We have lived in Davis for 16 years. Our two children attended Chávez, Emerson and Davis High and currently are students at fine colleges — thanks, in large part, to the excellent education they received while attending Davis public schools.
We are grateful for the many commitments our community has made to public education. Our purpose in writing this letter is to urge voters to re-elect one of the most knowledgeable, conscientious and student-centered Davis school board members we have known: Susan Lovenburg.
Since her election to the board in 2007, Susan has witnessed the impact of annual state budget cuts to our Davis schools of nearly $1,000 per student. She has done her best to manage the reductions in quality of student programs and services in the least painful and most transparent way possible. Still, there is no denying the sad truth that our school district in 2012-13 has 84 fewer teachers and 128 (14.8 percent) fewer total staff members to serve slightly more students (8,253) than were enrolled in 2007-08 (8,241).
As our school board makes plans to manage another mid-year reduction in state funding in excess of $3.5 million ($450 per student) should Proposition 30 and Measure E fail, we believe Susan’s experience may be her most valuable asset. While we concur with others who have written here previously about Susan’s fairness, work ethic and commitment to equal opportunity for all children, we think it is essential to retain Susan’s personal knowledge of the past and, more specifically, each of the painful program reduction decisions that have been forced upon our schools and our students over the past five years.
Susan has first-hand knowledge of what our schools looked like with smaller classes, when teachers and support staff were able to provide greater individual support for students —when we had 128 more adults serving our children. We believe, of all the current school board candidates, Susan will have the perspective and balanced judgment to best protect our students in either scenario of additional short-term reductions or in making the long-awaited decisions to restore the essential programs and services that have been diminished by this fiscal crisis.
Susan and Michael Hulsizer