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500 jam Valley Community Church for pro-parcel tax rally

Original post made on Mar 9, 2009

More than 500 joined a rally Sunday sponsored by the newly-formed Save Pleasanton Schools organization to support the $233-a-year parcel tax that the school board has placed on the June 2 ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 9, 2009, 6:15 AM

Comments (486)

Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

Who is spearheading the NO PARCEL TAX committee?


Posted by Yes for schools!, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:39 am

The rally was awesome and a great kick-off to what will be a great campaign. Anyone who cares about property values in Pleasanton (not to mention providing a great education for our kids) will want to support this effort. Be sure to sign up at www.savepleasantonschools.org. And mark your calendar for June 2 to vote YES on this parcel tax.


Posted by Thinking about it, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:41 am

Is it really needed?


Posted by Thinking about it, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:43 am

Is a no group really needed? Just vote.


Posted by Annoyed, a resident of Las Positas
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

To some of those who are against the Parcel Tax - I need to say I'm very disappointed. The evening news reported last night that opponents of the parcel tax did not want to be videotaped for "fear of retaliation" by supporters & parents. Are you serious?? My family moved here for the family & community atmosphere. I'm very ashamed of those people who protray Pleasanton parents, teachers & community as those hoodlums who would "retaliate" against those we don't agree with. I would think the opponents would give those of us for the Parcel Tax a little more credit. This is not Oakland, Hayward or Richmond. Talk about "scare tactics"?? Not at all like those who talk "retaliation".... and to the local media, no less.


Posted by Trish, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

Further example of PUSD's irresponsible spending practices is their decision to move the Parcel Tax from the May election date to a stand-alone special election two weeks later in June. The registrar of Voters office advised them that this would increase the cost of the election by 20-30% bringing the cost to near $300,000. The purpose of this decision is to manipulate the voters.
There is no cost too great for PUSD'S manipulation of our community.

Pro-kids!
Pro-teacher!
Pro-community!
No parcel tax!


Posted by Bob, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

Is it really needed? Do you mean a NO campaign or a parcel tax?
The NO people can't get organized. I would love to see their argument against show up in the ballot. What solid reasons could they possibly come up with? Everyone knows the State is not providing public education funding as they always have. Have you seen what has been cut? $9.7 million dollars of which is 80% to programs and 20% of staff - just devasting. School will not be as we know it. Check the PUSD web site for the list of cuts. The parcel tax is needed to bring back programs that have been cut. Parcel tax will only cover half of the cuts.


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

Annoyed,

My kids suffered big time because of my support of a no vote on a school bond issue--many years ago when teachers were management and not union.


Posted by Pat, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

The County Registar never gave a definite cost for a May election vs. a June elction. Call them and ask - they don't know. So how do get from 20%-30% more and come up with $300K? I don't feel manipulated. How can you be pro kids, teachers, community and vote no? Make no sense. Without the parcel tax, 300 people won't be back in the fall. Of the 300, half are teachers the other half supports what happens in the classtoom. How can you vote NO?


Posted by Buford, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

Sorry, but why should I pay some liberal parcel taxes for the spoiled, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, students of our district. What these kids need is an education in pulling up their bootstraps at the Richard Pombo Ranch. So what if they don't get into some fancy college, the Bible is the only book they need to learn about anyway. I didn't have no fancy programs at my school in Amarillo, Texas when I was growing up, but still learned to trust my gut and fight for the dream we call America. Look people, GW Bush came from a poor Texas family with little education and he became the greatest leader this land has ever seen, so maybe these tax loving students should follow his lead. I talkin' bout America!


Posted by June Election Best, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

The June 2 election is the best option because the issue won't get lost in the bedlam around that May 19 election. Holding an election is going to cost money--that's a given. So we should have it take place when it's best for our voters, not because we save a few dollars. It also allows voters to see the results of the May election. June 2 is best to vote YES for our schools.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

I am disgusted with those who "do not" support the education of their children. Those people are the new parents who spend well over their budget, can not afford their living style, have a college degree and one parent stays home and just doesnt want to pay another tax on their home, but can afford Ann Taylor clothing and Gucci shoes. Obviously NOT natives of Northern California and cant adjust. Go Home! You don't belong here.


Posted by Gotta love Buford, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

Thanks Buford. You just confirmed why I'm voting YES for the parcel tax!

VOTE YES on June 2. It's only 64 cents per day. Our kids deserve it.


Posted by Buford, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:24 am

Like I said before, I ain't payin' no yellow belly taxes for these kids!! These kids need to leave sissy California, go to a real American state like Texas, and take a course in Bootstrap Pulling 101. Just like my daddy said, "Taxes are the devil!"


Posted by Confirmed, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

Buford, YOU need to MOVE to Texas. Thanks for coming, bye bye now.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:27 am


FACT:
This came from the ROV this morning.
The decision to move the Parcel Tax from the May election date to a stand-alone special election two weeks later in June. The registrar of Voters office advised them that this would "increase the cost of the election by 20-30% " bringing the cost to near $300,000.
FACT:
The cost will be in the $7 per registered voter range for the stand alone election. 41,259 or more registered voters in Pleasanton, estimated cost $288,813 or more.


Posted by Keilana, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

Liz, thank you for that factual information... it is important to know what is "really" going on here.
(Pro Educations & Pro Parcel Tax)- do we really need a stand alone election for this?


Posted by me, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

Liz, don't waste your time. They're voting on emotions rather than common sense. I care about the community, the schools, and the children enough to demand a longer term strategy to streamline the operations within the district before placing more burden on the community. I have school-age children and am a homeowner but I will vote no on a parcel tax.


Posted by Picture this, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:43 am

Bob,

You raise some great points. Picture a NO campaign with kids forced by their heartless parents standing on a street corner in late May holding a sign with the image of a teacher and a red slash through it.

Picture a rally where the NO on parcel tax people get together to burn books. Of course, they'll have to have bags over their heads so the teachers don't punish their kids the next day in school.

Picture the look on the faces of the No on parcel tax people as they realize they spent more money for a No campaign than they would have spent in taxes for the four years of the tax (which comes to just $932 over four years).

Picture reading the ballot opposition language: "We urge voters not to spend 64 cents a day because, dang it, it's a tax and we hate taxes. Vote no because we also object to the burden of educating kids, and it makes us all mad 'n stuff that hundreds of caring teachers and educators will get to keep their jobs (why should they get to save their homes from foreclosure?), and we object to good property values in this town (after all, let's lower our property values so more people can move here!). Vote NO on this tax so that four years from today you will be proud to say that you had $932 more dollars you were able to spend on pizza and lattes, which helped the economy. Do your part, vote no on a child's future."

Or, we can come together and realize that sometimes we need to direct our resources to what matters in life. No one likes taxes, but paying this small amount is an investment and it's far better than killing off what is great about Pleasanton--our safe community, our property values, our familes, our schools. Vote YES June 2.


Posted by me too, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

me too: You say you support schools, but you're voting no? And you accuse us of voting on emotion? What part of the math of cutting $10 million and 300 educators is emotion? The reality is we are facing the single largest cut to education of any state in the nation at anytime in our history. The proposed parcel tax of $233 doesn't even raise half of what is being cut in Pleasanton. This means that PUSD is cutting more than $5 million even IF the tax passes. Have you looked at the budget numbers? This is more than emotion. This is a cold, hard reality that is about to slam our schools. Wake up.


Posted by the other ME, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:04 am

Then, should we get a new Governor?
the FACTS are simple....
We need to support OUR COMMUNITY, No matter what the circumstances, "everyone" needs to particpate with a positive outlook and do whatever it takes to get there.... there is no comparing to other states, to other counties, etc... WE ARE ALL HERE AND NEED TO TAKE CARE OF "HERE" - get with the program and support each other... OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE AND WITHOUT A DECENT EDUCATION, WE HAVE NO FUTURE AS ELDERS IN SOCIETY-- THAT IS REALITY.


Posted by pleasanton parent, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

The basic issue here is that the quality of Pleasanton schools are an integral part of what makes this community a great place to live. Although 30% of Pleasanton's households have kids in school, nearly 100% of Pleasanton households benefit from the positive effect our excellent school system has on maintaining their high property values. For the wealthiest mid-sized city in America to raise such a fuss over a household paying the equivalent of $19 a month to create a means to keep our children well educated, property values high, and our quality of life at a level that many envy, is actually quite sad and certainly myopic.


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

As you can see from this thread, the bleeding has begun. The no parcel tax folks will need a small group to counteract the gnashing of teeth by the people who are victims or look for victims: kids are victims; school teachers are victims; disctrict is a victim of the state funding formula; house values are being victimized. Not one person has spoken about the quality of education that will result if the parcel tax fails. That's because there will be no changes. There my be inconveniences and hardships but there will be no changes. If there are changes, our teacher will be to blame and, frankly, they're too professional to let that happen.


Posted by pleasanton parent, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

I agree with having a parcel tax, but want to know why the teacher's union isn't giving anything back...employees all over are taking pay cuts why aren't the teachers to save each other? Also, why do schools not rank the teachers and cut the teachers that should move on vs getting rid of the new teachers who really want to be there?


Posted by Kiko, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

My monthly income has dropped by over $900.00 a month this year compared to last year, while my medical insurance rose again, not to mention all the rest of the miscellaneous expenses. I have to do more with less and so should PUSD. I can't ask my neighbor for money and PUSD shouldn't be asking me for money.

Your scare tactics DO NOT WORK...NO NO NO NO NO TO ANYMORE TAXES.

STAND FIRM, PEOPLE, PUSD IS JUST ANOTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITY THAT THINKS THEY ARE ENTITLED NOW THAT LIBERAL SOCIALISM HAS GRIPPED THE COUNTRY.


Posted by ptown larry, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:33 am

For the love of God, it's an additional $19 a month to keep the school district providing excellent educational services. Keep the politics out of it--move to Tracy or Brentwood if you want an example of what impact an average school district has on property values and quality of life.


Posted by Trish, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

I often tell my children I will not give them money for irresponsible spending whims, they know this does not mean I do not care about them.
I think you adults that equate more money for the district with caring about kids need to grow up. I hope you teach your kids more responsible money management.

Pro-kids!

Pro-teacher!

Pro-community!

No parcel tax!


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:49 am

pt Larry,

We are an average school district. When compared to other communities with similar socio-economic data, our schools are average. Take out the test scores of kids from cultures that value education above all else and we would be even more average--maybe even mediocre.


Posted by Practical Question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

Just curious … what are you going to do NEXT year when the district still has a deficit because pay packages and retirement benefits have only followed the up curves of the economy? Beat the drum for more taxes again?


Posted by ptown Larry, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

"West Side observer"

Pleasanton is in the top 3% of districts nationally and in the Top 10 schools districts for the State of CA. Not sure how you judge average my friend, but I would hate to see how you classify the bottom 97%.


Posted by A long time resident, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I am pretty certain that not having my morning coffee would make a significantly bigger difference than PUSD having my "extra" money.

I am balancing my budget by doing without some of the things I want in life. I am teaching my children to do the same. I hope they grow up to follow my example.


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I have no problem supporting Pleasanton. I do have a problem supporting a Sacramento that is supporting a good percentage of Mexico by educating and providing free medical care to illegal aliens. That is all well and fine IF you have a surplus, but don't take money from us to pay for that when times are as bad as they are and we all know that by next year there will be another deficit that will take more away from Pleasanton schools. This parcel tax is like putting a band aid on an amputation. Fix the problem, make Sacramento provide the education to our children that we paid the taxes to provide.


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

All of you do know that this Buford guy is made up and just a ploy for the rest of you to vote Yes? This is the YES side's strategy. I hope you can see through this.


Posted by Another Pleasanton resident, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I live in a one bedroom condominium, yet I will pay the same tax as those living in much larger homes. Homes that are much more likely to reap the benefits of the additional funding than I am. I'm also retired, living on a fixed income, and do not pamper myself with daily luxuries or fancy material items. This will raise my property taxes by 20%. A parcel tax is regressive and the financial burden is unfairly distributed. I might vote for a different structured tax in support of the schools, but never for a parcel tax.


Posted by me, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

We love our children, our community, our schools, and our teachers but we'll vote no on a parcel tax.

We are working professionals that live a modest life. We eat out only 1-2 times a month, drive cars that cost less than $3000, shop only at Walmart and Safeway, make our coffee at home, and do everything to live within our means.

Asking us for another $233 is not a large amount but will force us to make more cuts to our modest lifestyle. Should we dine out once a month instead?

Yes, I'm willing to make that sacrifice for this community if the district is willing to better manage their spending. Perks and salaries need to be trimmed to a reasonable level. Once we see that, we would be more than happy to support a parcel tax.




Posted by ptown, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Seniors and those living on fixed incomes are exempt from the parcel tax.


Posted by me, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Pro parcel tax people should spend their energy on overturning Prop. 13.

Reassessing property values annually is the only way to ensure that schools and other essential services are well funded. It's a permanent fix to our state's budget problems.

That pathetic parcel tax is barely enough to support a year's worth of pay raises for the teachers and administrators. I believe teachers should get more raises and more perk. We need longer term solutions on the state level to make this sustainable.


Posted by Nona, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

"Another Pleasanton Resident", if you are retired and on a fixed income, you can get an exemption. The parcel tax initiative provides for senior and SSI disabled exemptions.


Posted by Richard, a resident of Valencia
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Another tax increase. Boy is this an emotional call.

Schools are good, good schools are great. We have good schools here, and I hope it stays that way. However, whilst most of us have a need today to cut back, be frugal, and try to squeeze the most out of what money we still have left or available to us, our school board is asking for more. The money is needed for good programs, programs we want to keep. That's for sure; but let's think back a year or so. Didn't the school board vote for salary increases then? Even though reserve funds were needed to cover the increase. What are the salaries of the executives of our school board? Has anyone even suggested that these raises be rolled back? I haven't heard it.

Remember, taxes never decrease or go away. We're promised they'll go away, but there's always another program, another exec perk, that will be needed. And in addition to that, who says the state will be fully funding (what ever that means)our schools in 4 years?

I too want good schools but isn't it time for us all to cut back, be frugal and stop sipping from the taxpayer fountain? As someone already said here:

Pro-kids!
Pro-teacher!
Pro-community!
No parcel tax!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

me of Birdland wrote: "Reassessing property values annually is the only way to ensure that schools and other essential services are well funded. It's a permanent fix to our state's budget problems."

This doesn't explain education funding problems in other States that don't have Prop. 13. The State has money for education. A lot is just wasted in CA's Byzantine funding model. PUSD's website won't give answers on that. For that one needs to look at what the Legislative Analyst Office says, what several other private studies say, etc.


Posted by Another Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I am a few years away from 65, and even when I get there I will have to apply for an exemption every year. While I respect those that are in favor of this measure, I still cannot support this parcel tax, or any parcel tax because they are regressive and disproportionately impact lower income residents.


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Ptown Larry

Go to the district's own site and look up the rankings. I went to Lydiksen and Foothill High schools and discovered, as I said earlier, that if the considerable Asian population test scores were pulled from the State Standards test results, we'd be mediocre.

We do well in the state because most State Standards scores come from Southern California where the students do not speak English.


Posted by Noworry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

It's only $19, so I guess you wouldn't mind paying my portion. Come on it's only $19.


Posted by question?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Are you saying that Asian's aren't a representative of Pleasanton and shouldn't be included in the achievements of our schools?


Posted by Kelly, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Until there is an absolut salary freeze Pleasanton will need a new parcel tax every year.

A common theme....

Teacher's Union using Children to do Their Bidding?
Web Link

STEP AND COLUMN

The Union tells you that the Teachers have not gotten a raise in the last two years. What is the "Step and Column" system anyway? This is a Union negotiated system of AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES - 70% of the teachers get them every year. (The other 30% are maxed out, cut hours, transfer etc...) These raises have been 1.65% each of the last two years while many in the private sector have lost jobs or seen their income go down.

Only in Government jobs are raises automatic and guaranteed - they can't use the, "we get paid less" argument either.

Pro-kids!

Pro-teacher!

Pro-community!

No parcel tax!


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I have posted before on my reasons for supporting the parcel tax....and I stand by everything I have posted on the subject.

Once you find out the number of pink slips going out to teachers this week, I am hoping those who are against the tax will re-think their position. This is not a few teachers here and there. This is more than a 'cut'. This is going to be deep and debilitating.


The tax will be used in Pleasanton - for Pleasanton...and controlled by Pleasanton. That is not the norm for most 'taxes'.

This money will not solve all problems and their will still be a shortfall to the budget - and cuts will be made, and many will loose their job. However, it is imperative that citizens band together and truly take the time to understand the long term damage that the loss of all these teachers will bring to Pleasanton.

The education of the children in Pleasanton needs to be a priority for everyone. Would I like it better if funding from the state had not been cut? Of course. But, it has - plain and simple. Done deal - and Pleasanton has the opportunity to provide support for education in our city.

I can not think of a better way to spend $233 a year for a few years, than to use it to support education in my city.


For those that are against the tax - I plead to you: Whatever you think about taxes, government, teachers, or the district and other staff personnel - this community will be severely and negatively impacted. One example: Take away 20 teachers from a single elementary school and the education for kids in our community will fall off like nothing you can imagine. Multiple that by all our schools……..oh my.

My vote for the parcel tax is a strong and determined….YES.


Posted by Maria, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Yo no concuerdo, suficiente, más impuestos.
I agree, enough, no more taxes.


Posted by Jonelle, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm

"I cannot think of a better way to spend $233 a year...."

Well, there are 4 votes in this house and we just cancelled you out.
Raising taxes in a down economy is INSANE...No new taxes.


Posted by Kelly, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Rick,
You are not getting it. The shortfall is because the state will not continue to pay the salary increases. Instead of the district making the appropriate management decisions to end ALL compensation increases they switch the cuts to parent sensitive cuts (bait and switch).
There is no need to fire teachers if admin and unions accept that there can be no compensation increases and perks and nonessentials must end.

Pro-kids!

Pro-teacher!

Pro-community!

No parcel tax!


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Yes, I am saying that Asian students are higher achieving thus not representative of Pleasanton. There is no doubt that Asians put a great deal of emphasis on education—much more than Caucasians and others—and that were we to remove those edu-centric test scores we'd be left with average.


Posted by why?, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Paycheck for dad: $2375 per month
Paycheck for mom: $1817 per month
Mortgage: $2182.52 per month
Groceries for 5: $1200 per month
Gas: $210 per month
Property Tax: $4594.62

That leaves us with roughly $500 per month for utilities and other discretionary spending.

Perhaps those of you who support the tax can pay that $233 for me.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

response for "why?"


I know people are hurting, and if I hit the lotto, I promise to pay your $233....but let me say this:


The $233 is a per year amount, not per month. So, the amount we are talking about is less than $20 a month….about $0.65 cents per day. You say you are feeding 5, so can I assume you have children in school here? Children that will be impacted one way or the other?

Regardless if you have children of school age (mine are long gone), $20 a month may be tough for some - I don't minimize that. I just believe that we can all contribute that small amount each month to something that will have such a huge impact.

That $20 a month will be magnified by all the others paying the tax, and a positive impact will be seen - right here in Pleasanton. While people may disagree - and are entitled to do so, the alternative is not acceptable in my opinion.


Posted by Buford, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I've had it with people in this town putting spoiled kids before true American anti-tax values! People like Kelly, Trish, and other anti-taxers understand that kids simply need to pull up their bootstraps, get a job, and stop that sissy book learnin'! People like Kelly, Trish, and I might be will to pay a tax if the money went to an anti-book, evangelical church.

Pro-kids!
Pro-teacher!
Pro-community!

Pro-right-wing hypocrites who are too selfish to fork over a couple dollars a years because they need a third SUV

No parcel tax!


Posted by Brett, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Kelly,
I agree that the message from the state is this is not a time for raises. PUSD needs to listen, not come to us to pay their raises when we are taking reductions.
No salary tax!


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Ahh yes....

"You are not getting it".....or
"Well, there are 4 votes in this house and we just cancelled you out"

Internet message Boards are funny things. Everyone can 'speak' their mind, and say anything they wish. Some can even sound like they have all the facts at their fingertips....they have the pulse of the community behind them......they know what is right, and very eager to tell others they are wrong.


Have fun with that ;-)






As for me, I have a different view than both of you, and certainly there will be those that disagree.

I hold no delusion that I know what is 'right' for others, nor would I ever say "you don't get it".. Actually, I'm kind of proud that I have looked at both sides of the issue and determined that I think I do "get it". It's right for me, and I believe it is right for Pleasanton and the children being educated here.

So, I will continue to submit my points - and hope that voters will look long and hard at what we get with the tax, and what we get without it.



As for me, I hold a different view than both of you. I pray there are more that see it the way I do.



Enjoy your evening.


Posted by Bufordisatroll, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Buford is a troll.


Posted by Kelly, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Rick,
I apologize for the "you don't get it comment"...frustrated.
Please tell us what happens in two years when there is another 1.5mil in salary compensation rollover that the state will not fund. Do we continue to increase the parcel tax to keep up with raises? PUSD of course wanted an even bigger PT so there would be extra for more salary compensation.
For years they have been having parents paying for supplies and workbooks etc. so they could use more and more of the general fund for salary, now that is not enough so they want a tax.
When will you say enough?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Kelly,

the parcel tax amount, if the vote passes, cannot be increased without another election. And it will expire in 4 years.

My big concern is what happens in May if the governor says that revenue has not met expectations, and state funding for schools gets revised downward again...


Posted by Pam, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

We can keep doing this nickel and dime type of bailout for the schools or we can demand a more sustainable strategy to keep our schools functioning without needing more money.

We expect ourselves to do more with less in all aspects of life. We expect our cars to give us more gas mileage, our computers to boot as fast as a TV set, and even our light bulbs to consume less energy. So why can't we expect our school district to deliver more with less? By voting for a parcel tax, you're sanctioning irresponsible spending at PUSD.

Rick is likely another district employee looking for a free pass.

The message needs to be loud and clear:

NO PARCEL TAX!


Posted by Proud Teacher, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm

To West Side Observer:
You state,
"We are an average school district. When compared to other communities with similar socio-economic data, our schools are average. Take out the test scores of kids from cultures that value education above all else and we would be even more average--maybe even mediocre."

We are actually quite above average. We rank in the top 10% of the state and offer more programs to engage unengaged students than most surrounding districts.

To Pleasanton Parent:
You state, "I agree with having a parcel tax, but want to know why the teacher's union isn't giving anything back...employees all over are taking pay cuts why aren't the teachers to save each other?"

This is also quite the opposite. The district is looking at what options we have to give up. A straight percentage cut would be upwards of a $1000 a year and would continue for the rest of our careers. Those who live in Pleasanton would be doubly hit as they also will pay for the parcel tax, though willingly and freely. We have seen our administrators and classified colleagues give and are now finding out the way to give to the cause without decimating those close to retirement or living on fixed incomes, as all of you that are belly-aching about the parcel tax keep complaining about. But there are more of the teachers than the other facets of PUSD and therefore takes a little longer to generate a list of what can publicly be given.

The teachers are giving. And will continue to give. As one very observant contributor noted, the teachers are professionals and will make the situation work, however it is necessary. But the students will not be privy to the individualized attention they now receive. I, for one, will no longer tutor my students that are below standards after school, for free, on my own time, because I'll be busy grading 13 extra students' work. I won't make copies out of my own budget for the 33 or more students in my class. Fun, hands on projects won't be planned because it is too hard to manage 33 five and six years olds trying to learn in a "hands on" environment. If your child has individual needs that are not identified by an IEP or 504, I certainly hope I will have the time to identify those needs and find a way to support him or her.

I came to this district because of the quality of education. I was blown away by the opportunities offered for students in this district and the quality of education those students would receive. Unlike my previous district, teachers here genuinely care about the students. Sadly, if class size reduction goes away, I know that many of my colleagues will be devastated that they cannot provide the quality of attention and care they have been able to give in the past because there simply is not enough time with the expectations placed upon us. It is encouraging to see so many that are standing up for the parcel tax in June. At the same time, it is disappointing to see so many clinging to false accusations and incorrect "facts" in opposition of the parcel tax, while stating that those in support of the tax are the bullies.


Posted by Lydiksen Mom, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Thank goodness this "rally" was comprised mostly of wannabe hippies, teachers and district employees. Looks like most residents of Pleasanton are not going to support this parcel tax nonsense. Like another poster stated, California has plenty of money for education. As proven so many times in the past, more taxes are not going to make anything better.

NO PARCEL TAX!


Posted by Community Member, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

What are the salaries of the executives of our school board? Has anyone even suggested that these raises be rolled back? I haven't heard it.

Richard - The school board makes $400 a year and Hintzke suggested cutting 10%, while Kernan suggested giving up the whole thing. 10% won't amount to a hill of beans, but the $400 might.


Posted by Proud Parent, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

A Proud Teacher wrote:
"....This is also quite the opposite. The district is looking at what options we have to give up. A straight percentage cut would be upwards of a $1000 a year and would continue for the rest of our careers...."

Well if the parcel tax is only a 68 cent per day charge, then the mentioned cut would be only 2.73 a day.

If you ask me, I wouldn't be complaining if keeping my job cost me 2.73 a day.

What could the good Dr. Casey give up of his 500,000 salary? What about other goodies the administrators get. Couldn't htey give them up before they ask for my morning coffee?

No Parcel Tax!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Rick in Parkside wrote: "One example: Take away 20 teachers from a single elementary school and the education for kids in our community will fall off like nothing you can imagine."

I'm unable to agree with that example. Most of the teachers marked for layoff are the extra needed to achieve the required lower CSR student-teacher ratios. If you look at the details of CSR, you wouldn't make statements like "fall off like nothing you can imagine" because that's simply not true. CSR does give a certain level of benefit, but not enough to make a claim like suddenly our students are going to be performing poorly and Pleasanton will not be competitive.


Posted by Richard, a resident of Valencia
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Hey Community Member!

It's not the board, it's the administration, it's the perks. Up until the last board meeting "free cell phones for all". I'm sure there are others.

It's the waste. Until now did anyone care if A/C or heating was on all night and weekends in portables?

What about the audacity of voting raises last year, knowing that the state was going to be in trouble. Raises which were approved despite needing to take from the reserve fund. I remember the board justifing this by telling us it will be repaid when the state's incresed budget comes in. Well, guess what - it didn't happen.

In any business other than the automobile, banking, mortgage or insurance industries, this kind of behaviour would not warrant a 400 salary.

C'mon. I need to reduce my expenses. The government can't?

Richard

Oh, Community Member, I needn't hide my name.




Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Kelly,


Agree - it is frustrating, regardless of which view a person holds.


I don't have a crystal ball, so I don't know what will happen in 2 years. I do know that I would not want to see what becomes of the Pleasanton School District if the teachers getting pink slips this week are all gone. The 65 cents per day I can provide to them via this parcel tax will be money well spent IMO. That may not be your view, but…. it is mine.

I believe concessions will need to occur, and I honestly believe those discussions have begun, and this budget shortfall (statewide) will certainly generate discussion that I hope will be fruitful in the long run. But, given the situation we find ourselves in now, and that the funding gap is larger than I could have imagined, I do believe it is in the best interest of Pleasanton to support this parcel tax.

Regardless of what we 'adults' decide, in the final analysis, it's the kids that will be impacted. And the impact to kids will ultimately impact this community. Like I said above, the number of teachers to get pink slips this week is astounding.

Teaching is a profession that requires a lot of an individual. My profession does as well…as does yours, I imagine. Teaching takes an amazing commitment - from the schooling it takes to become one - to the energy required daily to be one. I know I could not do it. I have sat in classrooms and quite honestly, am glad as I can be that anyone makes the decision to educate our children.


I am willing to support this tax, when I rarely would support any other. In the short run, and perhaps the long run as well, it's that important IMO.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Stacey,

I'd be 'shocked' if you agreed with anything I ever said. ;-)






note the smiley with wink above.


Enjoy your evening all. "Talk" to you another day.











Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Proud teacher,
Of course, we are in the top 10% when you pit us against the urban districts in Southern California—where students do not speak English--and in the urban districts in Northern California that have been under the progressive education spell for 50 years. Against Palo Alto, Orinda, and other suburban districts, we are just average. We are just average against Lowell High School, San Francisco's only academic public high school.
You sound as though you are a sincere person wanting only the best for your students and for our schools. Please consider a new curriculum that calls for the school district to make the tough budgetary decisions before approaching the property owners and develop a lesson plan that shows students that we can only spend what we take in—especially when property owners are strapped to pay current property taxes, must replace half of their 401k's, and are looking at $5.00 for a tank of diesel.


Posted by MOM, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Proud Teacher,
I have kids that went through just before class size reduction. The parents volunteered for math and reading groups and our kids had lots of fun stuff. You sound like a spoiled child that will pout if everything is not done your way. You are threatening to become a substandard teacher if you have to teach 30 kids. I hope you got your pink-slip.


Posted by EM, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm

In response to a number of comments about the quality of the schools in Pleasanton, I wanted to offer some evidence. U.S. News and World Report, in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, analyzed 21,669 public high schools using data from the 2006-2007 school year. Both Amador Valley and Foothill High School were given silver medals and found to be in the top 505 schools out of the over 21,000 schools examined nationwide. In addition, Newsweek Magazine ranked both Amador Valley and Foothill High School in the top 5% of schools out of the 27,000 high schools they evaluated according to the Challenge Index. Information on the methodology for these rankings is available online at both the Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report websites.






Posted by sc_2007, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

While I absolutely respect and revere the teaching profession, I would like to remind teachers that it isn't only their own money they're using to purchase items for the classrooms. Having 2 children in the PUSD since 2000, my husband and I have continued to support the teacher, classroom, and school by participation in numerous fund-raisers and donations of time, money, and goods on their 'wish list'. All of this is in addition to the 'voluntary' classroom fund request at the start of every school year, not to mention any PTA donations and teacher 'thank you' gifts.

I have worked for over 20 years in the public sector. Unlike what seems to be just about every other profession, I do not get tips or gifts. I also don't have the luxury of asking citizens to help pay for job neccessities which are not covered by my employer. I have to take the cost as a tax write-off at the end of the year, something teachers absolutely get to do also. Don't get me wrong - though I know the profession I chose is 'thankless' in nature, it is rewarding and I'm frankly just thankful I have a job right now.

Point is .. we're ALL in dire straits right now (including large and small businesses and local/state/federal governments), not just the teachers and the school district of this community. I don't drink coffee and can count on one hand the number of times I've set foot in a Starbucks or similar establishment; I 'brown bag' lunches including my own; we eat out 4x/monthly on average; we own vehicles which are 8- and 10-years old, but paid for; I rarely purchase items from 'high end' stores and am not ashamed to admit I always seek out deals, use coupons, and have even shopped dollar stores for basic items. I also strongly encourage my own children to be responsible with and respect their own money. For a flippant comment(s) to be made that $233/year added to my already outrageous property tax bill is akin to the cost of purchasing lattes is ridiculous, irresponsible, and frankly, insulting. Over the years, I have witnessed many household and corporate budgets fail mainly as a result of 'nickel and diming'. The mentality of 'it is only a couple of bucks' is exactly one of the main reasons our economy is in the tank right now.

To ask property owners - which, by the way, renters with children enrolled in PUSD are not impacted by this tax - to pay more by way of an additional parcel tax is premature. Why should property owners be penalized for the lack of reasonable budgeting and/or crisis planning on PUSD's part? What's to ensure our monies will be managed wisely when track history is cloudy at best? Before I am remotely convinced to vote 'yes' to this tax, I would like to see hard numbers and actual proof of just how PUSD has tended to their budget beforeand up to today, as well as what their budget changes are currently and proposed now that EVERYONE is knee-deep in this economic muck.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

West side observer -- Our high schools are not just average. Both Amador and Foothill are in the top 100 schools in the state of California. Here's the Newsweek report:

Web Link

They both rank in the top 500 in the country -- in the top 5%.


Posted by Sal, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Bottom line:
Now is NOT a good time to ask the citizens for more $, regardless of whether it is 'for the good of the children'. There are many other things needed 'for the good of the children' first .. like food, shelter, and healthcare. Pleasanton is a wonderful community that has benefitted from high-income citizens. Unfortunately, some of those citizens are losing their jobs or suffering severe cutbacks themselves. Meanwhile, PUSD thinks it's entitled to ask for more money? Get real.


Posted by 007, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Seem pretty foolish of PUSD to spend money it apparently doesn't have to put this on an upcoming ballot. Good luck trying to squeeze water from that rock.


Posted by CS, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Is it just me or does it seem as if PUSD is suceeding in dividing our wonderful city all in the name of the children? What next? A ballot to up taxes to save city services; public transportation; or ValleyCare Hospital? Surely they will feel the belt tighten, if they haven't already. Where does it end?

Instead of finger-pointing between this lovely community's citizens, maybe we all should turn our attention to the root of the problem: PUSD. Albeit the state's budget cuts are negatively impacting the district - as with many other state-funded entities - the reality is poor fiscal planning.

