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I don't know if Pleasanton District is evil

Original post made by confused, another community, on May 2, 2009

I don't know folks but I'm seeing cuts everywhere I'm looking in the paper.

Livermore - $5 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_12101185

San Ramon - $22 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_12172999

Castro Valley - $7.5 million in the red for 2008-2010
www.cv.k12.ca.us/budget/budget-update-march-3-2009

Dublin Unified - $4.0 million in the red
www.dublin.k12.ca.us/pages/uploaded_files/State%20Budget%20%26%20District%20Impact%20for%20Mid%20Year%202008-09%20%26%202009-10.pdf

Hayward - $18 - $20 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_11689287

San Leandro - $2.8 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/portal/castrovalley/ci_11673789

Fremont - $21.6 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_11795919

San Lorenzo - $7 million in the red
www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_11944478

I find it hard to beleive all these schools or districts are to blame to.

Comments (57)

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Posted by they're all slackers
a resident of Castlewood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm

I wonder how these parcel taxes are being passed in all of these other horribly managed school districts? They're all obviously a bunch of slackers...teachers=slackers. Actually, that's why people usually get into teaching and education...easy job...good pay. They don't deserve raises or community support.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Could it be that the democrats have taxed and penalized all business out of the state and now there is no tax revenue for schools without big cuts? Now let's increase taxes and drive out the high wage earners. Real smart.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Most of those districts have parcel taxes already. Fat lot of good it seems to be doing them...


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

So much for "stable and reliable funding"!


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Posted by toomanytaxes
a resident of Birdland
on May 2, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Pete...why don't you just go move to Sweden. It's a terrible place to live..all that damn snow.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Taxes may be cheaper in Sweden at the rate Cali is going.


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Posted by hmmm
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm

A $200 a year tax is going to drive out the high-wage earners? Really?


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Posted by Get out of the wagon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Pete -

You're right. I think that is why we are not-so-fondly referred to as "The People's Republic of California". What is your's, is mine! Grrrr.

Well, we can at least count on no new taxes on June 2!! :)


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Inman, 200 is nothing but state tax increase, sales tax increase and all the others might prove difficult to swallow for most.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I've been to Sweden. I've known personally those on the dole there. They even make fun of it. I hope you like paying a monthly fee to the government for your radio broadcasts.


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Posted by Get out of the wagon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm

hmmm-

When you need an accountant just to add up ALL the taxes we pay for local/state/federal, yes ANOTHER $233 tax annually for 4 years COMBINED with all the other taxes we endure could just do that (that equation can be characterized as X+Y= NO MORE!)

I hope I've helped with any dilusion, I mean confusion, you might have had...


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Stacey, please read"get out of the wagon" as he is write and you don't believe your money is going to wrong causes? Millions to Acorn give me a break


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What else are you going to do after standing in line (not really standing, just taking a number and milling about until you're called) for about an hour just to buy enough alcohol for the entire weekend from Systembolaget and then partying all night because the sun don't set until around 10:30pm? Ja, vi kan!


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Posted by gones
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2009 at 10:48 pm

"Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?
No, Gods, I am no idle votarist! ...
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
... Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed;

Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: This is it
That makes the wappen'd widow wed again;

She, whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds
Among the rout of nations."


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Since everyone is concentrating on the State, chew on this. Its from an oped by George Will of the Washington Post:
"Under Arnold Schwarzenegger, the best governor the states next to California have ever had, people and businesses have been relocating to those states. For four years, more Americans have moved out of California than have moved in.
California's business costs are more than 20 percent higher than the average state's. If, since 1990, state spending increases had been held to the inflation rate plus population growth, the state would have a $15 billion surplus instead of a $42 billion budget deficit, which is larger than the full budgets of all but 10 states.
Since 1990, the number of state employees has increased by more than a third. In Schwarzenegger's less than six years as governor, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20 percent.
Even teachers might be laid off. California teachers - the nation's highest paid, with salaries about 25 percent above the national average - are emblematic of the grip government employees unions have on the state, where 57 percent of government workers are unionized (the national average is 37 percent)."
There's more, but it doesn't get any better.


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Posted by Get out of the wagon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Joe...

Funny,

It sounds just like the very principles used by our DISTRICT OFFICE!!

I'll ask again...where is the 7% reserve???

Anyone...Anyone...Bueller??

