Hundreds of Students March To Save Their Schools

Around 300 people, primarily students from three different schools, gathered at the Community Park yesterday afternoon in Davis and marched down to Central Park and Farmer’s Market in support of the Davis Schools Foundation Dollar-a-Day Campaign.

The event was organized by the Blue and White Foundation, an alumni group for Davis High School.

The event brought out a good number of students, some parents, and a few community leaders including four of the school board members, three city council members, and a few candidates.

The Hanlees Auto Group announced they are donating $30,000 as a community challenge match–meaning that the community must raise $30,000 over five days culminating on Sunday, April 20, 2008. If they do that, Hanlees will match the community with a $30,000 donation of their own.

It was also mentioned that an anonymous donor has given the Davis Schools Foundation $100,000. The Davis Schools Foundation is trying to raise up to $3.8 million by mid-May in order to help off-set expected cuts to teachers and programs in the district.

With the recent donations, it seems like that the schools foundation has raised close to, if not exceeding, $300,000 to date. That would be a great sum, but also unfortunately well short of the amount of money needed to make a serious dent into the district’s budget deficit.

Joining the rally and leading the students in cheers was Davis Superintendent James Hammond, who expressed his admiration at the way in which the community has rallied in support of the schools.

Two weeks ago the Davis School board made the decision to keep Emerson Junior High School open for another year and to maintain the current configuration for the secondary schools. While that decision was welcome relief for many students and parents in the district, the problem remains as to how to find the cuts necessary to balance the budget.

Unfortunately it appears that the school may stay open at the expense of fifteen additional positions. Last month, the district issued around 112 layoff notices to teachers and administrators. Tonight they may cut fifteen more positions. These layoffs would cut support staff positions that would save the district around $515,000 or roughly the amount of money they would have saved by closing Emerson Junior High.

At this point it appears that the only immediate relief would come from efforts from the Davis Schools Foundation to raise money to offset these cuts. While their efforts are valiant and the community has stepped up, to date the money raised pales in comparison to the budget crisis the district faces.

If you wish to donate to the Davis Schools Foundation, you can do so by logging on to http://davisschoolsfoundation.org

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Budget/Taxes

84 comments

  1. While I support the efforts to raise money to save teachers and schools, in the end it is not the way to ultimately solve school district problems or the financial crisis. As DPD pointed out, there was rampant corruption in the school district, along with the trend to allow developers to decide whether or not we need a new school. Current district policies are far short of cleaning up the mess. What you are seeing, in handling this crisis, is a systemic problem that has been coming to a head for years.

    Emerson will be slated for closure next year if parents are not vigilant. I encourage all parents to stay very involved in what is going on. In fact I would demand that a citizen review board be formed to oversee things. Do not trust the School Board or District to make good decisions. They are clueless as to what to do, e.g. the attempt to close Emerson that was staved off by parental involvement. My hope is we can still save Emerson and Valley Oak – if necessary by going charter. How about having that same citizen review board explore supporting charter schools…

  2. While I support the efforts to raise money to save teachers and schools, in the end it is not the way to ultimately solve school district problems or the financial crisis. As DPD pointed out, there was rampant corruption in the school district, along with the trend to allow developers to decide whether or not we need a new school. Current district policies are far short of cleaning up the mess. What you are seeing, in handling this crisis, is a systemic problem that has been coming to a head for years.

    Emerson will be slated for closure next year if parents are not vigilant. I encourage all parents to stay very involved in what is going on. In fact I would demand that a citizen review board be formed to oversee things. Do not trust the School Board or District to make good decisions. They are clueless as to what to do, e.g. the attempt to close Emerson that was staved off by parental involvement. My hope is we can still save Emerson and Valley Oak – if necessary by going charter. How about having that same citizen review board explore supporting charter schools…

  3. While I support the efforts to raise money to save teachers and schools, in the end it is not the way to ultimately solve school district problems or the financial crisis. As DPD pointed out, there was rampant corruption in the school district, along with the trend to allow developers to decide whether or not we need a new school. Current district policies are far short of cleaning up the mess. What you are seeing, in handling this crisis, is a systemic problem that has been coming to a head for years.

