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Our schools need you!

Original post made by Jerry Shelley on May 15, 2009

So many opinions, so many missed facts. I retired after thirty-five years service to the Pleasanton School District and have not gone back to work for the district office. In fact I resigned my position as principal of Harvest Park and spent the last ten years of my career teaching our wonderful students at Amador Valley High School. I have had two wonderful daughters go through this district and am proud to say that it is at the top of all districts in the USA. The messages I read on this site represent a number of very unhappy people who are frustrated with many issues in their lives. It is okay to be doubting, suspicious and frustrated, I know that, in many cases, I was frustrated when dealing with student issues, parent complaints and administrative directives that hindered my teaching. I overcame my frustrations by focusing on the fact that the students were great and the programs we offered did have a positive impact on their lives. Now my frustration deals with so many of you that really believe the propaganda that the district is lying, there is plenty of money to bail us all out and that somehow the state and/or feds will bail us out. For the good of our children be realistic, why take the chance of not getting the funding and losing so many important programs.

Lack of necessary funding will risk many important programs that have a very important impact on our students. The things I have read on this site are written out of frustration and lack of necessary facts to make any case for voting against Measure G. For sixty-four cents per day we can save our programs and very talented teachers. Forget what you think the state, feds or district will do and think about what our children need. It is so wrong to hold our children hostage for the sake of your ego. Stop trying to figure out all of the negative angles and work to save valuable programs that have served our children for so long. Forget the real estate values and who is right and help the KIDS!

Comments (32)

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Hi Jerry, Tell us what facts the opposition is missing.

I pointed out a couple of times that I was pretty certain you had retired and had not come back to work in the DO. Not only did your daughters and my kids go through the schools without CSR; you were principal at very large schools without class size reduction, and I'm pretty sure had no benefit from it at Amador either. There has been plenty in all the other threads about why our schools rank well, giving credit to students, parents, and teachers. The feds are bailing the district out to the tune of $8 million—too big an amount to brush aside. I won't say the district is lying, they just aren't presenting all the facts or any other options unless pressured or required to do so under public information requests.

It's not 64 cents a day; it's $18 million. There are ways to save teachers and thus CSR, and $8 million is a great start. "Forget what 'we' think" "Forget who is right" "Stop trying to figure out" Jerry, these aren't arguments in favor of the tax. This is telling the community to abandon all reason and to clap loudly to save Tinker Bell. We both know the kids are going to be fine. Vote No on G.

Posted by Not Again, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Two posts require two comments
Jerry Shelley-NOT AGAIN. People against Measure G are NOT "unhappy people who are frustrated with many issues in their lives." and the only things "written out of frustration and lack of necessary facts" are those things written by the supporters of Measure G. Perhaps it is time to turn your amateur psychoanalysis inward.
The emotional ploy has not, does not and will not work on educated voters armed with the facts- we are not "holding children hostage for the sake of our ego(s)." Rather it is you and the union holding the tax payers hostage for the sake of power and money.

Posted by Jill, a resident of Birdland
on May 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm

I received some campaign literature in the mail today from the Yes-G folks. It showed two women sitting at an outside cafe with their coffee. Now if you want to get me to vote to raise my property taxes, then don't show me two women drinking coffee because I DON'T HAVE TIME for that leisure activity myself. But as absurd as that picture is, it still makes more sense than this Shelley post.

Posted by Tea Drinker, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Hi Jill,

I agree--pictures of women drinking coffee are outrageous! Don't people realize how poor Pleasanton residents are? And to depict the women of this town as stay-at-homes who can afford caffeinated beverages and who chat with one another? Ludicrous! What next, implying that women like you or I have computers or the luxury of sitting down and posting to local news blogs? Poppycock!

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Tea Drinker: I believe Jill's comment refers to the yes campaign implying you just have to give up a latte here and there to pay for the parcel tax. Even in Pleasanton, regardless of circumstances or income, $18 million is more than I want to spend on lattes or a tax that isn't needed. And isn't needed because the district is already receiving $8 million in federal stimulus funds that we'll all be paying back by cutting somewhere else in our own budgets, be it lattes or tea (caf, decaf, bagged, or loose).

Posted by Tea Drinker, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm

What?!? I don't have 18 million dollars! I just thought I'd have to pay my share, about $.64 a day or $233 a year.

Or are you conflating everyone's payment to make it sound really big and scary?

I mean, I might pay $45 to see the Giants play, but if I was told I had to pay their $233 million operating budget, I'd be anti-baseball!

Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of Country Fair
on May 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

Starbucks reported a 7.6% decline in revenues in the Jan-Mar 2009 quarter.
Web Link=
I think people are already giving up their $.64/day in lattes. Don't count on lattes as the place to get parcel tax dollars.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Tea Drinker: It's precisely because those in favor of Measure G diminish the amount being handed to the district that the real amount, $18 million, needs to be emphasized. Scary, indeed, given how tax dollars have been handled so far.

