Updated: Thu, Mar 3, 2011, 7:28 am
Uploaded: Wed, Mar 2, 2011, 6:28 am
Layoff notices headed to PUSD employees
Board members hope to salvage some of the jobs
The Pleasanton school board voted Tuesday night to send layoff notices to more than 62 employees, although board members hold out hope that at least some of the jobs can be restored.
Although the pink slips will go to FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) employees, some part-time positions will likely be eliminated as well, meaning more than 62 workers will receive the notices.
A list of those to be hit by the cuts is not yet available since the workers have yet to receive word themselves.
No one on the board is happy with the cuts and all said they hope that with private fundraising, like last year's CORE (Community OutReach for Education) campaign, the potential for a parcel tax, and the hope that a state tax extension will pass, some of the jobs can be restored.
"We're looking at budget cuts because these are the facts. This is what we've been dealt," said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.
The district is making the cuts -- even though some of the jobs may come back -- because state law requires layoff notices to be in the hands of certificated employees by March 15; additional layoffs could come for classified employees too, but the deadline for those cuts is later in the year.
"We can always be adding FTEs at a later date," said board President Valerie Arkin, something echoed by all the other board members.
Recent weeks have seen appeals by employees and the parents with children in the areas slated for cuts and Tuesday night was no exception. After the board opted to cut 6.4 FTE physical education specialists at elementary schools, parents asked – as did many before them – that restoring those jobs be put at the top of the list.
Among those speaking Tuesday was Kelly French, a district graduate with two children at Alisal Elementary. She said P.E. teachers bring a positive morale to the school.
"They're not just playing kickball out there," French told the board. "They are doing a really, really fantastic job of teaching our children."
P.E. specialists and the weekly classroom time they provide will not be eliminated, but the sessions will be cut in half, to once a week.
"There will still be some time provided each week for P.E., music and science specialists," said Cindy Galbo, assistant superintendent of educational services. However, since the state requires a certain number of P.E. hours in elementary school, teachers will have to pick up the slack. She said teachers and principals will have to work together to decide when and how much P.E. will be done every week, and that some training will have to be done to ensure that the teachers can to the job.
The cuts will mean a shortened day once a week for students, to make up for time teachers had for lesson planning – time they'll now have to fill with P.E.
While elementary P.E. programs are the hardest hit, the cuts will impact every school in the district. English will see 6.2 FTEs cut, math will see a cut of 4.6 FTEs, reading specialists will be cut by 4.5 FTEs and counselors will see a cut of 2.5 FTEs, to name those with the largest cuts.
"Some would say that we're laying off people to scare the public," said board member Jeff Bowser. "That's not the case."
He said the board has tried to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, but "we're down to the bone."
"Which arm do I cut off? Which finger do I cut off?" he asked. "We are affecting the lives of 61 (sic.) people who are facing unemployment."
The discussion over cutting P.E. specialists led to an angry exchange between one speaker and Trevor Knaggs, president of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT). The speaker said the P.E. cuts weren't announced early enough and that people should have been given more time to speak out. He also said teachers should have been polled to see what they thought should be cut.
Knaggs said the idea of a poll violated the fundamental principles of unionism.
"You cannot ask people to vote their colleagues off the island," Knaggs said, clearly upset about the idea, although the speaker claimed that's been standard practice in past years.
The board also held a public hearing about "sunshining" negotiations between the district and the California School Employees Association (CSEA). The CSEA proposes maintaining its current contract as is while the district is looking to discuss wages, hours, leaves of absence and health benefits. No one spoke at the public hearing.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm
The first section is from Wikipedia; the rest accompanied the Declaration of Independence--a laundry list of complaints against the king, of which taxation is one.
The Christian revivalist movement of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening fueled interest in both religion and religious liberty. In the French and Indian War, British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies. Excluding the Native Americans (popularly known as "American Indians"), who were being displaced, those thirteen colonies had a population of 2.6 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain; nearly one in five Americans were black slaves. Though subject to British taxation, the American colonials had no representation in the Parliament of Great Britain
The next section is a list of charges against King George III, which aim to demonstrate that he has violated the colonists' rights and is therefore unfit to be their ruler:
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such disolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass [sic] our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.