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Future school funding looks bleak

Original post made on Nov 12, 2009

While awaiting a report for the Legislative Analysts Office, the state budget update at Tuesday night's school board meeting was grim.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 12, 2009, 6:34 AM

Comments (261)

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"The reductions for next year, she said, would be $2.3 million in ongoing costs and $1.3 million in one-time expenditures in the district that were funded by one-time sources."

How much of the $2.3MM in ongoing costs are from costs that have increased? Why have these costs increased?

What would have been cut had Measure G passed and we're already in the hole? Would we have put another parcel tax measure on the ballot to cover this shortfall too?

Now is the perfect time to start a funding drive.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:08 am

Now is the time to step back....look at the whole picture...get rid of any and all unions associated with education and look for the excellence, efficiencies and waste within the system. You can start at one level or at all levels from K-University. The system is a mess and needs a major overhaul. There are examples of schools that were nearing bankruptcy that hired strong business leaders to take over. Are there any lessons that could be learned from that. There's also a charter school in NY that is piloting a public school without unionization and that would be interesting to look at. What about the private charter schools that Tiger Woods, Bill Gates and Andre Aggasi run - are there any lessons that public education could learn? I know the system is large and unwieldy but we have to start somewhere. Is anyone looking at other countries - like Asia for example. Is there anything to be learned from the strong students they produce? It just seems like the United States, and California in particular, is not working optimally. We are not producing the doctors, engineers or even trades people that are needed to keep our competitive edge. Are we doing all we can in the educating of our United States citizens? Has our "good will" landed us in a situation where we are using our resources to educate a large portion of international students at the expense of our own citizens? We need to look at the basic elements. We can no longer afford to educate the entire world. It's just something to think about. It is apparent that we do not have the financial "deep pockets" we used to as a state or as a nation to take care of everyone. Something must be done now.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

Cuts imminent but its still BUSINESS AS USUAL with the "search firm"!


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Web Link Training to solve California's financial, social and education problems is a tough business. Especially when you're a repub. having fun!


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Posted by Daryl
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:41 pm

This just in future personal income looks bleak, property values look bleak, investment income looks bleak, employment market looks bleak, retirement accounts look bleak (unless you are a protected public employee) breaking news. Stop the presses!


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm


To Resident,

The status of education in this state is a huge problem. Too many schools are focused more on making students feel good about themselves than they are on helping them learn. There is a reluctance on the part of many schools to give out low grades or to fail students or hold them back because it might damage their self-image. This is further perpetuated in the university systems where students have such a poor academic background that they have little chance for survival. Either that or they have to put in massive amounts of work just to survive. Students are packed into classes even when they don't necessarily have the proper prerequisites. In other words, the school is almost setting people up for failure in some cases by not insisting that they do remedial work before taking their other courses. In some respects the schools are acting like a screwed up profit center where the customer is always right. Faculty often dumb down the exams in order to make students happy to they get a good rating and hopefully keep their jobs, make tenure etc.

In other countries students put their nose to the grindstone and work hard and appreciate the value of what they've accomplish. Here, I run into far too many students who get upset when they have to work for something.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I think that it is time to give the parcel tax a try again. I know I would support it. PUSD may not be perfect, but they are a pretty good district, and all of our kids benefit from the excellent academic programs they offer. We need a parcel tax to make up for the lack of funding from the state.

The big problem is the state, they should cut unnecessary expenses and stop the cuts to education.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Resident,

I agree with what you said. All of the other good school districts are using parcel taxes with great results. It is time for PUSD to get a parcel tax on the ballot and get it passed.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Another option is for every PUSD employee to take a 5% pay cut. Personnel costs in 09-10 is approx $80M, so 5% would be $4M and problem solved.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Let's pass a parcel tax every time there's a budget cut from the State to cover the shortfall. That would be just as ridiculous as saying personnel should take a pay cut every time, right?

How about a little better financial planning as a hedge against swings in revenue instead?


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Posted by Light Corners of Town
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:18 pm

How about supporting our district that's already cut COLA, 1/3 of its administrators, hundreds of teachers, lots of custodians and many programs. They're not AIG folks. How about investing in the kids today instead of prisoners tomorrow. Last I looked, prisoners cost a lot more per year than a K-12 student. We may not be able to get our state legislators to do this but we can do it here in this town.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Stacey,

Every high quality school district in the Bay Area has passed a parcel tax and with very good results. There is a structural problem with public school funding caused by the passage of proposition 13. Parcel taxes are an effective remedy to that. Did you read that pdf I posted? It provides much of the details of why a parcel tax is needed.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm

To "Dark Corners",

You said "...problem solved". That doesn't solve the problem, it just creates a new problem. It puts our district at a disadvantage when recruiting new employees. Why work here for lower pay when the other districts support their teachers with parcel taxes? Are you against all those other parcel taxes in Palo Alto, Piedmont, San Ramon, and the others?

Let's get a parcel tax on the ballot in get it passed.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Here is another document from another district's successful drive to pass a parcel tax.

Web Link


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:49 pm


They should trim the fat off their own you-know-what first before they try to take it through a parcel tax.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:05 pm

To Querty,

They have "trimmed that fat", just like the other high quality school districts in the area. It is time to get a parcel tax on the ballot and get it passed.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

That PDF doesn't say too much. For example, it has a section on concerns about parcel taxes and mentions the regressive nature of the flat dollar amount parcel tax, but then brushes it off because of exemptions allowed for seniors and SSI disability recipients. That's not really addressing the regressive nature of the tax, just making the reader who agrees with the idea of parcel taxes feel better about it.

Here's a PDF that talks about parcel taxes as a source of school funding much more in depth: Web Link


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 13, 2009 at 2:58 am

To 'a reader',

In years past a salary reduction would introduce a new problem. Today, there are many unemployed good teachers in the Tri-Valley and CA who would be happy to have a job at PUSD. With the potential for all school districts to have revenue reductions from the state in 2010 and 2011, there will likely be a teacher supply/demand imbalance for several years.


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Posted by Pepper
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 4:33 am

Many of you do not get the true picture. We are in a full blown depression, taxed to death, with no jobs. Forget a tax of any kind at this point. High taxes and big government have created this problem.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The bigger picture? That will be that government historically is unable to flex with the economy. That's why they always want to raise taxes. With that knowledge in mind, a little better financial management leads to stability during economic swings. It means during economic booms, you don't go on a spending spree, hiring extra counselors when you don't know how they'll be paid for or betting on enrollment growth and COLA from the State to pay for them.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I think some pro-parcel tax people acknowledge that the district didn't plan well, but see a parcel tax as the short-term solution to getting longer term fixes in place. Others believe that the longer term fixes won't get in place if a parcel tax is passed, that it will just continue a cycle of "tax and spend" and the parcel tax will be renewed indefinitely. I tend to view the latter as a solution given that government is historically inflexible. It won't change unless forced to.

It is too bad there's no groups that seem to be working on pushing our State legislators to reform California's byzantine categorical spending structure that just wastes money and takes away local decision making.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 13, 2009 at 8:18 am

Again I ask...why a PARCEL TAX ? Property owners already support the schools. Its time for creative solutions (sales tax, city income tax, luxury tax,RENTERS TAX, dog tax) whatever works to get ALL CITIZENS to share equally in the support of the schools!


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Posted by Becky
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 13, 2009 at 8:32 am

More than $300,000 was wasted on measure G; any new bid for a parcel tax in Pleasanton will fail because there are too many informed residents that will create opposition.
The district and unions have a lot of work to do first.

The truth is that if the salaries and retirements were brought in line with the economy PUSD probably would not have a problem.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:11 am

To "Dark Corners",

You said,

" Today, there are many unemployed good teachers in the Tri-Valley and CA who would be happy to have a job at PUSD. "

I maintain that under any conditions it is a matter of supply and demand. Districts like Palo Alto and San Ramon will be able to hire better teachers because they, like all other good districts, have parcel taxes. Pleasanton needs to pass a parcel tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Do teachers honestly look at whether or not a district has a parcel tax when deciding where they'd like to work?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Or are you saying that a parcel tax is indeed just for raises because only districts that have parcel taxes can afford the raises that allow them to hire better teachers?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:19 am

To Pepper,

You said, "High taxes and big government have created this problem.".

I disagree. A big part of the reason we are in this mess is that government failed to regulate derivatives properly in the investment banking industry. This allowed an asset bubble to form leading to massive government bailouts (George Bush's TARP program, and Federal Reserve buying CDOs and CDS in amounts of trillions of dollars). This lead directly to the fluctuation in asset values and state tax revenues. Big government could have helped. We are only now getting some of the regulation we need.

Proposition 13 led directly to lower funding of schools as a portion of tax revenue. Parcel taxes are an effective answer to that. We need to focus our energy on getting the right tax on ballot and getting it passed.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. I'm just trying to understand what your reasoning is behind a statement like "Districts like Palo Alto and San Ramon will be able to hire better teachers because they, like all other good districts, have parcel taxes."


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:26 am

To Becky,

You said,

"any new bid for a parcel tax in Pleasanton will fail because there are too many informed residents that will create opposition."

Not true. Second bids for parcel taxes frequently pass after the failure of a first bid. There are many examples. For a recent example, look at Measure I and Measure A in Palo Alto. Measure I failed and then Measure A passed, despite being over a year into a recession. Measure A was an improvement over Measure I, and voters became better informed for the second attempt. We can do the same thing here in Pleasanton. I hope I can get you on board for supporting the the new parcel tax bid.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

To Joe,

I get your point. I certainly think we should "think out of the box" for solutions. I don't know if we would run into legal problems with some of those other possibilities. I hope PUSD had people looking at things like that.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:39 am

Stacey,

Part of the point I'm making is that many of the other districts in the area didn't "plan well" either. We have to compete with those other districts for resources. The laws of supply and demand still operate in a down market. I think we are giving our best teachers, principals, and administrators an incentive to leave the district when don't give them comparable compensation or employment terms to other districts. I do think teachers look at such matters as perceived community support for schools as a factor in their choices, and the best teachers do have choices, even in this economy.


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Posted by Pepper
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

Prop 13 happened over 30 years ago so get over it. We have chased or taxed every major employer out of the state and now have no money. I have taken a paycut and voted for the parcel tax the first time but never again now that I know it is for teachers raises while the rest of us suffer.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:20 am

Why not charge a tuition to go to Public school? It is done at the University level, why not start at the Kindergarten level and make the charge correspond to household income.

But, require sound Financial Management as part of the Tuition system.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:24 am

To common sense,

To do that would require a change to the California constitution. Effecting a change like that is certainly beyond what we could accomplish here in our little town. The way I see it, our best bet is to pass a parcel tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 10:27 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Public education is a monopoly not subject to the normal free market competitive pressures. It is highly manipulated. For example, highly qualified people are not allowed to teach in K-12 because of arbitrary certification requirements invented by legislators and influenced by public unions (conversely, since the State puts people through hoops to teach, they should be rewarded for that). That's one reason why I'm not a fan of public employee unions who are not subject to market forces. It sets up a system that's more artificial construct than reflective of reality. Moreover, the job market is not directly influenced by simple supply and demand. Web Link "With labour, overall supply cannot effectively be manufactured because people have a limited amount of time in the day, and people are not manufactured."


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm

To Pepper,

You said,

"Prop 13 happened over 30 years ago so get over it."

I'm not sure what you want me to get over. I'm saying Prop 13 is a fact of life. It had consequences good and bad, intended and unintended. The file I posted above provided an explanation.

"We have chased or taxed every major employer out of the state and now have no money"

I'm sure you mean that as an exaggeration, but I agree with you on principle. I think California should be a friendlier place to do business from both a tax perspective and and regulation and red tape perspective. We have chased business out of the state, but by no means all businesses -- Apple Inc. isn't in any hurry to move out of Cupertino, for instance.

But we are talking about property taxes here, not taxes on business. And this is directly targeted to schools. Good schools tend to attract businesses to communities, just as good schools tend to lead to higher property values.

I think the best solution for us here in Pleasanton is to pass a parcel tax that is well tailored to the community's needs.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

To Stacey,

Yes, supply and demand are distorted in K-12, but they still operate. Good school districts like Cupertino and Palo Alto know who the good teachers are. They do what is necessary to hire the best they can. Parents demand it. Good teachers know they can shop themselves to other districts if they need to. I think PUSD needs to do what it can to retain and hire the best. I think a parcel tax can help keep us competitive.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm

To Stacey,

"It is too bad there's no groups that seem to be working on pushing our State legislators to reform California's byzantine categorical spending structure that just wastes money and takes away local decision making."