This economic downturn is just beginning, folks. There have got to be other avenues to explore and exhaust before coming to the community with your hand out.

This measure would have surely passed 2-3 years ago, but not now. Good luck trying to cough up that 'measly' $233/year when some folks can't even pay their property taxes period.


Posted by stayhomedad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Before I vote for an additional tax, where is the list of salary reductions? And I don't mean the teachers specifically, I am referring to the board, administrators...everyone should get "cut" in this type of situation, right?
This should happen before the parents are asked for help, right?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Here's the Newsweek methodology:

"Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2007 divided by the number of graduating seniors. All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of public schools measured this way."

AP is a for-profit testing business AFAIK. AP is voluntary. I'm not seeing convincing evidence for why this Newsweek ranking should be considered a good measurement of school quality.


Posted by Leslie, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I am so offended by the racism in some of these postings! The reference to not being hoodlums, not from Oakland, Hayward or Richmond? How offensive is that??? And we call ourselves a community of character. We are a community of exclusion. I am ashamed.


Posted by renter,parent,PTA member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Noticed the comment on the renters with kids. Just wanted to say we were informed to day by our the owner of our complex, that if this parcel tax is passed, he will be raising our rents to offset the cost to him, so it does affect EVERYONE in this community. We are all trying to survive this downturn.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Schools that offer AP and IB courses are considered to be more likely to challenge their students to advanced study than schools that do not. Students who take multiple AP or IB courses, and excel on the final exams, are exceptionally well prepared for college. Some universities count those scores when placing first-year students into sophomore level courses. Schools where a larger number of students are taking and passing AP and IB exams are both challenging students to succeed, and making sure that they do.

AP may be administered by a for-profit organization, but the International Baccalaureate is not.


Posted by Gloria, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Before a parcel tax. We should as citizens be given an accounting as to how tax dollars are spent by the district. It is my understanding that teachers are given cell phones at tax dollar expense along with paying the cell phone bill. If this is true has it been stopped? What about the conference trips teachers and administrators take at tax payers expense? How many supervisors does the district have? Are the 17 1/2 that have been cut half the supervisors a third how many does this make up? You need to answer or publish some of this information before expecting the citizens to vote for a parcel tax. We would all like more money, but that is not always possible. We are all tighting our belts.


Posted by Proud Teacher, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:16 pm

MOM -
I, along with nearly 20 of my school colleagues, did get my pink slip today. You must be a mind reader. Thank you for the good wishes.

Despite this, I will continue to educate the students in my classroom to the best of my ability, to prepare them as best as possible for the upcoming years. I did not create this mess and neither did these students. It is a shame that they will be the ones with the long term repercussions of it. I just hope that I can do enough this year to help ensure that they don't make the decisions of the future that lead to a budget crisis like this again.


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I think we should pass a parcel tax and use it to fund economics classes starting in kindergarden and lasting until they finally get it. The budget deficit is at least twice what the government is telling us. The tax increases passed by the assembly and senate will not increase tax collections one bit.

When you raise sales taxes 10% and people are spending at leasat 10% less, revenue gain,0%. When all of the people who make more than 250K cap their income at 250K, no one will be paying the 5% surcharge, revenue gain, 0. In the meantime, we are losing several hundred thousand tax paying jobs each month, revenue loss, who knows. Property taxes, where most of the school funding comes from, are decreasing at an alarming rate as the forclosure totals rise and reduce values. Everyone is appealing their property tax assessments to get them reduced.

Add it all up and the assembly did nothing to solve the deficit. That means another parcel tax next year and every year until there is some good news in the economy.

Maybe we should require economics classes for those who think this measely parcel tax is going to solve our problems.
The only hope we have is a complete overhaul of the state government.


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm

If the parcel tax doesn't go through I would like to think the supporters will put their money where their mouths are and make e $233 donation to their neighborhood school.


Posted by EM, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I offered evidence from both Newsweek AND U.S. News and World Report. It is true that the Challenge Index uses AP and IB scores for their ranking, but the two sentence blurb from Newsweek posted earlier does not give a complete or accurate representation for Jay Matthews' Challenge Index. Again, for those interested in the research, I would recommend reading the "FAQ:Best High Schools" at Newsweek online. In the field of education, the type of rigourous course work offered in Advanced Placement classes has been recognized as one effective measure of student learning.

I am not following the implication that because AP testing is administered by a business not affliated with the schools that somehow the tests are not an effective measure of student achievement. Colleges and universities across the nation recognize the validity of the AP tests by giving students college level credit for passing scores.

The reason why the tests are voluntary is because they are college level courses. That so many students in Pleasanton are ready for college level work in high school points to the quality of instruction they have received.

Even then, I also offered the U.S. News and World Report ranking. U.S. News uses a number of different factors for their ranking system. Again, I would encourage those interested to read through the actual analysis. In response to posts that the quality of education in Pleasanton is mediocre, or average, I am offering two different national studies from two different news organizations that analyzed data from over 20,000 schools. Using different factors for ranking schools, both U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek identifed Pleasanton high schools as some of the top schools in the nation.




Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Sandy and EM,
That is the most laughable bragging rites I can imagine. The ranking is based on how many kids take the tests, not even how many pass. Our kids are high pressured to take the tests for this ranking, at over $100 per test, paid for by the parents. The only true rank may be what communities can buy the rank and who has the most gullible parents
My daughter took classes at Las Positas which, when passed, gives full college credit and admissions weight without taking an AP test. She came home telling me her counselor told her she should take the AP tests anyway. There was no benefit to my daughter if she took the tests, in fact it could look bad if she did not score well. We would pay over $200 and the school would move up on that bogus rank.
Parents that understand that ranking have always laughed about it.


Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm

"I am not following the implication that because AP testing is administered by a business not affliated with the schools that somehow the tests are not an effective measure of student achievement. "

They sell these tests for profit + They create a bogus rank that parents and schools can brag about+ Schools push the tests, even to students that will not pass+ Parents pay for them = They make big profits selling LOTS of tests.


Posted by Why?, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

The current Superintendent of the District has run the District into the ground. Even after the state budget was passed, the District still receives one of the highest revenue limit allocations per student in the state of California. Yet, most Districts that operate a Class Size Reduction program in grades k-3 are not eliminating it this school year. How did one of the richest school districts in the state go from the top to the bottom during the term of this Superintendent?


Posted by teacher but not resident, a resident of Dublin
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm

As I read over the comments from the community, it's become obvious to me that people care more about their ideologies re: taxes and their short-term pocketbooks than they do the education system in their town. The message I am taking is that I'm best served doing just enough for my students to learn what they are supposed to, but to put my spare time and energy into my own children and my own community. I think they would value my efforts much more.


Posted by Just wondering, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Does Stacey ever offer any of her own ideas? Or does she just shoot down other peoples'?


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Posted by Pam, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, 5 hours ago

"Rick is likely another district employee looking for a free pass."








Pam,


I am sorry I missed that comment - which was blended into your posting earlier today.


Let me assure you that I am not an employee of PUSD. I have worked for over 3 1/2 decades at my profession - and in that time, I have seen what a good education can accomplish.....and I have seen the exact opposite.


I have no agenda, other than to support the education of the students in Pleasanton. That education will take a beating if all those teachers that received their pink slip envelopes today are terminated.

That...is a sobering fact, IMO.

Vote as you will. Mine will be a Yes.



Posted by Annoyed, a resident of Las Positas
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Leslie: You call that racism? First of all, I am Latina & have lived in all 3 cities, grew up in one. I am very happy to not live there anymore & my husband and I can raise our children in a very different environment than we were raised. If you think saying "hoodlums" and referring to Hay, Oak & Richmond is "racist", you are mistaken. You don't know what racist is until you've been called names because of the way you look. I'm very proud of my ethnicity.... let's not go there.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Gloria -- the 17.5 administrators make up over 25 percent of the district administrative staff.

Kristie -- I'm glad to hear that your daughter has been able to pursue her college studies. Other parents should be aware, though, that community college courses are not always accepted for university credit, particularly out of state. At the private university where I taught for ten years, we were very selective about the courses for which we gave credit. (It's also a university that awards full tuition scholarships, so it could be even cheaper for you, in terms of your costs out-of-pocket, provided you are willing to let your daughter take the risk of completing an AP or IB course and exam.)

You are not correct to say that the Newsweek study does not take into account how many students pass AP/IB. The index that they call "E&E", the equity and excellence index, definitely considers test performance. It's explained, right there in the frequently asked questions on the Newsweek website. Here's the link:

Web Link

EM is correct that the US News and World Report rankings use a different set of criteria for determining educational quality. The details of their methodology are provided here:

Web Link

It's worth reading the fine print... just as it is worth examining all the data available on the district website about the budget.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Just wondering,

Shooting the messenger?


Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:00 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

The PUSD Superintendent makes $500,000???!!! (Been out of the loop and some of these posts do bring up interesting points).


Posted by duh!, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm

"The PUSD Superintendent makes $500,000???!!!"

If you look at his entire package plus the employer taxes PUSD has to pay, that's about right, if not more.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:25 pm

I see this over and over in various threads:

"Pro-kids!
Pro-teacher!
Pro-community!
No parcel tax!"

If you vote no on parcel tax, I think it would be more appropriate for you to chant,

"No kids!
No teacher!
No community!"

Think about it. Vote no on the parcel tax and see your schools and community crumble down before your very eyes.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:26 pm

It is possible that the parcel tax could have a large impact. It is also possible there are other solutions to achieve an equally large impact. I am not asking any of the supporters to agree with me, just to understand why some people are opposed to the parcel tax, because I do understand your viewpoint, I just don't happen to share it.

Here are some of the reasons I oppose the parcel tax:
1) I am a homeowner without any school aged children. I will have to pay this, while many renters with several one school aged children are not affected.
2) I am not convinced it will be used responsibly and to achieve the maximum benefit. I would first like to see the board act responsibly and earn my trust. I realize they are having to make many hard decisions and thank them for their service. However, choosing to have the vote on a standalone date that increased the costs associated with the ballot is not a good example of fiscal responsibility, especially not when you are asking for my hard earned money in a difficult economy. It makes it difficult to trust that the money brought in with the parcel tax will be used responsibly.
3) I understand that the strength of Pleasanton schools is one of the reasons many people moved here. This is not true for myself, please do not assume that everyone shares this view. I do want the students to succeed, but I do not believe that this parcel tax is necessary for that success. I am not just making an assumption in saying that. I am a product of Pleasanton schools and can say I have firsthand experience to state that there are many programs that are either un-utilized and/or underutilized. Cutting the funding to these areas is not ideal but it is not detrimental.
4) I am a graduate of Pleasanton schools, all the way through, K-12, and a 2001 Amador graduate. Class size reduction was not implemented until I was past the grades affected by it. I have done just fine academically and in the early stages of my career. My younger brother was affected by class size reduction. Despite that, he has been less successful than I was academically, though he certainly has all the tools needed to succeed. I am not convinced that we absolutely must save the class size reduction initiative and that it should be a reason to be so concerned with passing the parcel tax.
5) As I said, I am a product of Pleasanton schools and have done very well academically and professionally. I can say first hand that I was more than prepared for college and even if I had been less prepared, I would still have been ahead of many other students at my school, Cal Poly SLO. There have been many programs, academically and extra curricular, that have been added since I graduated. I do not feel that it would be doing the students a major disservice if the funding for these programs were reduced or eliminated in the coming years. The tools to succeed are there. It is up to the students to make the most of them. Many choose not to though, and it is not due to a lack of funding that students are less prepared for college or the real world than they could be.

There are many other reasons I could include as to why I do not support the parcel tax. I am not looking to start any argument or bickering that is seen all too often here. I am just offering an opposing viewpoint and also affirming that I do understand why there are those that support the parcel tax and ask that you step back and understand why some people oppose it.


Posted by Proud Parent, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm

PTown94566 wrote:
The PUSD Superintendent makes $500,000???!!! (Been out of the loop and some of these posts do bring up interesting points).



Yes, there was quite a bidding (can you say carrots?) war going on to get him to this district. Ahh, times were good then.


Posted by Pam, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Rick: You sure had me fooled but I hope you do think twice before voting on emotions. Yes, many good teachers will lose their jobs. But what are we going to do next year when they run out of funds to give out pay raises again?

Are we going to put another parcel tax on the ballot? When will this end?

Like it or not, the state is going to be in this mess for years to come. Life as we knew it is now history.

What good is putting on these bandages if we don't stop the bleeding? Corrective actions are needed to fix the problems, and a parcel tax will only hinder those efforts by rewarding poor management and bad behavior.

Let me tell you what I think will happen. The parcel tax will not get the 2/3 votes needed (as expected) so the teachers' union and the administrations will be forced into major concessions to save each other's jobs.

At the end, the board will come out and tell us that teachers' jobs are saved due to the federal stimulus money and the various pay/perks cut. That's just my guess but I'm very confident that's how this will play out.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

The Superintendent's salary is $227,002 -- less than half of $500,000.

From the district's website, a valuable list of frequently asked questions and answers:

Web Link


Posted by Donna, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:53 pm

I have two girls in Pleasanton Schools. Both of them have 4.0 GRA's. They are also in band, dance and have jobs and are compassionate citizens. They are not Asian and I take offense that a certain population is "academically" better. Parents and teachers work together to achieve academic success - that is a fact. One or 2 spoiled kids do not make a community - just as one or 2 negative people do not reflect a the popular view. Most of the children in Pleasanton are very hard working as are their parents and teachers. Most parents care deeply about their children's academic success as well as personal success. It's a journey, not a race.

Let's keep Pleasanton strong in every way - vote yes on a parcel tax.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm

The state would love for all districts to pass a parcel tax so they can give less to the schools and divert the huge amount of tax money they collect for wasted programs. If each community passes a parcel tax, the state wins. This is just like the lottery that was supposed to give us more money for our schools. The legislators saw this additional revenue stream and so they reduced their other funding to the schools. The only way a local tax would work is if the state gave a tax credit (not tax deduction) for the local tax so we could decide if we wanted our money going to a local cause or to the inefficient system of the state.

Listen people, many are loosing their jobs, the economy is in the toilet, and we have not even seen the effect of the additional sales tax, vehicle tax, and state income tax. Adding a tax is not going to help us out. The district says the parcel tax is a temporary tax. Yeah, right. If this passes, 4 years from now you will see the same game plan; teachers being given pink slips and us being told if we do not approve an extension of the tax all the teachers will be laid off, classroom size reduction goes away, etc. We need to fix this problem NOW by reducing spending. I applaud school board member Arkin who proposed a list of cuts that would not significantly affect our classrooms. Those against her plan were those who wanted to preserve all the jobs at the district office and administration in general.

I also do not get the PTAs supporting this tax. If this tax passes, many people will not donate to PTA as "they already gave." The PTAs are essentially giving their power up and transfering it to district administration by supporting a parcel tax. I will stop making donations to the PTAs who vote to donate some of their money, that they received from people like me, to the parcel tax campaign. It is one thing to be an advocate but to give my money away, the money the PTAs said would go directly to school programs, that is wrong and misleading.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Pam,

If my words only seemed to convey 'emotion', then I have done a poor job in stating my case.

As it is late, let me just end my comments for the night this way:

Many have made up their minds on this subject - for or against. I have....and pretty sure you have as well. ;-)

I know postings on an internet site are not likley to change any minds. Heck, they may even help to strengthen the opponent's position.

We all bring our own life experiences to the table, and those experiences shape who we are, what we believe, and even, what we will strongly fight for...or against.

I am very secure in where I stand on the subject. I believe in this....I really do. And I understand your passion as well.

I'll still work for passage because I believe this is that important - not just for teachers or students. But for this city as a whole. You may not agree, and that's what makes the world go 'round.




Posted by Proud Parent, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

227K is not what the superintendant costs the district. I believe there are a few incentives not mentioned on the website. I believe housing is one. I'd bet my wages there are a few more.

As a nation we complained about bankers getting sweet deals and didn't buy it when they said it's not part of their compensation. Same should hold true here.


Posted by sucking us dry, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Sandy: Employers have to pay payroll taxes. These include Social security, Medicare, and state/federal unemployment taxes for every employee.

The sum of which equals roughly the amount paid by the employee. Since the Superintendent's salary is $227,002, roughly 50% would goto those taxes. That'll bump the amount to $340,503.

Add in the life insurance perk of $5000 per month, $10,000 in retirement perk per year, $1,000 per month as a transportation allowance, an interest-free loan of $200,000, plus all the other unspecified expensed lunches, dinners, Broadway shows, ballgame tickets, bar tabs, you get the picture, I'd say $500,000 would be on the low end of the estimate.

And those, my neigbors, are things your parcel tax will be funding. No recession for Casey!


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm

"I can't ask my neighbor for money"

I haven't read all of the posts here, but this line struck me.

This person mentions having there income cut and can't ask their neighbor for money. I think that is the biggest problem our nation faces. It is no longer "neighbor helping neighbor" - and hasn't been for years. We don't care about our neighbors, many of use don't even know our neighbors name - yet we can cast anonymous attacks on the internet without problem. It may seem "Andy Griffith" but we need to support each other (and I'm not talking in terms of a parcel tax); if your neighbor needs help physically, financially, or whatever, you should help. Everyone is too quick to ignore their neighbor and declare it to be the governments job to "take care of them." Well, as we can see, if it IS the governments job they do a pretty poor job of it.

Yes, the parcel tax is a big issue and I would hope everyone goes out and votes how they feel. I support the parcel tax, but would not be angry at my neighbor if they opposed. I would hope I could have an honest and open discussion about it, but would not harbor feelings of animosity for the rest of my life it they voted no.


Posted by Renters will pay, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:04 am

The parcel tax will be paid by renters in Pleasanton by an increase in their rent.

My landlord has told me I'll have a choice of paying him directly when it is due or he will add that (plus a little more to round up) to my monthly rent.

It will be passed along to renters. Don't kid yourself if you are a homeowner and think it won't.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:12 am

Paycheck for dad: $2375 per month

Paycheck for mom: $1817 per month

Mortgage: $2182.52 per month

why?....This may sound insensitive, but the recommendations on housing expenses are no more than 28% of your take home pay. You are currently at 52%, nearly double the recommended. So its clear that you have overextended yourself with your home purchase.

I do understand that as of right now that is very little concern to you as you try to pay your bills on a day to day basis (and of course I would not expect you to vote yes on a parcel tax). But there are many people who say they can not "afford" a parcel tax, yet go out and over spend everyday.

By the way, if you have tried to go out to eat recently at one of those chain restaurants you would swear the economy has never been better. Maybe I have been in a cave the last 10 years not eating out much, but I go to the Outback or Applebees on a weekend and there is and hour and a half wait.


Posted by Divine Intervention, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:09 am

I am humored by all the gloom and doom talks in the postings above. What will happen to our children and our home value if this tax fails? The short answer is: nothing!

I grew up in the Bay View/Hunter's Point district in SF. Those schools were, and probably still are, one of the worst in the city when it comes to safety, academics, and funding.

There were no extracurricular activities other than gang fights on campus every other day. Parent volunteers and school donations were non-existent. Many students kept knifes, axes, bb guns, and many other variety of homemade weapons in their lockers for protection. Teachers were beaten up by students for no particular reasons. It was quite a thrilling experience in both middle and high school.

In spite of it all, it didn't take a parcel tax nor any miracles for my friends and I to make it through those years and graduate from UCB and Stanford 4 years later. What kept us on the right path were the unrelenting guidance and encouragements from our parents.

There are some things money can't buy. Keep that $233 and draft up a plan on what you can do to help your children succeed.





Posted by Fred, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:46 am

I see the points of many people about not wanting to pay the parcel tax but please look at this way. If the Parcel tax does not pass there will be 32 kids instead of 20 in a kindergarten class. One teacher with 32 5 year olds. That is crazy. The city might as well get rid of kindergarten all together. All these kids do not come from rich families. Many can not afford pre-school so this is their first time at school. They will not be able to learn anything in a class of 32. It is not about rich and poor it is about the Kids.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

Trish, BRAVO! Thank you for your concise answer to Disgusted. <sigh>

Disgusted, You just validated irrational thinking about voting for the parcel tax. You are apparently an "opinionated but not educated" person who uses crass reasoning and putdowns to try to sway thought. You swayed mine for sure. You confirmed my....

NO VOTE on the PARCEL TAX!

Yes, I wouldn't want to be recognized publicly by my opinion. Your irresponsible reaction is just one of the onslaught we'd all have to buffer.

So sad.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:25 am

Fred, I sent three kids off to college who successfully completed the Pleasanton school system - DURING the years when there were 32 students per Kindergarten classroom. Yes, it was chaotic, but it worked. We should look for the stats that back up those years from the years since. I imagine it would show no significant difference between the before and after CSR act.

It is about parenting and collaborating with teachers and administration. It is about values set at home.

It is also about showing that everyone and every organization can "knuckle down" during hard times and still accomplish their goals.

You Pro tax people don't seem to have the guts to make the tough decisions and still know you will come out just fine.


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:30 am

Thanks Fred,
These arguments are tireless. If you don't want to pay for a tax, don't. However, don't try to rationalize that it won't affect the children in Pleasanton to:
1. Be in classes of 32 instead of 20
2. Lose reading specialist intervention
3. Lose counseling time for them and their families
4. Lose the opportunity to start band and strings in middle school
5. Notice that their favorite teachers are no longer on campus (8 teachers per elementary site will be gone next year)

California's children were already shortchanged by Sacramento. Yet, Sacramento created some of the most rigorous math, language arts, and science standards across the nation. Our children are expected to understand the math a fifth grader was doing 12 years ago. Class size reduction raised the bar across the state which was a positive move forward for California and our children, so they and we could compete nationally and internationally. However, along with those high standards, California has the highest percentage of non-English speaking students and services many children with special needs. Small class sizes gives children the opportunities to learn at the wide range of abilities which they enter the schools. If you can't stand taxes, just be comfortable with your opinion, but don't justify it by saying the teachers are evil or that children won't be affected. But, mostly, don't fool yourselves into thinking that your property won't be affected. I already know of some wonderful families who are thinking of relocating. Families are what make Pleasanton a desirable place. When those families of young children move to districts who aren't shedding class size reduction, the vitality of the town will change and down will go our property taxes. I lived in Fremont, I saw it happen, and when I decided to start a family, I moved.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:53 am

I mean no disrespect to the 500 who "jammed" the church on this rally, but -- let's be real.

The problem, as eluded to by Mom2, is not totally Sacramento's fault. PUSD, and many parents, should have realized years back the "builder funded train" was coming to an end. Years ago, alternative methods for obtaining funding should have been in the plan. Somehow that escaped many people's cognitive abilities.

Not seeing that and doing something about it then has contributed to where we are now. Myself, I'm not prone to funding a parcel tax. Have all the rallies you want. I commend you. However, it will not change my vote come May.


Posted by stayhomedad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

I believe a tax would PASS without problems if we felt more sercure about who was taking control of the money. I would pay $333 if I had more faith in the people receiving the money. I don't believe what they say NOW. I want to see it in writing and the public involved in the spending of OUR money? In short, I don't believe the district "cut" as much as it could, and the administrators are still making WAY TOO MUCH MONEY!
Honestly, I am up in the air about the tax, and I'm waiting for someone to inspire me (without scare tactics)


Posted by Fred, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

Marie- "You Pro tax people don't seem to have the guts to make the tough decisions and still know you will come out just fine." Nice work on making generalizations.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:35 am

Dear PUSD union members,

Please stop hiding behind our kids and renegotiate your progressive raise schedule. To state that raises have been frozen while leaving your "step and column" program in place is disingenuous at best.


Posted by suolucidiR, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:19 am

.melborp eht ot hcaorppa sdrawkcab yletelpmoc a si yenom eht fo stneipicer dedentni eht htiw noitulos a gnitaitogen erofeb xat lanoitidda na ssap ot yrt ot gnidiceD


Posted by marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

Fred,

Nice you missed the 'specific' response to your comment about CSR. That's certainly NOT a generalization. Familes who think that money, only, will make the difference, are the ones to be generalized about. People instead need to feel empowered with the thought that their personal impact upon their child will come to bare many fruits more than money, money, money, will do. Start checking the programs around the nation that are successful and evaluate the costs in those programs.

It IS a generalization that our property values will go down if we don't pass this tax. Such nonsense. Our property values are going to be affected by the economic problems hitting the nation more than a cut in school funding.

Someone mentioned bootstraps...well, that is the word of the day for me...

Everyone reach down for your bootstraps and get a grip!


Posted by Fred, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:02 am

I do agree that it would be interesting to compare that data. Do you know why they inacted CSR in the first place. I might be wrong but I would imagine that they did for the benieft of the students. As far as house prices go. Yes there are bigger issues right now but house prices normally are based on supply and demand. If Dulbin has 20 students per class while Pleasanton has 32 some people will move to Dublin for that reason. Also people moving into area will see 20 student classes as a reason to move to Dublin over Pleasanton. Demand will go down and supply will go up. Not good for house prices. Lastly just because you vote for the parcel tax doesnt mean that think Money will make the difference. I think what we are saying is a $1 a day to possible help the future of America is worth it. YES the parents are the true teachers but .65 a day come one.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

Yes on the parcel tax. And, yes to merit based compensation for teachers.

I fully support the teachers in their daily efforts. I don't think they get paid enough for the work they have to do. But, I also think the unions have aided the creation of a system that allows under performing teachers & administrators to stay in the system. This negatively impacts the educational process at many levels.

I think teachers should make MORE money than they do currently. Period. It's an important job, so we should set salaries to attract the best people. I think the unions need to make concessions to create a more competitive workforce and make the education field more attractive to top performers.

I support collective bargaining. And, I think educators should receive some types of job protection to help them better weather economic cycles. Layoffs and workforce reductions should not be as mercurial as in other industries, but not at the expense of allowing dead wood to remain in the system. With this statement I am addressing a tenure program that provides protections to a larger pool of teachers than is truly deserving.

So, I hope the parcel tax passes. And, I hope the unions can negotiate some common sense into their contracts so that they attract and retain only the best and brightest. Obama made a speech this morning with these very same goals. Let's start it right here in our own home turf!

Full disclosure - I have kids in Pleasanton schools. But, neither myself nor any relatives are educators or administrators.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:16 am

Like many other families, we moved to Pleasanton because of the excellent schools. It is not as if fiscal mismanagement by the district brought us to this point. This is a result of a state budgetary crisis. In fact, unlike surrounding communities, Pleasanton has not had to ask for a parcel tax until this point. This parcel tax will benefit families with children in school for obvious reasons, and will also benefit all homeowners by maintaining the educational excellence that makes Pleasanton a desirable community for potential home buyers. Our children are our future, and prioritizing education will benefit us all.
Pro-kids!
Pro teachers!
Pro-community!
PRO PARCEL TAX!


Posted by Mike, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:18 am

The CTA should cover the deficit as they spent over 100 million in last years' election. Seems to me they have capitol to spend. They strong arm teacher's into paying $250 a month in dues and what do they get for it? I thought it was all about the kids. I don't care if the CTA empties their coffers to "Bail Out" every school district in California. Until the CTA, not the teachers, put their money where their big mouth is I am voting no on the Parcel Tax. Don't think that I haven't been pressured by my friends to change my vote "For the Children and Do you want our property values to go down even further?" Past history indicates that property values will go back in time. I have been here in Ptown for 15 years and will be here another 30 so I really don't care about what my current property value is. I'm not selling nor am I getting an Equity line of credit.

I have two kids at Walnut Grove and I'm still voting no. My kids have already been brain washed at school but, thankfully, they don't get to vote. I know what's best for them and this is a good life lesson for them. DON'T SPEND WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE AND IF YOU DO DON'T ASK OTHERS FOR BAIL YOU OUT. IT'S CALLED PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

I was at the rally and it was pretty amusing. One of the speakers said that he would gladly pay $500 a year. Well, what's stopping him? Instead of spending the money on an election, everyone who if for the tax just write the school district a check in whatever amount you wish but don't ask me to give more money to yet another government bureaucracy when I see my taxes and everything else going up because of the current administration.

It costs California between 9 - 20 BILLION DOLLARS a year on illegal aliens using state service depending on your sources. If we don't do something about Illegal aliens, California is destined to become a Third World Country if we're not already there. Illegal aliens are not the sole blame for our current state funding crisis but it is a MAJOR factor just look at the numbers. Another reason for our current mess is that we voter keep electing the same LAME BRAINS to state government.

You cant spend yourself into Prosperity.

ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES.

HAVE A SUPER DAY.


Posted by gung ho, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:19 am

"Do you know why they inacted CSR in the first place."

The biggest supporters of CSR are the teachers' union. Why? It's quite obvious. By lowering class size, you increase the number of classrooms, which in turn will increase the need for...teachers! BINGO!

More teachers = More union dues. More union dues = Bigger Union. Bigger Union = More political influence. More political influence = Get whatever they want. You get the picture.

Does CSR work? That depends on who you ask and I doubt you'll find any concrete data to show one way or another. The concept sounds good and the union ran with it. Parents and administrators bought into it so here they are trying to sell it again. I grew up in classrooms that had more than 30 kids and I have no complaints.

"a $1 a day to possible help the future of America is worth it."

Throwing your money away and investing in the future of America (our children) are two different things. What good will that dollar do if it just ends up in the pockets of the staff? Have you seen Casey's contract recently? That's where the money will be going.

Yes, they're saying the parcel tax can be used only for the programs. But think about it...the tax money will free up other funds that normally are used to fund the same programs. What can they do with those "freed" funds? Take a guess...

NO ON PARCEL TAX!
YES ON PUSD CLEANING UP ITS ACT!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:32 am

RE: CSR
There is plenty of data supporting the benefits of class size reduction - just do a two-second search on Yahoo.


Posted by fred, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:35 am

Gung-ho those are all very good points and thanks for your input. I will be voting for the parcel tax. If some of money goes in wrong pockets I guess that is a chance I am will to take. Just the thought of 32 5 year olds and one teacher just seems crazy to me. I know you and others turned out jsut fine does give me some comfort But just seems that 20 kids is more reasonable. Should be a interesting vote. I am glad we get to vote on it and not just told what to do. Thanks again.


Posted by pw, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

.melborp eht ot hcaorppa sdrawkcab yletelpmoc a si yenom eht fo stneipicer dedentni eht htiw noitulos a gnitaitogen erofeb xat lanoitidda na ssap ot yrt ot gnidiceD

CUTE BUT WHERE'S MY MIRROR?


Posted by NO on PARCEL TAX, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

Going back to the very first posting with the question:

"Who is spearheading the NO PARCEL TAX committee?"

It's not clear to me one is needed. There are enough forces in the economy and true grassroots methods to insure that this measure does not pass.

Starting with the April 1 increase in the sales tax, of which 50% goes to the schools (per CA state budget), then comes 4/15 tax day, then there will be the May 19 election where all the CA state budget propositions will be on the ballot. Along the way, voters will learn that the California Teachers Association (CTA) is gathering signatures for a state proposition to raise the state sales tax another 1%. With the expected rise in unemployment this year and other corporate failures on the horizon, voters will grow more tired of the growing economic misbehavior of government and the resultant total tax bill that each of us will have to pay. By June 2, more than 33% (plus 1) will just vote NO on the PARCEL TAX.

As for true grass-roots campaigning, I propose that NO PARCEL TAX supporters find no-cost ways to spread the word. Simply networking and spreading the word that fiscal constraint starts at home, will easily trump the $80,000 that the YES supporters are raising. $80,000 (!) plus the cost of the special election and we are looking at one expensive and failed property tax measure.

It won't take much work to gather all the great ideas in the threads on the Town Square Forum and compile them into the 'NO PARCEL TAX' position paper. Then distribute it!

Any other good ideas out there for demonstrating and explaining fiscal constraint to the PUSD?


