Sunday Commentary: Parcel Tax Aside, We Don’t Invest Enough in K-12 Education

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin is a huge advocate of public education

Under the best case scenario, students in K-12 education here in Davis are fighting over table scraps.  If budgets are the monetary embodiment of our values, what does that say about the value of our kids?

If Davis had no parcel tax, our budget would be $10,333 per pupil.  But because we have a parcel tax that number is $11,582 – with the average district in the state being $12,228 per pupil.

In absolute numbers that puts California 21st in the nation in per pupil spending.  If we were able to index our spending to cost, it would be far worse.  For instance, states just ahead of us include: Nebraska, Ohio, Minnesota, Maine and North Dakota.

The top-spending state per pupil is New York at $23,000, then DC at $21,974, then it goes: Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.

The Eastern Elite are all higher than California.  It boggles the mind that Wyoming spends about 33 percent more per pupil than does California.

The fact is that California is more like the south and much of the west than it is like the top public education sectors of the country in the northeast.

But this is not really telling the full story.

Compare this to the cost per pupil to attend UC Davis.  The unsubsidized cost is about $43,394.  According to one figure, though, the average amount for similar schools based on out-of-state tuition is about $30,000.  To attend an elite school like Stanford, that amount is $51,354.  Harvard – for tuition it is $46,340.

It now costs a whopping $81,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in prison.  According to the LAO (Legislative Analyst’s Office), that cost has increased by 58 percent or $32,000 since 2010-11.  About three-quarters of those costs are for security and inmate health care.

Across the nation, that number is about $33,274.

Why has California soared so much in per-inmate spending since the already high number in 2011?  PolitiFact looked at the costs of incarceration and noted that, in 2011, California was forced to cut inmate levels by a Supreme Court decision that found “overcrowding in prisons violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.”

While California has cut inmates, it hasn’t led to the closure of prisons and hasn’t led to a reduction of prison staffing.  By the way, neither of those things might be bad things, given that prisons in general have been understaffed and overcrowded.

Use whatever numbers you want – the amount of money we spent on the front end of education pales in comparison to the amount of money we spend for higher education on a per student basis.  Our higher education system, particularly our public higher education system, ranks second to none (see here), but when it comes to K-12, according to a study from the PEW Research Center (here), the US was 38th out of 71 in math and 24th in science.  And those numbers mark a huge fall from 1990 when the US was in the top 10.

Meanwhile, as well advertised, the US leads the world by far in incarcerated population.  We spend money on higher education, we spend money on incarceration, but we do not spend nearly enough on K-12.

Here in Davis we would be receiving around $10,000 without the parcel tax.  If we were a state, that would rank us with Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia – in the bottom third in the nation in per pupil spending.

If we pass the new parcel tax, it puts us right at the state average.  But, then again, states like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey dwarf us.

When Alan Fernandes and Joe DiNunzio met last year, they talked about this being a much bigger issue than just about Davis.  This is a statewide problem, and indeed a nationwide problem.

As Associate Superintendent Matt Best pointed out, it could be argued that even $12,000 per pupil is not sufficient.  On the east coast, as Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby pointed out, that base number is more like $17,000.

Overall, funding in California “is inadequate for what we all believe should be happening.”

This parcel tax is not going to change most of that.  We are trying to tread water.  We are trying to have a great educational system on the cheap.  We are spending at levels that we would never dream of for higher education – or even for incarceration.

According to the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2015–16 amounted to $706 billion, or $13,847 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2017–18 dollars).

Imagine what we could do if we had more resources to go into public education, to help students who are at risk, to invest in programs that can help those students succeed rather than fuel the school-to-prison pipeline?  What would that cost?  And what would that be worth?

—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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47 Comments

  1. Ron Oertel

    Truth be told, parents don’t pay enough of the cost.

    There’s an increasing disconnect between those who use the service, vs. those who pay for the service.

    (That’s not an “opinion” – it’s a fact as the number of children decreases, relative to the rest of the population.)

      1. Ron Oertel

        Parents are the only ones who are creating a “need” for the service.

        We could probably go into all the ways that parents receive subsidies, for having children.  And, some (both Democrats and Republicans) want to increase those subsidies.

        But, I know that it’s not a “popular” topic.

