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Measure G Committee's Hate Mail to the Community

Original post made by John Adams on May 1, 2009

I see the Committee for Measure G spent their weekly advertising allocation (around $900?) on an angry rant entitled "Letter to the Community."

Hmm. I guess Steve Brozosky's completely rational and unemotional editorial touched some nerves last week. Somebody decided to spew venom, lies and hatred intended to discredit Steve, then they signed the committee's name. ALL of you who put your name on that three page ad last week should be ashamed!

I can't wait to see "Community of Character's" response.

I haven't seen anything this lacking in character since Tom Pico was attacked for expensing taxpayer trips to Dublin. It's almost that silly.

Comments (17)

Posted by Diana, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm

The pro-tax committee had no substance to counter Mr. Brozosky's factually supported opinion piece. It was just another emotional rant, which is all the pro-tax committee has.
If anyone looks at this tax proposal critically, as Mr. Brozosky has, measure G has no merit.

Everyone associated with the committee should be embarrassed by this (expensive) mean spirited personal attack on an individual who continues to served our community through citizen oversight.

Posted by Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I have to laugh at the accusation that the amount of $717 that was used to compare PUSD to San Ramon in the ballot arguments against Measure G was wrong. Having spent time on the CA. ED DATA website I know that PUSD receives $1,415 more per student from State and Fed than San Ramon. So they are complaining that a smaller, more conservative figure was used. There was an offer to correct the figure to the full amount but there was no response to the offer.

Web Link

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

I think there are plenty of valid facts in the letter, some of which I highlighted in this other thread: Web Link

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I felt the letter (ad actually) was very sad. It is too bad that people in the pro-Measure G community have stooped to sewer politics of name calling with hit pieces.

This just solidified by NO vote for the parcel tax.

This is worse than the pro-Measure QQ "Save the Developers" spew of lies from last year where developers masqueraded as a ridgeline preservation group. I'll bet QQ and G supporters are all the same people.

Posted by Mandy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I just read the half page ad paid for by the Save Pleasanton Schools political campaign.

How sad that the PTA leaders who are running this campaign must now resort to attempts at character assassination. Their ad isn't about addressing facts – it's an attempt to vilify a parent who expressed his doubts about the need for a parcel tax .

Steve Brozosky's letter, published in an earlier edition of the PW Weekly was "thought provoking." That's the phrase used by Betsey Belleville (page 11) who describes herself as a Measure G supporter.

But being someone who provokes thought obviously makes Steve Brozosky a dangerous person to the SPS people. They must not want people to think.

I agree with those who say the reason many people opposed to the parcel tax choose to stay anonymous is because they know that either they or their children will be targeted. This ad proves how right those people are.

I guess people will say that's politics - it's a dirty business. I just expected better from our community.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm

In an attempt to bash Steve Brozosky, the yes folks left out:

-$2.1 million if federal funds confirmed
-$X in additional federal funds (for which they have applied) to compensate for ADA cuts
-Flexibility on how categorical funds are spent
-Flexibility to have CSR at 21:, 22:1, and so on
-Raises of over 14% given from 2005-2008 that could only be sustained with COLA or enrollment growth (or both)
-Abandoned a goal of a 7% reserve that would buy the district time now
-Districts can and do use off the schedule "bonuses" that do not cripple future budgets
-This election is costing more ($150,000 more?) to have it in June
-This election is still before the district has to finalize a budget (end of June) and oops, may not need the tax after all

The yes side cannot hide behind "You should do this, because you should do this." As I said on another thread, the argument for the tax is a straw man . . . and it's likely the district paid for him too.

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm


the first two points were mentioned in the letter. (Second column, about halfway down.)

The flexibility of categorical funds is not something I have heard much discussion about yet. I missed a school board meeting this week (April 28). Does anyone know whether the categorical fund flexibility was discussed?

It will be interesting to see what decisions the board will consider in terms of reallocating funds from some programs to others. If I remember correctly, the textbook categorical was about $1 million, so I suppose we could not buy any new textbooks next year and take some teachers or counselors off the layoff list. It doesn't sound that wise of an option to me, at least in the long term.

As for the other items on the list... if you'd like to submit a letter to the editor, then there's a good possibility that it would be published. I don't think it's reasonable, though, to ask the committee in favor of measure G to pay to mention the concerns of opponents of the measure.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


I heard Luz give a run down about how the State has categorized the categorical funds into three Tiers. Tier 1 are funds the district can't touch. Tier 2 are funds somewhere in between and Tier 3 are funds the district can cannibalize to fund other programs. Adult Ed and purchasing of new materials are a Tier 3 funds. I don't recall talk about the flexibility with regards to lesser penalties to CSR if the district goes over the 20:1 student:teacher ratio. I know Dublin has taken advantage of this by increasing K class size without losing CSR completely.

Posted by Diana, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on May 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

I was concerned about the raises when they were given because they had to use district reserves to rush them through. I watched the meeting and Steve was the only trustee to question it. He was assured that it was necessary to keep up with our neighbors and (after some money shuffling) they would be able to pay the raises from other funds.

Steve is now admitting the error of letting the administration manipulate the Board.

Posted by Don't be distracted, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Brozosy's letter is missing critical pieces of information and is meant to distract people from the bigger picture.

Let's assume for a moment that all he suggests is done. IT IS A DROP IN THE BUCKET! It is not the cause of the shortfall and it won't fix the shortfall because the state is taking back money already paid.

