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Rallying for schools

Original post made on Mar 3, 2009

School activists have joined to form Save Pleasanton Schools and will hold a rally Sunday to kick off a campaign to bring additional funds to education.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 3:04 PM

Comments (35)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm

At some point ever person needs to decide if they are going to be part of the solution, or part of the problem. And if you believe in creating more so taxes so that our government and associated services can continue their unencumbered spending, you are part of the problem.


Posted by raven, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Question-

Is the PTA presidents and PTA council spending PTA money (parent/teacher dollars) to fund this committee and the rally. I understand the Tanya Ludden is the PTA Peralta President.

The mission statement of the California PTA states
The mission of the California State PTA is to positively impact the lives of all children and families by representing our members and empowering and supporting them with skills in advocacy, leadership, and communication.

i don't see anywhere in this mission statement that give them the authority to get involved in the politics of the district.

If these women want to politic as community members and parents, more power to them.

I have forwarded this story to the California PTA, it will be interesting to see if they have blessed these women to engage in the district's politics.


Posted by huh?, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

What's this rally about? Has the board voted to put a parcel tax on the ballot already? I thought they're voting this week???


Posted by tail wagging the dog?, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Looks like the PTA is making the decision for the school board to move forward with the parcel tax.

I expected the people we elected to take the lead on this, not the PTA.

Chris?
Pat?
Jim?
Valarie?
Jamie?
Anyone care to comment?


Posted by Daniel, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Preparation is the key when attempting to put lipstick on a pig.


Posted by Andrew, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 4, 2009 at 12:55 am

Raven - I'd like to hear back on what the State PTA says. PTA is an advocacy organization, not a fundraising organization. I am sure the local PTA leaders are following the guidelines as provided in their bylaws. From what I can tell, all the Pleasanton PTA leaders are rule followers. I am sure that each school site PTA is voting weather or not they want to as an organization support a parcel tax or not which may or may not include a donation to the campaign. PTAs, PFCs,PTOs are 501C3s and are allowed by the IRS to donate up to 5% of its annual budget toward political activities. In PTA, the membership has to vote. State PTA does not allow PTAs to endorse candidates. Unfortunately, in advocacy work sometimes it involves a little politicking.

The Vote by the School Board for the parcel tax is Thursday, March 5th at Amador High School. Tanya was the Peralta District President 2 years ago. Joan Laursen was the President at Walnut Grove. Have you gone to the web site? www.savepleasantonschools.org. You might recognize some of your neighbors on the committee. I heard thousands have already signed up on their mailing list. Thank Goodness these people have stepped up. The State is a mess and we need to have local control over the money for schools. A parcel tax is for a short time and has to be voted on again for an extension, by then hopefully the State will have gotten it's act together. Can you imagine if our high school test scores were 900 or higher? Our real estate values would be so insulated.
BTW, the school district is not allowed to campaign or run a campaign for the parcel tax - that is why a community group has to take the lead.


Posted by momincharge, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2009 at 9:02 am

Why would it be a big deal to have a rally to organize people interested in your cause? If they want to donate money, great, but the purpose is to get enthusiasm behind a cause. I think the parcel tax may be a good idea and am planning to go to learn more about it.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Las Positas
on Mar 4, 2009 at 9:07 am

Well said Andrew! I am a member of the PTA, and I am right in line with what you are saying. The members need to vote on whether or not they should donate money for this cause. I believe we are voting at our next PTA Meeting.


Posted by Equally Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

"I heard thousands have already signed up on their mailing list. "

And I heard it was less than ten. Both are probably exaggerations, but I'll bet mine is closer than yours.

"A parcel tax is for a short time and has to be voted on again for an extension, by then hopefully the State will have gotten it's act together. "

Do you still believe in the Tooth Fairy too?

"Can you imagine if our high school test scores were 900 or higher? Our real estate values would be so insulated. "

Heck, let's just give them the answers! Problem solved! Don't let the rest of the country in on the solution though!

