Our View

Vote yes on Measure E

By From page A6 | October 09, 2012

The issue: We need to start looking to ourselves to ensure that our schools continue to drive our strong community life

Imagine what Davis would be like without everything we treasure: excellent K-12 schools, a world-renowned university, a thriving downtown, beautiful parks and greenbelts, bike-friendly neighborhoods, rich extracurricular activities for our children and a vibrant arts and entertainment community.

It’s a pretty bleak place, isn’t it?

NOW, THINK BACK on why you moved to Davis. Many of us came to attend UC Davis, or to work at the university. But for those not affiliated with the university, the biggest reason we cite is Davis’ excellent public schools. And we’re darn proud that we’ve managed to maintain their quality through the past five years of severe economic challenges.

Now is not the time to turn away from that mission. In fact, with Measure E on the Nov. 6 ballot, we have an opportunity once again to ensure that we maintain the excellence Davis has come to expect.

What? We’re calling another parcel tax an opportunity?

Yes. The $204 a year we’ll pay under Measure E — that’s only $17 a month, or 56 cents a day — is a small price for what we receive: music, art, foreign languages, career technical education, science, math and reading support, libraries and counselors.

It would be easy to resort to doom-and-gloom scare tactics. If Measure E doesn’t pass by the necessary two-thirds vote, the Davis school district will lose $3.2 million annually generated by the tax. That kind of revenue drop would mean the elimination of 58 full-time positions.

We can’t afford that, on top of the 100-plus positions already slashed over the past few years. Class sizes already are higher than they’ve been in decades, so the next step probably would be the closure of a school, which doesn’t save as much money as you might think ($300,000 to $400,000 annually for an elementary school or $500,000 to $600,000 annually for a junior high campus).

BUT ENOUGH of the bad stuff. Here’s what we need to do: Vote yes on Measure E to ensure educational excellence. The state’s chronic structural deficit means if we want good schools in Davis — and the good things that flow from them, including our “what we treasure” list above and strong property values — we have to take a greater responsibility for funding our schools.

However, we shouldn’t let the state off the hook. We also need to vote yes on Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s temporary taxes to fund education and public safety. If Prop. 30 fails, Measure E has a fall-back mechanism (an additional $242-per-year parcel tax) to prevent the immediate loss of $3.7 million to our schools.

As Measure E supporters say on their website, “People move to Davis for our schools, but we can’t take them for granted. At this point, we need to start looking to ourselves to ensure that our public schools continue to be a driver of our strong community life.”

We couldn’t have said it better.

Debbie Davis

Debbie Davis

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