Sunday, September 14, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

School advisory panel would explore a range of options

By Tim Taylor and Gina Daleiden

Davis has a long-standing reputation as a community that truly values its children and its schools. We all want the best educational opportunities for our students, and for them to be safe and thrive at school, now and into the future.

To this end, the Davis Board of Education directed staff to look beyond the status quo to explore multiple options for reconfiguring our school structure to provide academic and programmatic benefits, while generating fiscal efficiencies that could be reinvested in programs for our students across the district.

The direction was to engage school site staff, parents and community in a meaningful and rational discussion about potential alternative models. This would allow us to gather necessary information to ultimately evaluate any changes aimed at bringing fiscal and academic benefits. This was a direction to explore and detail a range of options, rather than to evaluate and make final decisions.

DJUSD is an outstanding school district. We’re proud of our accomplishments and our unique features, including our dedicated staff, supportive community and stellar students. If we want to continue to be a top school district, if we want to continue to innovate and reach even greater heights of learning, we need to have the courage to truly consider what change could look like. We need to explore existing and new models that might offer opportunities to improve our district academically and programmatically and pull ourselves away from the fiscal margins.

Faced with extreme budget cuts from the state, we’ve spent several years trying to “hold down the fort,” necessarily focusing on preserving as much of our program as possible while maintaining fiscal solvency. We’ve relied on our community’s commitment to education to renew and bolster local parcel taxes time and time again. We have made painful cuts that eventually encroached directly upon the classroom. We’ve had to live the consequences of increased class size, reduced course offerings, pink slips and little hope for reinvestment in program or innovation requiring financial support.

Now that Measure E and Proposition 30 have passed — and if the newly proposed state school funding formula provides sufficient monies to heal our structural deficit and avoid immediate cuts and further erosion of our current program — we will have some breathing room to consider strategic steps and continued improvements. Our most recent budget projections may finally allow time to thoroughly evaluate the future of our programs and how we allocate resources.

It’s time to think big again, to aspire to be better and greater. But we won’t get there without the willingness to explore options and examine our priorities for still limited funds.

We understand that asking questions about possibilities for large-scale change is sensitive, and our community needs and deserves the clearest communication and best information during the process. We would like to make this discussion community-based, transparent and easily accessible, so that rumor and anxiety levels are reduced.

On Thursday, the Davis Board of Education will have a workshop meeting on reconfiguration. The board will hear an update from staff on information gathered so far, and the information and analysis yet to come if the board chooses to explore possibilities further.

At that meeting, along with our colleagues, we would like to consider a board-appointed, community advisory body, one that reports directly to the board and is bound by the state’s open meeting law, the Brown Act. This schools advisory committee could take the information presented by district staff and others to build and evaluate models of program change and fiscal investment.

We would envision this panel as an opportunity for independent review of district work and information. They would be able to hear testimony from teaching staff and other school personnel, our dedicated partner foundations, community members and others who can contribute to their work in building a model, or range of models, that the board ultimately can compare to the status quo.

Right now, we simply lack sufficient information to make a wise judgment regarding potential changes in school configuration in our district, including whether no change or smaller changes are preferable. There can be no true comparison without a detailed definition of options.

We owe it to our students, present and future, to ask the questions and do a thoughtful and serious analysis. We believe this is best done within a structure that incorporates a broad community base via an independent advisory body that reports to the board, and we hope our colleagues join us in finding a way to create a “schools advisory commission” for this purpose.

This advisory board also will allow for more community involvement in decision-making. It gives citizens one more point of access to address important issues and concerns beyond regular Board of Education meetings.

If we can craft scenarios that make fiscal and academic sense, at that point we can discuss the details and begin a truly meaningful evaluation. If a plan does not make good sense, academically, socially and fiscally, then, of course, it would not proceed. But responsible leadership demands that we at least examine, in a thorough and serious way, the possibilities for the future of our district.

A hard look at a variety of program models and resource allocation is critical to help our district stay at the leading edge for years to come.

— Tim Taylor and Gina Daleiden are serving their second terms on the Davis Board of Education. Reach them at ttaylor@djusd.net and gdaleiden@djsud.net.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Psychologist casts doubt on Marsh insanity defense

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Looking for a few good residents

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Well levels drop around the county as drought presses on

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Snyder pleads no contest in UCD explosives case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

Video shows slaying of British aid worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Try yoga, meditation at Holistic Health Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Sign up now for free Community Yard Sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Friday night robbery leads to arrests, dog bite

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Now the weather nut is all grown up

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Portuguese breakfast set in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Youths can learn from DHS cheerleaders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
West Nile virus holds strong in Davis area

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Neighbors’ Night Out brings residents together

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Saylor meets constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Hawaiian Luau set at Covell Gardens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Memorial playground approaches goal

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Logos plans four events for October

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

White, Gaard will lead Yolo Superior Court in 2015-16

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fourth annual Capay Crush celebrates farm life

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Climate change rally planned in Central Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Gibson House hosts plant sale and workshop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Farmers Market sets Fall Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Renée Thompson to discuss her novel for Woodland Reads project

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Day of the Dead altar makers sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

MCCC will present justice awards at luncheon

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
New class offers parenting strategies

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Genealogy club presents virtual tour of local resource

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
University Farm Circle reaches out to newcomers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Garden doctor: Our trees are getting thirsty

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Public invited to 2014 Yolo Aging Summit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Forum

They don’t want him around

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A5

 
Unexpected treasures from the summer

By Marion Franck | From Page: A5

Preventing RSV infections in our kids

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
She’s getting all the blame

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

The sacrificial lamb on the altar of denial

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A5

 
Is history repeating itself?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Time for a progressive PD

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
A bad vote for our water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Bloggers, beware: They might be out to get you

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A12

 
Bob Englehart cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Davis has options on innovation

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Archer has worked hard for us

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

 
.

Sports

Unlikely hero powers Republic in playoff opener

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
No more FBS, but UCD’s tough schedule continues

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

DHS boys get a nice win with two big games looming

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Vintage pounds DHS on the ground

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggie offense is there, but UCD can’t stop Rams

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop a high-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B3

UCD roundup: Dons do just enough to edge Aggie women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Blue Devils net a tournament win at home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: A’s get a much-needed win in Seattle

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Apply now for Davis Community Idol

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

Nugget Markets’ cheese specialists achieve certified professional status

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Talks continue for proposed Old Soul site

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
University lights way for hospital energy savings

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A14 | Gallery

Davis leaders celebrate Engage3′s advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Doby Fleeman: The opportunity is ours

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Virnelle Triebsch

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 14, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8