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PUSD Board's Moment of Truth

Original post made by Dark Corners of Town on Feb 8, 2010

Now is a Moment of Truth for the PUSD Board.

Will the Board fight for the children? Fight to maintain the current level of educational excellence? Fight to keep all kid facing programs? Fight to make essential permanent reductions in the unit cost of labor? Fight to restore funds to valuable programs and services?
Or...
Will it accept a token conditional union concession yet still need to layoff significant numbers of teachers and classified staff? Will it cause another Pink Drama Display this spring? Will it cut the Barton reading program completely? Will it cut counselors, specialists and librarian staff? And increasingly hurt our kids again for another year?
The Moment of Truth is now.
The PUSD Board can make the following reductions in expenses thereby preventing any further damage to the quality of education. And free up funds to restore previously cut programs:

Expense Reductions:
- Suspension of Step and Column increases ($1.6M)
- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)
- Modify service provider in warehouse/graphics ($250K)
- 5% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($4.5M)
- Summer school proposed changes ($200K)
- Eliminate District support for extra curricular activities ($70K)
- Reduce District Office professional services ($72K)
- Reduce Categorical Programs in Adult Education ($170K)
- Implement an annual review and termination of the bottom 2% performing teachers

Total expense reductions of $9.112 million.
With the $8M budget shortfall resolved, $1.112 million is available to:
- Restore Supplemental Remediation Hours for grades 1-8 to 2008 levels ($71K)
- Restore School Site Discretionary Funds to 2008 levels ($149K)
- Restore School and Library Improvement Plans to 2008 levels ($377)
- Use remaining funds ($515K) to restore custodians, library assistants, campus supervision and tech support.
This plan saves all teacher jobs, preserves all counselors, aides, specialists, librarians, administration, custodians, music teachers, current CSR levels and restores several key programs and local school funds to 2008 levels. OPEB will be paid increasing the district's credit worthiness.
A budget that Puts Kids First. A budget that keeps the high quality of PUSD education!
No pink-slip drama will be needed this year. No parcel tax is needed. This lays the groundwork for a substantial and broad community fundraising campaign. The PUSD Board will show that it will fight for the kids and educational excellence. The Board will have shown how to reduce and control the expense structure. The community will respond with greater respect for the school district. A respect that is essential for a future parcel tax if and when it is needed.
Anything less and community trust in the PUSD Board's capability to exert its fudiciary fiscal responsibility declines significantly. The choice is theirs. They have the power to do what is right for the kids and educational excellence. Their Moment of Truth is now.

Comments (158)

Posted by David, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Amen Dark Corners. Let's just see who the board puts first...our kids or the unions. Who will the unions put first? Will they play the PR card by sacrificing a portion of their own with unnecessary layoffs in order to play the victim and protect their own self interest. Or will they, like the rest of us, tighten their belt and truly bear their "fair share" by accepting pay raise freezes and 5% salary cut like I've had to endure in the private sector for the past 18 months?

It is exactly because of the unions that our state is in the financial mess it is in. The state legislature is in their pockets and continues to vote them higher salaries and benefits, without any recourse when hard time hit. The budget continues to go bust and then when the money dries up the only answer is to raise our taxes. Our state government can eagerly downsize our wallets, but downsizing their bloated union protected workforce is unthinkable.

If the PUSD board does not stand up to the unions and get meaningful concessions, the people will be told and the PUSD board will be held accountable. Two board seats are up come November, and the people will be reminded exactly what happened during this "moment of truth". And if the unions/board think they can solve this with token concessions and then shove a parcel tax down our throats...think again. The fight last year was nothing compared to what's in store this time. The people are fed up with this "Shove it down our throats" government in Washington, Sacramento and PUSD board.

Where's the common sense folks? I really hope the school board and unions to a reality check and think this through before stirring up this hornet's nest.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I stand by the union because I know that this isn't a perfect world and they stick up for the rights of working Americans.

end of story...


