News


PUSD considers fundraising efforts in wake of parcel tax defeat

Boad also finalizes contracts with its two unions

With last week's defeat of the parcel tax, three fundraising options were brought before the Pleasanton school board at Tuesday night's meeting.

The first is a new CORE (Community OutReach for Education) campaign. Similar to last year's effort, which raised nearly $570,000 for the current school year, the new campaign would have funding goals for elementary, middle and high

schools, with intermediate steps along the way.

For example, elementary schools would each have an hour of added tech support daily if $50,625 if raised. At 101,250, an additional hour of library each day would be added to the tech support, with the steps adding tech or library hours at increments of just over $50,000. The ultimate goal is just short of $400,000, when four hours of tech support and three library hours added per site daily, with $5,000 per site for student support programs to be determined by the schools.

Similar goals are set for middle schools, while high schools would raise money to maintain and upgrade hardware and software, extra student support services restoring library personnel and adding extra sections.

A grassroots effort to maintain class size reductions is also under way. The idea, announced by Christina Hicks, would begin by requesting pledges but not actually accepting any money. As support grows, with marketing and a website, backers hope they can eliminate increased class sizes, although Hicks suggested they might ultimately look to the schools or the union if they get close to their goals.

Hicks noted that low student–teacher ratios are especially important in early grades.

A third option mentioned by board members is the possibility of forming a foundation similar to one in place at San Ramon Valley Schools, which, unlike CORE, would raise funds continually and distribute them where needed.

The board also finalized union contracts. The California School Employees Association agreed to additional furlough days to save jobs, while $1.7 million saved through concessions from the Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT) would go to the general fund should money promised by the state not come through.

Right now, the district is awaiting the May revise, in which Gov. Jerry Brown will announce revisions to the state budget. That's expected to come May 16, and district officials are concerned that Brown may opt for an all-cuts budget, which could mean an additional $3 million to $4 million in cuts for the district.

Comments

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 8:29 am

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff because it contains personal information about an individual or business.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

OK, people there is an easy way to help the schools. Donate to your kids classroom..ask the teachers what they need and get it. Give the funds to the school for specific needs--or just donate a set amount per child in the system.

This is way too complicated and does not need to be. If you donate the $98 per household, or donate per student, you are done for the year!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by newmom
a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

Lee,
donating supplies to the classroom is a great idea and something that each parent can do to help their child and teacher. but that is completely independent of the issue here. Donating $98 to your classroom will NOT save positions, programs or reduce class sizes. This has to be done with budget/funding at the district level.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

I suggest that we put up a new parcel tax measure that allows the parcel tax to be optional. Everyone who wants to pay the parcel tax will get to keep their property zoned in the Pleasanton school district. If you don't want to pay, your parcel will be permanently rezoned into a different school district.

That way, Doug Miller and all his fellow parcel tax opponents can have their cake and eat it too. They can simply not pay and reap the reward of lower quality schools and decreased property value. The rest of us who believe an investment in our schools will more than pay for itself both in maintained property value and high quality education for our kids will be spared the same fate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Old Towne
on May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

Hi everyone, here is some more info on the effort to keep class sizes low in Pleasanton:

A group of parents is exploring the feasibility of keeping class sizes at 25:1 next year (not going to 30:1), but we have to act fast! We've been quite honestly overwhelmed by the positive response so far!

We propose the following:

Gather pledges - We don't want any money yet - just a name, contact information and an amount that would be donated for keeping class sizes in K-3 at 25-1 for next year.

We plan to set up a website so that people can input their information privately and we'll provide information on the amounts required to move forward. Any pledged amount would be great, we are aiming for a high participation rate.

Based on the amount pledged, we can determine with the PUSD to what extent we can save CSR. Regardless, if there is not enough "pledged contribution" or the pledges cannot be guaranteed to save CSR at any level, we do not move forward and no one has paid anything towards this effort.

This effort is in addition to CORE (please go to www.ppie.org for more information) and we hope people can contribute to all the proposed fundraising efforts.

