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Mount Diablo school parcel tax fails; voters OK Hayward services tax

Original post made on May 21, 2009

Bay Area voters who turned out to participate in Tuesday's statewide special election have unofficially determined the fate of four local issues included on the ballot, approving two proposed measures and denying two others, according to preliminary results posted this morning by county elections offices.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 8:13 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Pleasanton resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2009 at 12:22 am

No word on Measure G yet, eh?


Posted by Sorry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2009 at 8:20 am

It may be a "done deal" in your mind, but ya still gotta wait for the election!


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 21, 2009 at 8:55 am

The Superintendent in Mt Diablo said they'll probably try again next year -- 59% is pretty close to the two-thirds required to pass the tax.

Here's the Contra Costa Times article where he was quoted: Web Link

In the Mercury News article about the outcome of the election, the School Board President said he thinks measure D may have been hurt a bit because of being on the same ballot as the six statewide propositions.

Web Link

Momentum is gaining for measure G, and these last 10 days can definitely cement a win for Pleasanton's schools.


Posted by John, a resident of Birdland
on May 21, 2009 at 9:13 am

Perhaps the Mount Diablo superintendent should put his energy into figuring out how to operate the district with the money he has available. If he is successful in reducing expenditures, and funding is still weak next year, the voters just might be willing to hand over more of their hard-earned money.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Momentum is gaining? It's more like "the clock is ticking".


Posted by John, a resident of Del Prado
on May 21, 2009 at 10:55 am

Momentum is gaining? You have got to be kidding. Even some teachers are going to vote against G.


Posted by no one has any idea, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

As far as I know, there haven't been any polls on Measure G. Everyone is just guessing.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 22, 2009 at 6:48 am

Save Pleasanton Schools is tracking the number of voters identified as supporters, and the number opposed, through precinct walking and phone banking. My statement about momentum building is more than just a guess.

Over 2500 Pleasanton residents have endorsed measure G. For every person who has endorsed, there are many more who have already cast vote-by-mail ballots in favor of measure G. There are even more who have pledged to vote in favor.

Measure G has a well-organized, public volunteer campaign working to pass it.

There's no organized opposition. What you hear here is a tiny minority of Pleasanton -- those who comment on these Forums (or even read them) are not representative of the full range of Pleasanton voters.

Like it or not, momentum is building.


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 7:22 am

I hope that all will see that the raising of class sizes, especially in comparison of the our nearest neighbors, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Livermore, will affect the performance of Pleasanton schools and possibly our property values. Those bloggers who continually say, "When I was in school or "even when my children were in school", these are different times. PUSD's employees, along with parents, are managing to guide and teach all children to read, no matter what level of proficiency of reading and math ability, but also English Language Proficiency. If you really dig into the scores and look at the breakdowns, our English Learner and Special Needs populations are performing extremely well compared to state averages. I believe this is because of programs like Reading Specialists, Barton, Language!, and class size reduction at the elementary level. Meeting all children's needs is a huge part of keeping the API scores high and the pace of the class challenging and meaningful for all children. I think the federal government made many mistakes with the "No Child Left Behind" act; however, I do know, firsthand, that PUSD elementary school teachers work tirelessly to reach all students and yes, it is reflective in the scores, but more importantly, in the reading and math skills of our children. Seeing children who come into our school speaking little to no English emerge with reading and writing skills within a year or watching children come in 2-3 years behind in reading catch up with their peers isn't witnessed by many of our bloggers, but parents who work in the schools see these transitions each and every day. Also, a parent on a earlier blog was concerned about Lydiksen. Parent, you need to look at your school's break down. When a school, like Lydiksen, serves a higher percentage of children with learning disabilities, the API score could lag behind a school without those needs. Look at the different subgroups of Lydiksen, and you will see your school is doing well. The schools and staffs with higher populations of English Language Learners or special needs children have some more challenges, but are meeting those challenges at a level way beyond the state averages. Anyone can go on the Department of Education website and view scores. It's a partnership, parents, school staffs, and students. If the school really didn't make a difference, why would so many parents seek out the best schools for their children. It will always take a village.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2009 at 7:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"Over 2500 Pleasanton residents have endorsed measure G."