        Still, I suspect that it may become a bigger issue, as the number of people creating the “need” decreases – relative to the rest of the population.

        Similar to “The Claw” – in that many new residences essentially don’t have yards. (Which I view as rather unfortunate, in more ways than one.)

        1. Don Shor

          Parents are the only ones who are creating a “need” for the service.

          Parents are not the only ones who benefit from public education. Parents are not the only ones who need us to have an educated workforce and populace.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Well, there’s certainly benefits and costs associated with having human life continue.  😉

          But, I’d suggest that subsidizing and encouraging it (beyond replacement levels) is not helpful.  Nor is subsidizing it, for those who expect others to pay for their decisions.

          And yet, that’s exactly what this country does.  It’s a deeply-embedded cultural belief.

          Personally, I suspect (and frankly “recall”) that about half the time spent in schools is a complete waste of time for kids, and primarily functions as a free baby-sitting service for parents.

          Regardless, I suspect that support for schools will diminish further over time, due to demographic changes alone.  (Not just in Davis, and not just due to my “beliefs”.)

        3. Hiram Jackson

          “And yet, that’s exactly what this country does.  It’s a deeply-embedded cultural belief.”

          Not just this country, but many (maybe all?) industrialized countries do this.

          “But, I’d suggest that subsidizing and encouraging it (beyond replacement levels) is not helpful.  Nor is subsidizing it, for those who expect others to pay for their decisions.”

          It does seem that when countries seek to broaden access to education to more of their population (and especially to women), that the population growth rates tend to decline.  Adults with less education overall, seem to be, longterm, a greater burden on society — likelier to be in the criminal justice system, likelier to be unemployed during a down economy, less earning capacity over their lifetimes, shorter lives, maybe likelier to have kids outside of marriage, etc.

          If those are known future burdens to society, why not seek to spend it on education now and reduce those kinds of future burdens?  In the process, you would strengthen the economy.  And locally, you would guarantee a stronger tax base.

          But all of this is with a longer term perspective, over the next decade or two.  Do you think we should focus with more of a present and personal perspective and less on the future in that way?

        4. Ron Oertel

          Hiram:  One other thing that I’d add (in response to the “implied hypothesis” in the article above) is that I suspect that the “down time” in schools that function in troubled communities ultimately provides an environment that results in the “prison pipeline”. I’m not sure that more money solves that problem.

          Nor do I buy into the argument that the current system provides the skills needed in an efficient manner.

          Regarding the cost to incarcerate, I wonder how much of that is a result of rising health care costs for an aging prison population.

          I suspect that prisons could be operated in a much better manner, which encourages/enables inmates to ultimately “help themselves”.  Especially as they age.

          What a waste the current system is.

        5. Ron Oertel

          And in a community like Davis, I’m not convinced that spending more money on teacher salaries will keep even one kid from ultimately going to prison. (I doubt that Davis produces very many candidates for that system.)

          How much of that is due to the community itself, vs. the public schools is pretty difficult to determine.

          Are schools a “reflection” of a community, or do they “create” a community? (Maybe a little of both?)

          And, if they’re a “reflection” of a community, what would be the result of spending more in a troubled community?

        6. Bill Marshall

          And, Don, some folk cannot have children… but they benefit from future doctors, engineers, educators, and well educated laborers, and service workers, etc.

          I heartily agree with you.

        7. Hiram Jackson

          Ron Oertel: “… I suspect that the “down time” in schools that function in troubled communities ultimately provides an environment that results in the “prison pipeline”. I’m not sure that more money solves that problem.”

          Like most things, it depends on how you spend the money, but having money allows for more options.  We live in a time when the quality of education is often assumed to be measurable by standardized tests.  If a school shows poor test scores, then the state obligates them to focus resources more specifically on raising test scores.  That strategy alone doesn’t work, but it is most often followed in schools with larger concentrations of lower income families.

          As a parent I have appreciated that Davis schools have had the resources to provide a variety of programs that better engage students — performing arts, athletics, robotics, newspaper/yearbook & media production, etc.  Students engaged in these kinds of activities are more likely to stick around for English and math classes and will ultimately have better outcomes.  In addition to seeing this work out for my own kids, I have seen this work when lower income families are given access to these more engaging kinds of programs.  These kinds of programs have been secured and made possible by local school parcel taxes.