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:39 am

Of all the readings, a few thoughts come to mind. First of all, with a BS in Elem Ed ('74), I commend those teachers who are trying to reach out in this forum. It takes courage, for you know there will always be the cyberbullies that will attack you. Continue to be strong. Keep the people informed (a.k.a. teaching! ;-))
Teachers today are not what many of you can identify through your education of 'yesterday'. For example(but not limited to),there is one Kindergarten teacher that, of the 20 in this one class, 12 are EL's. Some might ask what EL stands for. Ans: English learners. That means that this teacher must go WAY BEYOND the norm just to be able to communicate with them. Add to this the obvious challenges these little ones have just understanding how "the system" works here in America makes this teacher spend way too much time on non-academic needs. Throw in a 'mainstreamed' child that has his or her own special needs for good measure. They are there. Fast forward to next year when K-3 will have even more of these kind of students to work with per classroom. Those parents, whose non-EL children are going to have to "wait" while the EL's are being lead along as best as possible to try and keep up, will eventually see their own child's frustrations...especially those that hunger for learning. Slowing that hunger down eventually turns them off. I have seen it too many times. So, you see, everyone suffers from additional children in the classroom as we no longer live in a "one size fits all" community. The added challenges to the teachers, especially of this past decade, have grown expotentially in Ptown. Hold that thought.
Now, the other thought is that all Ptowners will directly or indirectly pay; renters of apts and homes included. But all will benefit as well by maintaining a standard of expectations we all moved here for. Too many bloggers are too close to the tree to see the forest. Yes, the State needs to get its act together. That will only happen via your votes when the times come. Vote informed. Meanwhile, "band aids" are ok. To help stop the bleeding while we try to resolve what's causing the bleed out can and will work...if you are part of the positive force behind it.
Finally, the pink slips. Do you realize that the pink slips go out to the least 'tendered' teachers? Who are they? Typically they are the youngest, most recently educated, with the most energy and newest ideas and enthusiasm every parent hopes for in their child's teacher. Those who are voting "no" on the parcel tax, please, at the end of the school year, take a moment and give your child's pink slipped teacher a big hug and an apology for their loss of a job. Ask them to understand the why's and wherefores and wish them luck as they move probably out of state or country in the hope of continuing what they love most: teaching our future. When all these economic ishies go away and we are ready to hire more teachers, let us all hope that some good ones are still available to replace the excellent teachers we voted out. Afterall, it will cost us $233 a year or $0.64 per day.
For the record, we believe in our schools and support our teachers. We will be voting "YES" on the parcel tax. I, for one, will turn off more lights in my house and lower the temp by one degree to make up the loss. I can't give up my latte...not yet.


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

NO on PARCEL TAX:

Your ideas are spot on but grassroots activism in Pleasanton only works for special interest groups such as Save Pleasanton Schools, those who would spend $1 million on pulling weeds and removing "non-native trees" from a creek, NIMBYs who oppose anything remotely associated with building, and eco-frauds who support endangered anythings—plants or animals.

Leaving the defeat of the parcel tax in the hands of bloggers is risky—even in face of this terrible economy. In Pleasanton, these special interest groups usually win when they advance their divisive ideological causes to the ballot.


Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Sandy,

My daughter and my other kids have taken many AP classes and pasted the AP exams. They have value and are appropriate for some students.
The problem is that because of this silly rank, students that cannot be successful in them are being encouraged to take the AP classes, and the tests are being pushed on kids that have not done well in the classes and are not likely to pass.

Many colleges will not accept AP exams for university credit.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
From the Frequently asked questions about NEWSWEEK's top U.S. high-schools list.
3. Why do you count only the number of tests given, and not how well the students do on the tests?
I decided not to count passing rates because I found that most American high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses. In other instances, they opened the courses to all but encouraged only the best students to take the tests.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Of course at over $100 per test, paid by parents, they would encourage all students to take many tests.

I maintain the Newsweek rank is solely a rank of an affluent community that can afford to pay for high numbers of the tests, with gullible parents willing to do so.


Posted by Proud Parent, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Even if the meausre passes, the classrooms may in the end loose.

I donate more than 233 a year already.

PTA, Sales, Donated supplies, Time.

I wouldn't anymore. Sounds mean spirited? How about that 5k per month life insurance, the 1k per month transportation (car) allowance. Sounds like things other than teaching staff could be chopped first.


Posted by marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm

KGM, there is plenty of data showing that smaller classes offer more success to a child. That goes all the way down to a class size of 5. Below that, there is no benefit. These statistics go way back to the 70's. There are many other factors affecting the students. Do a 2 second google on that. Are you suggesting that we go even lower? Who picks the number? Did you take the time to compare success of the larger classes to that of the smaller ones? Virtually nil. We have successful children due to our expectations, culture (yes, within a town), values, parenting, etc, etc.

The bottom line is that kids from before the CSR are out there in the world performing at a very satisfactory rate and above.

Gosh, they've even shown that budget spent per child didn't affect the rates of success, across the nation and for decades, with one exception. The impoverished.

This is nonsense. The educational system must and can find a way to be successful without a pocket full of money. It merely takes some savvy.


Posted by marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

For those of you who only moved to Ptown for the schools, that is a shame. In fact, we found many towns with excellent schools in this region. We picked Ptown for it's ambience, parks, small town feel, the people, sports fields, safety, location, splendor...all in addition to good schools.

I'm glad we moved here for the many reasons, and sorry that people would only move here for the schools. With a lack of well-roundedness our town will surely hit the skids. Hmm...maybe that is why things seem a bit stuffy around town lately.


Posted by marie, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Money is not the answer to everything.


Posted by I admit I copied this, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

NO on PARCEL TAX:




Your ideas are spot on but grassroots activism in Pleasanton only works for special interest groups such as Save Pleasanton Schools, those who would spend $1 million on pulling weeds and removing "non-native trees" from a creek, NIMBYs who oppose anything remotely associated with building, and eco-frauds who support endangered anythings—plants or animals.

West post was EXCELLENT: So EXCELLENT it is worth repeating...so I am doing exactly that giving credit to the poster. And no I am not the orginal poster.


"Leaving the defeat of the parcel tax in the hands of bloggers is risky—even in face of this terrible economy. In Pleasanton, these special interest groups usually win when they advance their divisive ideological causes to the ballot."


Posted by Bill, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

This is a BAIT and SWITCH!

Bottom line truth is:
The district does not NEED a parcel tax to fund reading intervention, music classes and class size reduction. They are threatening to cut the programs which appeal most to voters' emotions.

What they REALLY are saving is their own staff and the real work of determining less essential program cuts to balance the long-term budget.

Pro-kids!

Pro-teachers!

Pro-community!

NO parcel tax!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

From the Newsweek FAQ: "high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses"

Which part of "Advanced Placement" did the author not understand?


Posted by Letty, a resident of California Reflections
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

NO on PARCEL TAX:,
I would like to see a no PT greatest hits thread.
What are the best points made. There have been a lot.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

PW,

When someone like yourself brings up EL and "mainstreaming" as reasons why the larger classes don't work well, I don't see those as arguments against larger classes. I see that as an argument against the current practice of mainstreaming kids with special needs into a regular class. Not only are those kids that have extra needs are being disserviced, but also the majority of kids who fall into the middle of the bell curve.


Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Stacey,
We are on the same page. Pretty silly huh?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Kristie,

Why's it silly? :)


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Here is some information regarding the benefits of class size reduction:

Web Link

Of course, class size isn't the only factor contributing to academic success. However, it is a major one. I too went to school when class sizes were 30 +, and I am now performing at a satisfactory rate (whatever that means), but isn't our goal to improve even more over time? And no, I don't want to go even lower. Just trying to keep us at 20, K-3, thanks. That is a level demonstrating major benefit to our students.
Schools are already not operating on a pocketful of money. And as for savvy, I see the over-and-above personal contributions that staff, teachers, and families are already making every day. The creative ways that parents, faculty, and administrators come up with(outside of even current budgetary constraints)to make our students feel that as a community we value their education and upbringing are impressive. To think we may slide backward is so disheartening.
I'll be redoubling my effort toward passing this important funding measure for our schools.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm

For some of the bloggers who appear not to have seen the other threads: statistics on CSR don't show a positive impact until they hit about 12:1. I'm still in favor of it because it does make a classroom management easier for students and teachers, but it isn't an academic benefit.

The mess PUSD is in is precisely because they gave three years of raises they could not afford from 2005-2008 (4, 5 and 6%, not necessarily in that order). They also took funds from a reserve account to provide raises to administrators . . . and ongoing cost from a one-time fund. There are other issues, but they came from funds other than the general fund.

The parcel tax language does not prevent staff (only administrators) from receiving raises. I think the majority of teachers work hard, but there should be no raises for anyone during the life of any proposed parcel tax.

Is anyone else bothered by the fact the district chose June for the vote--two weeks after the state budget vote? Never mind that it increases the cost to the district to run the election--did Liz find out it was double? It is a political tactic because the expectation is the turnout will be low and surmises that no voters will stay home.

The district didn't plan for the future; backed itself into a corner; and wants us to blindly bail them out. They have our feet to the fire with threats to the education of our children; I think we need to put their feet to the fire and change the timing and direction of this discussion. A no vote will do that.


Posted by Yes on $233, a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

At the end of the day, we need this tax to save our kids' education.

VOTE YES on the parcel tax June 2!


Posted by Boycott the PTA, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

This is a call to anyone who believes that the PTA has misused our donations to fund a senseless parcel tax campaign to halt all future donations and fund-raising purchases from the PTA, PFC, P-whatever.

Instead, donate that money directly to your childrens' classrooms and help our teachers to shoulder the burden.

We as a community should not tolerate politically-driven irresponsible spending of our donations to support a senseless cause. That money was donated for the school and classrooms and needs to stay in the school and the classrooms.

I urge everyone to join me in this fight for our children.

Put our money back into the our school, our classrooms, NOW!


Posted by Lydiksen Parent, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I am so tired of people stating it's only $233/yr. It's only 64 cents/day. Who cares?!!! It's the TAXPAYERS money! Where does it end? Who's to say next year that is not enough and they want more? I am also tired about people saying, "it's for the children." It is for the district, so they can just keep doing things the way they have forever. None of this is about the children and I feel really sorry for any parent who thinks it is.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm

The parents in our community are willing to help in the classes. I'm always amazed at how much parents in the community help. Sometime you have to take what you can get and at this current time I think schools should be happy they are getting our time since we can't give money.

Not all of us have tons of money to give right now. We've had our pay cut or been let go because our companies aren't doing well. The schools may have to let teachers go and make adjustments like the rest of us. It doesn't mean that you won't have parents in helping while times are hard. So how much will our kids really suffer if you ask us to use our time instead of money to help? When the economy gets better then you can ask for more money from us, but right now many of us have nothing we can give. We are living on our savings.

If the teachers take a pay cut maybe they can help the other teachers. Our companies aren't going to turn around and give us a huge increase when times turn around, we will be in the same place as the teachers! So quit crying and start finding ways to help your fellow teachers.


Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Stacey,

"From the Newsweek FAQ: "high schools kept those rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses"

Which part of "Advanced Placement" did the author not understand?"


I thought you were questioning the logic of creating a rank that counts tests taken but not passed. The justification used by the author of the ranking.
I think taking bragging rights from that rank is silly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Kristie,

We agree. I wrote something earlier questioning another aspect of the Newsweek methodology. I thought you saw that.

The biggest problem facing attempts at ranking high schools across the US is that there's no national curriculum and national standardized test that every high school student takes. So some scholars try to devise other ways to compare schools. It'll never be apples to apples. I found it silly that the Newsweek ranking tries to excuse this problem by criticizing schools that don't offer AP to everyone.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Just to clarify something about the Newsweek discussion: At Amador (and I think FHS, too) we have open enrollment for AP classes. Any student who has the desire is allowed to take the class. This has been the policy since the 2000/2001 school year.

It's true that high achieving kids are the ones who tend to take on the challenge of a college level course, but no one is keeping "rates artificially high by allowing only top students to take the courses" here.


Posted by Kristie, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

To teacher,
That comment did not come from us, it is a quote from the article. We are not suggesting it is true. On the contrary my experience has been that when the policy changed, students that did not seem likely to benefit were encouraged to take the classes and the test.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

For the good of our community and ultimately of our country, our students need to be competitive not just locally, statewide, or even nationally, but globally! This is not the time to be allowing deep cuts into our education system. Cuts will be made due to the reduction in state funding for our district. The parcel tax will help alleviate the impacts of those cuts. We need to put education first, now more than ever.


Posted by Dismayed, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm

As a grateful product of the Pleasanton school system and one contemplating a return to the city so my kids can have a similarly great education, I am dismayed at the "debate" taking place on this site regarding the parcel tax. The level if discourse -- especially on the "no" side -- is embarrassing. Anti-Obama rhetoric and vitriol against the District really gets us nowhere. Because I'm not a Pleasanton property owner, I won't express my view on the merits of the tax. But I do know this: (1) Pleasanton schools were/are excellent; (2) the State has cut funding drastically for education in part due to the State's poor budgeting, in part due to falling property tax revenues; (3) without additional funding, cuts will have to be made -- in programs, in teachers, in counselors; and (4) no amount of parent volunteering or support will be able to compensate for an inadequate supply of teachers.

Whether the District has been poorly managed, or whether other options are available to raise the funds, I don't know. But I do know that punishing the teachers is not the answer. Although I fully support union reform and merit pay, such changes cannot be made immediately and the teachers getting laid off this year in many cases will be the same teachers who would be getting merit pay after reforms are made. I also know that punishing the kids is not an answer. The arguments that this is a "teaching moment" about fiscal responsibility, etc. are ridiculous. An 8-year-old kid won't understand the greater lessons of proper budgeting, he will only know that there are too many kids in his class to receive adequate attention from the teacher. Reducing the level of education kids receive is simply not an appropriate "lesson" for kids of any age, when other options exist.

I urge Pleasanton citizens (and especially parents) to think rationally about the trade-offs at issue, and vote with their hearts and their minds, rather than fear, anger, or reflex.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Somebody named Laura on another stream called it the PONZI UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT and that Bernie Madoff should be running it. Not a bad idea, he'd probably make it work.


Posted by Amazed Resident, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Reading some of these comments amaze me. When are residents going to direct their anger and frustration at the guilty party; THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. PUSD is not having this fiscal crisis because of their poor money management! Their funds are getting cut! Should I say that again? Their funds are being cut! PUSD has not let us down but we sure seem to be letting a lot of them down by the looks of it!

Ps. I do not want to hear how people are having a hard time with money right now because my family has taking a job loss and pay cut but my children's education is still important. I will work out the $16 a month regardless.


Posted by Community Member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Thank you Amazed Resident!! Well said!


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Amazed Resident...the State of California is in the toilet today because of years of Liberal Socialism, the same ideology that Obama spews forth. More is coming on a National scale, so you and your children amy as well get used to it.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Amazed Resident: The district did mismanage its funding. The raises they gave from 2005-2008 could have been much smaller and still left enough to save the day now. The threat to cut CSR, the pink slips, the choice of dates to vote are meant to keep everyone reacting rather than allowing time to think at best and are meant to demoralize at worst. And with the exception of administrators, they didn't even write the parcel tax language so that no raises can be given during the life of the parcel tax. A fair tradeoff for what they are asking of us.

Maybe leadership didn't think the well would run dry. When was the last time you rewarded someone with $4.6 million dollars for not thinking, for not planning ahead? The only difference between what is happening in Pleasanton and what is happening in Washington, DC, is PUSD can't legislate us into paying for their mistakes.


Posted by Matt, a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Take control of our own destiny!

State budget is in chaos.
We can't control what's going on in the state.
We can discuss / talk as much as we want on ideally what should happen.

But, at the end of it... your action is what matters.

Vote YES to Pleasanton School Funding Tax (aka Parcel Tax) so we have control over our own school.

The pink slips are arriving so I heard. Does anyone knows percentage wise, how many teacher at each school site got the notice? It does not look good at all.

I'm not a teacher, not a PUSD staff, just another Pleasanton resident concerned about the sad state of education.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Is it true that if it doesn't pass that it will have cost our schools $300k to run it in a june vote vs may vote? Is this a wise way to spend our money? Is there an understanding of the risk associated? Do you really believe that a June ballet is going to get you the yes vote? What prior statistics or information is there on this? How many teachers could we keep for that $300k?


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Dismayed,

Thank you.......well said.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm

The numbers we are receiving, at least at the elementary end, are 185 teachers, mostly elementary. At my school we are laying off nearly 20 of 30 teachers. That does not include our custodians, Vice principal, counselor, reading specialist, PE teachers, science teacher, and music teacher who also received notices yesterday... Does this still sound like an easily manageable situation?


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm

185 teachers at an average salary of $81,000 = $14,985,000, so no, doesn't sound like a manageable solution. It sounds like foolish baloney propagated to enrage parents and influence votes. You are not helping your cause.


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm

A few of you asked how many teachers got their pink slips? I believe 78 elementary school teachers and teachers with as much as 6 years teaching experience in Pleasanton. However, many of these teachers because Pleasanton is known for "stealing" great talent from other districts have over 10 years teaching experience. One friend of mine has 24 years of teaching experience but only a few years in Pleasanton, so she received her pink slip. I worry that talented teachers which have come from other districts will no longer risk giving up job security to come to Pleasanton. Besides hiring the brightest young talent out of the universities, PUSD has always been able to attract experienced teachers from other districts. This is truly a terrible situation for all California school districts. I will vote YES to bring very talented and experienced teachers back to the classroom for next fall.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Has anyone who is a No on the parcel tax actually read all of the information?

I keep seeing the same comments -

"The district needs to make cuts before they ask for money" - the district has - its all their in black and white on the web site. Just under $10 million in identified cuts. Its there - read it, that's what will be cut next year if the current state budget is as expected and the parcel tax is not passed.

"The district mismanaged the funds" - first off, maybe there could have been some money saved, but how much should the district have saved? $10 million? We'd still be short after last year. $20 million? WOuld get us through this year? $30 million? Just imagine what everyone would have said if the district said they had $30 million is reserves. People would have go nuts asking why this money wasn't being used to help the kids not. Its sounds like everyone thinks that the district is just out there trying to steal money wherever they can. First off, the district answers to a school board which every single person on this list who complains about the schools operation can run for and be elected. I think last ballot there were 4 positions open and 5 people running (may be slightly off, but there were not more than 1 or 2 extra). All of the sudden everyone here knows better. Then step up and do a better job.

That being said, maybe a parcel tax is not a good idea. It may not be the best solution for out problems. But so far I have not read any solutions, just complaining about "possible" mistakes in teh past (hindsight is 20/20 you know).

All of us, parents, teachers, administrators, community members, owe it to ourselves to try to find a solution and not just try to fund everything we can or sit back and complain.

One idea I have is just like the business world - merger! If Pleasanton, San Ramon, Dublin and Livermore districts combine, can't we save money on administrators (only 1 superintendent and maybe an assistant instead of 4) - and I'm sure overall it would greatly reduce the number of district office personnel. There would also be bigger contracts from outside vendors for more savings. Not sure what the downside would be exactly...but is it something to look at?


Posted by 1+1=3, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Good one, resident! Our teachers may need to go back to school and relearn their elementary math.


Posted by Lance M, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:50 pm

"It won't take much work to gather all the great ideas in the threads on the Town Square Forum and compile them into the 'NO PARCEL TAX' position paper. Then distribute it!"

I don't think the parcel tax is the answer, but I have yet to see on "Great Idea" on the No Parcel Tax side. All I see are complaints, some of which may be valid, but when you refer to "great idea" what do you mean?

I for one am looking for that great idea - our schools need reform. There needs to be a fundamental change in the way our schools work. But for the life of me, I don't know what that is. I'm sure there are smarter people than me with some sense of education and how a better education system may work (and no, I do not think that making it private will actually change the way schools generally work right now - but maybe its a step in the right direction)


Posted by Big Problems, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm

The state has big problems. They are going to raise the sales tax to increase revenue, with apparently zero thought that people are going to be spending less (and even less with more sales tax) so in the end the revenue stream is going to stay the same or go down. There will be no increase in funding for anything - education, infrastructure, or other programs.


Posted by Tony the Tiger, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm

"185 teachers at an average salary of $81,000 = $14,985,000, so no, doesn't sound like a manageable solution. It sounds like foolish baloney propagated to enrage parents and influence votes. You are not helping your cause."

Well, first off the average salary of the laid off teachers will be much less that $81K as they are the ones with the least experience (i.e. lower on the pay scale)

Secondly, you are sort of right - not all 185 will be layed off if the current California budget holds true and the student population numbers don't change dramatically. This district published a number of actual layoff somewhere but I can't find it right now, but I want to say in the neighborhood of 120. But ~185 teachers are receiving notice of at least potential layoff (as required).

Either way, these are big numbers and the parcel tax (if passed) is only going to bring back half.

Meet me at the driving range on Saturday,
Tony


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:04 pm

And an increase in sales tax will drive out of state internet sales through the roof, further eliminating revenues for the State. I know this is "off topic", but the reality is that our State government and their funded subsidiaries (like school districts) are not going to be able to "TAX their way out" of this one. Some hard decisions will be made … and this is just the beginning.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:10 pm

OK … 185 x the minimum teacher salary (I can't find it right now, but it's a bit over 50K, if I remember correctly) is still over 9,000,000, so once again, I think this is foolish propaganda designed to get people to stomp their feet instead of use their brain.

And a bucket of balls is currently worth more than my portfolio, so thanks, but no thanks.


Posted by Tony the Tiger, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm

"OK … 185 x the minimum teacher salary (I can't find it right now, but it's a bit over 50K, if I remember correctly) is still over 9,000,000, so once again, I think this is foolish propaganda designed to get people to stomp their feet instead of use their brain."

Not exactly sure of your point. The district needs to cut over $9 million, so 185 teachers get slips (as I stated they are not expecting to lay off all 185, but still a large number well of 100). If they do not lay off all the teachers, where is the $9+ million going to come from? Yes, the 185 number is a little inflated, but its not all propaganda...its going to be a huge hit to the number of teachers in the district (whether the tax passes or not)

As the standard joke these days goes, my 401K is now a 201K - do you think golfing rate will go down?

Looking for $10 greens fees,

Tony


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm

To Hi There: Yes the people who are against the parcel tax are attending meetings and talking to Board members and staff and reading what is being provided and a lot of other material. We have asked for a more comprehensive look for solutions.

As to the list of cuts, that is what was voted on, but it isn't real until the Board takes action on its final budget at the end of June (after the vote on the parcel tax). Even the pink slips are preemptive (for teachers they have to be issued by March 15 if there is any likelihood of a layoff). They can be rehired.

The list of $9+ million assumes no parcel tax and covers this school year and next. Also, the second interim financial report that would include the newest look at the impact of the state budget hasn't been posted online yet that I can find (it addresses whether the district can meet its obligations for this school year and the next two).

I don't think students are missing much in terms of services, but I also don't believe the community would find a larger reserve to be overkill. The problem with large reserves, though, comes when negotiations start. It's just the nature of the system.

I have suggested some ways this current dilemma could have been approached differently. They are lost in other threads now and would have had to start years ago. One board member had suggested another approach and got a polite nod, but no votes. The basic point of the no campaign is that only one solution has been presented (parcel tax) and is being marched forward regardless of whether it can succeed.

The merger idea sounds a lot like the county offices of education. At the risk of hearing from people working for them, I've never seen their value. The state could probably save money there. Pleasanton and Dublin used to overlap, but unification (along city limits) was chosen in 1988. The further you get from a neighborhood school, the less you feel connected to the decisions being made. A perfect example would be the Los Angeles district. It actually has superintendents for each specific area even though it is one district.

So, I think most of us want fewer scare tactics from the district office and more opportunity and time to think creatively to find a workable solution. Maybe that would mean a smaller parcel tax, with language that strictly limits it use, but it cannot happen without the participation and buy-in of this community.




Posted by Matt, a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm

The state budget is going to get worse; the deficit of $40 billion is expected to be filled through many what-ifs. If those what-ifs did not go through, then expect further cuts coming.

Be educated, be informed, it's our future after all.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Sorry for not being clear. My point is that there are cuts that can obviously be made away from the classroom, but those don't have anywhere near the same emotional impact. Consequently I was saying, in direct and certain terms, that the original poster is one of many that are trying to use disingenuous information to evoke an emotional response at the poll.

And I doubt you will see greens fees fall to $10, but you always have the option to get a better deal by lowering your cost per swing! ;-)


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Disagree w/B - I see your point on the merger - things can get out of hand in a hurry and I guess you could end up with a giant machine with little control.

While I don't feel that the district is providing "scare tactics" I agree that we need creative solutions. I'm just not sure what those are. Throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it - yes, it may band aid a little for a few years which may be the only benefit of a parcel tax (and if there is a long term solution the parcel tax may be part of that bridge to get there)

I truly am interested in what your (or others) ideas are for education reform. I've been trying to find things on the internet, but i keep coming up with the same arguments that the system is broken yet no REAL (read :actually achievable/implementable) solution. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but the discussion needs to start somewhere (as the US students as a whole keep falling further and further behind)


Posted by EM, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I would like to correct some inaccurate statements made about AP courses and AP testing. AP results are one nationwide measure used to evaluate the effectiveness of schools. The value of AP courses in measuring student achievement has been recognized by studies conducted by Clifford Adelman for the U.S. Department of Education. It is true that there is an administrative cost to take the test. However, if students cannot afford to take the test, other arrangements are made. It is true that the Challenge Index measures the number of test taken, and on this measure Foothill and Amador rank in Newsweek in the top 1,300 out of 27,000 schools. However, if the Challenge Index measured the actual number of tests student passed, Amador Valley and Foothill would actually have a HIGHER ranking. Unlike many schools, AP classes in Pleasanton are OPEN acccess, and voluntary. This evidence is not being offered to our own community as "bragging" rights. It is evidence offered to counter the generalization that the schools in this district are mediocre.

If AP testing is still a measure you find laughable, please take the time to consider that the US News and World Report study evaluated schools on a number of other factors.


Posted by Get educated!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Hi There, thank you for your logic, I hope readers can hear what you are saying.

PUSD is not threathning cuts, they have already been made.
Teachers with up to 7 years experience, whether they are temporary, probationary, or tenured have been given their pink slip. It is not a threat, it is the reality of the largest state cut in education in the history of California.

The information is on the PUSD website:

website,Web Link

Download the list of cuts. Read the process of how layoffs are carried out.

This idea of "The district needs to make cuts before they ask for money" is an argument that is no longer acceptable.

These are not just proposed, they are being followed through with.

This is a hard week. We are sad for our colleges, many residents of this community. But we are worried for how this will affect our students and the amazing programs the parents, teachers, administrators and countless volunteers have worked so hard to create.


Web Link


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Instead of "500 Jam Valley Community Church for pro-parcel tax rally," how about "Over 68,000 Pleasanton residents chose to NOT attend the pro-parcel tax rally."

Statistics can be misleading.


Posted by John II, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:33 am

Out of the 500 who jammed that church, there were probably 200 who are not old enough to vote and another 200 are teachers/staff who reside in other cities.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:33 am

The negative comments and false accusations here are shameful and embarassing for our community. This situation is bad enough - don't lower the morale of our educational professionals by posting insulting remarks. To people using these tactics: if you want your argument to have any integrity, you need to learn the facts and to elevate your discourse considerably.
Teachers reading this, please know you DO have lots of support from your community, and we appreciate your dedication to our kids! Despite some of the comments on this board, there is huge support for the parcel tax and a strong commitment to education here in Pleasanton, and we will keep working toward our goal of lessening the impact of the STATE BUDGET CUTS that are affecting our district.

Yes on the Parcel Tax!


Posted by Tax Revolt, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:08 am

KGM - Where are your facts? How do you know 'there is huge support for the parcel tax'? Even the KTVU news reporter acknowledged the lack of support. The Pleasanton Weekly poll was decidedly against the Parcel Tax (by the way, why did the poll get removed and why was it not reported by the PW in any news article? Jeb/Emily?) The level of angst/fear as shown by supporters of the tax is the biggest indicator that this parcel tax does not have the support of the community. The fact that the Committee to Save Pleasanton Schools (FPPC 1315242) wants to raise $80000 means that they KNOW they have lots of work/spending needed to overcome the lack of support. When this committee makes its first FPPC filing and we learn who the supporters are there will be more facts to examine. Yes, facts are good. And the more there are, the more voters will vote NO on the tax. There is plenty of time between now and June 2...........


Posted by Lenora, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:26 am

If Ponderosa gave five million dollars to the school district for the gated senior housing, where is it? They will be getting another $120,000 how will that fit into the PUSD budget? Can someone answer for me?


Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:33 am

PRO KIDS!

PRO Teachers!

PRO Community!

YES on Parcel Tax!
YES on Parcel TAX!
YES ON PARCEL TAX!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:47 am

My facts are located in previous postings. My last posting was to try to encourage people to use this area as a forum for intelligent discussion and to discourage negative discourse and attacks.

I know there is huge support because of the people that I talk to every day, who are very passionate about this issue, and the movement that is growing on a daily basis. I would not characterize the pro-parcel tax supporters as showing angst/fear. Concern is a more appropriate (and less pejorative) term, and our concern is based on the cuts that even the passage of the parcel tax will be unable to prevent. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done. There is always opposition to extra taxes. And yes there is a lot of time between now and June 2nd.

Our schools are going to be affected. This will ultimately show whether our community values education as much as the communities surrounding us, who have already passed parcel taxes for their schools.

For additional facts, please check out the Save Pleasanton Schools website, with links to district information. Additionally, there is plenty of information available throught the news and online about how the STATE BUDGET CRISIS is affecting districts throughout the state. As someone posted earlier, we can't contol the state situation, but we can lessen the impact of the state budget crisis on schools here in Pleasanton through passage of the parcel tax.

Yes on the parcel tax!


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:10 am

My original post is simply to point out that the Pleasanton Weekly's article headline is misleading. People read "500 jam" and it gives them the impression that the parcel tax has overwhelming support.


Statistics/numbers can be used to create an impression and this article has done that....but I would prefer that the PW would make more of an effort to be objective in its reporting.


Posted by David, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:38 am

The figurative handful of supporters that are trying to influence voters to pass this new tax have continually characterized anyone not in favor as mean and malicious. It is an emotional topic for parents of young children that don't understand that they are pawns in a union labor negotiation.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:52 am

I disagree that there is only a handful of supporters, or that supporters have "continually characterized anyone not if favor as mean and malicious." Rather, there are very specific comments made on this board that ARE mean and malicious. No one has said that this is representative of all people opposed to the parcel tax.

This IS an emotional topic for parents of young children - and parents of older children, and community members that care about the quality of education and level of resources in our district.

Finally, the claim that supporters do not understand that they are "pawns in a union labor negotiation" is simply insulting and dismissive of both the intelligence and the efforts of the people who do advocate for the parcel tax. Remember, pro parcel tax people will also be paying the tax, and nobody likes to pay extra taxes - some things are just worth paying extra for. In this time of difficulty, parcel tax supportes have looked at the potential impact on our schools and decided to advocate for this additional funding for our community schools.


Posted by David, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

(((Finally, the claim that supporters do not understand that they are "pawns in a union labor negotiation" is simply insulting and dismissive of both the intelligence and the efforts of the people who do advocate for the parcel tax.)))

… though not as dismissive and insulting as the "you owe my children your coffee money" argument that seems to crop up here every twenty postings, or so.

The complaint is that the board and education employees appear to be using all available (including highly deceptive) tactics to isolate a group of tax payers and assign their will to the situation. And by "their will" I mean a continued and unchecked path of raises and retirement benefits regardless of the state of our economy. And that is not acceptable.

The pro-tax posters are consistently proclaiming that there are no other answers but to impose a tax. But any other solution presented has been dismissed or labeled as unfair to employees and administrators.

For instance:

Per the PUSD website there are more than 900 teaching professionals employed at PUSD

Per the education data site the average pay for teaching professionals is $81,450

900 x 81,450 = $73,305,000

Per the PUSD web site there are approximately 400 additional support employees (administrators and maintenance, I assume)

Let's guess at an average salary of $50,000 per employee. I know that is too low, but just for the sake of argument:


400 x 50,000 = $20,000,000

That means the estimated payroll (based on my numbers) is around 93 million dollars.

Now … would a 10% reduction in cost solve everything and keep everyone employed? Do you think the private sector would view that as too much of an insult at this time?

Don't like my solution? Then raise some money through other fund raising methods and come up with a compromise.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:27 am

"500 people jam..." is a number, a count, a concrete fact. It doesn't matter who they were or what age they were- they were there. There were people there who do not support the tax, from what I have read in this blog.

Are you really expecting the article to have said 68,000 didn't attend? Now what kind of slant would that be.

Stop avoiding the point with rhetoric such as- they didn't say it right, or they didn't tell us in time, they are rushing us into a decision....

The district has made the cuts- 19 teachers at my child's school were given a notice saying there services will not be needed next year. What more slant do you need before you see what is happening?
This is not a scare tactic or a threat, it is happening due to major cuts in education from Sacramento.

Now, can you still say it is not your problem? Really?


Posted by ?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

Teachers get $80K? And Dr. Casey gets $250K plus tons of extras? Can someone please tell us how much the board members get and how much the other admin positions are paying? I honestly had no idea about their pay scale.


Posted by Pleasanton Homeowner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:41 am

100 % of the employees at my company were cut. I wish we had been offered the same opportunity to compromise that the district employees now have.

So yes … really.


Posted by KGB, a resident of Civic Square
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

It is a shameful day when a town can not support the future of educators and children. The educators deserve their salaries, just as a doctor does. The children deserve a future.

The PMC has had much controversy on this issue. It is curious the amount of young mothers who "do not" support this issue. Another Shameful Group in this community.

Hopefully there will be great maturity in understanding and supporting the needs of this little town.


Posted by Community Member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:08 am

I thought we wanted to attract the best and the brightest!

District personnel and educators will be absorbing the workload from positions the are going to be cut either way.

Student services are going to be cut either way.

