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Quality of education could be at stake with Pleasanton school district cuts

Original post made on Jan 22, 2010

Community members gathered again Tuesday night to ask questions, express concerns and offer possible solutions regarding the $6.9-million school budget shortfall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 22, 2010, 7:56 AM

Comments (141)

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Posted by Penelope
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

Parent volunteers cannot replace teachers! If they did, then we'd be completely devaluing the education and credentials (not to mention experience) our teachers have. It's bad enough that we rely so heavily on parent volunteers in the classroom. Of course it's great that volunteer parents care enough about kids to give of their time, but there is no way to vet their knowledge, let alone their teaching or discipline style. (For example, would you want commenter Gunslinger teaching your kids? I'm pretty sure they don't introduce multiplication in first grade!)


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Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

Gunslinger: I'm open to your argument but would definitely need some sources for your information. Considering that what you're saying is not only counter-intuitive but also melodramatic (Kids with math problems aren't getting specialists, but ones with reading problems are).

If you're going to call PW out on dishonesty, please let us know your sources for the facts so we can all see it. Just pointing the finger and calling "liar" really doesn't do anyone any good.

You can end the whole argument with a few links to the facts. I, for one, would love to see studies to the contrary of accepted belief around class sizes and specialists.


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Posted by concerned mom
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 9:21 am

I'm glad to see that comments are in support off the elementary kids. They are feeling the biggest impact of the cuts last year and it looks like they are going to get hit again. They deserve to have a strong foundation just as all the other kids before them. We will not see the effects of some of these cuts for years since they are not apart of the API score.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Sycamore Place
on Jan 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

I am getting tired of hearing how we are losing so many teachers. What I'd really like to hear is how many positions have been cut from the District Office. One position that comes to mind...Our Public Information Officer. How does Casey justify Myla Grasso's position? Can he not communicate with the public on his own? Sorry, but I'm not understanding why her position warrants over $100,000 a year. Absolutely amazing how a school district can be so political!


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Posted by concerned mom
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

I wish our city and school board take a look into what our neighboring city San Ramon is doing to fend off this school budget crisis. They are our nearest city with comparable school reating. I understand that they have a parcel tax which unfortunately did not pass here last year. The community, the city officials and the school need to understand that one of the most attractive aspects of our city which retains the population and encourages enrollment in our schools is the quality of education in our district. This directly affects the property values and other amenities that the city provides. If the pleasanton school board and the city do not do anything to prevent the threat to our schools' quality, people are going to move out and enrollment is going to fall which will then affect the property values. So even people who don't have kids in school will be impacted. School rating is the very first criteria that a family looking to buy a home evaluates. If they find it lacking, they will start looking elsewhere. And also people who have school age kids will start moving out.


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Posted by An article worth reading
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

This article talks about how the Oakland school district teacher union rejected the offer and will strike.

They rejected it because it means bigger class sizes and no raises.

But their argument is weak. They claim teachers are leaving Oakland for other districts. Well, I'd like to know where they are going. All over California, districts are LAYING OFF, not hiring. Seems like this argument about "let's leave for another district unless we get our goodie bag" is being used all over, but don't teachers realize they cannot fool people?

Districs across California are NOT hiring, period. So go elsewhere, and good luck because right now, there are too many teachers out there looking for work because they were laid off.

Here is the article:
Web Link


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Posted by Amador Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

Haven't Oakland teachers been leaving their district for years? And for other reasons besides salary?


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Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

Gunslinger: I don't have to concede anything because I never made that argument in the first place. I see what you're saying about how teacher's can selfishly benefit from smaller class-sizes though. But that would also mean that you'd have to prove that that's the ONLY reason they're really doing it in order for that argument to carry any weight. If it's a selfish-benefit that also happens to greatly benefit the kids, then the latter carries more weight, imo.

Revenue for the unions is a good point too. I had not thought of that one.

But again, if it's something that benefits the kids as well, then I'm for it. It needs to be fixed by getting rid of the union then.

I think the real problem is here is that there just aren't any good, clear answers. Hence all the debate. I guess we'll see what shakes out.


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Posted by To Amador Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

"Haven't Oakland teachers been leaving their district for years? And for other reasons besides salary?"

Good point. They have been leaving Oakland, and salary is not the reason.

But right now, any teacher who leaves will have a hard time finding work, because all over California, districts are laying off, not hiring.


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Posted by Save Myla
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

Concerned,

Oh okay, great idea. We'll lay off Myla Grasso and save a $100,000. That will solve the $7 million deficit in our schools. You're a genius.

In the past few years, PUSD has gutted the administration. Myla does more than public information. She does a ton of other work and has taken up the slack after others were layed off. And we don't need John Casey putting together the e-newsletters and keeping the district website up to date and spending his days taking calls from the media or writing press releases about school issues. That's a job that someone else needs to do. Someone like--I know: Myla!

What needs to happen is that Pleasanton needs to pass a parcel tax.
A fundraiser isn't going to cut it. And by the way, San Ramon passed a parcel tax, so we can stop asking what San Ramon is doing that we're not. It's called a parcel tax. They voted to help their schools. We voted otherwise.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Sycamore Heights
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

Save Myla,

You sure you don't work for the district? I was just saying that Myla would be a good start on where to cut SOME costs. If Casey shouldn't be putting together newsletters and answering calls, etc. etc. Please remind us why he has a secretary? And Myla picking up the slack when others have been layed off? Now that's believable! We are all having to make cuts, shouldn't the chief?


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

Tracy police recently voted to abstain from getting raises for the next year in order to avoid lay offs. I believe the PUSD could learn from this. We should start at the top, reduce salaries by 8-10% and no raises for the next two years. This may not make up such a deficit but it would certainly help. Anyways, how did we get into this mess? Whoever does the finances and budgets should be looked at as a definite pay cut if they cannot foresee that Pleasanton is growing and money will be needed to pay for it.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

for Concerned
"This may not make up such a deficit but it would certainly help." Not only would it erase ALL of the current deficit, according to PUSD numbers a 4% pay cut with no current raises would be all that is needed to do that. Some sacrifice!
But, of course, the teachers will not do that cause they are all threatening to go "somewhere else" to keep their high pay and benefits. As I have said to the teachers before, if the grass is greener then what's stopping you from just leaving? Don't let the door hit you in the *** on the way out.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

Taxpayers need to stand up to the tyranny of public sector employees.We are the serfs slaving to pay the salaries, pensions and retiree med. benefits of the overpaid public sector. It is time for a national revolt a la the American revolution. City,state and federal salaries and benefits need to be cut and taxes lowered.My kids went to school with 30 in their classes. They came first in their medical school classes and are doctors now. This class size item is greatly overblown. Overhead needs to be cut substantially by 15% or more by reducing positions and salaries. Teachers and support costs have to be cut by smaller amounts. Cut more at the top. The fraudulent pensions that were boosted need to be clawed back. Maybe we have to go thru bankruptcy and take strikes. The other approaches don't seem to work. I am tired of fiddling while Pleasanton is burning. Take some corrective action to cut expenses instead of trying to boost already excessive taxes.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

For all those that think increasing class size is the solution - in order to meet the state standards and reach those high API scores we need smaller class sizes. We have seen it work as the students receive more attention during the critical early years. If the students don't get the attention early in their student careers then they will struggle all through their schooling. Drop out rates will increase, API scores will go down and property values will drop. Education is the basis of our community. I would be willing to take a pay cut and forgo raises until the economy corrects itself. We all have to do our part whether we have children in the school system or not. We are making sure that this next generation has the education they need in order to survive and thrive in the world!


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Posted by Tired
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I'm sick and tired of hearing about all of this. IMO, cut administration, leave class size near 25 for K-3rd, keep the specialists but charge parents an up front fee at the beginning of the school year for these perks. Isn't that what Danville and San Ramon parents do?

Gunslinger, you make good points with the union but teachers know how to teach 1st grade math! Reading specialists are needed in a lot of cases because that is such a time intensive process. A teacher with 25 other students doesn't have that kind of free time and I doubt most parents would/could spend the extra time with their children's reading needs.

As far as teachers going without a raise.... I thought they did that this year!


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

for Tired
"As far as teachers going without a raise.... I thought they did that this year!"
No they did not. They said they would consider going without one raise if, and only if, the parcel tax passed. As of this date they have given up nothing and are still demanding full S & C raises.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

No solutions here just tax more and the problem returns again next year. Cut taxes, reduce restriction, to get business back here to spur economic growth and solve the long term problem. This tax tax tax is like two dogs just circling each other.


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Posted by Nocalgal
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Hey, gunslinger, why don't you attend one of these meetings? Then you would see that the Weekly reported, listen to this: WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID AND WHAT TRANSPIRED AT THE MEETING. If that is biased, then what you are actually advocating is that the Pleasanton Weekly present one side of the story: your side.

And by the way, too bad there were no spelling specialists at your school.


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Posted by Think Before You Speak
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

With regard to above posts:

There are no math specialists, if you have been at any of the forums you know: that about 20 positions were cut at the district offices, our district is not unique with these problems - San Ramon, Livermore, etc., all have huge deficits, the elementary shcools have taken a large brunt of the cuts, but our middle schools and high schools are having to cope with a lot less - many counselors, vice-pricnipals, and classes are gone.

The finger pointing should stop and the effort to find solutions should begin. If you are at all informed then you know that there are folks working on it. A woman got up at the last meeting and said a group is working on fundraising solutions and the district said that their meetings on revenue enhancement are open to the public

So, before you start complaining again, think before you speak, become part of the postive solution and not the negative problem. It takes so much more energy to fight and less to collaborate.


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Posted by To resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm

There you go again with your lies. The teachers have not had a raise since the 2007/08 school year. Anyone can check this with the district. It's true they still have S&C raises, but these are not automatic, as some people have been saying (ahem, resident), and it's based on continuing education along with years of experience, not just years of employment.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Step and column are nothing more than disguised versions of mandatory merit increases by another name.