          “Nor do I buy into the argument that the current system provides the skills needed in an efficient manner.”

          My view is that these kinds of activities — athletics, performing arts, robotics, media arts, etc. — are more successful at developing ‘soft skills’ in students — working collaboratively with peers and doing group problem solving; working on a longer term schedule produce a product; appreciating delayed gratification along the way; connecting with peers in a positive way, socially; having a sense of group commitment.  These are skills and experiences that employers value, but which aren’t necessarily measured in standardized tests.  These are also skills that tend to help students complete higher education.

          I understand that it’s possible that you have a different take, but the Davis schools have, overall, been a good experience for my kids and their peers.

        8. Ron Oertel

          You are correct, in that I’ve witnessed something “different” than what you describe, in districts that were NOT struggling financially, to my knowledge.

          Regardless, any connection between teacher salaries (which still haven’t really been discussed) and resulting “quality” of schools is theoretical, at best.   Perhaps someone can explain how those at the “top of the ladder” (who I recall are earning in the neighborhood of $100K, plus benefits) will use that money to “improve” the schools.

          Regarding low-income students (and/or, students simply living out-of-district), I’m wondering how much Davis (the city, or its schools) can ultimately afford to subsidize.  (The same question would apply regarding any apartment complex which includes a significant number of DJUSD students.) If I’m not mistaken, those living in Affordable housing are generally exempt from property (or parcel) taxes, though I’m not sure of the details.  And, we already know that those living out-of-district are exempt from DJUSD parcel taxes.

          Perhaps someday (before it’s ultimately “forced” upon the district), they’ll start thinking about ways to right-size the district to meet the needs of declining-resident enrollments. (But, I suspect that they’ll resist UNTIL it’s forced upon them.)

  2. Ron Glick

    A general rule is the earlier the intervention the cheaper the intervention. The average education level of a person incarcerated in California is lower than the average education level of the California population as a whole. Its easy to recognize that more education results in less cost to the state over time and a greater return of tax dollars to the state treasury. From an investment standpoint education is the second best bang for the buck following only research and development.

    1. Ron Oertel

      It might be interesting to explore if there’s countries which have (both) lower levels of formal education, AND a lower crime/incarceration rate than the U.S.  (I suspect that there are such countries.)

  3. Ron Oertel

    Let’s try to summarize the arguments put forth, so far (albeit in a “simplified” manner):

    1)  There’s a “wage gap” – presumably comparing nearby districts such as Sacramento’s, which is approaching insolvency (and was “recommended” for a wage cut by the state auditor).

    2)  Teachers might “strike”, and that the district would then “lose”.

    3) The salary increase was “already approved”, leaving only “budget cuts” on the table. (Which turned out to be false.)

    4)  Despite the fact that the choice to have children is already heavily-subsidized, some believe that this subsidy should be expanded further.

    5)  If you don’t pay teachers more, your kids are going to prison.

    6) General, ongoing “sky-is-falling” arguments regarding the schools and future conditions in Davis.

    (Sorry, I’m just doing this for my own amusement, at this point.)  😉

    1. Ron Oertel

      And my “personal favorite”:

      7)  We’re not going to tell you exactly how the money will be used/distributed, despite apparently having a “tentative agreement” in place.

      1. David Greenwald

        It’s written into the parcel tax how the money will be spent.

        Section II: Terms

        A. Purpose of tax: “Expenditures may be made to support the following: “Competitive compensation and benefits for the purpose of attracting and retaining quality teachers and staff.”

        Later: “The proceeds of the Parcel Tax shall be applied only to the Programs identified above. The proceeds of the Parcel Tax shall be deposited into a fund, which may include subaccounts if needed, which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the District.”

        1. Ron Oertel

          That’s a very general/vague statement.

          If I was “running this show”, I’d put forth actual numbers regarding current compensation, and the amount(s) of resulting increases.

          Hopefully, with the increase skewed toward the bottom rungs of the career ladder.

          I’d also suggest that doing so might be far more compelling than the combined total of all of the other arguments put forth, so far.