    Emerson will be slated for closure next year if parents are not vigilant. I encourage all parents to stay very involved in what is going on. In fact I would demand that a citizen review board be formed to oversee things. Do not trust the School Board or District to make good decisions. They are clueless as to what to do, e.g. the attempt to close Emerson that was staved off by parental involvement. My hope is we can still save Emerson and Valley Oak – if necessary by going charter. How about having that same citizen review board explore supporting charter schools…

  4. While I support the efforts to raise money to save teachers and schools, in the end it is not the way to ultimately solve school district problems or the financial crisis. As DPD pointed out, there was rampant corruption in the school district, along with the trend to allow developers to decide whether or not we need a new school. Current district policies are far short of cleaning up the mess. What you are seeing, in handling this crisis, is a systemic problem that has been coming to a head for years.

    Emerson will be slated for closure next year if parents are not vigilant. I encourage all parents to stay very involved in what is going on. In fact I would demand that a citizen review board be formed to oversee things. Do not trust the School Board or District to make good decisions. They are clueless as to what to do, e.g. the attempt to close Emerson that was staved off by parental involvement. My hope is we can still save Emerson and Valley Oak – if necessary by going charter. How about having that same citizen review board explore supporting charter schools…

  5. What is the difference between a citizen review board, and the school board, a group of Davis citizens elected by the Davis electorate?

    What would make you sure that an appointed citizen review board would support your position on charter schools?

    If a citizen review board made a contrary conclusion to your position, would you then conclude that the citizen review board was also clueless and should also not be trusted to make good decisions?

    Seems like there is a precedent in this with the Best Uses Task Force Committee.

  6. What is the difference between a citizen review board, and the school board, a group of Davis citizens elected by the Davis electorate?

    What would make you sure that an appointed citizen review board would support your position on charter schools?

    If a citizen review board made a contrary conclusion to your position, would you then conclude that the citizen review board was also clueless and should also not be trusted to make good decisions?

    Seems like there is a precedent in this with the Best Uses Task Force Committee.

  7. What is the difference between a citizen review board, and the school board, a group of Davis citizens elected by the Davis electorate?

    What would make you sure that an appointed citizen review board would support your position on charter schools?

    If a citizen review board made a contrary conclusion to your position, would you then conclude that the citizen review board was also clueless and should also not be trusted to make good decisions?

    Seems like there is a precedent in this with the Best Uses Task Force Committee.

  8. What is the difference between a citizen review board, and the school board, a group of Davis citizens elected by the Davis electorate?

    What would make you sure that an appointed citizen review board would support your position on charter schools?

    If a citizen review board made a contrary conclusion to your position, would you then conclude that the citizen review board was also clueless and should also not be trusted to make good decisions?

    Seems like there is a precedent in this with the Best Uses Task Force Committee.

  9. The distrust of the school board is based on the very reason we should trust them; we elect them. However, no one in Davis gets elected to anything without money. Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later. Davis is a small enough community that most of us know many of the developers personally and can vouch for them as perfectly nice people. It is difficult to receive financial support from someone you are on friendly terms with and then be completely resistant to hearing a skilled argument for their case. “Build a school! We’ll donate the land, funding is available, everyone will be happy, etc, etc.”

    A ‘watchdog’ group would have a different purpose, but it is a reactive solution. What happened over the past ten years is now in the past. I do trust Sheila Allen and some of the other school board members to be much more alert to these kinds of predicaments in the future.

  10. The distrust of the school board is based on the very reason we should trust them; we elect them. However, no one in Davis gets elected to anything without money. Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later. Davis is a small enough community that most of us know many of the developers personally and can vouch for them as perfectly nice people. It is difficult to receive financial support from someone you are on friendly terms with and then be completely resistant to hearing a skilled argument for their case. “Build a school! We’ll donate the land, funding is available, everyone will be happy, etc, etc.”

    A ‘watchdog’ group would have a different purpose, but it is a reactive solution. What happened over the past ten years is now in the past. I do trust Sheila Allen and some of the other school board members to be much more alert to these kinds of predicaments in the future.

  11. The distrust of the school board is based on the very reason we should trust them; we elect them. However, no one in Davis gets elected to anything without money. Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later. Davis is a small enough community that most of us know many of the developers personally and can vouch for them as perfectly nice people. It is difficult to receive financial support from someone you are on friendly terms with and then be completely resistant to hearing a skilled argument for their case. “Build a school! We’ll donate the land, funding is available, everyone will be happy, etc, etc.”

    A ‘watchdog’ group would have a different purpose, but it is a reactive solution. What happened over the past ten years is now in the past. I do trust Sheila Allen and some of the other school board members to be much more alert to these kinds of predicaments in the future.