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I am completely in agreement with the first two writers. I have been the Casandra for the past two years. The Trojan Horse is in our midst. The School problem is just the tip of the iceberg. The City, County and State have the same problem with uncontrolled public sector salaries, pensions and other benefits. The Federal budget is even worse with the Treasury paper being junk on the same par as Greece and Spain. We are in a depression and more federal debt is not feasible. The only way out is for the public sector unions to take cuts or else the whole system is bankrupt. The markets are stating to collapse again and no more bailouts are possible.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Cholo - pick up a history book and inform yourself about the environment that existed that led to the creation of unions, and what they were fighting for. Then fast forward to today and make the same evaluation. Then let me know how fighting for conditions that make the workplace safe so that one doesn't gamble his life for pennies a day relates to admittedly refusing to accept a S&C increase freeze in order to save fellow teacher's jobs and continue to provide our students with a quality education.....oh, all while asking the community to foot the entire bill.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

There is only one recourse left...DECLARE BANKRUPTCY...state, county, city, districts and then all contracts are void. Don't let Pennsylvania be the first...its time for California to lead the way once again. Unions don't "stick up for the rights of working Americans" they steal the taxes from working Americans...the real story.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:36 am

Dark Corners, that's a really detailed list, and worth discussing. Even though you wrote "The PUSD Board can make the following reductions in expenses" though, I'm sure you understand that several of the bullet-points on your list cannot be implemented unilaterally by the board (Items 1, 2, 4, and 9 on your list.)

The board can reject a tentative contract negotiated by their district team and the APT and CSEA negotiating teams. They cannot, however, unilaterally impose a new contract on the unions. That is not within their legal powers. (They can, under certain circumstances, compel the union to keep working under the existing contract even after it expires -- but that won't solve the financial problems at all.)

Dark Corners, when you imply that if your desired solution does not come to pass, it's because the board has failed in its "moment of truth", I think you're leaving out some key players in this drama.

Whatever you might think of the board or of the unions, right now, a solution must be found by working within the current legal framework.

Others advocate bankruptcy? That's not a solution, it's an admission of defeat that could affect all our tax bills in the future, and it's a willingness to give away all our local influence in school governance. If the district declares itself fiscally insolvent, there's no more board -- and we don't get to elect a new one with any real power. There's just the county board of ed sending in a bureaucrat to take over. I don't think that's in anyone's best interests.

If students want to wear black when they find out which people might be laid off at the end of June, why shouldn't they? If parents want to stage a protest March down the sidewalks of First Street to the district offices, why shouldn't they? If teachers want to wear pink on March 15, why shouldn't they?


Posted by No offense Sandy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:28 am

No offense Sandy, but the pink people and PUSD have said that the district's budget problems are all due to the state budget problems.
Seems that if that's what they believe, the place to stage a protest is in Sacramento.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:29 am

"If students want to wear black when they find out which people might be laid off at the end of June, why shouldn't they? If parents want to stage a protest March down the sidewalks of First Street to the district offices, why shouldn't they? If teachers want to wear pink on March 15, why shouldn't they?"

Sandy,
Because the fear mongering should not be allowed to disrupt school, scare and brainwash our kids!!!!! Only one perspective is shared with our students to scare them.

The proposal above is the solution that the union does not want the community to understand and John Casey avoided because he wants to retire with everything he can take from this community.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:37 am

If teachers are going to wear pink on March 15 and make it a political day, I will keep my kids out of school and take them on a field trip instead.

The teachers are out of line and I will show my disagreement with them by keeping my kids out (oh yeah, that means 51.44 per kid in loss revenue).

My kids have come home lately telling us how the teachers talked about them about the layoffs and all this stuff. Not that I want the kids in a bubble, but hearing a one sided story from their teachers is plain wrong.

If the only power the school board has is to reject the contracts negotiated with the union, then by all means, REJECT it if it does not include concessions such as step and column freeze, etc. I read that the Oakland teachers are going to strike, well, if that happens here too we will have solid proof that the unions do not have the kids' best interest in mind.

REJECT the union negotiated contracts if they do not include all the concessions needed!