By the way, there is a choice in buying a ticket to the Giants; no choice in a tax.

However, if it means so little in the budgets of those in favor of Measure G--there are a few in this community that will be happy if yes folks pony up for them as well, and that's just those who cannot afford it, not just those of us who don't agree there is a need for it.

Posted by Fletch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

So sales are down even though they have cut expenses more than they planned. Wondering if Starbucks is planning to charge customers more so they can give employees a raise even though their sales are down?

Isn't that kind of what this is parcel tax would do?

Posted by MOVE, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm


There is a choice. MOVE. Maybe to Stockton.

Posted by MOVE, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm

18 Million. That's like a down-payment on a house in Ruby Hill or something.


Posted by MOVE, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hey Fletch.

Economy is down and Stanford's tuition keeps going up. Go figure.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 18, 2009 at 6:30 am

Move, That's one choice. Or I can stay (don't live in Ruby) and, in this case, point out why this tax is a bad idea. As to Stanford, also a choice--no one forces you to attend and pay the premium against your will.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 18, 2009 at 7:17 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Ah the old "move" solution. If everyone moved out, would that make everyone who is left mindless drones who agree with everything?

Posted by Tea Drinker, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 18, 2009 at 9:04 am

So what makes that better than the "cut taxes" solution? If no one paid taxes, we'd lose all that made us civilized, except internet forums.

Posted by Not Right Now, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

Jill and Tea Drinker:

I completely agree with you both. The fancy measure G leaflet was pretty offensive. The two ladies drinking coffee was a complete turn-off. What on earth, did that have to do with measure G?

Oh, and did anyone notice that Save Pleasanton School's have been very successful in their fundraising to have officially raised enough money to pay an entry-level teacher's salary....??

Please donate that $$ back to the District and save a teacher!!!

Posted by missing old Stacey, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Ah the old "move" solution. If everyone moved out, would that make everyone who is left mindless drones who agree with everything?

Come on now, Stacey. I expect more from you. You respond to the "move" solution with the "baseless generalization" logical fallacy? What's next? Ad hominem attacks a la the Jerry Shelly post?

When I first started reading this blog, you seemed to be the voice of reason and so had a lot of credibility with me. You were the one that pointed out when people were using logical fallacies. As the months have gone by, I've notice you condemn the Pro-G people for things like posting that KPIX segment, but when people who are against G do things that are equally, or MORE outrageous you remain silent (again, Jerry Shelly post is a good example).

Flawed logic, misleading statements, and personal attacks are happening on both sides here. I know you don't want G to pass, but don't sink to the lowest common denominator here!

p.s. People who support the tax are not mindless drones who agree with everything

Posted by Tea Drinker, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on May 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

missing old Stacey,

I couldn't agree more. Back in February when I started following threads here, I thought Stacey was level-headed and saw through the kinds of manipulative/avoidance tactics I've seen her employ lately. I suspect someone else has been using her name somehow.

Posted by Away But Not Forgotten, a resident of another community
on May 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm


A colleague from the PUSD sent me this link. It may mean little, but I can say that I became a teacher after having Jerry as a teacher. He reached out to the students that PUSD pretends isn't there. If anyone has seen the reality of a school day it is Jerry Shelley. If you read this Jerry, I hope you know that you sent great minds across the nation and it was a privilege to have you at both Harvest Park & AVHS. Thank you for rising to the occasion and throwing yourself to these boards that quite frankly dont show a "Community of Character".

~Tempe, AZ

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 19, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Whoa now, I only have so much time during the day. If I responded to every single post like that, someone might think I sit here all day with nothing better to do than blogging! I admit that there are some pretty outrageous arguments against the parcel tax, but isn't it up to the pro-G people to defend against them? That's politics really.

Posted by Privatize, a resident of another community
on May 19, 2009 at 9:54 pm


So what is the problem with eliminating funding of schools entirely and allowing the private sector to come forward and fill the gap? Those children whose parents value education will do what they need to pay for them. The efficiencies of the market will provide the highest quality for the lowest cost. Vouchers will get us there.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 19, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


An educated citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy. I believe our taxes should fund education for all and no one should be denied an education because their parents couldn't afford it. Otherwise only aristocrats would have educated children and we wouldn't be enabling the kind of fair competition that elevates our society.

That being said, our current public school system is a monopoly. Therefore it is difficult to understand what constitutes adequate funding because there is no, as you put it, efficiencies of the market setting the price. Focusing on the monetary inputs also ignores other inputs that make up quality education like parental involvement.

Maybe vouchers will get us there. I don't know.

Posted by History 101, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm


Not to nit-pick, but, I must correct your intial statement above that the United States is not a democracy. We are a republic. We elect those to represent our will. That is different from a pure democracy. We do not count one for one votes on every issue. That would be a democracy. We have a democratic process for electing representatives and that is the fundemental repulic.

