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Deficits, Taxes, Shared Sacrifice....Sound Familiar?

Original post made by Carl on Apr 11, 2009

Huge state deficits, raising taxes all around, calls for shared sacrifice. And public employee union members get salary increases? Sound familiar?

Read this story from the Wall Street Journal.

Web Link

It's happening all over the United States, California and the Pleasanton Unified School District.

Time to stop all tax increases. It's time to implement true structural reform. And Save Pleasanton Schools. No Parcel Tax. No on G.

Comments (34)

Posted by Brandon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 1:14 am

Carl - Public employees are entitled to raises regardless of the state of the economy. It's in the contract so get over it. If you don't like it, that's just too bad!

Your hatred toward teachers, schools, and children has got to stop.

Vote yes on G to show your support for our schools, children, and teachers! Otherwise, you are no better than Carl.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 12, 2009 at 7:58 am

Brandon -
All across the country unions are changing their contracts to address the new economic realities. You named it correctly....'entitlement'.

If the salary increases at PUSD were deferred for one year, approximately 30 teacher jobs would be saved for the life of the 4 year parcel tax.

I want as many teachers as possible employed for the Pleasanton kids. Seems like you want as few as possible with increasingly higher salaries.

Who really has the best interests of the children front and center?

Save Pleasanton Schools........No on G..... No Parcel Tax.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

Brandon must be a public employee or some kid who doesn't pay taxes, but he will.

This issue goes way beyond Measure G. Public employee wages are only half the problem...the PENSIONS are the real menace. Ya, those magical pensions that Gray Davis saddled the state with all those years ago and that Arnold warned everyone about. The unions painted him as the villian, but the real evil lies with them and their total disregard for the people of this state, or any state for that matter.

So, Brandon I'll get over it and you can take on that huge tax burden, because I'm a Boomer and I'm taking my money and following my fellow Bommers to greener and cheaper pastures.

Good luck with that.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

Brandon, Do you then agree that CEOs at the car companies or bank presidents and those receiving bonuses at AIG should be paid at taxpayer expense (those taking the bailout money)? Because, hey, they had contracts, get over it?

I don't hate teachers, schools, or children--I have family and friends that are teachers, put my kids through these schools, have a grandchild in these schools, and I grew up in a very large family--so I love kids.

I'm against waste, poor planning, and one step solutions--I can apply that to Measure G, the state, or the federal government, or anyone else who has their hand in my purse. I don't think you can do that with your statement.


Posted by I should have had a V-8, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Oh yes, teachers should take that cut because the private sector is suffering and everyone should share the burden. . .That's because in better times the surplus is shared or what, that's not true. . .the increase is put into programs. . .not bonuses like the private sector. . .

Teachers are being asked to increase their workload, class size and continue to pay for materials out of their own pocket and take a cut because we are in hard times. No one ever mentions that salaries should be increased substantially in good times or that there should be any increase in benefits.

Teachers in Pleasanton have LOST salary in the last ten years because of the increase in healthcare costs. All salary increases, including step and column, have been offset by increase cost in healthcare. It costs about %12,000 a year for family healthcare. Subtract that from other salaries in the bay area and you will find the pay is not that high.

Not to mention the home values in Pleasanton and the difficulty one has living here on a teacher's salary. Teachers who live in town are more likely to stay after school, go to the extra-curricular activities and participate in the community. Teachers who leave often do so because they have long commutes.

Oh yes, Teachers contribute to their pensions which are dependent on age and the number of years teaching.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 12, 2009 at 3:02 pm

V-8,

Can you show the analysis that teachers have *lost* salary in the last 10 years?

What percentage of teachers actually use the $12,000 to purchase health insurance?


Posted by V-8, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Chris Grant had those numbers. In addition to being president of the school board, He works in the health care field. Teachers have fallen way behind even the COLA in Pleasanton.

What is your point about the percentage who use the money to purchase health care?

Maybe it is a question that really means what percentage of teachers are really a second income and don't need the health care?

That attitude is why teachers have fallen behind other professionals with similar education. In fact using the concept that teachers are often a second income was part of the rationale when paid health care was dropped in Pleasanton.

No, I am not a Pleasanton teacher nor am I married to one.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 4:42 pm

My favorite part of the health care increase argument is the assumption that somehow teachers are the only ones affected by the increase in cost. The rising cost of healthcare has affected everyone.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

The Pleasanton teachers voted to raise their direct compensation and pay individually for health care if they are not covered through another source. This raised the pay base so that they would receive a higher retirement benefit. That would never fly in the private sector, but since there is little expectation of fiscal responsibility on the public sector and those that are minding the store receive the same types of advantages, it sailed right through with a nod and a wink.