I agree, it is too bad there isn't much of a push for that.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

A parcel tax hasn't even been proposed and look at all the controversy generated already on this one post. A parcel tax is not the answer. You need to get creative, a parcel tax is an easy fix but it wont solve the problems becuse it just more tax and spend.
If the teacher's union can petition the state for a 1/4 cent addition to the statewide sales tax, then the city county, or school district can do something. I'm not a lawyer, politician, or educator, but I know that there are alternatives that will treat all citizens equally and not unfairly burden one segment becuase they "own" property.
As an "aside"...If everyone that voted yes on the parcel tax measure had contributed the proposed tax dollar amount to the school district, then the districts problems would be less than they are now. The fact that you didn't shows me that there's a lot of "lip service" going on and many of you, maybe most of you, want someone else to shoulder the load.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I think your suggestion of a 1/4-cent sales tax is good, but a parcel tax would be a better solution to the current school budget crisis, because property owners here in Pleasanton are the ones who stand to benefit the most when it comes to good schools.

Take, for instance, how desirable Pleasanton is because of the good reputation Pleasanton schools have. If Pleasanton's schools were as bad as, say, Oakland's, do you think families would be willing to pay a premium in housing prices to come live here? We moved here because of the good schools, and everyone else I know who has moved here recently did as well.

Look at a community with mixed school test scores. Fremont comes to mind. The neighborhoods with the highest API scores also have the highest housing prices in the city.

Think about it: Pleasanton's average home prices are higher than Dublin's and Livermore's, because Pleasanton schools' API scores are the highest in the Tri-Valley, not to mention among the best in the Bay Area. All the cities in the Tri-Valley area *except Pleasanton* have parcel taxes. What do you think will happen to Pleasanton's home prices when our schools become worse than San Ramon, Dublin and Livermore schools? You guessed it: families will instead move to Livermore, Dublin, and San Ramon--at least these communities are supportive of their schools.

When the schools here go downhill, so will the community. It's been said a hundred times already: education is a public service, and we all stand to benefit when we support our schools.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm

To Joe,

You said "maybe most of you, want someone else to shoulder the load."

I don't see how that could be possible unless you think most of the people who voted yes rented apartments. I don't know how you can make the math work on that. People who voted yes and owned property were voting to increase their own taxes.

"If the teacher's union can petition the state for a 1/4 cent addition to the statewide sales tax, then the city county, or school district can do something."

Far easier said than done and have it earmarked for schools. I haven't seen anything like this in any of the other high quality districts. The solution was a parcel tax. It is a solution that is tried and true, and it works.

"... becuse it just more tax and spend."

But tax and spend aren't always bad words. Quality education isn't cheap. I think we need to maintain the quality of the education our schools provide by using a parcel tax to help keep them competitive.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "Quality education isn't cheap."

Neither is poor education, where more and more money is dumped than in districts with quality education. The discussion should revolve around asking what is cost effective and how to provide adequate funding for that because the numbers are showing that just throwing more money into a district doesn't always return desired outcomes.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Concerned wrote:

"I think your suggestion of a 1/4-cent sales tax is good, but a parcel tax would be a better solution to the current school budget crisis, because property owners here in Pleasanton are the ones who stand to benefit the most when it comes to good schools.

Take, for instance, how desirable Pleasanton is because of the good reputation Pleasanton schools have. If Pleasanton's schools were as bad as, say, Oakland's, do you think families would be willing to pay a premium in housing prices to come live here? We moved here because of the good schools, and everyone else I know who has moved here recently did as well.

Look at a community with mixed school test scores. Fremont comes to mind. The neighborhoods with the highest API scores also have the highest housing prices in the city.

Think about it: Pleasanton's average home prices are higher than Dublin's and Livermore's, because Pleasanton schools' API scores are the highest in the Tri-Valley, not to mention among the best in the Bay Area. All the cities in the Tri-Valley area *except Pleasanton* have parcel taxes. What do you think will happen to Pleasanton's home prices when our schools become worse than San Ramon, Dublin and Livermore schools? You guessed it: families will instead move to Livermore, Dublin, and San Ramon--at least these communities are supportive of their schools.

When the schools here go downhill, so will the community. It's been said a hundred times already: education is a public service, and we all stand to benefit when we support our schools."

Well said!


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Joe - The California Teachers Association filed an initiative for a 1 cent sales tax increase (not 1/4 cent). Web Link
According to the Secretary of State's initiative web site, it looks like it did not qualify.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 13, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Just because a school district has a parcel tax, doesn't mean it is not having fiscal challenges. Livermore has a parcel tax, and here is it's current fiscal state Web Link


"This year's budget must be shaved by some $6 million in response to continued state cutbacks in education funding. Closing Portola is just one of many options being considered, officials said.

Other suggestions presented by Superintendent Brenda Miller include slashing $100,000 from high school athletics, eliminating elementary school music, negotiating with teachers for raise freezes and/or salary cuts and other measures.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:04 pm

to reader:...you-"I don't know how you can make the math work on that. People who voted yes and owned property were voting to increase their own taxes."
I can make the "math" work because those same people that voted "yes" did not step up and support the schools after the failure of Measure G. That fund raiser was a joke and an embarrassment. Hell, I contributed and I voted "no" because I consider a percel tax for the schools or anything else to be unjust. The tax burden is meant to be shared by everyone, not just property owners or someone that makes more than a certain amount!


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Posted by To Dark Corners
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Exactly why a parcel tax IS needed: you say that PUSD is in their situation because of fiscal irresponsibility. The fact is ALL school districts are suffering and a parcel tax has helped.

Face it: freezing teacher salaries is only going to account for about $1 million. Where are we going to come up with the other $3-4 million?

Our priority should be keeping the high quality of Pleasanton's schoools, which will benefit housing prices and the community, not thinking about ways to make our schools more mediocre.

$200/year is a bargain for the excellent quality of education Pleasanton schools provide. Public school teachers must pass stringent state-mandated certification before being hired. Private schools have no such requirement, yet they charge more than $10,000 per year.

Also, homeowners will eventually benefit more than $200/year from the desirability of living here that good schools bring.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 13, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Again, the same old tired argument that "homewoners will eventually benefit...."


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Posted by We have benefited
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 8:04 pm

We have benefited from having superior schools as measured by the all mighty API. Pleasanton's home values have decreased less than other surrounding communities because of the high test scoring momentum of our quality schools. Without a parcel tax, this momentum will certainly fail after these next rounds of cuts. We will not command the same prices after we slip below a premier 900 API, our K-3 classes are at 30:1 or 32:1, we've eliminated our remaining councilors, reading specialists, intervention programs, music and on. Surrounding communities have parcel taxes in place and will maintain more competitive offerings. Supply and demand. Pretty simple.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Here's Palo Altos's recent contract negotiations with it's unions.

Web Link

Note at the end that it needs $6M next year.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm

To Joe,

You said, "the same old tired argument ..."

But statistics show a very strong correlation between API scores and home values. On top of that it is true that some, though obviously not all, home buyers consider school districts to be an important part of their buying decision. If some people base their decision to buy based on school district, it does lead to higher home values relative to other districts. I think it gets repeated a lot because their is truth to it. Sure, some buyers don't care about school districts, but some do. That is enough to effect home prices.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm

To Joe,

I get your point about the fund raiser. I think the timing was pretty bad for that, but the money raised didn't come anywhere near it where it should have.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2009 at 7:07 am

Palo Alto had a parcel tax in place when they ran Measure I. Measure I was a renewal attempt, but with an increase and for longer. Measure A dialed back the amount and length and it passed at 74%. Polls were done. They are looking at a renewal. The poll done this past October can be found at: Web Link Look at the board packet for November 10.

The unions chose to work on benefits over salary increases. As to the $6 million for next year, all staff members have input into determining what to cut, as do site councils and PTAs. They also have a large reserve that can help absorb some of the impact. Property tax growth, should there be any, could also help cut the need for reductions.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 7:33 am

We need a parcel tax.

One of my neighbors is opposed to it, but this neighbor is not paying much in the way of taxes, and this neighbor bought the house a long time ago, for very cheap, and the taxes are based on that.

Maybe prop 13 should be adjusted, then. Many people are able to afford the current market rate tax of their house, and they oppose a parcel tax, so maybe adjusting prop 13 is the answer. Some people are getting the benefits of taxes (roads, police, schools, etc) without paying their fair share, and then they just oppose a parcel tax!

We need a parcel tax or some sort of revenue to get through this financial deficit.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 7:37 am

I agree that buyers look at the schools when thinking about buying a house. We did.

For those who claim people want to leave in Pleasanton just because...you may want to really look around. Pleasanton is nice, but its main attraction is the schools. We bought here just because of the schools, yes, it is a nice town and kid oriented, but part of that beauty is because of the families living here....and they are here because of the schools.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident,

Have you not considered that perhaps your neighbor views their home as a long-term investment and increasing costs like property taxes eats into that? Certainly one could debate the right and wrong of that just as one could debate the right and wrong of you wanting to eat into their investment, but why would you want to belittle your neighbor over an investment choice that you'd most likely make yourself? Consider if your neighbor lost their job in this economy for the better part of a year. Having lower housing costs acts as a hedge against being kicked out because they couldn't afford the tax.

You say that your neighbor purchased their house "for very cheap". I'm curious if you know how cheap it was relative to the years it was purchased in. Pleasanton has been known for good schools for a long time now and I'm sure a premium was paid back then too.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident,

Again, why should your neighbor be forced to pay more just because you moved in next door and paid $100k over the asking price? Is your neighbor going to get more and better government services in return just because you moved in? Hardly.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

To "Dark Corners",

Are you agreeing with Wayne Martin when he says that the Palo Alto school district were poor stewards "of the public's trust and money" and did not deserve to be rewarded with a parcel tax? Are you saying they are a mediocre district?

Web Link


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Many people moved to Pleasanton prior to me. The assessment on their homes are quite low relative to the market. Begrudging someone this is really ridiculous in my opinion. It's like being jealous of someone who was born in another generation because of the year they were born in. And plus, it isn't your neighbors fault that the State system is as such.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:37 am

Resident...It may seem "cheap" in retrospect, but nothing was ever cheap. People who bought homes in the 60's-70's or even 80's faced the same obstacles then that home buyers face today. Wages were lower, the cost of living was lower, and so naturually home prices were lower when compared to today's standards. But nothing was ever cheap!


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:37 am

To Stacey,

"Is your neighbor going to get more and better government services in return just because you moved in?"

Is that what you mean to say? Under Prop. 13 he will get more and better services if the person moving out was paying substantially lower taxes. By moving in, "Resident" has increased the revenue for the city. That is exactly what happens.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 8:38 am

"But nothing was ever cheap!"

I'll second that.


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 9:17 am

Kathleen, question for you- I see that the poll was conducted by Gene Bregman and Associates. Were they hired independently or by the Tramutola firm, the consulting firm hired for the renewal of the current parcel tax. What was the cost to the district to hire such firms.

I think it would be a real benefit if you could add some information about why a consultant firm would be hired to assist with parcel tax elections. This seemed to be quite an issue with people last year when they thought PUSD had hired one.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 14, 2009 at 9:34 am

Stacey should go home and stay there.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

Don't be so quick to slam Prop.13 as the problem. I was here and remember quite vividly what it was like before that tax measure was enacted. There was no control over the yearly raises and some retired persons actually had to sell...I, personally, had to pay my parent's property tax because their fixed income couldn't be stretched any further. This is not a "story" to elicit any kind of a response, this is a fact and I know we were not alone. Everyone benefits from Prop.13 except for the politicians in Sacramento who are totally incapable of acting responsibly and now have no choice.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 10:38 am

I wasn't slamming Prop. 13. Something had to be done at the time. I was just disagreeing with Stacey. I was saying that when someone new moves in to replace someone who paid lower taxes, the property tax revenue to the city goes up. That's just how it works. The more people move, the higher the tax revenues. The more people stay put, the lower the tax revenues. I'm not saying it is a perfect law (no law is) -- Maybe we can improve it.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:20 am

To 'a reader' - I read the guest opinion from 2005 that you linked. I don't know much about the PA school district's history of financial management to answer your questions.

There was a suggestion earlier that districts with parcel taxes are fiscally better positioned than PUSD and will better recruit/retain teachers. So far, I see all districts will be experiencing the same 'less revenue' scenario this year and next, keeping the teacher employment playing field among districts relatively level.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

To "Dark Corners",

I'm reading the same material and seeing it the other way around. Yes, the other districts are hurting also from property tax and state revenue declines, but the parcel taxes in other districts put them at an advantage. It is a question of bad or worse. They do not have the same scenario as we have. They have the extra revenue source of a parcel tax, which puts them at an advantage. It is not a panacea, just an advantage. They have the extra revenue source, we don't.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:41 am

Prop 13 is the main culprit to a lot of state woes but not entirely at fault. The people that really benefit are the people who have stayed in their house for years and years and years. They are not paying their fare share. I regret ever changing houses in Pleasanton because my taxes are extremely high compared to all of my neighbors who have lived in their houses forever. Why is that fair. Why are we not all paying based on a calculated property VALUE. It doesn't mean the state has to raise it enormously every year - it just means that it's a more current way to pay for services and a more fair way to allocate those services across the community.