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Posted by Weighing in
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Think Before You Speak,

Thank you for a voice of reason. We don't need finger pointing. We need to work together to find a solution.


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Posted by Bobby
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

We could however go to year around school and fully utilize school year and school day. This way class sizes could stay small if that is the biggest issue. Of course teachers would be required to work a full year and 8 hours per day to make it work.


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Posted by To Bobby
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

"We could however go to year around school and fully utilize school year and school day. This way class sizes could stay small if that is the biggest issue. Of course teachers would be required to work a full year and 8 hours per day to make it work."

Great idea. If teachers want full time pay, they need full time work (work the full year and the full 8 hrs/day). If this is done, then there would be no need to worry about the costly 10 elective days off each teacher gets, it would be at that point, fair - we would call it vacation, and it would happen in the two weeks in between.

However, it is still important to freeze Step and Column, and to get rid of administrative perks such as car allowances.


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Posted by To "To resident"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm

"There you go again with your lies. The teachers have not had a raise since the 2007/08 school year. Anyone can check this with the district. It's true they still have S&C raises, but these are not automatic, as some people have been saying (ahem, resident), and it's based on continuing education along with years of experience, not just years of employment."

The point is: we should freeze Step and Column because no matter what you call it, it is a raise for teachers. During this time of budget deficits, we CANNOT afford to give raises to anyone, teachers included. And some unreasonable perks must also end.


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Posted by George
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Let's get rid of Coupe and Cesario and keep Amador going in a better direction. Both keep losing. How many flags of winning do they have or the last ten years. Almost none. They are awful.


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Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I stand by my comment yesterday. Gunslinger, you are an uniformed man. Get out of your white world. Why don't you try volunteering in a classroom to see what it's like-5 EL student, 6 GATE, 6 Special Ed, and the rest general ed. You wouldn't last a week.


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Posted by Hannibal
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I will repeat the solution to the budget shortfall because some of you are kind of dense.

FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN, FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN, FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN, FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN, FREEZE STEP AND COLUMN.

Problem solved.

Also, comparing PUSD to Oakland is preposterous. Whoever posted that, please go have your head examined.


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Posted by Caesar
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Save Myla,

You say Myla's 100k plus pension and benefits (150k) is not significant. You don't belive there are more high paying jobs that are not needed? How many assistant superintendents are there? Do principles and VP's need to pull down 150K?

The waste in the public sector is astounding. Coupled with the legacy costs of pensions and lifetime medical, the taxpayers are doomed. Enough is enough.

Those of us who demand accountability are a minority but we are united. If you come at us again with a parcel tax, there are just enough of us to shoot it down. Before you even think about raising taxes, get your bloated and wasteful organization in order.





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Posted by To "To "To resident""
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

"During this time of budget deficits, we CANNOT afford to give raises to anyone, teachers included. "

As another illustrious poster pointed out on another thread, in both 2008 and 2009 there was an increase in overall salaries in both the United States and California. In 2009, the average salary increase was 1.1% across all jobs. This is comparable to what teachers teachers would be getting with step and column (some would get no raises, some would get small raises). These are the actual statistics, not emotionalism or hearsay. Why single out our teachers, who have done so well, who have played a vital role in the quality of education in Pleasanton leading to some of the highest API scores in the area? Why give them a lower raise than the average worker? The numbers don't lie; Those are the statistics. Of course people are hurting, as in any downturn, but to single out our teachers and our principals when they are doing so well for our town would be a mistake in my opinion.


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Posted by To "resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School "
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

"As another illustrious poster pointed out on another thread, in both 2008 and 2009 there was an increase in overall salaries in both the United States and California. In 2009, the average salary increase was 1.1% across all jobs. This is comparable to what teachers teachers would be getting with step and column (some would get no raises, some would get small raises)."

The people who got raises (or kept their jobs for that matter) during these past couple of years are people who work for PROFITABLE companies. Companies such as SUN that were struggling laid people off and those who stayed saw NO raise.

Teachers last year chose to keept their raise at the form of step and column, and that meant no more CSR as we knew it, and having the younger, many excellent teachers be laid off. All because the old timers wanted their raise.

Wherever you are getting your facts, you may want to include a link, because the reality is that the private industry only gave bonuses if the profits called for it (Intel did that recently for example). Companies that chose to give raises despite their financial situation have that right, it is their PRIVATE money, and it is their business that suffers.

And those private companies that received public funds through bailouts and chose to abuse the system (banks, for example) have heard the anger of voters to the point of too much in the way of regulations and penalties to come.

Teachers get their salary from an entity that went through DEFICITS, an entity that operates on PUBLIC funds, an entity that saw their revenue decline, and they chose to keep their raise even if there was no money for it. And in order to get it, CSR had to go up. And their actions had consequences for the children of the taxpayers whose money was used for these raises.

No more nonsense! You can argue the right of teachers to raises, but you sound quite ignorant when you do so.


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Posted by To "To resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School ""
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 9:45 am

Here is the link to the other story on Pleasanton Weekly.

Web Link

Here is link that show an actual increase in average wages IN ACTUAL DOLLARS amounting to 1.1%. As that poster pointed out, we are payed in actual dollars, not inflation adjusted dollars.

Web Link

The increase was greater in 2008 as you can easily look up at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Web Link

Public schools do not operate to make a profit. The decline in revenue occurred through no fault of the schools.

"but you sound quite ignorant when you do so."

Such comments don't help your cause.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To "resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School "
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

your statement was: ".. in both 2008 and 2009 there was an increase in overall salaries in both the United States and California. In 2009, the average salary increase was 1.1% across all jobs. This is comparable to what teachers teachers would be getting with step and column (some would get no raises, some would get small raises)."

The link to the fox news article you gave does not talk about that. What it says:

"Consumer inflation was tame in 2009, with prices rising 2.7 percent. Yet families felt squeezed as their spending power sank in the face of falling wages, job losses and higher prices for energy, medical care and education. "

It talks about prices going up while wages going down. Did you read this and understand the meaning? It does not talk about salaries going up as you said before. It talks about PRICES going up while WAGES went down!

And the link you provided to the Bureau of Labor Statistics has this statement:

"In December, 43 states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 4 states registered decreases, and 3 states had no change. Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 11 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 39 states."

and also from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"Real average hourly earnings fell 1.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2008 to December 2009. A 0.3-percent decline in average weekly hours combined with the decrease in real average hourly earnings resulted in a 1.6-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings during this period"

Where do you get that there was an increase in salary in the US?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

What we need to remember is that "To "To resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School "", is really just "a reader" posting under another name. "a reader" advocates the parcel tax at any cost and supports raises for the teachers. "a reader" is also incapable of understanding basic economics, as pointed out by the above poster. This is not just a matter of manipulation of so-called statistics, it is a matter of not being able to comprehend what these stats actually represent.
Please keep posting, under whatever name du jour you choose "a reader". You make the case for those of us who will demand more than lip service from PUSD employees, including teachers, in the area of some concessions.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Back to the original article.......
PUSD administration should be acknowledged for creating a more open and transparent community dialogue process for this budget cycle. Kevin, Luz, Cindy, Bill and others are answering challenging questions from the community. More can be done, however:
- The Budget Advisory Committee remains a relatively unknown group/process. The PUSD website does not show agendas or notes for the 1/7 and 1/14 meetings. Nor is there an agenda for the upcoming 1/27 meeting. Since this group is comprised of district officials, union leaders, teachers, and leaders of last year's Measure G campaign, it is not unreasonable that community suspicion remains about what this group is doing.
- The two PUSD community and budget forums were not recorded and made available via webcast or community TV to those who could not attend. PUSD has the technology and ability to do so. If the objective of the forums is to include the community, then PUSD is irresponsible in not making these informative sessions available as they do all Board meetings. Comments made by Board President Grant (pro parcel tax) or teachers union president Knaggs (refusal to sign Race To The Top MOU)are unlikely to make it into the PUSD Q&A record, or in the PW/Independent articles.


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Posted by FYI
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Repeatedly veteran teachers, referred to as "old timers", are accused of being greedy in not freezing step and column. Since you don't understand the system, perhaps you might be interested in knowing that those teachers who have twenty or more years of service in the district do not receive any benefit from the step and column system. Teachers in earlier years of their career receive step and column as encouragement to seek out more education and training, and as incentives to stay in the district...in other words, step and column benefits those younger teachers you claim to be fighting to keep.

And by the way, by far the largest group of teachers on the PUSD salary schedule are those who do NOT benefit from step and column. Those teachers only receive a raise when COLA is received which, as earlier postings reference, has not happened for a number of years and is not likely to happen for some time to come.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm

The fact that the editors here chose to just erase comments I made that were not obscene, but merely of a conservative opinion concerning our school system, shows how biased this source is, and shows how effective we are at changing minds with merely words on a screen. You editors bestow upon me great confidence that I'm making a difference. The cat's out of the bag


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Posted by To "To "resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School ""
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm

"Where do you get that there was an increase in salary in the US?"

I was trying to spell it out very simply:

Fact: Inflation was 2.7% in 2009.
Fact: Inflation adjusted wages were down 1.6% in 2009.
Fact: Wage increase in actual dollars for 2009 = 2.7% - 1.6% = 1.1%

So there was an average 1.1% increase in actual wages in 2009. That is what the numbers show. It would take a 2.7% raise just for a worker to break even in 2009, when adjusted for inflation.


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Posted by To "resident"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

"This is not just a matter of manipulation of so-called statistics, it is a matter of not being able to comprehend what these stats actually represent. "

Please see above. The numbers show an increase of 1.1% in actual wages. A worker would need to get a 2.7% increase in 2009 just to break even, in inflation adjusted (or "constant"" dollars). Please point out any mistake I have made in those calculations, and I'll be happy to correct them.


