Local News

School board to consider budget, elections, Emerson enrollment

By From page A1 | February 01, 2012

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What: Davis Board of Education

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Community Chambers, Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

Watch it: Live on Davis cable Channel 17 and as streaming vide0 on www.djusd.tv

The Davis school board will talk about three E’s at Thursday’s 7 p.m. meeting: education funding, elections and enrollment at Emerson Junior High.

Trustees will hear another report on the school district’s increasingly complex budget situation, discuss the implications of the California Voting Rights Act on the district’s current “at-large” system for electing school board trustees, and consider a staff recommendation to allow more students to enroll in the Da Vinci Charter Academy at Emerson Junior High.

Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby will describe the implications of Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget on the Davis school district’s budget. As the agenda packet notes, the proposed state budget is dependent on California voters approving a ballot measure in November that would increase state revenues through time-limited taxes.

If California voters do not approve the taxes, another round of education budget cuts would be triggered.

As the agenda packet notes, “If local Measure C (the Davis school district’s parcel tax measure) passes (in March), and this state budget is approved and the voters approve the state tax, the district’s ongoing budget deficit is approximately $3.5 million at current staffing levels.”

But the deficit could grow to $6.5 million if the state tax measure fails, and to $13 million if Measure C falls short of the necessary two-thirds approval of local voters.

Thursday’s meeting also includes a continuation of a discussion of enrollment at Emerson Junior High, which currently has fewer students than either Harper or Holmes junior highs.

In January, Superintendent Winfred Roberson recommended to the school board that enrollment in the Da Vinci Charter Academy, which is housed at Emerson in West Davis, be increased from about 60 to 65 students at each grade level (seventh, eighth and ninth grades) to about 100 students at each grade level.

Trustees wanted to hold a second discussion of that recommendation so community members could comment on the proposal.

The board also is scheduled to discuss a recent letter from Yolo County Superintendent Jorge Ayala regarding the California Voting Rights Act. Some Central Valley school districts have been sued by the San Francisco-based Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights; the result has been a switch from electing trustees at large to electing them by district to ensure fair representation for all races.

Davis traditionally has elected trustees at large, meaning the entire community votes on all candidates, but Woodland schools choose their trustees by district.

The board may decide Thursday to direct Roberson to inform Ayala that Davis will continue its tradition for the time being but also direct the superintendent to prepare a report examining the implications of switching to a district election system.

The board also will hear a report on programs serving English learners, and that report will be forwarded to the California Department of Education.

Trustees also will conduct a first reading of proposed board policies relating to graduation, and hold brief public hearings to “sunshine” the contract proposal by the California School Employees Association and the district’s counter-proposal.

Thursday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. The meeting will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17, and broadcast live online as streaming vide0 on www.djusd.tv.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or (530) 747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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