. David Greenwald

      The deficit Is created two fold.  First by the district getting less money per student than other districts and second The district and voters made a decision starting in 2008 to maintain the current programs that other districts do not fund.  By doing so however, they had to hold teacher compensation where it was in 2008 which took a gap and grew it larger. To fill that gap, they have now asked the voters to pass an additional parcel tax.  The solution you are proposing – as I demonstrated with math – will make things worse, not better.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The solution you are proposing – as I demonstrated with math – will make things worse, not better.

        Your analysis is incomplete, is likely inaccurate, and includes no analysis whatsoever (over time), as noted elsewhere on this page (and in your ongoing series of articles).

        In fact, your arguments make no logical sense, to begin with.

        1. Richard McCann

          Ron O

          Even with the complete breakdown, we still won’t get to saving 100% of the ADA monies for at least one simple reason–the district still needs to pay off bonds for current facilities. Those are unavoidable fixed ongoing costs and they are significant.

          You can look here at the district budget and make your own assessment: https://www.djusd.net/departments/business_services/budget

          The facilities management cost about $9M a year and cannot be reduced unless a school is closed AND the site sold or transferred. The annual debt payments are about $5M and cannot be reduced in any case short of bankruptcy. And this doesn’t include the additional bonds approved but yet to be issued to upgrade the current facilities that are degrading.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I’m not sure if ADA is used to pay-off facilities, but operating at a loss (as a result of maintaining an oversized district) isn’t going to change this. Doing so would simply incur more costs.

          It may be that a school closure is ultimately needed. In the long run, I suspect that there’s no way around this.

          Again, it goes back to a comparison of what’s actually needed, vs. what actually exists.

  4. Ron Oertel

    you remove 28 students from the school district, you can save $70,000 on the teacher but that doesn’t account for the other $180,000 that those students generate.

    If attrition is allowed to occur gradually, over time (e.g., via retirements and voluntary departures), it is likely that the $70,000 figure (which isn’t supported in the first place) would be higher.

    1. Ron Oertel

      There’s another factor regarding the potential elimination of teaching positions.  For example, if lower-wage teaching positions were cut first, it is true that the immediate savings would not be as high (as if higher-wage teaching positions were eliminated).

      However, the long-term impact (projected over years) would change, as the remaining higher-wage teachers retired (and were replaced by lower-wage teaching positions).  There would likely be a “wave” of retiring higher-wage teachers (and other salaried employees) at some point, since those might be the ones remaining for a period of time (and no one works or lives forever).

      Making incorrect assumptions that a current population’s demographics don’t change over time is the same mistake that some make regarding housing demographics. (Sometimes I wonder if it’s not a “mistake”, regarding such omissions.)

      The bottom line is that the impact over time would need to be examined to determine savings.  (And not just related to teacher salaries – but all costs associated with running a school or an oversized district).

       

      1. Richard McCann

        Come up with a plan that accounts for the risk that your preferred demographic forecast is wrong (and they frequently are wrong), and is able to transition through the periods when schools need to remain open until there’s sufficient exit to justify closing a school. At best we’re only 50% of the way toward closing an elementary and a quarter of the way toward closing a junior high if we stopped all interdistrict transfers now. Without those school closures your plan is infeasible. Your only speculating at this point, and you haven’t made a sufficient case to bother exploring it. You need to do much more research and analysis, rather than just selfishly saying “I don’t want to pay higher taxes.”

        1. Ron Oertel

          It’s not up to me (or anyone else) to come up with a “plan” which goes against the vested interests of a school district that is resistant to change.  I’m simply pointing out basic realities.

          The resistance to change is on full display here, in the form of 100 comments or so.

          I’m also not willing to “take your word”, regarding the alternatives or your related claims. One would be foolish to do so.

          Also, it has nothing to do with any concern regarding my personal finances (as I’ve pointed out numerous times).

        2. Richard McCann

          My point is that you’re not pointing out “basic realities”. You have created a fantasy world that fails to address the complexity and uncertainty of the issue. And I’ve pointed out why your proposal won’t save enough money. Again, you need to prepare an analysis that accounts for the amount of fixed unavoidable costs, how much costs could actually be recovered from the reductions, and the uncertainty about enrollment growth that creates an insurance value for maintaining current facilities. And even then, that’s only enough to begin the further exploration that you demand.

          If you want a crappy school district, why don’t you just move to Dixon where they discussed eliminating 12th grade as a cost savings measure?

        3. Ron Oertel

          And I’ve pointed out why your proposal won’t save enough money.

          No, you haven’t.

          Again, you need to prepare an analysis that accounts for the amount of fixed unavoidable costs, how much costs could actually be recovered from the reductions, and the uncertainty about enrollment growth that creates an insurance value for maintaining current facilities. And even then, that’s only enough to begin the further exploration that you demand.

          I’m not “demanding” anything.  I’m pointing out that no actual/supported analysis has been presented on here.  Doing so is beyond the scope of a blog.

          Nor would it be wise to assume that a school district (which has a vested interest in the outcome) will realistically consider the complete range of alternatives.

          Step one might be to examine all of the actual costs of educating a student, within the current system.

        4. Ron Oertel

          The examination/allocation of costs per student (in and-of-itself – without even going any further than that) would be a significant exercise. That (alone) is probably beyond the scope of a blog.

          From that, you would examine the impact of various scenarios, over time.

  5. Ron Oertel

    Just on a straight-out logical level, one would not start-out by building a school system that is designed for more capacity than is needed, in an effort to “save money”.

    That is, unless each student brought in more money than they cost.  Which clearly isn’t the case.

    1. David Greenwald

      That’s correct, you wouldn’t design a school system that way.  However, you’re reversing the engineering here.  The question is not about design, but rather about maintaining the best level of fiscal stability and that requires preventing declining enrollment because declining enrollment invariably leads to budget deficits and program cuts.

      1. Ron Oertel

        However, you’re reversing the engineering here.

        Yes – that’s essentially what needs to be done, to right-size the district. In effect, compare what currently exists, to what is actually needed.

        1. Richard McCann

          BS, you are living in a dream world. The infrastructure we have now is what we have to work with. In your world, how would we deal with stranded costs from existing facilities? Guess what–it would be a parcel tax that is probably at least as large as what we have now.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Yet another unsupported claim.

          Given the resistance on this blog, can you imagine the amount of personal attacks that anyone would endure if/when they directly challenged the school district and its supporters – beyond the 100 or so comments on this blog?

          Attempting this would likely be a lot more difficult than simply not challenging it in the first place.

          Actually, that’s also my “advice” for anyone who’d rather not go through the hassle of challenging what’s put forth on this blog, in general. Some will repeatedly attempt to “bully” those who do. (Or, they might just be “banned” from participating, as we’ve already seen.)

