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Letter: Parcel tax would fund 'We the People'

Original post made on May 30, 2009

Dear Editor,

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 30, 2009 at 1:40 pm

If this activity is important enough, another teacher will step up. Because of the way tenure works for teachers, first year teachers are first on the block for cuts; no matter if they are the best teachers. We are not going to solve that problem in the near-term. We have some excellent teachers in our schools who can also do a great job in the We the People. I believe Mr. Clegg is a good teacher and has done a great job with the program this year but his continued employment depends on rules by the teachers unions not by Measure G.


Posted by Be accurate and truthful, a resident of Birdland
on May 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Teachers who received their pink slips have not yet been notified whether they will be laid off. That notification will not happen until after the June 2nd ballot. Other school districts have been able to give final lay off notices, but PUSD has not.

Parent is right. It is the Union's system of laying off those with the least seniority first that determines whether Mr. Clegg will be laid off.

But I have also heard that because of the graduation requirements for a specific number of civic and econ classes, no history teacher at Amador, including Mr. Clegg is in danger of being laid off.

Just ask Mr. Coupe.


Posted by Karen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

< Clegg is a good teacher and has done a great job with the program this year but his continued employment depends on rules by the teachers unions not by Measure G.>

Union rules determine who is teaching our kids.

Therein lies the problem in American education.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2009 at 8:11 pm

ONCE UPON A TIME THE PLEASANTON WEEKLY WAS A NEWSPAPER. NOW IT'S JUST ADVERTISING FUNDED CAMPAIGN LITERATURE FOR THE DISTRICT EMPLOYEE'S BENEFIT (LIKE THE EDITOR'S WIFE).


Posted by gtocha, a resident of another community
on May 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I have two things to say to you tax people.

Rush Limbaugh.
Mark Levin.

That is what you can't handle. You can't handle the truth.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

"May cease to exist". More speculation - not facts.

If Mr. Clegg is no longer there, surely his "supporting teachers" can continue the program.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm

1. Mr. Clegg did a phenomenal job this year as a first year teacher/coach of the team in a program that has had really big shoes to fill. But Mr. Clegg was just hired last spring during the time period when the school district was still talking about lay-offs! So how was it even possible? Clegg had to know the risk of coming in with no seniority and as others have pointed out, the problem is the whole union/tenure issue, not performance.
2. A couple of months ago, Bill Coupe stated that the program was not in danger. So how is it that the parcel tax will "save" it if it is not going anywhere? This headline is another example of over-the-top emotional tactics we have been seeing for months whether written by Mr. Kennedy or the PW staff.
3. As others have pointed out, the language in Measure G is too vague to guarantee saving this or any other program in this district.

I love the WTP program but am still voting NO on the parcel tax.


Posted by correcting wrong info, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 31, 2009 at 6:20 pm

@ Be accurate and truthful

But I have also heard that because of the graduation requirements for a specific number of civic and econ classes, no history teacher at Amador, including Mr. Clegg is in danger of being laid off.

This is absolutely not true. Mr. Clegg and several other teachers in the social studies department will likely not have job next year for a few reasons:

1) a number of sections of social studies electives have been eliminated for next year, so the teachers who taught those will be moved into core classes like Civics & Econ

2) If 20/1 class size in English gets dropped, there are a number of English teachers in the district with dual credentials who'd move from the English Department to the Social Studies Dept, thereby displacing the newer Social Studies teachers.

3) Any teacher at another site who has a Social Studies credential can come to Amador if there is no room for them at their existing site (for reasons 1 & 2 above) and they have more seniority than the teachers currently at Amador.

Also, the assumption that any other teacher in the department can teach WTP is not quite right either. Coupe can make any teacher in the department teach the class, but he can't make them compete. Competing requires a commitment of about 20 hours a week of time outside the classroom (and the ability to leave your family for an extended period of time to go to DC if they make it that far). Few of the teachers in the department are able to give that much time to one class in ADDITION to their regular work hours (anyone who has kids or coaches a sport definitely wouldn't be able to do it). You can't just dump a behemoth class like WTP onto a teacher who didn't willingly sign up to teach it and expect them to do all the things Clegg did.