In regards to education in this state....it is horrible. We have a very rigid teacher/administrative union and it stifles an eagerness to work hard and work smart. There's no down side if you don't! However, the biggest expense to all of it is not teacher's salaries necessarily....it is the huge retirement benefits/medical care that is received by government/school/university employees as a whole. That's the huge ticket item and one that really needs to be looked at. No other industry offers the same benefits - outside of a union shop.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:46 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "Under Prop. 13 he will get more and better services if the person moving out was paying substantially lower taxes. By moving in, "Resident" has increased the revenue for the city. That is exactly what happens"

Yes, that's exactly what happens, but it doesn't necessarily translate into "more and better services" that directly benefit the homeowner.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:47 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident, why should long-time homeowners have to subsidize your buying decisions?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

Stacey is a registered user.

BTW, the property value is calculated! And it already doesn't rise enormously every year.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 1:35 pm

There seem to be two "Resident" here. Mine is from the "another pleasanton neighborhood"

Stacey: I am not asking anyone to subsidize anything for me. I am happy with the choices I have made, I have sold properties that I bought for cheap and got the profits.

All I am saying is that most states, ex: Texas, evaluate properties to bring them up to their current market value, and tax accordingly. Before you say Texas is very cheap, think Austin, where a good house in the Eanes school district is not as cheap.

I am not suggesting to bring up all the tax at once, but adjust it accordingly. There are people in Pleasanton who paid 100K or less for their properties, they are older and live on fixed incomes. However, when some of those people pass on their properties to their kids (some making 200K or more), the tax should be adjusted, rather than having it valued at the "sales" price which is not high since it is a family transaction.

Adjust taxes, that is the only way to get an increased tax revenue, given how some in Pleasanton who are paying very little in property taxes, oppose a few hundred dollars per year for a parcel tax. That to me does not make sense, to pay 1000 per year or less in property tax and still oppose a parcel tax? If you don't believe how low some taxes are, go to propertyshark.com and find out for yourself.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

And there's no income tax in Texas.

Sorry for the confusion regarding who is posting.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Just another side note -- Once you adjust for inflation (Consumer Price Index),

Web Link

Web Link

the longer you live in your house in California, the less real dollars you pay in property tax. This is because the maximum allowable property tax increase is less than the average rate of consumer inflation (the buying power of a dollar). This distorts the market and creates an incentive to stay put and not "buy up" that would not exist without Prop 13. In general, market distortions lead to a less efficient market and can lead to less wealth creation.

I'm not saying we should scrap the law. I'm saying that the law has many unintended consequences. Another consequence is that K-12 school funding drops disproportionately under Prop 13 because a large portion of K-12 funding comes from property taxes. That is why many communities respond with parcel taxes to compensates for the effect of Prop 13.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm

To Stacey,

You said,

"why should long-time homeowners have to subsidize your buying decisions?"

You could just as easily say,

"why should short-time homeowners have to subsidize your buying decisions?"


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm

To Stacey,

You said,

"but it doesn't necessarily translate into "more and better services" that directly benefit the homeowner."

It does not necessarily lead to that, but it does lead to greater revenue and less need for things like parcel taxes.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

None of you have once mentioned our children who are now in classes with more children, schools with no vice principals, fewer library hours, fewer custodians, fewer counselors, no art, no music, etc. with more cuts on the way. Is this what you want for your children? A parcel tax is not ideal but until the the state comes up with some other way to fund our schools we need to step up to the plate - and before any of you blast me - I voted for Measure G, I donated money to the schools and to ILPS. My family has stepped up and we are willing to do it again.

This not about teacher's pay or administrative waste - the money is for our kids and their future. We did not move to Pleasanton to get a bare bones education for our kids. I don't like taxes anymore than the next person, but if there is another way to come up with more revenue by next school year I would love to hear it, because all the other things I have heard from you all would takes years of polical wrangling to happen.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Get Educated: I believe Tramutola brings Bregman in, but they are independent of each other. The way it works is Trumutola and Bregman advise the board. Once the board decides to move forward with an election, Tramutola advises the community committee and the committee pays for their services. The district pays for the first part. I'd have to ask what the cost is to the district, but I think it's probably in the range of $30,000 to the district.

As to why . . . how do you determine what will bring success, how much people will pay, without asking? When is it it that information is a bad thing?


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I agree that information is crucial, I am just curious as to how the community would react to a consultant being hired to gather the information. Having an unbiased third party seems to be key to the process. I hope you can speak to this more in the future, since it is something that your district is having success with.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 15, 2009 at 7:07 am

Well, I consider PUSD to be my district--it's where we live, have a grandchild in the schools, and pay taxes (essentially anyway). PAUSD is where I work and it is a great district; I've learned a lot there.

I have heard there was a meeting at Walnut Grove about the possibility of a parcel tax. If this is the beginning of an organized effort, I would highly recommend calling Larry Tramutola to see if he or one of his staff can respond to questions about what the effort will cost in dollars and time. Here's a good place to start: Web Link And here is the site for Bregman: Web Link


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 7:15 am

Stacey: yes, there are no income taxes in Texas, but the property tax rate is 3% (compared to 1.2% or so here). Also, in Texas properties are evaluated and brought up to current market value for tax purposes.

Someone living on a fixed income in Texas, even if their house was purchased a long time ago, pays their fair share of property taxes.

I supported measure G, donated money over the summer and will gladly support a parcel tax should they decide to put it on the ballot.

Kathleen: I know you were an advocate against measure G, why? I read somewhere on a post that you work for Palo Alto, where a parcel tax is successfully in place. Why be against something similar here in Pleasanton?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

Resident, Odd to be asked this now. I was very clear about my reasons for being against Measure G. In my opinion, there was serious mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, including large raises that were not sustainable. The due diligence leading up to Measure G did not include a poll/survey of the community. There's a longer story to that you can find on the PW Weekly blogs I'm sure. And, for me, the ballot language was too vague. For those who may wish to point out Palo Alto's language, I'm already quite aware. I'm quite aware of the process they used, the polls they have done (most recent is on the district web site), and the trust they have built with the entire community.

Should those issues change, I would support a parcel tax for PUSD.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen wrote: "The due diligence leading up to Measure G did not include a poll/survey of the community"

The due diligence by the Board consisted of counting how many people showed up to Board meetings in support of placing Measure G on the ballot. Talk about selection bias.

Many complain about hiring consultants, but I'd rather they spent $30,000 on a consultant to run a survey and find out the level of support and/or increase the success of spending over $3000,000 on a gamble by having language the community would support.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "It does not necessarily lead to that, but it does lead to greater revenue and less need for things like parcel taxes."

There's always a need for parcel taxes regardless of amount of revenue whenever government overspends. For an extreme example, look at Berkeley. That city has one of the highest number of government workers to resident amongst Bay Area cities. They draw so much out of their general fund that they've shoved off fire, library, and ambulance (iirc) to parcel taxes. Sometimes the parcel taxes are more than what an owner may pay for ad valorem. They certainly aren't getting anything better for what they are paying. Web Link and Web Link

I think we agree that the current calculated increase is a drawback of Prop. 13.


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

I am not interested in a parcel tax and won't support it. Instead, I volunteer my time in the community which is a far better value. In addition, I can control to some extent where my services are used instead of wondering whether my parcel tax contribution would be used wisely or not.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm

To Qwerty,

"Instead, I volunteer my time in the community which is a far better value."

I do that too. And I donated to the PPIE. But I also support a parcel tax for all the reasons that I gave here on these forums. The most effective means to help close the funding is a parcel tax. Parcel taxes are being used successfully in all the high quality school districts in the Bay Area. Pleasanton's district is at a disadvantage and needs to close the gap. We need to do what we can to make sure our schools continue to provide high quality education.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

To Stacey,

I agree that a parcel in tax in Pleasanton for something other than education is something I would have a hard time supporting.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:13 pm

To Stacey,

" I'd rather they spent $30,000 on a consultant to run a survey and find out the level of support and/or increase the success of spending over $3000,000 on a gamble by having language the community would support."

I agree with that also. I'm not against the idea of conducting a survey before putting a parcel tax on the ballot. We would also have to make sure it is done right or it could do more harm than good.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm

To Kathleen,

I think this person called "Resident" may not be one who has followed these forums to closely. There may be more than one "Resident".

I hope I'm reading your post wrong, but it kind of reads like "I'll support a parcel tax in Pleasanton as soon as hell freezes over". I'm not sure exactly where you're drawing the line. You can't do too much today about decisions that were made five or six years ago. There is only so much you can do in the 6 months to a year that we will need to get something passed here without having a serious impact on the schools. I don't know how your measuring community trust but the fact that 62% of voters supported Measure G shows that there is a great deal of trust already.

It is easy to say that PUSD are poor stewards of the public money. People are saying that about all of the school districts, including the best ones like Palo Alto. You can always point to cell phone allowances and office supply purchases in any district and point out inefficiencies. But there is waste everywhere and in every district. Surely you're not stipulating that the district be waste free before we pass a parcel tax. I think you were just answering "Resident's" question about Measure G when you were talking about those things.

Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We need to get a parcel tax passed here. We need to make this as good a parcel tax as it can be, but we need to get it done.


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Resident will have to eat his/her words, because Hell has frozen over, or will quite soon:

Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm

To Querty,

Was your post in response to me? If it is, is sounds like you're saying that Kathleen will soon be supporting a parcel tax?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm

If the hypocrisy in this town as expressed through these posts wasn't so blatant, I might even consider voting for a parcel tax. But what I keep reading is a literal joke. About 62% voted in favor of the tax measure and if all of you in favor of the measure had contributed even half of what the tax would have been to the school district, then a lot of their "problems" would have eased. Your contributions were pitiful and an embarrassment as I stated earlier in this thread. There is a lot of blame aimed at the State, Prop.13, unfair tax rolls, your neighbors, etc., etc., etc. But where did everyone go during the fund drive ? I don't know...maybe you all went on vacation. But one thing is for certain ALL OF THE YES ON G SUPPORTERS DID NOT STEP UP TO SUPPORT THEIR SCHOOLS OR THE DISTRICT. That's not an opinion...that's doing the math and if that's not hypocrisy I don't know what is!


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm

To Joe,

I'm wondering where a lot of Measure G supporters went during the funding drive myself. Maybe some of them thought they were going to get taxed in a future parcel tax and couldn't afford to do both. To me, that's a pretty lousy excuse.

I think we can a get a parcel tax passed the next time around. I think there will be better communication this time between the school board and the voting public. I think it will be a better tax the next time around. I think people are also waking up to the consequences of the failure of Measure G and the funding drive. We're already reading about class sizes being worse here than it is for our neighbors, and all the other cutbacks the schools are seeing. Quality schools have been a big part of the draw for a lot of people living in Pleasanton, even for people without kids or grand-kids. I'm hoping they'll do what is necessary.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I know people who voted yes on G, and went on vacation. They were not aware of the fundraising effort's deadlines. I am not saying all of the supporters were in that category, but the fundraising began the last week of school and ended in mid august, the timing was bad.

I supported measure G, donated money, and will continue to support the schools. I think many feel that way too.

I hope the board decides to go for a parcel tax, our district will need it.


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Posted by Sally
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 15, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I voted for G the firat time but would never do it again after finding out what the money was for. In addition, all of those people who pledged and then gave nothing is just a shame. Times are much harder now and I find it hard many would vote to take more money out of their pocket until they see the effect of what taxes will come out of Washington DC.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

As I wrote in the first response to this thread: "Now is the perfect time to start a funding drive."

I don't know why there was a delay in starting a funding drive when school was in session. Was the lack of a drive early on supposed to increase the chance of passage for Measure G? Seems like a real loss to start a funding drive after the vote.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I mean, if the funding problem is so bad, shouldn't these things be jumped on early?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm

To Sally,

You said,

"I voted for G the firat time but would never do it again ..."

A new parcel tax won't be Measure. It is sure to be a different tax and different circumstances next time around. We need the money to keep our schools competitive. All of the high quality districts in the Bay Area are using these measures to protect the quality of their schools. We can do the same here in Pleasanton.


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Posted by JoJo
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Its sad that the conversation has turned to Measure G. There is huge support in this community for the schools. People volunteer time and donate LOTS of money. Just because ILPS didn't raise 12 trillion dollars doesn't mean that people don't support the schools. When I look around, I'm proud of the people who care about the schools and donate time and/or money.


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Posted by JoJo
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 15, 2009 at 8:59 pm

But there is a good point on these boards, don't expect Pleasanton schools to compete with those other bay area schools that do have parcel taxes (a large majority of those that we are routinely compared with).