Our schools simply cannot be expected to operate at the same level of excellence with such a drastic reduction of funding from the state. The parcel tax will help soften the blow. As everyone knows, schools already rely heavily on fundraising and extraq parent and teacher contributions.

Do we want to engage in a race to the bottom?


Posted by unemployed in PTown, a resident of Avila
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:19 am

Everyone needs to cut. Yeah, there might be more work for those admins and teachers who survive. My savings are working overtime right now.

It's not about 233 a year, it's about a $1000 / month "transportation" allowance. It's about handouts that those who feel they are ENTITLED to have don't want to give up.

What program might be saved by a $1000/month donation?

I wish I could get a "transportation allowance".

I'd have sacrificed 20,30,40% to keep my job. I didn't have the option.

Before handouts are not either taken or given up I don't see paying extra just to keep the entitled people happy.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

NO PARCEL TAX!!

I'm sick of California trying to pass its problems onto private citizens. Let the state and the school systems clean up their act and show us they can at least try to be efficient and/or make concessions before they try to tap into our (not so deep) pockets.


Posted by Lisa RN, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:57 am

KGB says "It is a shameful day when a town cannot support the future of educators and children. The educators deserve their salaries, just as a doctor does."

I am an RN w/ Masters and have been sent home 3x in past pay period due to budget cuts. Negotiations re: nurse:patient ratios are back on the table. Doctors where I work have been asked to cut back on their hours per pay period. Both decisions were made to be more cost effective w/ the consumers money in this downturn. Both doctors and nurses, as a result are receiving less per month than normally earned.

I don't call this organization shameful at all for this decision, nor do I find myself shameful for NOT supporting this parcel tax along with the "young mothers who do NOT support this issue". I call it "great maturity" underlined with courage to make a deciison and have fidelity to your principls despite how unpopular your vote may be to people like you who want to call us "shameful". Using your head opposed to how you "feel" about this issue is both valued and mature. All I hear with your post are your emotions.

Calling those who live with you in this "little town" "shameful" and attacking their integrity sounds like a bully on the playground or the "mean girl" middle schooler who can't manipulate others to get their way.

Well, we can stay on the same playground, but I elect not to play with you. I can find lots of others in this "little town" who have the "maturity and understanding" that you invoke.




Posted by LIZ, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Superintendent Casey appears to have mislead the community telling us the Step&Column is mandated by some kind of legislation. That does not appear to be true but it is instead a negotiated item.
I am sorry teachers can not understand that looking for reasonable ways to manage the budget in these extraordinary times is not saying we do not value our teachers. In fact it is making every effort to save every teachers job. More lost jobs would be bad for everyone.
Looking at what was the norm no longer applies, compensation increases must stop until the economy rebounds.
Pro-Kids
Pro-Teacher
Pro-Community
NO PARCEL TAX


Posted by dollar & sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Part of the solution is to encourage PUSD to develop a long term strategy to control spending and improve efficiencies, not encouraging their current spending pattern. If you don't see that as part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Any talk of parcel tax should come after all improvement efforts have been exhausted.

NO ON PARCEL TAX! (until PUSD cleans up its act)


Posted by Jan, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Well said Lisa RN!


Posted by Dominic DiBlasio, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Quality of education is important to our community. It's alarming that so many blindly follow the idea of tax and spend thinking this will fix the problem, when it is likely to only be band aid and does not address the root problem.

Here are some fact that never seem to get reported:

- We americans spend more dollars per student than most other countries yet our public education is not very competitive. I do agree that Pleasanton has a good quality of education, but this isn't related to policies as much as it is to individual contributors on the front line of our schools (the teachers)

- Noone ever talks about nor reports that as the Teacher's Union has become one of the strongest in the country, this rise in prominence correlates directly to the decline of our public schools.

- We need new representation in government at every level in CA...Schools should be encouraged and incented to innovate and become more efficient like businesses have too do in lean times. Perhaps fundraisers might be in order right now...

- The Teacher's Union should be pressured by the citizenry to fund innovation not political agenda and viewpoints.

Too bad we can't start a grassroots movement to address the root causes of the school's financial budget shortfall rather than have the people bail out the schools with more taxes and when this happens again, we will be taxed some more...


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm

PUSD does not waste money.
Our "business" is kids with ever-increasing needs.
Take away the money and you will see the quality of education go with it, remember you get what you pay for.
I respect your decision if you chose not to vote for the parcel tax, it is one of a personal nature.
But, there is no way we can continue the same education for less money. We are already overworked and understaffed.


Posted by FUNDRAISING, a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I like the idea of fund raising to bail out the schools. Lord knows that the people who live here like to buy things for themselves and their kids.

I think it would be feasable to raise the money needed to keep the district funded at current levels. Don't you?


Posted by David, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I want everyone to go back and read what "dollar & sense" wrote! WELL PUT! Straight and to the point. Everyone ELSE is just making this issue more complicated!


Posted by -, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

No, I don't think MORE fundraising is a good idea. We already have to fundraise with current funding levels.

And California passing its problems to private citizens? What does that even mean? California's problems are all of our problems! This isn't government versus citizens. There is a global economic crisis going on and we are feeling the effects at every level.

I am all for reforming the state system of funding education, but there is an immediate need that needs to be addressed and this pardcel tax is a temporary but helpful solution for Pleasanton while we work on the larger problems.

It is a given that we are all making sacrifices right now. Education is important. Pleasanton needs to show a commitment to our students in a time of great need through providing additional funding to compensate from state cuts through a (frankly negligible) parcel tax.

To allow our district to slide backward in quality/quantity of educagtion provided due to financial constraints as have been presented by the state budget crisis is a HUGE mistake, and one that we would all pay an even greater price for for years and years.






Posted by derek, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Teacher - It's disturbing to see those comma splice errors in your writing. I question whether we are getting what we pay for!

What exactly do you teach?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Derek,
Let's back off the teacher, shall we? We're not a bunch of bullies here.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Sorry Lance M that this took a while, but here is where we started on another thread about how to approach evaluating the predicament:
• Are we happy with the service we're receiving?
• Are we willing to pay more to solve any problems with the existing service? How much are we willing to pay?
• Are there additional services we want?
• Are we willing to pay more for those services? How much are we willing to pay?
• Should we do both? Should we do it at all?

More specific ideas that may or may not find support, but are a starting place (no priority, just random thoughts). Some may be or are occurring.

• Board members have three areas of focus: hiring/supervising the superintendent, adopting the budget, and setting policy. They should know the budget inside out and be making suggestions. They should take the supervising side of their positions more seriously.
• What are the principals' ideas for what they need/cut?
• What are the teachers' ideas about what they need/cut?
• What is the fiscal impact of K-3 moving to 21:1; 22:1; etc.?
• What about reducing class size by using classroom aides (potentially lower cost than a teacher)? How do we relieve the administrative minutiae of the classroom to let teachers teach?
• Take benefits off the salary schedule. Get a consultant who can analyze and renegotiate benefits with the insurers. This would be a good place for a merger of districts in what could be a joint powers agreement.
• Use other ways to compensate: give some money off the salary schedule in "fat" years so it is not an ongoing cost, determine how merit pay might be accomplished, put a larger percentage of dollars for raises at the bottom of the salary schedule to attract the best of the newest teachers.
• Keep a strong curriculum department to support learning. Smaller HR. No PR.
• Can we provide more autonomy to the schools to see what creative approaches they have to learning?
• Move principals every five years to reduce stagnation, share great leaders, stop fiefdoms.
• Work with union leaderships to problem solve so they see themselves as more than bargaining units.
• Work with the PTAs to focus their fund raising efforts. (Some schools asked for a few hundred dollars at the beginning of the year--not always with a list of exactly where the money would go.)
• Work with PPIE to focus their fund raising efforts. (People tend to donate more when there is a specific program that benefits from it.)
• Bigger issues for California are Prop 13, Prop 98, Serrano vs. Priest, and the concept of a free education.
• I had other ideas about how Neal Elementary might have been built and opened with a parcel tax.

I am certain there are better ideas and that a great idea can be found with some principals and their staffs. I don't think they can easily step forward though.


Posted by to Derek, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm

You notice the teachers comma splice errors yet fail to capitalize your own name? It's no wonder people don't want to teach. You are at the mercy of every moron who thinks he/she pays your salary. It's doubtful that "teacher" is an English teacher. That's the only situtaion in which his/her commas really matter. Also, I am not sure anyone on this blog has their Elements of Style out as a reference while typing an opinion. You are a bully derek.


Posted by Working parent on lunch break, a resident of Las Positas
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I went back and read "dollars and sense"like David advised. Good advice BTW.

The post is 100% right. I only have to refer to a portion of what "resident on another Plesanton neighborhood wrote" to support.

"To allow our district to slide backward in quality/quantity of educagtion(sic) provided due to financial constraints as have been presented by the state budget crisis is a HUGE mistake, and one that we would all pay an even greater price for for years and years."

Clearly, that poster is part of the problem, although certainly free to that opinion. I for one do not equate quality with cost nor quantity to cost (If you do, I got a whole lot of quality "collectible" beanie babies to sell that I paid a lot for years ago).

Throwing money at a problem, especially in these economic times regardless of the source, state or federal, is like pouring salt into a wound. It only going to make it hurt more.

Yes to a long term strategy to control spending and improve efficiencies. No on the parcel tax.






Posted by Love My Country, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

I think the thing that Dollars & Sense does not understand is that the school district is terribly efficient already. PUSD is an incredibly tight ship. I have witnessed how other districts are run and PUSD really does try to keep costs down. Unlike a government a school district must present a balanced budget yearly and PUSD has always done this. PUSD has always kept reserves above the minimum. PUSD has put money into adequately compensating personnel and maintaining safe facilities. I think the notion of the district or teachers squandering away the money is a false one. They do amazing work with not enough resources. Yes, we will all have to cut back. The district and the teachers will recieve less to educate your kids with. So really it comes down to giving the kids less. Please vote YES on the parcel tax. I wish I did not have to but I want your kids to recieve the same amazing education my kids did with PUSD and we need to keep all our teachers - and not expect them to further subsidize - for that to happen.


Posted by Irony, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Isn't it ironic that when teachers strike for increased wages, their arguments are all about how they deserve to be paid more....when they're on strike, our kids' education goes on hold, and there's no talk about doing what's best for the kids. It's all about money.
When teachers get laid off or are asked to consider taking a pay cut so there are fewer lay offs, all their arguments against these actions focus on doing what's best for the kids and their education.
But it's still all about money.
To those teachers who received pink slips - I am sorry that like so many others in Pleasanton, you're without a job. Many of you are phenomenal teachers and you've made a huge difference in the lives of many students.
But please remember, we're in a recession, and moving in the direction of a depression. The parcel tax may have saved some of you this year, but you'd be facing the same uncertainty about layoffs next year.
Ask your peers, those with enough seniority that they knew they wouldn't be receiving pink slips, why they weren't willing to take a pay cut to retain more of you.
All across the country, companies are initiating pay cuts across the board, starting job sharing programs, and yes, there are even executives who are not taking their negotiated bonuses in order to retain as many employees as possible.
None of these things are happening in Pleasanton. Dr. Casey will still receive his annual 10K bonus for working at least 85% of the workdays during the school year, no suggestions have been made for job sharing, and all the administrators and teachers who didn't receive pink slips aren't getting pay cuts.
It's a shame that PUSD can't negotiate with teachers directly rather than with the union. If they could, PUSD would definitely have the best and the brightest rathen than only those with the most seniority.


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Facts:

U.S. is heading towards Socialism; so hang on to your $. (Joe, you are so right on!)

State of California has raped all the California schools of so much money that it's like throwing your child overboard in hopes he/she can swim. Time was too limited to know what to do .... long term. Remember, we/PUSD just got the approved budget for next year and schools all over CA needed to make their financial decisions way before this. Like putting the cart before the horse.

PUSD does not waste money but does pay top dollar to get top employees and that has been proven; contrary to what some of you say. We rank and we rank HIGH. Lucky us...for now.

Most of our teachers are to die for. If we lose them, someone will gain from our loss.

Most people move here because of the schools...hold that thought. Ask a realtor.

Board members have been given a stipend of $400/mth (to answer ?'s question) for as long as I have been paying attention and that is around 15 years. Their average volunteered time per month, given the issues, runs no less than 25 hours per month and can run well over 100 hours per month when subject matters such as parcel tax demand it. Remember, these are people who cared enough about the children to volunteer their time over and above what they normally do on a daily basis.

A special needs child (to answer Stacey; as I agree with her for the following)requires a full-time aid and that costs the school district (last time I checked) $95,000 per year!!!!!!!!! And, there are quite a few of them in the PUSD system.

English as a second language has its costs but I don't know the stats. EL's take away a lot of learning time because of their needs. One of the costs here is valuable learning time for the students; especially those that must wait for the others to catch up on a daily basis. I challenge any of you to try and handle 20 Kindergarteners, half or better being EL's. Put more in the classroom for one teacher? Silly thought.

I also don't know the costs for the school to have interpreters; but they are needed. Sad, huh?

The last three items mentioned above, and I know I have forgotten some, are either Federally or State mandated. Let me repeat that. All of these are either Federally or State mandated, and, I believe all are mandated without pay. That means PUSD must have these services but PUSD must pay for them with no financial help from the government. It's like the government telling you that you must have your child take private guitar lessons bi-weekly but at your expense from now until they change their minds. Like big government now? Just wait.

FINALLY, I agree with Parent: DEREK, BACK OFF THE TEACHERS. PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN BOTTOM DWELLERS WHEN YOU HAVE TO BRING OTHERS DOWN TO BUILD YOURSELF UP.

People, remember this: your $0.64/day is for the children...our future. It is not and should not be an issue entangled with the messes of our state. None of us like taxes. These are our children first; our pride and property values second.



Posted by Derke's friend, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Yes teachers, firemen, police, etc and anyone employed with a govt job are at the mercy of those who pay their salary...the tax payer. Why is that so terrible? It is the reality. Each know when they choose their line of work but too often forget who does sign the check. If that discourages you from becoming a teacher, then don't. People who work for private industry are at the mercy of their "employer". That too is a reality. Don't be so thin skinned. Teachers are adults. I'm sure the teacher like other govt employers can defend themselves or choose to ignore, without everyone running to the defense of the teacher.


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

One more fact: A teacher's salary is before all the costs they personally spend on their students each year. It runs in the thousands for many; especially the younger teachers. I know; just ask them.

Vote 'YES' on the parcel tax. It is worth it.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I neglected to mention here that I think a great teacher should be able to earn (through merit pay) more than a principal.

Also, the biggest problem seems to be that K-12 education is top-down driven that should have a bottom-up priority. There needs to be an adjustment to the balance of power. For me, the trade offs are no unions and a district office that is in more of a support role.

If schools, teachers, principals, and parents had more flexibility (there are plenty of measurement mechanisms to assure quality and content aren't lost), schools would be individual teaching/learning communities. It could morph to providing children and their families a choice.

It isn't about 64 cents a day; it's about $4.6 million. The district is asking us to bail them out using the state crisis as cover, but the origin of the problem was theirs.


Posted by Ha ha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Derke's friend. Derek will not be your friend as you are not so good with the punctuation either. Lay off, you are not the boss of the teachers. In business you answer to the employer and customers as a whole. Not many of you face customers daily and listen to every complaint they have. The teachers in this district do listen to the community as a whole. I think they just try to igmore the crazies.


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Derek or Derke? Friend in deed.
Teachers go into the profession because they like kids. Novel concept. It has nothing to do with the government or unions. In fact, most would probably wish there was no connection with either.


Posted by 4 words, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Read all these posts, some of them more than once to be sure I was understanding both sides. Many posts kept repeating previous posts although well written. I find the Yes people quite wordy, and their arguemnts paassionate although wanting to make excuses to justify the tax regardless of the cause. The no folks quite brief and to the point. Maybe best described as less is more approach! No to Parcel Tax.


Posted by Right on Sister, a resident of California Reflections
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Yup! I agree - the love of learning, the joy of working with kids. That's why they do it. The passion for educating every child regardless of his or her needs. Those are precicely the reasons to do the job. From what they have told me they wish all the other stuff would go away. Unions & the Government included. That is why we need to do all we can to protect these insane people who willingly teach our kids to be the best they can.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm

LIZ wrote: "Superintendent Casey appears to have mislead the community telling us the Step&Column is mandated by some kind of legislation. That does not appear to be true but it is instead a negotiated item."

I'm not familiar with what Casey said that you're referring to. I have heard that supposedly there's legislation requiring any temporary suspension in step and column to be paid back at a later date, which discourages temporary suspension. What kind of bet would you like to make that said legislation is a result of union lobbying?


Posted by question for teachers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Teachers, how much do you have to pay in union dues each year?
I'm all for merit pay. There are some incredibly hardworking, creative and just darned great teachers in this school district. They deserve to be paid more instead of being stuck with maximum capacity classrooms because parents transfer their students out of classes led by the mediocre, and in a few cases, really bad teachers.
But merit pay can't happen while you're part of a union.
Revolt! Good teachers don't need a union.


Posted by Derek and Derke's friend, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Dear PW and Haha; Because you like kids does not change the fact you still work for the tax payer. Like it or not you are at their mercy. Thats the reality. I invite you to live in the reality of this economic crisis.


Posted by 1776, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm

If I were the superintendant of the PUSD, here is what I would do, starting tomorrow, March 12, 2009.


Cut administration costs by 50%.


I would also demand that certified (teacher) costs be reduced at once by 25% and classified (janitors, etc) costs be reduced by 25%. Vendor and 3rd party costs would also be reduced by 25%.




Stop all capital improvement projects until further notice.




Be certain all district buildings are operating at peak efficiency: heat and A/C operating 25% above peak efficiency; landscape management: pay particular attention to wasteful spending and unnecessary overwatering. Monitor use of all electricity to reduce monthly costs by 35%. Reward community members (non-monetarily) for ideas on ways to creatively save energy and save on expenses.




Do all this first, then come to the people of Pleasanton and ask them to pay for this parcel tax. Many Pleasanton taxpayers want to see what the district will do now, not after the vote on June 2. The fact that the vote is now on June 2nd is also a point of concern – at an estimated cost of $300k - an outrage!




We must all pitch in to keep our schools strong. Thank you to all the people of Pleasanton for already supporting us – you pay high property taxes right now. And if you rent, your property tax is built into your monthly rent payment.




I support the Pleasanton Tea Party!




Also, thank you to Disagree w/B for this information (below). Your posts are logical and spot on target!


Pay raises:




Year 2008/09


Certificated 0%


Classified 0%


Management 0%




2007/08


Certificated 3.38%


Classified 4.12%


Management 4.12%




2006/07


Certificated 5.73%


Classified 5.73%


Management 5.73%




2005/06


Certificated 4.60%


Classified 4.60%


Management 4.60%




//////////////////////////////////////////




Certificated = 13.71% the past 3 years: 2005-2008


Classified = 14.45% the past 3 years: 2005-2008


Management = 14.45% the past 3 years: 2005-2008


Posted by -, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Working Parent,

Quality and quantity of services provided to our students as impacted by state budget cuts can hardly be equated with a bin of Beanie Babies.

The parcel tax is not "throwing money at a problem." It is a way to fill a gaping hole being punched into the district budget.


Posted by parent, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

To the person who speaks about all the money Pleasanton teachers put into their classes...parents make tons of donations to Pleasanton schools. In most other school districts the teachers make significantly less and don't get half the donations. So, you can't cry in our school district about how financially difficult it is for the teachers.

Focus on what you really want...more money so our children can enjoy the quality of education and everything we would like them to have. The kids could survive with less, many of us parents did...we would just like our children's lives to be easier than ours. Which is great, but don't start trying to create a poor teachers/hard life situation that isn't true for Pleasanton. Focus. When you start making things up you don't win the battle, you lose it for all of us! People want to hear the truth, not stories.

Vote yes on the Parcel Tax because you want your children to have the best possible education! This isn't about the teachers/unions/california government. Those are another battle we need to address and fight, but those are long term. Let's correct the short term issue and then get parents together to fight California and the teacher's union!


Posted by Another Parent, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Parent,

I agree completely with what you say about wanting our children to have the best possible education! Well said about their lives being easier than ours - that is what it is all about!

One comment, though - I think with teaching, it is specific to that profession that a notable portion of one's salary, however high or low it might be, does go toward purchase of supplies for their students. This is something most other professions do not have to factor in. So in that sense, I don't think the teachers are crying poor teachers - it is just a fact of the profession that makes me, as a taxpayer and a parent, want to take another look at asking teachers to take salary reductions.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm

"I for one do not equate quality with cost nor quantity to cost (If you do, I got a whole lot of quality "collectible" beanie babies to sell that I paid a lot for years ago)."

You obviously do associate quality with cost. You were willing to pay a lot of money for the "quality" Beanie Babies. You could have purchased much cheaper knock offs - but they would not have been the quality brand. I'm guessing the car(s) you own are also not the cheapest car you could find to do whatever task you want (meaning you probably didn't buy the cheapest SUV you could find). People buy more expensive cars because they have better reputation for quality. People don't like to buy 20 year old Ford Explorers because there is a perception that they are not high quality.

Of course you don't always have to pay top dollar for good quality. But it does take a certain minimum level of spending to make a good quality product versus a lower quality product. For example its much cheaper to make an IKEA dresser made out of MDF (low cost materials) then one made out of solid oak (much high cost material) with dovetail joints and handcraft assembly. It would be hard to argue that the solid oak dresser is not of superior quality and should necessarily cost more.

My overall point is that for quality of anything there is a bottom level of spending. Below that you just crap. Above that you may or may not get better quality for the cost, but that's all about finding the right product (and supply and demand).

For our schools, what is that minimum? I don't know, but the state is certainly trying to find out. At some point all of California schools are going to sink beyond repair (physically and educationally). Hopefully there will be some reform before that time.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Sorry, should have said BEFORE asking teachers to take salary reductions.

Anyway, we are voting YES on the parcel tax! :)


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

"Each know when they choose their line of work but too often forget who does sign the check."

I beleive for PUSD employees, that would by Dr. Casey.


Posted by Econ Class, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Dr. Casey may have his signature on the paycheck, but it is the taxpayers of Pleasanton and to a lesser extent, Alameda County, the State of California and the United States of America that PAY the salaries! Economics 101.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Stacey,
I would like to see the legislation that Dr. Casey has referred to, so far no one knows about it. You are good with searches can you find anything?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Liz,

I'll try to look. It is probably buried in the California Education Code. In the meantime I found this interesting link: Web Link

"Alternative compensation programs augment seniority-based compensation with programs intended to promote teacher effectiveness and professionalism. ...

# In 2006, SB 1209 passed with support from both the California Teachers Association (CTA), and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). This amendment to the California Education Code allows for the negotiation and implementation of alternative compensation strategies for teachers, with the mutual agreement of school districts and teachers' unions.

Because California districts have not yet participated in the development of alternative compensation plans, thus far federal support has flowed to other states. There is a large opportunity for local districts in California to make a huge impact by being pioneers. "


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm

It is more common than not that employees fund the purchase of some, or all, of their "tools". At least teachers have the option to opt out. Let's not pretend that this is a special circumstance that no other profession endures. Whether it is a uniform, a hammer, or a set of flash cards, most of us have to make some investment into our trade, so let's drop this argument. It is unproductive.


Posted by Bill F., a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Re Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, 18 minutes ago

Liz,

I'll try to look. It is probably buried in the California Education Code. In the meantime I found this interesting link: Web Link

"Alternative compensation programs augment seniority-based compensation with programs intended to promote teacher effectiveness and professionalism. ...

# In 2006, SB 1209 passed with support from both the California Teachers Association (CTA), and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). This amendment to the California Education Code allows for the negotiation and implementation of alternative compensation strategies for teachers, with the mutual agreement of school districts and teachers' unions.

Because California districts have not yet participated in the development of alternative compensation plans, thus far federal support has flowed to other states. There is a large opportunity for local districts in California to make a huge impact by being pioneers. "

--------------

If I'm reading this correctly, school districts throughout California, including Pleasanton, have, right now, an alternative compensation structure at their disposal and have all chosen not to use it. Will our School Board members please look into this? In fact, this should probably be a new topic of discussion.


Posted by OkYouWin*A Teacher, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm

You are correct. Teachers are a bunch of money grubbing greedy kid haters who will be mean to your kids if you vote no on the parcel tax. 1776 is also correct. Slash teacher pay by 25%, I am sure we will attract the best and the brightest by offering a starting pay of $41734 per year to do a job that is hard and underappreciated in a community filled with hateful people. You are right that this will trickle down to your kids. Retaliate we won't but, you will not created a feeling of pride and respect with this hateful talk. We are people. We work with your kids. We deserve a living wage, we are not asking for less. I could leave this profession and make more money elsewhere, most of us could. We are great at what we do and we love, teach and protect your kids all day long. If you don't support the tax that is your choice. We would love to not have to ask for it, we ask for so much already and the community always has been supportive. We would like to not ask for more help. The state is taking ten million dollars from your kids. Whatever you feel please stop attacking the people who have sacraficed so much to make education wonderful for your kids. YOUR kids. OUR community. The negative tone of this discussion affects us deeply. Most of us do not have thick skins. We are teachers, nurturers. We are protective of these kids and the union does it's best to protect our interests because we do not have the time nor the energy nor the backbone. I guarantee you that most of us would take a paycut in a heartbeat for these kids but it's not right. We do so much already. We volunteer ENDLESS hours to help YOUR kids. OUR community. Please, stop being mean. We need your support and your constructive criticism. Not your destructive criticism.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Liz,

California Education Code, Part 25 Employees, Chapter 4 Employment-Certificated Employees Web Link

CHAPTER 4. EMPLOYMENT--CERTIFICATED EMPLOYEES
Article 1. Rights and Duties .............................. 44800-44824
Article 2. Employment ..................................... 44830-44929
Article 2.7. Permanent Status ....................... 44929.20-44929.29
Article 3. Resignations, Dismissals, and Leaves of Absence 44930-44988
Article 4. Increased Cost of Dismissal Procedure ............... 45020
Article 5. Salaries ..................................... 45022-45061.5

Particularly Section 45023 Web Link

"45023. The governing board of each school district shall adopt and
cause to be printed and made available to each certificated employee
a schedule of salaries to be paid."


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm

"Dr. Casey may have his signature on the paycheck, but it is the taxpayers of Pleasanton and to a lesser extent, Alameda County, the State of California and the United States of America that PAY the salaries! Economics 101. "

Well first off, you may want to check with your econ professor on the details because the money from Pleasanton does not all flow directly back to Pleasanton. And the taxpayers do not PAY the public emplyee salaries any more than I PAY the slary of a costco worker when I shop there. Yes, the money that I spend there goes to pay the salaries, but I am not responsible for paying each employee. (Econ 201 - which maybe you didn't get to yet)

But that's not he issue. First you said, teachers "often forget who does sign the check" and that is Dr. Casey (common knowledge 101). As taxpayers, we elect school board members to oversee the district and run the "company". The school board then hires a superintendent and so on and so forth. It is is the Superintendent who pays the salaries. He is in charge of the funds to run the district.

So we as taxpayers are similar to share holders in a public company. As a shareholder I have a right to go to annual meetings and talk with the board of directors. I can give my opinion about the operations and things because I am part owner. But if I own some shares of Home Depot, its not my right to walk into the local store and tell them to rearrange the merchandise and not to sell brand X. I also can not walk in and demand that everyone take a pay cut, nor can I give everyone a pay raise. As share holders you put faith in the management of the company.

Yes, there is a major difference in that I can sell my shares if I do not like the way the company operates, but I can not stop paying taxes (well, you could if you move out of the country which is a viable alternative, but not really a valid argement to say "if you don't like it just move")

Yes, all tax payers provide funds for the teachers salary, but that doesn't mean you can walk into a classroom and tell the teacher what to do that day. Or walk into the DMV and tell them to change the drivers test. Or tell the people repairing the highway to paing the lines a different color.








Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Stacey and Bill,

I think this is in fact the center of this issue.
The elephant in the room.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:07 pm

"Dr. Casey may have his signature on the paycheck, but it is the taxpayers of Pleasanton and to a lesser extent, Alameda County, the State of California and the United States of America that PAY the salaries! Economics 101. "

Well first off, you may want to check with your econ professor on the details because the money from Pleasanton does not all flow directly back to Pleasanton. And the taxpayers do not PAY the public emplyee salaries any more than I PAY the slary of a costco worker when I shop there. Yes, the money that I spend there goes to pay the salaries, but I am not responsible for paying each employee. (Econ 201 - which maybe you didn't get to yet)

But that's not he issue. First you said, teachers "often forget who does sign the check" and that is Dr. Casey (common knowledge 101). As taxpayers, we elect school board members to oversee the district and run the "company". The school board then hires a superintendent and so on and so forth. It is is the Superintendent who pays the salaries. He is in charge of the funds to run the district.

So we as taxpayers are similar to share holders in a public company. As a shareholder I have a right to go to annual meetings and talk with the board of directors. I can give my opinion about the operations and things because I am part owner. But if I own some shares of Home Depot, its not my right to walk into the local store and tell them to rearrange the merchandise and not to sell brand X. I also can not walk in and demand that everyone take a pay cut, nor can I give everyone a pay raise. As share holders you put faith in the management of the company.

Yes, there is a major difference in that I can sell my shares if I do not like the way the company operates, but I can not stop paying taxes (well, you could if you move out of the country which is a viable alternative, but not really a valid argement to say "if you don't like it just move")

Yes, all tax payers provide funds for the teachers salary, but that doesn't mean you can walk into a classroom and tell the teacher what to do that day. Or walk into the DMV and tell them to change the drivers test. Or tell the people repairing the highway to paing the lines a different color.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Liz,

One last thing. If you look at the PUSD list of possible reductions (Web Link), under "Negotiable Items for Consideration" is a line item mentioning deferring step and column. So there's something in the law that allows a temporary suspension. I don't have time to look for it right now.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm


Thanks Stacey,

At quick review this seems to suggest S&C is a negotiated item. Can anyone pull a summary from it? I'll review it more tonight.


Posted by 1776, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I should make it clear that my cost reduction recommendations should stay in effect for the duration of the parcel tax - 4 years. After this time, pay increases can be evaluated, depending on economics at that time.

To OkYouWin*A Teacher, you just don't get it. Many of the people that pay your salary are currently out of work. I live on a very nice street here in Birdland. I'm looking out my front window now and I know six families within this block have have suffered full time job loss in the past 2 months. You say you will work for nothing less and if need be, will find a job in the private sector. It is exactly this attitude that concerns (a mild form of what I really want to write) so many of us. It is a UNION-FIRST attitude.

Trust me, there are thousands of teachers willing to make less and work in this district, or would you like to work in Oakland or Richmond -- after all, they do pay higher salaries there - hmmm, I thought not.

I'm not looking for a fight here, just looking for solutions that will get us in a fiscally sane direction. Getting defensive doesn't move us forward.


Posted by Can't figure it out, a resident of Gatewood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I just can't figure it out. Why all the anger? Its a parcel tax - and you get to vote on it. The financial consequences are know to all. The cuts are on the PUSD website and the Parcel Tax Rate is $233 a year.

You are either for it (basic argument is we shouldn't cut teachers and programs as it will hurt education)

Or against it (arguments include don't think the district is run properly or all the district employees need to take a pay or simply can not afford it)

Vote how you want, but VOTE! And you know what? The best thing is even if the vote doesn't go your way, you can go to school board meetings and voice your opinions (or send the board members emails) and then you can run for school board when positions open and actually BE the decision maker.

But please don't spend your time and energy calling people on the other side names or making up facts to try to sway the others. It just minimizes yourself and everyone who has valid argument/points.


Posted by Econ Class, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Hi There, you missed my point completely. You don't need to explain how the district operates. You do need to appreciate where all the money the district spends comes from.

Dr. Casey can do nothing without the taxpayer's money. The only source of revenue Dr. Casey or anyone else in the district can "manage" is money from elsewhere – the school district generates no noteworthy income of its own.

Dr. Casey had a fiduciary responsibility to manage taxpayer dollars judiciously. Econ 301.

I wonder, perhap you are Dr. Casey! LOL!!


Posted by Econ Class, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm

With regrets, I forgot the 's' at the end of perhaps. I was too busy laughing. ;)


Posted by Kate, a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Can't figure it out,

What do you mean by "making up facts to try to sway the others." What facts are being made up?




Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Econ Class - Darn it! You figured me out!

Maybe I missed your point completely, but the way your original post was interpreted was that because you pay taxes you get to decide how things should be run, which isn't the case. You get your opinion by elected school board and talking with them. They make the final decision on all major issues (including budgets and hiring).

So yes, perhaps many public employees forget where their meal ticket comes from sometimes, but we also have to responsibility as taxpayers and voters to put people in charge who are able to make the tough decisions.


