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PLEASE POST YOUR IDEA, GREAT OR SMALL, HOW WE CAN IMPROVE THE DISTRICT.

Original post made by GREAT IDEAS! on Jun 3, 2009

Pleasanton Community,

I have read great ideas/suggestions from this community for months now. Whether we wanted the vote to turn out this way or not, here we are. Let's get a collective list together of ideas. We are a SMART community of individuals who, I believe, ALL want this district to excel!!

Let's get it started here...

Please post a great idea like Liz did in response to "Educated" who, if you have read their previous posts were on opposite sides of the vote.

Let's work together...

PLEASE POST YOUR IDEA, GREAT OR SMALL, HOW WE CAN IMPROVE THE DISTRICT. PLEASE DO NOT CRITICIZE ANY OTHER'S POST.

THANK YOU!

************

Posted by Liz, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood

Educated - I wouldn't be suprised if "enrichment" summer school is on the chopping block tonight. I think there will be a number of things that people are not going to like.

Maybe we all need to get together (nays and yeas) and start lobbying the teacher's union (not the school board/district) to take a 10% pay cut. The teacher's I know would be willing if it kept some of their collegues working.

************

Posted by Stop Already, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood

Liz,




A great idea!


Thank goodness anyone can be involved in the process and not just those elected.


I'm with you, Liz...How can we "lobby" the Union to spare jobs, etc?


Comments (69)

Posted by Liz, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:15 pm

My thought, - I've never done this before, so if anyone else has a better idea chime in - Would be to email, call and write to both the president of the APT and everyone at the CTA. Maybe PW would be willing to run an article on this movement, if we can get enough action. I won't post actual personal contact info. here, but the links to the contact info. are below.

Association of Pleasanton Teachers

The president is Trevor Knaggs - sabatical from HPMS language department.

The website for contacts at APT is Web Link

link for CTA contact info. is:

Web Link
We are Region I

The contacts for the CTA officers are found here: Web Link
Click on their names and scroll to bottom of page for their contact info.








Posted by Thanks, Liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Liz,

This is terrific. Thanks for getting the info together. I'll write and call myself.

I hope others will join in by getting behind your idea or suggesting another.

Thank you Liz for sincerely putting forth effort to get things going!


Posted by Thank you, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Some of us would like to get productive. My neighbor is bringing her "yes vote" check to the district meeting tonight with a box for other donations.




I think she is brave. That's what it is going to take in a community where we have become more comfortable saying things bad/good on a computer than in person.




I am going to write a letter to the Board today as you suggested and give a donation also...regardless of how I voted.


Posted by Support Our Schools, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I think that is a great idea. I'll be bringing my check too and suggest others do the same. Maybe we should all email our friends with that suggestion.


Posted by Thank you both, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Thank you and Support Our Schools,

You both had such terrific posts, I moved them over here. I hope you won't mind!

Keep them coming people. With the energy displayed on this forum since this morning, we should be able to come up with some great stuff!


Posted by Working together, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm

This thread is such a great idea!

I'm not sure how to integrate this into changing things, but I think that as a community we should take a survey on what is most important to us so that as the district makes cuts, and gets money they have a priority list to work from.

My "top" priority is Class Size Reduction. I am open to funding it or expecting parents to volunteer a lot more so that the ratio is lower. If they cut staff, are the classrooms still available for use to rotate kids through to make it "feel" smaller? The AM and PM teachers could divide the kids into rooms with more parent volunteers so 30 kids are not smooshed together at once? Just an idea...


Posted by Liz, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

You know this is what is so great about America! Citizens themselves have power to change things where elected leaders can't or won't. Imagine the change for OUR school district if we just donate and write letters to the APT & CTA and get a 10% pay cut? It does and will make a positive impact on our schools and show our students the best part of living in America - it is the citizens that have the power!


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Liz,

Yes, this is what is great about America! :) And you are my new favorite neighbor in PTown! :)

Thanks for your thoughtful posts and for inspiring me to start the thread (and letting me use your post!).

It's been a rough few months around town, but we're going to get out of this with awesome attitudes like yours!

Please keep posting ideas, updates and encouragements to others here...it will make a difference!


Posted by A thought, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Can we SPS put a booth out at Friday Night in the Park and the Farmers Market and First Wednesday (tonight!!) to collect donations? They would be tax deductible, right?

Can SPS use their phone bank idea or mailing lists to send out post cards about the donation ideas?