        3. Hiram Jackson

          Ron Oertel: “…can you imagine the amount of personal attacks that anyone would endure…”

          You barely do any of your own research to support your arguments,

          Ron Oertel: “…beyond the 100 or so comments on this blog…”

          …given the that about half the comments are yours.

          The district has accepted fewer kindergarten students in the past few years.  That’s an appropriate strategy to “right-sizing” the district, longterm.  But it doesn’t yield the savings needed to provide appropriate compensation to attract and retain teachers.

        4. Ron Oertel

          …given the that about half the comments are yours.

          In direct response to comments directed to me, from the reality-deniers (and/or those engaging in personal attacks, which you generally refrain from).

          The more this goes on, the more that biases are showing themselves. Other than a couple of limited comments from Mark, it’s me against the “advocates”.

          (Add this one to the “count”, by the way.  Let’s see if we can make it to 200!)  😉

        5. Richard McCann

          Ron O

          That you’re standing entirely alone may be an indication that perhaps you’re wrong. That you have failed to concede a single point throughout this discussion doesn’t help your case, especially when you haven’t provided a single piece of evidence other than confusing average and incremental costs. Your reputation from your other posts doesn’t help either.

  6. Mark West

    “But guess what, that means that the district saved about $1.8 million but cost themselves about $4.5 million in ADA money.  That’s right at the 40 percent that Bruce Colby estimated.”

    This analysis assumes that once the school is closed that the District continues to use the property, much as they did with Valley Oak. The correct analysis would include selling or leasing the old school property for other uses. Much of the lost ADA money could then be recouped, and the cost of future maintenance would be removed from the budget. Yes, I know the money from the sale would have restricted uses, that doesn’t change the analysis.

    The other issue I have with this argument is that it boils down to, ‘reducing costs won’t solve all of our problems so therefore we shouldn’t bother reducing costs.’ This seems to be the same approach that the City has taken. Just keep spending money since cutting costs won’t be sufficient to fill the entire hole in the budget.

    Right-sizing the District won’t solve all of the problems, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do. Of course, the other option is to allow the City to grow so we have enough kids to fill the existing schools.

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      Of course, the other option is to allow the City to grow so we have enough kids to fill the existing schools.

      If each student is creating a deficit, adding more Davis schoolchildren won’t resolve the deficit, either.  All it would do is to increase the chances that their families (on average) would be responsible for some portion of the parcel taxes.

      That’s especially true if they live in apartments and/or Affordable housing.

      But, I’m glad to see someone acknowledge the underlying goals of some. (That is, to “adjust the city” to meet the needs of the school district.)

      The “tail wagging the dog”, once again.

       

    2. Bill Marshall

      Mark..

      Pretty darn sure no developed school site has been sold/redeveloped (oops, three exceptions. original Davis High… sold to the City, re-purposed as City Hall, Senior Center, King High, CC chambers (which the District shares), along with King High, and the City ball field… now remembering DJUSD had either acquired or had an option on a site on W Eighth which is now the LDS church and a branch of DPNS [under the aegis of DJUSD] )… only one undeveloped school site has been sold (see caveats, above), and another one has not gotten past the “what if” stage of discussion… and, as many have pointed out, the proceeds of such sales are very limited in use… other property or facilities…

      I am aware of three school sites that were ‘closed’, but then “re-purposed” — Valley Oak became Da Vinci… original Emerson JH is now district offices, and a pre-school/daycare (?)… original School site which was sold to a developer, then acquired by the City… now known as the lower half of Central Park/Farmers Market/Bicycle Hall of Fame… Dunning will attest to the latter…

    3. David Greenwald

      Mark: “ This analysis assumes that once the school is closed that the District continues to use the property, much as they did with Valley Oak.”

      This is not correct.  The district cannot recoup ADA money by selling property.  Selling property is facilities money, not classroom money.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Do they not have other “facilities” that require ongoing maintenance?  And, if using the proceeds saves money there, what happens to the (other) money that is “freed-up” as a result?

        Or, are you claiming that once they sell a school, that money just sits in an account somewhere, never to be used again?

        1. Mark West

          “I’m stating that facilities money cannot be used for purposes of instructional spending as implied in Mark’s post.”

          I was not implying that, which is why I included this in my comment:

          “Yes, I know the money from the sale would have restricted uses, that doesn’t change the analysis.”

          The point was that the dollars lost could be recovered, yes with restrictions.

          For me, the larger point though is one of credibility. When your budget is underwater you should work to decrease your costs, not increase them by raising compensation. Look first for all the cost reductions that are possible, and once they are implemented, only then go back to taxpayers for more money.

    4. Richard McCann

      Mark

      Remember in Ron O’s future vision, first the Davis population is  capped and then the world population. In Davis, only those residents who deserve to live here are allowed to stay, and eventually the population is reduced down to only those who are like minded with him. (Oh, and that solves the parking problem too.)

  7. David Greenwald

    Part of the problem when Ron talks about a $2200 gap – is that he is misconceptualizing what a parcel tax is and what it funds.  The parcel tax is not based on pupils. The parcel tax is not being used to fund general classroom instruction – that means it is not going to state required general instruction.  Instead it is going to things like 7th period, electives at the HS, PE, athletics, science and math programs, foreign language, counselors and librarians.  That means that cutting students isn’t going to free up money for the parcel tax for other purposes.  Now what we could do is take the parcel tax money, put it back to the voters and use that to pay for compensation gap, but that would mean cutting the programs that the parcel tax currently pays for.  Cutting students isn’t going to free up money for these purposes, it will simply drain money from other uses as the analysis shows.  You can’t cut programs fast enough to balance the budget this way – you always have to make deeper and deeper cuts which is what everyone is trying to avoid.

    1. Ron Oertel

      That means that cutting students isn’t going to free up money for the parcel tax for other purposes.

      It would reduce the amount of parcel taxes needed to serve remaining students, depending upon what (exactly) is “cut” as a result, and how the system might be reconfigured.

      But as we’ve both noted now, what really needs to be done is to compare the system that exists, vs. what is actually needed. This would entail a thorough examination of ALL costs and revenues expected over time, using various scenarios (and assumptions).

      It is not a simple/single calculation, nor is it something that can be dismissed on a blog.

      1. Richard McCann

        “It is not a simple/single calculation, nor is it something that can be dismissed on a blog.”

        Agreed on the first point, but until you provide substantial evidence that it will provide both significant enough savings based on an adequate understanding of district financing and funding sources AND a full analysis of the risks entailed by your proposed plan, yes, it can be dismissed on a blog, as it is being done by most of the commenters here. You simply haven’t made your case and simply asserting its true is meaningless. You haven’t shown how you would make up a 60% funding gap in your proposal. Until that happens, your proposal will be dismissed.

