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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
School

Davis Joint Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Bob Poppenga

Bob Poppenga

Veterinarian/University Professor
20 votes (39.22%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Strengthening partnerships with UCD, community non-profits and private industry.
  • Recruiting and retaining higly qualified teachers and staff.
  • Developing strong STEAM and career and technical education programs.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC-Davis
Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (2004–current)
Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (1994–2004)
Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine (1988–1994)

Education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) and Ph.D., Veterinary medicine (D.V..M) and veterinary toxicology (Ph.D.) (1988)

Community Activities

Youth Services Committee, Davis Sunrise Rotary Club (2015–current)
Executive Board, Explorit Science Center (2014–current)
Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, DJUSD (2014–2016)
Strategic Advisory Committee for CTE and STEAM, DJUSD (2015–2016)
Strategic Planning Action Team for Professional Development, DJUSD (2013–2014)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Current Davis Mayor Robb Davis
  • Former CA Assemblymember Mariko Yamada
  • CA Senator Lois Wolk

Elected Officials (6)

  • Former Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza
  • County Supervisor Jim Provenza
  • Davis City Council Member Will Arnold
  • Davis City Council Member Rochelle Swanson
  • Former Davis Mayor Dan Wolk
  • Current Davis School Board Trustee Madhavi Sunder

Individuals (8)

  • Cruz Reynoso, former Associate Justice of the CA Supreme Court
  • Former Yolo County Supervisor Betsy Marchand
  • Former Davis School Board Member Gina Daleiden
  • Former Davis School Board Member James Cothern
  • Former Davis School Board Member Joan Sallee
  • Former Davis City Council Member Debbie Nichols Poulos
  • Rick Gonzales, President, Mexican American Concilio, Yolo County
  • Gloria Partida, co-founder, the Phoenix Coalition

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Bob Poppenga:

As I walk neighborhoods and talk to voter at events, it is clear that few people truly understand the LCFF and its impact on Davis schools.  The LCAP reports are not truly summarized for the typical community member.  While the LCAP can be found on our District's website, it is not easy to navigate and it is difficult to find answers for many questions.  First, I would advocate for a more intuitive website and access to a summary of the LCAP that is visually attractive and in a "frequently asked questions" format.  This information would be easily accessible from all school site webpages as well as the main District webpage.  Second, School Board Trustees should regularly attend PTA meetings to answer any questions that might arise.  Our Trustees do hold regular "office hours" which is an excellent way to reach out to interested parents.  Third, I would encourage our local media outlets to run periodic stories on our District and how our schools are funded. Lastly, Board Trustees should be active in the community and be available for one-on-one conversations with community members.

The LCAP does have desired outcomes listed and annual reports have a largely qualitative assessment of how well the District is achieving desired outcomes. However, in general, our District is not data or program outcome driven and there is much more in this area that can, and should, be done.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Recruiting and retaining excellent teachers and staff.

Summary

Davis schools are falling behind in the competition for excellent teachers and staff.  Our salaries are below many surrounding districts.  In addition, the high cost of housing in Davis precludes many teachers and staff from living in Davis; approximately 50% of our teachers live outside the District.  We need to be creative in finding ways to increase teacher and staff take home pay.

  • We need to explore ways that more affordable housing can be made available to teachers and staff.  Governor Brown recently signed legislation allowing school districts to lease district property for the development of teacher housing.  Our District has unused land that could be used for such a purpose. 
  • We need to explore affordable day care options for young teachers and staff.  Our District currently offers some on-site day care but the cost savings are not significant.  We should consider options for day care in association with partners such as UCD and the City of Davis.
  • Health care insurance is very costly; more affordable insurance options need to be considered.
  • Intangibles that can attract and retain teachers include a robust Professional Development program, an effective mentoring program for young teachers, sufficient resources for the classrooms so that teachers don't have to solicit money from parents or PTAs for basic classroom supplies or, worse yet, pay for supplies out of their own pocket.  I would also advocate for an anonymous "Healthy Teacher Survey" (similar to the current Health Kids Survey conducted by the State) to guage teacher sentiments and allow the District to be proactive if problems or adverse trends are noted.

Strategic and sustainable partnerships

Summary

Davis is a community rich in institutional, non-profit and family resources.   Many of these resources are underutilized or are not strategically applied to District needs.  One area of focus for me is to work to expand and deepen community partnerships.

  • UCD is a world class institution that has a vested interest in making sure our local schools excel.  I would work to expand UCD's interaction with our District to provide opportunities for the full spectrum of students.  Summer camp opportunities could be made available for kids from families which cannot afford typical summer camp costs.  High acheiving students should be able to take college level courses or gain valuable research exposure through working in UCD laboratories.  I was successful in bringing our School of Veterinary Medicine to the table to help support a Davis High School veterinary science course.
  • We have a window of opportunity to work closely with the City of Davis on mutually beneficial programs.  The City could be a major partner in redeveloping a prime downtown spot where current District HQ are located.
  • We should parnter with local non-profits such as Explorit Science Center and the Phoenix Coalition to offer elementary science programs after school and help with antibullying programs, respectively.
  • We absoluted have to look to the private section to help support STEAM and career and technical education (CTE) programs.  We also need to look outside of our District boundaries to work with the County Office of Education and other Districts to provide state of the art CTE programs across a broad spectrum of possible careers.

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