Oh, and to gones:

"I am not going to sit on my a$$ as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it." (Cameron, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986)


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Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on May 2, 2009 at 11:29 pm

If George Will is correct,and I'll bet he is, that California teachers are the highest paid making 25% above the national average, then Pleasanton teachers must be at the top of the teacher food chain. So why all the moaning about a wage freeze? I thought the "Greed" post might have been a little harsh, but now I think it didn't go far enough.


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Posted by Post Reader Too
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Joe; I read that piece too, but you should have included the title: "Fat public sector sickens California". And since the school district is part of the public sector then we, as responsible voters, need to defeat the parcel tax as well as the state propositions. Serious budgeting and even budget cutting is what is needed for the school district and just throwing more money their way is not going to solve anything.


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Posted by Fremont
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

In Fremont, the School Board listed a 2% pay cut across the board as one of their budget cuts and a 2% district wide work reduction. Recently, parent groups have met with the superintendent and asked that all wages be frozen for one year with no retroactive pay. The Fremont superintendent has offered to take an 11% pay cut if the teachers' union will agree to the work reduction and salary cuts.

Fremont will need to make drastic cuts to school programs unless the teachers union agrees to these cuts.
The Fremont School District and the union are in behind closed door negotiations.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 3, 2009 at 8:12 am

There are genuine problems at the state level. There are many districts making cuts . . . how many are cutting CSR or threatening to do so without a parcel tax? Conversely, like Fremont (and Poway), how many are working with unions and the community to find what can be cut while saving staff and program? How many gave big raises in recent years? How many will also be dipping into reserves that they set aside for a time like this? To compare them to Pleasanton, you need all the information.

Pleasanton gave big raises, abandoned their goal for a larger reserve, immediately threatened CSR, has a concession only if the parcel tax passes, did not conduct a survey of the community to determine support for the tax let alone what the community is willing to pay for and how much.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 8:53 am

We need to look far beyond this parcel tax and the teachers if we are to come up with a solution to this. Our taes are far to high and thus we are losing revenue because of loss of business in the state and the loss of high wage earners to other states. Concerning our teachers, well some are good and some are bad and it is difficult to try and paint them all one way or the other. I wonder if they would be willing to be paid for performance like the private sector? I bet the good ones would but alas I suspect there are enough poor ones to defeat the proposal.


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Posted by Mom2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2009 at 9:13 am

Fremont Unified School District has a "no lay off" cause in its contract. Basically, once a teacher is tentured, that teacher cannot be laid off, so salary cuts, work reductions, cutting preps (as long as the prep teachers aren't tentured), administrator taking large cuts are the only avenues for reductions. Fremont already dropped many quality programs many, many years ago. They once had reading specialists, but cut them. They never had music teachers, counselors, vice principals (except at very large schools), school nurses/clerks, or computer teachers. We have always had a higher level of quality and services than Fremont Unified School District. It's no wonder so many Fremont families relocated to Pleasanton. Pleasanton residents who never lived elsewhere might not be aware of the true difference of quality between PUSD and our surrounding districts. San Ramon residents contribute large sums of money ($400-$600 per child) at registration. Friends of mine tell me this is very high pressure to the point that parents who don't contribute receive "reminder" phone calls at home. Bottom line, schools in California are underfunded for the quality that most Californians expect, especially our newest Californians coming from other states that truly value public education.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 9:23 am

Mom2, everyone agrees with you but where does the money come from and what do we get for the money? Read the blogs and you will see people are truly hurting financially and to ask them to pay for teachers raises while they are being laidoff, no bonuses, reduced pay, reduced hours, and no long term viability is asking a bit much to say the least. If you want to solve the problem do it with you vote next time one of the fiscally irresponsible tax and spend politicians runs for office. They are the reason we are in the fix we are in. By the way Fremont school district is considering filing for bankrupcy protection as this is the only way to get out of these union contracts similiar to what United Airlines did and now what Chrysler and eventually GM will do. If these California tax initiatives do not pass in June and nobody expects they will look for California to file for bankrupcy as well to get out of the 3 point retirement system.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 9:35 am

To Pete; Teachers "paid for performance" is not a new idea, but their union, or any public sector union, will not allow it...they would be out of business. They have the state and local school boards by the throat and only a No on G can help loosen that grip.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 9:43 am

Joe, without a doubt No on G is the way to go and I expect that the measure will go down in flames. Once this is done it will be time for significant cost reduction and everything should be looked at. Number of employees at the district, cars, cellphones, consultants, teachers salaries, number of vice principals etc. they have opened the door and now we need to remake our local system to fit our requirements for education and also to spend within our means. It can all be done.


