The issue: The challenges are great, but these leaders are more than capable
Who in their right mind would want to be a school board member in California during these challenging times? For the past five years, trustees across the state have been forced to slash programs, jobs and facilities in their school districts due to precipitously declining revenue from state government.
IN DAVIS, we’ve largely escaped the worst of the pain, even though we’ve lost $10 million — yes, $10 million! — in annual funding from the state. We’ve managed to backfill some of the $1,000 per pupil we’ve been shorted by asking employees to accept salary concessions, contributing money through our many school foundations and approving several parcel taxes.
But Davis school board members have had to make some ridiculously hard choices, eliminating jobs, cutting programs, even closing an elementary school. More of those tough decisions loom if the state can’t figure out how to adequately fund public education. The first step is to approve Proposition 30 and Measure E on the Nov. 6 ballot, lest Davis lose an additional $6.9 million in annual state support. (For more on that, see our endorsements on those measures on Tuesday.)
So, whom do we want leading our Board of Education through the next four challenging years? Of the five candidates seeking election next month, we recommend Susan Lovenburg and Nancy Peterson.
LOVENBURG HAS impressed us during her five years on the board as a voice of reason, compassion and independence. She listens carefully, does her homework and then votes her conscience — that’s all any Davis voter can ask.
And while a newcomer’s perspective is always welcome and invigorating (see Peterson, below), there’s much to be said for historical knowledge and a long-term view. Lovenburg has cast many difficult votes during her tenure, and the experience she brings from those decisions will be important as Davis — and, we hope, the rest of the state — begins to invest in educational excellence once again.
Lovenburg has been a leader in making clear, accurate budget information available to the public. She worked with community volunteers to create District Dollars (www.districtdollars.org), a web-based program that shows how the Davis school district receives money and how it is spent.
And while she may sound all about dollars and cents, Lovenburg’s heart is in the classroom. She’s committed to making sure every child in Davis has the opportunity to reach their full potential. She has a long and deep record of school site service and, as the mother of three daughters, is familiar with all levels of the Davis school system.
We are proud to endorse Lovenburg’s candidacy once again.
PETERSON IS the perfect blend of experience and heart. She has demonstrated through her many years of service at school sites, on district advisory committees and as president of the Davis High School Blue & White Foundation that she can learn, understand and lead.
But her passion for the needs of all of the children of Davis is what sets her apart. We’re impressed with her ideas, and with the intellect and work ethic she’ll draw on to guide our school district through the challenges ahead.
Peterson has garnered rave reviews from those who have worked with her on numerous school initiatives, from the Montgomery Elementary School Site Council to the Davis Bridge Educational Foundation. They talk about her energy, enthusiasm, listening skills, leadership, courage, dedication, analytical skills, wisdom and fairness.
We would add “heart” to that wonderful list. We feel confident that Peterson can make the tough decisions a school board member must be prepared to make, but she’ll do it with the best interests of all Davis schoolchildren in mind.
IT’S EASY TO DESPAIR about the future of public education when the daily news is so crushing. But Davis is fortunate to have leaders like Lovenburg and Peterson ready to step up and take charge.