To clarify your point, it is better stated that "An educated citizenry is essential to a healthy republic."

Posted by Tea Drinker, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on May 20, 2009 at 7:58 pm


You mean the efficiencies of the market that have led us to this glorious economic growth spurt? Yeah, let's do that with schools.

Seriously, does anyone REALLY still think that free market economics produces high quality at a low cost?

Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 20, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I do. Why can a D.C. private school spend half of the money each D.C. public school system spends on each kid and have all the children THRIVING while the D.C. district kids have the lowest graduation rate?

Hmmm...should we really let the government who never solved anything or made anything better continue to ruin children's lives?

I will take free market over government mandates anyday. If a private school sucks, I can take my kid to a better one. I can't do that with the public schools.

I vote for vouchers for all. I have a feeling Oakland school district would be empty, as an example.

Posted by I'm with Obama, a resident of Birdland
on May 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Apparently Obama agrees with the free market over public schools...he put his kids in a private school instead of the DC public schools.

Posted by Trevor, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Anybody know how much Obama's education cost during his years at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard? While we are at it ow was it paid for?

Posted by I'm with Obama, a resident of Birdland
on May 20, 2009 at 9:54 pm

D.C. public schools enrolled about 50,000 students in 2007, receiving federal funds, capital funds and funds from the D.C. Council in addition to the school district's own operating budget. It is estimated that the school system spent $14,000 per student, about twice as much as voucher recipients get. Web Link

Posted by Coal Bear, a resident of Country Fair
on May 20, 2009 at 10:37 pm


I'm pretty sure I read at that his baccalaureate studies were funded by ACORN, his time at Columbia backed by generous donations from domestic terrorists, and Harvard by a radical leftist group called Socialists (Who Are Also Elitists, Depending on Whether Palin's Been Briefed)in Favor of Ivy School Degrees.

That or scholarships. I forget which.

Posted by No on G, a resident of Foothill High School
on May 23, 2009 at 8:38 pm

How many teachers could we have saved with the cost of this special election, not to mention the signs, ads and brochures? If you want more money shouldn't you first exhibit fiscal responsibility and little frugality with the money you already have??? $300,000 invested during a down market could add to the retirement fund.

Posted by Jerry Shelley, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on May 30, 2009 at 10:28 am

Cold hard facts are that major cuts have and will be made in our educational system across the nation. Teachers will lose there jobs and to suggest they suck it up by ignoring five years or more education and dedication to work at the Fair is very disturbing. I know two teaches who have received notices and have been in the district for eight years. These individuals have dedicated their lives to help our students, but now face major life changing decisions due to politics and poor management. Some say that going on emotion is wrong, but using unemotional misdirected facts is also wrong. Some of you got what you wanted when your kids were in the system and now, for what ever reason, the system lies and holds back truths. I thought board meetings and district data was open to the public. Fact, the money will be cut by the state, Arnold has made sure of that. The district does have to make the cuts and there is no secret reserve. Teachers and children will have life changing things happen to them. Fact, communities around us have passed measures like G and they have worked. The sad part is that these communities are not as political and have a desire to make education number one priority. Fact, the district agenda is an open book, Measure G dollars will be monitored and used to save valuable programs. Stop wasting time writing about Star Bucks and sitting on benches, vote yes on G and see.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Jerry, I don't know that anyone talked about "secret reserves;" the fact is the district should have a bigger reserve, but chose to blow it on raises instead.

Ask the two teachers if they would rather have jobs today instead of the large raises before. Truth is they could have had decent raises and a larger reserve. That is one of the "unemotional facts." Communities around us chose to have parcel taxes well ahead of the faltering economy. In other words, they didn't go out asking for money to cover past indiscretions. You even say it yourself, "due to politics and poor management." You get the politics when you have poor management; that's the district's fault, not the community's.

"Some of you got what you wanted and now, for what ever reason, the system lies and holds back truths." What is it we got? Large class sizes, overcrowded and run down schools, a teacher strike, a fight for facility bonds and unification? Disingenuous, Jerry, considering that "we" helped change all of that and those that followed (the community and the employees) benefited. There was a partnership then to build a strong district without concern that most of our children wouldn't benefit, but their children could. To take nothing away from our neighboring communities, you cannot say Pleasanton has the best schools and then say other communities make schools their top priority and Pleasanton doesn't.

Fact is the district agenda is only an open book if you ask the question first, and then only if it's asked exactly the right way. There are no guarantees, not even with oversight, that classes will stay at 20:1 or that library hours won't be cut or that there will be enough resource specialists and counselors. It isn't promised in the parcel tax language.

The problems are systemic and Arnold, the legislature, and the district are learning a hard lesson about living within their means.

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