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Original post made
on May 22, 2009
"Your child's teacher then informs you that there is only a part-time librarian on campus, so kids can only go the library once a month."
I support Measure G, but I find this statement about the library somewhat misleading.
I have children, and when they were young, they went to the library on a weekly basis. Because the librarians are not necessarily teachers, the kids' primary teacher must stay in the library with them.
So without a librarian, the kids can still visit the library once a week, with their main teacher.
I agree that 30 kids for one teacher in the lower grades is not right, and we need to do what we can to avoid this scenario.
Thank you for your support of measure G.
I wish this were the current practice, but it is not, in my daughter's school. Her second-grade class attends the library every other week. Both the teacher and the librarian are needed to help the children find and select interesting and appropriate reading-level books.
The teacher does not take the children to the library on her own, because there is a strong need to focus on the central aspects of the curriculum (writing, not just reading; math; social studies; science; etc) that finding time for another library trip is not feasible.
My daughter visits the library on her own during recess, but if library hours are halved, she will not have that opportunity any more.
Lucky for your daughter we still have a city library that you can take her to.
Imagine taking your child to a school where they tell you that because the State didn't give a COLA this year, they have to cut programs in order to fund raises.
We are very lucky to have our own library in Pleasanton, so that even if library visits at the schools are decreased, there is another, extremely good option available. The Childrens' Dept. at the Pleasanton Library has a wide variety of books both for reading pleasure and projects, along with trained librarians to assist both parents and students.
For many school projects, a trip to the Pleasanton Library is necessary to get sufficient resources.
Additionally, the Dublin Library is only a few miles away, and as part of the Alameda County Library system, is available at no charge to Pleasanton residents for materials there, or any materials in any library that is part of the Alameda County Library system.
It does not sound as if it's the library availability that is the problem, but that there isn't sufficient time built into the curriculum to permit teachers to bring students to the library more frequently.
As for a teacher telling parents there's only a part time librarian on campus, that is the way things are now at particular schools, not something that will happen if Measure G does not pass.
Measure G does not guarantee that libraries will be fully staffed throughout the school day. It does not guarantee that a kindergarten class will have less than 30 students. It does not guarantee that an elementary school will have an instrument program. There is nothing specific in the Measure G language. There are vague promises, not unlike the vague promise PUSD and the School Board made to keep adequate rainy day reserves on hand to see the district through budget problems.
If parents want specific guarantees, they should tell the Board of Trustees that a parcel tax needs to be specific to insure that it meets the wants and needs of the community.
Meanwhile, parents can take advantage of the wonderful resources offered within our community, teach their children how to use the libraries and take them there regularly. A trip to the library is a great and free way for families to spend time together!
The 63 cents a day the original poster is quoting is equal to
$18 MILLION gross (the County takes a cut of about $700K per year to process parcel tax proceeds) over a four year period.
The largest portion of any school district's budget is salaries. PUSD expects to spend $15 MILLION over the next four years to increase teacher salaries. PUSD hasn't said how much they anticipate spending to increase administrators' salaries. They have been very quiet about that! They don't want to have that topic raised, and when it is, they ignore it. There is nothing in Measure G that states there will be no administrator pay increases during the four years of the parcel tax.
There is nothing in Measure G that states there will be no increases in any staff pay during the four years of the parcel tax.
All Measure G does is free up money in General Funds to support pay increases. It doesn't protect the programs or staff parents want protected.
It's calculated to be misleading by using a lot of general wording like "keep class sizes small" and retain "essential" staff. But nowhere is there anything specific.
The PUSD has earned my trust. If the schools were a mess and education quality poor, then I might be suspicious.
The PUSD has earned my trust as well.
I'm really tired of people making assumptions about what teacher's contracts will look like more than a year from now, too. We cannot know if there will be any step-and-column after next year. There will undoubtedly be fewer total teachers.
I agree with Sandy and Russell. The API scores that came out yesterday, with the exception of Lydiksen, suggest that our districts and our schools are on the right track. They deserve our unconditional monetary support.