  12. The distrust of the school board is based on the very reason we should trust them; we elect them. However, no one in Davis gets elected to anything without money. Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later. Davis is a small enough community that most of us know many of the developers personally and can vouch for them as perfectly nice people. It is difficult to receive financial support from someone you are on friendly terms with and then be completely resistant to hearing a skilled argument for their case. “Build a school! We’ll donate the land, funding is available, everyone will be happy, etc, etc.”

    A ‘watchdog’ group would have a different purpose, but it is a reactive solution. What happened over the past ten years is now in the past. I do trust Sheila Allen and some of the other school board members to be much more alert to these kinds of predicaments in the future.

  13. We seem to have little trouble with closing schools that are mainly for the “other”,after all, they are not really part of or connected to US. The majority of voters will accept tax increases now that the “pain” is hitting home and not just reserved for those “other”. Tax increases directed towards those earning over $200,00- $250,000 are on the political horizon. Clinton and Obama are advocating increasing social security pay-ins and recinding tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 This kind of idea has been extensively researched and found attractive to the majority of voters. Something similar will be part of our California tax picture.

  14. We seem to have little trouble with closing schools that are mainly for the “other”,after all, they are not really part of or connected to US. The majority of voters will accept tax increases now that the “pain” is hitting home and not just reserved for those “other”. Tax increases directed towards those earning over $200,00- $250,000 are on the political horizon. Clinton and Obama are advocating increasing social security pay-ins and recinding tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 This kind of idea has been extensively researched and found attractive to the majority of voters. Something similar will be part of our California tax picture.

  15. We seem to have little trouble with closing schools that are mainly for the “other”,after all, they are not really part of or connected to US. The majority of voters will accept tax increases now that the “pain” is hitting home and not just reserved for those “other”. Tax increases directed towards those earning over $200,00- $250,000 are on the political horizon. Clinton and Obama are advocating increasing social security pay-ins and recinding tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 This kind of idea has been extensively researched and found attractive to the majority of voters. Something similar will be part of our California tax picture.

  16. We seem to have little trouble with closing schools that are mainly for the “other”,after all, they are not really part of or connected to US. The majority of voters will accept tax increases now that the “pain” is hitting home and not just reserved for those “other”. Tax increases directed towards those earning over $200,00- $250,000 are on the political horizon. Clinton and Obama are advocating increasing social security pay-ins and recinding tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 This kind of idea has been extensively researched and found attractive to the majority of voters. Something similar will be part of our California tax picture.

  17. “Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later.”

    I don’t know if you saw my column yesterday, Christine. It dealt with who is funding the candidates for city council.

    There is only one large interest pumping large amounts of money — tens of thousands of dollars — into the candidates: the firefighters union. No one else.

    The Davis real estate developers are pikers in comparison. I counted 5 contributions to Sydney Vergis, 5 to Stephen Souza, 0 to Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald*, 0 to Sue Greenwald, and approximately 10 to Don Saylor.**

    I haven’t analyzed the backgrounds of all of the contributors to the candidates, but my rough estimation in looking down the rosters of contributors is that only “retired” and “city of Davis firefighter” have given in large numbers.

    Cecilia has received a good number from people who are tied to labor unions. However, those unions are not helping her in order to buy influence over City of Davis contracts. Rather, I presume they are giving her money because they are friends of hers.

    As I pointed out in my piece, not one single employee from the City of Davis has given any money to any candidate, other than the firefighters.

    * One of Cecilia’s contributors is listed as an “investor.” I don’t think that means in real estate.

    ** It’s hard to tell with some of the folks. They may be listed as architects and hence involved in development, but are not developers at all. One of Saylor’s contributors is Mary Jo Streng, a homemaker in Fair Oaks, CA. I counted her, because I am sure she is a part of the Streng Bros. family.

  18. “Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later.”

    I don’t know if you saw my column yesterday, Christine. It dealt with who is funding the candidates for city council.

    There is only one large interest pumping large amounts of money — tens of thousands of dollars — into the candidates: the firefighters union. No one else.

    The Davis real estate developers are pikers in comparison. I counted 5 contributions to Sydney Vergis, 5 to Stephen Souza, 0 to Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald*, 0 to Sue Greenwald, and approximately 10 to Don Saylor.**

    I haven’t analyzed the backgrounds of all of the contributors to the candidates, but my rough estimation in looking down the rosters of contributors is that only “retired” and “city of Davis firefighter” have given in large numbers.