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

a reader, I was responding to why I opposed the tax the last attempt. I've said I could support a parcel tax because I have seen the good they can do. I'll wait to see what the approach is for the next attempt.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Correction to above:

"A new parcel tax won't be Measure. "

I meant to say "A new parcel tax won't be Measure G"


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I believe in using volunteers to supplement our children's education too. Unfortunately, my volunteer time won't bring back the classes that were cut this year. Volunteers can't supplement our children's education by offering an AP class or band section. When my child needs their schedule changed on Wednesday and the now part-time counselor doesn't come back until Monday - shoot I can't do that either.

We need more than just volunteers to fill this gap. Get involved in finding a real solution now before the next round of cuts leaves us with a 30:1 class size.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm

hmmmmmmmmmm we needed 233 a parcel last time to give the teachers raises and after the budget shortfall this time how much will be needed? Let's get serious folks, this is not going to work. Teachers are going to need to get used to working for what they have and larger class sizes with parents volunteering time in the schools to support.


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Posted by chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Michael - do you think you could take a few weeks out of your schedule to learn to become a Volunteer Barton Reading Specialist. Oh, and after you have learned how do you think you could volunteer at the school 2 half days a week ... forever? How good are you at teaching AP Russian? We are short one class... only 28 in the class so it got cancelled too. Actually, if you have a minute could you educate yourself to become a middle school counselor? Because right now we are so short that the principal has to help out with class changes. Or maybe you could volunteer fill the role of a vice principal. Ours got sacked because she wanted a salary.

Nevermind the teachers WE AS PARENTS and the community should not "just get used to..." giving our children a rubbish education. I don't want my child stuck in Pleasanton after High School working for minimum wage because even though they worked hard they didn't have access to the right (AP) classes to be competitive in the college application process.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm

AP Russian? PAUSD high schools (even with a parcel tax) don't offer AP Russian.


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Posted by chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

These are examples Michael. Surely you get the point.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Sorry Michael that wasn't for you. It was Russian and in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 16, 2009 at 6:14 pm

No idea about the Russian thing as it must have been added after I left school....thank god! My only point in all of this is that the situation has to be looked at in its entirety and not lets just throw money at a problem again without fixing the problem. We need to reduce costs and everyday in this very blog I hear about us hiring consultants, search firms, etc. and in reality it is just a big waste of time and money. Why would anyone need to take Russian in high school. I have been in business 35 years, travelled the globe, and never had a need to speak or read Russian.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

To Micheal,

As I said above, Pleasanton is the only high quality school district in the Bay Area without a parcel tax. Parcel taxes are the most effective way to replace revenue that was lost from declines in property taxes and other sources. San Ramon, Palo Alto, Piedmont, and many others are using parcel taxes to excellent effect. Like Kathleen R says above "I have seen the good they can do". All school districts have waste and inefficiencies. Of course we need to look at where we can cut inefficiencies, but that won't be enough to close the gap. We need a parcel tax to do that.

You said "last time to give the teachers raises". I personally don't have a problem with allowing teachers who qualify to keep their step and column increases. We are competing with the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area for the best teachers. I want to make sure we can hire and retain the best we can. We are competing with San Ramon, Palo Alto and other districts. We need to get a parcel tax on the ballot that serves the community's needs and keeps our schools competitive.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Michael,

"hmmmmmmmmmm we needed ..." You're a resident of Livermore? Why do you see "we" with regard to Pleasanton. By the way Livermore has a parcel tax. Are you against that one?


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Reader,

I no longer live in Livermore but rather now in Pleasanton. I have 2 children in the schools and feel I should pay more for their education and do not expect others to pay for my children if they are not using the school system. Very unfair and for that matter very few people I know are getting raises so how dare public servants like teachers should demand a raise during these times. So very greedy. They knew they would not make big money when they became teachers.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 8:48 am

To Michael,

If you live in Pleasanton, you may want to change what you select in the little drop down list with the title "Select your Neighborhood or School Community". Right now it says Livemore.

"and feel I should pay more for their education "

Please do, they it is easy to donate. I have given money to schools even before I had any children.

"They knew they would not make big money when they became teachers."

This isn't about big money. This is about keeping Pleasanton schools competitive. All of the high quality schools in the Bay Area have passed parcel taxes. We are the only district that has not. Already our class sizes for K-3 are the worst in the Tri-Valley are. I don't think Pleasanton residents want to distinguish themselves as the least supportive of their schools.

"...teachers should demand a raise "

This isn't about demanding a raise. Some teachers will get a raise, some will not. This is the step and column pay scale that Pleasanton and those other school districts that did pass parcel taxes are using. This isn't some kind of hidden agenda.

We need to get a parcel tax passed here in Pleasanton. We need to get a parcel tax on a ballot that will meet the needs of the community.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:18 am

a reader, Just food for thought as members of the community discuss the need for another attempt at a tax--let's say the desire is to keep K-3 at 20 or 21:1 and that cost is $5,000,000 a year. When you determine what amount it will cost per parcel you will need to plan for at least two things:

(1) The percentage of exemptions (seniors or others) that will be taken that will reduce the total income to the district. If CSR is promised and exemptions hit $500,000, for example, that $500,000 will have to come from the general fund or reserves to keep the promise of 20:1;

(2) The costs of those teachers (because it really is teachers) will increase even without raises (step and column), so you will also need to determine whether a 2% annual COLA, again an example, should be part of the tax--otherwise, you'll be dipping into the general fund or reserves to cover that cost as well.

Yes, I would advocate for the district to make the initial investment in a proven consultant who then advises the community committee, at the committee's expense, in order to run a thoughtful, successful campaign. Without this part in place, I don't hold much hope for success. It's my opinion, of course.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

I agree with Michael, I do not hold out any hope for a parcel tax and as a matter of fact would vote and campaign against one even though I voted for one last time. The citizens of this city and state are taxed enough already and pay a tax for schools as it is. I believe people who use the schools should pay a use tax per child similar to people who use the bridges or BART. This would be fair to everyone and not just the ones who use the service. As a side note, I do not believe giving teachers more money will solve a thing. Good teachers and terrible teachers get the same amount and in these times it is not right to give government workers raises at the same time the private sector is hurting.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

I would certainly be interested in exploring the possibilities of pay-for-performance... and in fact my understanding is that the federal dept of education is going to release funds to districts and states on a competitive bases for such experiments.

California will be locked out of opportunities for that type of funding if the state is not willing to make some changes in the policies about allowing students' scores on state tests to be connected with those students' teachers. I'd like to see our district apply for federal grant funding to experiment with pay for performance -- as long as performance is not exclusively measured by student test scores. The first step must be taken at the state level, though. Otherwise our district will not be eligible to even apply.

On the issue of use taxes -- I am opposed. Public schools are accessible to all and schools in the same district should not have unequal access to funds depending on the wealth of the parents of kids in that school. Most citizens in our society attended public schools at some point, and all benefit from having students who complete school with a strong education. I paid taxes that supported schools before I had children, and I will continue to do so after my daughter graduates, because I have a responsibility as a citizen to support public education.

We don't raise money for fire departments only from people whose homes burn down. We don't raise money for repairing roads and putting up stoplights only from those who drive. We use taxes to fund public services, and schools provide a public service.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 10:23 am

I am not sure if any of you understand how our schools are funded or how state law requires certain funds to be used for certain things. Your real estate taxes that you pay do not go to pay just for Pleasanton schools - our taxes are paying for the entire state! You pay to the county and then the state allocates the funds. That's what Prop 13 and various law suits in the 1970's did - they equalized education funding so your taxes pay for Pleasanton, San Francisco, Oakland, etc. A parcel tax allows a city to keep those funds raised just for their city - you do not have to turn it over to the state. Any other use fee or sales tax that you all think can happen simply cannot - those would all require changes at the county or state levels.

Also, state law requires that the funds raised from a parcel tax can only be used for the stated purpose of the tax that was voted on. I highly doubt anyone is going to put a provision for teacher or administrative raises in a parcel tax proposal when there are such dire needs that should be addressed - class size, counselors, janitors, new books - I could go on and on.

If you so concerned (pro or con)about your taxes and how funds are being used show up at your PTA/PFC meetings, show up at School Board meetings DO something other than complain. I have been to these meetings and they are sparsely attended - that shows me that poeple really don't want to take action - you just want someone else to make everything ok for you. Nothing can be accomplihsed without input from everyone who has a stake in it. Be a part of your community - amazing things can happen when people come to the table and talk rather than blast each other from behind a computer screen.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Sandy and MK - You both have super ideas. We all need to get involved. Nothing is being put down anyones throat right now. Getting involved is key. Don't sit back and complain about the state of our schools or that you might be taxed locally to help support your school which has been unfairly and EXTREMELY hard hit by our state's deficit. There is no gross negligence on PUSD's part. They are having to react to the problems being handed down to them. Get involved and help be part of the solution - show up to your school's meetings. Write to the school board, attend a school board meeting. Make the time.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Sandy,

You are opposed to a use tax because it would cater to those who can afford it but are for a parcel tax which would take money from people who may or may not use the schools. In either case it would be money coming from those who can afford it as you say. How about people who are either not working or over 65 and retired? Would they have to pay for the parcel tax? Both of my neighbors have lost their jobs and I could not imagine burdening them with one more tax during these hard times. Seems like retired people or people who do not have money or jobs should be excluded from the parcel tax unless we can go with a use tax as Michael proposes.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm

To Rita,

There are typically exclusions for people over 65 in parcel taxes and I would expect an exclusion in any parcel tax that is put on the ballot in Pleasanton. That is legal. It is not legal in California to put a use tax on K-12 education. I already posted a link more than once to show that that would violate California law. PUSD is hardly in a position to change the law that applies state wide.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Reader,

Related to my other question about my neighbors. Neither neighbor is working currently and haven't been for some time. On both sides of me they are both significantly under 60 so would they receive an exclusion from the tax while they are not working? Yes, they are collecting unemployment and one is on welfare. Would they be excluded from the parcel tax?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm

To Rita,

There is no parcel tax on the ballot yet, so I don't know who would or wouldn't be excluded. I don't know how an unemployment exclusion would work.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

To Rita,

"You are opposed to a use tax because it would cater to those who can afford it "

I can't follow your logic here. A use tax would be paid by people with school age children. Why would they be any more able to pay than people without school age children?

At any rate, you couldn't put in a usage tax until you changed California law. That is way beyond the scope of what PUSD can do. What we need is a parcel tax.


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Posted by Pati
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Our taxes are high enough and our schools are fine. We the scores start dropping come back and talk about it. I am also for a use fee similar to orientation night when you pay fees. Additionally, there is no way unemployed people should be charged a parcel tax so that teachers can receive raises. A disgusting level of greed I believe.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Sandy -
I am confused by your comment that you are opposed to taxes because kids in the same district should not have unequal access to funds becasue of the wealth of the parents at some schools. The differences in one school over another in Plesanton has nothing to do with taxes and more to do with each of the PTA/PFC organizations. Vintage Hills is sitting pretty right now becasue the PTA donated a lot to keep programs up and running - not so for other schools in the district - that donation from the PTA is directly related to the wealth or the willingness of parents to donate.

If you are saying you are opposed to taxes because you think other districts will not get their fair share - well think again - when the cuts come Pleasanton and other "wealthy" towns will receive more cuts than poor districts since they have lots of programs for underperforming kids.

Also, when people say it is unfair to tax all property owners, even those who don't have students, just remember your real estate values are directly realted to the hight API scores that our students receive every year. If we don't raise the necessary funds somehow, you will see a drop in those scores - maybe not in the next year or two, but 5 years from now our schools will be a different place if folks don't act now.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm

So somebody explain to me how passing a parcel tax to give teachers raises keeps our test scores high? Are you saying that if we do not give the teachers raises they will lay down on us? I think the parents and the kids have more to do with the test scores than the teachers anyway. Pretty hard to justify the importance of teachers. Are the teachers at Foothill that much better than the teachers at Amador based on test scores? I think not.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Pati - We need to offer a quality education for all our students. Do, you think people who can't afford the 'use fees' you mention should be denied their public education?

The teachers are not some lot of disgusting greedy people. I value the professionals who teach my children but this deficit is not about them.

No Measure has been written yet. If you don't think unemployed people should pay for schools then bring your ideas down to the school district. We could use some constructive input. But don't undermine your argument by saying we should wait until the system fails. Do you think you can fix API scores overnight.

Eventually we will have to pay for this deficit. I would rather pay for it while building a stronger and more unified Pleasanton community.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

MK wrote: "I highly doubt anyone is going to put a provision for teacher or administrative raises in a parcel tax proposal"

Of course that would never happen. Instead parcel taxes take budgetary pressure off a General Fund so that more of it can be spent on raises, which have to come from unrestricted and discretionary funds. That way you end up never having enough in the General Fund to reabsorb programs that are now being paid for by a parcel tax. And that's the real crime the State commits against districts with its poorly designed categorical funding and mandate system.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Well Rita, it's like this: if you don't offer the classes then the children don't get the instruction or the credits. If the library is only open half the time then the children only get to go 1/2 the time. But maybe you are having a hard time justifying the importance of library time for elementary schoolers?