Posted by Another Idea, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Those of you who want to make donations to the school district - great!
Why not make a note on your check about how you would like your donation used - CSR, guidance counselors, Barton, whatever. That will help the district get a sense of what matters to the community. Not quite as efficient as a survey, but better than nothing.


Posted by Donations, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I would recommend donating to the classrooms directly rather than donating to the PUSD or the PTA/PFC. The folks at PUSD have proven to be incompetent at managing money and so did the PTA/PFC who used parents' donations for SPS campaign donations.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Donations -

Donating to the classroom will not keep reading specialists, librarians or elementary string programs. Donating to PUSD and PTA/PFC's, voicing your opinion as to which programs are important, getting involved with your school's PTA/PFC, and volunteering at for the PTA/PFC and school WILL make a difference. If you have good ideas to fix the problem, get involved and change things.

As the quote goes:

"If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem."


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Each school should establish separate funding barrels for each of the programs potentially on the chopping block (kind of like a silent auction) along with a posting of how much money it would take to keep the program viable. Parents can then donate to a particular program that they wish to keep for a particular school. That way Vintage Hills parents aren't stuck paying for a popular Fairlands program and vice versa.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Option 1 - Freeze S&C increases, and make other expense accomodations that the community has asked for and issue another ballot measure proposing a parcel tax with langauge that provides definitive fund allocation.

Option 2 - Petition the teacher's union to renegotiate existing contracts in a manner that save our facility positions - maybe a graduated pay cut / salary freeze depending on pay scale.

Option 3 - Allow the community to dontate directly to "at risk programs" and if enough funds are privately donated that program is funded, if not enough funds are raised to support that particular program they get transfered into a different at risk program that is closer to achieving the required funding.

Obviously some general ideas and each have their downsides.


Posted by Give Directly, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

My wife and I will continue to donate actual supplies to Amador Valley and Harvest Park, the schools our children attend. By purchasing needed supplies, we know the money won't be used for admin. cell phones and excessive salaries, and car allowances, charters buses to-and-from local games for our athletes, step and column pay increases for teachers, etc. We promise to pay $233 this year and $233 the following three years, adjusted upward for inflation. I encourage others to consider this direct-to-need investment in our schools, bypassing the middle players – state, county and local bureaucracies.


Posted by nice ideas, but . . ., a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Some good ideas here but remember that even if the CTA agreed to present a 10% pay cut offer to the teachers, the teachers would never vote to pass it! Re-read the thread from the teacher who said she will never give up the S & C because she has arranged her life in a manner that she needs it. She feel entitled to the raises and would never agree to give them up, let alone take a real pay cut. The teachers will need to feel some genuine pain before getting onboard with any give-backs. That includes future raises or real pay cuts. Their best offer if the tax passed was to take two unpaid vacation days by virtue of giving up the in service days. Not to WORK two days without pay.
About the tax deductions . . . be very careful. If the SPS organization is already an approved 501(c)3 organization, AND it files all appropriate tax returns, AND it complies with all tax rules, donations would be tax deductible. It would be worthwhile for someone to actually make it conform, that would be a good source of revenue and people would be more likely to donate for a deduction.
Don't know about a booth at the concerts but the farmer's market is not in the business of giving out free spaces, nor do they have room in the summer. Likewise with First Wednesday, it is not a not-for-profit event.


Posted by Give Directly, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I envision two competing not-for-profit organization. One, for fellow YES travelers, the other for No travelers.
The YES org. will hand over funds to Dr. Casey, to be used as he sees fit.
The NO org. will pool funds and directly fund or endow certain activities or Chairs – like the special education Chair at xyz school or the Barton's Reading Chair.
Hmmm, over the course of time, I wonder which org. will/would be more successful??


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Keep the great ideas coming and don't worry if the details aren't refined yet. We need a foundation of ideas to build on. We'll make it pretty later!

:)


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Give Directly,

I really liked your first post. The second brought up a "competition" and a spirit of dividing based on political/campaign position. I'd like to move on from that discussion that is all over this forum, and focus this one with our energies as to what we can do with our existing system.


Posted by Give Directly, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Great Ideas, sorry about that. I agree, the 2nd post was a bit "catty". With that said, I think a not-for-profit that pools funds and directly funds or endows certain activities or Chairs – like the special education Chair at xyz school or the Barton's Reading Chair would be successful.


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Now that's what I'm talking about! :)

That is a super idea!