Look, the reality is the real estate market has undergone a substantial adjustment. And this trend will be continuing for quite a while. Pleasanton's location and surrounding area will allow us to fare better than most, but your home will probably not turn into an ATM card again soon, regardless of the outcome of our current school district budget/tax campaign. If you are in the unfortunate position of needing to sell your home, and you bought it in the last five years, you are in a difficult situation. If you can limit your expenses and hang in there, things will improve substantially. I think most people realize this, but that doesn't seem to stop the pro-tax organizers from trying to promote their cause through use of this fear tactic.

"BTW, the school district is not allowed to campaign or run a campaign for the parcel tax "

All evidence to the contrary.

The residents of California will face unprecedented tax and fee increases as the economy contracts. The state is now proposing additional income taxes, vehicle taxes, and sales taxes that will make it even more difficult to maintain a business, home, or a job in the coming years. Don't be part of the problem. Vote no on new taxes!


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Las Positas
on Mar 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

Wow 'Equally Concerned'! Talk about sarcasm... and rude sarcasm at that!

I will be at the rally, which is not being given by "pro-tax organizers". I'm not "pro tax", and living in California, I'd prefer NO new taxes, but I'm all for helping the schools & this cause, and I'm not being "scared" into my opinion. Thank you for the insinuation that we all are!! In addition, I'm part of the Save Pleasanton Schools mailing list, and most of the people I know are on it as well. I can assure you it's more than 10.... and I am not exaggerating. I'm wondering why it is so hard to believe there could be 1000 members? Because you read this blog & it's mostly against the Parcel Tax?

We aren't the only district resorting to this either. Did you watch the news or look into any surrounding districts to see what they are doing? Mt. Diablo (for example) is doing the exact same thing to save their district - facing the same budget shortfall we are & proposing a Parcel Tax. Yes, their scores aren't comparable to ours. The problem is state-wide though. There's no arguiing that.

Your assumptions about the rest of us trying to help the cause are just that.


Posted by Part of solution, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm

"At some point every person needs to decide if they are going to be part of the solution, or part of the problem." So true, and that's why I will be at the rally supporting the parcel tax. It's what Pleasanton needs to help maintain our property values and to continue to attract young families seeking an excellent education for their children.

The board is poised to place the tax on the May or June ballot Thursday evening. Thankfully they get it and have chosen to be part of the solution, and so should all of us.


Posted by tax time, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Anyone know how much we are currently paying to the PUSD through bond measures from previous years via annual property taxes?


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm

This is a unfortunate waste of a lot of dedicated parents' time. Under the best of circumstances, and with a supportive community, the amount of effort this requires is incredible. And even then it takes the knowledge of a successful consulting firm, accompanied by presentations by staff with credible data, to give it the extra push for a successful 2/3 vote.

This, however, will be more like the undertaking of Sysifus--pushing the bolder uphill.

I haven't seen coverage of what staff is indicating about the need for cuts now that they've had time to look at the state's final budget and the money coming from the federal government. I would also like to know what it cost the district to give the raises over the three school years (2005-2008). I'm coming up in the range of $13 million.

I like the idea of being part of the solution, but I'm not convinced the solution is giving money to the district.


Posted by PTA's Mission, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

raven,

Revisiting your question and the key points of your post:

Q. "The mission of the California State PTA is to positively impact the lives of all children and families by representing our members and empowering and supporting them with skills in advocacy, leadership, and communication."
A. OK, sounds reasonable to me.

Q. "i don't see anywhere in this mission statement that give them the authority to get involved in the politics of the district."
A. Well, you apparently do not understand their mission statement and/or the meaning of the words ADVOCACY, LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION.

Then you said: "If these women want to politic as community members and parents, more power to them."

Well, I believe that is their true intent ... as community members and parents (who also happen to be involved in the PTA).

And finally, you stated: "I have forwarded this story to the California PTA, it will be interesting to see if they have blessed these women to engage in the district's politics."

I wouldn't hold my breath too long waiting for their response :-)


Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

"I like the idea of being part of the solution, but I'm not convinced the solution is giving money to the district."

