I received yet another shiny flier in the mail yesterday regarding Measure M. It no doubt will pass and I take great backlash risk in stating the following: There is one measure you will NOT see on the ballot next week and that's the much discussed and debated parcel tax that would serve to increase Davis teachers' salaries.
You see, despite the emphasis placed on education in this community, most Davis teachers make less than teachers in surrounding communities. In addition, Davis offers a poor healthcare package compared to nearby school districts further financially penalizing the teachers who choose to work here.
A committee was formed a few years ago comprised of teachers, parents, and administrators to brainstorm ways to improve teacher retention in Davis. One suggestion was to partner with other Yolo County school districts to participate in their healthcare plans thus resulting in reduced premiums for all. For whatever reason, this suggestion never came into fruition.
What does this have to do with Measure M? As you take to the polls to no doubt support improving and updating our schools, technology, and overall facilities on Tuesday, keep in mind that this may come at the price of retaining quality teachers.
Measure M was deliberately placed on the November ballot before the parcel tax for teacher salaries. When the parcel tax does eventually make it's way to the polls, the concern is that the community may feel wary and less giving than pre Measure M.
In short, Measure M may make it less likely for the parcel tax for teacher pay to pass. While voting for updated facilities and cutting edge technology seems like a no-brainer in this election, it's worth mentioning that that it may have a negative consequence.
Davis hired over 70 new teachers this school year. Many highly skilled and qualified teachers leave Davis every year for more lucrative pay and better benefits elsewhere.
I personally will not be voting for Measure M. I want to send a message to the school district that when you invest in teachers, you consequently invest in students. It is time to prioritize our teachers' salaries and their healthcare.