I hope my friend Julie Cuetara forgives me for relaying this story. There are just moments in your life you do not forget. And one of the most vivid moments I remember in my over two years of coverage of Davis events was the night that they closed Valley Oak. Hundreds of students under the direction of Dweezel the Dragon marched from Valley Oak to the Community Chambers. Late into the night the meeting went and it became very clear that the verdict on Valley Oak was in and it would be closing. There in the back of the room was the image of Dweezel in tears. I will never forget that.
Dweezel is not one to give up easily however and she continued to fight for Valley Oak, through the charter process, through school board elections, until the very day they had to stop fighting when it became clear that it just was not going to happen.
I pass this on because there is no one more committed to Valley Oak than Julie Cuetara. She not only was Dweezel the Dragon, she was a member of Davis OPEN, a group organized to keep Valley Oak open.
This morning in the a letter to the Davis Enterprise, Dweezel (and Julie Cuetara) have endorsed Measure W.
"Measure W is not about Valley Oak Elementary and Davis Joint Unified School District - It's about California's budget, California's state of affairs, and securing, through hard times, our children's future."She continues:
"Some people are saying $120 is a lot of money on top of what we currently spend in our classrooms. I'm saying $120 per year is not much to secure what we have - a good district, good programs, (more) stable home value, a wonderful place to raise children and to grow old.And then finally, the message she closes with:
Think about our schools losing nearly $3 million for even one year and how it would trickle down through our community. We could never get back what we would lose! And I can guarantee you, with the loss of teachers, programs and the trickle-down effects that would occur, this measure would come up again next year and we would pass it."
"I have been proud to be Dweezel, proud of supporting children and the Davis community for over 15 years. Through my endeavors, I've learned a lot about our district, its finances, policies, programs, schools and the people behind them. I have lost a lot due to decisions made and through all my sadness and upset with our district, I am proud to say, we do have a good district that deserves our support."Frankly, I cannot think of a more powerful spokesperson or a more powerful statement than that. Anyone who is still on the fence because of Valley Oak just remember, no one lived and breathed Valley Oak more than this individual. She sees the big picture here and knows what needs to be done.
Julie Cuetara has sent the Vanguard the full version of the letter, the Davis Enterprise could not print the whole thing today. I think it is important that everyone here reads the entire letter because it addresses a key concern about Measure W and Valley Oak.
Click to enlarge.
---David M. Greenwald reporting