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

Dark spot on this earth, so you expect the teachers to take the hit for the bad economy. A 5% reduction in salary. Did you take a 5% reduction in salary this year? I'm sure not. I know the teachers are putting many of the other concessions on the table. But why don't you donate, let's say 5% of your salary to the school district. Oh maybe you are unemployed, or resent the fact that your education was not up to snuff. It is so absurd that you want to hit the wallets of the few to benefit the many. Next thing you know you will be bitching about the quality of the education. The not in my back yard or wallet mentality that has taken over this town is disgusting. You want your cake and to eat it too.
Nasty , Nasty selfish person - I'm sure you voted no on the parcel tax because that is so vogue, but it sure was not responsible.


Posted by Concessions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:59 am

I am a PUSD employee that will be affected by the proposed cuts. I also have two children in the system. It makes no sense to me why everyone across the district shouldn't "give a little something back". I am willing to take a paycut, either with a shortened year, no step and column or both! I will at least have a job! My kids will still have the quality education and services that they deserve and for which I moved to Pleasanton for.

If we are going to ask the people of Pleasanton to vote for a parcel tax, then we need to be willing to show them that we are also willing to do what we can as employees of the district to help out too. The people that will be paying for the parcel tax are also people who have lost jobs and had their hours reduced and are struggling to make ends meet. They won't want to pass it if we don't show we are willing to sacrifice too!


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

TO "Me",
If you have been in this community and paying attention you would understand that the over inflated raises over the past ten years are what has left PUSD without reserves and continues to plummet the district into this shortfall. If reasonable raises had been given we would have reserves to get through the State cuts. If raises were truly frozen (S&C) the shortfall would not continue to grow exponentially.

It is reasonable to put the burden back where it was created, the UNIONS!


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:13 am

Me and Concessions,

My thoughts exactly. I don't know why some in this community want to balance the budget solely on the backs of teachers. Teachers are not to blame for the state budget crisis. PUSD teachers have already done a quite a bit of sacrificing, but how much more can we as a community expect from them while asking none from ourselves?


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

Diana,
I have been in the community a very long time ! The increases in step and column where a give back for earlier concessions.
The lame loan (banking) industry created unsustainable growth by over leveraging home purchases to unqualified borrowers. The paper castle crumbling caused the crash. The teacher's had nothing to do with that. Have you been under a rock? Most homeowners in Ptown, have benefitted by that over leverage as our homes are still above the mean from the beginning of bank deregulation and normal 5-6% value growth. Might be nice to sustain that value, but we are a town of penny wise pound foolish people. Our property values go down $30,000 but woo who we save $256 a year.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

"hit the wallets of the few to benefit the many"

what do you think the majority of teachers in PUSD did when they agreed to take more pay and pay for their own healthcare in exchange?

Someone in a different thread posted it was less than 50 percent of teachers who paid for their own healthcare

What does that say about the majority? Selfish people who want to pocket extra cash, and to do so they are willing to sacrifice that minority of teachers who have to pay for healthcare because they do not have a spouse or other way to get it.

And unions... that is all about collective bargaining to benefit a FEW. Many teachers, good ones are about to get laid off. For what? Do those dinosaurs can continue to get their raises even if many of them are so incompetent but we can't do much about it because of their UNION.

So your comment about taking from a few to benefit the majority applies both to the UNION and the TEACHERS in PUSD because they are the ones who are behind this mess.

And they are the ones who whine about how they don't really make that much because after all they pay for healthcare: nonsense! if that were true, why haven't they negotiated it again to make it similar to other districts (ie, less pay but not have to pay for healthcare) - it is because the majority of teachers benefit from this deal because they have a spouse who covers healthcare.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:44 am

"Our property values go down $30,000 but woo who we save $256 a year."

You must not have been payint attention lately. Properties already went down and quite a bit and it has nothing to do with the schools.

It has to do with foreclosures and short sales.

Even one of our board members went through foreclosure this year.

When houses sell for low because of short sales, etc, it affects the entire neighborhood, and no neighborhood in Pleasanton has been immune to all these short sales and foreclosures.


Posted by Concessions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

To Me: "The increases in step and column where a give back for earlier concessions."