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Posted by Fremont
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2009 at 9:46 am

Fortunately, Fremont has $8 million in reserves to soften the blow of budget cuts.
Also, Fremont will not have to eliminate CSR for Grades K-3 because of additional state funding.
Fremont is looking at cutting music and other programs.
See attached, page 10
Web Link


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 9:46 am

Mom2, why don't you tell everyone how Amador and Foothill test scores compare to Mission San Jose High School in Fremont? Because Mission San Jose is one of thebest public high schools in the state if not the best and the reason is not the teachers but rather the involvement of the parents.


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Posted by never a parcel tax
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 9:52 am

for Mom2 -- you say "San Ramon residents contribute large sums of money ($400-$600 per child) at registration. Friends of mine tell me this is very high pressure to the point that parents who don't contribute receive "reminder" phone calls at home."
Why do you have a problem with the people who have the children being the one to PAY FOR the kids? I have none and am real tired of paying for yours.
How about using some of the tax deductions and credits that I also pay for that are given to you merely because you procreate? With those few thousands of dollars a year you can pay your parcel tax and mine as well.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 3, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Mom2: I hope you aren't defending a no layoff clause. And if you cut reading specialists, don't you essentially lay off those who held the jobs?

I agree with Pete, what are we spending money on and how do we get the chance to determine what it is we value and where we want to put the dollars that already go to education? That has to be a local question first, and its a conversation this district is making sure we don't have.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Like any entity PSUD needs to define what is the core business or their charter and that should be to supply the highest quality education at the lowest possible cost. To that end and to live within their means they need to figure out the cost of attainment of that goal and only that goal. Everything else is up for reduction, elimination, or improvement. Just think of the competitive advantage to be gained by streamlining the process now and thinking out of the box.


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Posted by Mom2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Pete, Fremont Unified has a higher salary schedule than PUSD's salary. They also pay teachers 5% more for their masters and another 5% if a teacher earns a PHD, which my friend who is head of the MATH department at Mission San Jose High School holds. If you reward your employees to earn a PHDs, then I guess you will have a top-notch math department with the kinds of scores coming out of MSJHS.

Some of you are so....angry that there is truly no point in presenting the other side. Most realtors agree that property values will go down. The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the parcel tax. It would be a temporary tax to keep our schools at the top.

And Never a Parcel Tax, I voted and paid the bond gladly before I had children because I was working in Fremont schools with plaster falling off the ceilings onto my students' heads, we had buckets to catch the water, and could hear bats and rats in the walls.


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Posted by mom 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Kathleen,
I am not defending a no lay off clause because that is exactly why reading specialist were cut in Fremont. They were absorbed into other positions and our band teacher was unsuccessfully teaching science for a year until the budget turned around. All I am saying is that because they can't lay off anyone with permanent status, they can't cut class size reduction, but they are going to lose more services. Pay cuts are one of their only options, yet their salaries are higher because of the 5% more for a masters and 5% for a Phd.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Mom2: Thank you for explaining what is happening in Fremont. I like CSR as a classroom management tool, but I don't see it as the better trade of for counselors or reading specialists or music or art or even sports, because for many students, those are the things that gets them to school and what makes a difference in their staying in school. It is part of the conversation I would rather be having for Pleasanton.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom2 wrote: "Fremont Unified has a higher salary schedule than PUSD's salary"

I just looked at their salary schedule for teachers. While the top of the salary schedule does indeed appear higher, the bottom looks lower. So I went to Ed-Data Web Link to compare average teacher salary. PUSD's average is $81,446 and Fremont's is $75,621.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Mom2, I am not bitter in anyway and all 4 of my kids graduated from either Amador or Foothill High Schools and went to Pleasanton elementary schools and middle schools so I speak from experience. I am glad that Mission pays for excellence and it shows. In 2002 I was the commencement speaker at Mission's graduation and when looking at the program before I spoke I was really impressed by several things. They had 17 validictorians with a GPS in excess of 4.0. Most had been taking college classes since they were juniors and the list of schools they were going to was like the who's who of Ivy League universities. The students and teachers for that matter were fiercely competitive and driven to be excellent and be the best.

