Uploaded: Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 6:15 am
500 jam Valley Community Church for pro-parcel tax rally
Enthusiastic crowd set to urge voters to approve $233 tax in June 2 district-wide vote
More than 500 joined a rally Sunday sponsored by the newly-formed Save Pleasanton Schools organization to support the $233-a-year parcel tax that the school board has placed on the June 2 ballot.
Many carried homemade signs urging a yes vote on the tax, waving them at passing motorists on Del Valle Parkway before the group moved into the Valley Community Church sanctuary for the 1-1/2-hour rally. Speakers included School Board President Chris Grant, students from Amador Valley and Foothill high schools, leaders of the Parents Teachers Association and Joan Laursen, who along with Tanya Ludden is co-chair of the Save Pleasanton Schools organization.
The rally followed a decision last Thursday by the school board to ask voters to approve a $233 a year parcel tax in an election scheduled for Tuesday, June 2. The tax, board members said, would help bear the brunt of an $8.70-million shortfall stemming from the state's $41.6-billion deficit. In order for a parcel tax to pass, it would need a two-thirds voter majority.
At the rally, speakers urged the parcel tax boosters to "get out the vote" on June 2, with a focus on making sure everyone 18 and older is registered in time to cast a vote. To pass, two-thirds plus one of those voting in the June 2 election must approve the parcel tax measure.
Meanwhile, the Amador Valley High Parent Teacher Student Association announced that it may take a vote on whether and how to support the parcel tax measure at its March 18 meeting.
"Although less than one percent of the membership typically attends the monthly general meeting, the PTSA is interested in hearing the opinions of all members," the organization stated in its email to members.
To learn more about Save Pleasanton Schools, visit www.savepleasantonschools.org.
Check PleasantonWeekly.com for updates on the parcel tax measure.
Save Pleasanton Schools,parcel tax
Posted by And away we go!,
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm
A bit (!) lengthy but this responds to just a few items, really.
You want a response and you get a response! Makes sense, eh?
And away we go! :)
The parcel tax only covers HALF of the deficit - the other half will be over 4 million in cuts.
"So how much will our kids really suffer if you ask us to use our time instead of money to help?"
+Parents helpers are wonderful, helpful and much loved!
...but unless you have advanced training in reading, writing, mathematics, science, etc., how will your instruction match a teacher's? Do you have a variety of strategies for each style of learning and specific needs of 33 students with subject competency across the curriculum? Can you keep your half (you can take 16) productive, engaged, happy, and collaborative while addressing all these needs. Teachers are like ducks - calm on the surface but paddling like mad underwater. :)
"Why should property owners be penalized for the lack of reasonable budgeting and/or crisis planning on PUSD's part?"
+ PUSD has had a great surplus to plan for crises, more than the state required, but this is way beyond the scope of what anyone expected.
"A ballot to up taxes to save city services; public transportation; or ValleyCare Hospital? Surely they will feel the belt tighten, if they haven't already." +They can raise funds by raising rates.
"Ask your peers, those with enough seniority that they knew they wouldn't be receiving pink slips, why they weren't willing to take a pay cut to retain more of you." GEEPERS, PEOPLE! No one has asked individual teachers what their opinions are - YOU COUDLN'T KNOW OUR OPINIONS BECAUSE THIS HASN'T BEEN ASKED TO INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS. You can only know what the teachers who post think. Many others piggy-back off of other non-teachers who suppose what teachers think based on their guesses or the "inactivity" from teachers.
We have NOT BEEN ASKED to take a cut by the district (thus there's no "reply",) we cannot bargain individually, and the union is at the bargaining table with the district. Teachers have been sending their opinions to our union president.
I know I'm more than willing (pink slip or not) to tighten my belt to keep basic DIRECT services for kids (not D.O.) I can give hundreds more (yes, more) if it really helps.
I'm not asking for a handout for myself and understand that many, like some of my family and friends, have no job. I think that we need some major (MAJOR!) changes at the state and national level in education and its funding, but I also know that this takes effort and time. A bandaid is not the best solution, but a bandage is better than nothing. Makes me think of the guy whose limb was pinned by the boulder so he carefully cut it off - did the best he could and could walk away. I'm sure everyone will assign different meanings to that, but that's an interesting conversation, too! :)
"...I sent three kids off to college who successfully completed the Pleasanton school system - DURING the years when there were 32 students per Kindergarten classroom."