Posted by Privatize, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Stop throwing good money after bad. The system is broken. Don't fall for the "lets work together to fix our schools" line. That is exactly what the teacher's union wants.

Vouchers are the solution.


Posted by $$$, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Liz writes
"You know this is what is so great about America! Citizens themselves have power to change things where elected leaders can't or won't."

No that is not what is great about america. We elect our leaders to ......... wait for it..........LEAD! We do not elect them to say "no" to everything including taxes. If you elect leaders whom make a No Taxes pledge the you are not electing people to lead. This is what is wrong with our state and our country. We won't let them lead.


Posted by free lunch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Create a non-profit "Parent's Club" to collect donations and fund programs that parents feel are most essential, as they do in Orinda. Over a million dollars are raised each year in that little town to fund:

- elementary computer teachers, PE teachers and Art teachers
- an additional OIS school counselor and associate principal
- extra librarian hours
- classroom instructional assistants
- literacy specialists
- science support
- part-time school psychologist

I tried to sell this idea in one of the PFC meetings a couple of months ago but the idea was tossed by the school's principal and the PFC board members, citing that the fundings are unreliable and that it would take too long to implement.

Perhaps people would be more open to other options now?


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Privatize and $$$,

Please post your ideas but do not denegrade another's idea/suggestion.

Privatize,

So your suggestion is to open up vouchers to parents.

$$$,

Are you saying you want the Board to lead without any input from the community?


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Personally, the library is a passion of mine and if my elementary school loses our librarian, I will step up to keep the library open, run by parent volunteers. Totally do-able! A handful of parents from every school keeping the libraries running? This can work!

Now, if the teachers would open their eyes and realize what a fantastic district they WORK FOR, we can all unite and get through this. I love my teachers and mean no disrespect, but I have seen a lot of "entitlement" going on with the teachers and it makes me mad. Let's get some perspective!

Pleasanton unite!


Posted by Give Directly, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Free lunch, is there a web site for the Orinda group? Our learning curve is "up" right now.
Positive ideas on this thread, please. If you want to "go negative", fine, just start a separate thread.


Posted by Just a thought, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I just want to throw out there that I am a little concerned with the "fund a program of your choice" idea. When you look at the students who need different interventions, sometimes the biggest needs are for the kids from families that would not have the $$ nor the drive to advocate for their children. For example things around atheletics would get lots of money but maybe counseling or reading may not get as much because families in crisis aren't always in a position to rally and put their needs out on the table or pay for them. I just would hate to see programs get pitted against one another because of different client basis. Does that make sense? All kids and programs are important so let's just remember that too and be sensitive.


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Free Lunch,

I have no idea how I missed your post. This is a fantastic idea! If you can find the info about Orinda, like Give Directly said, this should absolutely be presented to the parents as an option.

Good info to find out also is how is it different from a PTA and how is the money handled. If we've learned anything about our fair city recently, it is how much people value integrity with public funds!

Keep 'em coming! We're going to do this!!


Posted by $$$, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

My Idea:
Elect state officials that may do their job. The state should fund our schools but can't because they are tied to the "Pledge".
My Idea:
Don't listen to Grover Norquist.


Posted by Great Ideas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Just a thought,

Point well taken. We're brainstorming now, but if something gets/comes to the point of fruition, this is a good thing to remember. WE ARE a community that cares about all of OUR kids! Thanks for standing up for someone else's. That's a great attitude to have!


Posted by Amazed, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 3:23 pm

To Great Ideas:
You have chosen your name well. I am in awe at how you are moderating and keeping this thread on track and upbeat. My children have graduated, but I am also willing to give the $233 to the district to help. The booths downtown may not be free, but there are certainly open to non-profits-I see several each time. I wonder if PPIE might be willing to channel donations, if the other avenues can not. I love ALL the ideas, even though they need some fine tuning. I hope you are working/volunteering somewhere in Pleasanton. I bet you could move mountains.


Posted by Give Directly, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm

From what I know, PPIE is a fine organization. However, I think something fresh, with no direct connections to the school district, is what's needed. This organization would be able to act quickly and have a different mission than PPIE.

Fyi, Dr. Casey is on PPIE's Executive Board and Trustee Chris Grant is on the Board of Directors.


Posted by 2ME4U, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm

27.6% voted so that seems to be the percent interested one way or the other. Enough brains in that group to fix this. Keep things brief, and once done please number and post the ideas from best on down on a new thread GREAT IDEAS! as you see fit. Thank you.