We are in this shape NOT because of a cell phone bill or mileage subsidies or even because of raises for hard working teachers, it is because the state has cut money already promised and spent.

It a distraction and puts the blame where it doesn't belong. All of us could sit down with the budget and cut a few hundred thousand dollars, may even a million and some would want one thing cut and some would argue for another. . . these conversations go on in budget meetings in districts throughout the state.

These are state cuts in the millions of dollars! MILLIONS and there will be more! This is a STATE issue.

The question for me is where are my priorities? I don't have children in school but did. My household could apply for the senior exemption but we won't. I will vote for the parcel tax because I think the KIDS are worth it and they should not get a lesser shot at their education because of the shortsidedness of the adults in the community.

Don't be distracted. Keep your eye on what is important.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Don't be distracted . . . Don't make cuts that save jobs and programs because they may not be enough; every cut saves a teacher and thus CSR. The budget shortfall was caused by three years of unsustainable raises . . . that can't be resolved in the short run because of not having met the goal for a seven percent reserve.

There now is spending flexibility for some of the funds received by the state, including CSR at 21: or 22:1 (up to 25 I believe); there are $2.1 million in funds coming from the federal government; there are additional federal funds coming to prevent large layoffs . . . this is much more than a drop in the bucket.

The kids will be fine, the solutions are out there. We have a superintendent who has indicated he will likely retire and a teachers' contract that will be renegotiated in the coming year. This is the perfect time to seek permanent budget changes. In the meantime, the community needs to determine what it values and is willing to pay for IF a tax is needed after the fiscal mess is resolved.

The distractions are the drama created by unnecessary pink slips and threats to CSR--drama/distraction purposely created by the district. The district wants us to we vote before they have to submit their final budget in the midst of a smoke screen. I'll vote then, and it will be no.

Posted by Don't be distracted, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Districts are only required to have a 1.5% reserve and this district doubled that. Again, people continually want the budget balanced on the backs of the people who deliver this VERY important product to children.

Teachers have taken modest pay increases knowing that their salary schedule allows for incremental adjustments. Never do they get bonuses for a job well done or better increases in flush times. This is a state problem. If we have public schools and we value education then the schools should be funded so that every third grader gets what they need when they are in third grade, which means qualified teachers with a reasonable salary.

The thread that maintains that the reason we need smaller class sizes is to maintain discipline had never tried to teach a group of kids to read or go over math facts and check for understanding.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on May 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

"Never do they get...better increases in flush times"?

How's this in 2000?

Web Link

And this is when the three manadatory (and paid) staff days were added to the school year.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Distracted: 14+% over three years is more than modest. Merit pay is a great idea under the right circumstances. There are districts that give off the schedule increases (bonuses), a move that awards staff without the long term hit to the salary schedule.

Districts are required to have 3% reserve . . . 1.5% may be one of the flexes the state is providing currently. The 7% reserve was a goal the district set, most likely because they knew funding would fluctuate. They abandoned it for the raises. It was a choice to set the goal and then to not follow through.

CSR is about classroom management, and has not correlated to achievement until you get to about 12-15:1. There are a lot of families in this community whose children never had the benefit of CSR. Walnut Grove had 1,100 students at one time, classes of 30:1 at K-3 and 35 or more at 4-6 (elementary was K-6 back then). Those children are grown and doing well, many living and raising families in Pleasanton, some of them are even teachers now. I can actually remember that there was staff development to instruct teachers how to teach with fewer students.

Schools are well funded--how the funding is used is what needs to be resolved.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

which hate mail are you talking about? I guess I have not been paying attention, but I did not receive any mail.

Posted by Action speaks louder, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

"Schools are well funded--how the funding is used is what needs to be resolved."

If you call eliminating 9 million from their budget well funded, and then expect the district to run with business as usual, no layoffs, just cut some cell phone bills, you have got to be kidding.

"CSR is about classroom management, and has not correlated to achievement until you get to about 12-15:1. There are a lot of families in this community whose children never had the benefit of CSR. Walnut Grove had 1,100 students at one time, classes of 30:1 at K-3 and 35 or more at 4-6 (elementary was K-6 back then)."

This type of comment is where you really show a lack of knowledge about what goes on in k-3 education in 2009. "Back then" kids in Kindergarten were not expected to be able to read and write by May.

Today, if 5 year olds have not mastered those skills, they will be marked at risk with multiple meetings, paperwork, and remediation programs suggested to get the skills mastered. Those include working with a reading specialist, an at-risk aide, or after school interventions. With 30 to 1 next year, reading specialists cut, aides cut, and after school intervention funding cut (or lack of teachers to teach them) it is realistic to say that programs will be affected, children will be affected.

You can cry the mismanagement argument, the say no to taxes because it is the wrong time, but the truth of the matter is what will happen in the classroom. You can bury your head in the sand, place blame, and vote no, but be aware of what that vote means in the classroom.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Actions, I stated facts, work in K-12 education, and have a grandchild in these schools. It wasn't the dark ages; my kids had to read and write in kindergarten. Expectations have risen, but more so in first grade and up from there.

Regardless, there has been mismanagement with funds; cuts can be made without losing CSR. While I have shown studies about no correlation to achievement at 20:1, I'm in favor of it because it does help with classroom management; it does relieve a measure of stress for students and teachers.

Federal funding is coming, other cuts can be made, we need time and can work this out over the coming school year. Many of us have said we would fight for a parcel tax once the district cleans up its fiscal act and the community determines what should stay and at what price--if it is needed.

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