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Posted by To "resident"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm

"What we need to remember is that "To "To resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School "", is really just "a reader" "

If "To "To resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School "", is "a reader", then who is "To "To resident""?


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

'FYI' said "...by far the largest group of teachers on the PUSD salary schedule are those who do NOT benefit from step and column."

If you examine the Certificated Satffing Scattergram from PUSD dated 1/11/2010 posted here (Web Link), 52% of the FTE will have a salary increase in the 2010-2011 school year. This is based on STEP (years working) only.
The majority of teachers on the PUSD salary schedule WILL benefit from step salary increases.
Go here (Web Link) to see all the certificated teachers and their seniority ranking.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Go here (Web Link) to see all the certificated teachers and their seniority ranking (starts on page 62 of the .pdf).


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Posted by To "To..."
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Can you guys stop using "To..." for your name? It's getting too confusing. Pick a name and stick with it, please.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Again posting from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"Real average hourly earnings fell 1.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from December 2008 to December 2009. A 0.3-percent decline in average weekly hours combined with the decrease in real average hourly earnings resulted in a 1.6-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings during this period"

Again from the fox news article you gave:

"Consumer inflation was tame in 2009, with prices rising 2.7 percent. Yet families felt squeezed as their spending power sank in the face of falling wages, job losses and higher prices for energy, medical care and education. "

What is it about DECREASE in avg earnings and FALLING wages/job LOSSES do you NOT understand? Reading comprehension is important, you know? Funny way to compute things. I'd hate to see you involved in any financial capacity here in our district.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

The above post was in response to the person who is also posting like I was posting with To <name>. So I am now posting under Common Sense


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

"Fact: Inflation adjusted wages were down 1.6% in 2009."

Where did you get this "fact"? Please quote the portion of either the Bureau of Labor Statistics OR the Fox News article you are using as your source, and I mean quote it, not interpret it.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

One group of people who WON'T be facing layoffs or a potential loss of wages are the four assistant superintendents: Cindy Galbo, Bill Faraghan, Kevin Johnson, and Luz Cazares.

Why? Because our soon-to-be-retired Superintendent, Dr. Casey, persuaded the Board to extend the contracts of these four people for the next three years.

As a teacher in the Pleasanton Unified School District, I sure wish my colleagues who were laid off last year got a three-year guarantee of their jobs, salaries, and benefits for the next three years.

How can this administration and this Board, which protected the job security and salary of its top administrators, credibly ask teachers to accept yet more cuts in staffing and salary?

It's called "leadership by example".

And no, I am NOT saying those four people don't work hard, don't do a good job, and don't deserve their salaries. All four of them work very hard and deserve their salaries.

But so do the teachers and classified staff who have been laid off. And so do the teachers who are now facing layoffs and a big salary cut every year for many years to come.

Why are we expected to sacrifice and the top administrators are not?

(And yes, I sign my real name. I don't grant much credibility to anonymous commentators.)


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Daniel - How are the teachers facing 'a big salary cut every year for many years to come'? Are the PUSD/union negotiators reaching agreement on a salary reduction?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm

T "common sense",

I can take up the mantle here.

"What is it about DECREASE in avg earnings and FALLING wages/job LOSSES do you NOT understand? Reading comprehension is important, you know? Funny way to compute things. I'd hate to see you involved in any financial capacity here in our district. "

Why with the confrontational language? What are you trying to accomplish with that? Can't we respect people with whom we disagree?

I'll try to explain it again.

From the Fox news article:

"A separate report showed inflation-adjusted weekly wages for the 12 months ending in December were down 1.6 percent"

The operative words there are "inflation-adjusted". These are not actual dollar wages. These are "adjusted" wages. People are paid in actual dollars, not adjusted dollars. That is why economists say "real" wages, "adjusted" wages, or "buying power". You calculate "inflation-adjusted" wages by taking actual dollar wages and then subtracting inflation.

Web Link
Web Link

From the same Fox news article:

"Consumer inflation was tame in 2009, with prices rising 2.7 percent."

That is the rate of consumer inflation for 2009 (2.7%). It is the decrease in the "buying power" of a dollar from December 2008 to December 2009. Dollars at the end of 2009 bought 2.7% less at the end of the year compared to the beginning.

People are paid in actual wages, not adjusted wages, so although people received an average raise of 1.6%, adjusting for inflation their "buying power" declined. That doesn't mean they actually got pay cuts. It means that the buying power of their wages declined.

Teachers in Pleasanton are doing no better. Those who did not get increases saw their inflation adjusted wages decline by 2.7%. Those who got step or column increase of less than 2.7% for the year would have also seen their inflation adjusted wages decline. I hope that clears things up. Please try to be less confrontational. These are all standard calculations, and not at all controversial.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Why did our spineless board extend the contracts of the 4 Asst. Supdts. They knew that given the current situation overhead needs to be cut. We need to recall this board that is looking after the top administrators and not the students. We need to eliminate at least one position at these levels or cut the salaries by 15-25%. Our Board seems incredibly powerless.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jan 23, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Education will cost and it should be a funding priority, which I think it is. Teachers salary is a red herring.

I propose a graduated parcel tax.
Charge more for households that have children in the system.
Charge everyone else a smaller amount.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Salaries are a red herring. The amount of teachers is the problem. There's too many


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm

"Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, 1 hour ago

Daniel - How are the teachers facing 'a big salary cut every year for many years to come'? Are the PUSD/union negotiators reaching agreement on a salary reduction?

My answer:

1. The cost of living, especially our medical insurance, is rising but our wages are essentially frozen (even with step and column increases, which don't apply to many of the more experienced teachers who have gone as far to the right of the salary schedule as possible). PUSD teachers negotiated away a COLA in the past in order to fund more reading teachers (to help our students, which is the only reason our schools exist).

2. I have done the math and there is no way that PUSD can balance its budget without either massive staff layoffs that would cripple our ability to serve the students, or by a reduction in wages of some kind.

I am not on the bargaining team, and so am not privvy to the negotiations, but it makes sense: without a parcel tax to make up the funding gap, and absent a second round of stimulus funds from the federal government, PUSD will have to cut deeply in its main area of expense: personnel.

I anticipate a combination of layoffs, much bigger class sizes K-12, and a reduction in teacher salaries across the board. Whether that reduction in teacher salaries will mean that we teachers simply accept less pay for 180 days of school, or PUSD reduces its school year to 175 days and eliminates all staff development days, is a subject for negotiation.

The voters of Pleasanton turned down a modest parcel tax of 64 cents a day (after PUSD teachers offered to give up an average of $1,000 in salary), which wouldn't have gotten us out of this mess entirely, but certainly would have mitigated some of this disaster.

Since it is unlikely our new Superintendent will ask for a parcel tax, we will have to cut expenses to the bone in order to keep our school district operating.

Quality will inevitably suffer and a lot of good teachers will lose their jobs. I am distressed because Trevor Knaggs, the president of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, protested the three-year extension of the contracts of the four assistant superintendents and was told they were "too important" to the district to risk losing.

These four people ARE very important to the district--but aren't the teachers and classified staff important? Why is it ok for us to accept lower wages for years to come and to see our colleagues laid off when the top administrators do not share this sacrifice? The decision of the Board to extend the contracts baffles me.


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Posted by SpendSpendSpend
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Maybe the District should have thought about saving its money when it spent $9 million just over two years ago to make improvements to the high schools, including what Jim Ott stated was 'necessary' improvements to ceramics classroom space and kilns. It's nice to know that the taxpayers spent things on things like Raku kilns two years ago and now the school district pleads its case that it needs money.

Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Correction to above:

"People are paid in actual wages, not adjusted wages, so although people received an average raise of 1.6% ..."

Should have read

"People are paid in actual wages, not adjusted wages, so although people received an average raise of 1.1%..."


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm

To Steve,

"I propose a graduated parcel tax.
Charge more for households that have children in the system.
Charge everyone else a smaller amount."

This has been proposed before, both here and in other districts. The trouble with it is that the district can't legally do it. It would violate California law.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

To "SpendSpendSpend",

"Seeing the most changes were Foothill and Amador Valley high schools. The biggest projects were the addition of science classrooms. Designed Building Systems, Inc. was on budget and ahead of schedule as they added 3,606 square feet of lecture and lab space for Foothill and 4,560 square feet to Amador. The combined cost for both projects was $4.01 million.

Superintendent John Casey said there's a big push for science classes in high school since algebra is now taught earlier and college require more science credits."

To me that sounds like money well spent. The focus on science and math is commendable and provides students with the tools they'll need to succeed in an increasingly high skill job market. Interviews for recent college graduates at my employer focus on science and math skills. Those are the skills that are most needed to succeed in tomorrow's job market. Laboratory methods are critical to learning science.

Web Link


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Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2010 at 9:02 am

Reader:

So you were indeed the other person posting with the TO <name>, interesting.

About the stuff you posted that wages actually went up 1.1 percent:

That's a way to look at it BUT wages/salaries did not actually go up as you stated in a post above (not under "reader" but as To....). Most people are not feeling richer and with money to give away for other people's raises.

The disposable income perhaps was a bit higher (if that is actually the case). So if you make 5 dollars and it either goes down or stays the same, but inflation is accounted for, your salary is still what it is even if your disposable income is a bit better.

Now the FOX article you posted also talks about how, with inflation up and prices up, people were still afraid to spend because their wages went down or their were job losses.

I think you tried to play with semantics. Your calculations, you are playing with numbers here, from economics point of view. Most people do not think their salaries went up, and they are certainly not feeling they have extra money to give the teachers for their raises.

And to then use your logic to say that salaries went up is not quite right. Actual salaries stayed the same or went down (for most people except teachers who received step and column or administrators who gave themselves perks) even if their disposable income is a little more.

When a person sees a paycut, it does not matter how much more he/she can buy with that money, what matters is that the paycut occurred. Yet you are asking people to pay more to subsidize teacher raises? NO, it will never work.

