Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chamber PAC supports Measure E, opposes teacher furloughs

By Steve Greenfield, Joy Cohan, Kemble Pope, Tom Cross and Michael Bisch

Quality Davis schools are essential for a sustainable Davis community. This is why the Davis Chamber PAC supports Measure E on the Nov. 6 ballot. Measure E ensures that we will continue to properly educate our next generation of leaders, caregivers, teachers and employees. In the event that state Proposition 30 fails, it provides additional funding to maintain the quality of our local schools.

The well-earned, long-standing reputation of the Davis Joint Unified School District attracts many residents to our community. The combination of DJUSD with UC Davis creates a very attractive environment for businesses, which in turn contributes positively to the tax base. A healthy tax base helps to ensure healthy public schools

However, the economic slowdown has taken its toll on school budgets, threatening the quality of Davis schools. Measure E provides an opportunity for re-investment … in sustaining our Davis schools, in sustaining and broadening the climate for business in Davis and in sustaining a community with an enviable quality of life.

The Davis business community has a long history of supporting and advocating for an outstanding school district. The school district certainly wouldn’t be as good as it is without our exceptional teachers. If Measure E is not successful, one of the potential consequences is to have fewer weeks of education. The budget would be trimmed by paying the teachers less, which some purport would translateto furloughs and shorter school sessions. Furloughs are detrimental not only to the quality of students’ education, but ultimately to economic development and, by extension, the community.

In these economic times, there are numerous private sector workers who are working harder for longer hours and less pay due to circumstances beyond their control. But, most do so willingly, realizing that this alternative certainly beats one where they lose their jobs entirely.

However, it seems there is a gaping chasm between the private sector and the public sector. Quality education most certainly is being threatened in our community, much like the viability of many businesses. Yet, teacher furloughs are being considered? Not only does the furloughed teacher suffer the stress of trying to perform a job that requires their full attention in fewer classroom hours, but the students suffer by losing the opportunity to learn or having to learn the same material in less time.

The aftermath will be a weakened school district and a deteriorating Davis community. When has the Davis community ever willingly elected to go backwards? Not on our watch!

In addition to students suffering, businesses also will feel the effect of furloughs. Every teacher furlough day in the DJUSD results in untold numbers of parental absences from their workplaces. Not only does this result in reduced productivity in the local economy, but the ultimate financial burden of these furloughs is borne by the parents — the heart of our workforce — who either lose pay when staying home to care for their children, or who are forced to spend part of that day’s pay hiring a child care provider so they can continue to work and keep their jobs.

Teacher furloughs deliver neither short-term nor long-term benefits to children, their education, the local business environment, economic development or the quality of life in Davis. It is simply unacceptable to favor an increase in local property taxes to ensure quality schools, yet simultaneously accept teacher furloughs that shorten the school year!

Like all Davisites, the Davis Chamber PAC values education and prioritizes efforts, such as Measure E, to ensure Davis’ stature among school districts statewide. But the Chamber PAC goes beyond this common Davis sentiment to advocate for pro-education policies that also are not only pro-business, but pro-community.

Strong educational programs cannot survive without a strong business climate. A strong business climate is not possible without strong educational programs. And a vibrant, sustainable community is not possible in the absence of either of the others.

Please join us Nov. 6 by voting yes on Measure E, and communicating your refusal to accept teacher furloughs in the Davis schools.

— Steve Greenfield, Joy Cohan, Kemble Pope, Tom Cross and Michael Bisch are Davis Chamber PAC directors.

Special to The Enterprise


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