News


Pink Slip Friday

Pleasanton teachers, students, parents show support for parcel tax on deadline day for notices of possible layoff

Hundreds of teachers, faculty, administrators, students and parents showed their support for a school parcel tax yesterday on what was called statewide "Pink Slip Friday."

Yesterday was the deadline for the district to give teachers on the chopping block notices of potential layoff to make up for the district's $8.7-million budget shortfall.

For more information on Pink Friday, visit www.pinkfriday09.org

Comments

Posted by sc_2007, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:47 am

There has GOT to be another way of addressing PUSD's budget shortfall/cuts instead of coming to the people of Pleasanton asking them for yet more $.

The majority of the country - including Pleasanton's citizens - are, or will be feeling the repercussions of this economic slowdown. Family/household budgets will be negatively impacted. Prudence and frugality are key for budgets - even PUSDs.

Web Link


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

The cuts to school districts throughout the state are enormous! The amount of the parcel tax is about 69 cents a day. If your childcare went up that much you would be thankful it wasn't more.


It is easy to remember the teacher you didn't like or the one you thought wasn't doing the job. But you are still reading this. . .


I think we all are getting a deal. I no longer have kids in school in Pleasanton. I will pay the parcel tax and think it is one of the most valuable taxes I pay. Certainly, the pay back to the community far outweighs the tax itself.

(Remember there is an opt out for residents over 65)


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:33 am

The bottom line is, we all support our teachers, but if reasonable cuts are made we do not need a parcel tax to keep teachers jobs and maintain valued programs.

The community has not seen the administration demonstrating cutbacks, more vacation days don't count. The district should be working on immediate negotiations with the union to work on cutting back. They should be doing something immediately and not waiting until the next budget. In fact, administration raises could be rolled back today. Every dollar cut this year gives more money available for next year.

The senior exemption is very misleading and disingenuous. It is not an automatic exemption. It must be applied for each year. The district set it up that way knowing many seniors will either not know to file for the exemption, or will forget and miss the deadline to file.


Posted by PW staff please read, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:45 am

Does the PW staff read these posts?

Many teachers, parents and students stated the pink was in support of teachers NOT supporting a parcel tax!!!!!!
The pinkfriday website says it represents "stand up for schools", NOT support a Pleasanton property tax.

I expect a balance article showing pictures of all of the green on the 17th showing opposition to the Pleasanton parcel tax. It would be as honest of an article as this one is.


Posted by "reasonable" cuts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:30 am


"if reasonable cuts are made we do not need a parcel tax to keep teachers jobs and maintain valued programs"

This statement is simply not true unless you think cutting, librarians, counselors, reading specialists, athletic coaching stipends, music programs, elective courses at the HS level, custodians, technology specialists... and having significantly larger class sizes at grades k-3 and 9 all constitute "reasonable cuts". If you don't think those cuts are reasonable, then we need a parcel tax to save them.




Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

"reasonable" - Liz's statement is entirely true!

if every employee of PUSD took a 10% salary reduction, it would save $10M, the full amount of the budget shortfall.

All teacher jobs would be saved. Not one layoff would be required.
All programs and services would still exist.
All administration offices would be fully staffed and operating.

There are a lot of voters who think this is one of many reasonable options that must be explored.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I don't consider it reasonable to ask teachers to make all of the sacrifice. It's not even reasonable to ask all employees to take the sacrifice. Our schools benefit the entire community. The more broadly we can share the sacrifice, the less each one of us will need to give up.


Posted by teacher but not resident, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I am a teacher who is married to a teacher. We pay a parcel tax in our own community to support our kids schools. I think a 10% pay cut is not reasonable at all! You are basically saying that it's reasonable for us to have our pay cut by roughly $7,000 EACH (which has a HUGE impact on our retirement and would probably cause us to have to sell our house) to save programs in a community we don't live in... so that you don't have to ante up $233 measly dollars to save the schools in your own town!