Are you referring to the SPS endorsement list of "community members" (children included), many of whom don't live here? Or is this supposed to be the number of voters that SPS has "tracked" as supporters (did they even finish walking all the precincts)? You know that 2,500 is a very small number of potential voters, right?

"There's no organized opposition."

So? What's wrong with a bunch of citizens coming together informally? Absolutely nothing.

The only real evidence of a momentum has been the failure of the State propositions as a tax revolt. All Pleasanton precincts turned down the props. I think many voters will feel the same about Measure G. We're tired of programs getting cut to fund raises.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom2,

Why is CSR continuously defended by calling it an effective classroom management tool? I thought CSR was supposed to benefit children by giving them more personal attention, not by allowing a teacher to give more attention to the "special needs" children. Do you see what the real problem is? "Special needs" should be in special classes. Did you see the Letter to the Editor today? Web Link

"Twenty percent of any classroom needs special attention of some sort. Class size reduction has allowed us to accommodate these kids."

20% of any size class needs special attention! Why? Fix that!


Posted by Pleasanton resident, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

The argument to pass Measure G and raise taxes to "protect property values" is hollow. While there is a link between quality of schools and desirability of a neighborhood, property values are going to be affected by larger economic issues beyond the schools. PUSD's reputation isn't going to tank overnight while it works through a challenging spending issue. All school districts are facing cuts...Pleasanton can still be competitive with other schools and will likely continue to be near the top because of the students and demographics of Pleasanton.

Frankly I don't appreciate the scare tactics used by supporters of Measure G. Given how miserably Props 1A-1E failed, I think voters can see past hollow scare tactics.

Let's focus on the real problem. PUSD has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. I'd like to see PUSD use all the brainpower of their bright and talented staff and board to creatively address the problem as best they can, given the difficult situation they're in, to make difficult choices, and then to provide hope, rather than forecasting doomsday.

True leaders inspire hope and confidence while making painful decisions.


Posted by So what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

Would anyone expect SPS to say anything but that they are gaining support for Measure G? It's all part of the "everybody get on the bandwagon" advertising campaign SPS is running. They can't sway voters with facts, so they are attempting to sway voters with emotion.
Sandy's comments about Measure G tracking voter response are not supported by facts. I personally know many people who have answered their doors to SPS people, taken the handouts, said they would vote for Measure G, then threw away the handouts. They have no intention of voting for Measure G.
I believe there's a silent majority in Pleasanton who do not support G anymore than they supported the propositions on the May 19th ballot. But that's just my belief and like Sandy, I don't have facts, just my belief. But unlike Sandy, I'm not trying to represent what I believe as fact.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Downtown
on May 22, 2009 at 9:02 am

No one has contacted me and we have 6 voters in our house all voting no on "G". They did in fact go to the door of my mother in law which may have been a mistake as she is one sharp lady and new what the money was really going to be spent for and after hearing from her for 30 minutes they excused themselves and left. My sister in law and niece both live in Pleasanton and are teachers in Pleasanton and they are voting no on G as well because they do not believe it will benefit the kids and also they do not like the scare tactics being done by the district in handing out far more pink slips than required to scare the masses. I do not know what is worse, the UAW, Teamsters, mafia, or the teachers union.


Posted by What?, a resident of Birdland
on May 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

"Seeing children who come into our school speaking little to no English emerge with reading and writing skills within a year or watching children come in 2-3 years behind in reading catch up with their peers isn't witnessed by many of our bloggers, but parents who work in the schools see these transitions each and every day."

Another excellent reason to vote NO on G. Why are our public schools and tax money be used to teach students to speak English? How much money is being spent on these programs?


Posted by Fletch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Good one Bob! It is downright scary how much power those groups can and do exert on our systems!


Posted by Like it or not..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm

measure G will likely pass. Get out your checkbook and stop the whining.


Posted by Lighten up, Bob, a resident of Avignon
on May 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm

>No one has contacted me and we have 6 voters in our house all voting no on "G".

Your 5 imaginary friends don't count.


Posted by pablo, a resident of Dublin
on May 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Lighten up , Bob,

you seem to be threatened by what has been said as you make little funnies. Oh that is right school is getting out so you get to use the net before you hit the road.


