There is a Better Way
The goals of the Better Way are to:
Build for less
Finance in way that costs less for taxpayer
Institute best practices
How is this done?
Trained citizens, aka, Better Way Ambassadors, meet with the county-wide school district superintendents and/or trustees and inquire if school bond measures are being considered. If a bond measure is being considered, the Better Way Ambassador will seek to engage with the school district to analyze the proposed bond wording, bond structure, and guiding school policy to give the bond a grade based off a defined scale. The scale is based on the school districts level of commitment to common sense best management practices that are win-win solutions for both the schools and taxpayers. If the bond scores below a determined percentage (i.e. 25%), A Better Way for Schools in Yolo County, in cooperation with the Yolo County Taxpayer Association, will organize an active campaign against the measure. If the bond scores above a determined percentage (i.e. 80%), they will endorse the school bond measure. The goal will be to engage with the school districts to help draft the bond in a way that provides needed funds for school development in a way that minimizes wasteful spending and misuse of tax dollars.
The history of the Better Way started with a group in Sacramento a few years ago called the “Better Way to Build Schools Initiative.” This Sacramento group, led by Michael Day, identified several areas of wasteful spending in school bonds and developed an evaluation tool as a mechanism to objectively give a grade to a school bond. The goal of the Better Way is to work with school districts before and while new bond measures are being drafted so to include common sense ideas in the bond language, and also to ensure that school policy includes language that prevents waste, to create win-win scenarios for both the school district and the taxpayer.
In November of 2014, Woodland voters made an overwhelming no confidence vote in the Woodland Joint Unified School District through the defeat of Measures S & T. A majority in the community knew the poorly designed Measures S & T were not the answer. The Yolo County Taxpayers Association invited Michael Day and his colleagues to give a presentation on their successful program. In February of 2015, several members of the Woodland community received training on the Better Way. The Better Way for Schools in Yolo County was organized out of this local effort to promote best practices that minimize waste in Yolo County schools.