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School board trustees, backers of pro and con sides sound off on Measure G defeat

Original post made on Jun 3, 2009

Voters defeated a potential funding source for the school district Tuesday, and now members the Pleasanton Unified School District and its board are looking to reduce staff and programs in order to end the year with a balanced budget.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 5:41 PM

Comments (172)

Posted by Confused Voter, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

PUSD Board - Aren't you listening or reading? We don't want teacher layoffs, or reduced programs. We want employee automatic salary increases on the table for consideration. It's obvious you are protecting the unions. Why?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Confused voter -- to speak to the board, you need to go to a meeting.

It's happening, right now, downtown. Board offices are on Bernal, just east of the intersection with First Street.

Fill out a yellow or a blue card. Stay within your allotted 3 minutes. It's pretty easy!


Posted by EZ Answer, a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm

It's easier. Janitors, secretaries, painters, etc. don't have a union, don't make picket signs and go to the media, etc. The squeaky wheels will continue to get the grease.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:48 pm


I think Casey should lay himself off.


Posted by Time2PutUp, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger has the answers. Make it happen Kathleen! This will be great because we will be able to keep our great schools without the waste.

Go Kathleen! Fix the problem!


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Confused voter,
You can also email the school board members. Their email addresses are on the PUSD website.


Posted by Evolving, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I am a teacher in Fremont. I sold my home in Fremont and moved to Pleasanton about 13 years ago because this is the exact tone that the education discussion took in Fremont. Everyone knew the best way to proceed, there was a significant population that knew better than the district and the educators.

I am glad I moved my kids to PUSD. They would have attended Mission in Fremont and that remains a top school but it does not offer what we have here in Pleasanton.

One thing I never hear you all talk about - yes or no folks - is the shift we are seeing in demographics. Our need here in PUSD is increasing and if we do not increase funding with that need it will become a gap we can never close (Like most of Fremont and Oakland).

PUSD is a district like no other. I am proud my kids graduated from Amador but I am also glad they are out of this district. I think there are people who see what is coming and will be doing the same.

Stop the arguing and nitpicking and blaming and fund education or you will see people flee. We are at a pivotal point in the history of PUSD and I am not sure if many parents will just want to let their kids ride it out to see if history repeats.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm

@ evolving,
Did you ever try to get a job with PUSD?


Posted by Evolving, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

@ Parent
I have not tried to work for PUSD. I am happy where I am. I am happy there as an educator. As a parent there is no way I would send my kids to the schools on the other side of the hill.

This does not mean I am a poor teacher, it means the schools over there have insurmountable challenges and I like working with the at risk populations. For me it is very rewarding and I know nothing else. (Besides my own kids)

The teachers in PUSD that I have encountered when my kids were here are top notch. When Fremont started to change the first to leave were the best and the brightest. You think you have a few problem teachers here in Pleasanton? You have not seen anything yet! Those great teachers will leave.

From these blogs I get the feeling that many parents here think that their kids will perform regardless of the teacher. For the most part that is blatantly untrue. What happens to your kids when they graduate from your schools and start state colleges unable to pass basic entrance exams? These are "good" kids with "good" grades and out of Fremont the education has been so watered down that nobody is leaving very well educated.

You have to support your staff. Like it or not they ARE your school district. The buildings are hollow without the staff to bring them alive. I know many top talent from Fremont that did make the switch to PUSD because it had such a great reputation and a decent pay. Wouldn't you do the same in the private sector? I can only imagine that some of your Pleasanton staff will be looking elsewhere, nobody wants to work for an organization with poor morale.

We still have a teacher shortage. The teachers leaving Pleasanton will find a job. Education is like health care, the need really does not ever go away it only gets greater. Those of us working in education in the long run with be fine. It's just a matter of where your top talent will end up.


Posted by Wadsworth, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Yeah, I need money. I sure do need it.

Can I please propose a vote where everyone chips into the "Wadsworth needs money" fund?

It will only cost you $233 per year for 4 years, that's nothing!

Vote YES on it because, Wadsworth needs the money!


Posted by Time2PutUp, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Kathleen,

I'm watching the school board meeting. I haven't seen you show up with solutions. Where are you???????


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:14 pm

The article leads the reader to believe that the opponents web site shut down after the election. NO IT DID NOT! Works just fine moments ago from my computer.

Web Link


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Did you hear that board member basically accuse the City of Pleasanton of being ignorant?!

"Oh, you must be dumb if you're against the parcel tax". This type of arrogance from the school board shouldn't be condoned. It's typical of the mentality of the "we know better than you do".

And she's the one with her cell phone right under the microphone causing all the static on the lines.


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Just how much are senior teachers making in Pleasanton? If it is not a secret, then can someone post what they are so I can get an idea how fair/unfair it is? Teaches seem to be demonized a little like they are pulling in high six-figures.

I make $145K as a senior engineer. I have 6 years of college education and I create jobs to some degree. (Other people's jobs are dependant on me and if I mess up, they are out of work)

Teachers are important I agree, but many people's jobs are important like mine. I dont get a pension, or regular salary increases, and much less job stability than teachers.

Am I making more money than teachers to compensate for less job stability, or do they make a similar amount?


Posted by Time2PutUp, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Sr. Engineer

Salaries are available on-line. The highest level make something like 100k after 15 years. They all have a bachelors degree plus two years of additional college training. The average teacher (over 30yrs) will touch between 600 and 1800 lives. Those kids will go on to all income levels in society. Seems to me they may be a little under paid.


Posted by Time2PutUp, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger... summer school and adult ed are on the chopping block at the board meeting. Where are you with your solution to stabilize funding????

will you continue to be MIA?


Posted by Salary, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm

After 20 years a teacher can earn 98,045.
Minus about 20k a year in benefits (if they need them).

They also contribute 8% to STRS for their retirement.

They do not contribute to SSI nor can they pull from it, even if during part of their career they contributed or if their spouse contributes.

It's a decent living for a challenging job. But it's by no means making anyone wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.


Posted by Money Matters, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Yup Senior Engineer!
You are making about 50% MORE than the 20 year employee of the district.
That's a fair trade in my book.


Posted by Blogging, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I am watching the meeting also. I think Kathleen must be home blogging, where she is not really held accountable. Why is she not a registered user if she is all willing to be out in the open?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Salary wrote: "nor can they pull from [SSI], even if during part of their career they contributed or if their spouse contributes."

If a teacher has worked at a job that contributes to SSI and has earned the required 40 credits to qualify, just like everyone else, they can pull from SSI. Their benefits may be reduced if they also have another pension fund (no double-dipping, you see), but they can still qualify for it.


Posted by Salary, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Withdrawing from a pension fund to which the teacher contributed 8% annually is hardly double dipping.




Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Time2PutUp, I only got home just a bit ago. Tell me when the BAC is allowed to go through the budget to make studied recommendations. Why would Adult Ed go; it makes money, has cash in the bank.

EZ, There is a union for classified staff. CSEA


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Got it. I didnt know what people were talking about when it came to salaries. I got the impression from the way people were talking like they were pulling salaries and pensions that were greater than the average bay area worker.

$100K is a handsome income. I make $145 as I said, but I also make $30-50K more than the average engineer; which puts the teachers salary in line with an engineer.

I wonder if future students will shy away from the rigors of an engineering education and career for the comparitively easier barrier to entry into the teaching field when the salaries are the same. Well, not counting the pension. Teachers do touch more lives however which would make it a possibly more rewarding career...


Posted by New Teacher, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

My new teacher salary is $52k pre-benefits.
I should have been an engineer since my BS, MS and teaching credential did not get me real far.


Posted by New Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:05 pm

No, you made the right move. Engineering is very hard, competitive, and unstable. There is age descrimination and a high burnout rate. Most products are just eventual landfill that the world can do without. The salaries are higher but they plateau and sometime overtaken by other occupations.

Teaching is a more rewarding calling with massive pensions and union represenataion. I fear that if I lost my job now I might need to retool into another occupation...


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Now you got it, Senior Engineer. Why work in any profession in the private sector when government unions give you the same income flow and are "protected" with a historically guaranteed revenue source, taxes taken out of your pocket. Every now and then we need a great recession or great depression to come along and flush out this kind of stuff and shine a spotlight on what's going on.


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Didnt it used to be that public workers made less salary (public money) but then had superior pensions to compensate for this? Now they get private-level salaries in addition to a very high pension. I dont know what to tell my kids to become. An engineer who will stuggle his whole life and make a slightly higher salary or shold they become some kind of public worker because of the union and pension.

If college kids start thinking this way, then this country is sure to lose our engineering base and we'll only have public workers. Without an engineering base to create new fields and jobs then this country has had it...


Posted by Steve, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Engineer,

A teacher will have had to work 20 years in PUSD to pull $100k. As it turns out, my wife is (or I should say "was") a teacher in PUSD and I am an Engineer. She's been teaching for 9 years (4 years in PUSD and has credit for 8), I have been working as an engineer for 8. Her base salary is about $70k with NO benefits, I am at about $100k with full benefits (total compensation value is about $120k considering benefits and retirement matching). She did 6 years of school once she got through the credential program, I did 6 years after my MS degree. I pay 6.2% to SSI, she pays 8% to STRS, and she most likely won't be eligible for my SS survivors benefit even though I am fully vested. She also pays mandatory dental insurance and of course, union dues out of every paycheck for about $1200 a year. We both pay Medicare.

So a teacher with comparable time is not really earning the same living as an average engineer, much less really.

She'll probably get her final layoff notice tomorrow. No other districts are hiring. Oh well, maybe we'll jsut add another foreclosure to our valley.

BTW congrats on pulling $150k/yr as an engineer.