          1. David Greenwald

            How specific do you want it – the only authorized use is for compensation. They can’t lock in percentages because it is a changing number.

        2. Ron Oertel

          How about the existing compensation ranges, and the expected amount of increase (e.g., a dollar amount within each of those ranges)?

          Surely they must have some idea since they’ve apparently arrived at a “tentative agreement” – given that they already know the total amount that would be raised.

      2. Hiram Jackson

        Ron Oertel: And my “personal favorite”:

        7)  We’re not going to tell you exactly how the money will be used/distributed, despite apparently having a “tentative agreement” in place.

        Where do you get that idea?  That info has been available in the public record for a couple of months.

        It was discussed at the November 7 school board meeting, see agenda items under VII.  Public documents are included.

        Also summarized in Jeff Hudson’s November 6 story in the Davis Enterprise.

        1. Ron Oertel

          A quick skim of those references isn’t revealing the type of information outlined in my 1:10 comment, above.  If you’re aware of such information, perhaps you wouldn’t mind spelling it out?

          Up until this point, no one has claimed that such information has been provided (and there’s been some acknowledgement that the information has not been publicly released). I’m not (personally) inclined to dig for it further, but I’d probably read it later if it’s posted on here.

        2. Hiram Jackson

          I think what you’re looking for is in the attached public documents to the agenda.  I skimmed them, but don’t have time to summarize at the moment.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Thanks.  If it’s in there, I’d probably put it “front-and-center” in the ballot arguments, themselves.  (Assuming that it’s compelling, one way or another.)

          When talking about money, I find that it’s better to actually refer to numbers. (Other than the “proposed cost” per parcel.) 😉

          Maybe I’ll look later, or someone else might.

  4. Greg Brucker

    [Moderator: edited]
    Regarding the piece David wrote, it is absolutely true. The source of our issue is simply, that the state not funding education anywhere near enough, and that is without even mentioning the short stick we have in Davis due to the current funding formula. All of this is why parcel taxes have been necessary.

    One of the ways that we as a population can change that in California, is through an initiative in the petition stage, which would, in a few words, repeal the corporate flat tax as part of prop 13, creating billions of income for the state, which would go to education. https://www.schoolsandcommunitiesfirst.org/

    And as a DTA member, I am stoked to see the agreement between the union and district include a progressive leveling of income increase, with the greatest percentages going to the newest teachers per the salary schedule, and folks like me who have been around for over 15 years to get far less of a relative increase (being done through a $ amt that is equal for each step/column). And, for the first time in who knows how long, money is being put toward offsetting out of pocket costs for healthcare, which have been above $1000 for a family (compounding the issue not making enough money).

    Sadly, with all of the out of our control conditions regarding state funding of education, at the moment, the only way to help bring new teachers to town and keep them here is by upping their pay. This is  most important for attracting teachers, and  then retaining them, as there are too many teachers that leave the profession after a very short time (couple years) due to low wages all over the state. To help encourage these new teachers to apply and do our best to keep them, Measure G is necessary, because we cannot count on the state at this point, or with how they have legislated, for the foreseeable future.

    But remember, it isn’t for people like me, higher up on the pay scale. This parcel tax is for the people that are entering, joining us, hoping to start a great career in education, that we need to do this for. If you care about our schools and wanting to make sure our newest, youngest teachers are treated right, you have to vote YES on G.

    1. Mark West

      “If you care about our schools and wanting to make sure our newest, youngest teachers are treated right, you have to vote YES on G.”

      I am not commenting on Measure G here, only on Greg’s assertion. If Greg and the Union he represents actually cared about our newest, youngest teachers, they would work to implement a plan to reward performance over longevity while at the same time working to get rid of the bad teachers. Unfortunately, the Union has decided that they are unable to differentiate between the good teachers and the bad and that therefore all teachers should be paid the same based on the number of years on the job. That is a system that benefits the old teachers, not the young ones. Greg’s assertion is nothing but nonsense.

      The only way that our newest and brightest teachers will ever receive the compensation they deserve is by changing the system to pay for teacher competence, not perseverance.

      1. David Greenwald

        Somehow they manage to pay faculty at universities a fair wage while still having a tenure system to protect academic integrity. Sometimes I think we make this stuff way to complex. The real problem is that we are investing more than three times the amount per student into higher education as we are into K-12 and far more than that into the correctional system – that’s what has to change, imo.