Some of your comments are so weak and your calculations of adjusted inflated wages is a stretch. You will not be able to convince many people with that. Actual wages are down, period. No one looks at it like: "I am happy for that pay cut because with infation adjustments I am coming out ahead" - NONSENSE!

And for your constant asking for parcel tax: remember that many people read these posts even if they do not make comments. You have alienated many with your arguments. I think the district would have been better off without posts like yours. If anyone had been on the fence (my neighbor for instance), you made sure they know for sure that NO parcel tax, period.

Being so pro teacher raises, knowing that our children suffered with increased class sizes this past year because of those raises....gives you very little credibility with the community. The mother of a kindergartener does not appreciate the raise because she has seen what a bigger class size is like. The teacher raise did not help her child, that is a fact.

You are an advocate for bad financial practices - step and column at the expense of CSR and during times of decifit is NOT a good, fiscally responsible move.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2010 at 9:15 am

(posting again to correct obvious type errors (Common Sense) )

Reader:

So you were indeed the other person posting with the TO <name>, interesting.

About the stuff you posted that wages actually went up 1.1 percent:

That's a way to look at it BUT wages/salaries did not actually go up.

The disposable income perhaps was a bit higher (if that is actually the case ). So if you make 5 dollars and it either goes down or stays the same, but inflation is accounted for, your salary is still what it is even if your money will buy more - so you can buy more gasoline because prices are down, big deal, you still had a paycut, and nothing can change that. And if you lost your job, well, not matter what the numbers said, you are still jobless.

Now the FOX article you posted also talks about how, even with inflation accounted for, people were still afraid to spend because their wages went down or there were job losses.

I think you tried to play with semantics. Your calculations, you are playing with numbers here, from an economics point of view. Most people do not think their salaries went up, and they are certainly not feeling they have extra money to give the teachers for their raises.

And to then use your logic to say that salaries went up is not quite right. Actual salaries stayed the same or went down (for most people) even if their ACTUAL money can buy more.

When a person sees a paycut, it does not matter how much more he/she can buy with that money, what matters is that the paycut occurred. Yet you are asking people to pay more to subsidize teacher raises? NO, it will never work.

Some of your comments are so weak and your calculations of "adjusted for inflation" wages is a stretch. You will not be able to convince many people with that. Actual wages are down, period.

No one looks at it like: "I am happy for that pay cut because with infation adjustments I am coming out ahead" - NONSENSE!

And for your constant asking for parcel tax: remember that many people read these posts even if they do not make comments. You have alienated many with your arguments. I think the district would have been better off without posts like yours. If anyone had been on the fence (my neighbor for instance), you made sure they know for sure that NO parcel tax, period.

Being so pro teacher raises, knowing that our children suffered with increased class sizes this past year because of those raises....gives you very little credibility with the community. The mother of a kindergartener does not appreciate the raise because she has seen what a bigger class size is like. The teacher raise did not help her child, that is a fact.

You are an advocate for bad financial practices - step and column at the expense of other programs and during times of decifit is NOT a good, fiscally responsible move.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2010 at 10:19 am

To "Common sense",

"About the stuff you posted that wages actually went up 1.1 percent:

"That's a way to look at it BUT wages/salaries did not actually go up.

The disposable income perhaps was a bit higher (if that is actually the case ). So if you make 5 dollars and it either goes down or stays the same, but inflation is accounted for, your salary is still what it is even if your money will buy more - so you can buy more gasoline because prices are down, big deal, you still had a paycut, and nothing can change that. And if you lost your job, well, not matter what the numbers said, you are still jobless."

I'm afraid that you still have this backwards. What the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports showed was that salaries that were adjusted for inflation went down by 1.6% in 2009. But the inflation adjustment was 2.7%. What that means is that on average, people actually saw the amount printed on their paychecks increase. The amount of the checks, the actual amount printed on the checks, was higher by 1.1% on average. So, on average, people looking at their paychecks at the end of 2009 saw an average increase of 1.1%. But the buying power of those dollars was less at the end of 2009 than at the beginning by 2.7%. So, though they had more money, it couldn't buy as much.

It works exactly the same way for teachers. Those who did not get a step or column increase saw the buying power of their wages decrease by 2.7%. Those who saw step increases (roughly 2.5% to 3.5%) saw the buying power of their wages go up slightly or remain flat.

Web Link

So, on the whole, even with step and column, teachers in PUSD, haven't faired any better or worse than the public at large.

"No one looks at it like: "I am happy for that pay cut because with infation adjustments I am coming out ahead" "

That's not what I'm saying at all. Please review my first paragraph above. I'm saying the reverse of what you said. I'm saying the reports showed that the amounts printed on pay checks were higher by 1.1% at the end of 2009 versus the end of 2008.

Please correct me if I have made any mistakes in this.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Reader:

You go back and forth.

So now you say that income went up (even though the article you posted as source said wages fell and job losses were up). And the other website you used as source talked about a decrease in ACTUAL wages.

OK, so since according to you there was a 1.1 percent increase in income but a lower spending power, why on earth would you think people would want to give money for teacher raises?

The private industry only gave raises/bonuses if their profits justified it. The fact is there is a decline in revenue in PUSD and other districts. You cannot give raises when there is no money for it.

No good company that wants to stay in business will give raises at the expense of having to cancel an important project for instance. The same should apply to teachers: no raises if that means cancelling important programs.

It is very simple, you want to make it complicated.

Teachers, administrators, any PUSD employe SHOULD NOT get a raise, period, not during this time of budget deficits, not until revenue increases again.

And that revenue SHOULD NOT increase by asking the taxpayers (whose spending power is less) to subsidize it.

NO parcel tax until the district freezes step and column and gets rid of unreasonable perks for both teachers and administrators.

I repeat what I said: you are an advocate for bad financial practices. Anyone who agrees to step and column knowing what the consequence is (program cuts) is not fiscally responsible and is certainly not acting in the best interest of the children (whose parents are the taxpayers who indirectly pay the teachers)


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

To "Common sense",

"And the other website you used as source talked about a decrease in ACTUAL wages."

I can see how that would be confusing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the word "REAL" synonymously with "inflation adjusted". The Fox news piece got it exactly right.

"OK, so since according to you there was a 1.1 percent increase in income but a lower spending power, why on earth would you think people would want to give money for teacher raises? "

Because, as I said, teachers have experienced the same loss of buying power. The ones who got no raises, saw a decline of 2.7%, once adjusted for inflation. The ones who got step increases roughly broke even with inflation.

"NO parcel tax until the district freezes step and column and gets rid of unreasonable perks for both teachers and administrators. "

But we are still in competition with the best school districts in the Bay Area, such as San Ramon and Palo Alto. They have parcel taxes and step and column raises. They are seeing excellent results in their districts. Our schools here in Pleasanton have had some of the highest API scores in the area. I say let's keep step and column, but why not poll the voters in Pleasanton and see what they want first. If they want a step and column freeze favoring a parcel tax, I'll support that.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

With a push poll and such a confusing question, you could easily attain stats that are both overwhelmingly for or against a parcel tax. If, for instance, you ask "are you willing to pay more for your childs education," or something in that broad vein, they will say yes, as I would if I did not see through the manipulation. Because the assumption is that only by throwing more money at the present system are we going to heal. That of course is a flat out lie.

If anything, we need our teachers to be paid more, so that capitalism ensures we have the bet minds teaching our students. However, any teacher worth his salt can thus handle a classroom larger than the babying, nursery room of 20 or so kids. Yes I dare say a teacher worth teaching can handle 40 kids. Oh my god! It's been done and is done all over the world by countries that have consistently better outcomes than us.

And so, we let go of half the teachers, pay those we keep 25-30% more, and we come out ahead both fiscally and, more importantly, with an education system that's best for our children


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

"And so, we let go of half the teachers, pay those we keep 25-30% more, and we come out ahead both fiscally and, more importantly, with an education system that's best for our children"

But only if we can keep the best teachers. That means getting rid of the unions because right now, excellent teachers are about to receive pink slips and some really bad ones continue to stay on board.

Two teachers my children have had are terrible. Not only are they not knowledgeable at all, they do not know how to deal with minors. They intimidate the students, and one of them actually tried to intimidate me, the parent. That teacher is still here and has tenure, has been in the district forever.

I am all for "cleaning house" but let's do it not based on seniority but on performance and knowledge.

As for "reader" - I am tired of his constant push for a parcel tax. He/she thinks he/she knows better, but districts with parcel taxes are getting ready to have major cuts. Reader has hurt the district's push for a parcel tax. Keep up the good work, Reader, I am against the tax and will vote against it. If the district wants to spend money doing a survey, that is one more fiscally irresponsible thing. They spent 300K on a failed measure G, what more community input do you need? Just because you are willing to subsidize teacher raises, it does not mean the rest of us are willing to do the same.


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Don't be so glib in thinking that everyone in Pleasanton thinks as you do. In fact, many parents I've talked to would support a parcel tax or other monetary donations to save school programs. When you were posting as "resident" you were nearly run off the forum. I have never met a poster who is as anti-teacher as you.

And those districts with parcel taxes are doing better than ours and will still be ahead of us even during this budget crisis. Just about all of these districts managed to keep their class sizes at or around 20, while we went to 25. They've been able to maintain weekly library hours, while we've cut ours drastically; they've kept on counselors and technical staff and have been able to maintain smaller science and music classes than our district. We will still have the highest class sizes and fewest administrative staff in the valley when all the dust has settled.