Posted by New Teacher, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I do not agree with my school district being put in the same category as other government agencies. Public schools are so different. As a public school employee there is no where to hide. No way to take advantage of the system. You always have more work than you can finish and we encounter situations on a daily basis that you could never imagine. My darling husband is an engineer and he is making 90k a year in his 3rd year of his profession. It will take me 20 years to get to that figure. There is also a good side to longevity pay for educators, a stable group of people at your school. A good school is an extension of a child's family. If you have too many people in and out it's hard to create that feeling. That said, I do agree that tenure needs to change. I would be willing to take a pay cut, 10% even as many suggest if my workload is decreased by 10%. Folks in the private sector are taking pay cuts because demand is decreasing. Our demand will not decrease. When demand picks up again you will all get your money back and opportunity for more. I will get no financial incentive to work my tail off day in and out to make school a wonderful place for your kids. I don't want a financial incentive I want to make an honest, meaningful and modest living here in Pleasanton. I know many couples where both are teachers. These people are not wealthy. Two married teachers are not living in Ruby Hill or any other fancy place in town.


Posted by skeddadle, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Maybe it's time to move before property values fall.


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm

How much of her salary will she receive as a pension? Some make 90%, which would be ~$60/yr in her case until she dies.

One could say that your wife is a millionaire.

To earn $60K/yr one would need $1.2M earning 5% every year not assuming taxes. If you assume 40% taxes than that is equivalent to $3 million.


Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Please keep in mind when comparing salaries of engineers and teachers, that teachers also get 14 weeks off a year. 14 weeks! Also, Pleasanton teachers are the highest paid in the area. They work hard for their money, and I value them greatly. But they are making a decent living considering the amount of days/year they work. I do realize that many of them (if not all) do prep work outside their paid time. But many professions require you to bring work home.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

"Can I please propose a vote where everyone chips into the "Wadsworth needs money" fund? It will only cost you $233 per year for 4 years, that's nothing! Vote YES on it because, Wadsworth needs the money!"

In California (with enough signatures) - YES YOU CAN!


Posted by Yup, a resident of Rosewood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

@ Skedaddle,
I agree. It's probably time to go. San Ramon has a much better system and is better supported by it's community. I had my realtor pull some homes for us today. There are great bargains to be had. I think my family will take our willingness to fund great schools elsewhere.


Posted by MainStreetDiva, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

MainStreetDiva is a registered user.

Is the School Board meeting still on? Is it on channel 28?


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Dont doctors and lawyers live in Ruby Hill? Probably not a lot of engineers, even dual income ones, living there either.

It is questionable if the rewards of living in Pleasanton justify the cost. If my salary of $140K is not enough to buy a respecatable home (2100sq/ft, 2story), then one wonders if getting strung out on debt to live here is worth it.

My salary would probably qualify me for a $450K mortgage amount and that number falls everday. What kind of house can I get for that here right now? Did I become an engineer to live in a townhouse for the rest of my life? I cant hope to gain equity to move up anytime soon...

Does a Pleasanton education assure me that my kids will end up with significantly higher salaries when they enter the workeforce? Or does the price of living here merely buy you a pretty downtown?


Posted by New Teacher, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

To Still Hopeful,
I agree, we make a great salary. I am just saying that we should not be expected to make less than we do now while the workload increases. These budget cuts are going to make what we do already even that much harder. We are not overpaid to the point that we can sustain 10% pay cuts and still be expected to bring a full commitment to the classroom. If my family took that cut I would need to get a part time job. That would leave me less time for my profession. I am not overextended, we live a very modest life. Two used cars, 3 bed home. One night out for dinner a week. We have a happy, modest life.


Posted by Afraid, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I am unable to see the school board meeting on tv. What happened? Ca. Someone please post an update?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm

"Teachers are important I agree, but many people's jobs are important like mine. I dont get a pension, or regular salary increases, and much less job stability than teachers."

I thin the one thing that people seem to forget is that teachers do not get promoted. No matter how good you are or what you do there is not a promotion in your future - you can't be "promoted" to a "Senior Teacher". The ost any teacher is Pleasanton could make is $98K - that's it - no more. There are no "perks" or even benefits other than the pension plan (which from what I hear may be in jeopardy).

So in a sense, the step and column is the promotion structure of teachers. The steps are based on years experience, but the columns are based on additional education credits - which means that column increases are not "automatic" - they must be earned. If you only have a bachelor's degree, the most money you can make is $63K and then you are done even with 20 years experience.


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

@ Me Too

But that teacher is still a millionaire. 90% of 63K is $57K. I would need $1.14M to earn that much in retirement; before taxes. After taxes I would need even more...


Posted by Fletch, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Some light on several topics:
1. I asked more than a year ago when budget cuts were discussed why summer school wasn't on the table. An administrator told me that state funds came in marked for summer school not general fund. And in fact the district does well financially with summer school.
2. CSEA is the classified employee's union---janitors, office workers, aides, etc. Don't know why anyone would think they weren't unionized.
3. The teacher salaries are based on less than a full year of work. 185 in PUSD whereas, Senior Engineer most likely has to work at least 230-240 days per year to earn his/her $145,000. That's a significant difference.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm

"Engineering is very hard, competitive, and unstable. There is age descrimination and a high burnout rate. Most products are just eventual landfill that the world can do without. The salaries are higher but they plateau and sometime overtaken by other occupations."

You apparently chose the wrong engineering field and seem a bit disgruntled (deservedly so) - some advice though, if you are making a change, don't go into teaching.


Posted by Senior Engineer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

@ Me Too

I dont know.. I make $140K which is great... but for how long? I am as vulnerable as any occupation out there aside from public workers and military.

If I work 30 more years then I "win" I guess. A good salary for a long time.

But from the look of things, I fear that I wont make the duration due to age, stamina, and foreign workers. I cannot duck out early to reap pension because there is none.

Its sort of like the turtle and the hare. Turtle with lower salary but career stamina will probably beat me, the hare...


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm

First off, pensions are not the creation of public jobs. Almost all companies used to have pension plan. I was vested in a pension plan where I work and this was in the late 90s. Pension plans have been disappearing in the private sector for a couple reason, but one was that the work force was chaning. Pension plans were to encourage people to stay at jobs their whole career - it was a security blanket. But in the last couple decades the amount of employees job shopping and switching companies increased. So if a person planned on changing jobs every 3-5 years, a pension plan that really did not have a lot of benefit until you were 15 - 20 years on the job was not a "perk" to those people, so companies began switching from pension plans to matching 401K contributions and other forms of more immediate "perks".


Posted by Ptown Mom, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

THANK YOU Joan Laursen, Tanya Ludden and all of the other SPS volunteers who gave hours, days, months of their time on the behalf of Pleasanton's children. You are saints!


Posted by New Teacher, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:17 pm

@ Sr. Engineer,
Your analogy of the turtle and the hare is exact. And your need for retirement is not unattainable. My hubby would only need to save $600 a month over the next 30 years at an average interest rate of 8% to enjoy 1,212,772.88 in the bank at age 55. Granted that is probably too young to retire but it's a healthy sum. He saves more because of the unpredictability of his job. He will also benefit (maybe?) from his social security contributions. Our pension plan is nice but it is not a huge drag on the taxpayers. It is not the problem. I think one of the real lessons here is what poor savers we are as a country. Our pension plan forces teachers to save and many of us also contribute to a 403B on top of the STRS account. I understand some of the anger because of the elimination of traditional pensions in the private sector. If I am remembering correctly it was the conservative politicians who pushed for Americans to control their own money in 401K programs. This is not a good thing since we are mostly out of control consumers.


Posted by it'swhatitis, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Voters have spoken.
Shut up and make do...everyone else is in this economy.
If during a tough time people opt to have a salary freeze, they are not only helping out for the greater good, but they may be saving their tail. Time to cowboy-up. Bite the bullet. The schools are not going to change so drastically. Property values were already falling. The scare tactics didn't work. And to those who think it would be better somewhere else, good riddance. Maybe that's what your ancestors should have done during the great depression.

As for "still hopeful"
your ignorance is astounding.
Clearly you do not value teachers or you would not begrudge them the time off, or the money they do earn. You have no idea what it takes to be a teacher, let alone a good one.
Many engineers have only a BS in engineering, while teachers are required to do post grad work for a credential, are required to continue to go to school to renew that credential, and to be at the top of the salary schedule you speak of, they need a masters or equivalent in units. So that 14 weeks off is often spent still "working" to maintain their lowly positions that you ignoramuses piss on.



Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:29 pm

i just wanted to clarify that I'm not in favor of a pay decrease for teachers. But I am in favor of a freeze on the step/column. Most companies who are in financial dire straights are not giving raises right now. This does not mean their salaries would be frozen forever, but for the time being.

Also keep in mind that some are saying if we are not offering the BEST compensation for our teachers we will no longer attract the BEST teachers. But how are we going to attract the best with over crowded classrooms and lack of funding for essential programs? Teachers don't want to freeze the S/C, but also don't want overcrowded classrooms.

I love our teachers. I believe we have the cream of the crop. It's why I bought here 5 years ago. But as much as I want to support our teachers, I don't believe they should be immune to the hard economic times of our state, at the expense of our children's education. I wish measure G had passed in conjunction with teachers S/C freezes.


Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 10:35 pm

it'swhatiti -

Actually I have my credential and taught before I had my family. I have the unique position to have been on both sides.


Posted by resident, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:01 pm

K. Ruegsegger needs to remember that many people have lived in Pleasanton longer than her 20 years and know how she came about all her connections to PUSD. The fact that so many people have listened to her as well as K. Ayala speaks volumes of laziness in that people do not go out and get the facts-what a concept-knowing the facts!
Teachers are not the highest paid in the area because they pay for their benefits OUT OF THEIR salaries, unlke other districts around us. Most Pleasanton teachers DO NOT live in Pleasanton because they cannot afford it.....teachers do not get 14 weeks off if you include preparing, taking additional courses, etc....I would dare some of you loud mouths to actually look at the California Educational Standards and then figure out the hours outside of a school day and during the weekends and summer that teachers must spend on top of their time with students.....take an 8th grade English teacher-180 students every day....4th grade teacher-32 students day....add in to the idea that many of the students come from either too strict or too lenient home lives so the juggling in the classroom is constant. It is easy to throw stones at the teachers instead of supporting them so just pull your kids out and send them somewhere else or better yet, homeschool them and see how long that lasts, Pleasanton doesn't need fakes....if you want to attack teachers this is the wrong place-they are wonderful, caring, hardworking and really feeling bad right now due to the attacks they received, provoked by people that want to claim that their longeveity in Pleasanton somehow makes them smart-NOT!


Posted by not a teacher basher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Look, no one is disputing whether teachers work hard for their money. They do. But they are not working all summer long. They are not working their whole Spring Break, Christmas break, Thanksgiving Break. They just aren't. I know numerous P-Town teachers personally. They prep like a lot of people do for their work. Sunday night they are getting ready for the week. Over the summer, they start gearing up a couple weeks before school starts (but by no means are they putting in 40 hours during those weeks). It's one of the perks of the job. Some teachers even work an extra job in the summer. Another perk. The ability to bring in a little more income if they so desire.
Many teachers don't have to buy their insurance because they get it through their spouse. In which case - they are paid better than surrounding districts. That's another bonus. They aren't forced to pay for benefits they may not need - unlike other districts.
It IS possible to be pro-teacher, and support them, and still be realistic and honest.


Posted by James, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm

can anyone tell me when the school board comes up for re-election? cause if they don't make some smart choices with the budget instead of political ones, I'd like to put them in the un-employment line.


Posted by Chill Pill, a resident of Civic Square
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:47 pm

resident, you are the loud mouthed one and you are far too emotional.
not a teacher basher, you are measured and calm – thank you.
Please understand the health benefits situation. The teachers voted into their contract higher pay instead of health coverage. Doing so allows teachers to end up with a higher average salary over their career and thus, a higher pension payout verses other districts that include health coverage but a lower, often much lower salary. These are choices that were made by union workers (teachers). If they don't like it, they are welcome to find a district with a compensation program that better fits their needs.


Posted by Sam Johnson, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jun 3, 2009 at 11:49 pm

James, you are right on target - I'm with you!

-Sam Johnson, dad of three PUSD students


Posted by james, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:16 am

i'm tired of politicians at any level that have so little imagination, creativity, or motivation that the only response to a fiscal crisis is a demand for more money. the taxpayer cash cow has been milked dry.

the school board needs to pause for a moment to consider the ramifications of this vote. they need to understand the consequences if they take the easy way out by cutting teachers and programs.

i want to see all of the alternatives put on the table. no one at any level should feel secure, and the school board the least of all.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:29 am

resident: "K. Ruegsegger needs to remember that many people have lived in Pleasanton longer than her 20 years and know how she came about all her connections to PUSD."

First, yes, there was an entire community here before me, a nice one too, so what does that have to do with anything?

Your implication sounds sinister enough. I was a volunteer mom, parent club president, board member first by a one year appointment, then by election, left CA, came back, became an employee, resigned. Was the mafia supporting me in the wings somewhere?

State your issue or accusation clearly; call me; or give it a rest.


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

I assume many of you are fixated on teacher's salaries and pensions because the economy is bad and like my family you have lost nearly 50% of your retirement because of the stock market. Many of you refuse to or simply don't understand teacher's benefits. If you did, then half of these statements would not be posted. Please do your research or listen to the blogs which in people try to tell you. Teachers pay nearly 9% of their incomes each month into STRS, our retirement plan. Yes, the district matches as many employers do. There are formulas on the STRS website which help teachers and the public, if you so desire, can estimate retirement income at various ages/length of service. Very few teachers retire at 55 years of age unless they have heavily contributed to 403(b) (like your 401) on the side. And of course, like the rest of you, teacher's 403(b) accounts are tanked. We aren't immune to the bad economy.
On another note, it worries me that so many of you are following Kathleen like she's the piper. She admitted that she never attended a board meeting during the budget discussions and decisions. The district held many public forums and the community had plenty of time for input. The district would have brought the class size to 20-1 last night if the parcel had passed. 25-1 was the best they could do without the parcel. I think anyone who followed the board meetings knew that 20-1 was their honest goal. Those of us who trust and respect the board members, knew that! There are people on the board with an incredible amount of knowledge and integrity on the school board. Over sixty percent of our community supported the parcel. It doesn't feel like the loss that some of you are claiming. School employees do feel supported by a majority of our community. Like the past blogger, I also left Fremont because the board didn't work as a partner with parents and teachers. They would listen to parents concerns and then close a school anyway. They would let teachers pilot a new adoption for a reading series and then go ahead and adopt the one that came with the most grants and goodies rather than what was best for the children. Fremont looked only at the bottom line. They cut their reading specialist over 15 years ago and never looked back.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:40 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom2,

Only 27% of our community (registered voters) supported the parcel tax.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:59 am

When did teachers get an extra month off in the summer? Its not 14 weeks, more like 10 weeks. School ends June 12, teachers start August 20 - so unless I'm having troubles counting that is 10 weeks (or actually 9 weeks and 5 days).


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:01 am

Mom2: I also said I made my appeals to the board before they voted on the parcel tax. Some exchanges were pleasant, others not. They chose their direction; I chose mine. The rest of the information was available to me without attending meetings that were decidedly hostile to those in opposition to the tax. I am not the problem; I am one voice with an opinion and facts. Again, people chose how to vote. As still one person, I am willing to be part of the solution as well--should those working on solutions chose to have me. Each individual is making choices; that's as it should be.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:08 am

SR Engineer Said:
"How much of her salary will she receive as a pension? Some make 90%, which would be ~$60/yr in her case until she dies.

One could say that your wife is a millionaire.

To earn $60K/yr one would need $1.2M earning 5% every year not assuming taxes. If you assume 40% taxes than that is equivalent to $3 million."

OK, you have used a lot of assumptions here, most of which are wrong. Since she is pretty much laid off with little prospect for another teaching job, with 9 years credited service, she'll be eligible for about $650 a month 25 years from now. Hardly a millionaire.

Also, I don't get your tax assumption, STRS retirement income is going to be taxable too. And why would it the interest income off of $3 mil be 40% taxes anyway, not that it matters because it is a nonsense argument. Seems to me that income would be in the 20-25% bracket if it was today.



Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:09 am

"But that teacher is still a millionaire. 90% of 63K is $57K. I would need $1.14M to earn that much in retirement; before taxes. After taxes I would need even more..."

Ok, just take out 8% of your paycheck as all teachers are required to do. Put that in the bank and even without a raise you will have approximately the same amount as the teacher you mentioned in 30 years (that's not even adding in any 401K matching, possible bonuses and stock options, because it sounds like you have never received any of those things - but may people do) What's the big deal? You still have 50% more pay than the highest paid teacher, so an ability to save MUCH more - the extra $50,000 could go straight in the bank each year - making your earnings (assuming 7%) over $5 million.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:29 am

Confused voter, yes the proposition failed, but not because the majority of voters agreed with you. 61 % for 39% against


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:29 am

Stacey - less than 18% of Pleasanton was against the parcel tax.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:31 am

Stacey by your math only about 18% were opposed


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:32 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And the rest didn't care enough to vote. That still doesn't make any sort of majority support for a parcel tax.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:33 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I mean, if Mom2 is going to write about how other posters get the teacher retirement facts wrong, the least she can do is not misrepresent what 61% means.


Posted by Stephanie, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

People on this thread continue to go around and around in circles arguing about teacher salaries and benefits. If we want to create solutions we need to stop pointing the finger at teachers and begin looking outside the box for innovative and creative ideas. There actually is a pretty descent thread on PW discussing positive ideas for change, and I encourage people to read it.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:48 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

"Me" and "Me too":

Your math and logic skills are faulty, which might explain your support of an illogical parcel tax.

The vote was whether to ADD a tax. Roughly 35,000 people were eligible to vote on the new tax. Around 9,000 supported it. Around 6,000 actively opposed it. Around 20,000 passively opposed the new tax by not voting FOR it.

All people that were FOR the tax should have voted FOR it. All people that were against the tax simply didn't vote for it.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:49 am

Me Too, nobody said they get 14 weeks on in the summer. They get 14 weeks off per year - 10 in the summer and 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week at Thanksgiving, and one week at Easter. They also get a few personal days I believe, as well as more holidays than I have ever gotten (MLK day, 2 Presidents days, Veteran's day, etc.)

Yes, teachers have some prep and education to do during their off time. But what career doesn't? I've always brought work home with me and I'm in the accounting and I.T. field. And I've had to do continuing education on my own time. When I'm out sick or on vacation, nobody does my work for me. It's there waiting when I get back, or I take it with me. I wish I could have a substitute like teachers do!

Teachers want to be treated like professionals and paid like professionals, but many (not all!) don't want to work as long or as hard as most profressionals do.

By the way, I voted YES on G, and I think the good teachers are worth every penny they get. Unfortunately due to the union, a teacher's competance is not a consideration in determining who goes and who stays. That is the essence of the problem in schools everywhere in my opinion.


Posted by Cindy, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:49 am

Stacey needs to get a life and begin trying to come up with positive ideas for change. Get off your butt and go to something productive in the community. Maybe you should go volunteer in a classroom??? LOL


Posted by hard head, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:51 am

"All people that were FOR the tax should have voted FOR it. All people that were against the tax simply didn't vote for it."

On the same note, people who were FOR the tax displayed their lawn sign. Those who opposed the tax did not.


Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:54 am

Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, 45 minutes ago

"When did teachers get an extra month off in the summer? Its not 14 weeks, more like 10 weeks. School ends June 12, teachers start August 20 - so unless I'm having troubles counting that is 10 weeks (or actually 9 weeks and 5 days)."


10 WEEKS IN THE SUMMER, 1 WEEK THANKSGIVING, 2 WEEKS CHRISTMAS, 1 WEEK SPRING BREAK, + PRESIDENTS DAY, MLK DAY, AND A FEW OTHERS.


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:56 am

KR- Please define/explain...your 'resigned' from PUSD. Remember, many people have been here as long as you have and know quite a bit. Small towns talk. You too!


Posted by me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:59 am

"All people that were against the tax simply didn't vote for it."

You appear to be the one that is logically challeneged. Let's see, if I don't go vote, I could be charged more money. If I do go and vote no, I most likely will not have to pay more money.

So to say those that didn't vote are against the tax is simply wrong.

More likely than the either were for it or against it is that they just didn't care or possible even know about it.


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:01 am

James and Sam Johnson: what are your suggestions in how the school board should cut? Your sinical comments leads me to believe you have ideas of your own. Are they based on facts? For certain one isn't as you can't "unemploy" volunteers.
AAHHH! Ignorance is bliss!


Posted by Jean A Felton, a resident of Happy Valley
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

I am so sad that Measure G failed. I am a Senior Citizen, but I know that the future of our community and our world depends on the young people growing up now. 62% is a good majority, just not ewnough to win. I hope everyone who voted yes will sit down and write a check for $233 or more to the PUSD as I did. There seems to be a lot of animosity toward the board and/or the teachers. The important thing is giving our children a good education!
Jean A Felton


Posted by noname, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

Kay, Matt, Steve, Kathleen, Brian, Anne, Julie....
Familiar names?
Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing! You gotta be inside an old circle to know.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:07 am

"but many (not all!) don't want to work as long or as hard as most profressionals do."


You need to be very careful where you tread. You are making assumptions about far too many people than you have actual knowledge of. Yes, you can point to situations where professionals work hard, but just as easy to point at the same number who don't do much - look at the stats on the number of hours people spend at work on the internet. Of course you can point to teachers that don't work as many extra hours as all the other teachers, but everyday, they are dealing with children and ALL the things that go along with that. You can't go and take a 3 hour lunch because a vendor showed up. Or cut out early on Friday for a long weekend or work from home one day just because you don't feel like going in.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:09 am

I apologize to all those about the 14 weeks comment - I misread the first statment and I take full responsibility. You are correct about the 14 weeks.


Posted by newbie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:10 am

well for those of us who haven't been around forever, does anyone care to enlighten us with why these people are wolves?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:17 am

Maybe a solution would be to tie teachers salaries to the salaries of the community, so if the average salary increases in the community teachers salaries go up and likewise if they go down the teachers salaries go down.

Only problem I see is where/when to get the data for the community.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Cindy,

Yea, yea. Nothing I haven't heard before. Have a good laugh at my expense. You've earned it.


Posted by become a teacher, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

People sound so bitter. Makes me think people are fed up with their jobs that may be in decline. People rant and rave about how much time teachers have off... look at "still hopeful" he/she had to type in CAPS all the days off teachers get. (Guess you could say he/she feels "strongly" about the topic):) Oh and we can't forget the "cushy" benefits, and descent pension... People, go get a teaching credential. You sound so angry and bitter, go make a change for yourself. Yes, that's a big step, but you can get a program done in close to a year. You can go to classes at night, which allows you to work full time during the day. If you think teachers have it so good, maybe you should join the profession. It is a great profession.


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

Kathleen- Thank you for calmly responding to the somewhat hostile attacks on this site. I appreciate your hard work and hope that you can help us achieve change at both the state and local level. That said, I reluctantly voted for Measure G. But now that it failed to pass, I'm interested in hearing your ideas and what options you think we have to keep the class size reduced.

To all others on this forum - I think we can all agree that teachers are a very valuable part of our community and deserve to be treated with appropriate respect and compensation. But this doesn't mean that they, or more importantly, the CTA (CA Teachers' Association) should be immune to criticism. The Union needs to come to the table and stop using teachers to gain sympathy from those who are ignorant of the issues.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:24 am

To all of you that voted No on Measure G:

Now is your time to show how you'd do it - step on up and show your solutions. You seemed to have it all figured out before the vote. Maybe it wasn't that easy? Are teachers still going to get those step and column raises? Are adminstrators still getting their increases? The board seems to be moving right along with the elimination of CSR - the "NO" voters, it's your time now....

I can't hear you......


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:26 am

I'm sad that the Pleasanton residents did not pass the parcel tax. I intend to send a check into the PUSD for the $233.00 that we would have paid if it had passed. If everyone does that, maybe we can save part of the programs!! I vote to keep the counselors and librarians!!


Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:29 am

to become a teacher~

i typed in caps so people could easily see my answer from the original question. no hostility here.

and let's all go become teachers - a profession that now has no job opportunities. great call.


Posted by Cindy, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

Are you ever off the computer OR is this what you do ALL day long?


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:34 am

Kathleen or anyone else who knows - Just curious, since we (meaning the PUSD) will have to prioritize where dollars are spent, how will they decide which programs receive funding? I would hope that a reduced class size is maintained above all else. The above article mentions that the ration may change to 25:1 in K-3 but is it a squeaky wheel scenario?? Should we parents email the Board and make our voices heard or are they well aware that class size is their first priority?


Posted by mac, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:36 am

While I won't send the $233 like Lee...I and all parents have sent in hundreds each year to supplement the classrooms and labs. So can we say we're even?!?


Posted by Kate, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:37 am

Stacy, You remind me of a country song by Brad Paisley, "Im so much cooler on-line". You have all the ideas, on every subject I might add, yet I have never seen you at a school board meeting. Any chance you are going to get off your butt and from behind your computer and put all your knowledge in front of the public?


Posted by Dale, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

I voted for G, because I believe in our schools, Even thought at my age I could be exempted from this tax I going to write a check to the Pleasanton school board for $233.00. If all of us that voted for G would do the same it would raise about two and a half million per year. We said we were willing to pay the tax so let's do it.


Posted by bailout, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:44 am

Where's Obama and his bailout? We demand a bailout just like Wall Street and automakers!


Posted by haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

Who in the right mind would send a check to the district and let them do whatever they want with YOUR hard-earned money??? Toss some of those extra $ my way if you have too much of it.


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

I agree....I don't trust the Board. Maybe they can open up an account that would guarantee all funds donated would go to, for example, maintaing 20:1 in k-3.


Posted by Cindy, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

Kate- you are so right on. Stacey does remind me of the song "So Much Cooler Online!" LOL for sure!

She's just another talker... let's see her come down to the schools and really get into the "trenches" to do some good.
Oh wait, sounds like she doesn't attend board meetings, and she probably hasn't been to the school sites to see what's going on....

That's because Stacey is in front of her computer, ranting and raving all day long....


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:08 am

Stacey is a registered user.

If there's one thing I've learned from this election (because it involves a topic related to children), it is that my anonymity here is a precious thing, not for me personally, but for my children. And I'm not talking about the teachers, but all of you. So no, you won't be seeing me at a school board meeting (I did go to a budget forum months ago). I will work in more indirect ways. I've heard too many stories of the kind of negative behavior that goes on currently that affects the students, not from the teachers, again, but from all of you. I've even been urged to remain anonymous by those with more experience in this than me. That speaks volumes.

All you, the public, need to know is that my oldest will be starting at PUSD within the next few years (I'm not going to be specific) and of course I will be as involved as many of you are today. If my children were at the tail end of their education, things might be different. I'm not going to allow you to ruin any experiences at the very beginning of their educational careers by being open in public with an unpopular opinion. Sure, continue to write your idiotic and nonconstructive posts. You're only driving home the point more.

You won't see me gloating over the results of this election. The results are either people get laid off, decide on pay cuts to save jobs or people are put at more risk of losing their homes due to tax delinquency. Nobody wins like that.


Posted by Failure of Self-Government, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

The fact that less than ONE PERCENT of the population of Pleasanton put the kibosh on these much needed funds for our schools is a travesty of the democratic process. It's even worse than the 2/3 requirement to adopt a state budget that the extreme right-wing anti-tax ideologues use to hold the majority hostage. Unfortunately, the TWENTY THOUSAND registered voters in Pleasanton that didn't vote on Tuesday enabled the 6400 of you who voted "no" to hold our kids hostage. This is not a victory of any kind or a vindication for your cause – it's a failure of self-government and why we are in such deep trouble in many, many areas in this country. You only get the kind of government you deserve.


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:14 am

Me Too, you said:
"look at the stats on the number of hours people spend at work on the internet." - my kids have told me many stories of their teachers surfing the internet during class time.

"Of course you can point to teachers that don't work as many extra hours as all the other teachers, but everyday, they are dealing with children and ALL the things that go along with that." - we all have difficult people to deal with in our jobs. And besides, most teachers will tell you they went into teaching because they love children. Most teachers I know say dealing with parents is the toughest part of their job. And guess what...it's those parents that the rest of us work with every day.

"You can't go and take a 3 hour lunch because a vendor showed up." - I've never done that in my life. Nor have most people I know or work with.

"Or cut out early on Friday for a long weekend" - my definition of cutting out early would be leaving at 3:00, the time most teachers leave at every Friday.

"or work from home one day just because you don't feel like going in." - again, I've never done that. Some people do I suppose, but unless they have an agreement with their employer, I would equate them to the teachers who should have gotten the pink slip. By the way, teachers can and do use their personal days "when they don't feel like going in" and have someone come substitute for them. Like I said, if I ever did do that, I'd still have to get the work done myself.

Don't get me wrong...I come from a family of teachers, I love (good) teachers, and I voted yes on G. But if teachers survive their first couple years, they can (and some do) skate by for the next 30 years with a very nice paycheck, schedule and lifesyle, thanks to the teacher's union. How many of us can say that?


Posted by finally..., a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

Thank you Stacy for being so honest. What bothers me, though, is that all your ranting and raving, and loose use of the facts was done without really knowing much about the schools, the teachers, the students, etc. You took facts out of context, and took numbers and applied them without experiencing their application. In the future, I hope you help to find solutions through your experiences and interactions, not just taking a bunch of numbers and making logical fallacies from them. I hope you are part of the solution in the future...


Posted by trekmtb, a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:20 am

6400 is 1% of 640,000.


Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:24 am

I voted no. Here is my suggestion: across the board pay cuts for every district employee.


Posted by beome a teacher, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:25 am

Still Hopeful, some people will find an excuse for everything. If people are unhappy with their life, I'm simply suggesting to make a change. It tends to be unhappy people who throw stones at others. And besides the teaching profession will come around. There are surrounding districts who passed parcel taxes to support their schools, therefore there will be a little hiring going on.


Posted by Don Hogue, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:30 am

I am dropping off a check in a few minutes to the PUSD offices. Like Jean and Lee, I do challenge others to show their support in positive ways (it need not just be a monetary donation). Help in some way - giving time, donating money or doing something that at least indirectly helps the schools.

We all benefit from strong schools - even those who don't have school-aged children. Our property values have stayed relatively consistent despite a very challenging market, and it can be argued that strength of schools is a major reason. Was Measure G the only or best way to achieve this? No -- but the District certainly had a lot riding on this one measure. Now with an even more limited number of funding sources, there will be some adjustments that many will not like.

I do believe that our School Board, PUSD representatives and teachers can still benefit from this setback, though not as initially desired. Humility would serve us all well.


Posted by Dominic Di Blasio, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:30 am

Dominic Di Blasio is a registered user.

Its good this bad for the community measure was defeated; clearly voters did not listen to the scare-tactics of pro-G advocates. If there is a fear of retribution for those speaking up against this tax, seems to me we need new school district leadership...If our school board or city council punishes dissenting opinions, we need new leadership. I wonder if the lay offs will be for those worst performing teachers in the district or will it be based upon teacher seniority or other criteria based upon teacher's union agreements...Taxing more is not the answer; better management, leadership, innovation and minimizing of teacher's union influence is what we ought to be concerned about. Taxing the people for bad government management of money is simply wrong and does not address the problem at its root.


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

Stacey, I feel sorry for any teacher who has your kid in their class. You sound like a nightmare parent, whom always has an opinion, and thinks they could do it better. Hopefully, a few teachers will visit the PW and see your hundreds of negative posts and BE WARNED!


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

After reading all the posts on these blogs, I understand why so many people choose to remain anonymous.
Anyone who posts with a real name is very brave because doing that seems to open that person to all kinds of unpleasant behavior. Their backgrounds are investigated, and for at least one person, information about that person's background has been deliberately fabricated. They are called names or the same questions are asked of them over and over again.
It's no wonder that most bloggers choose to blog under an assumed name.

This post is not about Measure G. It is however a request that all the adults who post on these blogs remember that many students read these blogs.

If you would not taunt, call names or otherwise bully someone face to face, which I believe most of you wouldn't do, please do not do that on the blogs.

Please try to behave in the same kind of respectful way towards others that you would like to be treated and you would expect of your children.

The parcel tax debate has created a very hostile environment in the community, but if we could all try to remember that in any debate, the respectful thing to do is debate the issues, not personally attack the speaker, we would be setting a good example for our children.

Thank you.


Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:36 am

@ Yup & Skeedaddle....Buh Bye! See you later, thanks for playing, have a nice flight, don't forget to close the door & turn the lights off when you leave!

We don't need your bad attitudes, doomsday & catastrophic downfall predictions. Keep in mind out of the 64,000 or so residents in Pleasanton not everybody has children or has moved here JUST for the schools. Empty nesters, the retired, families without children & single people live here too. In fact most of the money that is spent in the downtown area, shopping centers, business parks & general industry are not from families with children. The economy will pick up, business & local industry will recover, tax dollars will once again funnel their way into the school districts & then you'll just have to find another cause celeb` to rally your minions around.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:38 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Finally (or should I say "T"?),

Then be bothered. You seem to think that everyone has to have the exact same experiences as you before they're allowed to hold an opinion. Well then I guess that's 99.9% of the populace who are not entitled to their opinion.

And what about your ranting and raving? It's ok to you that people in a position of trust can manipulate (really, "campaign") and you don't question that but not ok for anyone else? That's how we got into this mess in the first place. Your side campaigned just like my side did. All I've presented was information I found useful because it was based upon some research or the District's own numbers and I never coerced anyone. So bluntly, I don't appreciate your earlier accusation of something that you were doing yourself.

Incidentally, it's not "finally". I've been honest up front about my children having yet to enter PUSD. I guess you didn't pay attention to that. I bet you didn't either pay attention to when I wrote that I'm a product of PUSD, all 12 years.

What's really disturbing is that even though the election is over, you still continue in ad hominem attacks. Again, who I am or what I do doesn't change anything with regards to the budget deficit. Sore loser?


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:40 am

Failure of Self-Government -

You said, "It's even worse than the 2/3 requirement to adopt a state budget that the extreme right-wing anti-tax ideologues use to hold the majority hostage."

Are you kidding me? The budget was a JOKE. The State has been overspending for years and when they (which is mostly Dems by the way) try to put a bandaid on it and CONTINUE to spend, the people finally stand up and say NO WAY. Yes, let's continue deficit spending to appease the special interest groups (like the teachers' union) that put these guys in power. Brilliant idea.


Posted by Allen, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:50 am

West Side Observer- Here's my suggestion:cut programs across the board. In times of crisis cut sports, music, art, counselors, psychologists, supplies, clubs, etc. We are in a time of crisis and these are luxuries. If people want these luxuries than they should be on a "pay to play" basis. In my opinion, cut em, let's trim the fat.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 10:59 am

Educated - I was not arguing that you do not work hard and earn your money. But you suggested (and again in your last post) that most teachers do not (is I infer from the "skate by" coment). I find this to be untrue. There are many more teachers than the few examples that "skate by" but this could go back and forth without saying much, so let's just say there are people in every profession that may not be doing as much as they should be.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

"In fact most of the money that is spent in the downtown area, shopping centers, business parks & general industry are not from families with children."

Just curious, what percentage of the money comes from families with children?

And do you knowwhat percent of the property tax comes from families with children?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

Allen - its a very good idea - schools are here to educate, not as a springboard for college athletic scholarships (or at least that's my understanding). Although I know a lot of kids pay money already to be in sports, so I'm not sure how much actually comes from the district (coaches stipends do, not sure what else). I'd bet there are a lot of teachers that would be happy to cut clubs, that way they wouldn't have to "volunteer" to be an advisor.


Posted by VH Mom, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

There is a lot of talk about teachers salaries and poor management of money, but no one has said anything about our kids. Maybe PUSD did go astray with their funds, maybe teachers do get paid well for the hours they work, but this current mess we are in has come directly from the state and my three children in this school district are going to pay a high price for that.

We moved here from the east coast and you all have no idea what it means to sacrifice for good schools. There is no prop. 13 to keep your property taxes stable - if house values go up, then your property taxes goes up. Our schools were amazing becasue people were willing to put up the funds. We had a decicated art teacher and music teacher full time in our elementary schools. We had a full time nurse and class sizes were 12 in kindergarten and 17-18 in 1-5 grade. Those of you that moved here 20 years ago are paying a lot less in property taxes than those of us that moved here in the past few years, yet my neighbor's house is valued the same as mine - where is the logic in that? My children deserve the same education as any of your kids who have already been through the system. $233/year is such a small price to pay to keep the class size redcution in place and keep some of the best and brightest (new teachers)in our district.

This has nothing to do with salaries and political grumblings and everything to do with our children - our future!


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:30 am

Ok.....everyone please take a deep breath. Come on, I know you can do it. Inhale……(hold it)…….now exhale. Repeat….



The election is over. The board met last night and for those of us that saw the meeting, we heard them working on 'solutions'.

Unfortunately, we will lose some wonderful teachers, and that is more than a shame. If you know any of these dedicated teachers, be sure to give them whatever support you can and keep them in your thoughts.


Reading some of the posts on this thread about salaries and who works harder, longer etc is really sad.

If you think a teacher has it all that great - THEN BECOME ONE. No one is stopping you.

If you want to be an engineer, store owner, electrician, salesman.....etc - then become one. No one is stopping you.


If you choose to go to college and take post graduate courses, and take on any career, regardless of what it is - go for it. No one is stopping you.


But, Please….and I ask you again - P-L-E-A-S-E……lets not degrade the conversation to what career choice YOU made, and who gets "more". I work hard…you work hard. The pay any of us get is based on a number of factors. Arguing here on a blog about this is sad IMO.

We are where we are. Support the schools the best you can. If that means you see a better way for them to run the district, then get to the meetings and voice your concerns and solutions. If that means you can donate time or other resources to the classroom, then do it.

But, know that teaching is not for everyone. It does take a special person to educate children. Your job may be tough….but so is teaching.



P.S. No, I am not a teacher or in the education field. But, I did stay at Holiday Inn last night.


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

VH Mom - I completely agree with what you said about Prop 13. We lost a lot of local control when that prop passed back when I was a kid. As for comparing the east coast with California, they are two completely different entities. We're a huge state with an enormous population of legal and illegal immigrants who don't speak English. These groups put a tremendous strain on our funds. Maybe we finally need to stop shying away from this issue because it's not PC. If our leaders were able to have a calm, rational discussion about these issues without being called racist we'd all be better off.


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

VH Mom - I completely agree with what you said about Prop 13. We lost a lot of local control when that prop passed back when I was a kid. As for comparing the east coast with California, they are two completely different entities. We're a huge state with an enormous population of legal and illegal immigrants who don't speak English. These groups put a tremendous strain on our funds. Maybe we finally need to stop shying away from this issue because it's not PC. If our leaders were able to have a calm, rational discussion about these issues without being called racist we'd all be better off.


Posted by noname, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

Newbie: These people have had personal agenda(s) for years and it is not, never was, for the better of all Ptown. There are motives behind the masks. They are a pack.


Posted by Allen, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

Me Too, coaches stipends are gone. In fact, there will not be stipends for coaches of athletics as well as coaches of academic programs such as: We The People, Competition Civics in both high schools. As a parent, I don't think there will be many teachers who want to lead these programs anymore. Yes, the stipend equaled out to pennies per hour when you add up all the hours coaches spend with their team, but it was SOMETHING. Like I said, cut programs. If people want them, then pay for them yourselves. I, nor you, nor teachers or anyone else for that matter should have to pay for someone else's kid to be part of a club/sport/elective course etc.


Posted by LN, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:49 am

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that those who chose teaching as a profession researched the earning potential before they chose their career. It is well known and has been for a long time that the teaching profession has historically had low salaries in comparison to private industry professions. If a person knows this and still chooses to pursue the teaching profession, then they are certainly not doing it because they consider it to be a high paying job, but because they either desire to teach, or because there are some great benefits and pensions that are involved that mitigate the lower pay as compared to private employment.


Posted by Kim, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:49 am

Classroom Size Reduction. High school classroom sizes this year are between 32-36 kids per class. Next year without the funding of the parcel tax and the drastically reduced funding from the state, the number is going to go up to 38 students in a classroom. My daughter's Economics class has 37 kids! Her PE class has over 50!I think CSR will only hinder kids. It ain't going to be 20:1 forever.


Posted by Allen, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

LN: I agree with you. It's funny that people on this thread actually write that teachers make a lot of money. Ha! I have a few family members who are in education, and they definitely did not go into it for the money- but you know what? They are genuinely happy and content people.


Posted by mike, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Whatever you voted Yes or No, watch what is going to happen. Easy¡K with 30 kids in classroom, the teacher will have less than 2 minutes per kid and per hour¡K welcome to fast food-education ala super size meƒ¼. Watch your property value as well... you have noticed that in the recent years, a lare number of asian-born family moved to Pleaseanton, because of education and PUSD reputation...like it benefit Cupertino¡Kwell¡K it will change and not in the right direction. Maybe the language in the ballot was not well done, but at the end the school in any community is the most critical element of the future. What is wrong with PTWON these days!


Posted by ?, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Just curious... what's Matt's last name? The one Matt who is part of the wolf pack?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Kim,

Read Web Link Article 9.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Kim,
CSR has only applied to K-3 and 9th grade classes because the State has not provided an incentive for school districts to reduce class sizes at other grade levels.
At the other grade levels, class sizes are limited, but I'm not certain if that is due to teacher contracts or if that is a PUSD decision. Whatever the limit is, and I think it might be 35, teachers can choose to take students over the limit if there are enough desks, and some will to help a student who has scheduling difficulties. I don't think the same limit number applies to PE classes.
At last night's School Board meeting, CSR for K-3 and 9th grade classes was increased to a 25:1 ratio (someone posted the econnect message PUSD put out about decisions made at the Board meeting as a separate topic) which was called the break even point.
If someone who knows what class size limits are could post that information it would be helpful.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There's also State law that limits max. class sizes.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link and Web Link


Posted by Steve, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

noname said:
"Newbie: These people have had personal agenda(s) for years and it is not, never was, for the better of all Ptown. There are motives behind the masks. They are a pack."

Who doesn't have a personal agenda? What a silly generalization. Anyway, I don't know how I got added to that list. All I have ever done is come on here a couple of times and express some real life issues my family has to deal with while having an elementary school teacher as contributor to the total income. I never misrepresented or exagerated anything I have posted and I have always listed that I am a Livermore resident (I used to live in Pleasanton but was run off by excessively high property values). All I have done is make points to keep things a little honest here, and I have been spotty at that. I don't get it.

And why should anyone beware of anything I have to say. I am just an anonymous poster to a small town newspaper comment section.

Since you know me so well, what's my motive.

Geez,


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Curious: I resigned. It really is that simple. If you know something different, name yourself and let me know. I'll respond. Or call me if you don't want to be identified on these blogs.
Noname: inside what old circle? I stepped up to speak to an issue and others (Kay, Steve) who are also known in the community happened to share similar views. Democratic process; one person , one vote. You can't teach a person to stand up for their convictions and then lambast them for doing it. I could have remained anonymous, like you.
Mary Jo: you clearly don't know me at all. Our children and grandchild are the light of our lives. NOTHING could bring us more joy!


Posted by class size, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Thanks for the sites about class size. However, that doesn't mean a thing. Class sizes are in the 40 in some districts and they are only limited by the fire code (except those receiving funding for CSR). PUSD already has academic classes that far exceed the 30 prescribed in the ed code.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:55 pm

When my wife taught 5th grade with no CSR in PUSD, the class size was 32 with little exception. There was a waiting list, so when a student left her class for whatever reason, there was a new one a few days later to take their place.

Individual school profiles available on the PUSD webside list all the class sizes for each classroom in each grade.


Posted by ???, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

25:1 in K-3 and 9 means better social skills and more friends. It's all good...


Posted by J. Leslie, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:30 pm

From all of the above, some observations...

1) 62% of Pleasanton's registered voters who chose to vote, were in favor of Measure G. With a 2/3 voting majority (66%) required to pass, the measure was therefore actually defeated by about 4% of those who voted...approximately 630 people. Out of the Weekly's estimate of 40K+ registered voters that's a really tiny sliver (less than 2%) of registered voters who decided the outcome. Both opponents & proponents should bear these numbers in mind.

2) Married to a public school teacher for 30 years, I can say categorically that no one teaching in the public schools chooses that profession for the pay & benefits.

3) Anyone who claims that teachers have it easy because of (fill in the blank as you wish: vacations, pension, health benefits, etc.) has no clue what life as a teacher is actually like. I know the private sector, and I can say that trying to compare the profession of teaching with any non-teaching profession is ultimately apples vs oranges. Again, anyone who thinks otherwise is simply clueless.

4) The facts on the ground are now that Pleasanton's schools are in financial crisis, and the proposed fix was rejected. It's time to end the squabbling, blaming and name-calling, roll up our collective sleeves and work as a community to solve the community's problem. Anything less is counterproductive and unworthy of Pleasanton's children.


Posted by VH mom, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

First of all - not a newbie - born and raised in the area- just happened to be living on the east coast when our kids started school. I am not saying any government is perfect - all folks have an agenda - mine is to give my kids a good education. We need to put the needs of our kids first and then worry about taking on the school board and teacher's union if those are fights you want to have, but we have immediate issues that should not be at risk because some folks are angry over past actions.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:43 pm

"The facts on the ground are now that Pleasanton's schools are in financial crisis"

J. Leslie:

I voted for measure G even though I was not too happy about what it proposed to fix. If you look at the agenda for last night, they mention items that I do not think should be kept.

Also, keep in mind that even if measure G had passed, the district was going to make further cuts to address the additional budget deficit after the may 19 propositions failed.

I have mixed feelings about measure G failing. In a way, I am sad, but on the other hand, I am not locking my money into things I do not think are important while seeing potential cuts in things I find highly desirable.

The board, in my opinion, screwed up, and put a parcel tax that would finance items that not everyone finds desirable. That combined with the financial news after may 19, and the fact that we still have not seen salary rollbacks, etc, may have contributed to those few voting no and the rest simply staying at home.

I have to confess that I did not feel like voting because I was very much on the fence: did not like the proposed tax (what it would finance) yet I wanted to support the schools.

I ended up voting, and voting YES but if many felt like I did, I can see why the measure failed, and why so many chose not to vote.

The election should have been held before may 19.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Just to clarify: I did not like most of what the parcel tax would have financed, but I did agree on one item it would have (and it is not CSR). I voted YES anyway but I was not too convinced about it.


Posted by J. Leslie, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

"Resident" --

As the Weekly summarized Measure G, "The measure would have brought about $18.3 million--$233 per parcel annually--over four years to fund seven programs identified by the community: small class sizes, reading and math support, libraries, counselors, technology instruction, music, and safe and clean schools."

As someone self-described as wanting to support our schools, I'm curious what you found objectionable about these seven objectives. They seemed to me to be of the essence of supporting our schools.


Posted by Who are you?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Time2putup, resident, curious and no name,
It seems hypocritical that you post comments about other people's hidden agendas, but then hide behind an assumed name.
If you really have an issue with any of the people you name, then call them directly, or post your own full name so the rest of us can decide whether you have a hidden agenda of your own.
Or stop posting the little digs that add nothing to the discussion.
You don't have to be a person who voted against the parcel tax to be disgusted and tired of all the mudslinging.
Enough already!


Posted by Another Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Seriously, what is wrong with all of you!?! I came here looking for some insight and found the majority of you just slinging mud. We've been really fortunate to have great teachers - it's the main reason we moved here! Teachers are not the enemy. It's the economy and the state's budget issues as well. I voted YES on G. I'm sorry it didn't pass, but now what?

If we have to, we will move again for the same reason we moved here: to find my kids the best place to learn. I can't afford private schools for my kids, so public is where we'll need to make it work. Our family like most have had a tough year financially, but I would've found the $233 to save teachers and continue our kids' great education.

As a matter of fact, I did have a realtor take a look at our house. I assure that if we've done this, so have others. I hope we don't have to, but we will if it's the best choice for our family.


Posted by Steven, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm

We really do appreciate the excellent work done by the teachers and schools in Pleasanton. In our opinion the measure did not pass because:

1) The district failed to communicate exactly why they need the money. They were vague. Sure there is a shortfall, but why? Did they manage their budget wisely?

2) The school budget is a lot of money and we do not have the slightest idea as how it is spent.

As a neighbor put it "the school budget at about $120MM a year, is the budget of a small country".

3) The district failed to demonstrate that they spend our money wisely.

4) The district talks about cutting programs such as music, athletics etc., but has failed to communicate why these programs are so "expensive". Yes, you have the music teacher's salary, but how many music instruments the district buys every year?

5) While we want to give 110% credit to our excellent teachers, we do need to give a little credit to the demographic of our city. The moms and dads that are instilling the value of education to their children. We do know from our own experience (we went to school in the '70s) that part of the reason we became successful was due to our parents, driving us to succeed. We did go to school with large class sizes, little equipment, we dissected "paper" frogs, we did not have computers. Our generation invented the personal computer and many other wonderful technologies that we use every day.

In other words, the district has failed to communicate how MORE money will make better students.

Thank you for reading!


Posted by Teacher in another Zip Code, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:08 pm

First of all, I'm a teacher in a nearby district and own a home in Pleasanton and have four children in Pleasanton schools. A big part of why I chose to teach was the retirement benefit package in our district. Without going into detail, after 30 years of teaching, I will be able to retire on a bit more than 75% of my final adjusted salary, with medical coverage, until I switch to MediCare at 65.
PUSD is in a world of hurt but there are still plenty of things that can and should be done:
Eliminate all Admin. perks – no cell phones; no auto allowances.
All Admin. need to take at least a 20% pay cut. Those making over $200,000 should be cut 25%.
Renegotiate all union salary and benefit programs now, with the end result being zero teacher lay-offs.
Classified employees: janitors, kitchen staff, etc. need wage and benefit adjustments as well.
The goal should be to save ALL district jobs. Real leadership is needed now – Mr. Superintendant, Trustees, union reps, teachers, support staff and fellow citizens.
'nough said.



Posted by Another Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:09 pm

@Steven

THANK YOU! Finally, a thoughtful and articulate post that actually gives me hope we can work together to find a solution to this mess.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Kate & Cindy,
When I was young and would come home and tell my mother that "so and so said this, or so and so did that," my mother would say "don't worry about how other people behave, worry about how you behave because people don't judge you based on other people's behavior, they judge you based on your own behavior."

Please take a moment and think about what you are posting and how it makes you look.



Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

"As someone self-described as wanting to support our schools, I'm curious what you found objectionable about these seven objectives. They seemed to me to be of the essence of supporting our schools."

I cannot put the link to it, because is a PDF file. Go to the district's website and find the agenda for last night.

If you agree with all of that, that is your choice, I do not agree with it but still voted YES on G.

All I am saying is that many who, like myself, found some of the items the parcel tax would have funded, not good choices, might have chosen to either vote no or stay at home and not vote....just a guess.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm

You should all read this new article in the Pleasanton Weekly:

Web Link


Posted by still hopeful, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thank you Teacher in a Different Zip Code.

Yes, the goal should be no layoffs. The state economy is in enough hurt, and the less people unemployed through this crisis the better for everyone. We would all be better off with a little bit less individually, than becoming the have's and the have nots.

And I'm "still hopeful" that we will figure out some solutions before this fall. Let's start brainstorming!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Teacher in another zip code,
Please take your ideas and send them to the School Board. They need to hear what the community is thinking!


Posted by FreeDumb, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

It seems pretty clear to me we suffer from gridlock based on the oversimplified right wing ideology. Instead of serious discussion of the issues the right wing only spews out strawmen arguments that serve as a convenient excuse for them to dismiss them. The Wadworth fund is typical of this sort ideological short circuit. He figures everyone is just greedy like himself.

Not every teacher is a saint, but in my contact with teachers I have been utterly impressed by how much effort they put in to their students and the community. We are being held hostage by a minority that refuses to compromise and could probably care less about the consequences, even rooting for the failure of the public school system.

Expect a long screed of extreme language and hyperbole instead of reasoned debate and argument from the right wing.


Posted by when is enough, enough?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Teacher in another zip code:

Classified employees took a huge hit...

I know of one particular instance where a classified employee was making $36,000 for full time work. They have to pay their own health care benefits out of this, so after taxes, they made about $2,000/per month. They have a Bachelors and transferred to teaching from the private sector because they wanted to 'give back'.

The district reduced their hours to about 3 days, and gave them a salary cut. Now they will take home about $1,000/month, and after paying their benefits, will have about $600 to live off of.

They are now looking at leaving their job and heading back to the private sector. They have a tech background and yes, can still find work. We will lose a highly qualified and experienced, impassioned employee. I am sure one of many....

I believe they were 1 of 400 that took this type of pay reduction in the last few months.

So, when is enough, enough?


Posted by Educated, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm

FreeDumb, you said "Expect a long screed of extreme language and hyperbole instead of reasoned debate and argument". Seems like a very accurate description of your post.


Posted by Salary comparisons?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Lafayette/Acalanes just named John Stockton, their previous Assistant Superindent, as their new Superintendent. Supposedly his salary is over 20-30% higher, before benefits, than what John Casey is making.

Has anyone heard this and looked into it?

They are a top notch district and obviously not afraid to pay their employees what they feel they deserve.

This is what I found on their salary schedules....

Web Link


Posted by jay, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm

It appears to me that the district leadership is just doing business as usual. They don't have a clue of what is going on in the real world.

The teachers have given up nothing. They negotiated a couple of days off but since Measure G did not pass, they now are back to what they currently receive.

The management team said they would give up some things but all of that is off the table now that the election is over.

Raises are still occurring, and car allowances are still there and excessive. If the district is thinking of a parcel tax in the future, they should do some concessions now. I think the leadership is arrogant by not doing any concessions and saying they will just have another election.

The step and column raises for this year is $1.5M. That can pay the salary of 25 starting teachers that are going to be laid off. The car allowances could pay for 2 more teachers if they go away. The cell phones could pay for 2 more teachers if they go away. This election cost the job of 5 teachers.

I am truly frustrated with the leadership of the district.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Jay,

What are your thoughts on the school board? Heck one of them does not even live in the city and how many have a broad business background of cost cutting?


Posted by julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm

julie is a registered user.

I honestly didn't read every post, but those regarding teacher salaries amaze me. Until I started reading the blogs here at PW I NEVER ever heard teachers referred to as "high wage earners". I've certainly NEVER heard the idea that teachers earn more than engineers...please! Engineer ranks up there with "doctor" and "lawyer" as far as careers parents want their kids to enter into because the pay and benefits are attractive. Who growing up heard anyone encourage them to enter into the teaching profession because it was going to be lucrative? Are there prestigious university programs for teachers such as those that exist for training engineers, lawyers, businessmen/women?

This sounds like a bunch of sour grapes that the economy is sucking for everyone and all the engineers and other professionals who usually earn amazing perks in their career are having to live like everyone else. I have an engineer in the family who *used* to earn maybe 30-40k in BONUSES! My husband has been in the computer field for years and has always earned way more in salary and benefits than a teacher could ever hope for. He hit 6 figures after about 9 years in his profession (no degree) and even before that had bonus opportunities, stock options, 401k matches, 4 weeks vacation and a host of other benefits. I know MANY engineers who have retired early thanks to the dot com boom. Teachers don't get to cash in on the economy when it is high so why should they be skewered for their step and column when times are tough? Someone likened the step and column to the only way for teachers to be promoted. Yeah, no kidding! Teachers cannot earn prestigious titles.

No one ever thought about what teachers make until the money became scarce. What if you those of you in other professions suddenly had a community scrutinizing you under a microscope, deciding if you are worth the pay you already proved you were worth? How would you like having to justify every perk you have (or had)? Teachers have always had summers off - why complain about that now? That's the way it has always been - engineers are more likely to earn high pay and teachers get the summer off. Nothing has changed except the amount of attention everyone is paying to it.


Posted by what a mess, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

I voted against the tax. I am not opposed to paying, but would rather be paying to enhance the education of my children, rather than limit cutting. When we talk about cuts that need be made, we start with the premise that the entire budget up until now is perfect, and anything less than that is less than perfect. Who said the budget up until now is perfect. What do we need vs what can we spare....I always figure, when change needs to be made, you have to start with what you really need. I recently thought I had a virus on my hard drive. So I had to reformat the entire thing. I was fearful of wiping out everything I had added over years. But the truth is that my computer works better than ever, and there were things I assumed I needed, that I didn't

Over the last 5 or 6 years, I'm sure the revenues in the district have grown nicely(though I was only able to see the most recent budget, so am not positive). And I am sure that many people in the district felt more prosperous a few years ago, but most of us don't feel as prosperous now. Our 401k's have become 201k's, and the value of our homes is far less than we thought it was. If you are like me, my income is less now than it was 5 years ago. So, my family has been forced to look back at what expenses we had taken on when things were good, and cut them out. If we were to look at the school budget from 5 years ago, and watch it progressively grow, what would we see? I would bet that programs were added that seemed great when the cash was flowing in, but right now might be considered luxuries. I have had to take my own personal budget back to times when before things were really good. I cannot tell if the district has likewise done so. Maybe I am wrong, but it is always more tough to cut back then it is to add.

Has the district gone to suppliers, other outsourcing services, and asked for price reductions? I honestly cannot tell how the district has tried to cut expenses, other than cutting out programs.

Has the district gone to its employees and said we either have to make some cuts or lose some staff? If teachers/administrators were asked to make a short term sacrifice to save their peers, do you think they would decline? If they were to decline, is this the type of person you want involved in the education of your children? The excuse of the union is a poor one. Ask any UAW member about that.

If the district can convince me that they have taken steps to make sure the budget they have is truly efficient for the needs of the education of our kids, and that is not enough, then make your case for another parcel tax, and I can vote for it.

Sacramento could use the sort of question honest reflection that is really needed to solve a budget. I have absolutely no faith in that lot of self interested morons.


Posted by VH mom, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Steven from Pleasanton Meadows - How can you honestly say that the district was vauge about where the shortfall is coming from?!! The STATE CUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS from our budget. What PUSD thought they were getting is simply not there. Measure G was only going to keep us at our current level of decent class sizes, horrible ratio of counsleors to students and very limited art and music - no raises, no perks - just the basics! How can anyone vote no to that?


Posted by jay, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Pete, I think we only have one school board member that questions things and researches ideas and that is Valeria Arkin. She is in a tough position since the superintendent and the other board members are trying to shut her down. She has hit the ground running and had some good recommendations on how to deal with the budget problems but the rest of the board wanted a parcel tax so bad, they refused to take her seriously.

Having a board member who does not live here but has two daughters who work for the district, is not a good thing. Possibly he voted for the parcel tax so his daughters do not get laid off and have to move in with him? Seems like a conflict of interest.

I have heard that the superintendent is retiring at the end of this next school year. The community should follow how the board looks for a replacement. I am quite impressed with our new finance manager, Luz, and her frankness. She does not appear to have an agenda. I hope we can find a superintendent with similar traits.