Posted by free lunch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Since you people are now listening, I'll post the website:

Web Link

They have a well-organized foundation to take donations and fund programs throughout Orinda, raising over $1M each year. Our schools can really use a program like this one. The local PTA or some endowment funds have been mentioned a few times but personally I've never even heard of their existence until recently. I question how active they are in raising funds. I would be more than happy to participate in a foundation to raise some serious fundings for the schools.


Posted by really save our schools, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I agree with "Give Directly". Our purpose would be better served and will win more support from the community if it has no ties to the school district.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I liked the idea of a non-profit "Parent's Club". A few points to consider (still brainstorming):

1. Unless there is someone familiar with starting and running a non-profit, it is wise to get a professional advisor to set one up and run it. Will it be and organization, corporation or charity?

2. How much will it take to set one up? How does it run - membership like PTA's or a 'board of directors'?

3. How will it differ from the PTA's?

- just a lot of work to start one up....FYI

Just a thought - There are more parents out there that advocate for the 'at risk' etc. students than you think. There are 2 parents on the HPMS-PTA who have children in other Pleasanton schools with special needs. The 'non-typical' programs will not be forgotten.


Posted by free lunch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Just a thought - Why not contact the people who are already doing it to get their advice and/or assistance? They seem to know what they are doing and we can use all the inputs they are willing to give. These are parents too so I am sure they will be glad to help us.

"For further information, contact the EFO office at 925-253-0885 or email info@orindaefo.org"


Posted by Yes for Pleasanton Schools, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Free Lunch - Thanks for the link.

Non-profits are not hard to set up. I have set one up in the past. Everything anyone needs to know is available on line for free. Within two hours, anyone can have one functionally operating, you just need founders and a small board of directors to start - we started ours with two co-founders and three additional board members. You need to have quarterly meetings and keep minutes and a strong accounting book.


Posted by Great Ideas!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Amazed,

You are too kind! I love this town and want what is best for it always. I want my children to live in a town where they are cared for and safe, well educated and serve others. That starts with their parents!

I wish I was as talented as others here to come up with some of these ideas like Liz and others have. My hope for this as it has grown today, is that not only will our posters number more than some of the more negative toned threads, but that it will get the Editor's attention and they will perhaps write an article about our ideas.

If PPIE has a booth, perhaps they wouldn't mind letting someone sit there to accept donations? I agree with Give Directly who smartly pointed out the ties to the district, however.

A parent's club is such an awesome idea, everyone. We come up with funds, we decide on how they are spent! This seems to really bring together most of the communities concers, etc.

We definitely need more direction, but we have incredible people and more ideas in town to come! Keep encouraging each other...we can help this town get back on track!


Posted by Pleasanton resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:33 pm

When I was working in Kansas and my daughter started Kindergarten, the local school had a wonderful extended hours child care program. For $5 per day per student, parents could drop them off early and pick them up as late as 6 pm, the students would be in the gymnasium under teacher supervision, doing coloring, games, sports, all sorts of good activities. And they were able to do it with 3 or 4 teachers.

Why can't that kind of can-do mentality work here? After school programs in Pleasanton are either non-existent or very expensive (several hundred dollars per month per student). I'm convinced that not only would this be a tremendously valuable service, but a potential source of profit given enough demand - which I think definitely exists.


Posted by Big Mike, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I voted Yes even though I knew G would fail.

I would/will donate money, but I didn't/don't like being told/forced to give money to anyone/anything.

With that said, don't hand over any money to the School District unless they sign a contract with strict parameters of how the money can be spent. We cannot afford to "HOPE" that they do the right thing.




Posted by More Ideas, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Would it be possible, with the 61% that voted yes on G to start a major fund raising effort to raise the money needed to keep the status quo until the budget crisis is over?

I am not interested in paying more taxes to fund anything additional but I would have paid the tiny tax to maintain what we have.

Since 39% of Pleasantonians are not willing to do that can the rest of us band together and make a real effort?


Posted by Solutions, a resident of Rosepointe
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I would be interested in contributing to PUSD and I am not interested in asking teachers or other personnel to take pay cuts. I expect them to work as hard as they always have and I would like the district to continue to attract the greatest educators they can.

I am in agreement (and in financial support of) a fund that would be given to the district for items that the community deems important.