      2. Bill Marshall

        I’m in substantial agreement with Mark.  The way the tentative agreement is crafted, the status quo is ‘preserved’ as to those issues.  It is a structural issue that the teachers’ unions and the schools’ admin have neither the incentive nor inclination to deal with.  That includes the “our teachers, right or wrong”, and the “ignore the issues, ‘it’s for the kids'” apologists.

        It cannot be ‘solved’ with either the approval nor the rejection of the current revenue measure.  It is a structural issue.

        If Mr Brucker owns property in the district, he’ll be free to exempt his home from the assessment, as well.

        The exemptions, particularly the new ones, are my main objections to the current measure.  Have yet to decide how I’ll vote.

      3. Greg Brucker

        Mark, I am one of the few teachers that supports what you are saying. I am ok with a merit based system that includes advances for seniority.

        But that is still a straw man argument here when it comes to hires vs fires. It is state law that dictates these guidelines. It isn’t a local creation. DTA cannot work outside those guidelines, nor can districts, legally.

         

        1. Mark West

          “It is state law that dictates these guidelines.” 

          Yes, a State law that was demanded by the teacher’s union, and one that the same union could in turn demand to be changed. There is nothing to prevent DTA, or the District, from working to change the guidelines by changing the law.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Greg… you do understand that it was lobbying by CTA and teachers’ UNIONS in general, who pushed those “protective” laws to be enacted, right?

          The unions have successfully put rules in place (via pressure and lobbying, including political contributions to lawmakers) that mean that in a RIF (layoffs), younger teachers get the notice first… no matter how gifted, energetic, dedicated, preserving the positions for the marginal, weak, “putting in their time” teachers who have been working at that district longer.

          The unions have successfully put rules in place to make it extremely difficult to dismiss (or even encourage to ‘move on’) the lower second deviation of teachers… there has to be many years of substantiated complaints, or an actual crime committed…  Our children had a couple of those low performing teachers… one of whom drove our daughter to tears, who did a version of “teacher lost the homework” and downgraded her, when she and we knew she did it, turned it in, and no, the dog didn’t eat it.  A year later, the teacher “left” DJUSD, likely allowed to find employment elsewhere without a black mark on the record… and God help wherever district that teacher ended up with.

          DJUSD does not have a great record in this regard.

          But, as you say, the District is a tad ham-strung by the laws and policies the unions have pushed for, over the years.  Not a great “excuse”.

          That said, the passage or rejection of the current measure will not change that one scintilla.  It is a revenue measure… with exemptions for DJUSD employees who own/reside in houses in the district.

          BTW, it is not just DJUSD who have the structural problems… nearly all school districts do, as do local, County, State and Federal governments… measures originally intended to protect employees from ‘abuse of power’/patronage, have morphed, generally due to union lobbying, to “you can’t touch me, no matter how poorly I perform… if I perform at all”.  I had to deal with low-performing/poor performing (loose cannon) folk… because of the “rules”, I had to use encouragement, counselling, pleading, because I didn’t have the “hammer”… had some partial or better successes… had a bunch of “no effect” too…

  5. Ron Oertel

    “The most recent peak of enrollment was 8,620 students in 2017-18, which fell to 8,589 for 2018-19. Based on a declining birth rate, Torlucci thinks enrollment will probably drop to 8,376 students in 2026-27.”

    “Torlucci — who prepares enrollment projections for school districts in nine different states — said that Davis is by no means the only California district looking at a likely drop in the number of resident students. “Your trend is seen across the state … in the Bay Area, and in Southern California.”

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

    So, perhaps DJUSD needs to think about reducing the number of schools (and teachers), at some point. But, you can rest-assured that vested interests won’t allow that willingly (and the reason for that has nothing to do with what’s best for “the kids”, in my opinion).

  6. Ron Oertel

    Greg:  And as a DTA member, I am stoked to see the agreement between the union and district include a progressive leveling of income increase, with the greatest percentages going to the newest teachers per the salary schedule, and folks like me who have been around for over 15 years to get far less of a relative increase (being done through a $ amt that is equal for each step/column)

    According to your statement, the “percentages” of the proposed increase are distributed exactly equally across the career ladder (in some amount that has yet to be discussed on here).

