Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - March 5, 2010

Letter: PUSD needs to think as a business

Dear Editor,

One concept I would like to introduce to the PUSD School Board and administration is that of "the myth of scarcity." You have a declining budget and need to cut services. One resource that seems to be overlooked is the Pleasanton community and "an out of the box" approach to leveraging "public/private" partnerships to keep programs that might be destined to the cutting block.

There are plenty of parents in this community that would be willing to volunteer time to lead an after school homework club, coordinate the Barton program (the best ROI that this school district has for dyslexic kids), play music, etc. I know this concept is sheer heresy in the halls of the education community, however, the issue facing PUSD are not educational right now, but rather business.

We pay the administration of PUSD to find creative solutions to problems and hold the School Board's feet to the fire to "think outside the box" to address the challenges we face. You have a great resource in the Pleasanton community. Why don't you introduce the concept of private/public partnership and see what kind of feedback you get from the community? You will be surprised.

I encourage you to be bold and take a page from successful businesses that are weathering this global economic crisis, which isn't going to end next year. Don't fear the unions or the unknown, but rather be willing to take a chance -- you won't be faulted for that.

Peter C. Balas

Comments

Posted by Debbie RW, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

Peter C. Balas,

How about you pay for a parcel tax instead of turning our district into a "business." This is public school district, not some right-wing corporate experiment.

Gee, let's turn PUSD into the new Enron! Wonderful!


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Debbie, how about holding school administration to be accountable as to how they spend our tax dollars, just like corps. are responsible to their stockholders?
What is wrong with that? Your answer of throwing more of our money at the problem is not only naive, it sets a dangerous precedent. Have you ever seen a govt agency not spend all the money that is sent to it.........all they do is ask for more. Well, there is no more.
Cut costs, be efficient. Maybe private school competition is what they need to provide some incentive to perform.


Posted by Sara, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

Although I'm concerned for the schools in Pleasanton, as I parent I have seen many of the work books that my kids are given filled with empty pages. These books cost an enormous amount of money, and if they are not being used then don't buy them. The reality is that we are all watching our money very closely. The world is falling apart, every country is riddled with debt. People are loosing their homes and jobs. We have to find ways to cope. Although many of the programs the schools provides are wonderful for our children, Math, English and Science are the most important. They are the subjects that we use for the rest of our lives.
It sad that many programs are going to be cut, but our kids will get by.

As for the tax parcel, many people are struggling to keep their head above water. People in this area already pay huge amounts of taxes for homes which are no longer worth their value. We have to be accountable for what we spend, and if we were then maybe the county won't be in the mess it's in!


Posted by Jim, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:07 am

Our kids are lucky to have goods schools. In fact they've been spoilt. This area has more parental help and donations given to them than most schools in surrounding areas. We are fortunate that we have people who care. However, this country is going through one of the worst economic down times that I've seen in my life time. We have to budget, we have to save and we have to admit that the people at the top have let us down badly. There has to be a piggy bank, we must provide for bad times, and I also agree that we have to be accountable for all we spend, and if program are lost, so be it. I might upset lots of people, but our students are far luckier than most. We must move on, support each other and do the best we can with what we have.


Posted by john, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm

In every business and organization money is sometimes not spent wisely, and I would like to point out that California as a whole has thrived with businesses for years, all those taxes we've paid. Where has the money gone? Didn't anyone plan for a day when thing might not be so good. We have to budget, and stick to it, all these after school programs and extra activities have to go, because the reality is we can't afford them. I am someone who cares about my child's education, but when the going gets tough we have no alternative but to cut things. Don't buy new math books every couple of years, math doesn't change. Addition and subtraction is only done one way, yet we have new books which cost a fortune and there was nothing wrong with the old ones. Every year school web sites change, new things come in. Do we really need them? We have to be accountable, did we really need to spend all the money that we have spent in the last decade. We are all paying a price, our money is not managed well!


Posted by Tim, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm

You can't keep asking people for money. Why? Because most people don't have it to give.
After school programs should go. Sorry folks, but we don't have the money to support it. If you want your kids to do art, drama,or any other thing then provide it at home. We need to focus on English, math and science. This district needs folk who work in the real world to come in and effectively show us how to cut costs. They need to observe what is going on, and to help sort it out. The reality is we are dealing with a state which is nearly bankrupt. We have to make the most of what we've got and that's not a lot. You will never get a tax parcel passed, because people are worried about what you might ask for next. We're in a mess!



Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

StevaP...as long as you and your friends keep working, there is going to be more money available to TAKE! tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

and, may I add that citizens like your truly go out of their way to educate "illegals" so that they get their fair share...


Posted by teacher, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

Sara wrote: "as I parent I have seen many of the work books that my kids are given filled with empty pages. These books cost an enormous amount of money, and if they are not being used then don't buy them. "

As teachers we asked the district not to purchase these workbooks as we don't use all the pages. They have to be purchased due to the equality for all act, I think it is a federal law requiring all students access to the same materials.
Most teachers would vote to not pay money each year for these workbooks.


Posted by let's pull together, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 6, 2010 at 11:39 am

"There are plenty of parents in this community that would be willing to volunteer time to lead an after school homework club, coordinate the Barton program , play music, etc."

The key word here is "volunteer",when someone volunteers they can just as easily decide I can't make it that day if something comes up, then what?

We do need to think outside the box during these trying times, I would hope everyone with ideas will go to the school board meetings, get involved at your child's school, PTA, School Sit Council, etc. that is where the real change is going to occur.


Posted by Linda, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Debbie RW, It is the Stepford Wives like you that are the reason the district gets away with misuse of our tax dollars. There needs to be more accountability.


Posted by Tim, a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Regarding the work books. I to have seen my kids with numerous pages never filled in. And this is why the country is in such a state because we have stupid people running it! People need to listen, if you don't use them don't buy it! Or do the people at the top like to squander our money?


Posted by David, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 7, 2010 at 8:22 am

That's a nice apple pie, but your allergic to apple pie. Let's buy it anyway.

I love that dress, but it doesn't fit you. Let's buy it anyway.

I have to have this car, but you've already got two in the garage. Let's but it anyway

Let's move to a bigger house, but there's nothing wrong with the one we've got. Let's but it anyway.

You don't go spending on things you don't need, and I agree this is why us Americans are in this huge mess!



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