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Why is the district cutting Class Size Reduction? Is this a scare tactic to get a “YES” vote on Measure G?....YOU BET IT IS!
Original post made
by Tanner, Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 28, 2009
The Big Picture found at [Web Link
In various news sources, it has been reported that the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) will receive $2.1 million from the federal stimulus act. That isn't quite the whole picture. To get the full view, we must pull back the camera lens.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), became law on February 17, 2009. The act names almost $100 billion for education with half of that available now and the other half available in six months. The largest programs constituting that amount break down as follows (from link):
* $48 billion in stabilization funds
* $13 billion for low-income students through the so-called Title I programs
* $12 billion for students with disabilities, normally called IDEA
* $5 billion for early childhood programs (i.e., Head Start)
* $5 billion in "Race to the Top"
The $2.1 million currently being quoted for PUSD comes from the funds for IDEA Part B and are intended for students with disabilities. But there's been almost no mention of Title XIV of ARRA, called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF).
Intended to Prevent Teacher Layoffs
The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) is intended to prevent layoffs of teachers, administrators, and other staff. California, the first state in the nation to receive SFSF monies as of April 17th, has obtained a total of $4.9 billion over two years from SFSF with $3.1 billion of that going to education. According to California's application which was submitted April 1st, the State intends to use roughly 50% of that money to restore cuts to district revenue limits and the other 50% to categorical funding. Since the State budget cuts to education amounted to about $2.4 million, the money from SFSF could completely wipe out the shortfall. This doesn't excuse anyone from returning to status quo spending though.
The Federal stimulus dollars buy California and PUSD plenty of time to reform the way they spend taxpayer money and it would be disappointing to see this opportunity squandered by any attempt to continue wasteful spending. The District has shown an inclination to call the money from ARRA a "one-time" fund. Not to state the obvious, but Measure G is also a "one-time" fund. Not labelling Measure G as "one-time" also gives the appearance that the District fully expects the parcel tax to be renewed by voters in the future. That makes Measure G nothing more than a foot in the door to your wallet.
There also appears to be further opportunity to PUSD in the form of the "Race to the Top" part of the SFSF, which must be applied for. We'd like to see PUSD pursue all available opportunities.
These scare tactics are commonly used by the Edu Unions.. Same tactic different city...
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Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm
This was posted on another thread
Posted by Ann Martin, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm
To Facts Please:
There is a contract between PUSD and Lew Edwards Group dated May 10, 2006.
Here's what the contract says are the services to be provided:
Consultant shall, with consultation from Client, provide bond feasibility and communications services related to a potential March 2007 Parcel Tax Measure. Consultant services may include the following:
(a) strategic advice and planning, including a timeline for communications services, benchmark dates, and a project budget;
(b) assisting and overseeing Clients' designated polling firm in the design and implementation of survey research and assessment for Client;
(c) communications services, including - with the input of Client - conceiving, writing and producing direct mail to external and internal audiences;
(d) developing nonpartisan public information materials issued by the District to describe its student support, class size reduction, technology, and curriculum advancement needs;
(e) reviewing the proposed Parcel Tax Expenditure list and making recommendations as to the characterization, appeal or weaknesses of specific funding items; and
(f) working with Client's other professionals and vendors such as district bond counsel or financial advisors in developing a potential ballot question, other voter handbook materials, and a coordinated strategy.
The fee is $37,500 payable in monthly increments of $5,357.14 due on the last business day of each month commencing May 2006 thru November 2006. The only payments I see that have been made are showing (on the Vendor History Report) that they were "last paid 9/24/07" and one payment is for $16,064.28 and the other is $5,357.14. The reports show a last edit date of 6/6/2006. I haven't seen any other payments that would bring PUSD payments to the total amount of the contract.
I will ask PUSD if there are any addendums or change orders to the Lew Edwards Group contract. I will also ask if PUSD contracted with any other companies recommended by Lew Edwards Group to provide parcel tax related services.
I will ask the School Board members if any consulting group, attorney, or vendor has been hired by PUSD to provide any services related to Measure G.
Generally speaking, I have to ask very specific questions to elicit the records I'm looking for. For example, I was curious if PUSD still was paying Lozano Smith, the legal firm PUSD is suing for malpractice.
According to the Vendor History Report, a date of 1/27/09 is shown as the last paid date, but there's also a last edit date of 1/25.05. The amount showing paid is $55,029.54 I thought I could answer my own question by requesting a copy of the contract between PUSD and Lozano Smith.
The contract I received is dated August 1, 2006 and a letter dated June 6, 2007 thanks PUSD for its ongoing relationship with Lozano Smith and indicates that legal fees charged to PUSD will not increase. The scope of work in the contract is whatever matters the Client (PUSD) refers to the Attorney (Lozano Smith).
So I'm still unclear on whether or not PUSD is still paying Lozano Smith, and if so for what.
So I've asked to see the bills submitted to PUSD by Lozano Smith from 2005 to date. When I see the actual bills, I will know what legal matters Lozano Smith has billed PUSD for.
The Vendor History Report is useful in identifying vendors. Besides Lozano Smith, the Vendor History Report identifies the following legal firms: Kinglsey, Bogard Thompson, Stubbs & Leone, and Jon Hudak. However, all legal counsel fees are categorized under legal counsel, not under the issue for which counseling was provided (e.g. special ed, facilities, etc.) So to determine why PUSD was billed, the actual bills have to be pulled.
When I hear back from PUSD, I will post the information, or you can email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will forward on to you any information I receive.
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