I'm voting YES on G
Hey Russell, if you are so into funding the schools with other peoples money who do not feel the same way how about making it volunteer and the ones who want to pay can just divie up the bill and let the rest of us invest our money where we want. I have no kids so have no interest in paying for your kids. Raise them yourself.
Bob gave me another great reason to vote Yes on G. Why not use someone else's money to raise my children? Thanks in advance, Bob!
U2: "They deserve our unconditional monetary support."
Wow, unconditional and without questions too, I presume. Why don't you just hand your local government officials a blank check? They'll spend your money wisely....trust me.
I think "unconditional support" is taking it a bit too far, but I do believe in results. Schools in Pleasanton are great by any objective measure (as faulty as those objective measures may be).
School success, in my mind, is a three part process - the parent, the school, and the child need to "buy in", otherwise the pyramid falls apart.
PUSD, while imperfect, seems to be doing what it's supposed to do. I'm inclined to allow PUSD the latitude of a parcel tax.
That is NOT to say that other measures can't or shouldn't be explored. Of course school personnel need cell phones - within reason. Mileage in the conduct of school business is also not unreasonable (but let's audit smartly). What is the competitive bidding policy with respect to purchases? Do we REALLY need to buy a new textbook for a subject that hasn't changed a whole lot (is algebra any different in 2009 than it was in 1979?)
Obviously the largest piece of the pie are salaries. Pay schedules are the norm for public employees - removing the incentive for a graduate degree for academic staff doesn't pass the common sense test, nor does removing the incentive for longevity (they don't get "raises" every year).
However, I would also insist that administration evaluate staff properly, and have the hard conversation with those that need improvement. I'm told it's difficult to do this with teachers and classified staff - I would like to know if anyone is even making the effort? Percentage-wise?
My 2/100; you are asking the right questions but why hand over the money before you get the answers? You'll never get the money back, nor will the district make the tough decisions and changes that they may need to make once they have our money. I don't think there is any question that PUSD is providing a good service but I believe they have become bloated and are not willing to make needed changes and operate more efficiently in these tough economic times. I'll vote NO on G and when the district makes real sacrifices I would be willing to approve a parcel tax. But not until then.
Sorry to deflate your hot-air balloon, but when you said
"Pay schedules are the norm for public employees - removing the incentive for a graduate degree for academic staff doesn't pass the common sense test, nor does removing the incentive for longevity (they don't get "raises" every year)."
The Norm, doesn't make it alright. You should try challenging your own thinking first. And you would be correct if all teachers were moving toward graduate degrees. Unfortuneately, most do not. Those that do head toward the administration levels and there are far fewer positions available. The incentive to move up the pay scale is just that...for pay.
In fact, most teachers take these little self-study classes, or photography, an internet class. Basically, self-enrichment and there is not required coursework to move up the ladder.
In my field, my MANDATORY continuing education units are scrutinized by the state medical board to make sure the classes I take benefit my patients.
I don't think XYZ patient would appreciate me taking a photography class or a class on maintaining my records and counting the units towards my continuing education license requirements.
We need to stop the bleeding before we put anymore into this patient. Start there, and when the patient is stabalized, then I'll listen to you who want more money for the schools.
Kathleen R wrote on another thread that the entire AIG bailout works out to be roughly 74 cents per person per day also. That doesn't sound bad either...
None of it sounds bad...until you ADD IT UP. 18 MILLION for pay raises in THIS economy?
Give me a break...
The $18M goes back into funding programs and CSR, not toward pay raises. In fact, some of the school administrators, including Dr. Casey, have voluntary offered a pay reduction. It's time for the community to step up and help our children. 64 cents a day is the least we can do for our community and our children.
Actually, My2/100DAU, I've given it a great deal of thought, sorry to "burst your bubble." Do you want to have a respectful conversation, or not?
It comes down to fundamentals. I think the district does what it's supposed to do, and very well. (I have no children in the district, not employed by the district, just a Pleasanton homeowner). They seem to have budgeted in a reasonable fashion, given the limitations of the prop 98-revenue limit model, and I don't feel inclined to punish them for our legislature's sins.