        1. Ron Oertel

          yes, it can be dismissed on a blog, as it is being done by most of the commenters here.

          Well, you (and other reality-deniers) are certainly trying pretty hard to do so. But, the underlying problem still exists.

          109 comments, now.  😉

        2. Ron Oertel

          I have to admit that (once the arguments become ridiculously repetitive, personal, and useless), I start wanting to “play along”.

          Probably better than letting it bother me.

          (It’s now up to 128 comments, and counting.)

    2. Ron Oertel

       “but that would mean cutting the programs that the parcel tax currently pays for.”

      Not necessarily.  It would mean that those programs would not need to serve as many students.  Each of which is costing $2,200 more than they bring in – assuming that they’re not subject to existing or proposed parcel taxes. (If the proposed parcel tax is passed, that difference will increase.)

      1. Ron Oertel

        (My comment above is in reference to cutting the number of students, not “redirecting” the existing parcel tax.)

        In reference to David’s 1:24 p.m. comment, the $2,200 is the approximate difference between ADA per student, vs. the amount currently needed for each student under the current system (without even including the increase that would result if the proposed parcel tax is approved).

        Ironically, this difference is something that David emphasized, in previous articles.

        1. Richard McCann

          Ron

          As I pointed out in a previous article, you’re confusing “average” costs with “marginal” or “incremental” cost. While the average cost is $11,000, the incremental cost is only only about $4500. Each transfer student brings about $9,000. So long as the district doesn’t add facilities and runs at the current level of service, that’s a “profit” of $4,500 per student that lowers the cost of in-district students. That seems to be a pretty straightforward business model.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Richard:  I’m not confusing anything, and I fully understand the concepts.

          Your comment is not supported by facts, and does not account for costs that would result from “right-sizing” the district.

        3. Richard McCann

          Yes, you are confusing average and incremental because you keep referencing back to the average cost. “Right sizing” won’t generate the average cost savings. As I pointed out, you need to show how your “right sizing” will make up a 60% gap between the current incremental and average costs. I showed how 15% of that gap is already made up of unavoidable facilities costs, and that doesn’t include the already committed pension and benefits costs to current and past employees. (And you can get some measure of that from the District budget site I posted for you to look at.)

        4. Richard McCann

          “That is, it’s the (approximate) “additional” amount needed per student under the current system.”

          Wrong, it’s BOTH the additional needed AND savings created by reducing students.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Right sizing” won’t generate the average cost savings.

          What “average cost savings” are you referring to?

          As I pointed out, you need to show how your “right sizing” will make up a 60% gap between the current incremental and average costs.

          Unsupported claim.

          I showed how 15% of that gap is already made up of unavoidable facilities costs, and that doesn’t include the already committed pension and benefits costs to current and past employees. (And you can get some measure of that from the District budget site I posted for you to look at.)

          I’m not sure if you put forth anything which “showed” that, regarding facilities.  However, you previously incorrectly claimed that ADA supports facilities.  This error was pointed out to you by someone who isn’t particularly “friendly” to me.

          Are you claiming that pension costs are related to the parcel tax?

          General references to the “district’s budget site” does not support any of your claims.

           

        6. Ron Oertel

          Wrong, it’s BOTH the additional needed AND savings created by reducing students.

          Uhm, if the extra cost is “savings”, why wouldn’t this be “paid” to those currently subjected to the parcel tax?

          Hey – what a great idea!  😉 Instead of paying $620, each parcel tax payer receives $2,200!

          Is it “wrong” of me to be enjoying this, at this point?

  8. Ron Glick

    This is a ridiculous argument because it doesn’t address how you close the compensation gap. You are going down this rabbit hole that detracts from the basic fact that DJUSD is underfunded because of LCFF and as a result the district is not competitive for teacher salary. That is the problem Fernandez and Dinunzio are trying to address while you guys are stuck on the fact that kids that we didn’t build homes for are accessing our district and tapping into the generosity of this community.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Since the district is already “over-sized” relative to need, teacher retention is not necessarily a desirable goal – from the standpoint of the city itself.

      If the entire system was adequately analyzed (and right-sized), there might be more money available for compensation increases for the remaining teachers. However, I realize that this is not going to occur voluntarily. (Ultimately, it will probably be forced upon the district, one way or another.)

      1. Richard McCann

        We have pointed out over and over that your match wrong, and losing transfer students would LOWER the amount of funds available for teacher compensation. And it won’t be forced on district unless your particular vision of the future occurs. You haven’t shown whether your track record supports that position, so we can’t put any credence into what you assert.

    2. Ron Oertel

      You know, probably the “best of both worlds” is to approve developments such as the Cannery (with relatively few children – despite its “family-intended design”), since each of those (single-family, market-rate) homes is subject to the existing and proposed parcel taxes.  Although it doesn’t result in much ADA, the parcel taxes (and whatever else the development contributed to schools) is almost all “profit”.

      Then, to get the ADA, import the kids from out-of-district.

      But, I’m not sure how much money can ultimately be extracted from developments such as the Cannery, for the purpose of benefiting non-resident children and their teachers.  😉 Maybe we’d better “hope” that such developments are filled with deep-pocketed Bay Area transplants.

       

        1. Ron Oertel

          That’s great, Ron G.  (Seriously.)  I’m assuming that they told you that.

          But from what I’ve heard, that development has not added the number of children expected (e.g., from the single-family housing).

          And I assume that the Cannery was included in the analysis, below:

          https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/new-projections-forecast-slow-decline-school-enrollment-as-local-birth-rate-continues-to-drop/

          In my opinion, teachers would have a stronger argument if they said something along the lines of, “we need/deserve a raise, and we cannot (individually) do anything about district (or union) decisions”.

          Or, as “Curly” (from the Three Stooges might say), “I’m a victim of coicumstance”. 😉

        2. Richard McCann

          We had three families move in right next door within the last 3 years that have children attending DJUSD. I’m seeing more, not less, young families moving here like that.

  9. Ron Glick

    “If the entire system was adequately analyzed (and right-sized), there might be more money available for compensation increases for the remaining teachers.”

    You seem to believe that the district hasn’t thought about this or is somehow not acting in good faith. I’m inclined to support the district’s direction. They have studied the issue and came to a conclusion that was obvious from the beginning. Dinunzio has an MBA from the prestigious Stanford School of Management. Colby is one of the most respected and knowledgeable school finance people in the area. We are lucky to have them and we should support them as they try to do the right thing for the district and the community.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I hadn’t previously noticed this before, but it looks like there’s actually about 850 out-of-district students attending DJUSD schools (see article, below).

