This week, The Enterprise begins a series of articles contrasting the views of the five candidates for the Davis Board of Education — incumbent Susan Lovenburg and challengers Alan Fernandes, Jose Granda, Nancy Peterson and Claire Sherman. The top two vote-getters will be sworn in as trustees in December.
This week’s question: “Where do you stand on Measure E, the local school parcel tax proposed by the Davis school board, and two statewide initiatives, Proposition 30, proposed by Gov. Brown and supported by teachers unions, and Proposition 38, proposed by lawyer/activist Molly Munger and supported by the California State PTA?
Fernandes: “I strongly support Measure E and Proposition 30, but regretfully I cannot support Proposition 38. The goal of Proposition 38 is laudable, and I support more funding for education. However, the law prohibits both Propositions 30 and 38 from enactment even if they both pass. Specifically, the initiative that obtains the most votes prevails over the other.
“Proposition 30 is a more comprehensive solution. It protects funding for K-12 education, county public safety and social services, as well as provides $250 million to the UC system. Supporting Proposition 38 jeopardizes the enactment of Proposition 30 and could result in a loss of funding to UC Davis, and force our local government agencies to compete against each other for funding. Should Proposition 30 fail, an automatic and immediate $3.7 million cut to Davis schools occurs. Measure E and Proposition 30 are essential solutions ensuring the long-term success of our children.”
Granda: “Vote no on Measure E because it is an unfair new tax. It is the third measure before the voters in 18 months (A, C and now E). It is not based on income but on where you live. It is unfair; it charges apartment residents $20 but $446 if you live in a home (22 times more), and allows seniors not to pay the tax but they get to vote to impose it on everyone else.
“Measure E is not a renewal of Measure A (the two-year ’emergency’ parcel tax approved by voters in 2011); it costs twice as much and is not tax-deductible. Others do not live in Davis, do not pay the parcel taxes but send their kids to Davis schools for free. Measure E does nothing about this. I am for extra funding of schools, so between 30 and 38, I support Proposition 30. It will produce $6 billion for schools, therefore, Measure E is completely unnecessary.”
Lovenburg: “California ranks 47th in the nation in per-pupil funding — $8,667 when adjusted for regional cost differences, about $3,000 below the national average of $11,665. We can and must do better. I support passage of Proposition 30 to prevent additional cuts to California’s schools. Should this proposition fail, DJUSD revenue will be cut by $3.5 million immediately. This comes on top of more than $10 million lost since the 2007-2008 school year.
“The Davis school board has responded to this loss of funding by reducing programs — $3.5 million last year — negotiating salary concessions with employees, accepting donations from the community, and asking voters to approve local parcel taxes. If approved, Measure E will continue the programs currently funded by Measure A and protect Davis schools from additional cuts imposed by the failure of Prop 30. I encourage Davis voters to support Measure E. I will also vote yes on Proposition 38.”
Peterson: “Budget constraints currently threaten all programs, including current core requirements, in every district. This is a statewide problem and budget cuts have left communities on their own to mitigate the impact on their students. Today’s students should not have to make do and wait for the state to adequately prioritize public education, and therefore I support Measure E.
“I also support both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 as a first step toward stabilizing funding. Continual budget deficits have heavily impacted communities and created vast disparities in financial support for public education. The current situation is not healthy for the academic welfare and future of our state. Every child deserves a quality education.”
Sherman: “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm (Hippocrates). I enthusiastically support both Propositions 30 and 38. Under Proposition 30, all Californians will pay a modest increase in sales tax of a quarter-cent from 2013 to 2016. Proposition 30 is preferable for the majority of Californians because the brunt of the tax increase is imposed upon the wealthiest residents from 2012 to 2018, whereas with Proposition 38 the tax burden is distributed across most income groups. We can’t afford to have both of these propositions lose, so I am hedging my bets by voting yes on both.
“I also endorse Measure E. Measure E will allow the DJUSD to maintain the current slate of programs and class sizes. These ballot initiatives allow all voters to ‘think globally and act locally’ by positively impacting the education of future generations. Children deserve our support and so do these initiatives.”
— Next week: Most Davis elementary schools will be in Program Improvement this fall. Already, we are seeing Birch Lane and Montgomery families transferring their children to other schools, as well as families from Winters trying to transfer into Davis (specifically Chávez, because Winters’ Spanish Immersion program was closed). As a trustee, how will you address this instability at the elementary schools?