No lay off clauses are only valid as long as the business or district is financially viable and then it is worth nothing. Again, Pleasanton needs for opportunity to reduce or eliminate non valued added activities and make themselves as lean and proficient as possible for the betterment of our children and only our children.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Fremont's district appears also twice as large as Pleasanton's. They have roughly double the enrollment and double the amount of teachers.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Oops, I should note that it looks like Fremont also has benefits "on the schedule". So those teachers without it from a spouse have to pay for their own fringe benefits out of their gross salary.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hrm, on Ed-Data you can compare "Districts like this". I had it search for districts with a higher avg teacher salary than PUSD. Only one showed up and that was Laguna Beach Unified. I think they're a basic aid district too.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 4, 2009 at 6:39 am

Yes and Fremont also has one district office with the same number of employees as ours. How does PSUD save any money by this spousal benefit arrangement they have? Seems to me the teachers with spouses and insurance just get a $10,000 bonus.


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Posted by sympathetic
a resident of Downtown
on May 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

My brother-in-law is a teacher, and he has always worked at least one extra job. Now that times are tight, some of us non-teachers are forced to do so as well. But he'll ALWAYS work an extra job; I know I'll quit mine when the economy rebounds.
My point is that when the economy is going well, folks in the private sector see bonuses and stock option dividends that teachers never see. No one threw them a bone when things were good. My brother-in-law always said (and not just recently) that he traded potential for salary growth for security. A lot of us are angry now because we're jealous.
Don't worry teachers; when the economy improves, we'll all go back to making fun of your paltry salaries, or, at the very least, ignoring you altogether.


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Posted by Bernard
a resident of Castlewood
on May 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Sympathetic, I suspect as do most that it is going to be years before the economy improves and just wait until we start getting to pay for all of the government debt which is being rung up. People will be lining up to be teachers and that should create a lot of competition which will be great for the kids if we can get rid of some of the bad teachers and replace them with energy and knowledge from the private sector.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

sympathetic -

Nobody said anything because during the good times the district had funding to support the cost structure. Today that isn't the case. Today the district is coming to the community saying we're out of money, we need more. The problem is they want to continue to operate at the cost level they were when the economy was up. This isn't acceptable to us. What I find hilarious is that the majority of us don't believe teachers should take a pay cut, but instead they should just forfeit any increases so long as an additional parcel tax is in effect. The teachers view this as an attack on them when the reality is the community is trying to insulate them from the hardships we're facing - salary cuts, bonus losses, forced non-paid days off, and even worse layoffs. I think the fact that this seems like such an unreasonable request shows how far removed they really are from the realities of today's economy.


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Posted by ???????????
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm

I don't see how having insurance coverage from your spouse's company is like receiving cash for teachers. You still have to pay for it to cover the family and each year the cost increases. Most districts that offer insurance as part of the salary are paying for the whole family for both dental and medical, therefore they are not paying anything for their coverage. If you chose to your spouse's company's insurance you have to pay. PUSD employees must pay for dental through the district no matter what, and they have a choice for the other, but I don't see that they are pocketing money with the current cost of health care.


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Posted by Bernard
a resident of Castlewood
on May 4, 2009 at 6:21 pm

?????????????

I was told that Pleasanton teachers make more than say Livermore teachers because of insurance. For instance ifthey have to purchase their own insurance they are paid more so they can afford it. If they have a spouse who can add them to the insurance then they get added and still keep the extra given to them by the district. Therefore, no savings to the district but if you are a single teacher then you in a way get screwed as compared to married teachers.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm

?????????????????? and Bernard,
Pleasanton teachers do get paid more because of the healthcare program (or lack there of) they have. My understanding is that they voted for this primarily because many (63%) get benefits through other means (spouse). Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. Just like in the private sector benefits packages vary from company to company and should be considered as part of the total compensation - I wouldn't consider it an additional "bonus".

What I take issue with, is ths SPS's presentation of the average Pleasanton teacher's salary ($82k) with the maximum possible monthly healthcare expense (up to $12k per year). Common sense would suggest that if you're going to provide the average salary you should stay consistent and offer the average annual healthcare contribution per employee (or at least per enrolled employee).


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

As I understand, benefits are "on the schedule". So instead of the District paying someone a $70,000 gross salary and giving fringe benefits, they pay someone an $80,000 gross salary and give no benefits. But they offer to employees to purchase benefits through the District and I guess those employees (37%) that don't have health insurance through a spouse must do this. This means that the 63% of certificated staff is taking home a higher gross salary than they would have if the District gave fringe benefits.


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Posted by Indano
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger said, "Pleasanton....did not conduct a survey of the community to determine support for the tax let alone what the community is willing to pay for and how much."
How wrong can you get? PUSD has had numerous meetings opened to the public for their input, questions, etc. Where have you been? Or, would this be a good time to ask if your getting fired by PUSD is the reason for your misinformations?