    Cecilia has received a good number from people who are tied to labor unions. However, those unions are not helping her in order to buy influence over City of Davis contracts. Rather, I presume they are giving her money because they are friends of hers.

    As I pointed out in my piece, not one single employee from the City of Davis has given any money to any candidate, other than the firefighters.

    * One of Cecilia’s contributors is listed as an “investor.” I don’t think that means in real estate.

    ** It’s hard to tell with some of the folks. They may be listed as architects and hence involved in development, but are not developers at all. One of Saylor’s contributors is Mary Jo Streng, a homemaker in Fair Oaks, CA. I counted her, because I am sure she is a part of the Streng Bros. family.

  19. “Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later.”

    I don’t know if you saw my column yesterday, Christine. It dealt with who is funding the candidates for city council.

    There is only one large interest pumping large amounts of money — tens of thousands of dollars — into the candidates: the firefighters union. No one else.

    The Davis real estate developers are pikers in comparison. I counted 5 contributions to Sydney Vergis, 5 to Stephen Souza, 0 to Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald*, 0 to Sue Greenwald, and approximately 10 to Don Saylor.**

    I haven’t analyzed the backgrounds of all of the contributors to the candidates, but my rough estimation in looking down the rosters of contributors is that only “retired” and “city of Davis firefighter” have given in large numbers.

    Cecilia has received a good number from people who are tied to labor unions. However, those unions are not helping her in order to buy influence over City of Davis contracts. Rather, I presume they are giving her money because they are friends of hers.

    As I pointed out in my piece, not one single employee from the City of Davis has given any money to any candidate, other than the firefighters.

    * One of Cecilia’s contributors is listed as an “investor.” I don’t think that means in real estate.

    ** It’s hard to tell with some of the folks. They may be listed as architects and hence involved in development, but are not developers at all. One of Saylor’s contributors is Mary Jo Streng, a homemaker in Fair Oaks, CA. I counted her, because I am sure she is a part of the Streng Bros. family.

  20. “Some people like Lamar Heysteck get grass roots support, but my experience of 30 years in this town is that the developers get to everybody sooner or later.”

    I don’t know if you saw my column yesterday, Christine. It dealt with who is funding the candidates for city council.

    There is only one large interest pumping large amounts of money — tens of thousands of dollars — into the candidates: the firefighters union. No one else.

    The Davis real estate developers are pikers in comparison. I counted 5 contributions to Sydney Vergis, 5 to Stephen Souza, 0 to Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald*, 0 to Sue Greenwald, and approximately 10 to Don Saylor.**

    I haven’t analyzed the backgrounds of all of the contributors to the candidates, but my rough estimation in looking down the rosters of contributors is that only “retired” and “city of Davis firefighter” have given in large numbers.

    Cecilia has received a good number from people who are tied to labor unions. However, those unions are not helping her in order to buy influence over City of Davis contracts. Rather, I presume they are giving her money because they are friends of hers.

    As I pointed out in my piece, not one single employee from the City of Davis has given any money to any candidate, other than the firefighters.

    * One of Cecilia’s contributors is listed as an “investor.” I don’t think that means in real estate.

    ** It’s hard to tell with some of the folks. They may be listed as architects and hence involved in development, but are not developers at all. One of Saylor’s contributors is Mary Jo Streng, a homemaker in Fair Oaks, CA. I counted her, because I am sure she is a part of the Streng Bros. family.

  21. Rifkin makes this claim during every Council election campaign. Developer interests make their contribution in their own name and this adds up to a relatively small list of the maximum $100 contribution. The rest of the comes from cronies, business associates, employees and are not easily identified as coming from developer interests; you can also include the families of the above-mentioned. Getting a council majority that will do their bidding can result in VERY BIG BUCKS for developer interests. Do you really think that they do not try and game the system as much as possible with their deep-pockets?(can’t anyone write “retired” from what?) This is well-known to all who have followed Davis local politics for some time except, it seems, Richard Rifkin.

  22. Rifkin makes this claim during every Council election campaign. Developer interests make their contribution in their own name and this adds up to a relatively small list of the maximum $100 contribution. The rest of the comes from cronies, business associates, employees and are not easily identified as coming from developer interests; you can also include the families of the above-mentioned. Getting a council majority that will do their bidding can result in VERY BIG BUCKS for developer interests. Do you really think that they do not try and game the system as much as possible with their deep-pockets?(can’t anyone write “retired” from what?) This is well-known to all who have followed Davis local politics for some time except, it seems, Richard Rifkin.