Posted by jb, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Some friends and myself sat down with the previous ad and marked off all the teachers and PUSD employees; many that do not even live in Pleasanton. It was amazing how many on the list are district employees. The list almost became a "Who's who of PUSD Employees".

As a related item, a friend of mine supported the tax when it started and then learned that the district employees were still receiving raises during the parcel tax, of a cost of $15M, and she changed her mind and became a No vote. She also felt the federal money of $8.1M eliminates the need of the parcel tax. She contacted the parcel tax committee to have her name removed from the endorsement list. They said they would remove her name but it stays on the advertisements. I wonder how many people are on this list because of the campaigning in the beginning, and then cannot get their name off the list.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm

That hypothetical "$15 million" is projected many years in the future, but the teachers do not have a contract many years in the future. It expires next summer. No one can predict whether salaries will increase or decrease after that point.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Numerous times Sandy has focused attention on this website to individual employee situations. While it is considerate to think about the actual people, unfortunately that isn't the source of the budget problem. The bigger picture that impacts PUSD's budget is the total costs to the District for employee compensation, how those costs grow, and how those costs are funded. Obviously because a school district deals mostly in people, employee compensation is a huge chunk of the budget.

If we're going to be talking about individuals, let's also not forget the taxpayers.


Posted by jb, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Sandy, the many years in the future is actually just for the four years of the parcel tax. The raises to be given out by this contract for this upcoming year will cost the district $6M over four years, just for a single year of raises. Assuming the district negotiates a similar contract to the current one, it will be $15M over four years. So based on history it will be as high as $15M. The minimum, assuming the unions negotiate zero raises for the next three years (which will not happen) is a cost of $6M. It would be great if the unions did a freeze on step and column this year as that would save a lot of teacher's jobs. So while the teachers will get their step and column, they might end up with larger class sizes because there will be less teachers. I guess the union would rather see an increase in salary instead of saving teacher's jobs.

I go back to my objection is I had to take a pay cut in my job, and my retirement lost about 1/2 of its value, and the district employees want me to pay more money in taxes so they can receive a pay increase. Does not seem fair to me.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 23, 2009 at 4:49 am

Again, I challenge the assertion that the district will ask for a minimum of no raises over the 4 years after this one. They could ask for pay cuts, and the union could agree in order to avert further layoffs.

My family took a pay cut too, and we have had to deal with furlough days, and our retirement has lost about 1/2 of its value as well. I'm thinking of taxpayers, children, teachers, and parents too. You're free to say you don't think measure G is fair. I think the benefits outweigh the issue of the $1.5 million in step and column.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on May 23, 2009 at 8:37 am

Sandy - There was no organized opposition to Props 1A-1F. The supporters of the propositions outraised the opponents 10-1. The California Teachers Association (of which the Association of Pleasanton Teachers is aligned with, and which Pleasanton teacher union dues/fees contribute to) spent millions of dollars in support of the propositions. With all that 'momentum'.......
Landslide-scale defeat of the Propositions.

Could the same outcome be possible in Pleasanton? Certainly.

For more information see www.PleasantonParcelTaxInfo.com
Web Link


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2009 at 9:59 am

The teachers' union is set up to benefit its members, not our children.
If you want an idea how teachers' unions respond to a request to accept wage freezes or pay cuts, just read about what's been happening in Los Angeles.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm

There was organized opposition to 1A. For example: Web Link

About $2.8 million worth of money was spent campaigning against it, including from:

* California State Council of Service Employees
* California Faculty Association
* AFSCME
* California Federation of Teachers


Web Link

Wierd, huh. Four unions, against 1A. I guess it wasn't just the conservatives who thought it was a flawed proposition.

You are correct that the NO people were outspent by the YES people. And the Governor campaigned hard for it, which may have only made people more opposed.

To say that there was no organized opposition is an exaggeration, though. In my humble opinion, as they say elsewhere on the web...


Posted by polly, a resident of Castlewood
on May 23, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I don't know how many each of the unions spent to try and defeat 1A but their reasons for opposing 1A were not for the raise in taxes, but rather because of a spending cap and a rainy day fund. Those unions do not want a spending cap or putting money aside since that means they can't grow their unsustainable salaries and benefits as fast as they would want. Similar to the Pleasanton teachers union who does not want to put a freeze on raises but wants an increase in taxes.


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