From your posts, you seem most concerned with punishing our teachers by reducing their salaries, cutting their jobs, and smearing their reputations. I think most people here are more concerned about their children and are not so enthusiastic about seeing heads roll at their school.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Homeboy, I'm over in Danville where we were deluded into thinking a parcel tax was a good thing. Don't delude yourself into doing the same. Class sizes need to come up because we can't have so many teachers on the payroll. It's very simple. Their salaries are one of the single biggest expenditures of California. Meanwhile, we let things that are truly life and death such as our infrastructure go to third world status. No, class sizes are a minor luxury not worth all that money that could be better spent on things that will help our kids and society as a whole far more


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm

We need to seperate teachers salaries from quality of education because they are not one and the same. Our teachers are the highest paid already in the bay area. For the union this is just a big power grab and let's scare the folks into thinking that if class sizes go from 25 to 30 the world will collapse. It will not happen and we need to realize that we cannot afford most of the things we currently have. We must reduce cost and do so quickly.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 4:21 pm

To Reader:

It looks like you are back to posting as to <name>.

No, I am not anti-teacher. I am anti-bad teachers, anti-union and anti-bad financial practices.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I have never posted under "resident" (but I have read that person's posts here in this thread). I used to post under To <name> until you started doing the same.

A parcel tax (measure G) failed in Pleasanton. Talk to parents, many voted NO because we did not see enough concessions from the administration or the unions.

Until PUSD starts acting fiscally responsible (ie, not renewing assistant superintendent contracts without public knowledge, not keeping step and column at the expense of valuable programs, etc), I doubt you will see much support for fundraising or parcel taxes.

Just look at last summer. Not enough was raised, and measure G failed. That is community input, so surveys that cost money won't tell you anything different. In fact, if you listened to board meetings before G failed, you would have thought it would easily pass.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

*Clapping For Rat Turd*

Key is most think even though they can not afford most of the things they currently have, they're entitled to them.

Thankfully Rat Turd understands that's not the case.

*Clapping For Rat Turd Again*


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm

You wish I were reader, but there are far more supporters of our schools than just reader. And I don't know what parents you were talking to (probably ones who don't have kids in school), because all the parents I talked to were more concerned about saving their kids' education and felt $233 per year was a far better investment than losing CSR, counselors, band, etc.

And for those who keep saying 30 kids per class isn't going to hurt anything, says who? Back in the '80s when California had class sizes of 30, it had the worst class size ratio in the country. This is why California enacted CLASS SIZE REDUCTION, people. Get it? Now that we're back to 30, we again have the worst class size ratio in the country. And you think that's OK? Talk about low ambition--you guys embody it. Why are we OK with being the worst school district? You are obviously too shortsighted to see that housing prices here will soon follow the same path.

And again there is a misunderstanding about salaries. PUSD teachers have to pay their own health and other benefits, which can run more than $1000 per month. You cannot compare salaries between districts--it's like comparing apples to oranges.


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Posted by To Reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm

"because all the parents I talked to were more concerned about saving their kids' education and felt $233 per year was a far better investment than losing CSR, counselors, band, etc."

Where were these people when Measure G was on the ballot? Where were they when the fundraising took place?

Last year, the people who spoke against the parcel tax were ridiculed. They were attacked, so they stayed quiet. The silent minority prevailed in the end, they made their voice heard and G failed.

If all the people you say had donated the 233 dollars, the money raised would have been a lot more. Compute: number of parents in the district times 233 is a lot of money.

Again, if you had listened to board meetings, read forums in the PW, you would have seen a vocal bunch sure that G would pass, but look, it failed and there is a reason for that.

Parents against fiscal responsibility are shy to speak, and you can see why, attacks from people like you are plenty.


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Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Oops, I meant to put my name "Common sense" in the post above, the one "To Reader"

And a correction to what I said. I wrote:
"Parents against fiscal responsibility are shy to speak, and you can see why, attacks from people like you are plenty."

should be

"Parents against fiscally irresponsible decisions are shy to speak, and you can see why, attacks from people like you are plenty.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

"You are obviously too shortsighted to see that housing prices here will soon follow the same path."

In case you have not noticed, prices have already gone down, and it has nothing to do with the school district.

Foreclosures are plenty in Pleasanton, and again, nothing to do with the school district. It has more to do with some P-town people buying more than they could afford, then using their house as collateral for irresponsible borrowing, and finally going into a short sale or foreclosure.

PUSD is acting fiscally irresponsible, you know why, right?


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Hey to common sense guy, being "bad" on class size ratio is not intrinsically bad. Get it? Class size reduction was enacted due to ignorance and manipulation. Time to enlighten the populace. Read my prior statements. Dare to understand them


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:45 pm

One more thing: House prices in San Ramon, a school district used as example of how people will go there because they have great schools etc, have been down even more than in Pleasanton. That has been the case since before the market crashed in 2008.

The reason houses in San Ramon have been selling is because they are cheap, because many foreclosures and short sales were out there. Windemere all of the sudden became affordable, and the old San Ramon was a steal, so people bought.

Pleasanton will be no different. Just let the inventory of foreclosures go down and prices will stabilize.

Nothing to do with the school district. Prices began falling in 2006, and have continued falling. They have stabilized in some neighborhoods, as the foreclosure and other inventory goes down, but please don't fool yourself into thinking the district by itself attracts families. You can get more house for your money in the East Bay, and that by itself is an attraction


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Common Sense,

Again I believe we are confusing giving teachers raises with quality education and they are not connected. Here is a point to ponder and you let me know what the answer is. I was reading some of Einsteins earlier writings and looked up his comments about Mission San Jose High School in Fremont. Their scores absolutely destroy ours on our best day and I believe they are ranked as the 30th best high school in the nation and yet their teachers do not make anywhere near as much as ours do. So tell me how this can be if our teachers are so good? Why do they perform at such a high level without our teachers?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:51 pm

"and it has nothing to do with the school district."

"Nothing to do with the school district."

Sorry, but it just isn't true. Study after study shows that that high API scores and good schools correlate very well with housing prices. If you want two nearby examples, just look at Dublin and Livermore. Both saw greater declines in home values than Pleasanton. We could see the same thing here if we don't get the situation in our schools straightened out.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Which studies?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

" was reading some of Einsteins earlier writings and looked up his comments "

OK...

"nation and yet their teachers do not make anywhere near as much as ours do. "

Ah, but you haven't adjusted for the cost of health benefits that teachers in PUSD have to pay. It is a common misunderstanding. You see, teachers at that school have their health benefits paid by the district. Pleasanton teachers do not. Adjusting for that, you will see that they are in a comparable range. As to why their scores are still higher, excellent teachers are one of several key factors that go in to high API scores and quality of education. That is common sense. Mission enjoys a very favorable demographic that helps lead to their success. They have great teachers too, and are payed an amount comparable to PUSD teachers.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Which studies?

I have provide links to this before. I think one of them from you. Just Google it, or do a few samples yourself, it is very straightforward statistics. Here is one of the first links that came up.

"A growing body of academic research, including a new study of 2005 Silicon Valley home sales, shows that students' academic performance at local public schools plays a surprisingly strong role in determining the value of homes."

Web Link


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Reader,

wrong again I am afraid but you do try to work everything to your advantage. Give us some stats here and I believe you will see that our teachers make quite a bit more money. Demographics? Are you saying that the large asian population at the school makes a difference? hmmmmmmmmm sounds a bit tainted don't you think? Could it be that the parents are truly engaged in their childrens education and it has very little to do with the quality of teachers? My bet is yes. Reader are you are socialist?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I see nothing in there that says API and house values are clearly related. In fact it says that the one analysis on API showed "the analysis did not yield clear enough results to reach any conclusion".

Don't confuse API with test scores on standardized tests. Test scores only make up something like 40% of the API score. Most studies show a clear relationship between housing prices and test scores, not API scores.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'll point out that the article posted by reader can lead one into thinking that the same thing is being talked about. It first details the analysis by a company called Movoto on API and housing prices then moves onto another paragraph and says that other academic studies show a connection between "school quality" and housing prices. BBBZZZ, "school quality" is not API. But because of the way the article is written, a quick read would lead one to say, "Aha! API influences housing prices!"


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

To Stacey,

OK, I could have said "scores on standardized tests". Those are high here in Pleasanton as well, and the correlation to home values is strong.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

API is a beast, btw. The California Department of Education has some information about how it is calculated. The website from reader has some other info about it: Web Link Looks like API is a moving target in that they've changed how it is calculated in the past and it will most likely change again in the future as new methods of measuring school performance become popular.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I think this is worth reposting...

Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:33 am
Stacey is a member (registered user) of Pleasanton Weekly

A reader wrote: "It isn't just for people with children, and it isn't just about property values, though good schools do have an obvious, measurable effect on property values. It is also about low crime. Good school districts correlate well with low crime rates also. There are many more reasons for people without children to support good schools."

OK, so this is where the friction begins. You see, there is a measurable effect on property value so it follows that property owners without children benefit from good schools. But then you have to dig deeper. You have to ask what are the measurables that are valued by the housing market? And the reason you would ask this question is because property owners without children would find it in their best interest to have these measurables maximized. Whatever it is that is directly benefiting their property values should be the whole focus of what goes on at the schools. So then you'd look at what is proposed to be paid for by a parcel tax like custodians and librarians and counselors. And you'd ask yourself, well how does paying the salary of an extra counselor increase those measurables? When you find the answers, you quickly discover that what is most beneficial to a system conceived with a substantive concept of education is highly conflicting with the interests of property owners.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:38 am
Stacey is a member (registered user) of Pleasanton Weekly

Even CSR can be questioned. The existence of CSR is valued by the housing market, but it isn't the number one thing. That would be test scores. The higher the test scores, the higher the property value. So you'd have to ask what effect CSR has on test scores? You'd find out that the effect is rather small, but the program is popular with parents and teachers. So sometimes the effective programs end up getting cut in favor of the popular programs.

And teacher experience and quality is little valued by the housing market even though this is the thing that has one of the most crucial effects on student outcomes. Another little valued thing is improvement in student achievements. A poor district can make big strides in student achievement and it would still remain poor.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Slightly off-topic, but segues in nicely from the last paragraph there about teacher quality effect on students: Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm

To RT,

"Could it be that the parents are truly engaged in their childrens education and it has very little to do with the quality of teachers?"

Sure the parents are engaged, just as they are in Pleasanton, but teachers play an important role as well. Kathleen R, who used to post on this site put it very nicely. If you look up some of her earlier posts on the subject she explains the roles of parents and teachers very nicely.

"Reader are you are socialist?"

Do you think it is somehow helpful to make a statement like that? Should I ask you if you are a communist? How would that help? Maybe because I said I think we need a parcel tax in Pleasanton? Does that make me a socialist? Are all taxes socialist?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A quality teacher can make up for a lack of parental involvement. Read that other topic on the "What makes a good teacher?" article published in The Atlantic recently. But I agree with Rat Turd that the traditional teacher compensation structure does not foster nor reward teacher performance. The Atlantic article makes a passing mention of the finding that the possession of a master's degree in education is not an indicator of teacher quality yet the salary schedule rewards the winning of this degree.

As for Rat Turd's guess about the Asian population, I don't have the link offhand, but apparently this great Asian student achievement phenomenon is cultural. It isn't about the parents being involved like one may think (i.e., volunteer at school, etc.). It is about the parent culture placing a value on getting an education and the family life is geared towards the child focusing on their schooling. The study I'm thinking of found that Asian-Americans who are third and fourth generations distant from the immigrant perform about the same as Caucasian Americans. So the difference is culture because third and fourth generation immigrants are typically fully assimilated.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Reader,

I am very serious when I ask if you are a socialist. You seem to want to spend other peoples money quite easily and it seems you want to spend their money on things you wish. You believe, or so it seems, to want to take from some people and spread it around. So please tell me do you consider yourself a socialist or not?

By the way, teachers at Mission make far less than our teachers (look it up) and the scores between Mission as compared to Amador and Foothill and not even on the same radar screen.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Rat Turd,

That sounds like the definition of a politician, not a socialist.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I have to agree with the post about teachers, student performance.

Our children have done well even when we have had bad teachers. So having a good or bad teacher makes a difference as to whether a student likes going to school or not, but in the end, the student will perform in spite of the teacher. Demographics and the parents have more to do with the high test scores than the teachers.

I would still prefer to get rid of bad teachers, do without unions and keep programs that make school enjoyable. But giving raises to teachers is not the answer.

Reader: I disagree about house values and school districts. You mention Livermore and Dublin, but what about San Ramon? Great district according to you, and the house prices are comparable to Dublin's, if not cheaper in certain areas. San Ramon prices went way down despite their school district. Why? Foreclosures, short sales.

People look for many things, not just schools. There is house size, attractive neighborhoods, location. If school is all that people were after, we would all be in Palo Alto, but why are you not there? Could it be because your money bought more house here in the East Bay? Could it be because you work in SF and this is closer to work? Many considerations come into play when buying a house, and the peoople who move to a city, neighborhood, make the schools good or bad.

San Francisco is expensive, but most out there send their kids to private schools, wonder why?

So it is nice to have a good school district, but that by itself won't attract people.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm

"By the way, teachers at Mission make far less than our teachers (look it up) and the scores between Mission as compared to Amador and Foothill and not even on the same radar screen."

Factor in the value of family health benefits that PUSD teachers don't get, and you'll find the salaries to be comparable.

"You seem to want to spend other peoples money quite easily and it seems you want to spend their money on things you wish. You believe, or so it seems, to want to take from some people and spread it around. So please tell me do you consider yourself a socialist or not?"

Sounds like you're telling me that I'm a socialist, not asking. Then you provide a definition that isn't the definition of socialism that you might find in a dictionary. By your definition, anyone who supports a parcel tax (71% in San Ramon for example), is a socialist.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm

To common sense,

"Reader: I disagree about house values and school districts. You mention Livermore and Dublin, but what about San Ramon? Great district according to you, and the house prices are comparable to Dublin's, if not cheaper in certain areas. San Ramon prices went way down despite their school district. Why? Foreclosures, short sales."

San Ramon did better than Dublin or Livermore. I think it would be crazy to say that schools are the only thing affecting home prices. It would be just as crazy to say that school quality has no effect. Presumably, if some people will pay more for a school district (but of course not all), it will affect prices. We can argue about how much, but I don't think we can say it has no effect.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:42 am

The "favorable demographics" Reader is talking about is actually the main reason a school does well or not. Schools with many disciplined Asians is not the only such demographic. Our predominantly white areas have kids who do well not because of the teachers or money we spend on schools, but because this is a favorable demographic, with parents who actually care and guide their child, as opposed to parents in the ghetto.

And again, the low crime of our area has nothing to do with education, but the favorable demographic of whites in this area. Intelligent people move to safe areas (which usually simply means getting the hell away from urban centers, which our government then forces back upon us by importing the urban ghetto into our communities via group homes and section 8 housing.) we moved here to get away from crime, we set up shop, raise our kids right, and all of a sudden you have a sought after community. Then you liberal jerks (I use liberal for lack of a better word) want to take all the credit for a community created by relative conservatives, while at the same time underming our safety and quality through such mandates as group homes, which resulted in the murder of a local boy here in Danville, a SRVHS senior named Rylan Fuchs


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:51 am

By the way reader, 71% of the people in San Ramon will not agree with the parcel tax when people like me are done with them. They didn't know they were being played when they voted for the parcel tax, just like us over in Danville.

I got stellar grades on tests IN SPITE of teachers, who seemed jealous of my intellect, because most of them were unsuccessful in the real world and knew I wouldn't be, even if I took my own path. They didn't teach anything but conformity to a infantile, unpatriotic machine


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:53 am

Wouldn't be unsuccessful, and thus would be successful. Semantics


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:22 am

If you look at neighborhoods with good schools (that is, most people look at API scores, as it is the easiest available quantifier of how well a school is doing), you will see that average housing prices are higher in that neighborhood.

Take Fremont, for example, since we were on the subject of Mission. Fremont is a large city with many schools, some of them excellent and some not so good. When Fremont redrew the boundaries for Mission High School awhile ago, home prices for people who were redistricted to Irvington High School dropped by some $100,000 on average.

We moved to Pleasanton because of the schools. Most people with children who've moved here recently will tell you the same thing. Why else would you want to pay more for less house when you could get a much better house in places like Dublin and Livermore? If bad schools didn't make a difference in a community, you'd see people clamoring to get into Oakland because the home prices are so cheap there. Who would want to pay an arm and a leg to live in Pleasanton if the schools are bad? Prices will have to come down because demand will decrease.

San Francisco is a desirable city in many ways, but just look at the demographics--mostly people WITHOUT children. San Francisco has some excellent schools as well (Lowell), but it relies on a lottery system to determine who goes to what school. People with children have been fleeing San Francisco for years. For what? To live in a place with better schools!

Foreclosures have nothing to do with desirability of a neighborhood or a school. Period. You cannot even mention the two in the same sentence. Nice try but you're not fooling anyone.


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:26 am

In the last sentence I should have said: "You cannot correlate foreclosures to how well a school district is performing."


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:53 am

"Foreclosures have nothing to do with desirability of a neighborhood or a school"

But it has a lot to do with the price. Very desirable neighborhoods have sold for very low because of foreclosures and short sales.

Nothing to do with the schools. Again, if schools were all people were after, everyone would be in Palo Alto.

Saratoga got rid of CSR in the early 2000's - that did not affect the prices, Saratoga in fact is very poorly run (the schools are overcrowded and many over there go the schools regardless, others go to private schools).

Again look at San Ramon. Houses were selling for very low for the past couple of years, that is even though their school district did well and even passed a parcel tax. Why? Foreclosures, short sales.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:17 am

"You cannot correlate foreclosures to how well a school district is performing."

But you can correlate house prices with how many foreclosures and short sales are in that city or neighborhood.

There is something to be said about leaving within your means, and that applies at a personal level as well as a school district level.

Unless PUSD starts living within its means, the equivalent of personal foreclosures will happen here in our district. The fact that we have board members who are not fiscally savvy (only Arkin seems smart financially) is something you should worry about, stop trying to push for a parcel tax.

Demand fiscally responsible practices, demand accountability and stop asking people to give money to finance teacher raises.


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:25 am

"Why else would you want to pay more for less house when you could get a much better house in places like Dublin and Livermore?"

Because Pleasanton is a nicer looking area, definitely suburban. Dublin is more urban, and Livermore although it has nice pockets here and there, the overall city is not as nice, not as safe. Even if Livermore had good schools comparable to Pleasanton, I would still have chosen Pleasanton.

School districts are taken into account when people buy houses, but that is not all. Affordability, nice looking house and neighborhood, nice and safe city overall, commute time, all that comes into play.

Santa Cruz is still expensive, yet look at their schools, only the charter schools do well over there. Santa Cruz is desirable for other reasons, for sure schools over there are not taken into account when buying a house.

Pleasanton is desirable for many reasons not just the schools. The parks, the safety, the demographics, the suburban feel, the downtown, something that Dublin for example, lacks (I am talking about the city overall not just pockets here and there)


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:29 am

Two things:

1) Correction, instead of "There is something to be said about leaving within your means"

should have been: "There is something to be said about LIVing within your means"

2) Reader: why do you go back and forth, posting as "reader" and then as "To <name>" - Reading te posts one can tell it is you.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

Schools are great because of the parents of the area, not the teachers. Our demographics make the school great, not the muffed up education system


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

"Schools are great because of the parents of the area, not the teachers. Our demographics make the school great, not the muffed up education system"

Agree. If you were to transport all of our Pleasanton schools, with their teachers and programs and administrators, to a place like Oakland, I can guarantee you that within a year the scores would be down regardless of the efforts of the teachers.

Likewise, when we saw horrible financial decisions here in PUSD (example is last year), our children still did well. When we end up in a class with a bad teacher and the principal doesn't listen, our children still do well, their scores are still high.

It is time for those who are so pro-tax and pro-fundraising to start seeing things differently. Demand good fiscal practices, demand that teachers and their union get with the program, and stop asking people to give money when we know that our money would go to fund items that should have been cut in the first place (step and column, car allowances)


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

I'm not reader, so stop insisting that I am. Again, there are more supporters of our schools than reader.

You said: "Very desirable neighborhoods have sold for very low because of foreclosures and short sales.

Nothing to do with the schools. Again, if schools were all people were after, everyone would be in Palo Alto."

Ah yes, every city is down because of foreclosures, but which ones are the MOST down? Pleasanton has fewer foreclosures than other cities of its size because the entry point to buy a house here was so high. Why was it so high? Obviously Pleasanton is a nice place to live, but people don't buy houses here because of the downtown--even the locals hardly go downtown. And you say people come here for the safety, but Dublin is just as safe as Pleasanton, yet its prices aren't as high? Why is that?

A lot of cities have similar attractiveness as Pleasanton but what sets Pleasanton apart from the likes of Dublin and Livermore ARE ITS SCHOOLS.

Believe me, we looked at Palo Alto but even a 2 BR house was out of reach.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

Dublin is nowhere near as safe or homogenous as old Pleasanton


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Posted by To common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

You said: "If you were to transport all of our Pleasanton schools, with their teachers and programs and administrators, to a place like Oakland, I can guarantee you that within a year the scores would be down regardless of the efforts of the teachers."

If a good education was just about parenting, then we wouldn't need teachers, would we? Why don't we just plop our kids in front of educational videos and books? I think you would see this isn't an effective method of teaching. A good teacher can engage the students, get them interested in learning, teach them new things.

And what makes you think a good education is not dependent on funding and resources? If you take a Pleasanton teacher and put them in an Oakland school, you can bet scores will go down. Why? Because the teacher will be lacking resources to teach the kids. Think about it: What if there were no science and music classes? No library or computer room? No reading specialists to help the kids who are behind? No PE teacher so the regular teacher has to teach it? Our kids THRIVE in Pleasanton schools--they do better than average--because of all the excellent programs we have.

I'll put it to you another way: if you took your kids out of Pleasanton schools and put them into Oakland schools--from kindergarten on--do you think they would do as well as they've done here? Even if they were good students in Oakland, they would not have access to AP classes, science and computer classes, music classes, etc. They may not even be able to take calculus in school, so they would fail miserably if they got accepted to a UC school.

People are so pampered here, they don't know how bad things can get. Unfortunately, it will be the children who will feel the effects.

And you know as well as I do that teacher raises are not the main problem. It won't even come close to solving this crisis. We're almost $7 million in the hole and so you take away S&C and that is only $1.6 million. Where is the other $5.4 million going to come from?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:16 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"Because the teacher will be lacking resources to teach the kids."

Uh, you know that Oakland gets and spends more per pupil, right?


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:16 am

Here is a proposal:
- Suspension of Step and Column increases ($1.6M)
- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)
- Modify service provider in warehouse/graphics ($250K)
- 4% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($3.6M)
A total expense reduction of $7.7M, all without touching a single kid-facing service or program. Same level of student services as this year and you still have $800K to bring back previously cut services/teachers.
Budget deficit is solved, without touching a single kid-facing service or program. And possibly bringing some teachers back!


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:19 am

"if you took your kids out of Pleasanton schools and put them into Oakland schools--from kindergarten on--do you think they would do as well as they've done here?"

I would probably home school just for safety reasons. Academically speaking, yes, they would be just fine. My worry would be just keeping the children safe, academically they would do well no matter where they go.

"Even if they were good students in Oakland, they would not have access to AP classes, science and computer classes, music classes, etc. They may not even be able to take calculus in school, so they would fail miserably if they got accepted to a UC school."

As far as getting into UC's, I suggest you talk to them. AP classes are taken into account only if your district offers them. No student will be penalized for not having AP classes if the district did not offer them.

And you can always make up for lack of AP classes by taking concurrent enrollment at the Junior College.

And just so you know: A calculus class in high school even if is AP does not replace the college class. Those students who try to bypass the first year of Calculus because they already took it in high school tend not to do as well regardless of the district. There is a reason the UCs only accept a certain number of AP classes.

Enrichment classes can also be taken after school or during the summer. But your argument justifies my point: why eliminate valuable programs just to give teachers their step and column? It does not make sense at all, no matter how you look at it.


"A lot of cities have similar attractiveness as Pleasanton but what sets Pleasanton apart from the likes of Dublin and Livermore ARE ITS SCHOOLS."

That is not the only thing. Dublin is not as safe, and Livermore only has pockets of nice homes. Dublin is more urban, has a lot more high density housing, more businesses, and Livermore is nice only in certain areas.

Pleasanton is nicer overall.

Like you said: you could not afford Palo Alto, so affordability is a consideration. For me it is the same, because what I can afford in Palo Alto I do not like, why live in a dump when I can live in a nice house in a nice looking neighborhood?

I am not saying teachers are not important, but when you see bad teachers stay regardless of parental complaints. When you see kids in those bad teachers' classes do well regardless, you do have to admit that the students and the parents have a lot to do with the students' performance.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Oakland has some charter and magnet schools too that actually do very well.


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Posted by To Stacey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm

And your point is what Stacey? That Oakland has good schools that are located in expensive neighborhoods (Montclair)? That is what I was saying. And regards to per-pupil spending, they do receive more from the state due to some complicated funding rate, but they actually run a deficit per student. So yes, the schools there do lack resources.

And with regards to charter schools, they can pick and choose kids among any neighborhood in Oakland. They are essentially like private schools so it doesn't matter which neighborhood they are located in. Plus, if they are anything like the Livermore Charter School, parents are probably "donating" more than $1000 per year to send their child there.

And interesting, Dark Corners, you want the teachers and staff to absorb all the budget shortfall, but not the community. How convenient for you. You have to admit that it's not the teachers who are selfish--it's people like you and Common Sense.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

No one wants you to absorb anything you don't deserve. There's too many of you teachers. $50 billion dollars a year is not acceptable for California to spend on teachers while our infrastructure goes to rot. We need to cut the government teaching jobs in half, raise class sizes to around forty kids, then use that extra $25 billion dollars a year to spend on our collapsing roads. As much as the class size luxury might be desired by you who buy into it, it is not necessary in the way that preventing lethal automobile accidents and structural collapse is


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I meant to say 5 billion and 2.5 billion saved a year.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

A proposal that saves teacher jobs, possibly adds teacher jobs, preserves all counselors, aides, specialists, librarians, administration, custodians, music teachers and more. A proposal that Puts Kids First. A proposal that keeps the high quality of PUSD education!


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Add teachers jobs! Ha! We are putting kids first! Over the desires of the teachers unions!

And I correct myself. It's hard to keep track of all the numbers. We spend around $15 billion a year on just teachers salaries. Time to lay off some who aren't good enough to decently teach 40 kids a class. What we need are non-sissies


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Dark Corners of Town posted:

"Here is a proposal:

- Suspension of Step and Column increases ($1.6M)
- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)
- Modify service provider in warehouse/graphics ($250K)
- 4% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($3.6M)

A total expense reduction of $7.7M, all without touching a single kid-facing service or program. Same level of student services as this year and you still have $800K to bring back previously cut services/teachers.

Budget deficit is solved, without touching a single kid-facing service or program. And possibly bringing some teachers back!"

yet "To Stacey" calls the proposal and person selfish! How is that?

It is a great proposal. It solves the deficit, keeps all the programs, no cuts that affect the students.

"To Stacey" also posted: "And regards to per-pupil spending, they do receive more from the state due to some complicated funding rate, but they actually run a deficit per student"

Hmmm, why do you think that is? Receive more money per student yet still run a deficit? Poor money management! It goes to show that more money does not mean better stuff. I think the more we give these people the more they will spend.

It reminds me of people who borrow money against their house. Then when money stops coming easily, instead of making necessary cuts to their expenses, they borrow even more money and keep that until it all hits the fan, short sale and foreclosure follows.... is this the kind of fiscal management we want in PUSD? One of the board members at least should know better!


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I just read a file from the PUSD, outlining the budget cuts.

So they are targeting everything EXCEPT for administrators. They say that since vice principals are already on the list to cut, that's it! What about all those directors and redundant positions?

Also, step and column looks quite safe. Well, teachers get ready to work and full time for once! With the elimination of CSR and reading specialists, you will have to truly earn your money, no more relying on reading specialists, or barton tutors, but you will have your precious step and column.

Also, why didn't they just reduce the school year by 5 days? Oh yeah, the UNIONS, again and again the unions are a problem.

I have the feeling that even without a good candidate, the GOP will win this fall, the woman Meg advertises that one thing she wants to reform is this silly union and benefit system which is killing California. Do I like her? No, but we need some changes here.

Unions must go. Spending must be trimmed. No taxes and no fundraising until PUSD shows some good financial decisions. They continue to make horrible decisions.

Casey: what a way to screw up the district on your way out, screwing up the district and saving your friends' jobs and perks, while the students suffer and you get to retire with a fat check. All thanks to those 3 yes men, two of which are up for re election this fall.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm

The administrators need to take the biggest pay cuts, at least 10%. The new Supdt. needs to take a 15% cut. The top brass take the biggest cuts in Private industry. Casey should take a hit in his retirement for doing a lousy job. Maybe we need to declare bankruptcy and renegotiate all contracts including retirement and medical benefits for everyone including retirees. We need a taxpayers' revolt as in the American revolution. Get rid of all the males in the school board for looking after the administrators instead of the students.