How about class size? Now the teacher has more children at different levels. What about the children at the bottom who require more time to get to the minimum of their grade level? Just because my child can read at grade level does that mean they shouldn't get some of the teacher's time too? But now we have fewer reading specialists so everyone is reading the same thing together 'Turkey Time'.

Of course some students do better than others. If there aren't enough classes does that mean we should stop teaching the ones who are doing well because they will be fine anyway? Or maybe stop teaching the ones who are struggling because we are wasting our time?

Did you really say it was 'pretty hard to justify the importance of teachers'? WHAT? I guess you home schooled then?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

To Chris,

I agree with what you said.

There is also the fact that we are placed at a disadvantage without the funding source provided by a parcel tax. The best districts know who the best teachers are and do what they can to attract and keep them.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm

To Pati,

A "use fee" for K-12 education would violate the constitution. PUSD can do nothing to change it. It is a non-starter.

Greedy? Where is it written that teachers should not be paid for their work? Pleasanton needs to do what it can to attract the best teachers to teach here. Let's have them choose Pleasanton over Palo Alto or Piedmont.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

To Rita,

"So somebody explain to me how passing a parcel tax to give teachers raises keeps our test scores high?"

The best ones may leave, or choose not to teach here in the first place.

"I think the parents and the kids have more to do with the test scores than the teachers anyway"

I think teachers play an important role. How can you claim that they don't?


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm

a reader -

Has PUSD had difficulty in the last 12 months filling any open teaching position? Conversely, does PUSD have difficulty releasing poor teachers and replacing them with better qualified teachers?


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:00 pm

a reader -

There are some who believe very qualified teachers were laid off last year at the expense of keeping poor performing teachers with more seniority. This is a greater problem keeping overall district performance back, than the ability to pay higher salaries. Solve this, and the next parcel tax will get greater support.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm

To "Dark Corners",

"Has PUSD had difficulty in the last 12 months filling any open teaching position?"

Define difficulty. I would say it is always difficult to find highly qualified people. The last twelve months included. It is the same for industries such as information technology, health care, and many others. If you want to maintain the highest standards, you always have a difficulty finding people.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

To "Dark Corners",

"Solve this, and the next parcel tax will get greater support."

That is a little like saying "solve world hunger and you'll get more support. I think problems with moving out poor teachers has a lot more to do with union contracts that are way beyond what we can solve in Pleasanton in the short term. We need a parcel tax for the short term.

Bye the way, what is your solution to the problem of moving out under performing teachers?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm

To "Dark Corners",

"This is a greater problem keeping overall district performance back"

Do you think or have evidence that this is more of a problem in PUSD than other districts?


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Posted by Larry
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Pleasanton Folks,

You will never have enough money to satisfy the teachers in Pleasanton no more than we can satisfy them up here. We pay extra for everything other than the core classes. Band, sports, art, cheerleading, you name it pull out your wallets. After orientation I am always lighter in the wallet $400 - $600 bucks. Even after all of this we cannot get rid of terrible teachers. We have a teacher at San Ramon High School who shows up a couple of days a week smelling like a liquor store and the kids know it but we still cannot get rid of her.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm

To Larry,

Sorry to hear that you have drunk teachers there in San Ramon. I think there are some regulations that might help you out there in getting rid of that teacher.

I'm not sure what your point is about "never have enough money to satisfy the teachers in Pleasanton". It does kind of have a familiar ring to it:

Web Link

Your district was fortunate to have passed a parcel tax this year.


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Posted by Larry
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Reader,

My point is that the parcel tax is like crack cocaine. The teachers and administrators are already saying they need more and it is not enough with the budget cuts and the reductions in revenues. Many of us cannot afford it any longer nor can we keep up with taxes in this economy. The parcel tax has not helped one bit and we are still expected to pay big time when we go to orientation. We moved here from Nebraska 3 years ago and are deeply disappointed not only with the quality of education here but also the standard of living with high taxes and little to show for it.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:15 pm

To Larry,

Sorry to hear that your experience with California has not been a positive one. I don't know that much about the schools in San Ramon, but they do have a good reputation.

"The parcel tax has not helped one bit "

How can you be sure that is true? Ask people in the education field, like Kathleen R., who has personally seen the benefit that a parcel tax can provide (in Palo Alto in that case).


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Larry,

Welcome to the big leagues kid!!! It is not about the kids here dude. It is about taking your money and giving it to teachers who only work 8 months a year and leave at 3:30. Be weary of the people on these blogs as most are teachers and are only in it for themselves. If they were really in it for the kids you would not hear this parcel tax stuff. If I had money or a job I would bail from this state like most people with money.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:48 pm

To Rudy,

I'm not a teacher, just a local homeowner. Kathleen Ruegsegger is not a teacher either. She is a former PUSD board member and currently an employee of the Palo Alto School District. I'm not sure how you know who is posting on these boards.

I'm sorry that you have no money or job. You have my sympathy. Since you have access to a computer and some spare time on your hands, I hope you spend you don't get discouraged. There are many online resources where you can post your resume and even learn new skills.

Web Link

I wish you the best of luck with your job search.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Rudy - sorry dude. Not a teacher either. Just a parent and community member interested in shielding our children from some of this budget mess. I like it here. Don't want to move but would be happy if Larry could take his angst out somewhere else. I hope he is sure about this 'drunk' teacher.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2009 at 7:59 am

I sat through a presentation last night ( Web Link ) that indicated action has to be taken by that board by January 8 in order to have an April election.

 A resolution calling for the election must be approved by the Board of Education.
 The County must be notified regarding the approved resolution 88 days prior to the election.
 The plan is for an election on April 6, 2010.
 Counting back 88 days, the resolution must be approved by January 8, 2010.

For those who are hoping to get a parcel tax before the voters, it may be too late to get this right for the spring. A June election already didn't work for Pleasanton, which I believe leaves November (or another very costly special election). It could be those timelines are different for Alameda County, but I don't think so.

I know others have spoken against consultants, but there is a reason to use them. This would be one example if an opportunity is missed. The concern I will continue to express is that without a poll of some sort, determining what if anything will be supported and having this done on a timely basis continues to cripple efforts to accomplish the goal.

If the pros and cons continue to sit only among like thinkers, each side is convinced they have the right answer, when the most likely solution is probably somewhere between the two and just out of reach of either side.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The Current Parcel Tax
 The PAUSD voters approved a $493/parcel tax with a
senior exemption in 2005.
 The current parcel tax expires after the 2010-2011 school
year.
 This is 6% of the District's general fund budget.
 The parcel tax provided $9.3 million of general fund
revenue in 2008-09 but the actual expenses were $9.8
million.
 The general fund made up the difference of $0.5 million.

It would be nice for parcel tax language that prevents raiding the general fund if the parcel tax funds end up short like PAUSD's did. If the whole purpose of a parcel tax is to offset budgetary pressure from the General Fund, then it should in fact offset it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"In fact, the current parcel tax revenue per student has declined every year since its approval in 2005."

I wonder how that works?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

AH! Duh... The number of students increased...


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:00 am

Chris/Reader,

Thanks for the job info and it might come in handy. My wife, myself, and my son all work at NUMMI in Fremont and as you may know the company will close in March and 5,000 people like myself and family will directly lose their jobs at the company and another 50,000 statewide (suppliers etc.) will lose their jobs as well. Quite a number of Pleasanton residents will be affected and in reading the above information it sounds to me that even if we do not have a job we will still be hit with the parcel tax. I will be having difficulty making ends meet as it is and unless people without jobs are excluded from the tax then I will be required to campaign heavily against the initiative. We have discussed this conversation at work related to this proposed tax and have already started discussion on how to organize to stop it unless their are exemptions. Not meant to be disrespectful but we simply cannot afford another tax at this point in this economy which seems to be getting worse each and every day.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Rudy,

You have to ask yourself how you want to spend your time in the coming months. It is not my business, but I would put my energy into finding a new job before I thought about organizing a group to oppose a tax. If you get a job, and I hope you do, you'll be able to make a lot more than you would save by not paying any parcel tax.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Sam,

With all due respect I am going to do both. I will have a job until the end of March and then I will start someplace else. We have discussed at work and this tax issue and the welfare state of California must be stopped and this is as good a place to start as anyplace. One of the reasons my company is closing is because of the high taxes, environmental regulations, worker compensation, energy, etc. in this state because of high taxes. These people need to be stopped and I find it beyond my imagination how people who have jobs can think it right to tax people who do not have money in order to give raises. It is clearly wrong and immoral in my opinion. So I can lose my home so that someone with a job can get a raise?...........I do not think so.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Why does everyone keep saying that a parcel tax is for teacher's raises?!!! If there ever is another parcel tax vote it is for our KIDS - for classes, for books, for counselors! We are out of money becasue the state is in bad shape. We can sit back and let things go to pot or we can decide to stand up as a community and say we won't let that happen. Our schools are the number one reason people move to Pleasanton from other areas. If we don't support them as a community then we will find the surrounding towns passing us by and out proerty values will be way down. Everytime you say our schools don't deserve any more money you are telling the kids of Pleasanton that their future doesn't mean much to you.


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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm

It's pretty simple. Step & Column = Raises


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm

As I've said before, I'm perfectly happy with step and column raises being an important part of a parcel tax and a I see no problem with it at all. I don't recall seeing any Palo Alto Unified School District cancelling step and column raises when they passed their parcel taxes and the same can be said for all the other high quality districts in the Bay Area. Those other districts are our competitors. We need to retain the best teachers that we can to keep the quality of education high in Pleasanton.

Voters in Pleasanton don't want to get into a race to the bottom with low quality school districts in the Area. Step and column raises are an important part of the compensation package offered to teachers. We need to compete for the best. A future parcel tax can keep our teacher pay structure and help retain class size, counselors, and all the other needs.

Let's do what we can to get a parcel tax on the ballot that will meet the community's needs and make sure our schools stay good.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm

There is no way I will vote for a bill which purpose is toreward teachers during a time of economic struggle. Please listen to Rudy and others above. We need performance not more money. Our API scores have dropped every year since 2003. Is this what we should reward?, I think not! Vote no on any frivilous bill or measure to reward waste in government!!!


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

To Sarah,

The best solution to keeping are schools excellent is to pass a parcel tax. We are competing with the other high quality Bay Area school districts, and all of them have the benefit of a parcel tax.

Please research matters before you post. You said:

"Our API scores have dropped every year since 2003"

That isn't true at all. API scores went up even in the most recent year. 2008-09 vs. 2007-08.

Web Link

If you do some research, you'll find that Pleasanton schools are known for their general high quality. Other great districts like Palo Alto and Piedmont have passed their parcel taxes, and their schools are seeing the benefits. We can do the same here. All of the top school districts have passed parcel taxes.

Sarah, I hope that after you look into the matter more, you'll join with me in helping to get a parcel tax on the ballot and get it passed. I'm looking forward to working with you.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Reader,

Why are you so envious of Palo Alto. I will tell you that most of my neighbors are furious over the stance of people like you and the teachers in this town. Go ahead and put another parcel tax on the ballot and I guarantee it will go down in flames. Look at Rudy's position above and I believe you can feel the current of discontent. Even if it were to pass I do not believe the damage it would create in this community would be worth it.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Here is the link to the LAO report mentioned in the opening post, released 11/18/09.

Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Sarah,

As Kathleen has pointed out many times on these boards, Palo Alto has excellent schools and I think we should strive to be as good as they are. Are schools are recognized as very good, but many of us think we can do even better. It is always sad when people lose jobs, but there are unemployed people in Palo Alto, Piedmont, Cupertino, San Ramon and many other towns, but unfortunately we cannot exempt them from property taxes. I'm hoping that you'll take a second look at the issue. You're already against it, and the measure hasn't even been written. It is our community and our schools. Let's work together.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Does anyone know if a pro-parcel tax (or pro-new revenue source) organization has formed? There is a new Facebook group, along with an 11/10 speech to the School Board, and organizing/information meetings. And spirited defense in this thread as well.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2009 at 9:55 pm

To "Dark Corners",

Do you have any information on how the public can give input to such an organization? I would like to take participate if at all possible. Do I have to sign up for Facebook?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:30 am

Sarah, Reader: I have couched my comments about what districts like Palo Alto are able to provide their students via a parcel tax with concern about having a poll of our community to determine what we are willing to pay and what for specifically. I am not if in favor of a tax that relieves stress on the general fund that is then used to provide raises without strong reserves in place first.

That could mean language that freezes wages for the life of the tax or that any funding received via a COLA from the state or enrollment growth must first be used to build the reserves to X%. I have also seen funding for raises limited to half of any growth dollars after rollover costs--example: COLA and enrollment growth brings $1,000,000; divide by 2 and put the first half in the reserves, and then deduct rollover expenses from the original amount (say 2% or $200,000) leaving $300,000 for compensation. Raiding Adult Ed funds or Kids Club funds or deferred maintenance funds may have been necessary this time around, but that should not be business as usual.

It is my understanding that a parent out of Valley View is leading the effort for the parcel tax. Perhaps that school has more information. I believe that much of the community will not be pushovers if another tax is attempted. My concern now is whether there is time to get a consultant in and a poll conducted and language written in time for the Board to adopt it all in January for an April election. This may not be the group's thinking--I don't know if they are shooting for June or a mail in only ballot or another special election.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:07 am

To Kathleen,

Thank you for that information. Please get involved, if you can. I think you bring up a lot of valid points. Let's get them before any decision making group as soon as we can. I'm trying to find out how I can get more involved too.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:59 am

Before anyone gets excited and thinks this has more of a chance of passing than G did I would strongly suggest that instead of doing a computer poll or developing little workshops or committees that you step out from your set of friends and away from you computers and talk to people you do not normally talk with in the community to get their viewpoint. I believe if you are objective about it you will come away with a different perspective. I believe the focus has changed from let's get something passed so we can get the teachers raises to high unemployment, bankrupt state, healthcare costs and increased taxed there, now 10% state income tax rate, erosion of property values, two wars going on with indecisiveness about what to do, cap and trade, continued relocation of jobs abroad, exodous of business and personal wealth from the state etc. When you think of all of that and the financial toll it will take it makes you really reconsidered whether another tax to reward teachers is the right thing to do.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:31 am

Rudy,

I don't know if you were addressing me with your comments to me, but I'm happy to talk with anyone in the community. I'm trying to be as objective as possible.

A new parcel tax hasn't even been proposed, and you're calling it "another tax to reward teachers". How can you say that when none of us has seen what would be in a future parcel tax? If you want specific wording, I would suggest you try to get involved with the process as well. Get your suggestions heard.

You said,

"erosion of property values"

But many have argued that parcel tax help to mitigate against that by keeping the quality of schools good. Communities that have held their property values well are ones with parcel taxes (such as Peidmont or Palo Alto).

"two wars going on with indecisiveness about what to do, cap and trade, continued relocation of jobs abroad ..."

I'm concerned about all those things, but I don't understand what any of that has to do with a parcel tax for schools in Pleasanton. A parcel tax would be specifically target to our schools in our community. It is up to us to construct the tax so that it serves our needs. I think Kathleen has made some good suggestions, and I hope people are listening. All the other top quality school districts in the Bay Area have the benefit of a parcel tax. I believe that now is the time to move forward and get a parcel tax passed that serves the needs of the community.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:00 am

Reader,

I am not talking to you specifically but to everyone in general. It seems to me a lot of people that this parcel tax is something that many in this city seem to be just addicted to and for many of the rest of us there are far bigger things going on. For me, my wife, and one of my sons we will lose our jobs when the clock strikes midnight at the end of March. My wife and I met at this company almost 26 years ago and no nothing else. My younger son is in the military so that is also a worry. I am currently on second shift, so my shift starts at 4:30 and I normally get home around 2:00 am. One of my neighbors is a teacher here in town and I see her leaving in the morning a little before 8 and she is home before I go to work in the afternoon so yes I have some level of resentment and do not feel her efforts warrant more money. Because of super high taxes in the state, garbage increases, water increases, we are really struggling to make ends meet without even considering the loss of our jobs in the near future so I really bothers me that people in this town are trying to take money from other people to support what THEY feel is required to educate THEIR kids. I sent all of my children through private school and never complained about paying taxes to support public schools but this seems so selfish and uncaring that I will not take this laying down nor will many of the other people in the town I have recently spoken with about this.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "But many have argued that parcel tax help to mitigate against that by keeping the quality of schools good. Communities that have held their property values well are ones with parcel taxes (such as Peidmont or Palo Alto)."

I think it may be worth while to step back a moment and realize that Palo Alto has higher property values regardless of a parcel tax. This is the old equalization problem and Serrano v. Priest issue. Communities with a larger resource of high value properties were able to pay lower tax rates in order to fund education while communities with a smaller number of high value properties or lower value properties had to pay higher tax rates in order to provide the same service.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Dark Corners of Town,

The LAO has a trimmed down version available detailing just the Prop 98 impact. Web Link

"
Keys to Balancing the Budget
- Early action.
- Long-term solutions.
- Make difficult decisions on the state's priorities.
- Reexamine state's revenue structure.
- Aggressively seek new federal assistance.

Options to minimize impact on school districts:
- Adopt additional flexibility proposals to allow districts to
spend state dollars in the manner they find most effective.
- Reduce state and local mandate costs by making various
changes to state law.
- Explore ways to increase efficiencies in the K-14 system.
"

The LAO has been advocating for sensible education funding reforms for years. I hope these budget pressures pushes our Legislature to get serious about it. We can help by lobbying our representatives.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

Again - I ask the question - does anyone really think in this economic climate that a parcel tax would go specifically toward teacher's raises?! Wouldn't they be smarter than that and ask for funds to recoup the actual classroom costs that are affecting our kids?! We need to get the basics of AP classes, vice principals, and libraries up and running. I understand the teacher's union is strong and it is hard to change things like step and column raises, but if any of you spend any time in the class these days you will see why we should apprecitate our teachers, but I don't think a parcel tax should address their needs - it should be for the classrooms, for the kids.

I am sorry that people are having hard times, but the our kids do not deserve to have schools that will go down a slippery slope in the next few years because folks say they can't afford less than a dollar a day to support our community. If you are upset about the current state of budget crisis then blame the state - they are the ones who got us into this mess, but as a community we can have a voice that says we want to raise funds to keep in our community! It will make Pleasanton a stronger place. Turn off your computer for about 8 hours during the day when your are gone and shorten your television watching by a couple of hours of week, turn off your lights when not in use and you have recouped the daily cost of a parcel tax!

Yes - there are lots of complicated issues surrounding the school board and the teacher's union, but I refuse to let those things get in the way of my children's education. No one ever seems to want to take on the school district except when it is time to support the kids - maybe we get our funding straight then we can fix what some of you see as corrupt.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

MK,

If you feel that strongly then pay for the education with YOUR money not others who do not have it.


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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

MK,
Step & Column raises are already budgeted. It is being suggested that if these raises are eliminated that a parcel tax could be eliminated or at least reduced. People who have been laid off or whose wages have been cut have a hard time paying for raises for ANYBODY. And don't even try to suggest that the teachers have "earned" their raises. We all have.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

MK's question will never be answered because MK refuses to submit that parcel taxes release the general fund from budgetary pressure caused by, among other things, increases in total employee compensation costs.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Wouldn't it be smarter to just start a fundraiser now? Imagine people who can afford it because they're still employed and donating to this fundraiser just a dollar a day starting now. By the time a new parcel tax proposal got on the ballot, we'd probably raise quite a bit of cash. I bet these employed and high income people could even have the money taken out from their paycheck. It's only a dollar a day and wouldn't place burden upon those who are struggling.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:50 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And you wouldn't even need to own property to donate!


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:53 am

To Rudy,

You said,

"If you feel that strongly then pay for the education with YOUR money not others who do not have it."

I hope you are not suggesting that we privatize the K-12 school system in California. Free public schools have been in the state constitution going back over 100 years. We had public schools in the nineteen thirties, during the great depression. In tough times and transitioning economies, education becomes more important than ever. I have paid into the school system without having any children or grand children in it, and I don't have a problem with that.

You said

" One of my neighbors is a teacher here in town and I see her leaving in the morning a little before 8 and she is home before I go to work in the afternoon so yes I have some level of resentment and do not feel her efforts warrant more money. "

Teachers feel free to chime in here, but I think a teacher's day is far from over when he gets home from school. There has got to be time for grading papers, planning lessons, making up tests, and probably a lot more. I'm not a teacher, so I don't know for sure. If any teachers are reading this, please let us know if this is true.

" this parcel tax is something that many in this city seem to be just addicted to "

I don't get what your saying here. As far as I know, there is no parcel tax in Pleasanton, so we can't be addicted to something we don't have.





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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

HAHA here's a way to raise funds!

Web Link

"Schools auctioned off the right to cut the carpool line and drop a child directly in front of the building — a spot that in other settings is known as handicapped parking."


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

To trekmtb,

" have a hard time paying for raises for ANYBODY"

But we are paying for raises on a daily basis. When we bank at Bank of America or Citi, we are paying for raises (both by giving them our business and by paying taxes). If you go to Kaiser to see a doctor, you are paying for raises. Renew your subscription to Comcast, you are indirectly paying for raises.

Looking at the high quality districts who are our competitors, they have passed parcel taxes while retaining the pay and promotion structure of step and column. I think we need to do the same thing here. Kathleen R brought up an idea of freezing COLAs for the duration of a parcel tax, and that is something I think we should consider for any parcel tax that might go on the ballot. The bottom line for me is that I think step and column promotions should remain. We all benefit, not just people with children.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

To Stacey,

"wouldn't it be smarter to just start a fundraiser now?

I think it would be a good thing to do a fundraiser now. I hope someone is looking at that too.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm

To Stacey,

"that parcel taxes release the general fund from budgetary pressure"

But that is why I think we need a parcel tax here. We are in competition with these other high quality school districts, and they all enjoy the benefit of a parcel tax.


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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm

To Reader:

You said:
"But we are paying for raises on a daily basis. When we bank at Bank of America or Citi, we are paying for raises (both by giving them our business and by paying taxes). If you go to Kaiser to see a doctor, you are paying for raises. Renew your subscription to Comcast, you are indirectly paying for raises."

In many cases Corporate America is freezing wages and/or implementing pay cuts. If a Company that I hold stock in runs their business in a fashion that I don't like, I don't get a vote but I can sell their stock. I also can avoid doing business with them.

I DO get to vote on any proposed parcel tax and I won't vote for one that doesn't exclude raises, (S&C OR COLA)




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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm

A few points:

I do pay for the educatin of my kids with MY money, but part of being a property owner is investing not just in YOUR home but in the city in which you reside - I pay more of MY money than lots of folks in this town since we moved here a few years ago. As a matter of fact I pay thousands more than some of my neighbors whose houses could sell for thousands more than mine becasue of they way California property taxes are structured - I am fine doing this, but don't tell it is only my responsibilty to cover the education costs of this town - many of the folks who have been here forever have recevied the benefit of a good education for their kids and so now it the responsiblity for everyone to make sure that quality of education remains.

I get it about the raises and understand that they are budgeted and that is not a fair system when other folks are out of work. But if more funds are not raised that we as a town have direct control over the message to our kids is sorry - "we begrudge your teacher his/her wages so your education has to suffer as a result". Let's fix the basic issues of the classroom size, courses offered etc., then take on the teacher's union - it's a totally seperate fight!

I also agree that a fundraising effort- such as an educatinal foundation - would be wonderful if I thought that those who could afford it would contribute their fair share. I donated thousands to I Love Pleasanton Schools and I know that is a lot more than some who could have donated tens of thousands.

I would be completely for a parcel tax that worked on a sliding income scale so the burden was shared by all in a more equitable manner, but that's not possible when you have things like prop 13 in place - instead of being able to tax folks on the value of their property you have to tax everyone equally acroos the board. I would be happy to pay double than the person whose house is worth 1/2 of mine, just not sure that can be done here.

My bottom line - I want what is best for the kids of Pleasanton so they have the same chances that some of your kids had 10 years ago...


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm

So if you want to spend your money and you should feel fortunate that you do have a job and money then donate your money to the schools but leave the money I will not have alone. Everyone had the chance to donate their money to support the schools after the loss of G but guess what I guess they did not want to donate their money.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm

By the way, my neighbor does not bring work home and told me that as part of her day the union negotiated a 50 minute prep period which she is paid for so do not make it sound like she/they are working full days which they are not. It is all just a big scam.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm

To trekmtb,

"In many cases Corporate America is freezing wages and/or implementing pay cuts."

I picked companies that have given raises recently, only to give an example. Some companies are freezing wages for some kinds of jobs and increasing wages for others. Bank of America said publicly in needed to compete for top talent with other firms.

I am in favor of keeping step and column promotions in a parcel tax, if there is a parcel tax, because we are in competition with all the other high quality districts and they do have parcel taxes. I don't think voters in Pleasanton want to get in a race to the bottom with the lower quality districts. I think our community overall will suffer if we do that.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:41 pm

To Rudy,

"By the way, my neighbor does not bring work home..."

Are you sure that she speaks for all teachers? She sounds like she may be the exception and not the rule, kind of like that drunk teacher from San Ramon from the above post.

I can remember the teachers I had when I went through school, and I credit my Physics and Trig teachers for helping choose a career path that has helped me find fulfilling work and preparing me to be able to succeed in college. I don't know what I would be doing now if I had not had them as teachers. I don't think teaching is some kind of scam.