My own background is in high tech manufacturing, TQM-continuous improvement environment that value data. It does seem that PUSD could benefit from being more critical about how they spend, operate, etc - this doesn't seem to be an organizational value, at least not in the sense that I am used to.
>In fact, most teachers take these little self-study classes, or photography, an internet class <snip>
OK...This seems to be your opinion, but I'm open-minded to see your data on this. Otherwise it seems like an assumption.
Sorry "opposition is misleading", you are wrong, or more accurately being mislead. While the district would be collecting $18M in taxes, they will be paying out $15M in raises. The administration is being sneaky by saying money does not go to raises, which is technically correct since the tax revenue check is not being endorsed to the employees but the tax money goes into the general fund pot and is spent on the $15M in raises.
Dr. Casey did not voluntary offer a pay reduction. Management did agree to a 1.5% reduction in days worked (I guess 2 months vacation per year is not enough) but only if Measure G passes. He still gets his $1,000 per month car allowance and offered to cut it down to $750/month (still twice what Pleasanton's City Manager gets), only if the parcel tax passes. He has not given any of it back this year. Trying to hold the public hostage. Personally I don't think we should deal with terrorists/hostage takers. We should take them out (in this case by firing them).
Lets stop the raises AND THEN we can discuss a potential tax, if it is still needed. Our district, just like our state, is doing business as usual. If you talk to any business owner, it is not business as usual in this economy.
Does anyone know the rules for exemption from the parcel tax if approved? My understanding is that individuals over the age of 65, low income, or individuals whose primary residence is not in Pleasanton can get an exemption true?
Paul, there are no exemptions for low income, or individuals whose primary residence is not in Pleasanton. I have heard there are people from the Measure G campaign going door-to-door saying so but that is a complete lie.
Check out the options that these teachers take each summer to climb the ladder of professionalism.
Call the district office and ask them where the majority of staff take their coursework through.
Very few pay the money to attend a graduate level program. Units adding up to 10 do not necessarily add up to a M.A. or a M.S. A teaching credential program is not considered graduate level training. They are credential programs. The CBEST is the requirement for entrance, not the GRE/MCAT. Web Link
As far as moving up the pay scale/step and column/raises. A teacher gets a raise every year. The move up the ladder each year they complete. To move across they need units...ANY units. There is very little oversight here. It only need meet a few criteria. There are no standards for this. Try Web Link and click around on the "coursework". Chapman is by far the most popular local source for teachers.
There is your requested data. In my practice, we look at the Subjective, the Objective, we Assess and we Plan. The data, subjective and objective are in. I've assessed and we need a new plan.
Your 2/100 doesn't add up -
I read your links. Independent Study counts toward the teachers getting paid more? WOW.
I'm shocked. And they don't just get the money one time? They can keep building on it? THIS doesn't pass the smell test! It is funny how Chapman referred to it in quotes as "graduate level credit"...with a wink and a nod to teachers...
I saw a bunch of "Chapman" professional development flyers floating around at my daughter's school in the office recently as I helped out. Now I know...
>A teacher gets a raise every year
Huh? There are steps 1-20, but they don't get a raise every year. Web Link
>Units adding up to 10 do not necessarily add up to a M.A. or a M.S. A teaching credential program is not considered graduate level training.
Just checked this out on CSUEB's web site. Credential courses are graduate credit, but by themselves are not an MA, MS, MEd, or whatever. CSUEB appears to count them TOWARDS a separate degree, but a graduate degree seems to be a separate process. CBEST is part of the requirement, but not the only requirement.
>Very few pay the money to attend a graduate level program.
How many exactly? I personally know several that do, but don't know the grand total.
I would agree that meaningful graduate credit should be given, and underwater basket weaving shouldn't be part of it.
Paul -- The exemption is for anyone 65 or over, or for individuals receiving social security disability. (Others who are low income are not exempted.)
About teacher credentialing:
The CBEST is a prerequisite for beginning the credentialing process. Often, the CSET is also required before credentialing begins. If not, then it must be completed before student teaching begins. There are other requirements to complete a credential.