      It’s not a situation like UCD – where it’s the only one around.  All of these students have a “home district”.

      Yeah, I’d prefer that DJUSD comes up with a plan to address this, over time.  The birth rate is dropping, and the community is maturing.

      Ultimately, this will also impact the number of out-of-district students available. At any point, their home district can (also) refuse to allow new transfers to DJUSD. (It’s not entirely up to DJUSD.) Maybe they should have a “bidding war” for kids – sort of like corporate headhunters? 😉

      https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/new-projections-forecast-slow-decline-school-enrollment-as-local-birth-rate-continues-to-drop/

       

       

       

    2. Ron Oertel

      But of course, if a student’s home district doesn’t have parcel taxes (or has a significantly lesser amount), then perhaps they’re more eager to “farm out” their kids.  (I’m sure that many parents are, at least.)

      I suspect, though – that the amount of ADA is higher in “sending” districts. Resulting in less ADA, when a student transfers to Davis.

      It would be interesting to know what impact all of this is having on “sending” districts.

      1. Richard McCann

        It’s so funny to read your concern for other towns when we bring up how stopping development here will just simply shift it to another town, which will then suffer the consequences of that development instead, you completely dismiss that concern. Your hypocrisy is quite blatant.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Ha!

          Actually, the hypocrisy regarding the lack of concern regarding the impact on school districts that are being “poached” (so to speak) by DJUSD is astonishing.

        2. Ron Oertel

          You’re bringing up a point which is unrelated to the article.  However, I suspect that other towns would pursue the same amount of development regardless of what Davis does.  (It might/might not occur over a slower time period, however.)

  10. Don Shor

    From the Davis Enterprise, 2015:

    “The start of the new school year saw 650 transfer students from outside the school district. This includes 474 students whose parents work in Davis, 365 of whom are continuing and 109 who are new interdistrict transfers. Among those 109 new transfers, 89 were students who had been living in Davis, but whose family moved outside the district boundaries, and the parents wanted their student to continue attending Davis schools.

    Another 176 students are attending Davis schools this year under interdistrict transfers but do not have a parent employed in Davis, including 117 students who are continuing students (who originally enrolled as Davis district residents, then moved out of the district) and 59 who are new transfers this year. But a total of 52 of these 59 new transfers are from Davis households that moved out of the district boundaries and wanted their student to continue attending Davis schools.”

    In that year, 73% of the interdistrict students had a legal basis for staying in the district.

    Of the new ones, 82% sought continuity in their education as their parents moved out of the district. Most people agree that continuity in your education is beneficial. You may disagree with that, but that isn’t relevant. As parents, we seek interdistrict transfers because we believe it is the best placement for our children.

     

    If you stop accepting new interdistrict applications, the district loses money as each existing one ages out of the district. You have to wait until a couple of dozen age out or leave before you can possibly cut one teaching position. The point of today’s article is that, even then, the district is losing ground financially on the decision. In fact, it is likely you’d have to lose several dozen before achieving staff reductions because these students are distributed across many grade levels.

     

    The interdistrict students provide budgetary stability to the district. Any policy change would have minimal benefit, in fact it would be largely adverse to the district. It is likely that it would be harmful to the students and it would certainly be very disruptive to the district as boundaries and facilities would have to be realigned.

    It’s really time to lay this interdistrict tangent to a rest. It is not going to be a significant factor in the financial question before the voters: whether they should vote to tax the property owners of the district in order to give the teachers a raise.

    1. Ron Oertel

      You’re right about one thing, Don:  There’d likely need to be more of an “active” decision made to change things, rather than letting it change more slowly.

      The current system is likely hurting students “left behind” in their home districts, creating unnecessary commuting, and is not assigning responsibility for costs where it actually belongs.

      It’s also highly likely that voters would be much less likely to approve any taxes for the city itself, if this is approved. 

      Should we review the amount of existing DJUSD parcel taxes? And, perhaps compare that to existing parcel taxes for the city, itself?

      Neither David (nor anyone else) has responded to many of the questions regarding David’s “analysis”.

      I guess we’ll see if voters have had enough. I suspect that this one is going to have a tougher time being approved.

      1. Don Shor

        The current system is likely hurting students “left behind” in their home districts,

        You have no evidence for this assertion.

        creating unnecessary commuting,

        False.

        and is not assigning responsibility for costs where it actually belongs.

        Not really. ADA follows the student and parcel taxes have no direct connection to enrollment.

        It’s also highly likely that voters would be much less likely to approve any taxes for the city itself, if this is approved.

        You have no evidence for this assertion.

        Should we review the amount of existing DJUSD parcel taxes?

        No, Ron. I can look at my property tax bill and see them.

        1. Ron Oertel

          You have no evidence for this assertion.

          It is, in fact, reducing ADA for each student that transfers out.  Probably by a larger amount than is received, by DJUSD.  It also means that facilities don’t have to be adequate for 850 students (and teachers hired), in a student’s home district.

          False.

          It’s absolutely true, to the tune of 850 students.  Probably every single one of them arriving via motor vehicles driven by parents. These are some of the folks that you see “lining up” in cars at school sites.

          You have no evidence for this assertion.

          There is a limited amount of money that taxpayers are willing/able to spend.  The road tax recently failed.

          I believe that the city survey (that David is “selectively fond” of mentioning) put funding for schools (or teachers?) near the bottom of the list of concerns. (But, I don’t recall the exact question.)

          No, Ron. I can look at my property tax bill and see them.

          It wasn’t intended as a personal question, but would you care to “total up” the approximate amount of total parcel taxes for DJUSD, vs. the total amount for the city on a typical property tax bill?  

          1. Don Shor

            It is, in fact, reducing ADA for each student that transfers out. Probably by a larger amount than is received, by DJUSD. It also means that facilities don’t have to be adequate for 850 students (and teachers hired), in a student’s home district.

            ADA is based on the cost of educating the student. You can look up how it’s calculated. For the home district, it’s most likely a wash. More to the point, you made the assertion without evidence. So I repeat: you have no evidence for your statement.

            It’s absolutely true, to the tune of 850 students. Probably every single one of them arriving via motor vehicles driven by parents. These are some of the folks that you see “lining up” in cars at school sites.

            If the parents work in the district, there is no increase in commuting for the student. Your assertion is false.

            It wasn’t intended as a personal question, but would you care to “total up” the approximate amount of total parcel taxes for DJUSD, vs. the total amount for the city on a typical property tax bill?

            Just tell us what is on your property tax bill. I know what is on mine.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Don:  ADA is based on the cost of educating the student. You can look up how it’s calculated. For the home district, it’s most likely a wash.