With a pathetic voter turnout my feeling is that this community does not value education anymore.


Posted by Privatize, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Yes, make vouchers available to parents.


Posted by @ Privatize, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Just a question. If we privatize education and an "Educompany" is mismanaged and goes under (Enron, GM...) What then? Can we afford to take that risk with our kids? Their education is a snapshot in time. We need it to be consistent and high quality.


Posted by Fundraiser??, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

SPS (Save Pleasanton Schools) should donate any remaining campaign funds to the school district and all yes voters send in their $233 per year for the next 4 years. BUT ONLY if it goes toward the programs that are listed within the Measure G language.

I will be contacting the district and finding out how to go about getting my $233 check to the district. I would rather spend $233 a year for the next 4 for the community schools than for a purse, article of clothing, dinner out.


Posted by A Barton Tutor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm

My suggestion is to encourage anyone who can donate a couple of hours a week at regular times to become a Barton tutor. The program, for those who are not familiar, is phonetically based one-on-one tutoring designed to help struggling readers. This is a remarkable program developed and coordinated by Christina Clark and it is such a bargain for the district! Christina trains tutors using the Barton materials and then in turn those tutors work with students individually for a total of about 400 hours per week.
It would be very foolish of district administration to cut funding for the coordinator's position because those students receive individualized tutoring for what works out to be about $6 per hour since so many volunteers are utilized. And the program provides very effective intervention for those students who need the extra help. If CSR changes or reading specialists are cut, early intervention will be more in demand than ever. This is a most rewarding way to help the students of this district!
Contact Christina Clark at CClark@pleasanton.k12.ca.us as soon as possible and I know she will welcome your interest. She conducts a series of training sessions soon after school starts in Sept.


Posted by Yes on NEW IMPROVED G!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:20 pm

More Ideas, It's not an us verses them deal. There are plenty of no voters that would have supported a less ambiguous measure. I'll gladly contribute if it does not include S&C pay increase. I also want to see all admin. perks go away. Dr. Casey and senior admin. need to take 25% pay cuts. See, I'm not unreasonable. Stick those pieces in the next measure and my wife and I will vote yes!


Posted by A Barton Tutor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Donations can also be made to PUSD and designated to the Barton program for anyone who might be looking for a specific place for their contribution.
My donation in excess of the parcel tax has already been made to support Barton! Hope the trustees are paying attention to the support the program receives both in time and money.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:07 am

This is a great thread. The best campaigns are specific in their goal . . . K-3 CSR at 22:1 is $2,000,000 for 50 teachers (not real numbers). And the priority could be other things or there can be more than one goal (this is harder to do with K-5, 6-8, 9-12 programs varying and vying for the same dollars). There is a model for PTAs focusing their fundraising for specific schools needs--they are very good at it and have the track records--and for foundations going for the big ticket items. If the goal is specific and the foundation (be it PPIE or something new) is outside the district, I'm in with a check and any help you wish from me.

In PPIE's defense, starting another foundation rather than setting a new goal(s) for a current foundation limits the success for both. Have seen this and the eventual merging of the two to a much better outcome. Here is the site Web Link Good people to contact for information.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

I remember years ago hearing that the librarian at Donlon was going to be changed to a part-time position but the parents didn't want that so somehow they raised money, through the PFC I think, and were able to keep her full time.

Does anyone out there remember that and know how it worked?

I would be happy to donate money to save a particular teacher at Foothill who got a pink slip, but don't know if that's even possible.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

I would also donate to save "A" period at the middle schools.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Here's an idea...I know a whole lot of parents give gifts or gift cards to teachers at the end of the school year. I understand some teachers haul in quite a lot this way.

Instead of giving to the teachers, why don't we give money either to the school or to PPIE in the teacher's name. This accomplishes two things...it helps the teachers by helping the budget situation, and it sends a message as to which teachers are doing the best jobs.

Just a thought.


Posted by Sunny, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Some great ideas on how to make a difference.

I just wanted to point out to those who might not be aware - that the district doesn't allow for our schools to get lop-sided. So if we raise money for the Barton Reading program, it has to be available at all elementary schools. We can't just give money to our local school and expect them to start funding programs just at our site. It's PUSD's way of keeping all the schools desirable, which makes sense to me. So while it is still good to give to our own neighborhood schools, you are not going to be able to hire extra teachers, reading specialists, etc if it's not happening across the board.

That's why an all district Parent Club is sounding more appealing. We could actually make some district wide changes that way.