The teachers had put on the table that if the parcel tax passed then they would forgo a step & column increase as their "concession". But since the parcel tax did not pass that was taken off the table. I feel that whether or not a parcel tax is passed we should give that up for a year or two until things get better.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:49 am

"Not that I want the kids in a bubble, but hearing a one sided story from their teachers is plain wrong."

One side of the story? Aren't you the other side? Wouldn't they only be getting on side of the story if they just heard it from you?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

"One side of the story? Aren't you the other side? Wouldn't they only be getting on side of the story if they just heard it from you?"

I have the right to teach my kids what I believe in in my house.

The teachers DO NOT have the right to teach their beliefs at school.

Many posts in other thread were aginst reducing the school year by 5 days because of loss instructional time.

It is really instruction when teachers take up a whole period to talk about what is going on in their personal lives?

There is a reason religion and other beliefs CANNOT be taught in public schools.

If the teachers want to take up valuable class time to talk about their views, then they should invite community members for a debate in class, so students can see that their teacher is really not all that accurate in what she says.


Posted by Parents of PUSD students, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

Concerned Parent - exactly what 'quite a bit of sacrificing' have the teachers done? The more senior teachers sacrificed 50+ younger teacher jobs so they can keep their jobs AND get their $1.6M (or so) in annual raises. Maybe some of the teachers have larger class sizes this year, but besides that, what is the sacrifice?
Meanwhile, parents are paying $210 per child per year in increased taxes (2009 reduction in child tax credit) along with another 1% in sales tax, annual 2% increase in property tax, car tax and more. Easily $8+M more of wage earner income is being sent to CA.
Me - It seems the proposal above protects, even increases the quality of education at PUSD for next year. Isn't that what drives families to buy homes in Pleasanton?
PUSD says that any parcel tax will only be available for the 2011-2012 school year and with almost non-existant fundraising going on, the above proposal seems to be the only one that protects our kids and keeps the quality of education high. It shares the expense reduction across management, administration, classified and the teachers, increases funding to the local schools.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

Common Sense - I'm very concerned about your children. They seem to have a lot of horrible teachers. You consistently talk about how any good teacher will be laid off yet all of the horrible ones will stay. I think its time you re-evaluate and get your kids out of the PUSD before permanent harm is done. If people keep taking their kids out of the district then eventually there will we no district which will break the union which solves all of the problems.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:00 am

"I think its time you re-evaluate and get your kids out of the PUSD before permanent harm is done."

Don't worry, we have already made all the arrangements and payments for private schools this fall.

All we need to do is get through the year.

You SHOULD worry about the other PUSD students who are staying though. My kids are not the only students, they are not the only ones with bad teachers and they are not the only ones who have to sit through a lecture listening to a teacher's personal sobs about her job.

But I am still a homeowner here in Pleasanton, and will vote NO against a parcel tax, and campaign against it if needed.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

Me,

You may have been here but you must not have been paying attention. When things were good the greed was rampant plundering all funds. We would have had rainy day funds if good judgment had been used. Now there is an entitlement attitude that Pleasanton should pass a salary tax (to share the burden???) It is clear that by correcting the unrealistic spending the district will stay intact. DO IT!

Demand professionalism! Keep the hysterics away from our students!


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:05 am

Common Sense - so you don't want your kids only hearing one side, yet you don't want the other side to provide information?? confusing
I find it hard to believe that teachers are spending hours discussing layoffs.

There is not parcel tax proposed this year, so stop using the parcel tax scare tactic.

I would probably not vote for a parcel tax either, but it really is not up for debate at this time and it certainly can't help next year.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Me,

Your post is the kind that tends to bring out the extreme, especially when you disrespect another poster by referring to them as a dark spot on the earth and then call them nasty and selfish. Perhaps you could tone it down a bit and you may find responses more favorable to your position.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

bonjour...America went to war and it cost lots of money...maybe that's where all the money went...in RC's pocket!

stop two wars, save some money...problem solved

ping!

signed,

SteveP


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:16 am

"Common Sense - so you don't want your kids only hearing one side, yet you don't want the other side to provide information?? confusing"

It is one thing to provide information, it is another to talk about personal hardships that are about to come because of a job loss.

