What the City Council and Davis Board of Education accomplished together last week during their joint meeting may not raise too many eyebrows in town. But in the minds of several of those 10 elected officials, the collaboration that the group session represented should still grab the entire city’s interest.
“I hope that we make it a regular occurrence,” Councilman Brett Lee said at the end of the meeting. “I know on some occasions it might be a little more general in nature and there will be other times when we talk about very specific proposals on the table, but I do like the idea of the two bodies working together.
“I think there is a lot of overlap in what our goals are for the community.”
Regardless of the lack of groundbreaking change Thursday, the fruits of that long-standing cooperation were on full display as the two governing boards, sitting side by side on the dais in the Community Chambers at City Hall, heard presentations about how the city and the school district have worked together in the past.
Before the discussion items, however, the council and school board surprised Trease Petersen, the city’s youth intervention specialist, by giving her the City/School District Partnership Award award for her for work with both agencies.
Petersen runs the Police Department’s youth intervention and diversion programs and has worked to address truancy issues over the past several years. She did not know she would be receiving the award until her name was called Thursday.
“I just love working with the students, with the schools,” Petersen said in thanks. “The Police Department has such a wonderful relationship with DJUSD and I’m just happy to be apart of it.”
Down to business, the council members and school board trustees first received an update on the Street Smarts Program, and the grant funding it received through Safe Routes to School.
Dave “DK” Kemp, the city’s active transportation coordinator, and Rachel Hartsough, the Street Smarts coordinator, explained how they will enhance the biking community in terms of education and safety in the future, starting with a bike route audit that will take place later this month.
The audit, they said, will assess bicycling and walking routes to 11 schools in April and May to identify problems or danger areas that might prevent parents from allowing their kids to pedal to school.
However, as board President Sheila Allen realized first-hand recently, many in Davis find bicycling to school a convenient and safe option.
“I had a chance to ride my bike today to my neighborhood school, Korematsu (Elementary School), and much to my delight I couldn’t find a place to park, every single spot (was taken),” Allen said. “I appreciate you doing that assessment and if we need to talk about … getting more bike racks that would be great.”
Residents are invited to attend a community forum Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St., to learn about the audit and sign up to participate in it.
Later in the joint meeting, the council and board listened to a presentation about all the ways in which the city and district share facilities and services.
Perhaps the only forthcoming change to their overall shared facilities/services agreement would be a resolution, once and for all, to the dispute over boundary lines that run through the softball field in Community Park and the ability for the district to build a permanent outfield fence there, among other planned improvements.
“A formal request has come from the DJUSD board regarding the softball field … to seek an easement so we’ll begin to work out some of the details of that at the staff level and then bring information back,” Superintendent Winfred Roberson said.
Once an agreement at the staff level has been made, it will be presented to both bodies for final approval. City Manager Steve Pinkerton said Thursday it will be coming soon.
The final item on the agenda centered on the coordination of funding opportunities between the city and the school district, in part making sure both jurisdictions were aware of the parcel taxes each agency soon may be considering as ongoing taxes begin to expire.
The school district will have three parcel taxes expire in the next four years, including one this year. The city’s half-percent sales tax expires in 2016 and parks maintenance tax in 2018, among others.
— Reach Tom Sakash at email@example.com or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash