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Thursday, April 17, 2008

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

---Doug Paul Davis reporting