I believe that was exactly the original commenter's point. More money will not create a solution to the ongoing problem.


Posted by ADollaraDay?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 8:59 pm

My golly. If PUSD thinks that 2/3 of the voters will vote for a $365 parcel tax, particularly after the Neal Elementary School fiasco and lawsuits and the $4-6 million dollars or so flushed away by that, either they think A. the voters have all had lobotomies or B. the voters will all buy into the "if you care about kids, you will vote for the tax" rhetoric or C. the voters will fall for the "if you don't vote for the parcel tax, it is the end of the world and the earth as you know will stop spinning."


Posted by Be Positive, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2009 at 10:58 pm

"I haven't seen coverage of what staff is indicating about the need for cuts now that they've had time to look at the state's final budget and the money coming from the federal government."


Hopefully you were a part of the solution like you stated, and you went to the public hearing today that covered the most up-to-date information, printed for people in attendance.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

Sandy is a registered user.

tax time -- to answer your question -- the quote below is from a document distributed at a board meeting several weeks ago.

"Don't Pleasanton residents already pay a tax to support schools?

In 1998 the citizens of Pleasanton passed their second general obligation bond to support schools, measure B. The funds raised from Measure B, along with the previous Measure A, go to capital (building) projects. Supported projects included new schools (Hearst Elementary and Hart Middle) and modernization projects (such as Fairlands, Alisal, Valley View, and Lydiksen). There are about 15 years remaining to complete the repayment of the two bonds. On your tax bill, you will see a line item for "School Unified". The current rate is about $76 per $100,000 of assessed value. This rate is estimated to drop to about $45 in 2014, $18 in 2015, and $2 in 2021. Money raised from this type of bond cannot be used for operational expenses."


Posted by Cost Controls, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

No parcel tax. Not at this time. The sky is not falling.

Do this...

Cut administration costs 50%.

Cut Classified costs 25%.

Cut Certified costs 25%.

Cut vendor/3rd party costs 25%.

This is not rocket science.

It takes real leadership to lead.

Oh, by the way, I'm a teacher in this district. Surprised?


Posted by Parcel tax neighbors, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm

San Ramon, Dublin, Livermore all have parcel taxes for education.

Orinda just approved an increase to $ 509 per parcel, up from $385.

Web Link

And Piedmont is looking to increase theirs to $2,082, up an additional $382.

Web Link

All of these communities have had parcel taxes for years. Piedmont since 1985.

If Pleasanton asks for $200 - $300, my family will support it.

Unfortunately, if we want to maintain the level of education and services we seem to have come to take for granted here in Pleasanton, we will need to pay for it.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm

If the schools are not to be involved in the parcel tax then why are they asking teachers to call parents to ask for support? I will NOT support the parcel tax. We all are needing to learn to live within our means and that includes PUSD.


Posted by Another Concerned Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I am not voting for a parcel tax unless the union makes concessions. C'mon fellows, fair's fair. Let's play ball!


Posted by PUSD teacher, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm

To Marie: I am a teacher and we have not been asked to make phone calls. The parcel tax big kickoff isn't until Sunday!

To Another Concerned Parent: Negotiations just started last week, from what I heard. We haven't been asked for any concessions yet, but we are prepared to listen to all suggestions. Give us a chance, we haven't had the opportunity to make concessions!


Posted by We all sacrificec, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Concessions are coming very soon from the teachers. We must all sacrifice, and teachers ARE willing to give, too, to help in this time of financial crisis. So please stop scapegoating us.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Do not expect to see any serious concessions from the unions until after the tax initiative fails. There will probably be an announcement before the vote of a minor concession to encourage the voting populace to say yes. That is what happens when our representatives choose to negotiate from a position of weakness. It will be up to us to overrule their position by voting NO.


Posted by marie, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:03 am

PUSD teacher you might not have been asked but I know of others that have by the union reps at the school site. Mr Casey needs to offer to take the first decrease in pay and maybe pay that home loan back with interest. Isn't it that 5 new teachers could be hired for one administrators pay. Yes we need teachers but do we really need so much administration?


