Uploaded: Thu, Feb 5, 2009, 7:44 am
Residents share concern over parcel tax
School board needs to cut $8.7 million despite special election outcome
As the state continues to negotiate its budget, the Pleasanton Unified School District school board is listening to residents' concerns over the program cuts and a possible parcel tax.
In an effort to be transparent, the district held a special workshop meeting was held Tuesday night, and was followed by the second of two budget forums Wednesday night at Foothill High School.
Tuesday night, Luz Cazares said there wasn't much to report on the state's $41.6-billion deficit, but had anticipated news in the coming days. The federal government's passage of the stimulus plan may be helpful for the district, however, it doesn't appear to be much help to their current situation.
According to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget proposal, PUSD would need to cut $8.7 million in order to maintain a balanced budget. With the 2008-09 school year over halfway completed, the cuts would directly impact the 2009-10 school year. A list of potential reductions has been released by the district, and includes cuts to counseling and specialist staff, administration and the elimination of class-size reduction in kindergarten through third grade as well as ninth grade.
While a parcel tax could gain substantial revenue to help alleviate the state's funding shortfall, the idea has been hotly debated in recent weeks. At the first budget forum Jan. 26 and the Jan. 27 regular board meeting, participating audience members appeared to favor a parcel tax.
Yet, Tuesday night's public speakers were more concerned about another tax. Some people suggested using business strategies in looking at cutting expenses. Board member Jamie Yee Hintzke said she wishes regular business practices could apply to the current situation.
"People say, 'Well, just reduce your workforce by 10 percent,'" she said. "It just doesn't work that easily in public education, unfortunately."
Trustee Pat Kernan said there isn't enough information to go forward on a parcel tax at this time.
"Until we know [the final state budget, we can't go to the public because we don't know what we're asking for," he said. "We do know it's going to be a shared sacrifice."
Despite the debate over the parcel tax, the district still needs to submit a balanced budget to the county before the special election would be held. That means the board would still need to identify $8.7 million in reductions at Tuesday's regular board meeting. By Feb. 24, it will need to consider identifying which positions would be cut. Notices of possible layoffs would be sent March 15 and final layoff notices would be sent May 15.
Should the board decide to pursue a parcel tax initiative, they would need to finalize the ballot language and call for an election by Feb. 24 to be held in June. The deadline to file with the county by March 5.
Board meetings are at 7 p.m. at the district offices, located at 4665 Bernal Ave., and are open to the public. For more information regarding the district's response to the budget crisis, visit www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us or call 462-5500.
PTA Council President Joan Laursen said they have put together an online petition to legislatures to oppose cuts to education funding. To sign, visit www.pleasantonpta.org by Feb. 15.
Posted by 38 Year resident,
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm
In response to your post, who were you referring to when you said "Public Entities are Hogs" - Public entities are made up primarily of public servants.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:22 am
And I'm sure without having to look it up that Palo Alto and Piedmont are also facing cuts, despite having a parcel tax. Livermore certainly is. What do you think are these districts are going to do? Propose an increase in their parcel tax to make up the difference? $500 parcel tax!
PUSD has to make deep cuts before considering proposing a parcel tax. Public entities are hogs that love feeding from the public trough.
Some more condescending post -- but just a sample:
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:27 am
Doom, gloom, and greed.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Do you enjoy repeating propaganda?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm
"This annual fee would not have to be paid by those who rent apartments or homes"
Laura Foster is being disingenuous. While true that property taxes are not paid _directly_ by those who rent, many owners pass on such costs to their renters in rent increases.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 26, 2009 at 9:48 am
"I do believe that with the schools going down hill"
Are they going downhill? How can you tell? How fast are they going to do downhill? Give the kids in school some credit. They're not going to suddenly become dumb in one year.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm
Mac, far from it. I was wondering if PUSD seriously has PE teachers for K-5, if it isn't a joke. It sounds ridiculous if true. (Note: My children have not entered this age group yet.) I went to Fairlands and don't recall having a separate teacher for PE. We did like Long Time said, played basketball, tag, four square, dodge ball, etc. Based upon personal experience, I can't see the need for one. I'd be interested in understanding what the district's justification is for this. Show me the studies...
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2009 at 8:35 am
What is shameful appears to be the lack of critical thinking on this issue. Several posters here seem to be working on the assumption that throwing money at a problem is the way to solve it. I invite them to send their next paycheck to our State legislature.
PE teachers prevent obesity? PE teachers do not purchase all the Nintendo DSes or iPods or junk food for the kids. It is shameful that parents think somehow teachers are going to fill in the holes the parents dug.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm
Looks like this discussion is devolving. It is unfortunate that this budget issue has to get conflated with perceived personal characteristics of staff.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 12, 2009 at 11:54 am
It would be interesting to have the data detailing the number of school districts across the country with PE teachers for elementary school vs. those which don't and the obesity rates in children in those districts. LOL!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm
"I won't back off my claim on home values"
"Which Measures of School Quality Does the Housing Market Value?" Web Link
"The results suggest that the housing market values proficiency test passage rates but not value added by a school district. Therefore, it may be that parents do not choose schooling based on which school districts are best able to improve students' academic achievement; instead, they appear to choose school systems based on peer group effects"
Note that housing values are based upon a public's perception (or misconception) of what constitutes a "quality school", namely test scores, rather than in the quality of teaching as measured by how the students improve (the value-added measurement). Also found this Web Link "If you look at raw data (I have WA State at hand -- the supposedly "43rd" ranked state in the nation when it comes to funding), you'll see that there is precious little difference, if any, between academic achievement in districts that allocate more money to education than those that can allocate less." I wish I knew what this person was looking at.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm
BTW, proper cost benefit analysis DOES place a monetary value upon all those items that we think can't have one assigned. In order to include the cost of rising obesity rates, it would first have to be shown that PE in elementary school plays a role in that. Does it?
(by the way this is clearly wrong)