Posted by hard head, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm

PPIE has too many ties with PUSD. Casey is a member of the executive board. I would not donate my money to an organization that is influenced by the PUSD


Posted by Liz, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I think that there's room for several different fundraising areas - all good.

A Parent's Club that is specific where donations go
Parent's who donate specifically to their school or child's classroom
Residents who donate directly to PUSD
Residents who donate to PPIE
Parent's who donate to their local PTA

I see good coming from all these areas, and all our children benefiting. Everyone should donate and volunteer where they feel comfortable and not be or feel condemend for it.


Posted by Ann Martin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

This particular post has been very rewarding to read.
Educated, your posts got me thinking about a way to help elementary school teachers. As you said, many parents/students give teachers end of the year gifts (as well as gifts at various holidays).
I called John MacDougall, the owner of Golden Apple and asked him whether his store had a wish list registry for teachers. He said they had tried to do this in the past, but it had not been very successful, but that was before the internet had really taken hold. He thinks it would now work.
I've read how many teachers spend their own money for classroom supplies or bulletin board items.
My questions to teachers and parents:
Teachers: Would you be willing to go to Golden Apple, take the 20-30 minutes to see what they have in the store that you need and complete a wish list registry?
Parents: Would you be willing to purchase classroom supplies to give as gifts to teachers?

I think gift cards are wonderful, but, and it has been a long time since I had an elementary school aged child I admit, I seem to remember that younger children like to be able to wrap up an actual thing and give it to the teacher.

If parents and teachers think a Golden Apple Wish List Registry program is a good idea, I would contact the PTA/PFC leaders at their schools and enlist their help in advertising the idea in newsletters and posting the names of those teachers who have registered at Golden Apple.

I think this is something that could benefit everyone - teachers wouldn't have to dip into their own pockets for classroom needs, kids would have the satisfaction of giving their teachers gifts their teachers will truly appreciate (and they will see their gifts in the classroom) and a local business will be supported.

If this idea works at the elementary school level, we could also talk with other businesses in Pleasanton, for example, Office Max, which carry the kinds of supplies teachers at the middle and high school levels need.

I'll move forward on implementing this idea if teachers and parents think it has merit.

Please contact me at ann0819@aol.com with your input. Please type "wish list" in the subject line so that if your email goes to my spam folder, I will know it's not spam.


Posted by Great Ideas!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I am so pleased by the inspirational ideas you have all contributed. I feel so heartened with the real ways we can start to get this community positive...a real character trait to offer to our kids! I am also THRILLED that I see names from "both sides" of the G issue...we ARE a community of friends and neighbors who all want the best for all our kids. Iron sharpening iron, right?

I hope this will continue to be a positive thread that will refine the ideas you are coming up with. You are all doing super!! I think by far the stand-alone, parent-run (not PUSD directed) charitable organization with it's own mission statement, would be tremendous and it seems to be the idea with the most support thus far here. Let's continue discussing it. Be sure to talk about it with others outside this forum as many advisors make a great plan!

Ann, I love your idea. You could even include Lakeshore Learning catalog in your wishlist idea (photocopying their order forms with teachers names on them, etc). Lakeshore is not far and I know how much teachers love that store as well as Golden Apple (although making purchases at Golden Apple keeps business here...) and maybe if we had enough wishlists, maybe John would offer us the teacher discounts for teachers "gifts"?

If you do hear from others via email, would you just give us updates/feeback here?

Thank you, ALL!


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm

To raise funds for a particular classroom, there's a great online tool that teachers can use, called Donors Choose. Here's the link:

Web Link

Ann -- I emailed you!


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 11:15 am

Yesterday I was thinking that parents in Pleasanton no longer support the local schools, as they did not pass Measure G. Today I see these postings and I realize that is wrong!! Some do.

We have opted to donate the same amount to the district that the parcel tax would have raised. We no longer have kids in the district, but want to show our support for what a great job they did. We also see the tie-in to our property values that the district brings, and want that to stay up!

Yes, the demographics of our district is changing. No one wants to talk about it because it is not socially acceptable these days. Reality bites! Our town is slowly changing, along with the rest of the Bay Area. We must face it and deal with it. If we don't support our schools adequately we will not have a strong district in 10 years!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Ann,

What a great way to help local business and our teachers!