THAT IS UNREASONABLE!


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 15, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I would like to point out with the pink slips handed out this week in California, this makes the State of California that single largest "company" laying off in the United States. No corporate company has had a larger single layoff in recent history according to Forbes. Web Link
I point this out because many seem to be in denial that this is a large problem in the state of California. Whether or not you support the parcel tax, education is in a state of emergency. Please write to your legislators and urge them to support education for our children's sake.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I am absolutely not suggesting a 10% reduction for teachers. I would suggest 10% for administrators and 5% for classified and certificated employees.

This is absolutely correct:
We support our teachers, but if reasonable cuts are made we do not need a parcel tax to keep teachers jobs and maintain valued programs. In addition with the temporary suspension of S&C and roll back of the administrative raises and perks we could save teachers jobs, maintain valued programs and create a "Designated for Economic Uncertainties" fund.



Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Teacher but not resident: I think 10% is too much. But, you will lose people when you say "measly $233" because it's on top of bonds and property taxes that already support schools and will be difficult for families who've lost an income or taken pay cuts, and maybe both.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm

How about if teachers that live in Pleasanton take a 10% pay cut and pay the parcel tax, after all it is a mess they created


Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Teacher - how 'recent' are you thinking? Just January 2009 according to the link you posted? How narrow of a time slice qualifies for your logic? If we accept your assumption that the state of CA is a real 'company' that 'laid off' the teachers, then according to the CTA backed pinkfriday09.org, there were less than 27,000 layoff notices. One only need 5 minutes of research to see that Citibank laid off over 50,000 workers in 2008.

How many total teachers work in California? What overall percentage were given layoff notices? What percentage will likely be returning in the Fall? What will be the final layoff percentage at that time?




Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Liz, I think folks were responding to the 10% number that Carl proposed. (At least I was.)

I think that the next contract could include either a freeze on step and column, or a reduction in nonstudent days, or both. Those would result in significant cost savings to the district. It's not clear to me why we would ask for even deeper cuts in teachers' pay.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Teacher: Boy, I sure hope people don't believe teachers (individually) created this mess. I'm against the tax, I've said I think raises were unsustainable, but the worst you can say about teachers is they voted to accept what was offered/negotiated. Even I don't think you show up at an APT meeting and vote down a raise even if you think it's over the top.

I've also said teachers and principals know where cuts can occur and probably still hang onto staff. Were you asked?


Posted by teacher but not resident, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Disagree w/B:

You're right. Calling it a "measly" $233 is probably alienating to some. I was fired up because a $7,000 pay cut was referred to as "reasonable", so $233 seemed "measly" in comparison. I'll take it easy on the inflammatory diction in the future :)


Also, "Birdland Teacher" is clearly not a teacher, and he/she seems to have been living in a vacuum for the last year. It's not teachers that created our economic crisis which is causing a loss of funding for schools. It's people who took out risky sub prime mortgages and the banks who lent the money to them! I guess an econ lesson her would get a bit lengthy, though.


Posted by embarrassed, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm

First of all, The pink worn by teachers happened all over the state and was aimed at the state not the district. In some areas district personal encouraged the wearing of pink to make people aware of the state cuts. This problem has been caused by a state that has been willing to see its public educational system fall to the bottom of the heap.

I am embarrassed in a city that has the highest per capita income of any mid size city in the country would think that teachers are making too much money. New teachers can't live in the community and all teachers have been paying for their benefits out of their salaries since the mid nineties. The step and column to which many refer is not automatic. In order to progress, a teacher must pay out of pocket for extra education. If not, you get stuck on a step and you never go over to the next column.

These summers (off, really about ten weeks) are often when teachers do these things. Or they work another job to pay the bills. Teachers have no vacation days and no disability pay. Teachers do have ten sick days a year that can be accumulated, after that they are docked if out sick.

Take that "high salary" and deduct what health care costs a family (about $12000 a year) and then compare it to salaries of equally educated professionals or even teachers from around the bay area who get benefits.