Posted by Can't Figure It Out, a resident of Gatewood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Kate - Well, I don't want to dig through all of these post to identify each, so I will give one "fact" from each side that I have read here

The quality of schools is the reason why our housing values have increased. (Yes, schools have to do with, but are not the only thing - or course this has been argued to death)

San Ramon schools outperform Pleasanton schools on tests - (checking Standardized test scores, we are almost even - and SRVUSD currently has a parcel tax)

My point was not really to actually pick out specific things (until you asked) but to try to stick to the facts in the future.


Posted by Another Teacher, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm

To 1776 - Oh no, you are the one that does not get it.
If we worked in the private sector we would have had the opportunity over the past 10 years to benefit from the amazing economic situation that MANY if not ALL of my friends in the private sector were able to benefit from. We are all sorry about job losses. What you don't understand is that once the money is taken off the table in education it does not EVER come back. We work for modest wages as it is. We are so educated. My contacts in the private world, including my husband, have been hit. But the more educated people I know have been hit less hard. We all make choices in terms of what we do for a living and we as teachers have chosen to forgo economic prosperity to be able to participate in an institution that we feel benefits society in a way that can not be quantified in terms of dollars. I have been teaching in the district for 11 years and am extremely well respected. I have a masters degree and here's my PAYCHECK data. The real money you are talking so flippantly about taking away. My gross MONTHLY pay is $7200. I pay $1600 a month for my family health care because my husband's company does not offer it. I pay $1200 in federal taxes, $389 in state. $105 for medicare, $692 toward my retirement. $57 for disability insurance and $93 to the union. My TAKE HOME PAY monthly, after 7 years of college education is (drum roll)... $3064. Then, I take $1800 of that and pay it to a local day care to take care of my kids. That leaves me $1200. How can a family live on $1200? After 12 years of teaching and 7 years of higher education. I work 10 hour days most of the time to keep on top of the grading and tutoring. I know times are tough, but we are not compensated enough to take any money away from any of us. To contrast this my best friend who graduated from college with me (BS only, she never pursued a Masters) went into a different field. She is currently laid off but in her words "has at least two years" in reserves thanks to stock options in the good times. I have worked hard, conserved money. I still can't save that kind of cash and none of you are offering me your stock options. Please, $233 is nothing, to ensure your kids will retain the amazing teachers they have. All the teachers would gladly pay $233 a year as well to make it "fair". But asking me to pay 5% is asking me to pay $3600 a year. 10% $7200 a year. 15% $10,800 a year and 25% (as 1776 suggested) asks me to pay $18020 a year. Why is it fair to place that heavy of a burden on 900 people rather than on all the parcels in the city? I think there are a lot more parcels than teachers in this wonderful district.


Posted by reality check, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm

To Another Teacher - For starter your hubby needs to get off the couch and find a real job. Let's just assume everything you said is true, what's stopping you from going on welfare?

Do you and your colleagues feel entitled to more of the taxpayers' money? Choosing the teaching profession is your choice. You chose a profession that pays $81,000 per year with only 180 work days. And I'm suppose to feel sorry for you? Please...most of us really work for a living.


Posted by reality check, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm

To Another Teacher - For starter your hubby needs to get off the couch and find a real job. Let's just assume everything you said is true, what's stopping you from going on welfare?

Do you and your colleagues feel entitled to more of the taxpayers' money? Choosing the teaching profession is your choice. You chose a profession that pays $81,000 per year with only 180 work days. And I'm suppose to feel sorry for you? Please...most of us really work for a living.


Posted by Not going to retire soon, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Hello Another Teacher,

Your salary, might all be true, but how's retirement benefits look? Most of us private sector employees have only social-insecurity to look forward to.

So, if I have to invest in a private pension plan to be the equal of state emplyees I might end up with the same take home.

Some one already mentioned, we all make our own choices when we seek emplyment.

In the end it's not about how much one makes, how dedicated one is, how many sacrifices one makes for their job, it's about the publics trust in the government agency that is entrusted to spend our hard earned money. I think in general the trust in our government is not very high.

I realy don't think anyone wants to take a way from the schools.


Posted by Yet another Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Please come sub for me for one day and tell me if I "really work for a living" or not. You have no idea.


Posted by Julie, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

By the way Another (entitled) Teacher, you conveniently left out that you have a full retirement plan that continues to pay you when you approach what used to be considered retirement age. Your laid off friend and many others are probably wondering how many "greeter" jobs are going to be available at Wal-Mart when they reach the same age (and beyond). You are not entitled to my money because of your chosen path.


Posted by 1776, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Another Teacher,

Please spare us your paycheck and monthly expense details - we have our own household budgets issues to deal with. You have bought EVERYTHING your union feeds you! Contracts are always negotiated between parties. What is taken away now can be regained in better times. Stock options? What planet are you on? Have you looked at the market in the last year? I am suggesting that all government employees give back during these tough times, not just teachers. And don't get me started on government retirement programs... ;)


Posted by Teacher Friend, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Reality Check,
I as a parent in this community find your comments to the teacher to be rude and disrespectful. Your children probably behave the same way. Teachers work so hard and many of them do work through the summer. They volunteer many hours helping the kids. Maybe the teacher's husband is a contractor - many in Pleasanton are - and they often do not receive employer sponsored health care. Also, the teacher did not elude to her husband's pay, her husband is likely why she is not on welfare. A single mother who is a teacher would be. It is likely they make enough money. She was just sharing her side. Her pay. You do that job for one minute. Judging from your disposition in this post you would be a horrific educator. If you think teaching is not working I challenge you to try it. Spend a day at a local school and see all the people who are not working for a living. Also the teacher was not asking for anyone to feel sorry, just to back off the attacks and assumption that these teachers are secretly wealthy. I personally want these people to continue to make the sacrifice to teach so that my kids will benefit from it. Stop the hatred. It's not warranted, this person was only sharing so that you could all better understand. I applaud her honesty and will continue to support this parcel tax.


Posted by I do love to teach, really I do., a resident of Lemoine Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm

You all are so jealous of my job you are making me love it more! Please note that the teacher is paying almost $700 into her retirement - monthly. Maybe if you do the same you will have enough money to retire on as well? And if you think teachers are not entitled to your money please remove your kids from the school district, they are likely the nasty ones who take our time away from the nice ones anyway. This will save money as we will be able to close schools and still provide services to the families who are appreciative. I can work as hard as I want and never get any perks. I do not support taking pay away from teachers but I do agree to pay the $233 a year!


Posted by Dan, a resident of California Reflections
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm

If you feel so imposed upon you really should enter the private sector. Come on in … the water is fine … really. I am sure employers would be falling all over themselves to hire such and "educated" person.


Posted by Inside the schools, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm

You want to know what PUSD is doing to cut back? To trim the fat?

I'll give you some perspective....

Custodians- one per school. 8 hours to clean the entire school. Rumor has it that to cut back, cloth towels will no longer be used because the service is too expensive. Desks are only washed once a week as it is due to time constraints. The chemicals being used to clean with are too expensive- cheaper ones that are much less effective will replace them. (They don't get the glue off!)

Have you seen a classroom after school? You can imagine the mess. So how will we chip in? I will be spending my own time daily cleaning my classroom, purchasing my own cleaning supplies. And gladly doing it. My way to chip in during this budget crunch.

Blanket statements like "teachers are not willing to give concessions" is unacceptable. We are giving in multiple ways every day. This is just one example. And we are doing it gladly in order to help out.

Stop by so I can fill you in on more specifics, I'm still here at 6:30 (just taking my union break-haha)

But please stop the misleading comments about teachers not having ideas or solutions.

(By the way, we are in the midst of a major lice outbreak- good thing they are cancelling the strong chemicals.)


Posted by Social, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm

"Most of us private sector employees have only social-insecurity to look forward to."

Which CA teachers don't get even if they worked in the private sector for a long time. True, teachers do not pay into Social Security, but they also do not get social security benefits of their spouse as everyone else is entitled even if they have never payed into social security.

Teachers are entitled to fair compensation as is everyone who works for a living.


Posted by Please note, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm

That 1776 is a resident of Foothill Farms. From what I hear there are lots of teachers living in that neighborhood. NOT. You have got to be kidding. Sorry if your 2 million dollar house is something you can't afford anymore. Maybe you should have not been so greedy in the first place.


Posted by Eww gross, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Ok, the major lice outbreak is just something I wish I did not read. Thank you Insider for doing all you do.

YES ON PARCEL TAX


Posted by That teacher is ..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

… just another in a long line of self entitled government workers.


Posted by Another Teacher, a resident of Gatewood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Sorry all for the gory details about my finances, just thought it would help you all to make a real argument instead of just talking out of your *&ses about my money. I work hard to earn it and there's not much as it is! And to the fine man who invited me to join the private sector, I just may have to and I assure you I will do fine as I did both for the first 4 years of my teaching "career" just to get by. Conversely I invite you to do what I do with the same level of success. Do you know how many people come out of industry into our jobs and don't make it? Kids are difficult to work with and it takes a very special dedication to do this well. So how bout' it Dan? Wanna be a teacher for a day?


Posted by I don't get it, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Just a question, what is wrong with government retirement programs if they are funded by the workers? I believe that the teachers retirement program is funded by the teachers. Why is that not ok?


Posted by Great idea, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm

What a great idea....a teacher for a day. Does that count grading essays that evening also?


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Why does this keep turning into teacher bashing? Are there just a bunch of high school kids trolling on the message board?




Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

"What a great idea....a teacher for a day. Does that count grading essays that evening also?"

While I'm sure that was a sarcastic comment, its really not a bad idea.

Instead of the parcel tax, those that are not employed could donate their time and teach a half day or so. While not "credentialed" and the state may have a fit, why not?


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:34 pm

"That Teacher Is,"

You are totally out of line. As much as I would at this point like to stop reading these posts, I will not yet you and other rude, vicious people ("Reality Check," "1776") be the voice of our community. These types of attacks on teachers and other government employees are disgusting and unacceptable, and do nothing to further intelligent debate on the parcel tax.

I value and appreciate our teachers. I value public education. And we will be voting YES on the parcel tax.


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Ok, let's try this, let's go forward to June 3 and the parcel tax has lost. Now what? Does the union move on to .. wait.. the proposal that SB member Arkin, that was thrown away by the board...immediately, is now looking pretty good to consider? You, the teacher's union, want my family to believe, that there will be no bitterness or resentment towards the community?

These posting by the "teachers" are a clear indication of how they feel about others who will not vote for the parcel tax, posters who are parents and community members.

Again, moving forward, it is now August, the dollars released by the local parent organizations to support this tax, and we are not talking $5.00, has been lost forever. So, I guess you will go back to the parents and ask for the $233 dollars you didn't get in the parcel tax on top of moneys asked for at walk thru registration.

Whose backyard is the money tree you are pulling from grow? I know it's not in my neighborhood!!

Tee shirts, and lawn signs? What a WASTE of our children's education funds.

Oh and by the way, for all the "teachers" posting, of all these hours that you put in after school and on the weekends? As a parent I did as much if not more in the schools of Pleasanton to raise money for OUR schools, and OUR kids!! Late nights, early mornings, and weekend events, like as a teacher, it is a CALLING, to be a full time volunteer at a school site. DEMANDING this tax is not going to get it past and to me I find it personally insulting that you believe your passion for our kids education is so much more important than mine.
If you want a fight about passion and devotion for OUR kids, bring it on. I'm ready, I have 13 years of experience and memories to share with everyone. Good and Bad.






Posted by RN LISA, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

"By the way, we are in the midst of a major lice outbreak- good thing they are cancelling the strong chemicals."

Dear Inside the Schools: Just for the record "cancelling the strong chemicals" has absolutely nothing to do with head lice. Head lice are parasitic insects that live in the hair and scalp of humans not on desks. They need human blood to survive and are treatable with lice-killing shampoos and creme rinses not "strong chemicals"

Quit trying to scare parents with health concerns.


And for the record, this RN works off the clock about 8hrs at least every week, rarely ever get a lunch break and have developed great bladder muscles cause there is never time to go to the bathroom.


Posted by RN LISA, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Want to add......and I am not complaining!


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Paula-

What money tree do you think the 10 million in cuts from the state is going to come from if not partially from the community who will benefit from it?

Did you really expect the district to have 10 Million in reserves? Can you imagine the comments you would be hearing about that?

What you are taking as bitterness and resentment towards the community, I am taking as a dire warning about the reality of what the cuts will do to our schools. And who should know better than those working in them.

Lets move forward to a year from now, if the parcel tax doesn't pass, guaranteed this blog will be loaded with complaints about the schools, and I'm sure it will be the teacher's fault. Look you are already complaining about walk through registration!


You seem to have the same bitterness and resentment you mentioned towards the hard and time consuming job of volunteering in the schools. That sure is telling of what a job these teachers have!

We have the opportunity to help this situation.

Yes on the Parcel Tax!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:59 pm

This isn't a discussion of the medical profession. Nor should it be a discussion of the jobs of teachers. I bet all our teachers are so happy to hear all of this latent hostility toward their profession.

This discussion is about whether or not $233 per year, per parcel, is a good solution to partially offset massive budget cuts to our district from the state. Simple.

We're votinhg yes on the parcel tax!


Posted by Be Positive, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Gosh RN Lisa

You sound like a teacher- they dont get bathroom breaks either unless they are off yard duty! You seem to really understand the same challenges as they face.

What Inside the Schools was saying about lice was not a "health scare" stop the drama. The point was to show what teachers are doing when cut backs are affecting the cleanliness of the classroom. They are working overtime to solve the problem. Solutions that everyone seems to be begging for.

Way to divert from the original message and turn it into a negative.


Posted by Fabian, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Pay $233 or lose $50,000 in home value because the schools lose desirability. Look at other towns and their lower property values. The difference is our schools, that simple.
"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?" G.W. Bush


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm

"This discussion is about whether or not $233 per year, per parcel, is a good solution to partially offset massive budget cuts to our district from the state. Simple."

KGM - Thank you! I seem to be having troubles with the simple words. Its not about teachers, administrators, community members, etc...there is only one question at hand "Is the parcel tax of $233 the best solution for our schools?"

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe its an interim solution until a long term plan can be in place. Maybe its a bad idea and the schools should run on what the state gives them. Maybe none of this means anything and there will be a federal bailout.

While all of vitriol is a bit disturbing, at least there is passion on both sides. But I caution everyone to not take the words of a few to represent everyone. I know most teachers work long, hard and with a passion and I know most people in Pleasanton STRONGLY support the schools with MONEY, time, etc.

Let's get ideas going to find a long term solution!


Posted by To Paula, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Do you still put in the volunteer hours when your kids are no longer members of the school? Teachers volunteer every year.


Posted by Common Taxpayer, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Walk through is no fun. You are hit up for $50 here, $50 there, then $200, then ...

Teachers and supporters of this tax, please understand, $233 per year / $19.42 per month, will not break the bank of anyone in Pleasanton. What upsets so many of us is the brinksmanship played by everyone on the government side - the teachers, the janitors and their supporters, the administration and the school board. The party line is fill 'em with fear. Fear of just how bad the district will be if this tax doesn't pass. Fear of pest infestation, dirty desks, loss of extracuricular activities. All this, and we hear NOTHING, not a single word from the teachers union and the classified workers union about what they are willing to give back now, before this especially expensive special election, our $300,000 June 2 farce.

The playbook is national - look at how our President operates - fear and strong-arm Chicago style tactics.

Who is looking out for the common taxpayer?

And to the teacher who said he/she was "entitled" to make a fair living. I'm sorry, but as long as your compensation is negotiated by union negotiators and not based on MERIT, you shouldn't talk about entitlements. Taxpayers are entitled to seeing that hard earned tax dollars are spent in the most efficient and effective manner. Get rid of the excess top administrators, give back some of your pay increases over the past few years. Do this first, then ask us to pony-up with more tax dollars. It's always MORE, MORE, MORE.

I support the Pleasanton Tea Party!

No to the parcel tax until the district gives back, in a meaningful way, then I'll consider it.


Posted by Common Taxpayer, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Explain how you would pay teachers based on merit, please? I suspect you have no plan, just talk.


Posted by Good point, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm

This probably will come as a surprise to many but until I read Paula's post I really did not believe that there would actually be such pronounced hostility to those who elect to vote No. I did not believe that parents who have kids in school would really have to be quiet re: their position on the parcel tax. In other words, loose their freedom of speech.

Read your post and now I do appreciate the real concerns parents have. And now I get it. You are justified to have those concerns.

Paula has very successfully identified what this argument is really about. "If you want a fight about passion and devotion for OUR kids, bring it on."

Great post Paula. And I too will be voting NO (including my husband, and 20 and 22 yr old)


Posted by District, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Until the district gives back. Yes, that mean ol' district has just been taking and taking and taking. Totally not producing highly educated, successful, well-rounded young people. Just taking and taking and taking. I hear that they have a secret spa somewhere and that Ferrari's roll up to the schools to whisk the teachers off for some pampering on a weekly basis, all on your dime!


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm


Did you really expect the district to have 10 Million in reserves? Can you imagine the comments you would be hearing about that?

Oh you think you know me so well... the money tree from the district..Isn't that the parcel tax for the next four years?

>What you are taking as bitterness and resentment towards the community, I am taking as a dire warning about the reality of what the cuts will do to our schools. And who should know better than those working in them.<

I can also site the mismanagement of funds by teachers in the schools because I volunteered in them. Your apples are my oranges.

>You seem to have the same bitterness and resentment you mentioned towards the hard and time consuming job of volunteering in the schools. That sure is telling of what a job these teachers have!<

Not at all, the time volunteering has given me a wonderful path in life. I don't believe that the "teacher" posters should whine about all extra time they put for the children. We ALL give to the children in the schools. That's why Pleasanton is a great place to raise a family.



Posted by Common Taxpayer, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I'm not a fool and won't fall into your trap. There are many published reports on how merit pay can work.

How do you think it works in the private sector?

How do you think it works at private schools? You see, the problem is the union(s). They refuse to accept the concept of merit. You have the same issue in all unions, because they are socialist in nature - no high end producers, everyone is equal, etc.

I'll give you the first clue on what needs to happen -- it has to do with the unions, and they need to modify their hardcore, refuse to make concessions stance.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Just curious, are you referring to the "fear and strong arm Chicago style tactics" President who is currently advocating for merit pay for teachers?

Please.

These are not fear tactics. This is the reality of massive budget cuts from the state.

Yes on the parcel tax!


Posted by Nona, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

"You are correct. Teachers are a bunch of money grubbing greedy kid haters who will be mean to your kids if you vote no on the parcel tax. 1776 is also correct. Slash teacher pay by 25%, I am sure we will attract the best and the brightest by offering a starting pay of $41734 per year to do a job that is hard and underappreciated in a community filled with hateful people. You are right that this will trickle down to your kids. Retaliate we won't but, you will not created a feeling of pride and respect with this hateful talk. We are people. We work with your kids. We deserve a living wage, we are not asking for less. I could leave this profession and make more money elsewhere, most of us could. We are great at what we do and we love, teach and protect your kids all day long. If you don't support the tax that is your choice. We would love to not have to ask for it, we ask for so much already and the community always has been supportive. We would like to not ask for more help. The state is taking ten million dollars from your kids. Whatever you feel please stop attacking the people who have sacraficed so much to make education wonderful for your kids. YOUR kids. OUR community. The negative tone of this discussion affects us deeply. Most of us do not have thick skins. We are teachers, nurturers. We are protective of these kids and the union does it's best to protect our interests because we do not have the time nor the energy nor the backbone. I guarantee you that most of us would take a paycut in a heartbeat for these kids but it's not right. We do so much already. We volunteer ENDLESS hours to help YOUR kids. OUR community. Please, stop being mean. We need your support and your constructive criticism. Not your destructive criticism. "

OkYouWin*A Teacher,

Thank you for pointing out what teachers do. What many or most of us could not do.

Anyone who has to pee on a bell schedule, quite frankly, has my support.

Teachers give so much more than they get. And there will be so many fewer of them, come August, unless the Parcel Tax passes.

Do we really want to steal our children's futures, to balance the budget today?

California has been 47th of all the states in per-pupil funding for a while now. The cuts from Sacramento drop us to dead last. LAST!!!
Really? Absolutely last!! How can we expect a first class education for our kids when our spending is more than $2000 LESS per child than the AVERAGE spent. Not the top, but the average. How can we say that our school district is wasting money when it turns #47th in funding into the top 5% of schools?

We're the most populous state of the union, and next year we'll be spending the lowest amount of any state to educate our kids. Are we happy with that?

Personally, I'm ashamed.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Oh yes, the trap of asking you to back up your statements common taxpayer? How does it work at private schools? Why are private schools not OVERFLOWING with kids if they are so much better? Why do so many kids transfer into PUSD from the local private schools painfully behind academically? No one refuses to accept the concept of merit pay - ask Obama - it's just not as easy as you think it is. From the outside there is no way for you to understand the challenges and responsibilities of a public school. Merit pay will not solve the problems of education and will very likely make education cost even more than it already does. Not that I, as an educator, am against it. I am not. I am just not silly enough to think it would work the way it does in the private sector. What if you are a doctor and your merit pay should be based on the health of your patients? Would you treat those with genetic disorders? Or smokers? I just need you to see that it is an incredibly slippery slope and could actually be a detriment to the students. Particularly those who are underachieving and need the most help. Believe me, even without merit pay nobody - and I mean NOBODY in this district is fighting for the chance to teach the kids who are hardest to teach. The language learners, the special needs, the emotionally disturbed, the lazy etc. Teachers would jockey, more than they already do, for the least challenging classes. I am happy that Obama (yes, I am a socialist) is starting the conversation because I think if anyone can implement merit pay successfully it will be him. He is intelligent and thinks things through and takes the advice of those who know the situation. It's always easy from your armchair telling the quarterback what to do but it's incredibly unlikely that you could actually be successful.


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Thank You.

To the question, do I still volunteer at the schools? No, I was given the impression that if you didn't have a kid in the schools you weren't wanted, so now my passion for volunteering with kids is used at game conventions. But if there are any schools who need outside volunteers I will be available. Just need to post here.


Posted by Private Schools, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Private schools are a joke. Pay for grades is the "system". I pulled my son from a top-ranked private school. He is now a Sophomore at Amador where he is academically getting his butt kicked. His teachers from the beginning have been supportive and encouraging. Working with him and providing him with extra support so that he can catch up. My son is so happy at Amador because of the staff and the other students. I don't want to lose a single teacher at this wonderful school. I would pay $2333 a year to save them. It's much less than I paid for an inferior education.


Posted by Pleasanton Tea Party, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Our president is paying lip-service. He's a master at it, perhaps the best we've ever seen. Don't hold your breath that we'll see merit pay on a grand scale in our public schools.

Fear tactic: that our school district will suddenly and forcefully implode.

Will someone remind all of us just how many assistant superintendants, deputy superintendants and directors we have in our district. These are all $150k plus positions.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm

To the person who was earlier asking about alternative teacher compensation programs, it's called the Teacher Incentive Fund: Web Link The goal is to improve teacher and principal quality in high-need schools by providing funding for implementation of performance-based pay. Supposedly the recent stimulus package provided more dollars to this fund. PUSD would probably not qualify.


Posted by PW, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm

D and D (Derek and Derke's friend..or is that dumb and dumber?)

Funny you should jump to stupid conclusions. I am a self-employed person. I AM the taxpayor.

Your erogant stupidity speaks volumes.

Meanwhile, PW (Ptown Weekly) if you think teacher bashing is good for the community via these blogs, you are grossly mistaken and should be ashamed of yourselves. This horse is dead. Knock it off!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Here's additional info: Web Link

"Public school teachers in California are compensated almost entirely based on the number of years they have been teaching and the postgraduate credits they have earned. This formula-driven system prevents gross discrimination in compensation practices, but it is blind to expertise, effectiveness and market conditions. Half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years for varied reasons including compensation, working conditions and professional dissatisfaction.

Outside California, changing pay systems for teachers is a megatrend. Districts including Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Toledo, Houston, and Little Rock are pioneering varying approaches, and in the process they are driving key learning about the opportunities and hazards of differentiated pay options for teachers and principals."


Posted by No more new taxes, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Private schools are a joke?? Nice broad brush you paint with! What school are you talking about? Is De La Salle "a joke"? Bishop O'Dowd?


Posted by I'm a good teacher, a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

To the common taxpayer -
As a teacher who pays the union. I see the union as an organization that protects my financial interests. I do not have the time to do that. As someone stated I don't have time to pee never mind worry about my salary. Is this socialist? Maybe? But, it's the only way it can work. We don't have supervisors. We can't be judged by parents (come on! Read these blogs!) How could we be expected to focus all our energy and efforts on the kids - keep in mind they are a tad bit demanding - if we need to worry about advocating for our salary and pleasing every parent? We are good people who just want to do our job. Is the union perfect. Oh no. Far from it. There is a need for protection though since in our society for the most part teachers are not really respected. It would not be good for a school community for teachers to "job hop" like people in the private sector do. I welcome change like a previous teacher said. I know the system is broke but I am too busy teaching your kids to put time and energy into fixing it. Please just focus on being our advocates and helping this system work better instead of attacking us.


Posted by Private Schools, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

De La Salle is the school I pulled him from. Yes, it's a joke. Works best for those with the most money. Is that what we really want? De La Salle has a great football team but they are not the best school. Rich and white is what they are. I am proud to have my son at Amador and in PUSD. I am kicking myself for ever falling for that elite private school bullcrap.


Posted by I'm a good teacher, a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Thanks for the link Stacey! If I did not have to work on grading tonight I would surely read it. If the mean bloggers could work on a serious proposal for merit pay we teachers would welcome it. Really! We are professionals and would love to be valued and compensated for working our butts off. Form a committee, present your findings to the school board. Work with our union. I just do not have the time to do all that work while still providing your kids with an awesome education. I don't think it's reasonable to expect me - the little guy - to fix the system. When CitiGroup was on the road to financial ruin do you think the tellers were at home trying to figure out how to fix it? Yea, I know, they got laid off let's not start that tirade again. I know I am lucky to have a job. I am just saying I agree reform is needed, I just don't have the time to do it. In fact, I am going to pay for wasting my time blogging! Off to grade now! G'night.


Posted by RN Lisa, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Be Positive: Diverting the subject? No, the point of "Inside the schools" post w/ head lice was clearly to create a health scare. Or at the very least misrepresent how the cuts will affect kid's health.

I simply called attention to the obvious scare tactic(or misrepresentation, you pick) and corrected the poster w/ simply facts not "drama".

I do understand the challenges the teacher faces since we both share a care giving vocation (and a demanding one at that). However, that understanding does not negate my ability to vote based on what I think. To vote how I feel would clearly be the "drama" you refer to


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Pleasanton Tea party-
"Fear tactic: that our school district will suddenly and forcefully implode.

Will someone remind all of us just how many assistant superintendants, deputy superintendants and directors we have in our district. These are all $150k plus positions."

Way to post dramatic rhetoric while avoiding the real issue. Seems to be a pattern here.

Why don't you find out what the directors do, you might be amazed at what it take to run the second largest employer in Pleasanton. Do you really expect it to run itself?

Take the time to understand what you are so critical of- seems like scare tactics on your part.

Yes on the Parcel Tax!!


Posted by Donna, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Wowie - I like this idea - Let's just vote on it!

You're right, the parcel tax might not pass, or, it might. I'm counting on the fact that many of you spending many hours on this blog will be too tired to vote.

Money to support this initiative is coming from supporters, just as in other elections people choose to make contributions. I don't like where some of the money came from to support Sarah Palin's wardrobe, but I think she looked really cute. If I want to spend my money on pink lawn signs that is my perogative. I elected people to represent me, so if they choose to spend money I have contributed, then I guess I have to trust in their choices. Win some, lose some. I bet there are some Republicans that thought Sarah should have been shopping at Target and are a bit annoyed.

Oh, I am a teacher. (Sorry if I spelled Sarah's name wrong, I didn't vote for her, but my husband did.) I entered this profession after 20+ years working successfully (no kidding, I'm old) in the private sector because I actually like children and like the idea that I am making some contribution to the world besides signing loan documents. I work hard now because I know the impact I have will last a lifetime for someone else. I am fine with this, as are my colleagues. I put money away for retirement when I worked in the private sector, and I put money away now because some day I will be old and I would like to be able to hire a handsome male nurse to give me my medicine and change my depends. My husband will be fly fishing so I can't count on that angle.

You might be interested to know that in spite of contributing to the social security system for 20+ years I will receive zero benefit because I am now in the profession of "teacher". You're right, that's a choice I made, although I do think I should get that money since I paid into it. I know, I think I'll vote on it - that's what citizens do.

We are human beings that can make choices. I am thankful every day that I have a brain and can make my own decisions. That is the difference between human beings and turtles and other animals. I think that curriculum is covered in kindergarten and first grade.

I appreciate the information all of you present (except the part about teachers not working hard enough and the racist remarks about our high test scores being related to a certain culture) - it's interesting even though none of us are really fully informed. It is politics after all. I have said before, if you are a fabulous economist and understand these issues so well, will you please go to Sacramento and fix the problem, that's where this particular problem originated. When you fix it in Sacramento, I will vote for you for President too.

Oh, and if you think money in school districts doesn't matter - why are the test scores in Oakland so low? I think some of those parents love their kids too.

Life is a journey, not a race. If you can read this thank a teacher.



Posted by Can't tell you who..., a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

To I'm a good teacher:

Sorry I couldn't help but hear Marlon Brando's voice in The Godfather when you said "I see the union as an organization that protects my financial interests. I do not have the time to do that."

Then you go on to support socialism -- now you've got Marx, Lenin and Stalin chearing from the grave. LOL!

You say "It would not be good for a school community for teachers to "job hop" like people in the private sector do." Why not? When you have real competition, the cream always rises. The best will fight to get into the best districts. The slackers will be drummed out. Hmmm, that accountability thing?? That's what management is for (hello, administrators?)

Why do most public teachers and all public teacher unions object to public charter schools - COMPETITION.

Finally, you said "Please just focus on being our advocates and helping this system work better instead of attacking us." What you really meant to say was "shut up and keep forking over your money, don't question us, don't challenge our power and don't ever get in our way." Again, can't get Brando's voice out of my head. ;)

No on this parcel tax!





Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Valuable time that could have been spent looking for multiple solutions has been wasted as only one proposal has been presented by the district. That has everything to do with what is happening to teachers and the others losing their jobs.

It isn't their fault; it isn't my fault. Asking either side of that equation to pay is wrong. The only reasonable answer when an equation doesn't work is to start from the beginning and get the right answer.


Posted by Inside the schools, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm

RN Lisa

As a health care provider, lice is not a health scare- it is often the reality of large groups of children. It is curable, and common in schools.

Before you accuse me of "scare tactics" please read the point of my posting.

Teachers are making sacrifices/concessions daily. And gladly! I want to be a part of the solution, and if that means buying my own cleaning supplies, staying late to clean my own room, then I will gladly do it. Anything to help curb the affects of the budget cuts to our classrooms.

I will do what ever I can to not let it affect my students, but I will not stand silent while misinformed people say that we are not willing to "pay" our fair share in this mess.


Posted by what a joke, a resident of Lund Ranch II
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Because people oppose the parcel tax and have commented on this with their opinions and facts, one poster on here thinks this is "teacher bashing". Your kidding right? Or is this your attempt to create "teacher" victims here? But I thought it was about the kids. Silly me.


Posted by Parent of 2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I think some of us are just trying to point out (with varying degrees of tact, unfortunately) that there should be another plan in the works, because this tax proposal appears to be headed for a fiery crash.


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm

>You're right, the parcel tax might not pass, or, it might. I'm counting on the fact that many of you spending many hours on this blog will be too tired to vote.<

You can only hope. And hope is what will be needed to get this tax to pass.


Posted by One More Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Yes, I am a teacher and I am writing this anonymously for reasons that I won't go into.

I came from the private sector where I worked from about 14 years (engineer with an engineering degree from a top university). I took a large pay cut (over 60%) to make the transition to teacher and had to pay approximately $14,000 to get a teaching credential. That being said, it was my choice. I knew the pay, but I also knew that I was not making a difference or making the world a better place in what I was doing. I knew that I could make a difference as a teacher (I blame my parents) and I knew I could be good at it. But as a newer teacher, my future is uncertain in these times (yes, I did receive my notice).'

I promise you that I work very hard to help the students. It is very challenging to try to get all types of students to learn something that many don't want to. It is extremely tiring dealing with the daily issues and problems of students. You go home exhausted and have a family to take care of. But it is rewarding when just one student tells you that you made a difference in their life. I spend many extra hours helping students. There is never enough time in the day just to do the planning for everything that you want to do and then there is paper grading. Then there are the countless IEPs, 504s, SST meetings. But I do it because I truly care. I care about all of my students. I care about the future of this community and our country.

Yes, this is what I signed up for, it is my choice. But for anyone to question my dedication and concern and work ethic is absurd. If you feel I am overpaid, that is your right. But coming from the private world, I can assure you that I earn every cent of my pay as a teacher. I am a good teacher and I believe in merit pay, I'm just not sure how to do it right.

