Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 19, 2010

School district launches CORE fundraiser

Along with PPIE and parent groups, PUSD seeks $150 per student

by Emily West

Citing the state budget crisis, the Pleasanton Unified School District has said they need help from parents to continue to provide a high level of programs and services for students in the coming school year. The fundraising effort is called CORE, standing for Community OutReach for Education, and will run through June 1.

In a letter sent to parents last Friday -- signed by Superintendent John Casey, Excutive Director of PPIE (Pleasanton Partnerships in Education) Debi Covello and PTA Council President Joan Laursen -- the budget reductions were listed as "too severe" to maintain the current level of programs and services. Last year, the district cut $2 million, followed by $11 million in the current year and an estimated $8 million in the 2010-11 school year.

The fundraiser and list of supported programs were developed after parents and staff took a district-wide survey to show what programs they want to support most and how much they would be willing to give.

Families are being asked to contribute $150 per student, with funds going towards various programs at each level. The focus is on technology specialists and support, library assistants and student support programs that would vary by site.

The goal is to raise just under $1 million, with targets at $339,375 in elementary, $229,689 in middle and $325,000 in high schools. PUSD has also outlined where the money would go if the goals were not met.

The letter acknowledges the current financial support already given by the parents, in areas like athletics and music, in addition to contributing to individual school sites.

Parents speaking at budget workshop meetings in recent months were mostly supportive of a district-wide fundraiser, but several mentioned they already make similar or larger donations each year. Most of the speakers in favor mentioned replicating what is apparently done in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where almost mandatory parent donations occur during registration time.

Yet, with the fundraising and a parcel tax, SRVUSD's board of trustees recently voted to raise class sizes and layoff 136 employees to deal with a $30-million deficit over the next two years.

CORE is the second large education fundraiser in recent times, as the I Love Pleasanton Schools summer effort brought in $463,379 to save counselors, reading specialists, class-size reduction and music programs. The ILPS goal was more lofty than CORE, seeking to take in $2.8 million.

Those wishing to donate must do so by June 1. Checks can be made out to PPIE (Tax ID 94-3046738) and should be attached to a form, available at the district website www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us. These can be sent in by mail or dropped it off to PPIE, PUSD offices or a school site office. Online donations are also accepted via Pay Pal at www.ppie.org.

More information about the fundraising event, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available on the district's website.

Comments

Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

So where is the CORE campaign this year? Last year's campaign started in early March and here it is almost April and no campaign is in sight. Or is PPIE and PUSD going to let the technology specialists and library assistants get laid off again?
Is this part of the attempt to raise Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt to get the voters to pass the parcel tax?


Posted by Chris, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Has anyone noticed that public school budgets are NEVER ENOUGH, according to school administrators. When is enough, enough? Public schools need to be managed more like private businesses...where accountability is king as is meeting or exceeding customer (i.e. parent) expectations.

If PUSD cannot manage to budget, then tough luck. Parents should reconsider other alternatives...such as home schooling.


Posted by corny, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:03 am

The always clear-thinking and reasonable Chris has just posted the clearest alternative to Measure E presented thus far. Don't support the measure; keep your kids home and home school them instead. Feed them a consistent diet of scrambled eggs in the morning, afternoon and evening, and they'll be able to form clear and rational ideas, just like Chris.


Posted by steve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

corny, since you seem to be ignorant as to the value and potential of home schooling, please read this link about the genius from Danville, Evan O' Dorney: Web Link

Don't discourage parents from avoiding the indoctrination provided by union run schools. Sure, it's not for everyone and certainly requires much more of a committment to your childrens future than you are apparently capable of providing (other than just writing a bigger and bigger check). There's always private schools, too. At least they have some level of accountability......


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

Steve,

Pleasanton has excellent public schools. They are better than a lot of private schools and don't cost $18,000 a year.


Posted by corny, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

Steve, or Chris, or whatever name you're using today (for there really cannot be two of you),

All of Pleasanton's fine teachers know how to spell 'commitment' and know where to place the apostrophe when writing of the future of our children.

Funny, too, that you didn't mention all those D.C. charter schools that currently have been charged with fraud. Stay in good health, and keep up the good work. You continue to amuse us all.


Posted by Professional Educator, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Chris, you stated:"Has anyone noticed that public school budgets are NEVER ENOUGH, according to school administrators. When is enough, enough? Public schools need to be managed more like private businesses..."

I would like to ask you a serious question for a moment, if you really believe that public schools should be treated like a business, yet they never have enough money, then answer the following:

-Do you have a printer for your computer at your office? How many use it? Do you pay for the ink when it runs out?
- Do you have a copy machine? Do you pay for each copy you make?
- Do you have paper, pencils, pens, staples, staplers, etc? Do you pay for them yourself? How many people do you share these supplies with?

You see, I share a room with 33 kids, my classroom budget was cut significantly this year- my entire budget for the year is $400. This is what I am charged for- and do remember that my profession includes having enough supplies for 33 PEOPLE:

- EACH copy from the copy machine- tests, worksheets, homework, letters to parents, articles, etc costs me per page. (x33)

- 1 printer- ink costs $75 to replace- it comes out of my budget- do remember- I share this printer with 33 kids which needs to be replaced every 2 months.

- pencils, pens, staples, tape, tape dispensers, staplers, white board markers, white board erasers, binder paper, construction paper, paint, printer paper, and I could go on....all comes out of this $400 a year (remember it is used by 33 people) Oh but parents supply much of this you say- sure for the first day of school- the kids ran out of supplies in October! They go through about 60 pencils a week. At my cost.

-Reading books, teaching materials, bulletin board materials, special project materials...etc. all are paid for by me.

My budget of $400 has been spent months ago. I pay for all of the above myself. Is this how your business runs? DO your employees pay for their own paper, copies, and writing utensils? And do remember the nature of schools- it is all about using these materials to produce their learnings.