"I find it hard to believe that teachers are spending hours discussing layoffs."

So did I, but it happened. It happened last year too, to a lesser extent, with kids as young as elementary school.
At the end of last school year, high school kids could tell you which teachers were going to get laid off because they were told in class.

Now high schoolers OK, they are older and can perhaps engage in discussion (objective discussion) but younger kids?

"There is not parcel tax proposed this year, so stop using the parcel tax scare tactic."

Actually, there is. It has not been formally announced, but just wait and see.

"I would probably not vote for a parcel tax either, but it really is not up for debate at this time and it certainly can't help next year."

Parcel taxes are temporary band-aids. Look at Cupertino, Palo Alto and San Ramon, the three districts that someone used as example.
They saved programs for 09-10, now they are saying they can't do it again for 10-11 and by 11-12 it will be much worse. Why? If you and I gave 10 dollars for X, and we agreed to do it for four years, then no matter what the economy does, those 10 dollars are still there because they come from me and you, and they should be used for X, right? Well, not in Cupertino and San Ramon! Their parcel tax funds are about to be used for things other than what the community approved the tax for.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:19 am

Parents of PUSD students -- you get what you pay for. If you want Wallmart teachers you will get a Wallmart education.

Do you remember 6 years ago when most school districts were having to give emergency credentials to teachers because there was a shortage of educted qualified teachers. Pleasanton did not give them. In fact the had tougher standards, requiring additional trainingg such as CLAD.

To lacking "Common sense" If I were a teacher would I be allowed to teach your child that it is wrong to steal?? Thank god my kids will not have to share a classroom with yours. Your kids are not the only one's with bad parents either.
Oh and your brilliance "You must not have been payint attention lately. Properties already went down and quite a bit and it has nothing to do with the schools." Pleasanton property values have maintained more value than thier peers due to the current quality of the schools ... duh.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Me wrote: "Do you remember 6 years ago when most school districts were having to give emergency credentials to teachers because there was a shortage of educted qualified teachers. Pleasanton did not give them. In fact the had tougher standards, requiring additional trainingg such as CLAD."

Then why does Ed-Data report a small percentage of credentialed staff with emergency credentials?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Me,

I think you're holding the CA certificate program up to a high level as if the granting of a certificate magically confers quality upon those who put the time into getting it. I read somewhere that the quality of "graduates" has actually been going down, that the scores on the assessment has been decreasing.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Emergency credentials are sometimes given to those who are actually qualified by any other means, such as experienced college-level professors. I wonder though if the data is collected on that level of detail. Otherwise the granting of an emergency credential doesn't tell the whole story.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

"Pleasanton property values have maintained more value than thier peers due to the current quality of the schools ."

I suggest you do your research a little more before posting nonsense.

Look at San Ramon, a district that other threads we should look up to because of their parcen tax, scores, etc.

San Ramon's houses were way down because of foreclosures. They had many of them and it is stabilizing now but not because of the schools, it was because the inventory is down somewhat and prices were so low at some point, houses were selling fast (these were foreclosures and short sales).

Have a realtor give you a list of SOLD properties from this year, and last, and the year before then.

Compare, the properties were down a lot without the schools being a factor.

Pleasanton is nicer looking than say Livermore or Dublin and that is one of the reasons for the higher house prices. Nice overall. Livermore on the other hand has nice pockets here and there but the overall city is not as nice.

Deny it all you want, it is the foreclosures and short sales that are bringing the housing market way down, and not just in Pleasanton


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:35 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Hrm, interesting fellow: Frederic Bastiat Web Link

"In short, the thrust of Bastiat's negative railroad hinges on two major points:

1. All economic decisions should be made with the consumer in mind (this is the central theme of Bastiat's economic ideology).
2. Tariffs serve no purpose but to negate the gains provided to society by technology, labor, ingenuity, determination and progress.