    In other words, providing the same amount of increase for those at the top, as those at the bottom. Which might “mean more” to those at the bottom simply due to the possibility that they’re “underpaid” – compared to those at the top.

    If there was a “true leveling” of the playing field, the increase would be distributed in a greater amount to those at the bottom. (You know, the new teachers at the bottom that some are claiming a “shortage” of, in a “declining resident enrollment” school district.)

    1. Greg Brucker

      Mr. Oertel,

      I agree. I would have very happily voted for all the money to go toward the first 10 years of work and healthcare costs.

      And this current agreement of an equal $ amt for each step is a major step in the right direction of progressive thought that helps those at the bottom more. (This is compared to the past agreements of equal % of rise that always gave people at the top more.)

      Step by step, we hope to progress. I don’t individually have much influence, but I am supportive of what you are saying with regard to money increases, and advocate for it internally.

       

      I also can be exempt, correct, as I own a home in Davis. I havent decided whether I will ask for the exemption or not.

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Greg:  Let’s go over some of the things in which there’s “claims” that it’s out of the control of the school district:

        1)  A merit-based compensation system.

        2)  An inability to distribute the proposed funds in a manner that would favor new recruits (those at the bottom of the pay scale).  Which (according to you) is nevertheless a “vast improvement” (so to speak) over what’s been allowed to occur in the past.

        3)  An inability to design a parcel tax which is administered in a fair or reasonable manner (e.g., regardless of number of units within a parcel, etc.).

        4)  An inability to obtain more funding from the agency which normally pays teacher salaries throughout the entire state.

        5)  Pursuit of out-of-district enrollments (which contribute NO parcel taxes), rather than “right-sizing” to meet the needs of a declining-resident enrollment school district.

        6) An inability to “work with management” (those normally responsible for approving wage increases within an organization) to find solutions for a “problem” that hasn’t even been defined.

  7. Ron Oertel

    Overall, my personal opinion is that the current needs of the city outweigh the need to provide an increase in compensation to teachers in a declining resident-enrollment school district.  As always, there are limits to what voters are willing to spend/approve, so it will come down to priority. (Perhaps not on a “personal” level, but on an overall city-wide level.)

    Even if one would like to provide a wage increase (which in this case is not incentivized toward those at the bottom of the career ladder), approval of this wage increase will (in my opinion) endanger any subsequent parcel tax proposals that the city might put forth.

    In a sense, it’s not unlike spending $1 million on a daytime homeless shelter, vs. putting those funds toward an overnight shelter. Ultimately, unless both are “equally needed” (and both are able to obtain full funding), choices must be made.

    And in this case, I suspect that voters are nearing their limits. (Perhaps more so, in new developments such as the Cannery who are apparently subject to higher fees than most.)

     

    1. Hiram Jackson

      I think the either-or framing is artificial in this case.  You want well-resourced local schools because that determines outcomes of future generations of Davisites, which in turn helps to stabilize the future tax base of the city.

      1. Ron Oertel

        You want well-resourced local schools because that determines outcomes of future generations of Davisites, which in turn helps to stabilize the future tax base of the city.

        Theoretical, at best.  For one thing, “future” (and even “current”) adult Davisites are not necessarily natives.  Many came from the Bay Area, for example. (Faced with that reality, perhaps Davis’ parcel tax money should be sent to Bay Area school districts.) 😉

        Locally, UCD is a far greater factor regarding who ultimately lives/stays in Davis.

      2. Hiram Jackson

        Ron Oertel: “For one thing, “future” (and even “current”) adult Davisites are not necessarily natives.”

        I see Davis having more ability to attract and keep families for multiple generations.  It is also reasonably common that a Davis native will marry someone who grew up outside of Davis.  And when they decide to have kids, they settle in Davis. 

        I get that DJUSD graduates will leave Davis and end up settling elsewhere, but their successes tend to reflect well of their upbringing, which attracts future residents by word of mouth.  That’s how I ended up in Davis; I knew someone who grew up in Davis and spoke well of it. When I was looking for graduate programs to attend, those comments motivated me to take a closer look at UCD, which I ultimately chose.

