Town Square

Post a New Topic

Letter: State to blame for PUSD situation

Original post made on May 8, 2009

Dear Editor,

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Another letter worth re-reading.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm

And yet no mention of why S&C increases are still justified. I received my ballot today and voted no.


Posted by Another Repost?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Sandy seems like a desperate PUSD employee with these re-posts. Whatsamatta no new "facts"


Posted by John Adams, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

I guess re-reading this letter makes some people feel good. It is worth a laugh.

In his opening sentence, the writer says he has a problem with opinions based on inaccurate assumptions, then he proceeds to state his opinion based on inaccurate assumptions.

1) Yes Mark, the district IS asking for MORE - on top of the MORE the state is asking for, and the MORE they are already taking.

2) If Measure G passes, the district will be back for MORE. Does anybody REALLY believe the 4-year plan? Research has shown such promises to be nothing more than political rhetoric. "Although most parcel taxes are imposed for a fixed period of time, statistics reveal that the vast majority of parcel taxes initially approved by voters are subsequently placed on the ballot by the local government in order to extend the tax. In many of these cases, the tax amount is increased in addition to being extended."Web Link

Government at ALL levels has failed to provide an excellent education at a reasonable cost. Rewarding poor performance with more money will not remedy the situation. A NO on Measure G is a YES for accountability.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 8:56 am

@John Adams

"Rewarding poor performance with more money will not remedy the situation."

How are you measuring poor performance? API scores are consistently high here. Both Pleasanton High Schools rank very highly at a national level. For instance.

Web Link

"Government at ALL levels has failed to provide an excellent education at a reasonable cost."

How can you possibly justify that statement. The University of California at Berkeley is widely regarded to be one of the best colleges in the world, and it is very reasonably priced relative to other colleges at its level (there aren't many).

John, I would suggest that you get more involved with education at all levels, both in Pleasanton and at the university level. You might be surprised at how good we have it. I volunteered yesterday at an elementary school science outing and shocked at how well informed the the competent the teachers and other volunteers were.


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 9:10 am

@Russell,
If you were shocked at how competent the teachers were, what are you saying? That you expected them to be incompetent?


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

"If you were shocked at how competent the teachers were, what are you saying? That you expected them to be incompetent?"

No, I was expecting good. What I observed was excellent. Teachers who understood and could explain astrophysics to K-5 students.

What about you Pleasanton Resident? What do you know about our schools?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

"The district is not 'asking for more.'" The district actually is asking us to cover the bets it made in 2005-08 when it gave over 14% in raises—raises that were only sustainable with continued COLA increases and/or enrollment growth. This, compounded by many other questionable decisions, is why the district was ill prepared for what is happening now.

School administrations understand that state funding ebbs and flows based on the economy, and while this is a decidedly worse situation than the norm, there was a plan in place, one that could have made the difference now, that was abandoned in favor of those raises.

The reality is districts with parcel taxes traditionally try to renew them for greater amounts and longer periods. I personally believe that if they are specific in nature (we are buying X for $X), at least the public can determine if that support is a continued priority and whether the contribution is successful for students at each attempt for renewal. But be clear that it isn't 64 cents a day; it's $18 million, the majority of which ($6-15 million) will be used to cover step and column increases over the life of the proposed tax. To look at it from the other direction, if the parcel tax is used for programs the district already has in place, it relieves pressure on the general fund that can then cover S&C costs.

Livermore and Dublin and San Ramon put parcel taxes in place long before the state issues arose—forethought and planning that Pleasanton could not accomplish. Those against this parcel tax have presented plenty of facts. They have researched information obtained from the district. They have posted all of it at www.pleasantonparceltaxinfo.com and on these blogs. There are many of us that would support a specific tax once the district's finances have been run through with a very fine comb and put on a more conservative path. Voting No on G will provide that opportunity.


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

@ Russell,
I would have expected PUSD teachers to be well informed and competent as that has been my experience with most teachers.
I was wondering why you were shocked. It seemed a bit of a slap to PUSD teacher quality.