          You have no evidence for that statement.  In fact, the ADA is the primary reason that DJUSD is encouraging out-of-district transfers.  That’s essentially the basic point of David’s ongoing series of articles.  DJUSD wants that money, and is taking it away from other districts.  And, yet ADA is likely higher in a student’s home district – resulting in a net loss of ADA per student.

          There is likely a population of kids “left behind” in sending districts, whose parents aren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities at DJUSD.

          If the parents work in the district, there is no increase in commuting for the student. Your assertion is false.

          That’s a false assumption.  The biggest reason is (probably) because some parents are taking jobs at DJUSD itself, specifically because they want their kids to attend DJUSD.  They might not work within Davis boundaries at all, if it wasn’t for this “perk” that they don’t have to pay for.

          For those working at UCD, they might otherwise take a bus (and/or, not have to drive their kids across town to their schools). It would be interesting to know how many actually fall into this category, regardless.

          Just tell us what is on your property tax bill. I know what is on mine.

          I try to avoid sharing personal information on here (nor do I intend to draw it from you), but I believe that the total amount of parcel taxes for DJUSD absolutely dwarfs the total amount of parcel taxes for the city.  In general, do you disagree with that statement?  I believe this information is relatively easy to research, for anyone.

          1. Don Shor

            Don: If the parents work in the district, there is no increase in commuting for the student. Your assertion is false.

            Ron: That’s a false assumption. The biggest reason is (probably) because some parents are taking jobs at DJUSD itself, specifically because they want their kids to attend DJUSD. They might not work within Davis boundaries at all, if it wasn’t for this “perk” that they don’t have to pay for.

            More assertions without evidence.
            As to the commuting “assumption,” it is based on 13 years of experience with each child.

        3. Ron Oertel

          More assertions without evidence.

          That’s par for the course, in the article itself.  Is that figure (the number of out-of-district parents who work at DJUSD) available, somewhere?  I suspect that it is.

          Regarding the amount of DJUSD parcel taxes, I recall a figure of around $1,500 – $2,000 or so, per parcel.  (That’s what I recall someone else posting.)  Does that sound about right?

          Has anyone totaled up the amount of city parcel taxes (per parcel), for comparison?

          Yes – I understand that you were one of the commuters, and still are (regardless of kids). But extrapolating your personal experience to others is not relevant.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            “Regarding the amount of DJUSD parcel taxes, I recall a figure of around $1,500 – $2,000 or so, per parcel. (That’s what I recall someone else posting.) Does that sound about right?”

            Not particularly close.

        4. Ron Oertel

          I’ve forgotten, however, if the amount of DJUSD parcel taxes “varies” around town – depending upon the age of the development and/or some other factors.

          If that’s the case, I can envision those with lower taxes (based upon those factors alone) “sticking it to” those in newer developments, for example.

          For sure, the entire DJUSD parcel tax structure (and its exemptions) allows non-payers to stick it to payers, via a popular vote.

        5. Ron Oertel

          In other words, “sticking it to” those who are already carrying a pretty heavy load. 

          I already understand that the additional $200, adjusted annually for inflation, would be applied uniformly – per parcel. Which creates another inequity – already discussed at length (e.g., regarding apartment buildings vs. single family dwellings, etc.).

          In any case, this article is not useful at all, for any kind of analysis related to “right-sizing” the school district. Instead, it’s just the usual “battleground of nonsense” on here.

          I’m signing off.

        6. Hiram Jackson

          Ron Oertel: “Regarding the amount of DJUSD parcel taxes, I recall a figure of around $1,500 – $2,000 or so, per parcel.  (That’s what I recall someone else posting.)  Does that sound about right?”

          For as much as you invest in this discussion, why don’t you know that figure?

        7. Ron Oertel

          For as much as you invest in this discussion, why don’t you know that figure?

          Pretty sure I can find it out.  But again, I’m not sure that there’s a “single” figure, as new developments are probably responsible for more.

          In any case, you (and others) seem to have one in mind.  How about sharing it?

        8. Hiram Jackson

          Ron Oertel:  “Pretty sure I can find it out.  But again, I’m not sure that there’s a “single” figure, as new developments are probably responsible for more.”

          Don Shor offers one source.  If you own property in Davis, it should show up in your county property tax bill.  You can search archived articles on the Vanguard.  You can also search archived articles at the Davis Enterprise.  I’m sure there is also information at the Yolo County website; also at the Davis JUSD website.  The school parcel tax is a fixed figure; it doesn’t vary.

          School facilities bond assessments may vary.

    1. Richard McCann

      David’s article, and math, did a pretty good job of explaining the complexity of the problem. It’s those who are complaining that the District is far off the mark who are offering the “clear, simple and wrong” answer.

  11. Bill Marshall

    Thread “box score”… 31 by one poster; 21 from a total of 6 others…

    “right-sizing” indeed…

    Oh… this makes 22 by others… but I live in Davis (for over 40 years), and the DJUSD, own property and pay taxes here… ‘one’ doesn’t want to share that sort of ‘personal information’… I ‘wonder’ if they could, even if they wanted to.

    Do the math… connect the dots… draw your own conclusions… ‘one’ asks for info, asserting it is easily available, but repeatedly asks for ‘spoon-feeding’, even when some of the questions have been repeatedly answered by others, not just on this thread, but on several others regarding DJUSD and the proposed parcel tax, and existing parcel taxes levied by DJUSD and the City.

    The one says they’ve ‘signed off’ for tonight… cool…

    But for tomorrow, I’ll give 2:1 odds that the ‘one’ will complain that this is a personal attack, and/or “trolling”… I’ll leave to others, the determination if one or both of those complaints is valid.

  12. Ron Oertel

    Thread “box score”… 31 by one poster; 21 from a total of 6 others…

     

    Says the guy who said the following (regarding information that he already seems to know, given that he reads and comments in just about EVERY article):

    Bill:  Please cite actual, current language… like Thomas, will not believe until I see…

    The article itself was written in direct response to my previous challenges.

    Oh… this makes 22 by others… but I live in Davis (for over 40 years), and the DJUSD, own property and pay taxes here… ‘one’ doesn’t want to share that sort of ‘personal information’… I ‘wonder’ if they could, even if they wanted to.

    How is that relevant in any way, shape or form?  No one (least of all me) cares about your personal background.  How does your comment above advance the conversation in any useful way whatsoever?

    Do the math… connect the dots… draw your own conclusions… ‘one’ asks for info, asserting it is easily available, but repeatedly asks for ‘spoon-feeding’, even when some of the questions have been repeatedly answered by others, not just on this thread, but on several others regarding DJUSD and the proposed parcel tax, and existing parcel taxes levied by DJUSD and the City.

    As noted, you must be referring to yourself.