Sandy,

That website is sort of like something I was envisioning where a non-profit describes something that needs funds, what those funds are for, how they're spent, etc., and allows the community to donate and/or do a pledge drive. I don't know what kind of software DonorsChoose uses, but I do know about a FREE web-based application written specifically for non-profits that could be perfectly utilized for such an endeavor in a relatively quick manner. It seems to me that PPIE has been mostly absent these past few months and, after looking over the Orinda site posted by free lunch and wondering how San Ramon raises $12MM, I can't understand why Pleasanton seems so behind in this respect. The software is called CiviCRM and it integrates with another free piece of software called Drupal (APT's website runs Drupal). It has basically everything anyone could wish for to create a site like DonorsChoose.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Stacey, I encourage you to contact Jamie Hintzke (board member) with your ideas. She has a number of ideas about how to manage fundraising in support of the district in a more coordinated way.

I don't know anyone at PPIE, and I would definitely like to learn more about what they do.

I have a bit of experience with Drupal from when I worked with a community organization in Ohio as a volunteer. I'm not qualified to get something like that up and running, but I bet there is someone who is out there in the community. I'll see what I can find out about CiviCRM.

Who could you take your idea to, in order to help make it happen?


Posted by free lunch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I'd really love to save the Elementary Strings and Band Program, although my son will be going to middle school next year. He had a great time in the program and I believe every child should be given the opportunity to play an instrument. The district's website listed it required 1.5 FTE so I think we will need to raise $67,500 for the program. Perhaps we can start there?


Posted by A novel idea, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

I have been an avid reader of these threads for some time and I am thrilled at this one!

I saw this yesterday while eating lunch at my desk and have put a little thought into this.

Has anyone yet tried/considered approaching the businesses in town for donations? It could look like anything from a direct donation to the schools, to donations of services/goods and holding an auction for items. People always love to get something for their donation. Business get free marketing to people who love community supporting businesses, and people who donate actually get something out of the donation. AND the schools get the money!

I read in the PW this AM that we need another 1.6 MM for class size reduction to be returned for sure - which is a big factor to have at any school district. 1.6 MM is absolutely possible to do.

Does anyone have a suggestion or thought about this idea? It could be tied in to the charitable organization above also.


Posted by VHTeacher, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 7, 2009 at 12:26 am

Ann,
This past holiday season, my parents "gifted" me with Office Max and book store gift certificates. I was thrilled to be able to go buy books and supplies for my classroom and students. I love the idea of registering at Golden Apple. Now that we are going 25-1, all of our class sets have to be increased by 5. Today, as I was organizing my room for the end of the year, I realized that I only have 20 cubbies, 20 files for writer's workshop, 20 reader's workshop drawers, 20 of everything.
These are great ideas! I do trust PPIE or PTA to handle the donations and working with established foundations/associations may speed up the fund raising. I am a teacher and plan to donate the cost of the two days I voted to give up and the amount of the parcel tax. I am just waiting to see who is collecting the money, so it goes to the programs which were cut. I do care deeply for the 4 fantastic VH teachers who were given final lay off notices on Friday. They are bright, enthusiastic, hard working, and true gifts to the educational community. I hope we can get them back!


Posted by Ann Martin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 8, 2009 at 8:49 am

Thanks to all who have posted or emailed me.
This summer, I will work with Golden Apple to set up a wish list, and try to do the same with Office Max.
The goal is to get something in place so teachers will be notified before school begins when they can go to these stores (or go online) to create wish lists.
I will ask the school district and APT for their help in getting info out to the teachers and PTA/PFC for their help in getting info out to parents (via registration packets).

Regarding specific programs such as 5th & 6th grade band & strings program...I think either the district, or possibly the PTA/PFC presidents should initiate a pledge drive for these since programs cannot be saved at just one school, but across the district.

I will email the School Board Trustees about this and encourage everyone else to do the same. It's very important that they receive community input as they move ahead with next steps.


Posted by Great Ideas!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Ann,

I am thrilled that you will take charge of this and that you got some great feedback here!

Please keep us posted with any updates as you get them that we can follow...

Can't wait to hear about the teaching staff getting their needed supplies in the fall all because of your efforts, Ann.

Thanks so much!


Posted by Ann Martin, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

My experience with the Crisis & Caring committee at AVHS has led me to have a lot of faith in the caring and generous Pleasanton community.
I think parents who are able to contribute will do so gladly and I'm happy to do my bit to help get this program going.
I'll start cracking on this right after graduation!


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