I am very thankful to work (at least for now) in the community in which I live. I am proud to live and teach in Pleasanton. I'm thankful for all of the parental support not only financially, but in helping their student succeed. Pleasanton has its many flaws like anywhere else, but there are few places that I would rather be.
As for the parcel tax, vote as you see fit. I will vote as I deem appropriate. I will be paying the parcel tax, so I too want to make sure that my money is being spent appropriately.

This is a great community and that is what makes our schools great. Not just having money and more teachers and more programs, but that everyone (or almost) cares...from the teachers to the administrators to the parents to the community members. Which reminds me; many years ago before I was a teacher I was at one of the auction fund raisers. I was seated at a table with a man from the community who just decided to support the effort because he saw an ad in the Pleasanton Weekly. I'm sure he spent over $2000 that night. That was impressive. I'm sure he wasn't hurting for money, but he made an actual effort to support the community; that is what was impressive.

When anyone one of the stakeholders (students, teachers, parents, administrators) stops caring that is when we are in serious trouble. I see all of these discussions as good (well, not the name calling and stuff), it means we care. We care what happens in our schools and in our community. When we stop caring we are dead.


Posted by Jennifer Cohn, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:28 pm

I am putting my full name on this post in an effort to encourage others to do the same and elevate the level of discourse to something civil and productive. I am a teacher at Amador, a parent of a kindergartner at Hearst, and a property owner here in Pleasanton. I care very much about this community, OUR community, on many levels.

The reason I am writing this post is simply to ask the people posting here to think carefully about the educational civil war that is being waged on this site. One of the reasons I have cherished my job at Amador for the last 10 years is that I have always felt that I was supported by the community. As a general rule, parents and teachers are on the same "team" looking to further the education and opportunities for kids. For some reason, this has turned into an "us" and "them" conversation between parents/community members and teachers... and it's ugly. I believe it is dividing our community in ways that will not heal after this parcel tax issue has been settled.

I have given careful consideration to the arguments against the parcel tax, and I can understand and respect why people may choose not to vote for it. I will be voting "yes" (I posted my reasons on the other topic under the name "Summary" if anyone cares to read them). I hope that people can read my reasons, give them careful consideration, and respect my decision as well.

This does not have to be a modern online version of Lord of the Flies!


Posted by Jennifer Cohn, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Let me give you a succinct, unemotional summary of the reasons why I'm voting "Yes" on the parcel tax. I am only speaking to my reasons, but maybe they will be enlightening to others who are trying to navigate through the muck.

1) It is only going to cover 43% of the budget shortfall, the rest will be made up with cuts (AKA "trimming the fat") and concessions.

2) It expires in 4 years unless a new tax is initiated and voted for by 66 % of residents.

3) It is $233 a year, which I understand is a lot for some people. I feel I will lose much more to my property value if the schools decline relative to our neighboring districts that have passed parcel taxes

4) I believe my property value IS intimately connected with the health and success of the school district

5) I believe that the cuts that will be made without the parcel tax will have a severe negative impact on the children in our community and on the reputation of the district relative to our neighbors (again, coming back to property values).

6) I believe it is premature to say the union will not make concessions. Last year, they gave up $500,000 in COLA that was earmarked for them and used it to fund science programs. The union president has said at every board meeting I watched that the union wishes to be part of the solution. They are currently in negotiations.

7) I believe that PUSD has great schools and that they are not grossly mismanaged (I'd insert a bunch of data here, but I'm trying to keep it short. See other posts, i.e. EM). Therefore, they have credibility with me.

8) There will be an oversight committee created to make sure this money is spent in accordance with voter intent.

Hope this is helpful :)


Posted by RN LISA, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Insider, your post reads: "By the way, we are in the midst of a major lice outbreak- good thing they are cancelling (sic) the strong chemicals."

Your words not mine.

And it was these words only that I commented


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm

"It isn't their fault; it isn't my fault. Asking either side of that equation to pay is wrong. The only reasonable answer when an equation doesn't work is to start from the beginning and get the right answer."

Holy Carp Disagreed! That's the smartest thing I have ever read on this board!

Honestly, you are exactly right...we need to rethink, not blame somebody (altough that is what we as Americans do best). We need a solution! (turns out that I don't have one)


Posted by Tim, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Fact: Cleaning your classroom and buying supplies is not what I call paying your "fair share". Salary give backs are in order. Just like other unions are finding out right now (the UAW), you either cut costs or lose jobs (the money tree is running out of greenbacks).

It will be telling if we see tenured teachers refusing to give back recent financial gains while young teachers / or teachers that recently joined the teaching ranks from the private sector are terminated.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I wish I could have spelled CRAP right the first time, maybe my post wouldn't have been as funny (altough carp are pretty funny).


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Please read Jennifer Cohn's eloquent summary above.
Thank you!


Posted by Listening, a resident of Civic Square
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Still waiting for the union to say anything. Until they agree to give back, there are two no votes at this home.

Just say "NO" until the union sings!


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm

"Cleaning your classroom and buying supplies is not what I call paying your "fair share"."

How many professionals clean their office? How many doctors after surgery have to stick around and mop up the floor. How many professional will stick around vacuum their cube/office? Just ask one of hem to buy their own pens, DVDs/paper/computer...is it going o happen? Of course not, most of us live in that world. I would not vacuum my cube at night, we pay people to do that. Oh but teachers should do that? maybe teachers should repair the roads outside of schools to...perhaps build additions if necessary. Maybe assemble some cars for kids whose parents don't' buy them one


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Hi Hi There: There have been a lot of thoughtful, if not all practical, suggestions in a lot of the threads (this thread is a bit vicious). I've asked about the bum's rush to pass a parcel tax. There are other, better solutions--maybe it was more work than district personnel wanted to tackle. I mean, isn't it easier to resurrect an old idea (never mind that it failed due to lack of interest last time)?

I'm not convinced there's a $9 million dollar hole. I'm definitely not convinced this parcel tax is the only answer to filling the hole no matter its size. As noted elsewhere, even board member Arkin's ideas were ignored without benefit of analysis. Seeing as the Board voted this as the only answer, maybe they'll listen or get creative once it fails.


Posted by Hi THere, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm

"Still waiting for the union to say anything. Until they agree to give back, there are two no votes at this home.

Just say "NO" until the union sings!"

So your argument is that the teachers are overpaid? So how much should a teacher be paid? What is YOUR recommendation?


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:02 pm

"Seeing as the Board voted this as the only answer, maybe they'll listen or get creative once it fails."

Disaaree - sadly, this maybe our only option. I do not know what Arkin's plan was and maybe it was good. EVERYONE needs to be open to ideas. You have expressed that and I applaud. I do feel we need money but a parcel tax may not be the best long term solution.

I am convinced we are in a $9 million hole only because that is what the state has promised us. Can we cut back? Of course. How much before the standard of education is substantially lowered is the question.

Disagreed - I think we can agree that there needs to be change and it needs to be fast.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Hi There: Are you buying a Ford, Chrysler, or GM car? They need help! So what if management cut some bad deals, made some bad choices. Help them with your tax dollars (legislated without your input thank you very much) AND buy a car. Maybe then management can keep their planes and other perks. It's only a small payment from your income for a few short years.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:11 pm

My only regret here is that I do not have an answer. I wish I did.

It does take a certain amount of money to run a school. Can we do it for less then we are now? Of course, there are just cuts that need to be make (sports, band, foods, etc). Mt. Diablo district has cut all sports.

We don't want that and as a strong community we won't let that happen. But we have decisions to make...tough decisions.

I don't think just cutting teachers salaries is the best solution in the long term. Sure it might buy us a year or two but is it really the best alternative. (About 10 years ago the federal government decided that we should tax luxury yachts at like 60%...sounds like a good idea, huh? However all those that could afford luxury yachts went oversees and who suffered? Luxury yatch builders and the government on lost sales tax (and lost income tax on the builders)\

The point is....what sounds like a good deal up front, might not be such a deal in the long run.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Disagreed - Ironically, I have agreed with your positions, yet you seem to be bashing me. Yes, i own a Ford truck. I like my Ford truck. I will probably own my Ford truck for another 10 years Although I'm not really sure what that has to do with any of this.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm

If they allowed changing your name on this site I'd change it to broken record. Three years of unsustainable raises made it impossible for the district to save for a rainy day. The state just exacerbated that bad judgment. Large reserves are done; the problem is the nature of the system (unions) is to see a large reserve not as a way to preserve jobs during tough times but as a source for a big raise.

If we could save the $150-300,000 by canceling the election and get the Board to send staff back to the drawing board with answers to questions like what does the district look like with 21:1, 22:1, 23:1 maybe we'd have some realistic choices. Yes, maybe that's still a parcel tax, but not as it stands now.


Posted by Hi There, a resident of Mariposa Ranch
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Disagree - I hate to agree with you, but yes, we need to look at all the options. Could we change class sizes? Yes, but where does it stop? 22:1 25:1 33:1 37:1? really we could cut district cost to close to zero if we have no teachers. But realistically, what is the right number...that is the BIG question


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Sorry Hi There--I missed the nuance. Don't want to bash you or anyone on the blogs. The car analogy must be obtuse. I was going for the parallel of bad decisions and throwing taxpayer money to solve the resulting problems and being sure everyone gets to keep their car allowance (superintendent).

We do agree this has not been thought out by staff and that teachers and the public shouldn't have to pay then? And maybe even that they should go back to the "whiteboard" before they ask for money.

Peace, it's late!


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Can't type and hit refresh fast enough. 30:1 is pretty much what the district is doing with the cuts and I don't think it's acceptable--although I survived it and so did our kids. 22:1 really isn't a big change. I've also suggested aids or some other way to let teachers teach and take the administrative load off their shoulders if class size increase. Cheaper.

What we have been handed is no choices--or just one bad choice. I can't reward that work with a yes vote.


Posted by LIZ, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Hi There,

"I am convinced we are in a $9 million hole only because that is what the state has promised us."

YOU ARE WRONG!

The biggest piece of the budget shortfall, $3mil, is from the ongoing salary compensation. This is not from a state budget cut it is because PUSD will not freeze all salary raises!!!!!!!!!!!

It is entirely possible to save every teacher job and not have a parcel tax, that is not what PUSD wants much to the surprise of new board member Arkin.

All of you that blindly support a parcel tax are empowering them to mislead the community.


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

To Jennifer's posting,
>For some reason, this has turned into an "us" and "them" conversation between parents/community members and teachers... and it's ugly.<

Well, if the postings from the "yes" group, hadn't called the "no" group, anti-children, anti community, then the civil war as you call it wouldn't have begun.

>I believe it is dividing our community in ways that will not heal after this parcel tax issue has been settled.<

Well, I guess all "yes" group should have thought of that before they pushed for the parcel tax. Of course it's dividing the community, a parcel tax always does.

Interesting choice of book, Lord of the Flies. Silly me, I thought the teachers union wanted the parcel tax for the children. So what did you, as a teacher, really expect to happen?

>I believe it is premature to say the union will not make concessions. Last year, they gave up $500,000 in COLA that was earmarked for them and used it to fund science programs. The union president has said at every board meeting I watched that the union wishes to be part of the solution. They are currently in negotiations.<

< Last year, they gave up $500,000 in COLA that was earmarked for them and used it to fund science programs.>

That was last year, this is THIS year.

>The union president has said at every board meeting I watched that the union wishes to be part of the solution. They are currently in negotiations.<

Well, if that's the case, then I guess the union should have not rushed to put this on the ballot until the negotiations were over!

>I believe that PUSD has great schools and that they are not grossly mismanaged (I'd insert a bunch of data here, but I'm trying to keep it short. See other posts, i.e. EM). Therefore, they have credibility with me.<

Well, if you didn't think the district had credibility then you wouldn't b posting. Mismanagement of funds is part of this debate. Is the over $250,000 fee for placing it on the ballot, plus attorney fees plus consultant fees ( unknown at this time), for a 2/3 vote not a mismanagement of funds, some would say it is.

What happened to the teachers union considering the plan by SB Arkin? Wasn't even taken seriously. The union allowed teachers to be laid off.
Will you be ready to revisit this plan if the parcel tax fails?

If this tax passes we can only hope that those who sat on the oversight committee is not the same from the past. They didn't do the job we asked them to do.

>I believe that the cuts that will be made without the parcel tax will have a severe negative impact on the children in our community and on the reputation of the district relative to our neighbors (again, coming back to property values).<

And finally, there is nothing in either of your posts that talk about the impact it will have on the kids, personally or professionally. It's all about you and your property values.
The district reputation? They are already in a PR nightmare.


Posted by Fran, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:48 pm

I hope the oversight committee for this parcel tax is as diligent as the oversight committee for Measure B, that has not met since 2004, while millions of tax dollars have been spent with no public oversight at all!

BTW one of the measure B committee members that has not met in FIVE YEARS is co-chair for this parcel tax. Hmmm...............


Posted by Paula is a troll, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Paula is a troll. Don't even answer it, Jennifer.

By the way, Paula, reason number 5 why she is supporting the tax is: 5) I believe that the cuts that will be made without the parcel tax will have a severe negative impact on the children in our community...


Posted by obvious, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm

"Oh, and if you think money in school districts doesn't matter - why are the test scores in Oakland so low?"

Hmm...Geez...that's a tough one if a teacher couldn't even figure it out. Because the parents make the difference?

Oakland
Percent bachelor's degree or higher = 33.7%
Median household income = $52,391

Pleasanton
Percent bachelor's degree or higher = 56.0%
Median household income = $121,229




Posted by Have another, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I think Paula has been drinking.


Posted by Jennifer Cohn, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:15 pm

To Paula:

" And finally, there is nothing in either of your posts that talk about the impact it will have on the kids, personally or professionally. It's all about you and your property values"

I'm going to take "Paula is a Troll"'s advice on most of your post. I just wanted to clarify that I do very much care about kids. I didn't harp on that because, having identified myself as a teacher and a parent of a child who will be directly affected by the budget cuts, I thought that was obvious. My reasons were also not listed in order of importance.

Again, just MY reasons for voting "yes". You're free to disagree with them. My point, which I think you missed, is that this discussion should be limited to the merits of the tax and possible solutions to a problem in our community - not a blame game or a parent/teacher bashing session.



Posted by And away we go!, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm

A bit (!) lengthy but this responds to just a few items, really.
You want a response and you get a response! Makes sense, eh?

And away we go! :)

The parcel tax only covers HALF of the deficit - the other half will be over 4 million in cuts.


"So how much will our kids really suffer if you ask us to use our time instead of money to help?"
+Parents helpers are wonderful, helpful and much loved!
...but unless you have advanced training in reading, writing, mathematics, science, etc., how will your instruction match a teacher's? Do you have a variety of strategies for each style of learning and specific needs of 33 students with subject competency across the curriculum? Can you keep your half (you can take 16) productive, engaged, happy, and collaborative while addressing all these needs. Teachers are like ducks - calm on the surface but paddling like mad underwater. :)


"Why should property owners be penalized for the lack of reasonable budgeting and/or crisis planning on PUSD's part?"
+ PUSD has had a great surplus to plan for crises, more than the state required, but this is way beyond the scope of what anyone expected.


"A ballot to up taxes to save city services; public transportation; or ValleyCare Hospital? Surely they will feel the belt tighten, if they haven't already." +They can raise funds by raising rates.


"Ask your peers, those with enough seniority that they knew they wouldn't be receiving pink slips, why they weren't willing to take a pay cut to retain more of you." GEEPERS, PEOPLE! No one has asked individual teachers what their opinions are - YOU COUDLN'T KNOW OUR OPINIONS BECAUSE THIS HASN'T BEEN ASKED TO INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS. You can only know what the teachers who post think. Many others piggy-back off of other non-teachers who suppose what teachers think based on their guesses or the "inactivity" from teachers.

We have NOT BEEN ASKED to take a cut by the district (thus there's no "reply",) we cannot bargain individually, and the union is at the bargaining table with the district. Teachers have been sending their opinions to our union president.
I know I'm more than willing (pink slip or not) to tighten my belt to keep basic DIRECT services for kids (not D.O.) I can give hundreds more (yes, more) if it really helps.
I'm not asking for a handout for myself and understand that many, like some of my family and friends, have no job. I think that we need some major (MAJOR!) changes at the state and national level in education and its funding, but I also know that this takes effort and time. A bandaid is not the best solution, but a bandage is better than nothing. Makes me think of the guy whose limb was pinned by the boulder so he carefully cut it off - did the best he could and could walk away. I'm sure everyone will assign different meanings to that, but that's an interesting conversation, too! :)


"...I sent three kids off to college who successfully completed the Pleasanton school system - DURING the years when there were 32 students per Kindergarten classroom."
+ Back in the day, expectations were much, MUCH lower, the class was pretty homogeneous, and there were no state standards; today, K's must be able to read at a certain level (no more simple letter and number recognition and songs) and there's a high school exit exam awaiting them. You should check out the math and writing my 5th graders are doing! Pretty awesome and way beyond what were ever asked for, and I had some great teachers in Pleasanton! We could compare samples, 5th grade now and 5th grade then. :)


"The biggest supporters of CSR are the teachers' union. Why? It's quite obvious. By lowering class size, you increase the number of classrooms, which in turn will increase the need for...teachers! BINGO!" + We're not making widgets in some factory and just want our friends to have jobs. Teachers don't want more teachers; they want a good education for children. Is having 3 children in one's family the same as 5? as 7? Why not 14? (What have studies shown? :)


"Instead, donate that money directly to your childrens' classrooms and help our teachers to shoulder the burden."
+ I love where your heart is, but I won't be there, nor 15 of my colleagues just from my one elementary school. Those left will appreciate it - they'll have to stretch it to cover their additional 13+ kids, but it is a start...


Our interpreters are staff and community volunteers - thanks, everybody!!! Merci! Gracias!


"So there's something in the law that allows a temporary suspension." This has to be paid back at the end of _x_ years (3-5 years - I forget the exact number.)


"Trust me, there are thousands of teachers willing to make less and work in this district, or would you like to work in Oakland or Richmond -- after all, they do pay higher salaries there - hmmm, I thought not."
I've taken many professional classes and taught a few in mathematics education. When beginning with the concrete concepts behind division, for one man, a teacher for years in Oakland, this was new to him! I thought perhaps he was a K-2 teacher (trying to be generous with forgetfulness,) but no! He had been teaching 5th grade for a few years! What had they been learning?! Division is easy, so how did he really teach them about fractions, ratios, and linear equations?! There are many teachers who pass through credential programs (barely) and lack wisdom and a greater capacity for learning. I've been amazed by the wonderful teachers in Oakland and Richmond, and shocked (and upset) by others there. But of course, I don't expect to have a chair thrown at me this year, nor a knife pulled by a parent while high at parent-teacher conferences, nor a pregnant 5th grader. We do have a wonderful community, but below a certain threshold, I'll lose my house. I could tutor for more income, and that will necessitate cuts into the time I devote to my own students, but if the voter's decide I should have no job or need a second job to make ends meet, that's what I'll have to do...or find a different job where I get a personal and family life, too. (Remember, I'm not a nun; I haven't married and given my *entire* life to the school, just the vast majority of it.)


"Teachers get $80K?"
+ maybe after working many years and after paying for one's own classes to advance, then subtract manditory medical (expensive!) and dental, plus optional income protection (we don't pay into nor get disability,) to name a few. Then most pay out-of-pocket for classroom supplies, professional texts (those that help us deliver great curriculum) and pay for professional development classes, which can get expensive.
I get that other industries require one to buy whatever is needed and I paid for those things when working in those fields. I didn't, however, spend $6,500 my first year (not including 15 units @$75-125/unit for professional development classes,)4,500 my second year (plus ~12 more units,) $2000 for my third year (more units and classes,) then about $1-2000 with units and classes since then - I stopped keeping track! I lived very simply and with my parents (yes, parents!) to save money for a downpayment and after 5 years, I had enough to get into a tiny condo not in town.
(My sister say I'm an awesome teacher...and nuts! She makes what I do, doesn't spend it back at work, and gets home by 6:00.)


"What about the conference trips teachers and administrators take at tax payers expense?"
+ At my school, we haven't the option to go to these in ages - there simply hasn't been money in the budget. If I want to go, I pay for it myself and on my own time, with my own gas.


--> Mom2 - right on! You get right to the heart of things.
--> Amen, Disagree w/B! As a teacher, I have specific ideas about what to cut as I know what directly impacts my kids. Love how you're open to considering every option from every perspective - great problem solving begins with great creative thinking based on information gathered from many sources.
--> Dismayed - this is where it's at!


Hunter's Point: "In spite of it all, it didn't take a parcel tax nor any miracles for my friends and I to make it through those years and graduate from UCB and Stanford 4 years later. What kept us on the right path were the unrelenting guidance and encouragements from our parents."
+ You're truly inspiring. My three college friends from East Palo Alto had similar stories and you all are amazing!
(I do wonder, though, how the majority your classmates fared... Many of my friends' classmates were then drug dealers who laughed at them as they trucked off to school to pay to work hard to get a degree (while working two jobs) that would let them serve others for little pay.)


"Somehow that escaped many people's cognitive abilities."
+ I get it, too, but it's easy to see the mountain, just tough to move it. (...hadn't seen anything about your rally back then...nor did I have one...)

********************************************************************
The problems are not difficult to find though the solutions are. Let's keep working together to put all the facts on the table (pretty or not) so we come up with the best solution for Pleasanton.
Have a great evening!


Posted by ., a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2009 at 11:59 pm

"You chose a profession that pays $81,000 per year with only 180 work days. And I'm suppose to feel sorry for you? Please...most of us really work for a living."

A bit insulting and ignorant, don't you think?
Have you seen the hundreds of standards for everything under the sun, studied and met my three IEP's many goals and modifications, followed 504 Plans, and met the requirements for English Language Learners while meeting the needs of all children? Do you work with autistic children and those who are emotionally disturbed? Do you respond to emails about tummy aches and divorce, the death of a beloved hamster that has saddened a child, and questions about parenting?
I have never worked only 180 work days (please! ...and who does?!) and regularly put in 12-14 hour days and work weekends, too (I'm not alone!) Except for friends in Silicon Valley startup companies, I don't know anyone working as many hours as I do.

Life behind the scenes is WAY different than what parents see while volunteering during the day, or community members remember from their children's years here, or imagine. There is a TON of work to do, more than one can fit in a 50 or 60-hour week! This Saturday, I'm going to a rigorous all-day mathematics training at the Mathematics and Science Research Institute...'cause I don't really work hard at what I do. Lazy me! Then I'll come home and do my planning for next week because this week was full of teaching AND report cards and conferences.

P.S. I started saving agressively at 17 when I learned the power of compounding (and a job devoted to others) would require me to save for retirement early, and because I knew I'd probably never see a dime of the money I had, and would, contribute to Social Security. I can not get any of the money I paid into the system before I came to teaching. I still save agressively, live simply, and work hard. Clean, honest living, y'all!


Posted by Matt, a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:26 am

There are lots of great ideas have been posted in this forum post.

To those of you whom post those ideas, please follow up on your ideas, make them actionable. Contact the PUSD board, follow up with them, let them hear what you have in mind and why you oppose to the parcel tax.

In the mean time, get yourself educated on the issues and what have been done or will be done.

Posting in this board, listing all the ideas, without any follow up, actionable items, is really meaningless. If you do care about the community, the school, then do something about it.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:44 am

Parents support Pleasanton teachers in so many ways, volunteering, fundraising (I don't believe any Pleasanton teacher needs to pay out of pocket unless they are reckless with spending), teacher appreciation luncheons, and we shower our teachers with generous gifts.

We love our teachers!
But it has been hard watching the Union take over the Board meetings, creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for parents that would question a parcel tax. The attitude of entitlement we are seeing and hearing from some teachers is disturbing. Jennifer that is where I believe the "us and them" that you refer to has developed from. As a parent that has worked along side of so many other parents, for more than a decade, giving so much I feel abused and taken for granted watching this parcel tax debate evolve.

Teachers profess their noble work, Pleasanton parents have always shown appreciation for it…but it is a job and you are well paid….. we are not paid…we go far beyond volunteering for our own kids…..we do it for all kids, the community and for you.

I agree with Paula's comments and share her frustration. The attack on her supports why parents cannot go public……….. but we will vote.
I like the slogan I have seen in many of these posts, it speaks for me.

Pro-kids!
Pro-teacher!
Pro-community!
No parcel tax!


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 6:03 am

Matt, I have sent ideas to the Board . . . they responded with the parcel tax--the direction they were headed in anyway. Those who are out here against the parcel tax are educated on the issue--there is no will at the district and Board levels to take a different path.

From "Away we go" post, teachers aren't being asked for ideas. I'm going to bet principals aren't being asked either. The cuts are listed as coming from Cabinet; a top down approach.

I repeat . . . What we have been handed is no choices--or just one bad choice. I can't reward that work with a yes vote.


Posted by Joe the Plumber, a resident of Village High School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:51 am

When the parcel doesn't pass, this community will need two things, more counselors to help with the anger in the schools (and the disappointment) and more realtors to sell houses (when the people start leaving while they can get a good price for their homes).


Posted by David, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:13 am

More fearmongering................... $233 can't fix PUSD's budget problem they must make spending policy changes.
If the 2 million in compensation rollover continues it is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:49 am

Regarding CSR, there's been an all-or-nothing attitude, but that's not being creative. It was mentioned above that 22:1 isn't that big of a deal, not like going to 30:1. Looks like SF doesn't think so either: Web Link

"Adding two children to each kindergarten classroom might not sound like a big deal, but it will save the district close to $1 million - money needed to help close a $29 million shortfall in the next school year, Superintendent Carlos Garcia said."

I think this is made possible by playing with the rules somewhat this year. The State is supposedly relaxing some of the rules on the K-3 CSR incentive fund requirements. If I recall, the program also requires CSR to start at 1st grade. So ratios could be increased in other grades without losing the program.


Posted by Taxpayer as ATM Machine, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:50 am

Reading this thread, it's interesting to see some of the responses from teachers and supporters of the parcel tax. Of particular interest are responses that go something like this: "you haven't heard from the union because they are in negotiations with the district, or, we're willing to give back, but what exactly is it that you want teachers to give back?

All employees on government payrolls, be they school teachers, classified employees, administrators, city, county, state or federal, all of them need to give back some of their recent salary gains. Our entire economy is in a world of hurt. You can't tax your way out of this mess. You must cut expenses first. You either give back gains or you lose head count. This is the way the real world works. Doing anything else will give you short term satisfaction with a train wreck just around the bend. Many of us urge all government workers to speak up and resist the "silence mandate" of your union bosses. If you hide behind your union negotiators, you will, in the end, not be please with their results (long term results, not what will happen on June 2).

If you are a non-union government employee, we urge you to do likewise. Utilize anonymous sites like this to make your voices heard. What many of us are especially frustrated with is, as another person posted, the brinksmanship that is being played out right now.

For the district to tell us what cuts will be made before a parcel tax is voted on is nothing more than a scare tactic. For this, people resent our superintendant and his staff.

For teachers to scare us with stories of how are district will, overnight, turn into a fourth class operation, people resent this.

Why is this a very good district? The vast majority of parents, students, teachers, support staff and administrators have worked together, over many, many years, to make things work. When one of these groups chooses the path of whining and fear bating, resentment sets in, making it much harder to communicate effectively and making it extremely difficult to find long term solutions to challenging issues. Let's step up and take responsibility, as a community, and get our school system back on the right track!


Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:50 am

Wow, I am a drinking troll, THANK YOU so very much for showing your true colors on how you really feel about parents that have a difference of opinion. Getting personal and name calling. So when out of facts you resort to name calling.

Bring it on!

To Jennifer, in agreeing that I am a troll, for disagreeing with you, after 10 years of teaching i can only imagine how you have treated your students and their parents when they had a difference of opinion.

This reflects how the union is going to negotiate with the district,,, holding the line.

>Again, just MY reasons for voting "yes". You're free to disagree with them. My point, which I think you missed, is that this discussion should be limited to the merits of the tax and possible solutions to a problem in our community - not a blame game or a parent/teacher bashing session.<

But name calling and parent bashing is ok!!! You might want to believe that I am a drinking troll, but I have become for you and this union your thorn about this tax.







Posted by paula, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

Julie, please call me asap, about the matter we discussed. I've changed my mind.


Posted by Just say no to ad hominem attacks, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:15 am

Personal attacks:

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

Source: Wikipedia


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

OKAY EVERYBODY...

Let's stop the name calling and insults - on BOTH sides.

No bashing teachers, no name-calling in posts. Come on, people - this is important for our community.

The state is cutting millions of dollars from our district budget and the parcel tax is a way to help soften the blow to our kids.

Let's talk about that.

Yes on the parcel tax!


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:31 am

OKAY EVERYBODY...


Let's stop the name calling and insults - on BOTH sides.



No bashing teachers, no name-calling in posts. Come on, people - this is important for our community.



The state is cutting millions of dollars from our district budget and the parcel tax is a way to help soften the blow to our kids without comprimising with the unions and keeping the yearly raises while the rest of us are losing jobs.



Let's talk about that.


NO on the parcel tax!


Posted by KGB (KGM's mentor), a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:13 am

OKAY EVERYBODY...

Let's stop the name calling and insults - on BOTH sides.

No bashing teachers, no name-calling in posts. Come on, people - this is important for our community.

The state is cutting millions of dollars from our district budget and the parcel tax is a way to help soften the blow to our unions' pay raise and keeping those monthly $1000 transportation expenses and other perks for Dr. Casey and his senior staff.

Let's talk about that.

NO on the parcel tax!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

Let's remember, even with the parcel tax, the district will need to be cutting positions, reducing some to part time, and cutting services to our students. So jobs will be lost there either way (though I'm not sure why some people seem so intent on district employees losing jobs "like the rest of us." In fact, plenty of people in the private sector are getting raises right now, too). Again, it's not a race to the bottom. OUR SCHOOLS ARE GOING TO LOSE - the parcel tax simply determines to what degree.

This idea that supporters of the parcel tax are "blind followers" is utter nonsense, and another hard-line tactic to make supporters look like ignorant followers. It doesn't hold up. Supporters of the parcel tax see have thoughtfully considered the consequences of reduced funding to the district, see the tax as a viable option for helping fund our schools, and are willing to make an additional $233 yearly contribution to help maintain the integrity of education and services provided in our district.

YES on the parcel tax!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

KGB,

Please do not mention me in your posts. You are certainly not my mentor. If you have a thought you would like to contribute to this page, do it on your own.


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

Yea, the board carefully considered the parcel tax; namely how high can we go and still have a chance to have it pass.

This BEFORE union negitiations. Oh, sorry, negotiations are on going. It's backwards. Negotioate first, then see how much to tax to close the gap. Where's the incentive to negotiate otherwise. Of course I always give the kids dessert first then try to talk them into eating their veggies.

As far as raises in the private sector; it's simple, don't support those companies who you think are getting unfair raises. Vote daily with your pocket book.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:42 am

I'm am sorry to see how this thread has deteriorated. I'm wondering how we can stay on topic, for or against, without the personal asides.

Teachers feel defensive; those against the parcel tax feel defensive; those for the parcel tax are frantic that their children will be hurt. I can understand why each group feels the way they do.

The district/board has put all of us in an awful position (do they believe a fractured community will pass a tax?). Maybe all three groups can focus their energy on holding them accountable and making them work toward other viable alternatives.

In reality, each group is saying the same thing. There is a problem, your solution doesn't work for any of us. START OVER.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

Just for clarification, I did not say I think raises being given in the private sector are fair or unfair. I am pointing out that I don't understand why so many here are intent on holding educational professionals here in Pleasanton to the lowest level of what's going on in our economy.

Again, district employees will be impacted even with the passage of the parcel tax.

This involves a severe reduction in the amount of services and opportunities available to our kids, and the feasibility of living in Pleasanton as a severely underfunded district.

YES on the parcel tax!


Posted by Colleen, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:46 am

KGM,

I don't believe supporters have genuinely looked at the budget, because we do not even know what it will be yet. I do believe you and others are following blindly. Arkin showed it is possible to balance the budget without firing teachers. A parcel tax is premature.

David made a good point. "If the 2 million in compensation rollover continues it is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it."


Posted by dollar & sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

"Supporters of the parcel tax see have thoughtfully considered the consequences of reduced funding to the district"

The "facts" as you presented are pure assumptions at best. I was a supporter of the parcel tax until I started educating myself on this issue by attending multiple district and PTA meetings and reading everything there is to read from the district's website and other sources (including PW).

I've made an informed decision to not support a parcel tax until the district cuts its wasteful spending and come up with some real solutions rather than a half-a$$ solution called a parcel tax.

Disagree w/B said it best: "What we have been handed is no choices--or just one bad choice. I can't reward that work with a yes vote." The refusal to accept or even consider any solution other than a parcel tax was obvious in every meeting I attended, both at the schools and the district.