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Posted by Bernard
a resident of Castlewood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

Pleasanton parent, by your numbers if we are paying $1,000 per month per teachers for healthcare premium then we need to source it around. In order to reduce costs my company NUMMI offers only Kaiser and total cost per employee is $300.00 per employee with great coverage. Livermore includes benefits and they makes less than the Pleasanton teachers by a wide margin. You have to look at it as a bonus if you are not paying for healthcare but receiving it from a spouses employer.


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Posted by Max
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

Indano, how many of those meetings did you attend? I was at two of those community meetings and felt that every suggestion was met with negative resistance. Answers included, "Let me tell you why we don't think that is a good option....."
"The problem with that is...."
"We can't do that because........"
"It's too early to be talking with the unions....."

And have you talked with anyone who served on the Budget Advisory Committee? They weren't even given a copy of the budget to work with!! The name of that group is VERY misleading.

District officials were not looking for real help from that group or the community. Don't be fooled by those dog and pony shows.

And stop with the insinuations about Kathleen. She has been doing a tremendous job providing factual information and history to help educate the rest of us. Everything I have checked out for myself has been accurate!


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Posted by Stop the Libelous Comments
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Indano,
Stop making untrue remarks about Kathleen R. She was NOT fired by PUSD. She quit her job at PUSD and took a position in Livermore. She was recruited by Palo Alto School District, one of the highest performing school districts in the state, to work there. If she had been fired from PUSD, it's not likely she would have been hired by PAUSD or kept her job there for the six years she's had it.
When Kathleen reads this, I hope she takes legal action against you. You may think you're anonymous, but she can get a court order to require PW to provide your identity, and then she can take you to court and sue you for libel. You will be paying court costs, damages, and yes, exposed as the liar you are.

For now, you're exposed as a low person whose opinions and comments are worth absolutely nothing.


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Posted by Bernard
a resident of Castlewood
on May 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I do not know Kathleen but she seems to be a very straight arrow with good information and very knowledgable and helps when she can giving info and that is my 2 cents worth. I do not know what an Indano is but he/she is constantly making some quite strange comments and sounds a bit like Russell.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Very sorry I couldn't get back to In da no's posting until now. I was not fired, far from it. If you have a specific question about me or my time at PUSD, please ask. I'll do what I can to respond.

As to the "misinformation," there isn't any. The district chose not to conduct a survey on the advice of its consultant; public knowledge. The last survey about a parcel tax, by the way, showed there was insufficient support for it.

What I am suggesting, however, is something that can be done on Survey Monkey so any and all interested parties can respond, from students to parents to staff to families without children to seniors--and from the privacy of their homes or at the local library where one isn't shouted down for having an opposing opinion (as occurred at the "meetings" you mention).

I've seen it done; it's easy and the results are quickly gathered as well. Questions should run along the lines of:
-Do you agree
---APs at the elementary level are important? ($XXXXXX)
---APs are important at only the largest schools? ($XXXXXX)
---There should be counselors at 400:1? ($XXXXXX)
---There should be counselors at the middle schools? ($XXXXXX)
---There should be counselors at the elementary level? ($XXXXXX)
---CSR at 25:1 should be considered in grades 4 and 5? ($XXXXXXX)
---Reading specialists
---Librarians
---Art programs
---Science and Math magnet school
---Merit pay
---and so on
-Rank the above in order of priority ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
-Are you willing to pay a parcel tax of $50 annually? $100 $300
-Are you willing to pay for two years? Three? Four? Unlimited?

You get the drift. And this can then be shared with the entire community and anyone can plan the next steps from this point, particularly someone who is In The Know.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

@Bernard

Where did I ever attack anyone personally? What do you mean, "sounds a bit like Russell?" Can you give me an example? What would make you think that I would post a personal attack?

I've said before that I found Kathleen's comments informative.


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Posted by laura
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2009 at 3:30 am

Joe-I moved here to teach from one of the lowest rank states in teacher pay-Arizona. The salary sounded amazing, and I thought I was hitting some kind of jackpot only to find that, with the housing costs and cost of living here, I could hardly make it through the month's bills let alone afford anything extra. The district I work in doesn't even cover health care costs. I pay for my own private insurance for my family. Not something that's mentioned when they publish our city's average teacher salary in the newspaper.

Now, compare teacher's salary to that of other professionals in the area where they work. (In California, a teaching certificate requires a 5 year degree, so factor that into your comparison.)