Posted by We the People Parent, a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 31, 2009 at 6:57 pm

The parcel tax, if passed or not, will NOT affect the We the People class. It will still exist at both high schools. Unfortunately, Mr. Clegg will not be back. There will be a teacher assigned to teach the class; it probably won't be someone who is willing to put in hundreds of hours or free time after school, weekends, and holidays. It won't be someone who has gone through proper training and have been shown the ropes. The program at AV will have to rebuild, and will always be strong. There are real good Social Studies teachers at AV and we hope that some of them who have helped Mr. Clegg and Mr. Ladd in the past, will step up.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 31, 2009 at 8:07 pm

We can hope but there is no guarantee that anyone else will step up- good luck with that!


Posted by WeThePeople Watcher, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:37 pm

It will be embarrasing for the PUSD to have to go public with the admission that their most successful team (in any sport/activity) is losing their leader because of budget issues, and that they must resort to appoint (i.e. assign) a new instructor for this awesome team.

At the last school board meeting, several AVHS students were there to plead for Mr. Clegg's job, and one of the suggestions from the school board was to have the Foothill Comp Civics coach guide both teams. No way that can work - doing one team is a fulltime activity.

One strong possibility that nobody seems to consider is that the 2010 Comp Civics team will partially or completely bail if a substitute, non-qualified teacher takes over. Remember, these kids are very high achievers, and the attraction for joining the team was the oppty to compete for a national title. If PUSD is going to show less than a full committment, it's possible some kids may take their ball and go play elsewhere.

So far nobody has 'stepped up' to volunteer to take over. Mr. Ladd retired from CV last year (not likely to be the replacement), Mrs. Wohlgemuth has small children (too much committment), and Chris Murphy is supposedly going to Europe on a teacher exchange next year. Who is left to take over? These are the real leaders in the Social Studies department. This is a job that takes real passion and committment to carry on the tradition established.




Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm

There is no guarantee that Mr. Clegg will keep his job even IF Measure G passes. The PUSD does not take into consideration how valuable an employee is because the union contract dictates who stays and who leaves.....it is done by seniority only! Performance is not taken into account.


Posted by Be accurate and truthful, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

@ correcting wrong info
What social studies electives have been eliminated? You say some have, but please provide specific information.
Your post is making the point that others have made - that the teachers' union system is broken. Good teachers should be retained. If that were the case, there would be no discussion about Mr. Clegg.
You're also assuming that other teachers would not be able or willing to lead WTP. So on the one hand, the teachers at PUSD are terrific, but on the other, some aren't terrific or dedicated enough to support WTP?
You're forgetting one very important component - the WTP students themselves. They are brilliant, hard working motivated students who often do their studying on their own. They make WTP a priority, set up study schedules and work together as a team. I'm not saying a good advisor isn't important, but want to remind everyone that these kids are phenomenal.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I have one of those "phenomena kids" who is planning on being on the WTP competition next year. He spent the evening calling voters to ask them to support Measure G tomorrow. Though he just has one year left in PUSD, he is extremely concerned about the state of the district w/o the fund from Measure G. He knows Measure G won't fix everything, and that Mr. Clegg may lose his job even if Measure G passes. But he knows it is important to fight for what you believe in.


Posted by Bottom Line, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Web Link

Please look here for data.

More money = better district. Less any issues with poverty and/or language learners.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Money managed well = better district. It has to be done right.


Posted by More money, a resident of Avignon
on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm

If you take some time to look at the data it looks like PUSD competes pretty well with some much smaller, higher funded districts.

I can not help think that's because they are doing something right?

I don't really see you telling me what you would propose doing differently Kathleen. And now with data staring me in the face I think I will have no choice but to vote YES tomorrow.

Thank you bottom line for the link.

I am still open to solid ideas Kathleen.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm

More money, I don't see this being an issue of my ideas alone. There are many ways to get to the heart of what was done poorly--large raises, small reserves. The kids and teachers do well despite the "downtown" agenda. Ask the teachers. Ask the principals.

I can't say enough times that with a revisit of the budget and priorities, guarantees in the language, possibly no raises for the life of the tax, I would pay more than $233. This campaign was started with unnecessary threats and insults to the intelligence of this community. Many of us listed the facts of the mismanagement.

The voters will decide tomorrow. Either there will be a chance to do this properly or we all chip in $18 million with no guarantees. I'm willing to help if it's the former or to watchdog if it's the latter.




Posted by bottom line, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm

The program is a fantastic program but serves only one class of students (I believe about 30). The cuts that are coming impact thousands in the K-3 classrooms, 9th grade math, and 9th grade English. We have to think of everyone not just a few.


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