The Vanguard analysis suggests an uphill battle, however, officials are not conceding defeat just yet and some believe there may be reason for optimism.
“There are many ballots yet to be counted,” Board Member Joe DiNunzio told the Vanguard on Wednesday. “The election is far from decided.”
Joe DiNunzio expressed pride in the work of the campaign.
He said, “I think the campaign committee—made up of committed volunteers that included parents, teachers and staff, and civic leaders—did a fantastic job. I am really proud of the partnership they developed and the level of engagement they had with the community, no matter what the outcome.”
Evan Jacobs similarly added, “The Yes on G campaign is an all-volunteer campaign. Hundreds of people gave their time and energy to educate the community about the wage gap for educators in Davis and how our students and community benefit from paying teachers fairly.”
He, too, was not ready to concede.
He said, “Election day may be over, but there are thousands of ballots left to be counted by Yolo County. The final results of Measure G are still days away.”
But the reality is that at the end of Tuesday’s results the number of yeses stood at 65.06 percent—with a needed two-thirds majority threshold. By our analysis the remaining ballots, if they continue at the rate from election day (as opposed to prior to election day), would push the vote to 65.9 percent—just shy of the two-thirds needed. To get over the two-thirds threshold, assuming 10,000 remaining
votes, it would take a 68.8 percent yes vote percentage in those in order to push the ballot measure to victory.
That is a tall task, as some have at least privately conceded.
Board Member Alan Fernandes, however, remains optimistic.
“In the end, when all votes are counted, I think the trend shows that we’re going to make that extremely high super-majority, two-thirds threshold,” he said.
For Alan Fernandes, the results so far don’t mean that the community is not supporting local public education.
“It doesn’t mean it wasn’t the will of the community that this occur,” he said, noting how high a threshold two-thirds really is. “It’s not just a majority. It’s not just a 55 percent requirement in state law. It’s not even a 60 percent requirement, it’s a super super majority. It is a standard that is so high that falling within an arm’s distance away, doesn’t indicate it was a will of the community at all.
“I view it as very much the will of the community that our teachers are compensated, and its willingness,” he said.
Instead, he believes “it is a matter of us to educate the public on how state law is situated where they are willing to allow a lower threshold (55 percent) to invest into buildings by a facilities bond, but when it comes to investing into people and programs and education of our kids, for whatever reason, the legislature and the powers that be haven’t caught up to what are the needs of the community.”
Several people the Vanguard spoke to cited a late effort by the opposition, which dropped literature and sent out two text messages late in the campaign attacking the measure.
“There were two texts sent prior to the election that stated an average teacher salary that really misconstrues the actual facts and the breakdown here in Davis,” Alan Fernandes explained, noting there are different salary scales by experience and “we have more experience that other districts.” He said, “That’s why it appears that the average teacher salary is higher, when we actually just have more teachers that are more experienced than others.
“When you compare apples to apples, it’s clear that our teachers are at best at those high salary scales even, but in all other salary positions disadvantaged,” he said.
“The No campaign leveraged a position and caused enough doubt—irrespective of fact—that would have made a difference if we end up failing,” Alan Fernandes stated.
There are also those who believe we may be at or approaching the limit as to what the community is willing to support in terms of taxes for education.
Alan Fernandes doesn’t agree. “I think, unfortunately, we had a mischaracterization of the facts.” That, he said, “created enough doubt in voters’ minds to potentially barely miss the threshold.”
He thinks, with an honest discussion, the community would have supported the district at a sufficient level.
The question is where does the district go from here.
For Joe DiNunzio, “now is not the time to speculate on what might come next. Let’s count all the votes and see where we are.”
Board President Cindy Pickett told the Vanguard, “The District’s ability to attract and retain high quality teachers remains a priority for the Board.”
She added, “We are watching the election returns closely and are hopeful that Measure G will pass. However, the Board is prepared to explore other options for improving teacher compensation should Measure G fail.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting