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Class Size Reduction - decisions from Weds. meeting

Original post made by MainStreetDiva on Jun 4, 2009

I am pasting the content of the email from PUSD here:
---
At last night's meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to implement Class Size Reduction at 25:1 in grades K-3 and 9. This is the "break even" point where the funds from the state fully support the program. They also voted to postpone a one-time OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) payment of $674,000 and bring back 4 FTE counseling , 2 FTE reading specialists, $45,000 in Barton support, and 3 FTE classified (in libraries and technology). Cabinet and principals will decide what grade levels these counselors will support. Please note that these positions are funded by
one-time money for 09/10. Future funding for 10/11 and beyond is an
unknown. The Board's action will lead to the recision of about 40 final layoff notices.

The Board has canceled the June 5 meeting that was tentatively scheduled and will meet again on Tuesday, June 9, starting time to be determined. One item that they have asked for additional information about is summer school. As of now, there are no changes to the program, but we will keep you informed.

Please feel free to contact me or any Cabinet member with questions.
Myla

______________________________

Myla Y. Grasso
Public Information Officer
Pleasanton Unified School District
4665 Bernal Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Comments (19)

Posted by hard head, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:07 pm

The outcome wouldn't be much different if G were to pass so a BIG thanks to those who voted NO on G.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Thanks for posting this (in both locations). I thought I heard Chris Grant say all this stuff at the end of the meeting, but there was a lot of cross talk going on. I thought I misheard.

So, they're saying that FORTY pink slips were rescinded (and unnecessarily and prematurely distributed causing turmoil and panic in forty households). I understand why they said they had to do it (rules regarding proper notice and all), but it's still clear that they passed out way more pink slips than was likely to be needed.

They were either (a) trying to create financial panic, in order to scare people into voting for Measure G, or (b) trying to cover their butts and not caring about the mental well-being of the borderline pink-slippers.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

This is *not* the same thing as what would have happened if measure G had passed.

If measure G had passed, over 65 additional positions could have been reinstated to keep class sizes at 20 instead of raising them to 25.

Strings and band for 4th and 5th graders would have been reinstated.

8 FTE custodians who have been laid off would have been reinstated.

7 counselors would be saved, not just 4.

Out of the 11.5 technology and library staff pink-slipped three months ago, only 3 were reinstated last night. 8 more would still be working for our children and teachers if measure G had passed.

I want to say this firmly. The board did not "find" $4.58 million in next year's budget. They found a way to make use of options they did not know they would have, when they put measure G on the ballot, to postpone about $1 million of the $9.7 million in cuts. For one year.

Next year, when the stimulus money is spent, another $8 million in cuts will need to be made.


Posted by Max, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I agree that they passed out many more pink slips than were needed and believe it was done to ignite the emotions. I mean, $45,000 couldn't be found in March to entirely save a program like Barton but now they can?!


Posted by Question for Sandy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Sandy,
Did PUSD put out a specific list of what would be saved if G passed? I know what the ballot said, but I never saw anything that said specifically that if G didn't pass, PUSD would eliminate strings and band for 4th and 5th graders and all the other things you listed.

I guess what I'm saying is that we have no way of knowing whether all the things that were cut would have been cut anyway if G passed.

If PUSD had this specific list of cuts they would make if G didn't pass, then why didn't they make that list public? It might have made a difference in the election results.

I've read on the blogs that the district spends $120K a year in car allowances. Can't the School Board cut out some or all of those allowances and use the money they save to keep some of the positions they cut?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jun 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Everything that was to be saved by measure G was clearly spelled out in all the literature that was distributed. How you didn't know this surprises me. Nobody gets to claim-"Oh, but I didn't know what my no vote or even worse, no vote at all" means to our programs in school. You can read- right?


Posted by hard head, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Ballot language and all the distributed materials were as ambiguous as they can get. I'm glad our intelligent voters in P-town voted the measure down. PUSD can put another ballot up in the fall and our 4 NO votes will be cast again unless we see some MAJOR changes, starting from axing the high salary and perks at the top level and rid of the union's BS. You need to work to get out votes.


Posted by Question for Sandy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Parent,
I guess I can't read because I have a copy of the ballot in front of me and I don't see where it says that Measure G would do the following:
preserve 5th & 6th grade strings and band program
rescind lay off notices for 8 Full Time custodians
rescind lay off notices for 11 counselors
rescind lay off notices for 11 technology and library positions

My point was that this kind of specific language might have changed the outcome of the election. Also, that the School Board never put out anything that said what they would do if G passed and what they would do if it didn't pass. That kind of information also might have made a difference in the outcome.