Just email me "I'm in" if you'd like more info or would like to get involved!

savecsr@gmail.com


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

Sounds like a bunch of spoiled looser on this topic. It was not one or two people who did not vote for the tax, it was a bit more then 1/3 of the voters (and there were still a lot of people who did not vote at all for some reason).

SO GET OVER IT.

The parcel tax did not win so we have to move on.

You can spend your energy blaming others, or you can help with some fundraising. Blaming others will not help the schools. I can only assume that if you are spending your time and energy blaming others, you really do not have an interest in helping the schools.

Personally I think San Ramon has the best fundraising model but this will take some policy changes at the district office and board to allow local decisions to be made. I believe this will have to occur if they want any serious money coming in. People will have a much easier time raising money for their own kids schools than raising money that goes to the district office and hopefully gets back to your school (sort of like giving our tax money to the State and hoping it comes back to us).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Old Towne
on May 11, 2011 at 10:01 am

Just got a $1000 pledge with the possibility of a company match! Thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

Christina,

Is someone planning to put up a simple web site for this that we could link to? It could probably be done in a day or so and use some kind of free service to host it.

Make sure to do a separate topic on these forums too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on May 11, 2011 at 10:20 am

There is $15 million sitting on the table in the form of automatic teacher raises -- that would make a large dent in the problem. Of course, the teachers are not willing to give up S & C.
Between the raises and the PUSD blatant attempt to purchase votes from seniors the tax went down.
People are tired of seeing raises go to tenured teachers who need to be fired and the vote buying seemed to be the final straw.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

Hi concerned parent - thanks for your message! We're working on this right now! Please email me if you can help. savecsr@gmail.com. Cheers!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Avila
on May 11, 2011 at 11:31 am

I'm glad to see ideas are already being worked on to raise money for the schools. This just shows there are other ways to save other than a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Parent

I'm not a spoiled looser. I'm a frustrated looser.

I'm simply amazed that over 1/3 of voters can't see the obvious connection between high quality schools and property values. That alone is reason enough to have voted yes on measure E. I can only presume that those who voted against measure E are unaware of this connection or deny the significance of this connection.

Being a recent home buyer, I can say that the #1 reason why I bought in Pleasanton was because of the schools. I could have paid 20% less somewhere else if I didn't care about schools.

Nobody can say precisely how much school quality will decline without measure E funding and how much that will affect property values. However, even if property values drop by a meager 1% as a result of a decline in school quality, you'd still be much better off paying $100/yr to maintain the quality of the schools. It's simple math. Median home value in Pleasanton is around $600,000. 1% of $600,000 is $6,000. Divide by 4 years = $1500.

So I'm frustrated by why so many people voted against what is seemingly a no brainer. Vote yes, pay $100/yr and help maintain our school quality and property values. Vote no and risk loosing $1500 or more per year in property value not to mention let our schools decline.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

As another recent Pleasanton home buyer, I'm with you. School quality was the #1 consideration in my thinking of where to buy, too. I'm disappointed that Measure E lost but on the other hand I'm glad to see that many here are moving beyond that and thinking constructively about what to do to support our schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on May 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Oh please Brian and Sam, the ECONOMY is responsible for the loss in property value. Nothing that could happen with schools -- good or bad -- would have anywhere near the impact of the recession.
You would have me believe that if I voted yes my property value would immediatly stop declining and even go back to where it was a few years ago. And do you also believe in Santa and the Easter bunny?
If I were inclined to purchase solely based on school districts my criteria would be a fiscally responsible district that works within their budget. If you cannot even balance your own budget you are not a success by any measure. Would you choose a financial planner who lived in his car due to poor money management? Would you choose a tax preparer who was just getting out of jail for tax fraud?
Well I will never give more money to a district that will not balance the budget with what they have, not with what they want. Cut the cell phones, the car allowances, the S & C and then see what's left. Plently.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by made a good choice
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I, too, recently bought a home. We were trying to decide between Danville and Pleasanton as we were pleased with both districts. We ended up in Danville and I think we lucked out. They seem to more supportive of education there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

"no more" said: "You would have me believe that if I voted yes my property value would immediatly stop declining and even go back to where it was a few years ago. And do you also believe in Santa and the Easter bunny?"