    The one says they’ve ‘signed off’ for tonight… cool…
    But for tomorrow, I’ll give 2:1 odds that the ‘one’ will complain that this is a personal attack, and/or “trolling”… I’ll leave to others, the determination if one or both of those complaints is valid.

    Readers might want to ask where the moderator is, in the first place.  Oh, right – he’s busy challenging me, himself.

    Still looking for someone to post information regarding what the DJUSD parcel taxes are, throughout the city. I looked on the DJUSD website, and did not see it.

    Isn’t this a key piece of information, in regard to the topic of the article? Perhaps it should have been included there.

    1. Richard McCann

      Troll

      “you must be referring to yourself”

      How troll like. Instead, why don’t you make the effort to prepare supporting evidence for your assertions? Did you look at the District budget that I posted for you? Your demands that others bow down to your wishes and desires reminds me quite a lot of significant national figure who now stands trial in the U.S. Senate for trying to get another nation to do just that.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I didn’t call anyone a troll.  Take a look at the quote (and what I was responding to) more carefully.

        I think you’re starting to take this too seriously/personally.  How about if we call a truce?

        I really don’t think there’s much more that can be gained, from continuing.

  13. Ron Oertel

    The amount was set by the 2016 parcel tax.

    I’m referring to those newer neighborhoods that are responsible for MORE than the 2016 parcel tax.  (To construct new schools, etc.)

    I’m also curious as to how much money schools get from the developers, to begin with.  Some general information regarding that is available on the DJUSD website, but I’m not sure if this is applied to entire developments:

    https://www.djusd.net/departments/business_services/developer_fees

    In any case, school districts have a vested interest in promoting development, in more than one way.

    1. Ron Oertel

      And again, does the parcel tax amount or fee (e.g., to construct new schools) vary between neighborhoods (e.g, Old East Davis, vs. Mace Ranch, vs. Wildhorse, vs. The Cannery)?

      Why would anyone think I know the answer? And if anyone does, might it be more useful to share it, rather than attack me? (No, I guess that wouldn’t be “fun” for at least one of the commenters on here.)

      1. Don Shor

        And again, does the parcel tax amount or fee (e.g., to construct new schools) vary between neighborhoods

        No.

        Why would anyone think I know the answer?

        We assume you pay the parcel tax, because of your extraordinary interest in it. Evidently not.

      2. David Greenwald

        The parcel tax is the exact same amount on every parcel.  A Melo Roos is an agreement with the developer of a project and only funds facilities to build a new school or mitigate the impact of a new development.

    2. David Greenwald

      You said: “ Regarding the amount of DJUSD parcel taxes, I recall a figure of around $1,500 – $2,000 or so, per parcel.”

      What you are referring to is not a parcel tax.  It’s a Melo Roos.

        1. Bill Marshall

          More accurately, there are three components of DJUSD “assessments”…

          The 2000 & 2018 bonds (construction/facilities)… these are ad valorum, and will vary depending on one’s AV … total rate is $0.0678 /$100 AV.

          CFD 1 (City-wide) and CFD 2 (~ post 1992 construction). Don’s cite is the appropriate way of estimating one’s assessments.

          Then, there are the other DJUSD parcel taxes for programs, and, as the proposed measure provides, increases in employee compensation.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I don’t think that folks who pay those taxes and fees “care” what they’re called.  They come out of the same pocket, and they end up in the pocket of DJUSD.  (Or, one of the “sub-pockets.”)

        Nor do folks necessarily “care” that a certain amount is reserved for (XX use within the district), while another amount is reserved for (YY use, within the district). Either way, it’s going to the district.

        I will say that I think they’re “appropriate” – if schools were actually needed to serve the new developments.  The problem is that there’s excess school capacity, but those neighborhoods are still subject to the fee.

        By the way, is it higher at the Cannery, given that it’s the newest development? (I’ll take a look at what you just posted.)

        1. David Greenwald

          It varies by the development.  It’s an agreement by the developer with the city.  Helps them finance stuff.  It was highly controversial with Cannery, btw.  But regardless it is apples and oranges and doesn’t go into instructional dollars so doesn’t have anything to do with the parcel tax.

          I have other things to do today, so this will be me my last response here.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Thanks, but I’m not seeing the actual amounts per parcel in those neighborhoods.

          Regarding “apples and oranges”, it all goes into the same “fruit salad”.

        3. Bill Marshall

          David, Re:  Cannery CFDs…

          As I recall, the DJUSD CFD was a ‘no brainer’… it was the developer sponsored CFD to finance the improvements made by the developer, and/or promised by the developer, that was contentious.

  14. Ron Glick

    “In any case, school districts have a vested interest in promoting development, in more than one way.”

    So the schools should be condemned for letting in too many people from outside through inter-district transfer and also having a supposed “vested interest in promoting development, in more than one way.”

    Build that wall! Around Davis.

  15. Ron Oertel

    Don:  We assume you pay the parcel tax, because of your extraordinary interest in it. Evidently not.

    One of the primary problems on here is that others make incorrect assumptions (regarding motivations) based upon what they “believe” about others.  It’s ultimately a reason for the doxing attempts, as well.

    I haven’t said either way, but it has nothing to do with my motivation.  $200 more dollars (adjusted annually for inflation) shouldn’t be the “end of the world”, for anyone.

    I’m more concerned about the overall willingness of voters to support needs which have a higher priority.  I’m also concerned that the situation regarding DJUSD has a potential of facilitating sprawl, in more than one way. (Via a “search” for more students, or “siphoning-off” funds that might otherwise go to the city. Note the recent failure of the parcel tax for roads, for example.)

    Note that one of the commenters who is very supportive of DJUSD continuously attacks Measure R (and advocates for sprawl), for example. To me, that connection ultimately reflects poorly on DJUSD, itself.

    You don’t need to search for my motivation, beyond that. Anyone with any degree of honesty/integrity should be able to figure that out, by now.

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      And then, there’s also the amount that schools get from developers to begin with.  (A significant one-time payment, I understand.)  I’m not sure how that works, although one of the links above discusses payments based upon square footage.

      It might be interesting to see all of the sources of funding for the school district, as well as a comparison of the total amount going to schools, vs. the city itself.

      For sure, both (cities and school districts) are “hungry beasts”. But, schools are much more aggressive, regarding letting their goals be known. (And yet, they serve a much smaller subset of the population – which is continuing to shrink.) You know what they say about “beasts” that are threatened. 😉

       

  16. Ron Oertel

    From article below: 

     “The city’s roads PCI of 57 is worse than virtually every city in the area, including that of Winters, Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon and Sacramento.”

    “The city’s bike paths are even worse off, with a PCI of 52, according to the 2019 Pavement Management Report.”