It is possible to complete a teacher credentialing program while earning a BA. But I don't think those the only people we want to consider as candidates for teaching in Pleasanton.
Some of the best teachers I have met at Amador came to teaching as a second career, after working as engineers or scientists. If we want to attract them to our schools as well, giving credit for their graduate education seems reasonable to me.
I have seen, over my 10 years of teaching undergraduates, a decline in the average preparation level of entering freshmen. I believe that Pleasanton deserves credit for holding strong and continuing to improve its schools when others elsewhere have fallen further behind.
"Kathleen R wrote on another thread that the entire AIG bailout works ..."
Big difference. AIG was a complete failure. They did nothing of value, performed no useful service. They went out of business. Keeping them around is an affront to tax payers. In my opinion, they should be allowed to fail. They should go away. I'd hardly say the same about PUSD. What a nutty comparison.
Russell, I agree.
And no one in PUSD is getting a "bailout". Some may get step-and-column raises for this year. They could get pay cuts the year after. That $15 million is pure speculation about what will happen after next year.
And there are teachers who will be laid off whether or not measure G passes. One of the objectives of measure G is to minimize layoffs in K-3 and in grade 9, but other teachers not in those programs are on the layoff list.
Finally, measure G is about more than class size reduction. It's about counselors, reading intervention programs, music and technology education, librarians, and school safety (custodians).
Sandy, You want us to believe that we can have confidence voting for measure G? That $15 million of the $18 million of our taxes collected may not go directly to raises? That step and column might be renegotiated after this tax is passed?
Superintendent Casey has not demonstrated a sincere will to reduce expenses from the start. The token concessions have only resulted from pressure from measure G opposition.
I do believe step and column must be renegotiated to zero (with no retroactive payment) until the economy strengthens. There must be serious cuts to the glut that remains at the district. You and others have credited the district with making serious cuts but in truth they simply used the reserve to cover state cuts. All reforms should have been done before coming to the community; it is foolish to ask us to trust that it will happen after the tax is passed.
Measure G is flawed and deceptive. Without specific ballot language that would absolutely prohibit all raises during the term of the tax student programs will be sacrificed to pay raises.
No on measure G
Interesting thread with a lot of conversation about what is important: classes at 20:1, librarians, school nurses, counselors, reading intervention, technology. Which is what I have pointed towe need the opportunity to discuss what it is we value and are willing to pay for. None of that will occur or has occurred with this parcel tax.
To My 2/100: Once the district has the $18 million, there will be no incentive to "explore" other measures, except the next parcel tax. The majority of teachers do get raises every year . . . 14.5% just from 2005-2008 school years for example. There are many ways to pay teachers that reward the best, those who've continued their education in education areas, and to insure proper evaluations. That is the contract that will be negotiated this coming school year, but again, no incentive to change if the parcel tax is in place. You should probably track down a citizen member of the Budget Advisory Committee to learn more about the budget.
Sandy: Historically contracts roll over with little change except to salary, benefits, hours and never for less. Why would anyone believe it will change this time through, particularly with a parcel tax in place. Correcting on line what is being said door to door is still a disservice to what voters are being told face to face. Someone should be running an ad with that clarification.
Still Sandy: If 20:1 is supposed to make it easier to deliver curriculum, certainly there should be time to go to the library? Those who went through this system prior to CSR managed it with 30 or more students. Again, do we value 20:1 more than the library, equally to the library?
Russell: The AIG example was not an endorsement of that debacle, it was to explain how anything distasteful can be reduced to something palatable: Measure G, 64 cents a day; AIG, 74 cents a dayneither one is a good idea no matter how thin you slice the numbers. It's $18 million to an administration that has overwhelmingly been proven to abandoned sound budgeting practices.
Where on the measure G ballot does it specifically state that current levels of counseling staff, reading and math specialists, and technology specialists will stay in place if G passes? Where on the Measure G ballot does it specifically state that no cuts will be made to existing music programs?