Don't get me wrong, it is a wonderful profession if you love your job.

It is somewhat embarrassing to live in a community like this that values all sorts of wonderful things and hear people talk about how "much" teachers make. Particularly when they say, of course we don't mean you. . .since when do you use the lowest common denominator to measure someone's value? (And quit blaming it all on unions. Teachers can be fired, but the administration has to do its job.)


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Embarrassed, Employees agreed to roll the benefits onto the salary schedule with the intention of upping retirement benefits based on highest years of pay. I'm not against that move, but it seems unfair to complain about it now. Is it possible to roll them off the salary schedule? At least benefits would be a separate item for negotiations.

The highest per capita income has been bothering me to, because the data is never cited: Pleasanton is high, 16th for populations over 50,000. Here is a link Web Link

The education credits are rewarded aren't they? And being an educator, you value education and the importance of continuing education? I think it's important and believe it should be rewarded. I also realize those who go for advanced degrees never really recoup their costs. I am personally for merit pay, for other ways to compensate teachers, and for ending tenure.

I agree, principals need to do their jobs, particularly during the probation years of a teacher. But removing a teacher who loses the desire to teach after they have tenure is nearly impossible no matter how diligent the principal.

I truly do not want teachers to lose their jobs. I do want the district to drop this parcel tax and do a better job of providing this community with options. If property values, test scores of students, and per capita income have anything to do with the education levels of a community's citizens, then you have a population in Pleasanton that deserves more from this district.


Posted by Community of Character, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:02 pm

To save the librarians, counselors, reading specialists, athletic coaching stipends, music programs, elective courses at the HS level, custodians, technology specialists, and CSR for grades k-3 and 9, something is going to have to give. It's either:

1. Taxpayers dig deeper into their pockets and pay more taxes

or

2. Teachers' union and district administrators give up some of their perks and salaries


The arguments seem to center around these two options. I am hoping that the solution is going to be somewhere in the middle. My guess is that those who are supportive of the tax will support it with or without the union and administrators' concessions.

So the ball is in the court of those who oppose the tax. The truth is that the anti-tax people have an upper-hand since they only need 1/3 plus 1 vote to kill the measure. But are some, or most, of the anti-tax people willing to vote for the parcel tax if they see some significant concessions from the union and the administrators? My guess is yes.

It would be at the best interest of everyone to give some and take some. No one wants to be holding the short end of the stick when things are all said and done. If we meet somewhere in the middle, we all win as a community. Teachers would not be laid off and forced to find work in this very challenging environment. Parents and their children can continue to enjoy the programs that they are accustomed to in school. And taxpayers can rest assured that their taxes are put into good use.

Let's just work together to find some real solutions rather than this back and forth.




Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Teacher of Mohr Park wrote: "I would like to point out with the pink slips handed out this week in California, this makes the State of California that single largest "company" laying off in the United States."

*ahem* Pink slips are only warnings and not actual layoffs. Those would occur in June. I read somewhere that only a small percentage of pink slips turn into actual layoffs (here actually Web Link) I'm sure this year the percentage will be higher, but let's not characterize it as 100%.


Posted by Amen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Amen "Community of Character", Amen!

I think if the Admin, teachers, and staff all take those 3 days off (about a 1.5% pay cut all around), plus the tax passes (which will cover somewhere around 43-47% of the deficit depending on the source), plus smart cuts take place, then WE ALL walk away with a well preserved school district and reasonable concessions that don't hurt one group too much.

It is a reasonable and equitable solution!


Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

We're intentionally giving topics pertaining to the June 2 parcel tax measure and teacher layoffs a rest because the postings have become repetitive and, in some instances, accusatory and hurtful to teachers and other employees of the school district who are unable to respond to postings, most of which are made under the cloak of anonymity. The postings online will remain, but future postings to these threads or new ones dealing with teacher layoffs and the parcel tax can be made only by registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly forum.


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