"no more", why are you still arguing over Measure E here? The vote is over. The measure lost. Get over it. What we're now doing is discussing fundraising and other ways in which people can VOLUNTARILY support our schools. Your participation is not required.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on May 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I voted "Yes" even though I could not find a satisfied answer on the $15M pay raise issue. I am pretty sure there are many supporters who hesitated and did not vote because of this issue. Think of Measure E lost by a narrow margin, it would be passed if this group of people voted.

If the school is really short of money, how could they afford to pay for the raise? I heard the answer that this is paid by CA state fund. Still, it is from the same tax payers, isn't it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm

If $100 would save things, that would be great. But that is not the case. The parcel tax does not even cover the raises this first year. $100 is not going to maintain the schools, it needs some restructuring. I think many people saw that the parcel tax by itself was not going to make a significant impact because of the structural issues. We already have salaries going up $3,800,000 this next year because of step and column and removing the furlough days. The $2,000,000 only covers 1/2 of the salary increases in the first year and just a small percentage of the step and column for the subsequent years.

If the parcel tax won, there would still be teachers being fired in each year of the tax because of the automatic raises.

The tax was not a no-brainer. Some people voted for it based on emotions and some people voted against it on data. I think the issue now is there are people who voted for the tax who really cannot accept why people voted against it. When the parcel tax people start to accept why some voted against it, we might be able to have some legitimate conversations. You should not expect the other side to change their mind by not accepting what their issues are.

The district has spent another $200,000 to $300,000 on this election (costing 4 teachers and the funds for the Barton Reading Program), and did the same thing two years ago. I for one would wish the district stops gambling our tax money away on special elections. Successful fundraising can bring in much more than $2,000,000 per year (look at San Ramon) plus gets more parents involved in the school system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by glennis
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I have a lot of money and I give til it hurts. Really I do. Ask Uncle SAM. But I'm not going to hand over one more copper penny until the teachers abolish they're corrupted union, take a 20% pay cut, and GET RID of seniority. If the kids have to suffer, so be it. We have to send a message to the spoiled and overpaid teachers. It is a matter of principal. Starve the chicken is what I say.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

"If I were inclined to purchase solely based on school districts my criteria would be a fiscally responsible district that works within their budget"

So the quality of the education provided by the schools wouldn't be of concern to you. I'm guessing you don't have any children in the schools. That's fine. No need for you to donate. Maybe you could find something better to do with you time than discouraging other people to donate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Old Towne
on May 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

We haven't even started asking for pledges yet and we just got another pledge of $1000 + it is going to be matched so = $2000. We have also received several other generous pledges yesterday and today. This is exciting and I'm very touched by the response from the community.

We're aiming for a high participation rate rather than asking for any particular number for the pledges - anything $10 and up gratefully accepted. Thank you everyone!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Parent

Yes, I understand the main reason why people voted against measure E was to send a message that they believe the teachers shouldn't get guaranteed raises and large pensions. Unfortunately, that's all it will do, send a message. It won't stop teachers raises nor have an impact on pension benefits that were already guaranteed by contract. In fact, it may end up raising the average salary of teachers because the newer, lower paid teachers will get laid off leaving the older, higher paid teachers behind.

So, although the intent of voting no may gave been a noble one, the outcome will be anything but. I would argue that the message should have been sent in a manner that would not result in detrimental effects to our kids, not to mention in the negative impact on property values. This is akin to shooting yourself in the foot just to send a message showing how upset you are with the present state of affairs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, Christina, for your efforts. I do hope you are successful, for the community's sake and for the future generation of kids who will benefit from small class sizes.

My family voted for Measure E and will donate to CORE and all other school fundraisers, but a sad fact about Pleasanton, which I think many parents are unaware of, is that Pleasanton has a majority of people who currently do NOT have kids in school. Unlike San Ramon, which has a majority of people with school-age children. Their fundraisers will continue to outpace ours simply because most of the community has a personal stake in their schools.