An important corollary to these conclusions is that the power which consumers wield with any governing body, while theoretically tremendous, is extremely diffuse in application. Producers, on the other hand, while not as powerful on the whole as the sum total of consumers, have the ability to consolidate their power in ways that make it much more attractive for governing bodies to service their needs. Thus, while consumers could theoretically shut down an entire industry (or government) by refusing to buy/sell/do something, the likelihood of the great mass of people organizing in this way for any reason whatever is so infinitesimal as to be practically impossible. Producers, on the other hand, are able to threaten or cajole the government with shutting down a single industry, with reductions in political and financial contributions to the government agents who make certain decisions, etc. It is for this reason that governments are much more likely to pander to the desires of producers than to those of consumers, and it is for this reason, Bastiat concludes, that governments are inherently adversarial to the interests of the people as a whole. Indeed, they are even adversarial, in some way, to the interests of the producers themselves, as the producers of one good or service are still consumers of all the other goods and services."


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:38 am

Please stop the housing arguing. All of the research shows a correlation between school performace (ie test scores) and housing prices. All this means is that a house will have a higher price in places where the schools are better. This does not mean that prices will not drop or go up based on normal market controls. Even in all Pleasanton schools API scores went up to 990, that doesn't mean we are going to see a big jump in housing prices.

To ignore that schools play a role in housing prices is as stupid as saying that only the quality of schools determines the housing prices.


Posted by Parents of PUSD students, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:48 am

Me - Are you suggesting PUSD teachers will choose to lower their professionalism this year if the PUSD Board decides to maintain educational excellence with the funds available? If so, that's too bad. I would hope those teachers would have the ethics to resign their position if that's how they will behave. By June, there will be plenty of excellent qualified laid-off teachers in the Bay Area who would love to work in Pleasanton.
But I tend to think positively (like the Dark Corners' proposal) and if the PUSD Board would put the above budget in place, I believe the community would respond generously with fundraising and even a parcel tax. Bold leadership by the Board will generate enormous support.


Posted by backupcsense, a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

To Common sense- you are great to stand your ground.

To all others who find attacking this person as a parent and her/his kids grow up and stop being the bully on the playground. This thread was started with solutions to all your problems, back off and stay true to the thread.

To Dark Corner, if you have all the answers, stop hiding on the threads and go to the meeting at Amador and speak out. Most parents in your community are trying their best to have their children successful in the classroom, be their hero.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:52 am

"It is really instruction when teachers take up a whole period to talk about what is going on in their personal lives?"

No. Not on March 15, nor on any other day.

But there's a big difference between wearing pink or wearing black, and taking up a whole period of class to talk about why. I would hope that many teachers who wear pink or black would not take up a whole class period.

If you think they all will, or they all did last year, I remind you that neither you nor I can be in all places at once.

And I think that a protest in Sacramento is likely to happen. It's going to take much longer to change votes in Sacramento than we have here in Pleasanton to balance next year's budget.

What if all the factors named in this thread contributed to our current budget crisis?
- the country-wide recession (which was actually global, though some countries are affected more than others)
- the bankers and mortgage lenders who contributed to the recession
- the politicians who have raised taxes and see that as a solution to federal/state/local budget problems
- the past board members who approved salary increases for APT/CSEA/management beginning 5 years ago
- the teachers who sought those raises
- the teachers who will not support concessions now
- the community members who opposed measure G
- the community members who supported measure G
- the community members who will not donate voluntarily to their school/their school's PTA/PPIE/PUSD
- the community members who did donate, but not enough
- the union leadership
- the politicians who have not outlawed unions

Did I forget anyone's preferred explanations for "the cause" of PUSD's budget problems?

What if we had the courage to admit that all of these factors may have played a role? Then we could not blame someone else to solve this problem. Then we could not insist that someone else should change their behavior.

Then we would each have to decide whether we want to solve this problem, and if we do, listen to one another without ruling out any potential solutions. Then we would have to work together as a community.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:56 am

"I think you're holding the CA certificate program up to a high level as if the granting of a certificate magically confers quality"

Shouldn't it imply quality, at least to a certain extent? We license lots of professions including, doctors, contrators, hair stylists,etc with the assumption that they have some amount of training. Does this mean that all doctors and contractors are great and do a perfect job? Of course not. But given a choice, would you rather go to a licensed doctor or an unlicensed?