It saddens me to see so many of our finest teachers receive their notices but the union and the PUSD administrators are the blame. Yet, I still have faith that the union and PUSD administrators will come to their senses and do the right thing by offering drastic cut on salary and perks to save our teachers.

Part of the solution is to encourage PUSD to develop a long term strategy to control spending and improve efficiencies, not encouraging their current spending pattern. If you don't see that as part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Any talk of parcel tax should come after all improvement efforts have been exhausted.

Once I see that PUSD and the union are making real efforts to save our schools and our teachers, then I'll be willing to open my wallet. I hate taxes but if it's absolutely (beyond the reasonable doubt) necessary, I'll stand behind it. But this will not happen until the bleeding stops.

Pro Children

Pro Community

Pro Teachers

Pro Schools

NO ON PARCEL TAX! (until PUSD cleans up its act)


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

Colleen,

I assure you we are not following blindly. This is not only about firing teachers. There is a detailed listing of adjustments showing how the parcel tax amount was calculated. There are other positions and services that have and will be lost. The parcel tax will not nearly cover what is being cut by the state - it is a way to help maintain an acceptable, albeit severely reduced, level of service in our district.


Posted by A Concerend Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

It's about the kids, very true.

It's about the unions coercing the district into using our kids and emotions to blackmail us to pay more without a real dialog.

The teachers care about the kids, parents care about the kids.
Unions don't care about the kids or their constituents as long as dues are being paid.

It's sad. In the end we will all make up our minds as to how genuine and upfront the district is and this will guide us in voting.

Right now, the district doesn't have my trust that they have the best interest of our kids at heart. I didn't say teachers, I said the district.


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:14 am

Some one brought up the guy who had to cut his arm off in order to save himself.

That comparison is so right-on.
That person was told not to go on that hike, that rockfall was extremely likely and dangerous.

That person had, in the previous two years, several times evaded death due to his own wreckless behaviour.

Thosee who know him (I am one person removed) all say they were not surprised.

The similarity is that he had it coming, sooner or later. He was warned and when it finally happened he's looking for sympathy.

See the parallels with the district?


Posted by No to Tax and Spend, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:20 am

Re KGM-

STATEMENT: Let's remember, even with the parcel tax, the district will need to be cutting positions, reducing some to part time, and cutting services to our students. So jobs will be lost there either way…

IN RESPONSE: If district employees were willing to pro-actively (meaning right now) announce a willingness to give back recent financial gains, perhaps less jobs would be lost.

STATEMENT: OUR SCHOOLS ARE GOING TO LOSE - the parcel tax simply determines to what degree.

IN RESPONSE: All is not lost and you don't need to yell (in caps).

STATEMENT: This idea that supporters of the parcel tax are "blind followers" is utter nonsense, and another hard-line tactic to make supporters look like ignorant followers. It doesn't hold up. Supporters of the parcel tax see have thoughtfully considered the consequences of reduced funding to the district, see the tax as a viable option for helping fund our schools, and are willing to make an additional $233 yearly contribution to help maintain the integrity of education and services provided in our district.

IN RESPONSE: Supporters of the tax fall in to several camps, including district employees and Pleasanton citizens. Blind followers/ignorant followers? Possibly, on both counts, especially when one considers the lack of understanding of economics and sound governance amongst our fellow citizens and government representatives. How can it be that the vast majority of us have close to no confidence in our local, regional and national representatives yet have total confidence that this parcel tax is, without question, is the right answer? But more likely, they are following the herd, looking for an option that sounds simple – heck, just hit the taxpayers up for more money. No need to roll our sleeves up and really solve our long term funding problem. No-no-no, don't want to tangle with at least four unions – the local, the CTA, the NEA and the classified workers union. This is the cowards approach. This is the approach every one of your representatives gives you – no real, honest reforms, just shuffling of the chairs and raising taxes and fees.

I've heard some very emotional responses on the Yes on Tax side, many devoid of relevant facts. As another poster mentioned, Feelings verses Facts. Give me facts -- I'll make up my own mind.

"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write." - John Adams

Reform government services before asking for one more dime - Support the Pleasanton Tea Party – No new taxes!


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:30 am

It's about the kids, yes; It's also
about many citizens being fed up with yet another tax. So what if it's only $233 a year. It is another tax.

This might be interesting to some.

Web Link


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:38 am

Dear No Tax and Spend,


STATEMENT: If district employees were willing to pro-actively (meaning right now) announce a willingness to give back recent financial gains, perhaps less jobs would be lost.

RESPONSE: Perhaps, perhaps not. So this doesn't really get us anywhere.


STATEMENT: All is not lost and you don't need to yell (in caps).


RESPONSE: Please do not advise me on capitalization in my posts. What I choose to capitalize for emphasis is my decision. Secondly, I didn't say all was lost - it is a matter of degree. I do feel too much will be lost.




STATEMENT: Supporters of the tax fall in to several camps, including district employees and Pleasanton citizens. Blind followers/ignorant followers? Possibly, on both counts, especially when one considers the lack of understanding of economics and sound governance amongst our fellow citizens and government representatives. How can it be that the vast majority of us have close to no confidence in our local, regional and national representatives yet have total confidence that this parcel tax is, without question, is the right answer? But more likely, they are following the herd, looking for an option that sounds simple – heck, just hit the taxpayers up for more money. No need to roll our sleeves up and really solve our long term funding problem. No-no-no, don't want to tangle with at least four unions – the local, the CTA, the NEA and the classified workers union. This is the cowards approach. This is the approach every one of your representatives gives you – no real, honest reforms, just shuffling of the chairs and raising taxes and fees.

RESPONSE: This is very fuzzy logic, but what I can draw from it is sweeping generalizations in your opinions about the level of public confidence in government and the public and government's lack of understanding of economics. Again, the tax is a temporary solution while solutions regarding the structure of funding are investigated (the rolling up the sleeves part, which none of us are afraid of).


STATEMENT: I've heard some very emotional responses on the Yes on Tax side, many devoid of relevant facts. As another poster mentioned, Feelings verses Facts. Give me facts -- I'll make up my own mind.

RESPONSE: And I have heard some very emotional responses on the No on the Tax side, many devoid of relevant facts. I am basing my Yes vote on the facts.



"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write." - John Adams
And let's keep this a safe forum for doing so.



Posted by Martha, a resident of Avila
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

KGM,

Sweeping generalizations when it comes to a lack of confidence in our elected representatives? You're kidding, right? Look at regional and national polls - on both sides of the fence. They tell the same sad story - we have very little confidence in our "leaders". You responses make it sound like you are an insider, a district employee (not that there is anything wrong with that).


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I am not a district employee. I'm not sure what about my responses makes it sound that way. Nor am I sure why this would be significant. Why is a district employee an insider? I am an insider because I live in this city and have children in the schools. All of us affected by the cuts and the potential tax are "insiders."
No, I'm not kidding. I know about the polls. This was my complete idea: "...sweeping generalizations in your opinions about the level of public confidence in government and the public and government's lack of understanding of economics..." This is in reference to the idea that those in favor of the parcel tax are "devoid of facts."
Let's get past the idea that pro parcel tax people think that anti tax people are anti child, or that anti taxers think pro taxers are blind sheep. No one here is going to change anyone's mind. What we can do here is discuss and provide factual information on both sides for those looking to make up their minds.


Posted by Cory, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm

KGM,

I believe the free flow of information can change peoples minds, as long as the information is correct.


Posted by KGm, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Cory,
That could also be true. :)
Your are right - correct information is the key. We need to all be responsible in what we post.


Posted by Gary, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

KGM, where have you been in the past few months? The hostility towards anti-parcel tax people is clear and apparent in all meetings and on this forum. People who don't support the parcel tax are forced to remain silent or risk being attacked at every angle.

You can choose to ignore the evidence like you do with all the valid arguments against the tax. But don't come here discounting the hostile sentiment coming from the pro-tax people.


Posted by Mrs. Substitute, a resident of Willow West
on Mar 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Thank you Gary. I am a substitute teacher in the PUSD and several other local districts. I have an insider/outsider perspective. I absolutely do not feel that I can share my real name or ever share my opinions in public. In fact, I have 4 children in the PUSD and I don't feel that I can share my honest opinion about this parcel tax with them. You see, I am against this tax. I want to see district employees step up and let the public know that they are willing to take a pay cut, in order to save jobs. I'm willing to take a 10% pay cut and will, in fact, donate 10% of any money I receive from the PUSD back into the district.


Posted by Think Fresh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Idea Time

We need to restructure our district – this most of us agree must be done.
Our city needs new tax revenue.
Lots of residents are resistant to paying additional local taxes, especially when we are going to see county, state and federal tax increases in the next several years.
We need to attract new businesses to Pleasanton.
We need a bold new approach.
We need to streamline all zoning and permit processes in a way that revolutionizes them. Set daring goals. Our current reputation is that we are extremely slow at getting anything done. Change it or be irrelevant.
We need an enterprise zone.
We need to be a stand-out-of the crowd community.
We are competing globally for businesses and we can't afford to stay stagnant.
Where is the leadership in this city?
Where is the mayor, city council, planning commission, Chamber, business development department?
Make it really, really attractive for businesses to start and relocate here.


Posted by Paddy, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm

All persons that support our kids and teachers but oppose the parcel tax should show their solidarity by wearing green next Friday the 17th!

Green of course represents the color of the dollars that should not be wasted on this parcel tax.

Wearing green on Friday the 17th is a show of opposition to the parcel tax.

Green means:

Pro-kids

Pro-teacher

No parcel tax


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Gary,

"You can choose to ignore the evidence like you do with all the valid arguments against the tax. But don't come here discounting the hostile sentiment coming from the pro-tax people."

I am not ignoring any "evidence" and I am very interested in valid arguments against the tax. If you read my prior posts, I have said repeatedly that this is a forum for pro and con arguments to be presented in a reasonable manner.

I am also not discounting the hostile sentiment coming from pro-tax people. I just posted: "Let's get past the idea that pro parcel tax people think that anti tax people are anti child, or that anti taxers think pro taxers are blind sheep." Hostility is evident on both sides of the issue, as is clearly evident in this forum. Plenty of pro parcel tax people are being attacked at every angle as well (obviously). There is no victim role here - only philosophical differences that are getting out of hand.


Posted by RJP, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I've thought about what has been posted on this thread. If you compare the posts with what you see on just about any other site, you will find that the back and forth banter, with very few exceptions, is really extremely mild.
What makes this thread special is volume – over 350 posts in just a few days. That's a lot of back and forth conversation, some of it sophomoric, some of it eloquent and much of it in between. Understanding the sensitive nature of the subject matter, I strongly believe that we'll be just fine with the dialogue. It would be nice if people would avoid ad hominem attacks. But those that do, do so at their own peril, since most intelligent readers will tune out the entire message. So in the end, a lightly censored, mostly self-censored forum works pretty well. I recommend that everyone put their backbone back on! ;)

Now, for those that keep coming back to this thread, check out the advertisers on this page and do business with them! Our city needs the tax revenue! :)


Posted by It’s Time to Ask the Question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm

As it appears this tax is rapidly headed for a swift spanking at the polls, is it still early enough that the District could opt to cancel the special election and put the estimated 300K back into the budget?


Posted by Amador Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

To: It's Time to Ask the Question

The School Board of Trustees would have to vote to now cancel the special election and that would probably entail additional public forums. They have already sent the parcel tax measure language to the Registrar of Voters.
Considering that the majority of the board members are strongly in favor of the parcel tax, it's unlikely that they would even consider cancelling the election.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Mar 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm


I will vote YES for the parcel tax.


There are many people in Pleasanton, and elsewhere, that are upset. I get that. People losing jobs, hours being cut, government (all levels) out of control and 'spending' our money left and right, 401k and other investment plans falling drastically……..no question, it is very rough on all of us.

Work hours have been cut in my family as well. "Concern" is maybe an understatement for most, and others are down-right scared.

No one wants to hear that they need to 'pitch in' - yet again, and pay a parcel tax. I get that too.

This message board has taken it's ups and downs on this subject. Just like so many other conversations that are held, and debated, on the internet. He said, she said. Statements made as fact, when perhaps the whole story is not being represented. Everyone reaching a point of frustration as they banter back and forth, replaying the same comments, over and over.


It sounds to me that those who are opposed to the tax are mainly looking for the teacher's, admin and other staff in PUSD to take a pay cut….show they have 'skin' in the game. Boiled down to it's essence, is that it? Sure, some want to see a complete overhaul of Education and even more. But, let's be real - the Education system is not going to be overhauled in a couple of months - regardless of any push by parents, or even a groundswell from all citizens.

Does it need to happen? I'll leave that up to you.

So, is it the anger that some feel - that teachers don't do enough, work hard enough, don't sacrifice enough already….and should have their pay cut by 10%...or some other figure?

It seems like that is the issue for many (not all). They want teachers to give up salary in order to keep their job. Again, it seems that way in some of the writings here.


I'm not a teacher, but I know several. No kids in PUSD now. My family income has decreased…so why shouldn't teacher's salaries decrease too?

Well, I play that out in my own mind, and then I recall all the extra, un paid time that teachers and staff put in to educate kids. I don't just 'think' they do…I Know they do.

I know teachers that spend weeks and months during the summer to take classes to remain up to date in their curriculum.

I know teachers that are grateful for the parent's involvement in money and time for their class…and then spend hundreds of dollars each semester on our kids to ensure they have all that they need.

I know staff that attends "off hours" meetings that continue long into the night throughout the year.

I know young teachers that are excited to be in class, and 'save' students through EXTRA 'hands-on' individual education, that otherwise would be drowning in problems that affect their family.

I know teachers that take on a role - far exceeding the outline for a teacher in order to help students improve…as much as they can, and have watched the pride well up in a student that graduates in spite of very harsh home situations because a teacher cared and spent the time and resources required.

I know teachers that have had to be more than a Dr. Phil to their students…..and parents.

It is not a job most of us would do.



So, I believe Teachers do 'pay'….and that they pay daily. Schools are dependent upon the taxpayer to exist. Our kids are dependent upon teachers to get an education.



I have written on the subject before, and am sure many are tired of reading my lengthy comments….so, with one last paragraph, I will be done with this thread…….and will 'go quietly in the night' now - and hope to see you out at the polls:


I support PUSD in asking the citizens of Pleasanton to support the education of kids in Pleasanton via this targeted tax. Regardless of how you decide to vote, I hope you take a moment to thank a teacher. For those that are against the proposal, be especially sure to thank the teacher's that are shown the door and let them know you are appreciative for what they have done….and then shake the hand of the teachers that remain and say a prayer (if so inclined). The prayer should be for all of us, because the impact of a education system with as many cuts in it as we will see may require divine intervention. BTW - thank your legislators too for the great job they are doing…. for you ;-)


My Vote = YES


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Can someone get this quote to district leadership: "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." Albert Einstein Maybe that will make the Board pull the plug on this idea.

Otherwise, maybe it's the opening line for the ballot argument against the parcel tax?


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

"Considering that the majority of the board members are strongly in favor of the parcel tax, it's unlikely that they would even consider cancelling the election."

It was a unanimous decision.

Today in the paper:

Union leader says(Trevor Knaggs): "Parcel tax is the right thing to do, not for property value, but for the kids."

I want Mr. Trevor to do the right thing - release his pawns and let them speak for themselves. I bet this would be resolved quickly.



Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Rick,
I will say again, I do not want even one teacher to lose their Job. If any teachers are laid off they have their union and piers to thank for not negotiating a solution.
The plan Arkin presented did not lose one teacher or essential program. That should have been used as a starting point.
By blindly supporting the parcel tax you reinforce poor management decisions.

Pro-kids!

Pro-teachers!

Pro-community!

No parcel tax!


Posted by Shauna, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Mar 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Rick-

Your post was real, informative, and thoughtful. Thank you recognizing that there are teachers who are great in PUSD and that we should not punish all of PUSD teachers for the few teachers that parents don't support.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Rick,

Thank your for post above regarding the parcel tax. It is clear that you too have put a great deal of thought into your decision!

Another vote = YES


Posted by stayhomedad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Thanks Rick, very nice reading. I appriciate your tone. Just to separate myself from others, I would like to see the word "teacher" in your post switched to the word "board member", or "administrators", or..."Superintendent Casey" (more specifically)... I don't want to see any teacher get "cut"...when Dr. Casey is making over $250K with extras (plus an unpaided "no-interest" loan) and the other board members (and the like) retain their perks like cars, phones, expenses... what have you...
I feel a majority of us support the teachers 100%...its the people pulling the stings that I have a problem with. If I agree to a parcel tax, then I'm still giving money to the same people that have been misspending for years. How much did Dr. Casey write off to decorate his office...or what trips has he expensed? I believe the people of Pleasanton just want to see the money go where it belongs to develop change. If we feel like this money will enable the machine to "continue the course"...then the tax will have trouble passing.


Posted by Just a Mom, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Stayhomedad

Ditto!! I cannot agree to this tax. I am a mental health professional and I am willing to donate time during the week at any school if guidance and counseling is needed. Ethically, I just cannot support a tax unless Mr. Casey is willing to make concessions on his end as well as those others who are mismanaging our funds, including the union.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:12 pm

There is just not enough wool in this town to pull it over 2/3 plus 1 of the voters eyes.


Posted by HOLD ON, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm

We don't know what the union is going to offer up for negotiations. Jennifer Cohn made that clear in her post. Are you all saying then that if the union comes up with ways to close the other end of the shortfall you will all support a parcel tax? This would be valuable information to share. Like specifically, if the union gives up step and column you are on board for the tax or will you still complain and bash? The comments about greedy teachers and admin are baseless and not specific. What do you want them to do, exactly to close the gap?


Posted by Not This Time, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm

There is no "other end" of the shortfall. The unions can send home a lot of people, a few people, or no one. The preverbal ball is in their court.


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm

StayHomeDad,

Right on. It's not the teachers it's the administration.
If we could trust the administration then I'd pay the tax too.

What's really happening is in order to save the perks of the adminstrators people are going to loose their jobs.


Posted by observer, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm

People, let's give the teachers a chance to present their case to their union. I'm sure a lot of talks are taking place between the union and its constituents. The union is like a cruise ship so it cannot be steered toward another direction in an instant. I'll bet the farm that many teachers are afraid to speak up against their union for the same reason you and I have chosen to remain silent in public.

Now, what upsets me most is that the people who are handing out the pink slips are not the ones who have to face the music. Casey will still get his entire compensation package of $300,000-400,000, including his $1000 monthly transportation expenses, while our valuable teachers are being laid off.

Why are some of these top administrators getting a free pass when the people on the ground (teachers) are smacked with layoff notices and possible pay cuts?

Are you willing to condone this type of preferential treatment for the top administrators?

Vote no on the parcel tax to send clear message to the board that we will not support their misguided solution. They need to renegotiate those unreasonable contracts.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Yes on Measure G!


Posted by Jim, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Casey is going to cut and run. He was here for the good times but he is finishing up this contract and he will take the money and run. That is why he pushed through the sleazy raise when he could. He does not care about the parcel tax because he won't be here.


Posted by George, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm


hey Arkin's plan still called for a parcel tax. It was a bit lower than the one passed. She admitted it wasn't completely thought out.
PUSD only has 3 assistant superintendents.


Posted by KGB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I hate to state the obvious but isn't it true that the budget is not even finalized? I mean, the board still has no clue how much they'll be getting next school year, correct?

In that case, all these notices are just that: notices. By late summer, they'll get the millions from the FEDS and news that the cuts aren't as deep as they first thought (off by 8-9 million).

The notices they sent are flat out ridiculous, merely an attempt to stir up panic and drama to manipulate us into supporting that silly tax.

In the 5 schools I visited, over 80% of the teachers received a notice. Over 80%!!! Unless they're planning to close the 5 schools, I find it highly unlikely all those teachers would be axed.

So here we see yet another scare tactic. They're getting more and more creative.

No on Parcel Tax!!!


Posted by Play cards, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 13, 2009 at 6:38 am

I think the notices are part of the union contract. They are designed to give untenured teachers advanced notice that their position is in jeapardy.

It certainly can be played out as the ultimate dramatic scare tactic. This card has been played before and it's being played up and down the state.

If I'm mistaken, please correct me.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:20 am

Tenured teachers with low seniority also get the notices or tenured certificated staff with specific positions that get eliminated, which have to be given by March 15. This process of pink slipping and rehiring, unfortunately, happens often. It is possible that the district was overzealous this year--I would hope that isn't the case.

And its true next year's budget (09-10) does not have to be settled until June 30 (by law), after we would have voted for a tax.


Posted by Play cards, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

Thanks Disagree w/B. I really appreciate your posts. Perhaps it's time to change your name to Disagree w/B&G!


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:40 am

One of the reason why I don't have confidence in PUSD administration is the $100K spent/wasted to relocate solar panels at Foothill High School. PUSD admitted that it was a PUSD error that created this expense. (contact any school board member to verify this expense)
Maybe $100K doesn't seem like much compared to PUSD's annual budget - but $100K would pay for a counselor, a few reading or PE specialists,
and yes, even up to 1/3 of the cost to put the parcel tax measure on the June ballot.
As "dollar and sense" has noted, one can be pro-children, pro-teachers, pro-community and still anti-parcel tax.


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

For every 9 employees of the district that would take a 10% cut one job could be saved. Will they consider this?

Instead we're being asked to pay and being told WE would be causing the layoffs.

Even Casey giving up his car allowance would save 0.5 FTE jobs.


Posted by Taxed, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:02 am

Shouldn't this headline read "District Service Unions Invite Public To Income/Job Protection Rally"?


Posted by I agree Paula and Diane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

Just have to say.....not that it matters to anyone..... I agree.....

Pro Children

Pro Community

Pro Teachers

Pro Schools

NO ON PARCEL TAX! (until PUSD cleans up its act AND the Union Sings! )


Posted by Pro fix it first, a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm

If you have something worth fixing, fix it first with what you have, THEN come and ask for more funds to make it better.

Another one that's

Pro Children




Pro Community




Pro Teachers




Pro Schools




NO ON PARCEL TAX! (until PUSD cleans up its act AND the Union Sings! )


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I don't understand this "fixing" thing. The problem is that the district is going to lose millions of dollars of funding from the state. If that wasn't going to happen, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Other threads mention people from other cities that rent apartments in Pleasanton for the address so they can send their kids to school in this highly reputable district. Now that is an issue all to itself, but it is indicative of the reputation of the quality of education to be found here in Pleasanton. The goal of the parcel tax is to help provide a source of stable funding to shelter our district from the greater funding problems at the state level.

We are voting Yes on Measure G!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:02 pm

KGM: Perhaps a quote from Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" would help you understand the "fixing" thing.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing _wrong_, gives it a superficial appearance of being _right_, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom."

This budget crisis has given everyone the opportunity to shine a light on the problems with the current system. Are we, as a State, going to squander this opportunity?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I'm hoping that Save Pleasanton Schools' next rally will be held in Sacramento.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Stacey,

If I am understanding you correctly, you are focusing primarily on the state's role in the financial situation at the district. I totally agree with you - in fact, I think given the current economic climate, everyone from global corporations to individual households will be need take a hard look how we have been doing things.

That said, I will repeat what I stated above: "The goal of the parcel tax is to help provide a source of stable funding to shelter our district from the greater funding problems at the state level."
So while you have provided a compelling quote from an impressive intellectual and philosopher, it does not really apply to this situation. I am all for reforming the funding system for our schools into something much more reliable at the state level. In the meantime, the parcel tax will help ease the impact of California's current budget problems on our own district.

"When an objection cannot be made formidable, there is some policy in trying to make it frightful; and to substitute the yell and the war-whoop, in the place of reason, argument and good order." - Thomas Paine


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

KGM,

I'd like to refer to both the State and the district. How can raises from reserves be justified?

"The goal of the parcel tax is to help provide a source of stable funding to shelter our district from the greater funding problems at the state level."

That's one of the stated goals, yes, but is it going to have that effect? All it does is provide about $4MM from Pleasanton. There's no teeth in it so it is quite possible that in another year if the State cuts another $4MM from PUSD's budget the shelter just blew away in the wind. Wishing the parcel tax to be a shelter doesn't make it so.

That second Thomas Paine quote you used is interesting. Who are you implying is "war-whooping"? I see it on both sides of the argument.


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Stacey,
Are you for or against the parcel tax?


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Stacey,

I don't think you and I really have an argument beyond whether or not to vote for the parcel tax. The possibility that the State could cut $4 million out of our budget next year is, for me, more of an incentive to vote for the parcel tax (I would even vote for a higher tax). There is a difference between sheltering and being a shelter.

Knowing where I stand on the issue of the parcel tax, I'm sure you understand my motivation in posting the second quote. It's "the District, the Board, Dr. Casey, the Teachers, the Union, the parents entitled to my morning coffee money, no guarantee, bait and switch , perks, raises, rollover"... all of these things I've read many times over. I have looked at the situation our students are in, due to a state funding system that is not dependable, and determined that it is a good thing to put some stability into our district's funding via the parcel tax. I am also very interested in determing a more dependable funding process at the state level.



Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:19 pm

John,

I'm a NO supporter, but probably for reasons you haven't really heard. For example, I don't agree with the position that a person's taxes shouldn't go to support free public education if they don't have kids. An educated society is necessary for a healthy democracy. Therefore free public education could be seen as government providing for the general welfare of the nation, a concept written into our Constitution.

Mainly, I'm voting no because I don't think that programs like CSR do a whole lot for our students. CSR is shown to be most beneficial to districts with a large population of disadvantaged and minority children. That isn't to say that no benefits are derived from CSR, just that the quantity is rather small relative to its large cost. The data on CSR is rather fuzzy on actual improvement in student performance. Even more fuzzy is that there's no good historical data on performance or school quality from before PUSD implemented CSR. Without voter access to such historical data, the decision is going to be an emotional one. I suspect that programs like the reading specialists are probably a more cost-effective method of helping students with reading problems (i.e., if CSR was so great we wouldn't need reading specialists?).


Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Thanks Stacey.....I've found your posts to be so informative and especially appreciate the research you've done, and the links you've provided. But you are so willing to be objective and non-judgmental (a good thing, I assure you!) that I couldn't be certain where you stood on the parcel tax.
Enjoy your weekend!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 9:56 am

It would be a lot easier to support the parcel tax if, along with the list of potential cuts, the community could see: rollback of salaries, paycut for administrators (directors, Casey, etc), concessions from unions (elimination of teacher work days, elimination of non-student days, substitute teachers only when clearly needed, for example)

I do not see anywhere where it is stated that administrators rolled back their salary - after all, the district borrowed last year just to give themselves a raise, knowing about the budget deficit. I do not see anywhere where the board has re-negotiated its contract with Casey and others. I do not see any union concessions. This needs to be done.

I want to support the parcel tax and probably will vote yes regardless, but I am realistic, and getting a 2/3 majority will be difficult unless the community can see administrators and unions doing their part


Posted by To Stacey, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Mar 14, 2009 at 10:48 am

I am an elementary school teacher and I have to argue against you in terms of CSR. Yes, it does work best in situations with a large population of disadvantaged and minority children. However in Pleasanton our demographics are changing. And I believe that elimination of CSR will drastically affect our kids. We also have a very different population in terms of special needs students. I have seen a dramatic increase over the past 10 years in the number of students who are autistic or have some other "mainstreamable" (not sure that's a word) learning or social disability. This is directly related to our high socioeconomic status. These students can and will take all of the time and energy of a teacher. When I have 1 or 2 in a class of 33 (I do not benefit from CSR) it changes the dynamics dramatically. I think without these kids having CSR when they are younger it will be even worse. Yes, much of what I am saying is anicdotal but there is literature to back it up. I have not decided if I am for or against the tax but I do know that CSR is a benefit. I do not want our district to become like many others in the East Bay. We have seen it happen in both Hayward and Fremont and we have the knowledge and opportunity to prevent it from happening here.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

I will post this in more than one thread because I think it is important (my judgment call I guess).

Steve made a point about giving decent wages and feeling the recent PUSD raises were in line. I wanted to get to the bottom of that. Using the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (San Francisco) and a person more knowledgeable than me, here is the comparison. Link to data is Web Link

2005-06 PUSD gave 4.6%; CPI was 3.9 (June '05-Jun '06)
2006-07 5.73% v 2.6%
2007-08 4.1% v 4.1%
2008-09 -3% for the last six months of 2008 (just an FYI)

That's 3.83% higher than the CPI for the period 2005-2008 (ending in June 2008). Using $100 million for the budget for salaries, that's a difference of $3.83 million . . . dangerously close to the amount requested in the parcel tax. This also does not include the step and column raises that occur each year, nor the stipends for education, etc. It appears that decent raises could have been given and still money could have been put in the bank.

And what was put in the bank? Districts have a line item in their budgets titled Designated for Economic Uncertainties. San Ramon has $6.9 million; Livermore has $4.5 million (cited from their First Interim Reports). And Pleasanton . . . it's zero. That, I think, is mismanagement.


Posted by shelly, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

No NO NO NO to a parcel tax....I will not add anything to my property tax regardless of property value. Some of us simply can't afford another dollar. I'm just trying to keep my house right now. I like living here and believe the teachers are wonderful so a few more kids in their class won't make them any less of a teacher. I think the district should reach out to the parents to help the classroom teacher with sevice rather than dollar.We talk about the kids and the tax will help them but we forget how some of us struggle to live in Pleasanton and we want to raise our kids here but I live on every dollar I make and not a penny do I have extra. Some people can buy a pair of jeans for the amount the parcel tax is and some of us could never!!! I got a pay decrease this month and to add that to a raise in my taxes will most likely force me to lose my house. Please vote no!!!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Regarding the fund for economic uncertainties, I would like to point out that both districts cited (San Ramon and Livermore) benefit from parcel taxes, passed by their communities, for additional school funding. PUSD has until now avoided asking citizens for a parcel tax for additional school funding. So it is difficult to say that is due to mismanagement because it is comparing districts with different funding sources.

These are definitely challenging economic times for everyone. As far as asking parents to help more, I know our school's families are already helping a great deal. While our teachers are indeed very competent and increasing class size won't make them "less of a teacher," it will substantially alter type of instruction given in the classroom (adding even 5 more students is a big change).

It is $233 per year for four years.

I am a parcel owner voting YES on the parcel tax.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Shelly,

Have you considered subletting a room in your house? That's what people used to do...


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

KGM: San Ramon and Livermore weren't taking the parcel tax dollars and putting them into the economic uncertainty fund--they were clearly PLANNING ahead. It is a fair comparison.

Are you then saying that while the district was receiving large COLAs, giving large raises, and putting nothing aside (when it had the money to do so) it was good management of taxpayer dollars? More like the story of the ants and the grasshopper--Livermore and San Ramon were the ants, and Pleasanton is the grasshopper.


Posted by shelly, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for the idea but the idea of a stranger living in my house or anyone outside of my family is not a comfortable idea.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Disagree w/B,

It is still an issue of having the funding source or not. When you have more available funds, you can plan better for uncertainties. SR and Livermore communities voted for a parcel tax to benefit schools, and their schools have benefitted from that. How could that not have put them in a better position than PUSD is in right now? PUSD refrained from asking for additional funds through a parcel tax until absolutely necessary, so in that sense, I see the ant/grasshopper analogy - and I wish we would have passed a parcel tax sooner.

I also remember reading in one of these threads that there was a return of COLA this or last year.

Now I am going to spend some time with my family!
Have a great weekend!

(Yes on Measure G!) :~)


Posted by Ramona, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Shelly,
I am sorry you are not comfortable with the idea of subletting. I am not comfortable with the idea of paying another tax but will do so - just this time - because it is better than losing CSR and other benefits. Sometimes when times are tough we need to look beyond our comfort level. Maybe some of us here are a little too comfortable. This will be good for all of us!


Posted by A Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm

"Sometimes when times are tough we need to look beyond our comfort level. Maybe some of us here are a little too comfortable. This will be good for all of us!"

Yes.
Constant raises
Lay-offs based solely on sniority
Executive perks

The unions need to disappear.


Posted by Vince + 4, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Stacey asks Shelly: Have you considered subletting a room in your house? That's what people used to do...:

Without really knowing Stacey's position on the parcel tax but for the record I am a strong NO I'd like to ask the following question?

To Ramona and Stacey:

Have you ever considered home schooling? That's what people used to do...Sometimes when times are tough we need to look beyond our comfort level. Maybe some of us here are a little too comfortable. This will be good for all of us!


Report Objectionable Content


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm

KGM: Pleasanton HAD the money without a parcel tax, that's the whole point. They could have given raises of 3.9, 2.6, and 4.1 and still had money in the bank.

And Pleasanton didn't refrain from a parcel tax, their survey last time (which they chose not to do this time) told them there was no support. Makes me think it's because EVEN back then they weren't able to make a case because of current practices.

Dial forward to today, and the lesson clearly wasn't learned--they still spent, didn't save, and now have nowhere to go. They've shown up for class without homework and unprepared for class. That's something you don't reward by passing Measure G--for that you get an F(ail).


