by Kathleen Ruegsegger
Proponents of Measure G cite Class Size Reduction (CSR) as the most significant argument for implementation of a parcel tax. What they downplay, however, is that Pleasanton schools will receive $8.1 million in federal stimulus money to directly offset state cuts to education, prevent layoffs and save CSR. The federal funding is more than the proposed parcel tax asks, and covers the majority of even the highest district estimates of shortfalls through 2009-10.
In the exercise of its fiduciary duties, the district unwisely negotiated large increases to salary schedules, knowing they were sustainable only with future state cost of living increases and/or enrollment growth. The parcel tax asks for $18 million over four years, $15 million (district figure) of which will be needed to counterbalance the impact of these raises.
It is reasonable to expect future salary increases will occur, and CSR will then face the same danger upon expiration of the proposed parcel tax. Without systemic changes, programs will be sacrificed to pay for raises and the district could find itself in the same dilemma, with a need to renew the parcel tax at greater expense and for a longer period.
The current system is broken, but the federal infusion of funds allows us time to address the district's budget in depth before we perpetuate the cycle of spend and tax. Homeowners are already working hard to live within their means in this economy. The district should be expected to do the same. Please vote "no" on Measure G.