Posted by Bobby, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I voted no simply because I lost my job and have not paid my house payment in 6 months.


Posted by jay, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

To VH Mom, you are dead wrong here. There was still going to be raises and perks. If the district gave those up it is possible they could have passed a parcel tax. I am not getting a raise in my business so why should I pay more in taxes to give others a raise? The district and unions choose to throw the new teachers under the bus so the tenured staff can get a raise.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Who paid the $350,000 is cost to try and run this one by us? PUSD or city?


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Jay, what does a superintendent do anyway? In order to reduce cost couldn't we get by without one?


Posted by Jen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Julie-

I don't think people are saying that pleasanton teachers are overly paid, or rank up there with engineers. But they ARE paid well. We have all been brow-beaten to thinking teachers are underpaid for so many years. And in some cases this is true. Often, the teachers that have the hardest jobs are the ones making the least money. Teachers in Oakland have don't have half the resources we do, have less parental support and involvement, and deal with kids who have way more issues than we do here. Yet, they are the ones making way less money than our teachers.

I'm not inferring that our teachers have an job. But I do believe they are paid a FAIR wage for what they do, and for the hours they work. Of course I know that teachers work after hours, just like many other people do. But they also get a lot of time off in summer and other breaks. I'm not jealous. I think it's great! But that is a perk that can't be ignored.

I believe the point we are trying to make is that we are not asking an already poorly paid teacher to then take another hit with S&C freezes. P-Town teachers are paid a fair wage. Not going to get rich, but they are making a decent living. There are quite a few P-Town teachers married to each other and can afford to live in P-Town as well. That is quite telling.

I don't think anybody wants to take away somebody's raises or benefits if it wasn't absolutely necessary. But it makes sense. Nobody else is getting raises in this economy. Why should teachers be immune?

I love you P-Town teachers! Thank you for doing a great job educating our kids. I want to see you ALL keep your jobs. And that might mean some sacrifices by your colleagues.

I do believe if the community saw the teachers willing to make these sacrifices, more would be inclined to a parcel tax to do their part as well. Remember that there are a whole lot of us who DID support the tax and plan on giving either way.



Posted by old timer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Re the 'debate' over pensions. The public pension anger is for the very over-compensated firemen with no education, retirements on 50th BD, NO-CONTRIBUTION retirements, padding retirement, retirement plus lifetime benefits. Teachers get nothing like that. Yes, teachers time-off, retirement,& job security are better than majority mid to upper-middle private careers....that inevitably include several periods of 6 mo lay-offs, downsizing, & today's furlough reductions of many days&weeks off with no pay. My family member it's now 20 furlough days & $1,000/MONTH job reduction for '09, + extra work because there were 10 engineers, now he's ONE of the 2 LEFT...More work, less pay just to keep the job..that's just until being turned out at 54 - 55 to live off....well, come to think of it...nothing. Couldn't keep up with 401K so stopped, savings has dropped,since most was used up living during the tech bubble burst...the rest gone in current market collapse..... and has 3 boys in community college that can only WISH they could attend a University. But educators like CAL won't help middle-class white males....have to be RICH, POOR, or MINORITY...then, you're in!
SO, teachers have it much better than uncertainities of private sector, but neither come close to the jackpot the firemen get...who are not even close to ANY other world. No college loan payoffs for them. And, they can spend every penney in their paychecks, save nothing for retirement, & start collecting retirement with health on 50th BD....for life. Teachers don't come close to that. All in all, you can understand why taxpayers have said enough...some have just pushed it all too far !


Posted by old timer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Re the 'debate' over pensions. The public pension anger is for the very over-compensated firemen with no education, retirements on 50th BD, NO-CONTRIBUTION retirements, padding retirement, retirement plus lifetime benefits. Teachers get nothing like that. Yes, teachers time-off, retirement,& job security are better than majority mid to upper-middle private careers....that inevitably include several periods of 6 mo lay-offs, downsizing, & today's furlough reductions of many days&weeks off with no pay. My family member it's now 20 furlough days & $1,000/MONTH job reduction for '09, + extra work because there were 10 engineers, now he's ONE of the 2 LEFT...More work, less pay just to keep the job..that's just until being turned out at 54 - 55 to live off....well, come to think of it...nothing. Couldn't keep up with 401K so stopped, savings has dropped,since most was used up living during the tech bubble burst...the rest gone in current market collapse..... and has 3 boys in community college that can only WISH they could attend a University. But educators like CAL won't help middle-class white males....have to be RICH, POOR, or MINORITY...then, you're in!
SO, teachers have it much better than uncertainities of private sector, but neither come close to the jackpot the firemen get...who are not even close to ANY other world. No college loan payoffs for them. And, they can spend every penney in their paychecks, save nothing for retirement, & start collecting retirement with health on 50th BD....for life. Teachers don't come close to that. All in all, you can understand why taxpayers have said enough...some have just pushed it all too far !


Posted by VH mom, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm

As Jay said, maybe I am wrong, but maybe we are all wrong. After I sent me my last message I realized that all this "woulda, coulda, shoulda" and "he said, she said" bologna will get us nowhere! We need to come together as a community and sit down - those who voted yes and those who voted no - and get it all out in the open. Where is the money, where will it go, who has the final say? We need form a group to research and brainstorm and find some way to work with the school district instead of all this bickering - it is exhausting and counter productive...I am not sure how to proceed. I am willing to work for this - any other takers? If so let me know and we will figure out a meeting time and place - I can bring lots of parents who are interested as well...it's time for all the negativity to stop and for positve action.


Posted by A.M.Z., a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 5, 2009 at 5:49 am

VH mom,

Onother thread started yesterday or Wednesday. I think it's called Great Ideas. There are some fantastic, positive ideas being shared there.

Here's my take on this:

Some great posts just above these, especially those from "what a mess", and "jay".

I voted no on G for various reason, primarily, I was sadenned to see that the teacher's union refused to hold off on S&C in order to save teacher jobs. As stated by others, you don't sacrafice your peers to save your own skin. What does that teach our children? I'm sorry, the union mentality is twisted - "All for one until times get tough, then it's all for me, if I'm ahead of you" - aweful.

I will vote for a parcel tax under the following conditions:

>Freeze S&C.

>All Admin perks go away - no car allowences, no free cell phones, etc.

>Admin. take a 20% across the board pay cut.

>Admin. making over $180k take a 25% pay cut.

>All unions - teacher and support staff - renegotiate contracts that will save every job until the next contract.

>Trustees and Superintendant: Lead - be bold - make things happen. There are cuts to luxury items that simply must go. For example, there is no justification for having a busing contract that calls for PUSD to use expensive charter buses to move athletic teams from Amador Valley to Foothill. Or for that matter, using a charter service for any competition within the east bay. Use charters for longer trips, not local trips. I'm sure we could save at least $75k per year right there (a teacher salary). I'm very saddened that the emergency board meeting scheduled for tonight was cancelled. this sends a very bad message to this community.

>Pat Kernan: Resign. You don't live here full time. You have two daughters that work for the district. Time for fresh ideas without a conflict of interest.

I could go on, and on and on, like the Everyready bunny!

Bottom line, we need to get past G and find solutions. I'm confident we will. I love Pleasanton like no other place on earth. Let's all work together.




Posted by We need to stand up, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:39 am

I agree with A.M.Z. We need to get past G and find solutions. We need to get back to basics and focus on what needs to be done. We cannot expect the state to bail us out...because obviously that is not possible. We need to come together as a community and clean house. Pleasanton is financially savvy, so why are the schools having so many problem? Mismanagement! If a parcal tax is what we need, fine. Just make sure that the funds are going to where they need to go, the classrooms and our children. This helps our children's future as well as the future of Pleasanton. Let's keep our town a desired place to live.




Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

The district will pay for this election. Superintendents do have value; not unlike CEOs, they pull all of it together to present to the board. I will say then that I agree with others. There is much that can be done by the unions and administration to save jobs. Someone posted on one of the threads that the classified union should be treated differently and I don't disagree. They are always the first to stand up to save each other, and given the chance, they'll do it now (I am not a member of CSEA).

My other concern is that contracts with many administrators have been or will be signed for the coming school year . . . the board should make sure this is undone before June 30 so that car allowances are removed, particularly if mileage is also paid. It is my understanding (and I don't have that link yet) that if you receive a car allowance, the amount you are paid for mileage, if any, is supposed to be less. Most cell phone plans allow for calls within the network, so I'm not opposed to those and do believe that for many they are a vital link, but I do think that too many have them and unnecessarily. I would agree that a one year freeze on step and column is a good approach. Retiree health benefits should be negotiated out permanently; continuing to not fund this liability is, well, a liability. It could take 30 years to undo, but it is literally long-term thinking. Any administrator on a contract should not be allowed to have "me too" clause IF their contract includes an automatic percentage raise for a satisfactory review or if they are part of the negotiations team. The most senior administrators receiving additional funds ($10,000?) to put toward retirement vehicles should also be suspended for the coming year and reconsidered before being done in the future. These are seemingly little things that over time add up to be a burden on the system.

For the board, your commitment is to represent the community that elected you. Having a good working relationship with staff is great, but not when it clouds your vision. Considering limited terms ends the cycle of appointments (yes, this is how I got on the board in 1990) and staying so long there is a loss of effectiveness. It doesn't have to be a law, just unwritten that two terms or three terms is more than enough. It makes it possible for others to step forward and not have to overcome a long term incumbent. Your contributions can continue as ambassadors in the community without holding office.

This is a beginning and it can start now to save jobs(program).


Posted by Wadsworth, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I work at Oracle, here in Pleasanton.

There have been no salary increases for several years now.

Zero.

This so-called "step and column" automatic increase for public employees ... well ... I'd like to know more about it.

If it means public employees are getting automatic salary increases while the private sector are getting zero increases, or getting laid off which is quite common, and then at the same time have the audacity to ask those same private-sector employees to fund their salary increases ... well that just doesn't seem right.






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