Posted by IMO, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Wow lots of posts on all these blogs. Very intelligent ones and even some that are quite funny (wearing green blog). Looks like some posters are posting on the multiple blog sites.

Having read many, many of the posts on all the blogs I find the most consistent argument and sound reasoning for the NO vote to be those written by: Disagree w/B. Lots of clarity, facts and clear reasoning in all of her/his posts. Seems to answer the opposition w/ a good sound argument.

Can anyone tell me what poster I should go back and re- read for the same consistency and sound reasoning as I noted above for the Yes vote.

I would appreciate that. thanks in advance


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm

This parcel tax won't be some kind of over-the-top windfall for the district administration. The amount of revenue generated from the parcel tax will keep schools running at an acceptable but still very reduced service level.




I'll say it again. The district has run on the funds allocated to this point, when the state deeply sliced the education budget. The district's approach to remedy this is to cut expenses AND pass a parcel tax to benefit the schools.




It is not an issue of being in denial about how the district is run. As I mentioned earlier, these economic times are going to force everyone to re-evaluate how things have been done - from the largest companies to individual households. The point is that as a community, we can offset some of this funding instability by approving a temporary parcel tax so that students in our community are not made to suffer the consequences of such a drastic reduction in funding.




Given the reputation of our district, I would hardly say there is a failing grade involved. I disagree with how this argument is being framed as rewarding the district for "bad behavior." This is not just an opportunity to punish the district for real or perceived indiscretions. There are real dollars being removed from the system here. This is about preserving an acceptable level of resources for the students in our public schools - resources that were removed at the state level. If this situation makes people want to look more closely at how things are run at the district level, then great - I am all for accountability. However, that doesn't change the fact that the district now will be dealing with substantially reduced funding from the state, and that will affect our kids tremendously.




We are parcel owners voting Yes on Measure G!


G is Good for our schools!


Posted by Gary, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm


KGM: I agree with 2 of your points but draw a different conclusion

Point 1: "these economic times are going to force everyone to re-evaluate how things have been done - from the largest companies to individual households."

My conclusion: Yes my household, given the loss of my wife's job, has re-evaluated and concluded we cannot afford the parcel tax.

Point 2: "It is not an issue of being in denial about how the district is run."

My conclusion: I agree many yes voters are not in denial about how the district is run, but in denial about how this economy is affecting many citizens in this community. Like it not, everyone here may not be as wealthy as this community would like to see it self.


Pro Children

Pro Community

Pro Teachers

Pro Schools

NO ON PARCEL TAX!(until PUSD cleans up its act AND the Union Sings! )


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Gary,
Many supporters of Measure G find themselves in situations not so dissimilar to your own, including myself. There is no issue of denial. Personal situations are evaluated and decisions are made - the point of the vote is to determine the decision of the majority of the community.
We have decided to vote Yes on Measure G!


Posted by reponse, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:56 am

A response must go to ., you really did some up what a teachers life is like. Nice job. Although I will vote no on this tax i still believe teachers work WAY more than any other job out there besides parenting.

People can't afford this tax simply said and I know MANY people who are no voters, the district is trying to save money they should really try to get their numbers before they waste more money that could help with their budget.


Posted by Janie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

I too will be voting No for many of the same reasons the "no" posters have already stated.

To response who believes "teachers work WAY more than any other job out there besides parenting" I cannot disagree more. I am not sure who and what kind of jobs you are comparing teachers. Nor do I know what your life experiences and work history includes. Both would be important to understand your belief about the "WAY more".

Although I believe they work, the reality is not all work "hard", and it is not "WAY MORE" then myself (hourly worker/college degree), my husband (works for private industry) and the people we interact throughout our day. We, like many others, work very long days and receive no additional money, perks, bonus, or stock options for doing so. Just about every single day I clock out before my work is done but end up staying considerably longer without pay, just to get my job done. My husband works about every Sat.and Sun. and like many, took a pay cut. And please know, this "working hard" has been the case for both of us since we were teens. We are not the only ones who I know do this.

Painting any one profession or job as working "WAY MORE" than other hard working family regardless of how you are voting is totally subjective and a false conclusion. I hope others do buy into this.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

"teachers work WAY more than any other job out there "
Talk to a nurse!!!!!!


Posted by response, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:20 am

FYI to Janie. Everyone works hard I agree with you so I apologize if I singled your profession out. I'm not a teacher but everyone one of us who lives here will be in contact with a teacher and most of us need to see them before we can make it in our own careers. Teachers also are educated professionals who are paid for a 6 hour day. I agree that all teachers are not created equal in the quality of work but the system is what it is and for those teachers who work hard way above what they are paid for should be respected for working with us all. Some teachers have a Masters Degree and their all required to have a BA and a year of intership before they can even apply for a job. I'm not on here to put down any one persons profession and I think this is a parcel tax for education, right? To the talk to a nurse person you are right...they are under paid and work thier butts off. I will check my wording next time I post. Sorry to all the nurses and other professions that are hardworking and underpaid.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:49 am

The average teacher in Pleasanton is paid nearly $80 per hour. That is the average many teachers make more. Most teachers work hard and some of them work many hours beyond what they are paid for. That figure is based on numbers reported by PUSD that they report includes benefits. Web Link

All of that considered, while not overpaid teachers are very well compensated in Pleasanton.

We all support our teachers, and if reasonable cuts and concessions are made we do not need a parcel tax to keep teachers jobs and maintain valued programs.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The amount of money being cut by the state will require a lot of cuts and concessions. We will not be the same district we are now. The parcel tax funds, along with cuts and concessions, are what is needed to preserve the excellent educational opportunities currently provided by our well-rated district.
Yes on G!


Posted by VOTE YES ON G, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Those of you against the parcel tax are extremely selfish!!!! You find it okay for your home prices to remain high and stable when the MAIN reason for this is THE SCHOOLS. Anyone with school aged children MOVED TO PLEASANTON BECAUSE OF THE SCHOOLS!!! Without the schools say goodbye to your home values and I will be laughing at all of you. We rent and are currently staying out of the housing market so I really could not care less what happens to your property values!!!! But I am sure that you do. I guarantee that you will lose a hell of a lot more in your home value than $233/year. Do the math you idiots, $233 is NOTHING in comparison.

MOST OF THE SURROUNDING CITIES HAVE PARCEL TAXES, and some much more than $233. San Ramon for example is asking voters to pass ANOTHER PARCEL TAX. San Ramon also has a great school district partly because of the parcel taxes.

It is also amazing to me that you people against it do not care about our children and future generations. It is disgusting!!!!

If this tax does not pass, it is guaranteed that the schools will suffer and no one will want to live here. They will go to San Ramon because they care about their children and we will be right behind them.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Wow, "Yes on G,"

There are many good arguments for voting for the parcel tax, and they can be made without calling opponents of the tax selfish idiots. You are not going to further your cause by lashing out like this.

We're voting Yes on Measure G!


Posted by If I was an outer space visitor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I've been reading the various threads on the parcel tax.
If I were a complete outsider and relied on the factual information provided on these blogs, the intelligence/education demonstrated in the writing, and the maturity of the bloggers to help me decide which way to vote on the pacel tax, I'd vote no on the parcel tax.
The last post - VOTE YES ON G - goodness, how can anyone seriously listen to someone who screams in a post, calls people idiots, and adds nothing to the discussion besides ranting and raving.
This seems to be the tone taken by many who support the parcel tax.
Those of you who provide web links - thank you. While I'm also doing my own research, I appreciate the fact that you share the research you've done.



Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm

"Outer Space Visitor,"

The post by "Vote Yes" is only one post and does not represent the debate and information posted by supporters of the parcel tax. This is NOT the tone taken by many who Measure G supporters. Similarly unpleasant posts have been made by people opposed to the tax.

Proponents of the tax are concerned about the funding cuts to our school and are making an informed decision to support the parcel tax as a viable solution for helping to close the funding gap.

We are voting Yes on Measure G!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm

"The unions need to disappear."

I agree. And apparently, so does the president. Last week, the Obama administration announced their desire to reform the teachers' union, and how they believe in merit pay and in being able to get rid of teachers who are not performing. It is about time.

Web Link

In the short term, I don't see another option but to vote yes on the parcel tax.

I am highly disappointed on the board members for not pushing for more union concessions. I had hoped the two new board members (Arkin, Hintzie) would actually stand up to the other three and push for doing things differently, and instead they just went along.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm

to "VOTE YES ON G" :

Your comments are so rude. That is no way to convince anyone. Since you like surrounding districts so much and you are only a renter, I suggest you look for a nice home elsewhere, I do not like having people like you in my town since I do own a home and care about who lives here.

"Without the schools say goodbye to your home values and I will be laughing at all of you. We rent and are currently staying out of the housing market"

People rent for many reasons, among them the inability to either pay cash for a house or come up with a nice down payment. People buy when they can and because they believe in home ownership. Schools are important but so is the community overall. You would not make a nice neighbor, so go to San Ramon, I am sure they will welcome you there.

"San Ramon also has a great school district partly because of the parcel taxes."

Windemere, San Ramon's best school, is subsidized by a 1.7 parcel tax all Windemere residents pay (and look at the foreclosure rates).

"If this tax does not pass, it is guaranteed that the schools will suffer and no one will want to live here. They will go to San Ramon because they care about their children and we will be right behind them."

I think you are wrong. All the school districts are facing similar budget deficits, even those that already have a parcel tax. I have friends in San Ramon, and they too will have cuts. Before insulting people and sounding so awful, why don't you research a bit and come up with a logical argument?


Posted by Resident - correctionto my previous post, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

"San Ramon also has a great school district partly because of the parcel taxes."

Correction: It is not a parcel tax in Windemere. It is actually a property tax that will go on for 30 years . So Windemere pays 1.7% in property taxes.

Windemere pays it but not the rest of San Ramon (they pay less), that was one reason we did not buy over there. San Ramon is too unstable as a town because of all the new homes built.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

"and we will be right behind them."

I think you should. Good luck in you new home in San Ramon, and please do not insult your new neighbors.


Posted by Outer space visitor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm

As I said, I've monitored the threads, and pro-parcel tax bloggers have referred to those against the parcel tax as being stupid, hating teachers, not caring about kids, not caring about the community, being morons, idiots, etc.
Additionally, they appear to see the parcel tax as the only solution, whereas those not in favor of the parcel tax have talked about the need to search for other solutions first before taxing the community.
Posters like Disagree w/B offer verifiable statistical data and numerous other posters have provided examples where PUSD has not been as fiscally responsible as they could be.
KGM - while you may not hurl insults, you also have not provided any information to convince me that the parcel tax is the best solution available.
Your passion for a quality educational system is admirable, and a passion I believe is shared by community members regadless of their position on the parcel tax.
Have a pleasant evening.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I will not let it sit here that the pro-tax bloggers are primarily responsible for insults that have been hurled in this discussion. They have been referred to as being blind, pawns for the district, overly emotional, panicky,, self-entitled, uninformed. This is important because people are making an effort here to present their arguments on both sides, and it is totally unfair to label one group or another as being vicious or ignorant.

Based on my information and reasoning, the parcel tax, coupled with some cuts and reductions, IS the best solution available. I have seen nothing from those opposed to the tax except to squeeze the district/administrators/union. It would take a lot of squeezing to come up with nearly 9 million dollars to prevent programs and services from being cut in the district.

We are voting Yes on Measure G!


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:57 am

And MANY of us have seen nothing posted that makes us believe that this proposition is a healthy and viable option for our community. And since the discussion is about to become censored, perhaps it is time to just shut up and vote.

My vote … and I expect many, many others will be NO.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 6:41 am

And my vote ... and I know many, many others, will be Yes on Measure G!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 7:32 am

Isn't Windmere in a Mello-Roos district? It's like paying off a bond. That's why the property tax is higher. And Mello-Roos taxes aren't necessarily deductible.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

San Ramon did pass a parcel tax to benefit schools, and it is on the ballot for renewal this term. See link re: original parcel tax:
Web Link


Posted by JF in Fairlands Dist., a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:18 am

Thank you KGM for the link on the San Ramon parcel tax. Too many here are confused on several issues, this being one of them.

I have children about to enter the school dist. as kindergartners and I am very concerned. How can a teacher properly teach 32 five year olds? After attending a PTA meeting and hearing from several kindergarten teachers, is sounds like it will be very, very difficult.

There are such deep cuts in the school budget that this parcel tax is actually not enough. No one is asking for more money than we already had, we are just trying to help make up the money that was lost. Even if/when this passes there will still be deep cuts. I am totally baffled as to why anyone would vote no. It is good for the community to continue to have schools that are top notch. How can this be bad? I just don't get it.

To those of you voting no, please decide very carefully instead of just saying no to "new taxes". No one wants to shell out more money for taxes but sometimes you have to for the greater good.

YES ON G


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:28 am

JF wrote: "I am totally baffled as to why anyone would vote no. It is good for the community to continue to have schools that are top notch."

Yes, it is good to have top notch schools. Now the critical question to be asked is that out of the programs listed on the cut list, which ones contribute to the school quality measures that affect home values? I think if you do the research to try to answer that question you'll find the reasons behind a NO vote.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 8:54 am

Regarding research to answer the question of how the programs on the cut list contribute to school quality, please see attached link detailing programs on the list:

Web Link

Clearly these programs contribute to school quality. School quality as a whole affects property values.

Yes, property values are part of the equations. However, I believe that as a community we also value quality education for its own sake.

Yes on G!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

KGM wrote: "Clearly these programs contribute to school quality. School quality as a whole affects property values."

It isn't enough to say "clearly". You need to show how and by how much for others to make reasoned decisions. It would be a similar thought process someone putting together a zero-based budget would need to perform.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:20 am

I meant to add, school quality as a whole does not contribute to property values. This is unfortunately not a "no-brainer" with a simple answer. For example, some schools in poor districts have teachers that are able to motivate their students to a high level of achievement yet the school's quality is considered poor for other reasons. You need to determine what constitutes school quality, how those items are measured, and which ones play a role in property values. In one study I read for example (I can dig up the link later), it was discovered that the housing market values test scores the most. In California, test scores make up 40% of the API score. Actual student achievement was rather low on the list. After considering that, one needs to look at how each program on the cut list affects test scores. In another study for 67% more resources spent, 15:1 CSR only improved the number of students _passing_ a standardized test by 4%. There wasn't even data showing the test scores! I have found no CSR study or summary of CSR studies listing improved test scores amongst the benefits of CSR!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

CSR was like third on the list of "school quality measures" that the housing market values. So I think it is enough to say we have CSR and then do something like CSR only in 1-2 grades or increase the ratio to something like 22:1. CSR doesn't affect the main quality measurement that the housing market looks at, test scores.

I don't mean to say that other school quality measurements like student achievement are not good to have, I'm only saying that the YES argument making a direct link to school quality and property values is not a simple argument to make. For example, how does the extra elementary school music program contribute to property values if the market cares most about test scores and not extracurricular activities like band?


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

After a few days of this thread, I am more convinced than ever that I will vote NO on the PARCEL TAX. That is NO on a PARCEL TAX not G. Measure G takes the sting of out what the PUSD has proposed—a TAX. Oh, and most of the time, these temporary taxes never go away.

For me, it is now a matter of whether I will actively campaign against the TAX.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:50 am

Stacey: I am not arguing solely on the basis of home values. I do not believe that the impact on home values is the only thing that yes OR no voters will be basing their decision on, as I stated above. By posting the above link, I am trying to provide information for people to help make their decisions, taking into account the various consequences of the program cuts. I have posted links previously regarding the benefits of CSR, for example, to illustrate how it contributes to the academic experience and performance of students (an indicator of school quality, I think). It is reasonable to conclude that homes in an area where such severe cuts are implemented are less desirable to the portion of the population of home seekers to whom schools are important than homes in areas providing greater resources in their districts. Home prices in Pleasanton relative to the surrounding areas have indicated how homeowners have benefitted from the excellent reputation of our district (as well as other factors, as I am sure you would argue. However, we, along with many others we know, did move to Pleasanton in large part due to the reputation of the district).

This district is facing an enormous budget shortfall. The parcel tax will only compensate for a portion of that shortfall. I am extremely proud of our schools and very satisfied with the education our children are receiving here. I do not want to see our schools have to make any of these program cuts, but even with passage of the tax, this is unfortunately unrealistic.

Proponents of the tax present information in this forum and are repeatedly told by opponents that it is not enough. Should proponents be asking oponents to prove the parcel tax won't help? This is silliness. The parcel tax will benefit the schools and the community by helping preserve the most important programs for our schools, as determined by the district with input from the community. The district will still also need to make many cuts to existing programs and staff.

Yes on G!


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

West Side Observer: Just for clarification, this tax has a limit of four years.
It sounds like you are not a fan of taxes in general. However, in your anti-tax campaigning, I hope you are prepared to defend the massive cuts that will need to be implemented in our district without passage of Measure G (the parcel tax).


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:01 am

Please see attached links re: benefits of CSR:
Web Link
And one I've already posted:
Web Link


Posted by Facts Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:02 am

KGM uses these phrases: "enormous budget shortfall" and "massive cuts" (to the budget).

To all:

What is the current budget?

What percentage of the latest budget is $10M?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:12 am

KGM,

I didn't mean to imply that the argument regarding school quality and property values is your main argument, but that is a main argument being used by a number of YES posters. The Save Pleasanton Schools organization's website front page is one example of where a reader can see this argument. I was more reacting to your assertion that "clearly" the programs on the cut list promote school quality.

A voter who is sitting on the fence on this issue might be interested in understanding the hidden relationships between the programs on the cut list, school quality, and property values.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

Facts Please: Please see attached link to current budget information:

Web Link

Please also see link to proposed program cuts:

Web Link

I hope this is the information you are looking for.


Posted by Facts Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

Thanks KGM, but I don't have time to search around for details - it's not easy to find the numbers.

I'm under the impression the budget is roughly $130M. Is this correct?

If so, a $10M shortfall would be less than 9% -- is that correct?


Posted by West side observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:42 am

KGM,
Fully prepared.
The education establishment here is no stranger to rough and tumble campaigns and scare tactics. It will, with all of its fiber (and PTA and union money) demonize anyone who questions its ability, loyalty, professionalism, or judgment. It happened here in the 70s with various school bond issues. Here is a dirty little secret; they also took it out on the kids. And, believe me, nothing has changed.
Former superintendent Bill James promised that Pleasanton had baseline numbers to prove that class size reduction works and promised (along with former state assemblyman Michael Sweeney) to sunset CSR if it was not cost effective. However, we have yet to see the numbers. Simply saying it works is not good enough in face of the financial meltdown. Since CSR makes up a sizeable portion of the budget, it should be easy to demonstrate to unemotional voters that the costs are too high for the return—even with the current Pleasanton numbers.
Going from 20 to 33 in a class is precisely the scare tactics that the educrats will use. So far, no one in the district has seriously suggested 22 to one, 24 to one, or 26 to one. To them, it is all or nothing at all. Last week, Dublin considered 22 to one so do not worry about Ruby Hill parents fleeing to Dublin for the better schools.
To my way of thinking, it is nothing at all. After the election, the district will have to make the cuts it should have made a couple of weeks ago and left its powder dry for a couple of years out because the politicians in Sacramento (elected by the teacher's union) will not stop spending our grandchildren's money.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:07 am

West Side Observer,
I would ask that you remember that supporters of this campaign are also the parents with children in the schools, who see what a wonderful education our kids are receiving here in Pleasanton and are not willing to see cuts be made due to funding issues at the state level.
I would also like to point out the links I posted regarding the benefits of CSR.
Beyond that, we will have to respectfully disagree.

Yes on Measure G!


Posted by Laura, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm

To JF in Fairlands Dist.

You mentioned that one of your concerns is having a teacher properly teach 32 five year olds.

Let me assure you that you don't need to worry. I was educated in Pleasanton, K-12, at a time before CSR so we did have larger class sizes than they have today. I went to an excellent 4 year college and graduated with my master's 2 years ago. I felt very well prepared for college and for the workforce. I work in San Francisco and made a very good salary working for a great company.

Whatever happens, don't worry, your kids will do fine, especially since they have a parent like you who is concerned about their education. If your children are going to succeed, they will do so regardless of the class size and it will be largely because you keep to focus on the importance of education at home.

You mentioned that no one is asking for more money than we already had. Maybe they are not asking for more money than we already had last year, but they are asking for more money that would put the budget at a higher value than it was when I was a student.

I know this doesn't help much, and I know that I am assuming based on your post that as a parent this is the 1st time you will have kids in school, and I just want you to know that your kids will do great either way.


Rather than all this useless arguing, I would love to see people work together. As a part of their concern for protecting their children and their education, many people are concerned about the teachers' jobs and salaries. Why don't we ask them what they think should be cut and give them a say rather than just making it about their jobs - the little things. Little cuts add up. 1000 small cuts each saving $1,000 totals $1 million. Teachers see the stupid things that money is being wasted on every day. Maybe it is people printing and using unnecessary materials, maybe it is luncheons provided by leadership, maybe it is janitors working overtime because kids don't throw out their trash at lunch...I don't know what it is, but it can't hurt to ask the teachers and all other district employees. You'll probably get lots of duplicate suggestions meaning fewer ideas total, but those suggestions that are duplicates are really something to focus on. Maybe this doesn't make up the entire shortfall, but it might help you get more supporters by reducing the necessary amount of the parcel tax and also showing due diligence.

PS - I also went to Fairlands :-)


Posted by Laura, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm

KGM - you provided a link with info on Identified Possible Reductions for 2009-2010. Thank you for the factual support! My criticisms are in no way directed at you. I realize you were providing facts and certainly were not responsible for creating the document.

I would like to say though, that this document is HORRIBLE!!! If this is supposed to show me what happens if the parcel tax doesn't pass and is supposed to make me support it, they should at least have put a decent effort into this document so they don't look like idiots.

The people running the district are not very intelligent. Get your information in order before you come begging for my money. Review your document and don't have errors in it. For example, the individual dollar amounts are given in thousands (but no note is made of this) and the overall category amounts are given in millions. This is a terrible practice and would not fly in industry. I realize these are small things, but if you can't get the small things right, why should I believe you can be responsible with my hard earned money. This is why your kids are getting screwed, the people in charge can't do anything efficiently and can't even get the small things right.

One of the impacts given in the document related to Counseling is "Every student will not meet with a counselor every year." I don't think my counselor ever met with me in Middle School (I didn't even know I had one) and I maybe met with here once or twice in High School. So this impact statement really doesn't mean there is any impact at all (I graduated 2001).

Another proposed cut on page 10 is Technology Department Trainers (2FTE) for a savings of $90K. Since no other info is given, I am assuming that the $90K is the combined salary of the 2 employees and does not represent anything outside of this. One of the suggested impacts is "Impact on Student Achievement." Seriously, if you want my money, put together a document worth my time. If you can't make a proper document, what makes me thing you can be responsible with my money.

I also recall there was a time when the district had extra funds. Schools were given the choice of how to use it. Some elementary schools used it for additional PE classes, I think Valley View used it to offer some Spanish immersion to their students. So why not cut these types of programs that were bonus programs and all the students who came along before this did just fine.

In high school, I had a class where I would walk in, the teacher would ask if I did the homework. And when I said yes (for every assignment) he would say "Good, put it on the board." So I would go through every problem for the class, not just the answers, but how to do it, while he went back to his desk. Seriously - this is what we are paying teachers for. You might think we could say he did a good job teaching it if I learned it enough, but that is not the case, I learned it entirely from the text book. Knowing that things like this are going on, and knowing how well the Pleasanton teachers are paid, does not make me inclined to want to support the parcel tax.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Laura:
1. The first line under the title of the document reads "In thousands unless otherwise noted."
2. I'll ignore your comment regarding the intelligence of the people running the district, as it does not add to the debate.
3. Nobody is begging for your money. We are as a community voting on a parcel tax to secure and stabilize funding for our school district.
4. RE: reduction in counseling - the document does go on to list nine (9) additional ways that this is a significant impact on students beyond the one (1) you picked out.
5. I am curious how you think that a reduction in technology training (we are currently debating online...) would not impact student achievement. I disagree with your assessment.
6. Bonus programs such as the ones you mentioned will certainly be cut. As you can see from the document, the proposed cuts go deep into everyday instruction.
7. Not every student will have a completely satisfactory experience with every teacher. Individual negative experiences are not a reflection on the teaching community as a whole or even necessarily of the individual teacher. One person's favorite teacher could be another's least. People learn differently from different approaches, and the overall experience is an amalgam of these approaches through the years.
I appreciate that you are interested in this debate but I think it is important to have addressed your post regarding this "horrible" document. I understand that you feel that you did find with less funding and larger class sizes. I also did fine with less funding and larger class sizes. I believe that we need to constantly improve and to raise our standards - they are being raised for our kids at a global level whether we do it here or not - and that requires increased support for our education system here in Pleasanton. In other words, fine is not good enough. That is why I support Measure G, the parcel tax.


Posted by Facts Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I'm under the impression the budget is roughly $130M. Is this correct?

If so, a $10M shortfall would be less than 9% -- is that correct?


Posted by Laura, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Improvement - great. Continuous improvement though is not realistic given limited financial means. Are you suggesting that though they are asking me for $233 now, when that expires they will want more improvement and that might mean asking me for another parcel tax with a potentially higher value? Continuous improvement also means putting the burdens of the deficits your generation created on my generation and your children. Think about your children in that sense.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Facts Please: Here is the link to this year's first interim report (through October 2008): Web Link The budget for 2008-09 has not been posted.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Facts Please: Yes. I am not exactly sure how to interpret part of the budget data, but it appears the shortfall would fall somewhere between 6% - 9% of the budget. If you look at the bottom of the link I posted, there is a section called "Budget at a Glance" that breaks down the information into three categories.


Posted by Facts Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Any idea why the district wouldn't post the entire 2008-2009 budget? After all, the school year is almost over.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Laura,
The problem is that the current funding system relies on the idea of stable revenue from the state and with the current economic situation, that revenue is now unavailable. The parcel tax helps to offset the problems happening at the state level. Funding formulas for our schools need to be re-evaluated. The parcel tax is about dealing with this at an extremely local level - exerting some sort of control over our own district.
I'm not sure how you think my generation created these deficits, but that is a different argument. I do think about my not wanting to saddle my children with additional debt - every single day.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:04 pm

KGM,

Proposition 98 is supposed to create stable funding from the State. Two issues come up. The first is that one of the ballot measures being put out by the State in May is in regards to modifying certain aspects of Prop 98. That one will need to be carefully considered. The second issue is that even with Prop 98, the cuts are high this year because, well, the taxpayers' ability to pay is drying up.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Facts: No idea. And the first interim was qualified (can't meet obligations for this year and next two) and the second interim should have been filed by now (finances through January 2009). I believe because of the qualified first the district will also have to file a third interim (rare) for April. Given the current mood about posts, I won't repeat why I think this occurred.


Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Pleasanton will have a PARCEL TAX many years into the future if someone does not step up to counter the very slick and very well financed Save Pleasanton Schools. Someone needs to coordinate the printing of NO posters and NO bumper stickers. Someone needs to write the ballot response.

Whoever that someone is must be prepared for one of the most vicious campaigns in memory. Do-gooder parents and the education establishment are take no prisoners campaigners. They wear costumes with buttons on campus, stuff school mailboxes with campaign literature, indoctrinate our children in the classroom, and disgracefully demonize anyone who dares to question them.

Whoever steps up will need to remain on point: this is a very bad economy, the district is out of money so the board made too many bad decisions and too few budget reductions, more reductions will need to be made in the future, and everyone in Pleasanton must pull together after the election, and for the next few years, to volunteer services in and out of the library and classroom.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm

West Side: As I tried to clarify earlier, the parcel tax is limited to four years.
Is the Save Pleasanton Schools campaign "slick and well financed," is is it incompetent and unconvincing? I have read both.
I urge you to be careful of your characterization of parcel tax proponents. I have seen none - I repeat, none - of the "vicious" behavior you describe. I think the suggestion of indoctrination and demonization is particularly dangerous and frankly offensive. The parents I know are seeking to shelter their children from the issue.
We are all aware of the state of the economy. The parcel tax seeks only to replace some of the revenue that will be lost from the state. Yes, regardless of the outcome, people will pull together after the election - the same people who are now devoting immeasurable time and energy to volunteer for our students in various capacities.
There are many good points on both sides of this debate, as evidenced by the many excellent posts by many opponents of the measure. It is better to stick to the issues than to cast aspersions on Measure G supporters.


Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm

KGM,

I have been around the barn a few years. No parcel taxes ever go away. This year, in fact, there are a couple Bay Area communities being asked to extend theirs.

Having been in Pleasanton for 38 years, I have participated in several school bond elections and many school board elections. They did not, let's say for the sake of collegial discourse, happen without some shenanigans (again for the sake of civil conversation). Refer to board candidate Mark Moses' complaints filed with the district just about four years ago regarding teacher campaigning on school grounds.

My children suffered in the 70s and 80s because of my opposition to school bonds meant to finance school supplies paid for by teachers. (I opined that it would be less costly to pay for my children's school supplies than put bond costs on my property tax bill.) I am pleased to say that my opinion carried the day. The victory was, of course, bittersweet because I had to be constantly on guard with the educators who gave my kids short shrift whenever they could.

While I know it is difficult to believe that our warm and fuzzy education establishment can go for the throat, they do. Therefore, I reiterate that the opposition will be foolish to not to prepare for the worst in people—especially when union jobs are on the line.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

KGM, As someone who was a recipient of unkind remarks, there are proponents who have been negative and vicious. I agree, however, it is better to stay on message (one of the things I was criticized for).

As to the state funds, the district is seeking to replace some of that lost revenue because it gave raises it couldn't afford and has no money in the fund for economic uncertainties.

The common thread on both sides is that we are supportive of students and teachers. The difference is that the opposition is asking for more than one option to address the shortfall.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

KGM wrote: "As I tried to clarify earlier, the parcel tax is limited to four years."

At the budget forum held back around Jan-Feb at Amador, a person asked Casey what is the percentage of districts that, having passed a parcel tax, later let it expire without renewal. He didn't have the answer and claimed they would look into it and provide one on the website. A poster in another thread claims this same person asked the same question at the forum held at Foothill and supposedly at another live meeting. I have yet to see any such question answered on the PUSD FAQ. That is most likely because the answer is not favorable to PUSD. So yes, while true that the parcel tax is written to expire after four years, there are no guarantees that another parcel tax will not be put on the ballot in four years. Additionally, Measure G is written in such a way as to guarantee that during its time, no monies from the General Fund will get sucked up into salary increases for staff (administrator, certificated, classified, etc.)


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I was just going over today's homework with my young son, and I am so very impressed and pleased with the progress he is making at our wonderful school. Our experience in this district has been fantastic, and while I understand that these are difficult economic times for everyone, I think it is important to minimize the reductions in our excellent programs and services due to the decrease in state funding.
The parcel tax will still need to be coupled (unfortunately) with cuts in staff, programs, and services, so I argue that it does address the shortfall in more than one way.
The fact that parcel taxes are on the ballot for extension in neighboring communities is not surprising given the state budget reductions to education affecting all districts. However, we cannot see where things will be in four years and at that time, an extension of Pleasanton's parcel tax would still need to be put to a vote.
We're voting yes on the measure.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Some readers here wondering about the eventual outcome of parcel taxes will be interested in reading the Articles section of this website: Web Link Their motto could be "The road to high taxes is paved with good intentions".


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm

"San Ramon did pass a parcel tax to benefit schools, and it is on the ballot for renewal this term. See link re: original parcel tax:"

Yes, but on top of that, Windemere residents pay the 1.7% tax rate and the rest of San Ramon pays less. This tax is for 30 years, and it pays, among other things, for the schools within Windemere. We went to preview the houses, took the tour, and yes, there is the tax, which is higher than the rest of San Ramon. On top of that, there is a parcel tax. There was also a measure that was used to upgrade Pine Valley Middle and Cal High.


Posted by KGM, a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Resident: For clarification, my post re: the SR parcel tax was in response to an earlier poster's statements about Windemere's Mello Roos tax. There is a apparently a Mello Roos tax for Windemere, but I was explaining that the entire city of SR also pays a parcel tax.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Stacey, The parcel tax only guarantees administrators won't get a raise during the life of the tax.

KGM, The only option offered is cuts/tax. There has been no exploration of other possible options as suggested in all the threads.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Disagree w/B,

I think you misunderstood because it looks like I left a negative out on accident. Here's what I mean to say. It costs the district ~$2MM out of their general fund to run CSR. If the parcel tax passes, now that $2MM is coming out of the parcel tax source. Let's say that this economic downturn only lasts a year and by next year the district gets $2MM restored to the general fund from the State. We might think that we no longer need to use the parcel tax source to fund CSR. But during that year, other costs which are paid out of the general fund have increased. We'll be facing having to pass another parcel tax in order to not lose CSR.


Posted by Kiko, a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Why are unregistered posts allowed here, Mr. Bing? Is this the pro-parcel tax site...?


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