欧洲杯竞猜

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School board hears updates on parcel tax

On Thursday night, the Davis School board heard from several teachers and community members who are working on the campaign supporting Measure G — the proposed local school parcel tax that is on the March 3 ballot, which would raise about $3 million annually in order to equalize salaries for Davis teachers and staff, bringing them up to a level competitive with other nearby school districts.

David Plaut, a sixth-grade teacher at César Chávez elementary (and the parent of two students attending Davis public schools), said, “I want my children to have the best teachers possible, and that’s not going to happen when we are paying lower salaries for teachers… we have recently been unable to hire some of the new teachers that we recruited. So I’m knocking on doors and delivering Measure G yard signs. People have been overwhelmingly positive — I am reminded that Davis people really appreciate their teachers.”

Roxanne Deutsch, a teacher at Birch Lane Elementary (and the parent of a 2011 local high school graduate), said, “I personally have knocked on around 150 doors in the Birch Lane community. Along the way, I met the very first Birch Lane PTA president, and many others. It’s really invigorating, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’ve found that in Davis, people love their teachers.”

And longtime parent/activist Hiram Jackson, a volunteer in the campaign, described Measure G as “a chance for our district to take better control of our finances. My youngest son graduates (from high school) this year, so for me, this is very much a ‘pay-it-forward’ moment. Measure G is a chance to make compensation for our teachers (in this district) work in a better way for future generations.”

Chávez MPR

Three teachers from Chávez Elementary expressed dismay at the likely delay in the start of construction for a new MultiPurpose Room at that campus. In recent months, a number of homeowners live close to the school have expressed concern about the proposed building site for the new MPR on the Chávez campus, and complained that the district did not do a good job informing the neighbors about meetings concerning the new MPR.

Sixth-grade teacher Plaut told the trustees that the likely postponement of the new MPR at Chávez due to “the inability to arrive at a decision about placement” is “incredibly frustrating and disheartening … this seems very much a situation where the grownups were unable to resolve their differences, and our students are paying the price. To be honest, I don’t have an opinion about where the MPR goes. I just know that we need it to be built as soon as possible.”

欧洲杯竞猜Plaut pointed out that the existing MPR, was built in the 1950s, and is too small to accomodate all-school gatherings.  “It has no stage, and the kids are squished to the brim … we are probably violating fire code. And it’s hard to get the kids to be a good audience under these circumstances. I hope the facilities subcomittee understands the urgency of getting this project going.

欧洲杯竞猜Kaitlin Post, a third-grade teacher at Chávez, told the trustee that while “we knew there were parent concerns, we voted unanimously as a staff to support the district’s plan (for locating the new MPR). We are so ready to have a new MPR. We all know how much we need it. It is really hard to be at a school with so many students that has an MPR without enough space. That’s why everyone on the staff came together and said ‘we support the district’s plan, and we want it to go forward.”

欧洲杯竞猜And Petrina Jonas, a teacher/librarian at Chávez, told the trustees that “you could almost hear the sighs of frustration when it was announced that we were most likely going to be pushed back in the construction sequence. There’s a lot of worry that we won’t have enough money left (when construction finally begins) because of inflation costs, and the scale of construction might be reduced, and (the new MPR) won’t meet our needs.”

Jonas added “Our kids don’t like going in the (existing) MPR on rainy days. The MPR smells… we need a new MPR — the teachers want it, the parents want it, and the kids want it.”

Elsewhere on the agenda, the school board heard an update on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal. Bruce Colby, the district’s longtime Chief Budget and Operations Officer, told the trustees that the district is looking at modest increases in state funding (less than 3-percent annually) under the governor’s proposal.

But pension costs are going to increase by upwards of 18-percent annually, the cost of property insurance/liability insurance is almost certain to increase, and the Davis school district will need to work hard to maintain the state-mandated three percent budget reserve. Superintendent John Bowes added that the district would need something like an 8-percent budget reserve in order to cover all the district’s expenses for one month.

The next meeting of the Davis school board will be on Thursday, Feb. 20. That meeting will include a discussion of school safety plans (the state requires school districts to annually review and update safety plans for each school campus), and a study session on the district’s efforts regarding social-emotional learning.

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

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