Thank you parent for your rude and sarcastic post. You have given me a reason to have empathy for all those who posted on here that they were against G. I am now going to start looking very seriously at what they have to say.


Posted by Keri, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I did receive one of the "hand-outs" that Parent was referring to but that's because I'm a parent of school age children and the school passed out the information. I don't know how one would get that information, otherwise. Like "Question for Sandy" said, it's not on the ballot. Please refrain from rudeness on this comment board, it does nothing to help promote your cause.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Question for Sandy wrote: "If PUSD had this specific list of cuts they would make if G didn't pass, then why didn't they make that list public?"

That's because it would have been illegal for them to do that. It is illegal for a government agency to say "we're going to cut this if you don't pass this".


Posted by For Stacey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm

That's very interesting. You should probably post where you got your information or the usual suspects will be screaming at their keyboards soon.
So a government agency can say it would save something, but not cut something?
Does that mean that Measure G could have been written to say it would save the 5th & 6th grade band and strings program?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm

To answer the question I was asked.... yes, PUSD put out a specific list. In March.

"Pleasanton Unified Proposed Parcel Tax Programs to be Funded"

I received it at a budget forum at Amador Valley High School. It stated exactly what was being cut (total of $9.7 million) and exactly what would be reinstated ($4.58 million) if measure G passed.

The board packet from last night's board meeting again included copies of those documents, and can be downloaded online. Here's the link to the board's meetings and agendas page on the district website:

Web Link

To download the file I mentioned, click on "fajun32009.pdf"

See page 14. That page was also published in the weekly, as an ad, paid for by the Save Pleasanton Schools committee. In March.

The ballot language stated that funds would be used "To keep class sizes small, maintain essential reading and math support programs, libraries, counselors, technology instruction, music, and safe, clean schools". Page 14 itemizes the budget line items that correspond to those seven areas that would have been supported by measure G.

So when you write that "the School Board never put out anything that said what they would do if G passed and what they would do if it didn't pass" -- you just missed it.

I won't argue with your contention that if the public had been aware of the specifics, the outcome might have been different. The information was there, though.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm

The board should have voted to keep the Elementary Band and Strings program instead of more counselors.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

I feel the frustration of the parent above in that the information was definitely there for anyone who cared to find out. There were board meetings to attend, online information etc. I wonder how many people used this blog to help them decide- it's an opinion site, not unbiased, and so if that's all people used, it's not a wonder the measure failed. We are now left to pick up the pieces and as teachers and other staff receive their final notices (which they have) start to see what resources we are left with. The children are still there, but the schools will not be the same- that's my opinion!


Posted by PoliSci, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Sandy, do you know the difference between discussions/proposals and what was actually in the text of the Measure? (I saw the proposed cuts/saves back in March/April and reviewed them with my 8th grade daughter)

The actual text was much more vague, and didn't set any conditions on the distribution of the funds. In fact, I was disappointed in the actual wording, which left WAYYYY too much leeway to the board. Had they been specific about percentages and distributions and conditions, the parcel tax likely would have passed. But it was too much like handing a wad of money to a group that had proven to be indiscriminate spenders and poor negotiators.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Sandy,I hope teachers will put pressure on their leadership to give real concessions to save these positions. I also hope CSEA will be able to do the same for their fellow members; they often are the most likely to do so. Administrators can also do much to save jobs and programs. Any word on whether they are trying to do any of this?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I won't argue about the specificity of the ballot language. If you're not convinced of the correspondence between the 75 words and the details on page 14 of that PDF, then you're not convinced. I understand that. Clearly you were not alone, and I respect the outcome of the vote.

All I'm saying is that the school board did put something out that said what they would do if G passed and what they would do if it didn't pass.

I am ready to move on and figure out what to do next to help the schools.

As I said to Russell in another thread, I'm not at all convinced that another, differently-worded measure is the key to a solution for the 2010-2011 budget cuts. It may be part of what happens, after the board has conducted another round of soliciting community input. Most of the community energy right now seems to be getting channeled into voluntary fundraising. We will see, over the next few months, how far that energy takes us.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Everyone who voted Yes on G can voluntarily contribute $233 either to one of the PUSD schools or the District Office. Do it today and pledge to do the same for the next three years.
I think many of the No on G people will also support the schools with donations.
If we all pull together and make these contributions, we can be a part of the solution.
Those without the resources can contribute in whatever way they can either by volunteering or offering suggestions.


Posted by Reactive Mode, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Plan B (solicit donations) should have been in-place long before measure G failed.


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