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Posted by Deja Vu
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Superintendent's sudden resignation announcement shocks educational establishment — insiders saw it coming. (5/23/02)

Some local school officials were taken by surprise at the news of Pajaro Valley Unified School District Superintendent John Casey's sudden announcement of his impending resignation. There was the assumption that he would remain until the completion of what will indeed become his legacy — New Millennium High School. Still, others close to the Superintendent were not surprised. His demeanor had changed in recent months and unforeseen pressures were mounting.
A recent Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial praised his work, while critics have found his "ends justify the means" approach to administration heavy handed and contrary to the best interests of the district. Among the failures cited by critics are an abundance of poor performing schools, low redesignation rates for English language learners, no relief yet for overcrowded high schools, a district more divided than ever before, and looming budget woes as he departs.
Numerous community members have expressed their hope that the new superintendent might come from within the district. They fear yet another administrator coming from faraway, lacking connection to the local community, and being more concerned about their own personal career goals than the long-term best interests of the school district. The governing board, however, voted 6 to 1 at its May 22, 2002 meeting to hire head-hunting consultants "Jake and Bob" to conduct a broad superintendent search.
Local coverage of Casey's June 30, 2002 departure is available on web sites operated by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian and the Santa Cruz Sentinel


from Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:40 pm

"Budget deficit is solved, without touching a single kid-facing service or program. And possibly bringing some teachers back!"

Correction, problem created.

News flash, all the other high quality school districts such as San Ramon, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and the like don't slash their programs or their teacher's pay. Their school systems continue to provide high quality education. The continue to attract and keep the best staff. But Pleasanton schools are cheap, cheap, cheap! Like a Yugo. Not the highest quality, but the lowest price, but hey teachers and schools don't make the slightest bit of difference anyway! We can close down all the schools in Pleasanton tomorrow and education quality will not suffer in the slightest. In fact it will improve!

Meanwhile, our API scores slowly, but surely drop. Parents begin to choose other districts to raise their children. Many leave. Home prices fall. Crime rate rises. Some people will look around and ask what happened here? Others will sadly answer, we neglected our schools. We wanted to be the cheapest, not the best. If only we could turn the clock back...


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2010 at 3:47 am

Reader. you have not made one point that I or someone else hasn't torn apart. I've already addressed everything you just said in my previous comments. Your schools don't drop crime rates, our favorable demographics do. You know the song "first comes love, then comes marriage.". Well, first comes safety, then come the smart people who then make the place wealthy, clean and sought after. It is our favorable demographics in the classroom that make the school. Teachers are second to that. Sorry self-anggrandizer, no ones buying the bull


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 27, 2010 at 6:43 am

To 'a reader' - Let's look at your claim that "home prices fall". During the 2009 Measure G Parcel Tax campaign, local real estate agents, Trustee Ott, and Measure G campaign literature all raised fears that without the parcel tax, home prices would fall.
Let's see what has happened since then (Web Link).
- In the 6 months since the failed parcel tax, the number of single family residential home sales has increased year over year. December 2009 had a 69% increase over December 2008.
- The price per square foot has risen from a low of $338 per square foot in April 2009 to $365 per square foot in December 2009.
- Attached homes (condos/townhomes/etc) sales have risen with December 2009 with a 66% increase, and price per square foot holding its value.
Have no fear, home prices are on the rise.
Let's keep the PUSD jobs, protect the quality of education and stop hurting the kids.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 7:28 am

To "Dark Corners",

" Let's look at your claim that "home prices fall". "

You're looking at short term trends. I said "slowly but surely". It takes time for the district to decline, but once the process is started, it will be hard to reverse. What you are looking at is the result of special government programs like the first time buyer credit or the Federal Reserve program to purchase mortgage backed securities. Let's see what happens when both these programs expire later this year.

Web Link


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:01 am

Deja Vu:

Thanks for posting the article. Did the PUSD board know about Casey's background before hiring him? The following caught my attention:

"critics have found his "ends justify the means" approach to administration heavy handed and contrary to the best interests of the district." (Sentinel paper speaking about Casey)

Can we get a list of names of candidates being considered so we can do the research for the board and raise objections if needed?


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Posted by Common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

"What you are looking at is the result of special government programs like the first time buyer credit or the Federal Reserve program to purchase mortgage backed securities. Let's see what happens when both these programs expire later this year."

When the programs expire later this year you will see something but not just here, across the state and nation.

By the way, first time home buyers are not the only ones out there. In fact, those are the buyers who in the end either buy really cheap houses and often times in not that desirable neighborhoods (they go for the cheap price) or do not buy at all. Why? Many do not have the necessary down payment.

We rejected an offer in one of our properties from a first time home buyer couple because the offer was way low, and waiting we sold the house for the right price, to a family that had sold their home and used the profits to buy something nicer.

So reader, there is more going on that the results of the first time home buyer credit.

Foreclosures and short sales have also come into play. Look at San Ramon where foreclosures and short sales were plenty, houses got down to very low prices, and investors and families alike went for it. Prices have come up significantly (but still low) because many rushed to buy what they considered to be a good deal. Even Windemere became so affordable because it had too many foreclosures.

A new development in Danville, where houses had sold for 1.4 million in 2006 is right now full of short sales and foreclosures, selling for about 950K. It was not the established part of Danville, and that may have had something to do with the amount of foreclosures.

There is more to real estate than school districts and the tax credit.

I agree with a post above that safety comes first. Demographics will determine how well the schools do.

I think that the focus should be on the administration and board: demand fiscal responsibility and sound financial practices.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Is there ANY place, online or not, where one can get an accounting of the Pleasanton school district's income and expenses.

As was noted in several posts, we the public pay, but have NO idea how and where our money is being spent.

Is there an auditing process, like there is for public companies?



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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Steven - Look at several of the most recent PUSD Board meetings, their agendas and the board packet files located here (Web Link). Other reports/data located here (Web Link).


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

"A total expense reduction of $7.7M, all without touching a single kid-facing service or program."

Hmmm, if your boss came and said we are cutting your salary but this company will not make any cuts that directly affect our customers, what would your response be?

I'm not saying, its not a reasonable idea, but how could you possibley say cutting teacher salary is not "touching a kid-facing service"?


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm

This is very entertaining and many posts border on ridiculous.

Of course there are no right and wrong answers when it comes to educating kids. If everyone knew exactly what worked best then everyone would be doing the same thing. But we know not all students have the same learning abilities, same home life, same resources and same support. Everyone student is different.

Most teachers put in a lot of effort and do the best they can and try to improve. Performance based or merit pay would have little to know affect on how almost every teacher in Pleasanton teaches. Are there bad teachers in Pleasanton? Of course there are (Although I don't have names or anything), just like any other school district. There are a few obvious situation where you could point to a bad teacher, but in most situations what one person thinks is a bad teacher compared to another person is subjective. There are many people who have really disliked a teacher they had only years later to look back and realize that that teacher taught them the most.




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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 9:15 pm

"There is more to real estate than school districts and the tax credit."

Of course there is more to it, but schools are an important factor. I don't see how anyone can factually deny it. If one person decides to buy a house mainly because it in a good school district, that affects home values. Of course not all buyers choose a house for a school district, but some do. Those who do raise the values of homes for that district. That becomes a feedback loop, and as more people choose homes in the district for the schools, property values continue to rise, and support for the schools increases.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm

reader - exactly

There are a huge number of studies (just do a google search if you want some links) correlating housing prices with school quality. Nobody disagrees that there are many factors other than schools that go into housing prices, but to say that the quality of schools has no correlation to housing prices is just plain silly.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm

common sense - The 2008 API scores for PAUSD elementary schools average 920 - in PUSD they averaged 916. That's just a 0.4% difference.(Web Link)

So what makes you think that the PA schools are so much better than Pleasanton's? Oh yeah, they also have a $493/year parcel tax.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Good communities breed good schools because of the parents of good areas who raise good kids. Don't take this parents. Don't allow these usurpers to take all the credit for your hard work. These teachers are lucky to be in our communities, not the other way around


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Gunslinger - of course the parents deserve most of the credit, but teachers still do a thing or two. Of course maybe the teachers don't do anything and we should just replace the teachers with homeless peoplee. This will solve two problems. Budget saved as we don't have to pay the homeless - well if we do, its only minimum wage and the homeless people receive some warm shelter. Too bad you had a homeless person teaching your English class in high school.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

I never said that all teachers are worthless, so don't be a drama queen

Even the half I would lay off are not worthless, just not necessary, and their worth per unit cost hit the point of diminishing returns a long time ago. Especially when you have the implosion of our infrastructure looming over our heads


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 28, 2010 at 11:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

letsgo brings up some good points but then makes assumptions regarding teacher quality and merit pay.

For teacher quality issues, read the article in The Atlantic.

The point of merit pay is that taxpayers are tired of paying for ineffective teachers who are protected from removal by union-lobbied laws that tie the hands of administrators. Taxpayers want to see the money go towards those that have actually earned it.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Gunsipper - no but you implied it when you grouped all the teachers as usurpers stealing credit.

So exaclty what is the point of diminishing return? Please provide some numbers and evidence so they can be looked at - you are just spewing forth garbage and rants are you?


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Posted by INsider
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm

There are ways to trim the budget. There are way too many "fluff" classes at the high school level. Earlier someone mentioned the ceramics program being expanded. My son had a ceramics class that he never attended and was never marked absent from yet he still earned an A. He now has a few classes that he took because they are easy and look good on his transcript, he is not remedial and he is not being challenged at all. This should not be allowed. There is no more rigor at the high schools here in Pleasanton because the leadership does not support it. Kids will flock to the easy classes and avoid the more challenging ones in the pursuit of an easy A. This could be seriously examined and cuts could be made to the classes that provide the easy A. You will see a steady decline of education in this district if this is allowed to continue. Over the past five years numerous college approved courses have been added to create electives for the students and many of these courses require very little from our kids. Talk to your kids and really listen to what they are telling you. Of course my son tells me his classes are hard but I have seen him excel in hard classes and these electives he currently has are not hard, he does nothing and more importantly he is learning nothing because I ask him about these advanced topics he is supposedly studying and it is clear he is not getting much out of them.


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