Additionally, as it stands, California is at the bottom of the U.S. ranking for per pupil spending. Every cut that's being made in our school districts right now is gouging that figure even more. The children are the ones who will suffer next year and in the future with these cuts. In our district we are losing P.E., Science Lab, Computer Lab, music and art programs for all students and special programs for those in need. Plus we are increasing class sizes in kindergarten and 4th-6th grade which were already swelling far past the national average. Keep an eye on the state test scores . . .


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Posted by New Teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 7:10 am

Pleasanton Parent, thank you for a brilliant post that deserves to be read again (below).

Here's my perspective: I've spent my entire adult career in the private sector. I've managed and run businesses. I understand what it means to balance the books. I've had a ride or two on the fast track, and I've also experienced the pain of layoffs after the dot com crash and the current downturn. Some people think the private sector is all gravy. It's not, you're dealing with real market forces – competition, regulatory pressure, changes in consumer preferences, etc.

I'm just about to enter a teacher credentialing program. It's been a crazy year of testing: CBEST, 3x CSET and other lesser tests. I hope to bring some fresh energy and perspective to the teaching community. I'm realistic, and understand that I'll only be able to add so much, since the union culture is one where the nail that's exposed gets hammered down. I've been a substitute teacher for the past year, working in several districts. I've experienced the culture from the inside. As others have posted, there are teachers and administrators that care and work hard, and others that don't. In many ways, there is no difference from the private sector. But in very significant ways, there is a huge difference -- Pleasanton Parent speaks to that difference.

Laura, hang in there. But also understand, the cost structure of our public schools and most likely all public agencies is not sustainable. There has to be a salary freeze for the next few years, minimum. My preference would be an actual across the board pay cut of 5% for all teachers and classified employees making less than $85,000 per year and a 10% salary cut for those making more, with no retroactive component. All administration perks– car allowance, etc. need to be stopped. Defined retirement benefits also need to be reworked.

Our household will be voting No on G.

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

Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on May 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm
sympathetic -
Nobody said anything because during the good times the district had funding to support the cost structure. Today that isn't the case. Today the district is coming to the community saying we're out of money, we need more. The problem is they want to continue to operate at the cost level they were when the economy was up. This isn't acceptable to us. What I find hilarious is that the majority of us don't believe teachers should take a pay cut, but instead they should just forfeit any increases so long as an additional parcel tax is in effect. The teachers view this as an attack on them when the reality is the community is trying to insulate them from the hardships we're facing - salary cuts, bonus losses, forced non-paid days off, and even worse layoffs. I think the fact that this seems like such an unreasonable request shows how far removed they really are from the realities of today's economy.




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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 9:15 am

Einstein is a registered user.

I do not believe teachers should take a pay cut but should not get a raise either especially not in these economic times when everyone else is hurting. I do however feel that all non teaching managers and executives in the PUSD should take cuts and healthy ones at that in order to show leadership and stewardship during poor times.


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Posted by Jean
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Jun 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I don't thank it is good for the teacher's to be laid off.
I think the main problem is the "PARENTS". The parent involvement is
a little to much. I've wittness other parents treating kids in a bad
way. The parents need to stay out of the schools. And let the teachers do there job. When a child knows that there parent is present in the school there behavior changes, Sometime it is good
and sometimes it is bad. Most of the time it's bad. These parents
have no education in chlidhood education or behavior changes that
can occur in children. Often I see these parents standing right in
line with there kids. The kids can't even interact with each other
and learn to get to know other cultures, because there bias ways.
I've seen kids want to play with other cultures , There parents pull
them away. The parents just need to stay out of the schools and allow
the principle and staff to do there jobs. When we were all children, none of our parents were standing in line with us. And if we had a problem we notify the parent, not notify the child. i've seen parents
allow there childern to swing there backpacks in a volient way towards other children and the parent is right there in line not saying anything to stop there child. And the child that was dropped off recives the abuse from the child of parent that is there. PARENTS
please allow your children to be inependent and learn how to socially
interact with other children it all starts at home (HATE) I hope in the future, that the parents are not allowed in the schools. Only for pick up and drop off. or techers request. Student Aids will do
jsut fine. NO MORE PARENTS at the schools . Parents are needed for
field trips or special events put on by the schools, They dont need there presents at the schools all the time. Please let the teachers
do there job! The pleasanton teachers are the beat teachers.They dont need parents trying to do there job. I know they didn't go to
college for a certain amount of time to just let the parents do there
jobs. "PARENTS STAY OUT OF THE SCHOOL"S, LET THE TEACHERS DO THERE JOBS!"


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