+ Back in the day, expectations were much, MUCH lower, the class was pretty homogeneous, and there were no state standards; today, K's must be able to read at a certain level (no more simple letter and number recognition and songs) and there's a high school exit exam awaiting them. You should check out the math and writing my 5th graders are doing! Pretty awesome and way beyond what were ever asked for, and I had some great teachers in Pleasanton! We could compare samples, 5th grade now and 5th grade then. :)
"The biggest supporters of CSR are the teachers' union. Why? It's quite obvious. By lowering class size, you increase the number of classrooms, which in turn will increase the need for...teachers! BINGO!" + We're not making widgets in some factory and just want our friends to have jobs. Teachers don't want more teachers; they want a good education for children. Is having 3 children in one's family the same as 5? as 7? Why not 14? (What have studies shown? :)
"Instead, donate that money directly to your childrens' classrooms and help our teachers to shoulder the burden."
+ I love where your heart is, but I won't be there, nor 15 of my colleagues just from my one elementary school. Those left will appreciate it - they'll have to stretch it to cover their additional 13+ kids, but it is a start...
Our interpreters are staff and community volunteers - thanks, everybody!!! Merci! Gracias!
"So there's something in the law that allows a temporary suspension." This has to be paid back at the end of _x_ years (3-5 years - I forget the exact number.)
"Trust me, there are thousands of teachers willing to make less and work in this district, or would you like to work in Oakland or Richmond -- after all, they do pay higher salaries there - hmmm, I thought not."
I've taken many professional classes and taught a few in mathematics education. When beginning with the concrete concepts behind division, for one man, a teacher for years in Oakland, this was new to him! I thought perhaps he was a K-2 teacher (trying to be generous with forgetfulness,) but no! He had been teaching 5th grade for a few years! What had they been learning?! Division is easy, so how did he really teach them about fractions, ratios, and linear equations?! There are many teachers who pass through credential programs (barely) and lack wisdom and a greater capacity for learning. I've been amazed by the wonderful teachers in Oakland and Richmond, and shocked (and upset) by others there. But of course, I don't expect to have a chair thrown at me this year, nor a knife pulled by a parent while high at parent-teacher conferences, nor a pregnant 5th grader. We do have a wonderful community, but below a certain threshold, I'll lose my house. I could tutor for more income, and that will necessitate cuts into the time I devote to my own students, but if the voter's decide I should have no job or need a second job to make ends meet, that's what I'll have to do...or find a different job where I get a personal and family life, too. (Remember, I'm not a nun; I haven't married and given my *entire* life to the school, just the vast majority of it.)
"Teachers get $80K?"
+ maybe after working many years and after paying for one's own classes to advance, then subtract manditory medical (expensive!) and dental, plus optional income protection (we don't pay into nor get disability,) to name a few. Then most pay out-of-pocket for classroom supplies, professional texts (those that help us deliver great curriculum) and pay for professional development classes, which can get expensive.
I get that other industries require one to buy whatever is needed and I paid for those things when working in those fields. I didn't, however, spend $6,500 my first year (not including 15 units @$75-125/unit for professional development classes,)4,500 my second year (plus ~12 more units,) $2000 for my third year (more units and classes,) then about $1-2000 with units and classes since then - I stopped keeping track! I lived very simply and with my parents (yes, parents!) to save money for a downpayment and after 5 years, I had enough to get into a tiny condo not in town.
(My sister say I'm an awesome teacher...and nuts! She makes what I do, doesn't spend it back at work, and gets home by 6:00.)
"What about the conference trips teachers and administrators take at tax payers expense?"
+ At my school, we haven't the option to go to these in ages - there simply hasn't been money in the budget. If I want to go, I pay for it myself and on my own time, with my own gas.
--> Mom2 - right on! You get right to the heart of things.
--> Amen, Disagree w/B! As a teacher, I have specific ideas about what to cut as I know what directly impacts my kids. Love how you're open to considering every option from every perspective - great problem solving begins with great creative thinking based on information gathered from many sources.
--> Dismayed - this is where it's at!
Hunter's Point: "In spite of it all, it didn't take a parcel tax nor any miracles for my friends and I to make it through those years and graduate from UCB and Stanford 4 years later. What kept us on the right path were the unrelenting guidance and encouragements from our parents."
+ You're truly inspiring. My three college friends from East Palo Alto had similar stories and you all are amazing!
(I do wonder, though, how the majority your classmates fared... Many of my friends' classmates were then drug dealers who laughed at them as they trucked off to school to pay to work hard to get a degree (while working two jobs) that would let them serve others for little pay.)
"Somehow that escaped many people's cognitive abilities."
+ I get it, too, but it's easy to see the mountain, just tough to move it. (...hadn't seen anything about your rally back then...nor did I have one...)
The problems are not difficult to find though the solutions are. Let's keep working together to put all the facts on the table (pretty or not) so we come up with the best solution for Pleasanton.
Have a great evening!
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