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

If you check on other topics, you'll find that there are parents reporting that their children's teachers are "discussing" the parcel tax with their students.
To Cost Controls: Good for you....but unless you want to have your school day made miserable, don't share your opinions outside the TSquare Forum!
As for PUSD leadership...many of PUSD administrators are discovering, the true test of leadership isn't how you do during the good times, but how well you lead during the tough times.
To A Dollar A Day? And let's not forget the $100K error made by PUSD regarding the solar panels at FHS - and the $8 million we would have had from Signature had PUSD not chosen to pursue a futile lawsuit.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:22 am



I will not contribute any money to PUSD, nor will I support any taxes (such as the parcel tax) that are specifically for the schools.
HOWEVER, I will be willing to donate my time and expertise to help support programs that might otherwise be reduced or cut because of the budget crisis.

One terrible shame is home many people there are with PhD's who are willing to help even more than they currently doing but cannot because of the misguided "credential" system.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:27 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Marie -- the budget cuts made by the board include the elimination of more than 25 percent of the jobs in administration. Those who remain will need to work harder to keep the level of support to district schools adequate.

Superintendent Casey has already volunteered to give back 5 days of salary before the end of June, and another 5 days for the next school year. Administrative staff have all been asked to make similar moves.

Querty -- thank you for your willingness to volunteer your time. I do that already, and it is very rewarding.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 8, 2009 at 10:35 am

Sandy,

Not one dollar of administrative salary has been rolled back. The minimum concession should be the raises that the administration snuck through when they knew the mandated salary freeze was coming from the state. Also the car allowances should be stopped. Instead give reimbursement for actual travel time.
Casey and all administrators already get enough vacation time. Doesn't that just indicate that we could do with less of them?
Two parents have told me their kids teachers are trying to scare them with discussions about the budget cuts in class.



Posted by get a Clue People, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

A statement about the Auto Union Workers from today's CNN online:
"Sen. Richard Shelby, who opposed the idea of a domestic auto bailout, told ABC's This Week that GM, Chrysler and Ford should only receive further federal funds as part of Chapter 11 reorganization: "Short of that, the UAW will run those companies and run them into the ground," he said."
Web Link
-----------------------------
The unions must be reformed.

PUSD must demand union concessions before asking this community for a parcel tax. The AUW refused to negotiate in reasonable terms, and look what happened: the car industry is in trouble. Teachers' union: don't let that happen to education.

PUSD must re-negotiate administrators' contracts, Casey's included.


Posted by Lynn, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:27 am

If you value children, education, and the future well-being of our community, Vote "Yes" on the Parcel Tax. If you don't value anything more than your own interests and your own investments, Vote "Yes" on the Parcel Tax. $233 for the next 4 years is the cheapest, best investment you can make toward minimizing the loss on the value of homes in Pleasanton.


Posted by Tax Supporter, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Qwerty - How many days a week do you currently volunteer in the classroom? You mention that there are many PhD's as well as yourself who are "willing" to offer their time... If you're so "willing" why haven't you been doing it?

I understand the anger about the State's mismanagement of funds. I understand when people question why we should need to "bail them out". I understand, I get it.

Bottom line, we can continue to point fingers, blame PUSD & the teachers, or we can decide that our Community is too valuable and we're not going to allow our students to suffer. What a wonderful lesson in value & Character Education if we were able to come together to ensure all our children continue to receive the top-notch education that drove many of us to Pleasanton in the first place.

Vote "Yes" on the Parcel Tax!


Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

We're intentionally giving topics pertaining to the June 2 parcel tax measure and teacher layoffs a rest because the postings have become repetitive and, in some instances, accusatory and hurtful to teachers and other employees of the school district who are unable to respond to postings, most of which are made under the cloak of anonymity. The postings online will remain, but future postings to these threads or new ones dealing with teacher layoffs and the parcel tax can be made only by registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly forum.


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