Parents don't want to see a decrease from existing levels of services and they are being told Measure G will prevent that.
But nowhere in the Measure G ballot language is that stated.
Phrases like "keep class sizes small" mean nothing unless small is defined. It isn't.
Phrases like "maintain essential" mean nothing unless essential is defined. It isn't.
PUSD made a "promise" to conserve reserves for times like these. But that promise wasn't in writing.
Now PUSD is making promises about what the parcel tax will provide. But again, nothing specific in writing.
PUSD could very easily have written Measure G to specifically address the areas which parents value. But the ballot language was left deliberately vague.
Parents were very vocal about what they wanted for their children's education, so there's no excuse for PUSD not incorporating those wants in the ballot language.
There's a word for those big gaping holes in the ballot language - loopholes.
I don't get it.
$18 million, of which $15 million goes for raises. That's what we're being asked to pay for, folks. Teacher salary increases. This is not about class size reduction.
Layoffs continue. Businesses close. Foreclosures continue. And yet we should pony up $15 million to give teachers raises? Maybe when the economy recovers. But not right now.
No on G.
The real sad part about all of this is regardless how it comes out with G forever the teachers will be looked down upon. Oh I know we are going to see people write here that they love the teachers and it will not affect the way they feel but the bottom line is that the die has been cast and they have been tainted by their own union and we by our own school board. They should all be voted out at the first possible moment and Kiernan if he had an honor would resign right now Oh I guess he can't because of the two daughters he got jobs at the district. what a joke.
I couldn't agree more with you about voting out the current school board. All they seem to do is rubber stamp what Casey and his staff recommend without any questioning. I'm told they ask their questions outside of the meeting but I thought meetings were supposed to be held in public. If I had any sense that the board was prepared to rethink how they do business and some of the expenses such as cell phones and car allowances, I'd support Measure G in a New York minute. Unfortunately, I don't get any sense of change by OUR school board trustees so I'm leaning towards NO on G. I've said it before and I still believe that school board trustees should not have children in K-12. How can they tell the teachers No Raise this year and not fear repercussions for their children? If I was on the board, I'd certainly have serious thoughts about saying no to the teacher's union or the administration given having children in the district.
I really wish Steve Brozosky would have run again for school board instead of Mayor. He seems like the only one willing to ask questions. I also think former Planning Commissioner Anne Fox would be great on the board in terms of asking questions of the staff but unforunately she has a child in the district.
Leaning towards NO on G
I couldn't agree more with the last few posts about the district and the implications on passing this measure in this thread. I will say to Phil, that I agree with you strongly that while the teachers have fought hard on this issue, they have only convinced the rest of this community that they are unreasonable. In spite of the districts poor fiscal management, they expect the community to bail them out, and have made zero efforts to demonstrate otherwise.
There is another thread with the OP apparently written by a teacher, I will read that and give them credit if credit is due, however, I am just struck by the comments throughout this blog by those in favor of teachers, retired teachers or teachers themselves. While I do sincerely appreciate the education of my children in this district, I cannot get around the fact that they have gone door to door, raised funds, protested loudly and manipulated parents that this parcel tax is going to "save education in Pleasanton".
It is saddening to me that all this effort is for them to get a 15MM raise over the next 4 years. Less than 20% of this parcel tax will go to students. There is a serious character flaw in the teacher's union and it is one that I do not want taught to my children.
18MM / 233 per year / or the preferred 64 cents a day phrase - none matter to me; what does is the relationship between parents and teachers - the necessary ingredient to educating children that will forever be altered and very likely damaged. If this tax passes, I will not contribute a penny, or a minute to the PTA or other fundraising organizations until the tax has ended and there is a plan for fiscal responsibility.
Teachers: You still have time to negotiate with this district and restore your character to this community. You can still negotiate a limit on the 15MM you will receive as a Unit over the next four years and ask that should Measure G pass, you will still take a salary freeze.
Do the right thing for this community...everyone.
Vote No on Measure G.
justwondering wrote: "I still believe that school board trustees should not have children in K-12."
Or children who are employees in the District. :)
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