    “Also addressing the council was Nico Fauchier-Magnan, president of Bike Davis, who urged the council to consider how proposed development projects could worsen the situation if the infrastructure needed for those projects can’t be maintained by the existing tax base.”

    He noted that much like pensions owed to city employees, infrastructure — including roads — “is very much a financial liability.”

    https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/davis-roads-worst-in-region-council-subcommittee-to-seek-solutions/

    Talk about “priorities“. Compare that to the costs of supporting an over-sized school district!

    1. Ron Oertel

      I realize that you’ll keep trying to frame it that way. I’ve already noted what the choice actually is – including in the comment directly above yours.

      Should we go through this again – beyond the 80 comments?

    2. Hiram Jackson

      Ron G.: So if we have to make a choice we should prioritize roads over education. Okay, got it.

      Ron O.: I realize that you’ll keep trying to frame it that way….

      Ron O., your comments are all over the place:

      HJ: All I’m suggesting is that there exists a path in Davis for you to get what you want — road repairs.

      Ron O:  Actually, I don’t care much about it.  I simply think it’s more important than a raise for teachers.

      source

      1. Ron Oertel

        Well, thanks for including the “source” link, since here’s what I added directly below that comment:

        Not what I said.  I simply said that I think road (and bike path) maintenance is a higher priority.
        I don’t think that EITHER issue is a critical need.  But more importantly, some (not necessarily you) seem to be using these both of these issues as a pretense to support more development.

        And, some others may simply “not care” about sprawl, if it helps meet their own goals. (That’s not necessarily a “criticism”, despite the way it sounds. It’s more of a “conclusion”.)

        So, no – my comments are entirely consistent.

        But since you and Ron G keep bringing it up, do you think continuing to support an over-sized school district takes priority over something that will eventually need to be addressed?

        Or, are you clinging to the fake argument that the cost of educating kids from outside the district is “saving” money for those subjected to DJUSD parcel taxes?

        1. Hiram Jackson

          Again, you frame it as an either-or thing, as if that’s the only way to see it.

          And remember at the same time, you don’t even think road repair is a critical need, and don’t actually care much about it, in spite of investing all kinds of time in commenting on it.

          Ron O: “over-sized school district”

          All things considered it is the right size district for the students who attend.  If this measure passes, my kids will not directly benefit — they will all have moved on.  I don’t mind paying to help educate others’ kids.  Apparently you do.

          Without putting in local money for the schools, the state and federal governments get to tell you what kind of schools you will have, and there’s very little you can do about it.  If you want some say in determining what kind of local schools you will have, then putting up local money is the best way to do it.  I want a local say.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Again, a false characterization of the points I brought up (and without really addressing the questions I asked).

          I’d suggest just leaving it at that.

        3. Ron Glick

          I’ll take a bite on that low hanging fruit.

          First you don’t seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of school finance so how can you determine what the optimal size of DJUSD should be.

          Second you never offer what you believe is the criteria to determine what the right size would be. Should we determine this by class size, class offerings, student services including things like mental health, speech therapists, nurses, counselors, number of inter district transfers, existing infrastructure and its condition. I’m sure Bruce Colby could add an additional 10 or 20 or 100 more criteria that effect the budget to this list.

          Finally, let me take one more shot at making it simple. The biggest cost is the infrastructure. Once you have the infrastructure in place the best way to run a robust program that meets the needs of the community is to fill it with children. This is what the community has said repeatedly it wants through opposition to program cuts and supplemental taxes approved by voters.

          The district has been listening to the community and has a long history over multiple school boards and administrations of working their asses off to keep this district afloat.

          In the last decade LCFF has created a new challenge and the current leaders, after much study and deliberation, have determined that asking the community for $200 a year more per parcel is the way they would like to proceed.

          Its easy to ask questions but to actually come up with an alternative is hard. Simply saying “right size” without an actual proposal to consider, with all its consequences, is much harder.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Seems like you (and possibly Hiram) refuse to let this go.

          Regarding “simplicity”, one might ask themselves if the district and its schools would be designed the same way (size), today – given the number of resident enrollments.

          If not, then there’s a problem.  Especially since it’s already relying upon Davis taxpayers to “make up” for a $2,200 shortfall, for each student.

          So, how about letting this go now, since we’re on the second day of this absurd denial of reality?

  17. Ron Glick

    You say you want to let this go but you never do and you keep repeating how we are subsidizing these other kids as if that would be a bad thing if it were true.

    The truth of the matter is these kids are generating less revenue for the district because they are exempted from the parcel tax but how much is another question.

    Let me give you another example. If somebody lives in a big apartment complex they are only contributing a fractional amount of the parcel taxes. Say they have any number of children. You can divide their already small amount by the number of children so they are paying an even smaller amount if they have more than one child. When you add it all up these parents are paying almost the same amount as inter-district transfers that is to say almost zero.

    Since most of the people who live in Davis are renters most of the taxpayers are paying far less than the full amount for these additional funds. My point is there are many ways to look at this additional financing but the notion that we are being unfairly taxed because a transfer student is paying less is subject to many circumstances that go beyond the simplistic analysis you seem to be fixated upon.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Well, I keep getting responses.

      Your example is correct, but is a different point.

      Here’s the reality:

      The total amount of parcel taxes collected is limited by the number of parcels.  The number of parcels is generally not increasing (with the exception of developments such as WDAAC, whose individual owners will likely qualify for an exemption).

      The total number of parcels subject to the tax might actually be decreasing, as owners qualify for an exemption (one way or another).

      Now, unless the system has “excess capacity” (which is in fact costing “extra money” for Davis taxpayers), each new student will have a cost associated/allocated to him/her to participate in the programs funded by the parcel tax.  In the current system, that amount is approximately $2,200 per student.

      Since the total amount of parcel tax does not increase for each student added (and is likely not increasing at all), each student added creates a larger deficit in regard to the total amount of parcel taxes available – which is essentially a fixed amount

      (Unless, as we noted, an over-sized system exists to begin with.)

    2. Ron Oertel

      And now that I think about it, Ron G.’s point is exactly the same as mine.  It doesn’t matter if the (additional) student is from out-of-district, since there will be an additional (uncovered) cost – regardless of residency.

      Neither resident, nor non-resident students “increase” the total amount of parcel taxes collected. However, each new student creates an additional cost – unless the system is over-sized to begin with.

      That is, unless there’s a new “parcel” added (whose new owners don’t qualify for an exemption), to corresponded with each new student.  (Which seems to be Ron G.’s “preference”.)  (In other words, letting school funding goals dictate city development goals.)

      1. Richard McCann

        “However, each new student creates an additional cost – unless the system is over-sized to begin with.”