Posted by Love what I do, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm

News flash people, teachers have never been compensated properly for the work they do. Nor nurses for that matter (me). Firemen and policemen same thing. We do these jobs because we are drawn to them, because we love them, NOT because we expected to make a lot of money-if we did we would have taken Mom's advice and gone into another profession.
So, stop the whining about all the hard work and all the money out your pockets etc. and admit you got yourselves into this game because you wanted to. Expecting the good people of Pleasanton to bail you out of this mess-which neither of us created-is unrealistic right now as we are all in the same painful pickle. Show some compassion for your younger colleagues just starting out and our kids by throwing real wage concessions into the pot. The parcel tax as planned will NOT keep this ship afloat for long.

And before you get all steamed up remember that the rest of us public "servants" don't get parent support at our jobs, the awesome hours and holidays off, or the joy of being the person seeing little Johnny finally get his times 2's.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Teachers and other public employees, or whoever complains: just quit if you are unhappy and go find those other lucrative jobs that are supposedly out there if you can. Let the natural process of real world selection begin. Chase those shrinking taxpayer dollars! It is long overdue that you do! Forget hoping that parcel tax increases will keep the pot full. $233K per parcel is not going to change the big picture. It will simply waste more taxpayer's money and won't change things very much.

This whole issue of parcel tax politics changed the moment that CASEY became politically involved in its PROMOTION as well as the TEACHERS who posed willingly for the front page of the Pleasanton Weekly in their pink shirts (March 20), which was a sign of pink slips issued that usually are never activated and are mandated by union rules. A complete farce, to say the least. Once you entered the political arena along with your leader, you are now part of everything that is directed against the parcel tax. That's how politics work, and if you don't like it, don't participate.


Posted by teacher, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm

I didn't see one teacher on this thread complaining about how much they do and how little they are paid, so why all of a sudden did this become a "teachers quit your whining" thread?? Every single teacher in Pleasanton that I know loves what they do but is completely aware of the consequences of choosing to work in a profession where compensation is not nearly proportional to the work done and difference being made in people's lives. They all get it and I have not heard one teacher complain. Quit blaming teachers for all the voice that is Pro-Parcel Tax. Everyone assumes that teachers only support the parcel tax because they think that is the only way to save their job. News flash: teachers that I know have taken it upon themselves to educate themselves on the parcel tax and everything that comes with it. That is why they support it. I am SO sick of people ripping on PUSD teachers for everything.


Posted by Susan, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:27 pm

The problem is with the state not the district!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The benefits argument is an old beaten horse that could probably get a rest. When 63% of the teachers are taking home the extra pay because they don't need to buy the health insurance, the argument about teachers losing pay to rising health care costs gets moot.

A friend of mine who works "in the industry" told me about a colleague who has received a pink slip _every year for 25 years_. That person has never gotten actually laid off. Districts always hand out way more pink slips than they actually act upon but they have to do it because of union-lobbied-for rules. And to have this done in the middle of the school year is a HUGE advantage to the unions who get to put on the yearly dramatic spectacle. Who cares about the kids and the disruption to the learning process during all this?


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:42 pm

When the teachers posed for the March 20 PW front page, they entered the game. The are now certainly part of the political process of free speech and discussion and are deservedly targets of this discussion. Complaining or not complaining by them on this thread or others is IRRELEVANT. The pink slip stuff is pure political play and the front page speaks to their participation in the play. For years the union rules have always been to require the slips to go out. Few teachers have ever been forced to cash in their chips because of it. But now it is used as advertisement to pass a tax onto the already overburdened taxpayer.


Posted by Veronica, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

The amount of misinformation about pink slips is incredible. Teachers are given pink slips based on seniority and credentialing. Teachers are placed based on qualifications. They are not interchangeable.

More are given out than are needed because one can't be sure of the domino effect. An English teacher is surplussed at the middle school level and they bump someone at the high school. The middle school and the high school now believe they got a raw deal. They did. How do you reconcile that when both have done a good job?

A teacher retires and frees a spot at a school and someone who thought his or her job was gone now has one. If you have a spot for a science teacher that has to be filled with someone qualified to teach science, hence a teacher with less seniority may be kept while a teacher with more is released.

How would you do it? The teacher who coaches? The one who carpools with the principal? The one that goes to church with the Superintendent? What is fair? I know, let's do it by neighborhood poll.

What isn't fair, not that life is fair, is that we as a state continue to use the education of our young people as a political tool. This is not because Pleasanton has not planned well, it is because the state has not planned for the future of our young people. For the last number of years we have balanced our state budget by borrowing from foreign countries. The district is doing what it has to do by law, giving teachers notice so that then can look elsewhere if they need to look.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

... Doing what it has to do by laws which were created through union lobbying. The whole bumping thing is another union creation.

Why does this have to happen during the school year?

