By Nora Brazil, Greg Brucker, Ana Maria Currea, Mele Echiburu, Kathy Koblik, Angie Nuccitelli, Tom Taylor and Kevin Williams
As we continue to make our way through this national and local economic crisis, we find that our schools are still at great risk. With class sizes at the highest levels we’ve experienced and having already lost close to 100 teaching and staff positions since 2008 due to a reduction of over $8.5 million in revenue from the state, we cannot afford to see any more cuts made to education.
Despite all this, teachers, counselors and support staff continue to work hard to deliver the great education offered here as we find incredible joy and accomplishment in seeing the success of our students.
Every day we teach, we proudly experience the excellence of the Davis schools in many ways. We see elementary students bring the science projects to school that are teaching them how to research and understand our planet and universe. We see students walking with great joy in their steps as they head to their music classes to learn to play an instrument or to sing, and we see children’s eyes light up when they get to check out a book they’ve been hoping to read from their school libraries.
We see junior high students excited to take two electives to help round out their education — for example, Spanish and computer science or French and band.
We see high school students obtain career and technical training, giving them a top-notch and well-rounded education that will help to ensure that they will succeed in any path they choose to take after high school.
We also see the difference made by our incredible counselors through their support of students who may be struggling or who may simply need some advice in preparing for the future.
These programs and opportunities, along with many others, are all funded through parcel taxes approved by Davis voters. This community greatly values education and has been instrumental in ensuring that our schools have the funding necessary to allow our students to continue to have the great opportunities and educational support that we all want to provide.
Unfortunately, our schools are again at great risk, and the stakes are even higher this time. The failure of Measure E would create a financial loss of almost $7 million to the Davis Joint Unified School District (if Proposition 30 also fails). This could mean the elimination of more than 120 teaching and staff positions. The loss of these positions would leave our students with far larger class sizes and without the great educational opportunities and options they currently experience, and we cannot let that happen!
The California state government has not done its job in protecting our greatest treasure, our children, so we must stand up for our schools and protect our community by again doing locally what our state has not been able to do — creating a source of revenue to help support our schools. Other districts around the state have done the same.
The Sacramento Bee has even weighed in on Measure E. The Bee’s endorsement read, “Voters in Davis see the value of public schools and regularly support extra taxes. There is a broader lesson for the rest of the state. If the lawmakers in the Capitol won’t come through, voters and local officials should take matters into their own hands.” We couldn’t agree more.
As adults, when we consider and reflect on our priorities, we look at the path to the future. And what is our future? Our future is our community’s children, and we should always act with complete regard to their needs and to that basic fundamental question of being an American: Are we creating a better, stronger and more advanced community to hand off to the next generation?
We are very fortunate here in Davis, as on many occasions, our community has stood up and said, “We see our children and our future as our most important priority.” We are grateful for the choices and sacrifices made by the Davis community through the passage of recent school parcel taxes and the continuous fundraising, volunteering and community activism. Davis has stated loudly and proudly that we support education and a better future for everyone!
And that is the question and choice that again appears in front of us. We have had a rough decade, and in traveling through these times, it becomes ever tougher to keep our focus and our drive toward our main priority: our children and the future of our community. But should we let up on our passion and progress for creating a better situation for the youngest among us? The answer is no, and we must keep ourselves focused on the larger goal, the bigger picture.
Measure E must pass to ensure that all the work the community has done for our excellent school programs can continue.
Vote yes on E, for the children, families and future of Davis. The children are the focus and our priority, and must remain that way if we are to even come close to upholding the truest of American ideals — making our community better off for the next generation.
— Nora Brazil is the librarian and differentiation specialist at Montgomery Elementary School; Greg Brucker is an orchestra teacher at Emerson/Da Vinci and Harper junior high schools; Ana Maria Currea is a Spanish teacher at Emerson Junior High; Mele Echiburu is a fifth-grade teacher at Chávez Elementary; Kathy Koblik is an English teacher at Emerson; Angie Nuccitelli is a French and Spanish teacher at Harper; Tom Taylor is a social studies teacher at Harper; and Kevin Williams is a history teacher at Davis High School.