        And again, so long at the district remains about the same overall size, those students generate more revenues than they costs, creating a net profit. Stop looking at only one side of the equation.

  18. Hiram Jackson

    D.G.: “That’s why he believes that their best strategy is enrollment stabilization, which maintains a more or less steady revenue and costs.”

    Also to that end, the district has been accepting fewer kindergarten students.

  19. Ron Glick

    You are still fixated on this $2200 dollar number as if it were a real thing. So let’s look at it in a little more detail so we can see that its not a real number. Even though I showed above that it isn’t true, let ‘s stipulate, for the sake of argument, that the $2200 dollar number is the difference between what a transfer student generates for the district and what a in-district student generates for the district.

    This difference in revenue has little bearing on the actual cost of educating either of these students so to say we are subsiding that out of district transfer student is too simplistic an analysis. In fact, its likely just the opposite, and that is why the district continues its policy of allowing these kids in beyond whatever legal responsibilities exist.

    The reason for  this is that different students consume differing amounts of resources depending on need. So a student who uses no additional services likely generates more revenue than they consume while a student who accesses their legally mandated right to special services might cost the district much more. But wait there is a catch. In some cases such as placement of Special Needs Students in another district, the district of origin is required to pick up the tab. So its much more complicated than your simplistic analysis makes it.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Even though I showed above that it isn’t true, 

      You showed no such thing.

       the $2200 dollar number is the difference between what a transfer student generates for the district and what a in-district student generates for the district.

      That is factually incorrect.  The cost is for each new student, regardless of residency. Now, if you want to claim that the $2,200 number isn’t necessarily “fixed”, that would likely be true.

      In fact, its likely just the opposite,

      This statement has no bearing in reality.  None.

      The reason for  this is that different students consume differing amounts of resources depending on need.

      Again, a denial of reality.  Each new student “consumes” the programs funded by parcel taxes.

      The total amount of parcel taxes collected is essentially “fixed” by the number of parcels (less exemptions).

      1. Richard McCann

        “The cost is for each new student, regardless of residency. ”

        Where did you get this? You claimed to know the difference between average and incremental costs, but then you use an average cost to represent an incremental cost. Do you also know the difference between sunk costs and going forward costs. The former costs are unavoidable and should not come into consideration for planning purposes, except if those costs become stranded and must be recovered in some manner. I’ve already addressed this issue above so you can see that the sunk costs are already substantial. So come up with a new incremental cost if that’s what you’re trying to claim is the cost for a new student. What you’re using right now isn’t an incremental cost.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Me:  “The cost is for each new student, regardless of residency.”

          Richard:  “Where did you get this?”

          If you look at the original comment (directly above yours), you’ll see that I was referring to the difference between ADA, vs. the actual cost of educating a student within the current system.  Which is “paid for” via the parcel taxes.

          Parcel taxes are based upon the number of parcels, less exemptions.  It has no relationship to residency of a student.

          I’m not confusing anything.

          Again, I’m not sure what else can be accomplished by continuing this conversation.

  20. Ron Glick

    “You showed no such thing.”

    Hard to tell if your denial is a comprehension issue or something else, or perhaps I wasn’t clear enough, but people can read my after midnight post above about the difference between generating less revenue and subsidy and decide for themselves.

    “Each new student “consumes” the programs funded by parcel taxes.”

    The amount depends on what programs they access. So to apply an average as a per capita amount is too simplistic.

    “This statement has no bearing in reality.  None.”

    Makes you wonder why then, over so many years, every district administration and school board that has looked into it has reached the conclusion that Inter-district transfers are a net financial positive  for the district.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Hard to tell if your denial is a comprehension issue or something else, or perhaps I wasn’t clear enough, but people can read my after midnight post above about the difference between generating less revenue and subsidy and decide for themselves.

      The amount of “revenue” created by adding a student (in the form of ADA) is less than the amount spent (ADA plus parcel taxes).

      The amount depends on what programs they access. So to apply an average as a per capita amount is too simplistic.

      It may be true that you cannot allocate an “exact” cost, for each student added.  But, attempting to do so isn’t realistic or useful in the first place.

      Makes you wonder why then, over so many years, every district administration and school board that has looked into it has reached the conclusion that Inter-district transfers are a net financial positive for the district.

      I’m not sure if that’s true, as it would depend upon assumptions.  (Of which a key one appears to be that they don’t want to right-size the district in the first place.)

      1. Richard McCann

        “I’m not sure if that’s true, as it would depend upon assumptions.  (Of which a key one appears to be that they don’t want to right-size the district in the first place.)”

        Most of those assumptions have been spelled out here. And you still haven’t addressed how a district is supposed to be “right sized”. We’ve pointed out the fallacy in your simplistic assumption about how it might be done with problems of sunk costs, the lower values of brownfield developments and other fixed commitment costs, and the uncertainty over needs for future facilities that make it so that the potential savings are likely less than the additional ADA revenues from students. As pointed out early on, other districts have faced this problem (including Richmond and Oakland) and those districts that have tried to “right size” have ended up on the edge of bankruptcy instead.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Most of those assumptions have been spelled out here. And you still haven’t addressed how a district is supposed to be “right sized”.

          It’s already been spelled-out by a professional analyst:

          https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/new-projections-forecast-slow-decline-school-enrollment-as-local-birth-rate-continues-to-drop/

          As pointed out early on, other districts have faced this problem (including Richmond and Oakland) and those districts that have tried to “right size” have ended up on the edge of bankruptcy instead.

          If true (and they weren’t already headed for bankruptcy), the reasons for that should be examined.  It may be that their systems are too corrupted to correct.  It may also be that “right-sizing” delayed that result for a period of time.

          Again, probably beyond the scope of a blog.

          The basic question that might be asked is, what would the school district look like (e.g., in terms of size), if it were designed today? And, if the answer is “something different”, than you know that there’s a problem.

          School districts (and their supporters) are not necessarily interested in the most efficient resolution to that problem.

  21. Ron Glick

    “The basic question that might be asked is, what would the school district look like (e.g., in terms of size), if it were designed today? And, if the answer is “something different”, than you know that there’s a problem.”

    Davis recently passed a construction bond to do just this update but they only asked for half of the $300,000,000 they actually needed. The answer is look at the blueprints and the needs assessment. They already exist.

  22. Ron Glick

    “I’m not sure if that’s true, as it would depend upon assumptions.  (Of which a key one appears to be that they don’t want to right-size the district in the first place.)”

    Of course it might be a corrupt multi-decade deep state administrative, union, developer and governing board cabal.

    Or more likely it could be a bunch of parents volunteering to serve the community and dedicated public servants trying to do the best they can when dealt a poor hand.

    You decide.

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