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Posted by Trevor
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Reader,

B of A also fires the bottom 10% each year and the next 15% lowest get no raises at all and in some cases reduction in pay (probation). If the Pleasanton teachers would agree to this I would campaign for a parcel tax. Otherwise, it is just theft. How many P town teachers left for more money last year?


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Reader,

My neighbor does not work long hours but I have never known of her to drink so I do not know where you got that from. She is nice, likes her job, says it is not to hard and fits her lifestyle, but would never call her a drinker.


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Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

To Reader:

You said:

"I am in favor of keeping step and column promotions in a parcel tax, if there is a parcel tax, because we are in competition with all the other high quality districts and they do have parcel taxes."

I am NOT in favor of keeping step and column raises (promotions?) in a parcel tax during this troubled ecomomy. Perhaps some time in the future.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm

To Trevor,

"Otherwise, it is just theft. "

That is a strange definition of theft.

"Otherwise, it is just theft. How many P town teachers left for more money last year?"

I'm not aware of a poll conducted on why the teachers who left for other districts left (for Cupertino for instance). The district would have to collect data like that. Another important question is how many will choose to work in another district in the coming years if we don't have a parcel tax, or if we freeze step and column raises. All the top quality districts have not frozen them and do have parcel taxes. Will we be getting the best teachers here?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm

To Rudy,

I was talking about a teacher that someone named Larry said kept showing up to school smelling like a liquor store.


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Posted by Trevor
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Reader,

What about my BofA question and terminating the bottom 10%? What problem are we trying to solve here? Seems like the motivation is gettings teachers money. If the tax is defined and not for salaries maybe is has a small chance. Wages must be frozen.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

MK wrote: "My bottom line - I want what is best for the kids of Pleasanton so they have the same chances that some of your kids had 10 years ago..."

Actually, kids in Pleasanton today don't have the same chances that we had even 10 years ago because their chances are much higher. And we didn't use a parcel tax to get that way either. The schools here have a much further distance DOWNWARDS to go to get to the level of "same chances" of 10 years ago.

MK also wrote: "I would be completely for a parcel tax that worked on a sliding income scale so the burden was shared by all in a more equitable manner, but that's not possible when you have things like prop 13 in place - instead of being able to tax folks on the value of their property you have to tax everyone equally acroos the board."

Prop 13 is only responsible for the uniformity and 2/3rds requirement of the parcel tax. Serrano v. Priest is responsible for not being able to tax on the value of property in order to fund education. Districts with lower property values would end up with higher tax rates than districts with high property values (one solution I read around this problem was to have a single State-wide property tax rate). Property taxes based on market value assessments can be regressive in themselves when there's real estate speculation bubbles that drive up the value of properties owned by those on low or fixed incomes.

I was directed to this related blog recently on this subject recently: Web Link The bottom line is that the amount that the State collects in property taxes has increased more than what the increase should be if based upon only population growth and inflation. So people like MK who chose to purchase a house during a real estate speculation bubble only end up giving government an undeserved windfall in taxes.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Property taxes based on market value assessments can be regressive in themselves when there's real estate speculation bubbles that drive up the value of properties owned by those on low or fixed incomes."

Additionally, increases in market value do not cause an increased need in fire, police, education, other services from an existing property. The only increases that should be expected are inflation and technological advancements that might cost more. Only one of those items can be reasonably planned for.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The bottom line is that society ends up giving government a windfall in taxes. Unlike the Bank of America, the government doesn't do downsizing very well. It's a monopoly and it and the public employee unions are not subject to market pressures (unlike BofA and private employee unions).


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

MK wrote: "I would be completely for a parcel tax that worked on a sliding income scale so the burden was shared by all in a more equitable manner, but that's not possible when you have things like prop 13 in place - instead of being able to tax folks on the value of their property you have to tax everyone equally acroos the board."

The other thing I wanted to respond with was that some other districts do make it more equitable through a tax based on square footage (like Piedmont). The only drawback to that kind of parcel tax is the possibility that it also may violate Serrano v. Priest (i.e., some districts would have more square footage than other districts).


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Posted by Trevor
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Stacey,

Sooooooo what is your summary here?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Trevor,

"What about my BofA question and terminating the bottom 10%"

I don't think you have to set it at some fixed 10% level every year, plenty of companies don't do that.

The problem of moving poorer performing teachers out is shared by all districts, so it isn't part of the equation for competition for the best teachers. I don't think a parcel tax can do much to address that problem.

"Wages must be frozen"

I disagree. Wages were not frozen in the top districts that we compete with. They all have parcel taxes I could see freezing COLAs, but I would not freeze step and column.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm

To Stacey,

"Unlike the Bank of America, the government doesn't do downsizing very well."

You're talking about Bank of America and the government like they were different things. ;-) Last time I checked, the government is a major shareholder in BofA, and they wouldn't be around today without that bailout last year. Not really relevant to the discussion of a parcel tax. Just interesting to note.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm

To Stacey,

Thanks for posting that information on property taxes. It is interesting to see how the burden of property taxes gets spread very unevenly due to real estate bubbles.

" public employee unions are not subject to market pressures "

That's true about the unions, but not for employees. Some market pressures operate on employees, though not as directly as private employees. Since there are many potential school districts where an employee (like a principal or teacher) can choose to work, it is up to the individual districts to compete for the best people they can get.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm

First of all we did not "choose to buy in a real estate speculation bubble" as if we thought we were going to make money on our home - we HAD to move for emplyoment reasons and Pleasanton seemed like the place that would best suit the needs of our family - number one being good schools.

So, you can talk all you want about what tax created what problem and how lazy and overpaid our teachers are, but I have yet to hear from anyone a real solution to our problem - even if you freeze teachers salaries that won't come near to making up the difference in cuts we have already suffered, the mid-term cuts we are about to suffer, and the cuts that are sure to come next year from the STATE. Please tell me, other than crushing the teacher's union, what other great ideas do you have to raise funds that will stay in Pleasanton that do not require a change in the state constitution?

Show up to the board meetings, show up to the PTA/PFC meetings and engage!!!


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

To MK,

What you're saying is true. Even if you could manage to negotiate a freeze on step and column with the teachers union, that wouldn't come close to making up for the amount of cuts we have already seen. We would still need to make further cuts. We already have the largest class sizes in the Tri-Valley area. I don't think we want things to get any worse. We would need a parcel tax in either case. Let's all do what we can.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm

D.C. Schools Chancellor...
"Rhee insists that little else will change and improve if she doesn't do something about the quality of teachers. She says the union, by defending seniority and tenure, is a hindrance to change.

Web Link


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Posted by Responsibility
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Everyone pays school taxes. Those of you who currently have children in the schools need to pony up some money and not expect to take it from other people. You had the kids so now you need to take care of your own children.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm

To "Dark Corners",

That article is about "ailing" inner city schools. Those schools have dreadful test scores, high crime rates and very poor quality. Pleasanton schools are known for their high quality and high test scores.

I can't see how any of the concerns raised in that article have anything to do with funding our schools with a parcel tax.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

To "Responsibility",

Schools benefit the entire community, not just people with children and grand children in the schools. Pleasanton is the only high quality school district in the Bay Area without a parcel tax. This puts us at a disadvantage and threatens the future quality of our schools. We need to stay competitive, and the best way to do that is to get a parcel tax on the ballot that will meet the community's needs.


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Posted by Responsibility
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Reader,

You are really a one trick pony aren't you? Parcel tax, parcel tax, parcel tax, parcel tax, parcel tax, parcel tax...........you need to be a bit more creative. Surely giving teachers raises is not the way to success unless of course you are a teacher.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm

To 'a reader' - If you truly desired to have the best teachers for the students, then you would know how union seniority and tenure rules allow poor performing teachers to remain. Shall we ask for parents to share here on PW their 'worst teacher' stories? And if any of them went to PUSD administration, what was the administrator's response?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm

To "Responsibility",

"unless of course you are a teacher."

Nope, not a teacher.

"Surely giving teachers raises is not the way to success "

What success are you talking about? I'm talking about retaining and hiring the best teachers that we can. I'd say the same thing about about principals. All the other high quality districts faced the same issues, and parcel taxes are helping them fill the gap. There is only so much that we can do in the short term here in Pleasanton. We can't effect statewide changes in any sort of time frame that will prevent further cuts in services in our local schools.

"you need to be a bit more creative."

Creativity is fine, and we should welcome all suggestions, but we need creativity in addition to a parcel tax. A parcel tax is our best bet for the short term.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

MK,

No one forced you to purchase and I've certainly never heard of owning a home being a requirement of employment. There are many who live in Pleasanton and do not own. There are also many who are now purchasing in Pleasanton because they've been waiting for the bubble to pop and have positioned themselves to take advantage of that. My point is only that when there's easy credit fueling real estate speculation, government receives an undeserved windfall of taxes that never reflects actual growth in cost of services.

Also, I have never written anything about teachers being lazy and the only teachers who are overpaid are those who need to be let go. Please don't confuse questioning the fairness of automatic raises and raising taxes during an economic downturn with a discussion regarding the adequacy of teacher salaries.

You don't see that there's a possibility for "real solutions", but I see that this economic downturn as a prime opportunity to institute meaningful reform.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:01 pm

To "Dark Corners",

"then you would know how union seniority and tenure rules allow poor performing teachers to remain."

I'm certainly no expert in that field. I would be in favor of some kind of merit pay system, and a better system for moving bad teachers out. But all of that is way beyond the scope of anything that accomplished in the short term here in Pleasanton. It is also what is faced by all the other high quality schools in the Bay Area. A parcel tax is the best answer for that. It is what all the other high quality districts have put in place, and we will be competing with them. Today, the quality of education in Pleasanton is still pretty good. We are usually included in any list of best school districts in the Bay Area. We need to make sure that quality does not erode. We have already cut programs and increased class sizes more than our neighbors. A parcel tax will help prevent further cuts.


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Posted by Responsibility
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Does anyone know how many teachers there are in Pleasanton?, how many left last year total aside from retirements? How many were terminated? etc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

I agree that meaningful reform is needed, but that kind of reform takes time and we are running out time. Our needs as a district are basic and immediate. It's not that I think there are no real solutions, I have just not heard any from you or anyone else on this site. What is your plan for reform that we can control at a local level and that can save classes in the next couple of years for those poor high school kids who are trying to get into college?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm

To Stacey,

"but I see that this economic downturn as a prime opportunity to institute meaningful reform."

What kind of reform do you think we could accomplish in the short term here in Pleasanton? Do you mean something like Sandy's suggestion above about pay-for-performance? That would be a statewide sort of change.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:19 pm

To MK,

Don't forget that those K-3 kids dealing with a continually increasing class sizes and fewer teachers for reading, writing, and arithmetic in those critical learning years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Vouchers are the way to go. The strong will survive and the weak will fall aside.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm

I am with you "reader" on the k-3 as I have a child in elementary as well as older kids. It all scares me. I am afraid the arguing will go on forever and nothing defintive will be done. I know I will be at any and all meetings going forward regarding this issue

To Stacey, we chose to buy to here because we thought throwing money away on rent for years on end would be a waste for us. We also believe that when you buy in a town you don't just roots down in a house, you invest in the town and the community and your neighbors. You fight for what is right for the kids then you fight for what might seem unfair as adults.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N.
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 6:42 am

Just recently, I was in Georgia on a business trip and went to one of my friends son's high school football games. I was amazed a the school and noticed that they were building several new high schools in the area. He also told me that in Georgia anyone who graduates from high school with a B average can go to the University of Georgia or any public university in the state for free! Why is it that a state like Georgia can do that but we cannot?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 20, 2009 at 8:11 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I have been writing suggestions (about three or four times now in this thread). Fundraising is a short term "fix", not regressive, retains local control, doesn't burden those like Rudy, allows those who can to give more than $200, and doesn't divide the community. I don't remember the exact details reported during a past school board meeting, but the San Ramon district supposedly raised something like $12MM through donations. To echo reader's point, if San Ramon can do it, why can't we? The fundraiser during the summer could have raised more if it started earlier, was during the school year for more visibility, and ran longer. And I've not seen it reported how much total was collected directly at the schools from those who didn't want to hand the money to the district. Given that there may be some recovery going on, many could be feeling more comfortable right now with donating unlike in the spring and summer where there was still a lot of uncertainty.

Long-term reform has been discussed many times over on this site during the Measure G campaign. The merit pay Sandy referred to was a part of those discussions as was devoting 50% of any COLA into filling up reserves (it should also go into funding the unfunded retiree health benefit liability) before passing out on-scale raises. If there's no long-term sustainability, that's no good for the kids either.

My concern is that a parcel tax only addresses the short-term and takes the District off the hook from the long-term. They know that the statistics on renewing a parcel tax is with them. All they have to do is keep kicking the ball down the field. We're both writing from a position of concern for the kids. We just come to different conclusions.

Steve N.,

Georgia doesn't have as many students as California.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:42 am

I agree, a fund raiser would be a good idea. Could be that people are distracted with the search for the new superintendent.