How dare you say we are always asking for more. I agree, we should run more like a business, who supplies all of the materials to employees to perform their jobs. It is outrageous that I personally am paying for all of this out of my pocket, and then hear ignorant comments from people like you. Are you suggesting that we have less money? Are you suggesting that I pay for all of these supplies myself? Doesn't seem like smart business now does it.

Oh, and I almost forgot- I purchase my own kleenex- you do the math- 33 runny noses- it adds up.

I'm waiting for your answers to my questions.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 8:52 am

I agree with Professional Educator. School districts and/or the state should supply all teachers with the needed materials to run their class. This year, I received notes from several teachers asking for donations for workbooks and/or science labs. I am happy to pay for it, but I know not all students give the donation, so are teachers then eating the cost of workbooks and such? Because the notes we get say that it is a voluntary donation and that even if you do not donate, your child will still receive the workbook, supplies, etc.

I hope the school/PTA is financing the cost of the materials of students who cannot/choose not to make the donation, this should not be coming out of teachers' wallets. Maybe CORE should focus on raising money for teacher materials and should do it on a school by school basis as each school's needs will be different.


Posted by steve, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

Corny, thanks for the spelling and grammar check. Glad you have the time to apply that knowledge you gained in our wonderful Pleasanton public schools.
Too bad you can't stay on topic or respond to (or refute) any of the subject matter being addressed. D.C schools have nothing whatsoever to do with Pleasanton. If act, probably the only thing in common between D.C and Pleasanton may be you and Marion Berry.
Sorry about you short attention span, although you seem to have at least managed to focus on proofreading rather than reading comprehension.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

Steve,

There were many people on these boards suggesting that PUSD apply the methods used in DC schools (merit pay, charter schools). They used Michelle Rhee specifically as an example of evidence that such methods worked. Now that we see that Michelle Rhee is a fraud, it casts those suggestions in a different light.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

The point of this is that CORE should be started.

And it should.

Many people last year said that it should start up around registration time this year because we knew the budget issues were going to get worse. Everyone agreed we started too late last year.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

"The point of this is that CORE should be started. "

Yes, but it should be on a school by school basis. I donated last year just to see my donation not count because it had to be split among all the schools. I would like to see my donations go to my kids' schools. Every parent should give and that way all schools will have the same level of financing. Doing it by grade level (hs, middle school, elementary) is not enough, it should be by school site, and each PTA should be in charge of their school's core fundraising, that is the only way to be fair and make sure more people donate. Those who do not donate will see their schools not get the funds other schools with parents who donate, do.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

Resident, we can donate to our individual school's PTA, so there's no problem with doing this to help your own school. And we can't make each parent give because we're not allowed to do this as public school education is free.

BUT, I really think we need to brainstorm to get the level of contribution up in a CORE type of campaign. And starting ASAP would help.

Last year even though CORE did well, I think it was a pretty small % of people who contributed. As usual the 20% or so that give, give a lot and the rest get the benefit.

And of course we're in tough times and everyone is being asked to donate in so many different directions. I don't even go to Starbucks or coffee shops (because of the cost!), but the number of times I've been asked to give away that cup of coffee is mounting up!

But it would be great for the community to pull together for the sake of our kids in a meaningful, accountable way (and without threatening to take away something vital if we don't pay up!). We need to get it right. But how??


Posted by Cornelius 'Corny' Walker, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

Steve: "If act, probably the only thing in common between D.C and Pleasanton may be you and Marion Berry."

A product of home schooling? I rest my case.


Posted by The problem with..., a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

The problem with not dividing money among schools, means that specific schools will be left out. For example, the middle schools tend to have less parent involvement because they are not deemed as important as elementary and high school, from some parents.


Posted by Great comment, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

Great comment, teacher. To answer your question, resident, yes often educators are spending their own money. We always say we won't, but we are professionals and want to do an excellent job. We have pride in our work and are willing to spend our own money.

The first year I had my taxes done, I was told that teachers are the least audited profession in the U.S. The government realized 10 years ago that whenever they audited teachers, they ended up owing the teachers money because they spend so much out of pocket. That tells you a lot.


Posted by Speak Up, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

I understand Teacher's frustration - I feel badly you don't receive more support from your parents. That is why I don't give to the CORE campaign - I don't want my money going into some community pot to be spent on Lord knows what - I want the money I donate to go DIRECTLY to my student - and that is why I contribute all I can to my child's classroom and PTA. I brought this up in a parent meeting for my child's school and everyone looked at me like I had 5 heads...glad I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I wish more parents spoke up...in PUBLIC situations.

I read these blogs so I can get the true pulse of what parents and community members are feeling. It seems to me that there are too many (at least at my school) who are saying one thing and then doing the opposite. It is too bad - I think we'd get a lot more done if we were all honest with each other. However, I do understand why people don't speak up - if you say anything remotely close to criticism you are labeled an unsupportive parent - I've felt that first hand - and that is very frustrating considering all I have done both financially and by volunteering more than my share of time and resources to the school.


Posted by dexter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

"I read these blogs so I can get the true pulse of what parents and community members are feeling."

I'm not sure you're getting the " true pulse of what parents and community members are feeling."


Posted by Speak Up, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 9:31 am

Dexter - Why? Don't you think people feel more freely to express opinions without critism on this blog? Sure, I have filter out the "noise" but thought I would get a better reading of what people really think.


Posted by Dexter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

"Why?"

Because what you read on these forums reflects only a small segment of our community.


Posted by dan, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

Is it me, or does Speak Up come across as kind of selfish? "I'll only contribute to what directly affects MY kid and not somebody else's kid." We are not alone, but belong to the larger community; we sink or swim together.


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