"Six years ago, for example, all but 3,000 of the 20,000 teacher pink slips that went out statewide were rescinded." Web Link

15% of the pink slips statewide turned into actual layoffs. It will be interesting to see what the percentage is this year. I'm going to guess it will be higher, but not by much.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Thank you for the complicated explanation about pink slips that we in the taxpaying world of the so-called private sector, without whom there would be no funding so that there is a need for such an explanation, can almost understand as something rational. But, unfortunately, the explanation only seems to make sense to those in the Alice-in-Wonderland of the our public education system which is dominated by the teacher's union. There are few, if any, counterparts of such a system in the private sector.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Like it or not, whatever protections you might have from unreasonable or unfair, or unethical private sector bosses, (of course there are none of those characteristics among the business world) you have because of unions.

Again, how would you determine who should loose their job? Most reputable businesses have due process as it pertains to releasing employees.

It's not the unions that have caused this.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Veronica- Don't worry about Frank.

His bullying sarcasm is obvious and not necessary. His postings in this thread are attempts to spread misleading information about teachers and Measure G. They say nothing about what should be done to balance the budget.

"The district is doing what it has to do by law, giving teachers notice so that then can look elsewhere if they need to look."

This seems pretty clear to me.


He just wants to start a fight.





Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:27 am

Stacey is a registered user.

There's no misleading information about teachers. Go look at the PW photo of the teachers wearing pink. Also, this thread's subject isn't about balancing the budget, it's about continued public employee pay raises during an economic depression while at the same time wanting to raise a new tax.

I like how Carl above puts it: "Time to stop all tax increases. It's time to implement true structural reform"


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:28 am

Stacey is a registered user.

One of the teachers in the PW photo is Pat Kernan's daughter. You know Pat Kernan, school board trustee who doesn't live in Pleasanton and won't have to pay the parcel tax but votes to put on one the ballot for the rest of us...


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

Stacey

Pat Kernan shows a Pleasanton address on the PUSD web site. Is this bogus and do you know something that I don't ?
Of course I do see "Attorney" as profession and they are a sneaky lot.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2009 at 8:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Joe,

He uses the address of his daughter's apartment as his home office and business address or something like that. His home is in Camino, CA. His residency is highly questionable. Students would get kicked out of PUSD if they did the same thing.

Web Link


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2009 at 10:16 am

I learn more from these posts every day than I could in the real world. Seems PUSD focused a spotlight on themselves and the act isn't looking too good. Trust ? I don't understand...people who don't have to pay a tax (Bing and seniors) wanting other people to pay a tax, non property owners voting when their obligation is minimal....


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

A shortfall of over 8+ million in funding from the state is a disgrace. Those of you who are new to the debate, please know that PUSD was forced by the state to make cuts last year too.

Without the parcel, there will be long lasting and damaging effects to PUSD, particularly loosing some of our new employees and attracting experienced teachers from surrounding districts. I don't believe that is a scare tactic. It's reality that programs will be cut. PUSD won't look like it did in the 07-08 school year. This school year 08-09 was already different than years before because programs, employees, and funding for school site spending was already cut. Will PUSD still strive to provide the best programs its employees can provide? Of course, because most people who devote their lives to educating children are selfless, devoted, and committed to make sure that children are given the best opportunities. However, 20 in a classroom verus 33 in a classroom does make a difference. Cutting intervention plans will make a huge difference to not only the children who need the services directly, but also their classmates who benefit from having more of their teachers' time. California school children attend school each day in the largest class sizes in the nation. Why are any of you content with that? Whether you have children or not, all of us should be angry that Sacramento is shortchanging our school children. Are you writing the Governor? I have because I don't agree with the cuts to public education. Calfornia didn't need to sink any lower than we had in per pupil spending. Many districts will most likely loose class size reduction in K-3 and the shame in that is that our class sizes should have never been that large. Go into any K-3 classroom and visualize 12-13 more students, desks, sets of supplies in the same space.

My biggest concern as a taxpayer is that much of the bond money went to enlarge these schools for class size reduction. Now, is it really okay with many of you that those classrooms will sit empty or even removed from campuses? That would be a terrible waste of money we have already spent.