Posted by Hooray, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

$4,244,533.00 to Pleasanton Unified School District from ARRA! Plus $2.5 million in Special Ed Funding. Plus categorical funding that hasn't yet been released.

HOORAY....now this kind of information deserves posting - here, on the PUSD website and in the Pleasanton Weekly.






Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Anyone see the channel 5 CBS broadcast this weekend on home prices in Pleasanton. It stated that homes are being overbid because so many people from surrounding areas want to move to Pleasanton. It specifically stated the quality of schools as the most cited reason for moving here. It went on to say that, while other communities have seen their home values fall, Pleasanton has not.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 11, 2009 at 6:49 am

@Pleasanton Resident

They were shockingly good. All I here about here is how greedy they are and how if Measure G passes the kids will suffer greatly at their hands. I was shocked that elementary school teachers understood astrophysics at a high level.

How do you feel about Pleasanton teachers?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 11, 2009 at 6:57 am

Russell, Pleasanton has some excellent teachers, some amazing teachers, some very dedicated teachers. I'm not sure what this has to do with providing more tax dollars to the district, particularly, as has been noted for quite some time now, with additional funding coming that will save those teaching positions and many others . . . $6.7 million more. That's more than the tax would have provided for 2009-10, and without the loss of the funds given back in exemptions.

So my question is that now that we clearly can take a year to assess the budget deeply and determine what the community values and what, if anything, we may be willing to provide additional funding for--why wouldn't we do that now that there is time?


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 7:31 am

Russell,
not shocked at how good many of the PUSD teachers are. Can't generalize for all PUSD teachers, but my experience - most are good, some are excellent. There have been a few I've met who are competent - do their jobs, but don't have the love of teaching I've seen with the good & excellent teachers. Couple have been terrible. A lot like any work environment.

Would support a parcel tax specifically written to fund teacher salaries if merit pay system established. Think the good, and the excellent teachers deserve to be paid much more. Current system of pay very hard on the new teachers. They have to pay out $$ for more education so they can get paid more, and they have to do this while they are at the lower end of salary range. Not unusual to find new teachers working part time jobs. Think the bad apple teachers should be let go. They aren't doing our kids any good.


Posted by Old but still energized!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Pleasanton Resident,

I hear your point, and I'm glad you notice the amount of money teachers are paying out to move over columns. This fact about Step and Column tends to get overlooked. Teachers pay up to $15,000 to move all the way over on the schedule. This is tough on a new teacher who is not paid as much. I remember this as a new teacher, I had to go through that as well.

Advancing education is so important for teachers to remain competitive and at the top of their field. The salary schedule encourages this. But just as important to teaching is experience. What I know today after 17 years in the district is far different from what I was able to do with the craft of teaching as a 24 year old. The benefit of experience on a salary schedule is dedication to a school district. If I were to leave PUSD, I would only be awarded 6 years experience in another district, and I would have zero seniority. The best and the brightest fight to get into this district and they stay. This is good for our schools and students.

I am not against merit pay, if it were developed with a fair and appropriate system of evaluation. But step and column is the system that is in place in California, and has been for a long time.

By the way, I am still having to work two jobs, and at times three to afford to live here in Pleasanton, and I wouldn't change a thing!


Posted by David, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I have no idea why everyone keeps talking about measure G as I believe it is a dead bill and stands no chance of passing. What is the next step?


Posted by PTA member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Old but still energized,
Could you please be sure your peers know that they can apply for PTA scholarships to help pay for advanced studies? The scholarships are available to teachers/counselors who have been working for 3 years, are PTA members and affiliated with a PTA school. Applicants can contact the PTA president at their schools or go to the California PTA website
www.capta.org for more information.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

A Norman Rockwell Town
By Roz Rogoff | 7 comments | 1,391 views

David Brooks at his Best and Worst
By Tom Cushing | 11 comments | 938 views

Anti-fracking folks rail against railroads
By Tim Hunt | 32 comments | 841 views