Sad but true.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I should also mention that these No on E people will be the same group of people who will bankrupt our country in a few years when they start claiming their Medicare and Social Security benefits. Of course, they want your kids, whom they are currently stiffing, to pay more in taxes to support them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Old Towne
on May 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I don't know - I get the impression that people want things that are tangible - where you know exactly what you get if you contribute. And both CORE and our class size / CSR fundraiser fit this bill, so I hope they are successful in the broader community.

I personally believe that class sizes are a very important factor when people look at the communities that they will raise their children in - it was for our family when we moved here. And if we can keep the teacher - student ratio as low as we can, it will be good for the community overall. I also realize that people who will benefit most from lower class sizes are the parents with children in this age bracket, so of course they may donate more. But every $10 / $50 counts, so I hope many people consider donating something if they can afford to do so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm

"they want your kids, whom they are currently stiffing, to pay more in taxes to support them."

No I don't want your kids to support me. In fact my "kids" (who have NO children) are supporting your kids right now. I just want what I put in SS since I started working @ the age of 13yrs. Not a penny more.

And BTW....I am supporting your kids through taxes, however, you are asking (demanding) me to support your kids at even a higher rate then I have supported my own kids for the past 35 years.

"stiffing" your kids. I don't think so. and if you object to "higher taxes" for your kids....then CUT BACK what this country, state, city cannot afford. Duh!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Way to go Christina,

You are so right with what you have said and I am so excited that you are organizing this effort. There are a lot of people in this community who feel the same way and are willing to pay. I appreciate your positive tone and attitude and look forward to hearing more about the effort- I'll also spread the word and get others to join in with helping.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Hicks
a resident of Old Towne
on May 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Thanks Be Positive, I need to say though, it's not just me even though I posted the info. There is a group of about 6 of us who have worked pretty much full time on this since we decided to do it on Monday. Since then many more people have joined so we're going to roll this out more soon. We're delighted you can help too - it's going to take every hand we can get to make this work - so thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

" I just want what I put in SS since I started working @ the age of 13yrs. "

You aren't entitled to that. You paid taxes. Taxes paid to Social Security are no different from any other taxes. Your taxes paid for other people's retirement. Some people live longer than others. Some people get far more in benefits from others. That's the way it works. The majority of people have gotten far more back in benefits than they ever put in. We haven't even talked about Medicare. That is even worse. If you're getting Medicare and Social Security, we are supporting you.

"at even a higher rate then I have supported my own kids for the past 35 years."

Not unless you moved recently. Otherwise, proposition 13 pay at lower levels than younger people pay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 12, 2011 at 4:45 am

How about donating directly to the teachers!

That's right, let each teacher decide what he or she will do with the money.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2011 at 6:52 am

"And BTW....I am supporting your kids through taxes, however, you are asking (demanding) me to support your kids at even a higher rate then I have supported my own kids for the past 35 years. "

Unless you bought recently, chances are you are one of those Ptown folks paying so little in taxes that even the services YOU use are not financed with them. That's right, thanks to public websites, we can see how much in the way of taxes people pay. I have looked at public records online of people who like yourself, have live in Pleasanton for over 30 years, and they pay less than 1000 per year thanks to prop 13 - earth to "really?": that does not pay for much, not even for the senior center!

And we are the ones supporting YOU! What you paid in SS is probably not enough to cover your expenses from the time you retired. The way SS works is you accumulate up to 4 credits per year, and you don't have to earn much.

So you can be a low earner or a high earner and still collect SS.

Even if you are a high wage earner, if you are one of those living as long as some of my neighbors, we are definitely supporting YOU. And if to that you add Medicare, welll.... Do the math!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by glad you are not my neighbor resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

Resident sounds like one who might be in favor of the "blue pill".