Where I may be disagreeing is that the district has a long term problem. I'm not sure it does. What I don't want is to get the district in a race to the bottom as the only high quality district without a parcel tax. And if the need for a parcel tax persists and voters approve it, I think that is a good thing. As discussed above, prop 13 can have unintended consequences that can be mitigated with parcel taxes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:46 am

To Steve N,

As a product of the that university (Georgia Tech), I can say that one unfortunate consequence of their admission policies is that too many under-qualified Georgia resident students wind up flunking out because the standards are too low.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

Correction to above -- I meant to say "As a product of the that university system (Georgia Tech)"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

PUSD is not the only one suffering. Here is an article that talks about UC and their increase in fees, student protests:

Web Link

California needs to get its act together. The union pensions approved thanks to Davis before he was recalled is a big proble. These people collecting pensions, get a lot of PUBLIC money, and it is out of control. It will not be realistic to keep it up. Reform the system, get rid of the generous pension system for public employees, get rid of unnecessary organizations, the list goes on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:37 pm

To Resident,

Yes, other districts are suffering too, but they have the benefit of parcel taxes to offset some of the cuts. We need to get a parcel tax in place to stop the bleeding.

Those problems that you point out are at the state level and much bigger in scope than we can solve in our little town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "Yes, other districts are suffering too, but they have the benefit of parcel taxes to offset some of the cuts."

They are passing additional parcel taxes with higher amounts. So while that may offset for a year or two, the game goes on. It's another version of kicking the ball down the field.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

To Stacey,

And those other districts are better positioned to offer a high quality education than we are, due to the increased. They can hire and retain better teachers and principals, and can make fewer cuts to programs. Failing to pass a parcel tax puts Pleasanton at a disadvantage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm

We have a lot more people and if manged well would have a lot more money for education. Forget anymore taxes. Just crossed from Oregon and was stuck by the fact there were 8 government workers at the border asking if I had any fruit or vegetables!!! Economic trouble and we are paying people 30 bucks an hour 7 days a week to do nothing!!! Wake up Californians!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

To Steve N,

We most certainly do need a parcel tax. Pleasanton is the only high quality school district in the Bay Area without a parcel tax. We need to remain competitive. Cost cutting always helps, but it can only get us so far, and it will not close the gap. This has nothing to do with fruit inspectors for the state of California. They are not managed by the Pleasanton Unified School District. We are only talking about our local schools, and they have earned an excellent reputation. Problems at the state level are part of the reason we need a parcel tax. We have already had serious cuts in programs. The time for a parcel tax is now. Our schools have suffered enough.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I suspect people are pretty much taxed and spent out right now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

To Steve N,

Voters in Walnut Creek just recently passed a parcel tax with over a 70% majority. San Ramon did the same thing. Voters understood the importance to the community of quality schools. We can do the same here in Pleasanton. We need a parcel tax that will support the community's needs and help maintain a high quality education system in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Lots of folks out of work Reader. Should have some way of not forcing unemployed to pay for teachers raises.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Tax should only apply to households making over 75,000 per year.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Just a thought . . .
Yes, California needs to get its act together. Yes, there are statewide school budget cuts. However, before any parcel tax is passed in Pleasanton, we really need a School Board that is able to efficiently and effectively manage the funds they are provided. Until that happens, I doubt there will be any parcel tax passed in Pleasanton. It does no good to throw good money after bad if the board isn't up to managing the budget.

Just the fact that neither Walnut Creek nor San Ramon went to the expense of a special election (SR did mail-in/drop-off and WC folded theirs into a scheduled election) tells me that they have a better handle on their expenditures than Pleasanton's USD. Perhaps they even listened to their Budget Committee recommendations . . .

I have my fingers crossed that the new Superintendent will be able to make the changes necessary to keep Pleasanton's schools achieving high marks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:22 pm

To Rae,

"I have my fingers crossed that the new Superintendent will be able to make the changes necessary to keep Pleasanton's schools achieving high marks."

I'm hoping so too. I agree that Walnut Creek and San Ramon both did a better job at running their parcel tax campaigns than Pleasanton did with Measure G. Palo Alto turned their second effort into a success after the failure of measure I.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

To Steve N,

"Lots of folks out of work Reader. Should have some way of not forcing unemployed to pay for teachers raises. "

I don't think there is any way to put in an unemployment exemption. I don't see that kind of exemption in any of the other parcel taxes that passed recently. Think of the logistics of trying to make that work. Also, it isn't just step and column raises that these other parcel taxes preserved. There were also math and reading coaches, as well as small class sizes. We need to do the same thing here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:17 am

Come on folks listen to yourselves. In Readers opinion it is ok to take money from someone who has to job like Rudy and give Rudy's money to a teacher as a raise. Something quite immoral about this proposal..."The end justifies the means!".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:21 am

I meant does not have a job like Rudy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:18 am

To Steve N,

There is nothing immoral being proposed here. Unemployed people have never been exempt from paying property taxes. Wages are not frozen across the board because some people are unemployed. Property taxes are not income taxes. There are unemployed people in good times and bad. We can't exempt unemployed people from property taxes.

For a high quality school district like Pleasanton the need to compete is keen. All the high quality school districts in the Bay Area have passed parcel taxes. Districts like San Ramon, Palo Alto, Piedmont have recently passed parcel taxes. Are you telling us that all of those districts are immoral? Is that what you are saying?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Read this article:
Web Link

It talks about a community college in San Jose, and how the chancellor was paid a lot of money, and spent a lot of money on things like travel, furniture for her office, etc. Yet when the budget is tight now, the first thing they do is cut classes!

Why can't they just reform the system? I suspect that a true audit of every school district in California may show money not well spent, outrageous salaries and benefits, etc. Isn't it time to put students first and reform the system?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

To Resident,

"I suspect that a true audit of every school district in California may show money not well spent, outrageous salaries and benefits, etc. Isn't it time to put students first and reform the system?"

A true audit of any private company or government institution is likely to show "money not well spent". Outrageous salaries and benefits maybe. I don't think the top pay for teachers in PUSD approaches anything near what would be considered outrageous. Also, PUSD is no position to demand such an audit of other school districts. That article talked about a community college. I don't think you can draw many conclusions about PUSD from that.

"Why can't they just reform the system"

I think a lot of people would be in agreement with that statement. For the short term, the best bet for Pleasanton is to put a parcel tax in place, before there are any further cuts to vital programs. All of the high quality districts in the Bay Area have already done so. They are excellent school districts and they are our competitors. We need to get a parcel tax passed here.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The logic being given is that since it is done elsewhere, then it is ok. Practically speaking, if someone is driving drunk that doesn't make it ok for me to do the same. The action is not determined to be right or wrong based upon who is doing it or how frequently it is done. It should be argued on the merits or demerits of the action alone for why it is right or wrong.

Just as a private company has a fiduciary duty to stakeholders, so does a monopolistic government entity have a fiduciary duty to stakeholders. The difference is that government's money is taken by law and a private company's money is taken by being earned. If a private company gets too much waste in their organization, they put their organization at risk. That market pressure provides incentive to reform their organization. Government, on the other hand, just raises more tax. It doesn't have that same market pressure which constantly drive private firms to reform.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "I don't think the top pay for teachers in PUSD approaches anything near what would be considered outrageous."

Why don't you show us?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

To Stacey,

"The logic being given is that since it is done elsewhere, then it is ok"

I'm not giving that logic. I'm saying that we need to compete with those districts, and they have parcel taxes in place. I have already provided many reasons that the taxes are needed and the benefits they bring. One reason that they are needed is because of unintended consequences of prop 13 -- Scroll up to find some of that. It is both the right thing to do, and what all the top districts are doing.

"The difference is that government's money is taken by law and a private company's money is taken by being earned. If a private company gets too much waste in their organization, they put their organization at risk. That market pressure provides incentive to reform their organization. Government, on the other hand, just raises more tax. It doesn't have that same market pressure which constantly drive private firms to reform."

I think you're speaking theoretically here because Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Merril Lynch, AIG, GM, Chrysler and many others were able to simply pay for their irresponsible and wasteful behavior just by going to the tax payers for more. Private companies are able to do what you described.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm

To Stacey,

"Why don't you show us?"

It appears to be on the web site, for example --

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm

So we are taxed to pieces in this state already. Congress is considering a war tax, cap and trade, tax to pay for healthcare, and the inner cities have no money for school at all and we are only interested in taking care of our own here in Pleasanton. Pretty racist!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Reader,

Yes I believe it is immoral and selfish to take from those like Rudy above who have nothing and give to those who have jobs. We should be ashamed of ourselves for even considering it. If you want to do good, pass a parcel tax here and give the money to a district which truly needs it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

I think you know that posting those numbers in a vacuum doesn't tell anyone anything. How about a little quantifying? I'm not saying I disagree with your statement. California teachers certainly do not get paid anything outrageous. Even though the dollar amount is amongst the highest in the nation, adjusting for cost of living differences shows that California is roughly in the middle amongst states in terms of teacher compensation. I'm only suggesting that you should look at it a little closer.

You also wrote: "and what all the top districts are doing."

A parcel tax isn't the only thing all those top and unnamed districts you talk about are doing (for example they also do fundraising a lot better than us). If you have evidence maybe in the form of an authoritative and well-trusted source that those other things are being controlled foexistence of ar and can point to definitive data that shows that a parcel tax is the solution, then do so. Otherwise you are indeed using "that logic".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Edit: -"existence of a"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:22 pm

To Stacey,

"I'm only suggesting that you should look at it a little closer."

I haven't found anything. I honestly don't know what you want me to look for, nothing looks "outrageous" to me.

"If you have evidence maybe in the form of an authoritative and well-trusted source that those other things are being controlled foexistence of ar and can point to definitive data that shows that a parcel tax is the solution, then do so."

I posted the justification (the pdf) that the PAUSD used to justify their parcel tax. It discussed the effects of prop 13. I know it is not exactly the same thing here, but we are affected by the same trends.

By the way, concerning the complexity of science, and the ability of the educated layman to evaluate and comprehend came up on a radio show today. It is a good listen.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm

To Steve P,

"immoral and selfish" "Pretty racist!"

If you want to have an intelligent discussion, you would do well to lay off calling people racist when you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Otherwise we can just assume that you're trolling.

Web Link)

Good luck with that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

Did you notice the comments at the bottom?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:54 pm


Reader,

"Yes I believe it is immoral and selfish to take from those like Rudy above who have nothing and give to those who have jobs. We should be ashamed of ourselves for even considering it. If you want to do good, pass a parcel tax here and give the money to a district which truly needs it."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:17 am

To Steve N,

You left out "racist".

Anyway if you want to do good, stop trolling, and find something useful to do with your time.

Web Link)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:20 am

To Stacey,

Yes, I saw those comments. My take on it goes back to what I said before. We need to elect leaders and officials who share our basic values and leave some of the details to the experts they hire.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danville
on Nov 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

Reader,

What is a troll? Why don't you pay for your own childs education rather than trying to steal others money? and, yes I do believe this has some racial overtones otherwise you would not be concerned only about Pleasanton.....Oakland, Richmond....Hello???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by trekmtb
a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Nov 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

a reader has over 75 posts on this thread alone, all with the same, redundant (broken record) message.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm

A reader:

I agree that we need a parcel tax here in Pleasanton, I supported measure G and will support a parcel tax again should they decide to go for it.

However, I do think the board should take steps to make the community feel better. For instance, back in the summer, they voted to re-instate a position just so that person's benefits would be better upon termination! They voted on some items I was not comfortable with; for example: they borrowed money from that fund (Sycamore?) to make up for deficits in the cafeteria fund. When one asked how it would be repaid, they said it would be repaid from the same fund, once it got back on track. Honestly, the discussion was so silly even my kids would have understood that it was not a good business practice. The cafeteria fund got in trouble for a reason, so now they expect for it to magically get back on track and have enough profits to pay back the money? With this economy, many of us are choosing not to buy lunch at school anymore, it is more economical to pack a lunch. Do not take my word for it, go to the PUSD website and watch the video of the meeting. They borrowed a little over 100K. That is just an example.

That is why I say that a true audit may just find a way to trim expenses that are not necessary.

Would I support a parcel tax? Yes.

Do I want to see money well spent? Do I want to see unnecessary expenses eliminated? Absolutely.

Do I want to see all the "goodies" like car allowances, etc, eliminated? YES!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm

To Resident,

I agree. We are getting a new superintendent, and I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get a more responsive leadership.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm

To trekmtb,

Here are three more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

To Steve N,

I provided a link. Here it is again.

Web Link)

Happy trolling to you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve N
a resident of Danbury Park
on Nov 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Reader,

Don't want to debate why the money should not go to the inner cities schools do you? People wonder why we are so happy we elected President Obama and for once we are being represented and will get some money invested in the neighborhood rather than the lily white suburbs. In your view more money should go to rich schools and nothing or none of your money to support people of color.


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