Instead of being angry at teachers, administrators, and anyone who has a pension (which teachers pay 8.5% of their salary into each month into their pension accounts, and teachers do not collect social security even with 40 quarters, nor do they receive a spouse's social security, nor do teachers have continuing health benefits after retirement). Please don't include teachers into the groups of public employees who do receive quite healthy benefits and health coverage for the rest of their lives. Most teachers need to work 40 years and reach 65 years of age to receive full retirements benefits which are still a portion of their highest salary, not ever exceeding the highest year of salary. I realize that some other public employees can at 55 and 30 years of service receive full benefits, not teachers. Teachers also contribute to 403(B) accounts and we, too, have lost money during the downturn of the economy. We, too, have lost value in our homes. We, too, have spouses who have lost jobs. We will be taking a pay cut in the fall along with supplementing the materials and supplies needed in the classroom because school funding has been cut. Teachers accept all of this as part of our employment, our choice. I am still grateful to be able to teach, especially in a community like Pleasanton. However, if some of you bloggers are going to bash teachers and their pensions, just maybe you could do some research and truly understand a teacher's pension plan. It doesn't take that much time to do some research, but it appears some of you would like to spread more misconceptations about teachers, their salaries, their pensions, and their health care rather than do a bit of research.
None of my friends envied my prospective pension when they were getting bonuses, stock matching, car allowances, reward trips, and the like. Funny how a bad economy makes people turn on one another.


Posted by Tammy, a resident of The Knolls
on Apr 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm

It is question able if there would even be a shortfall, after the fed stimulus money, if the step&column raises were frozen.

This is not an economy that supports raises. I will not pay a tax so others can continue raises.

No on G , the salary tax.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I see that we don't need to get registered any more. I hope you are all planning to attend the Pleasanton Tea-party to vote against the parcel tax and to move on to more important things such as the retirement and medical benefits for all public sector employees. They have to be reduced to private sector levels or most cities will be going bankrupt.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Apr 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I have had kids in four Ptown schools, teachers are given so much money and parent purchased supplies there is no reasonable need for out of pocket expenses. I don't believe any teacher NEEDs to spend their own money in Pleasanton and I am tired of the whining.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom2 wrote: "PUSD won't look like it did in the 07-08 school year. This school year 08-09 was already different than years before because programs, employees, and funding for school site spending was already cut."

Instead maybe PUSD could look like it did in the 2006-2007 school year. Sorry, it's not "years before".

Web Link Flashback to 2006: The results of the Excellence Committee are in!
The cost to fund all recommendations: $15MM.
Item one on the list: reduce the counselor-to-student ratio. Cost: up to $1.3MM
Second item: CSR for all grade levels Cost: $8.7MM
Third important item: Technology Cost: $5MM

Now we didn't get anywhere on expanding CSR beyond the State programs. We did hire counselors which are now on the parcel tax list. The technology costs are unclear, but I do see technology specialist jobs on the parcel tax list. Hrm...

This is my favorite quote for today:
"I've heard throughout the community people saying, 'The Excellence Committee is great, but you're just going to add a parcel tax and make us pay.' But that is not the case," Kernan said. Web Link


Posted by Bob, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Mom2- Well said. Your points are right on with what is the truth in this budget shortfall. People will still believe what they want, yet I am still waiting to hear a solution. It is a lot of complaining and misinformation. (The Excellence Report, step and column)

No matter how you explain it, people like frank (above) are not going to hear you. They just want to start a fight.

Voting YES on measure G




Posted by nospam1, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:56 am

nospam1 is a registered user.

Don't simply vote "No" on Measure G...vote HELL NO!!!

NO MORE ENTITLEMENTS!!!


Posted by Sam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:11 am

I found a great website for anyone who wants to be an informed voter...Web Link
It was so good, I posted it as a new topic.
Finally, information that doesn't insult my intelligence, but expects that I may actually be able to understand some basic financial rules.


Posted by Love what I do, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 10:27 am

Teacher,
Apparently you missed this missive from the V8 lady:

"Teachers are being asked to increase their workload, class size and continue to pay for materials out of their own pocket and take a cut because we are in hard times. No one ever mentions that salaries should be increased substantially in good times or that there should be any increase in benefits."

Whiney?

Also, was the V8 lady not here in November 2002 when enrollment topped previous predictions and staff received a $1,000,000.00 NON negotiated (not mandated by contract) cut of the ADA largesse granted that year. That was a raise in pay in addition to the regular COLA and Step and Column increases-with no strings attached. What did the kids get as a reward that year? Many got a brand new teacher after as much as four weeks of school-and a new classroom. Hmmmmmm……..

That money could have gone for something for our kids like an after school science, music or computer club-that parents didn't have to pay for. 1 million dollars goes a long way when you think about it like that. It didn't.

"Teachers who live in town are more likely to stay after school, go to the extra-curricular activities and participate in the community. Teachers who leave often do so because they have long commutes."

I've got to remember to tell my patients and supervisor that I can't stay to empty that bedpan 'cause I've got to leave early due to my "long commute" home. Seriously? How many of us could have a job with that line of thinking? And good grief if you're leaving early isn't that like 3 or 4 pm? I've had three kids go through PUSD and not one had a teacher who lived farther than Fremont or Tracy (and her husband worked there).

I'm not trying to start a fight or diss teachers, just trying to point out that teaching in Pleasanton is not all that bad, worth perhaps more of a sacrifice?


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