Glad I am not a neighbor of yours....for that matter glad I am not a parent or in law or worse yet a grand-parent of your kids that you THINK (should be FEEL...cuz clearly you are NOT THINKING) you are paying for.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

"Glad I am not a neighbor of yours....for that matter glad I am not a parent or in law or worse yet a grand-parent of your kids that you THINK (should be FEEL...cuz clearly you are NOT THINKING) you are paying for. "

A. How do you know you are not "Resident's" neighbor? Do you have no neighbors?

B. Can you maybe take a second stab at this.

"that you THINK (should be FEEL...cuz clearly you are NOT THINKING) you are paying for. "

What does that mean?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

Dear Anonymous,
What David Miller does with his money is none of your business. David has my thanks for diving into the details of Measure E and helping us to see that it was not "for the children". Many of us who voted NO believe that it is not in the best interest of the children to continue "no-merit" raises, unnecessary and expensive administrative positions, and other wasteful practices that do not benefit the classroom. Our thoughtful NO votes were not cast to save $98/year, but were cast because we believe it is counter productive to throw money into a system that is not wisely using the money that is already there. If the District were focused on education, and Measure E were written to insure that proceeds did not simply allow continuation of the status quo, the outcome of Measure E would have been different. There are some decent ideas for fund raising here: please focus on the ideas.
Bill


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

Dear Editor,
I see that the first post by Anonymous was removed due to it's personal attacks on opponents of Measure E. Perhaps you should remove your poorly conceived editorial with similar disgraceful language, name calling, disparaging of a few individuals who were involved in the opposition to Measure E, and a total misunderstanding of why there is a two-thirds majority required to pass new taxes. Instead, you should be thanking anyone who is involved in local politics on either side of the issue. I realize that there are many well-intentioned people who disagree with my viewpoint, and, had Measure E passed, I hope that those of us who were not in support would not be whining and personally attacking those who did support the measure.
Bill


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

Dear Bill

I'm glad that Doug Miller has been able the shed light on the situation for you. However, did he mention that voting no on measure E would not change anything related to teacher pay and other compensation? Did he also tell you that by sending this message to the school board, you are shooting yourself in the foot by contributing to the decline in Pleasanton from being a top notch destination of choice for parents seeking a place to raise their kids to just another community that's no different from the surrounding ones?

NO? Imagine that, Doug Miller's doesn't bother mentioning the down side of sending his message. Good to hear your leader is so informative.

I'm in favor of reform as well, but not at the cost to my house value and my kids education.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A. Morgan
a resident of Birdland
on May 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

I would like to thank Christina for at least trying to shift the focus away from the usual negative bantering back & forth between these two groups of mind-numbed nimrods and their continued bashing of each other.

To the supporters & losers of Measure E, get over it. Try to now focus on what can be done on both a grass roots, local as well as state-wide level to bring attention to the plight of the school districts in general and how to best prioritize spending and manage their cash flow.

To the opponents of defeating Measure E, we got, now shut up & quit your gloating and follow through on your promises to try & get the PUSD to reign in spending, eliminate S & C, institute pension reform and try a small degree of fiscal responsibility.

In the end it should (& hopefully) be the citizens of this town that end up making some form of difference & change within the framework of the existing PUSD's budgetary practices and management.

To all the big mouths out there I'd just like you to consider becoming more involved, get yourself on the board if that's what it takes but PLEASE do not just sit idly by & Monday morning QB all the present goings on within the district, get your ass of your couch & DO SOMETHING!

At least Ms. Hicks is attempting to cover the most visible element of what is needed at this time, raising $$$. I truly hope she succeeds & will give whatever our family can spare (even though we have donated probably well over $3000 during our children's years in Pleasanton schools) to help her cause. The rest is up to the citizenry to demand that the district leaders create a new set of operational practices and financial reform or else prepare for this whole mess to be re-kindled next year.

...although I have kinda missed the witty banter back & forth between the sides though, made for some great light entertaining & comical reading.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve K
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am

Steve K is a registered user.

Utilize PPIE. I like the idea of an organization that can solicit and distribute funds, but think we would be better off to utilize the existing PPIE organization. That way we can consolidate all the admin and volunteer time into one place as well as the dollars. It is hard to start and keep an organization going and PPIE has been established and successful for decades. Additionally, we don't want any confusion on where money should be donated. I have contributed both personally and sponsored PPIE through business as an executive with major Pleasanton employers.


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