        DJUSD students matriculate to higher education and complete degrees at a very high rate.  IMO, long term outcomes are a better indicator of success than standardized tests, mentioned in another comment above.

        Also from another of your comments from elsewhere:

        “Regardless, any connection between teacher salaries (which still haven’t really been discussed) and resulting “quality” of schools is theoretical, at best.”

        Here’s a thought experiment in light of your comment:  If there’s no connection between money and education, then what quality of education could you get if you spent $0?

        Also I note that Bill Gates and other very wealthy parents do not mind spending quite a bit more money to educate their own children.  Are they getting something that we’re not getting?

        Obviously how you spend the money is more important.  Local school parcel taxes pass in Davis from having careful and robust conversations about what’s going on and why.  This measure is worth considering.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Here’s a thought experiment in light of your comment:  If there’s no connection between money and education, then what quality of education could you get if you spent $0?

          Probably depends.  Some parents home-school their kids, for example (and “spend” next to nothing).  I knew someone who did this, and their kids seemed more-advanced (and perhaps more confident) than average.  Of course, it takes a commitment of time and effort that most parents aren’t willing (and/or able) to put forth.

          Truth be told, “education” is something that kids obtain on their own – even in school.  There isn’t necessarily a “cost” directly associated with learning.  One can receive an education regarding an infinite number of subjects for the cost of a cheap computer and Internet access, for example.

          School just provides a framework/structure for education (along with free “babysitting services” for parents).

          Nevertheless – I don’t expect teachers to work for “nothing”. But, I suspect there’s a very weak (at best) correlation between the proposed salary increase, and the resulting “quality” of Davis schools.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Quoting myself:  “Some parents home-school their kids, for example (and “spend” next to nothing).  I knew someone who did this, and their kids seemed more-advanced (and perhaps more confident) than average.”

          You’d “think” that the state might send that person the funds that they normally send to school districts (or that there’d at least be a tax break), but I don’t believe that it works that way.  😉

          I believe that those who make that choice are nevertheless responsible for ensuring some type of framework/standard, though.

        3. Hiram Jackson

          Ron Oertel: “Some parents home-school their kids, for example (and “spend” next to nothing).  I knew someone who did this, and their kids seemed more-advanced (and perhaps more confident) than average.”

          Davis JUSD has guided home school options through the Davis School for Independent Study (DSIS).  Sometimes students will take a hybrid of DSIS and attend certain classes at a secondary school site, maybe music or language, for instance.

  8. Alan Miller

    It’s very simple for me:  because of the over-influence of the teacher’s unions, I vote NO on all educational taxes.  When the “Union Heals Thyself” I will vote YES.  I expect that day to come long after my death.  Note:  That is not an invitation for union members to hasten that date.

  9. Bill Marshall

    Davis JUSD has guided home school options through the Davis School for Independent Study (DSIS).  Sometimes students will take a hybrid of DSIS and attend certain classes at a secondary school site, maybe music or language, for instance.

    Though slightly off-topic, Hiram points to a very valuable choice… one that should not be taken lightly.

    We’ve known a few who chose home schooling (nearly the ultimate in class-size reduction!).  They coordinated with DSIS, used some of the ‘breadth” resources in regular classes… all the kids did very well in college, and some in post graduate programs, and are now all successful professionals.  They also had special parents, who were truly committed to education for their kids, were well educated themselves, and had the time and energy to do it.  The parents made sure that the kids had strong social interactions with other kids as well.  The ‘kids’ have become awesome adults.

    DSIS is a very good alternative, for some, but probably not most.

    1. Don Shor

      Davis School for Independent Study is, in my very biased opinion, one of the best programs in the district. I can definitely attest to the quality and the positive outcomes. And, for the record, it is very cost efficient.

    2. Hiram Jackson

      In Davis when someone says they’re ‘homeschooling,’ often it means they’re in DSIS.  I didn’t know if Ron Oertel was familiar with all this; that’s why I mentioned it.

      In the context of his comment, DSIS gets ADA for enrolled ‘homeschoolers,’ and students participate in a WASC accredited education; Da Vinci and DHS are also WASC accredited.  I, too, have heard very good things about the program from those who have participated.

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