If the certificate is not doing any good, they isn't the group responsible for giving out the certficate bear a lot of the blame?


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:01 am

See you all tonight at the board meeting!


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:07 am

It is time for all public employees to acknowledge that the funding that supports their pay and benefits is supplied by the taxpayers and subject to the whims of the economy. The "it has nothing to do with me" attitude regularly reported by those in public service will soon be met by galvanized resistance.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:10 am

Stacey is a registered user.

letsgo,

The certificate just means someone has gone through the licensing procedure and has qualified the requirements. It doesn't predict future performance. The real point I'm trying to make is with regards to the granting of an emergency credential and how that doesn't imply a lack of quality, as Me bases their assertion upon.


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

I'm suggesting that some will choose to leave the profession as the cost benefit ratio swings. I know this will get some response 'like, don't let the door hit them in the rear' but I don't beleive it is a good thing for our community. Plus many programs that make our kids whole will be cut. At risk kids will be neglected (as those expensive spots are cut) and regular classroom teachers will have a new lowest common denominator in theier classrooms.
In addittion those in college now looking at the teaching profession as there targetted and choosen careers will think twice. We will repeat history, giving emergency credential is some cases to those who enter the careers of teaching through happenstance. Sure there will be some teachers who were on that path already that are perfectly excellent instructors, but many that are not. Suggesting taking the effort and time to secure the necessary credentials does not serve as predictor of perfomance goes directly in the face of requiring any credential for any profession. Of course it is a important predictor of performance, this is the very reason for credentails. That argument is incredulous!

Stacey, I did not say that a emergency credential implies that the individual having one was not qualified, but it is more likely,, there is a reason that a credential should be earned. Arguing that we should have given more emergency credntials so we could have more inexperienced teachers would follow your line of thinking.
Just like a doctor praticing without a license might give good medical care, I woul dstill rather visit a licensed doctor. And Stacey, yes I know several ECs were given to Pleasanton teachers, but there wer given a short window of time to secure non ECs. Other districts had a much greater percentage.

Truly, if I had all day I could post endless links to studies supporting both sides that real estate prices are impacted or not impacted by school performances. Both batches would be skewed by there hypothesis. Common sense (not the guy with the handle) and personal experience point to the fact that school district performance is a contributing factor to home values.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

To 'Me' - How do you recommend to the PUSD Board they resolve the $8M budget gap?


Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm

"To ignore that schools play a role in housing prices is as stupid as saying that only the quality of schools determines the housing prices."

So how do you explain the significant difference in prices between San Ramon, Danville, Alamo and Blackhawk?

All those cities go to the SAME school district (the San Ramon School district) yet a house in Alamo is at least a million - even the fix up ranchers are way up there. In the old San Ramon, right now you can get a similar ranch home for less than half a million.

I am interested to hear your wise explanation.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm

To 'backupcsense' - I don't have all the answers and I have attended all of the budget forums. The Board and Cabinet know of the ideas proposed above, all of which (except for terminating the bottom performing 2% of teachers) are contained in PUSD proposals.
Enough speakers (including those on the agenda tonight) have demonstrated the damage further cuts to kid-facing programs will have on our students and their minds.
It is time now for the community to realize what is at stake as PUSD decides whether it will fight for the kids or not. The PUSD position has been written, several proposals have been submitted to the union membership and voted on. It is expected on Feb 23, that the Board will be deciding whether to begin the pink-slip drama. They know it is not necessary to have any layoffs, but appear very unwilling or incapable of fighting for the kids.
Over half the audience at these forums are PUSD employees. They are not the ones that need to hear this message, hence I wrote this Town Square entry to move this discussion out to as many people as possible.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

"But I tend to think positively (like the Dark Corners' proposal) and if the PUSD Board would put the above budget in place, I believe the community would respond generously with fundraising and even a parcel tax."

Yes, even those of us who have chosen to go private in the fall would be more inclined to support PUSD if the proposal that started this thread were to be implemented.

Our neighbors' and friends' kids will still be (many of them) in PUSD, so we want the best possible environment for them.

By acting fiscally responsible, PUSD demostrates that they will indeed manage a parcel tax fund correctly and use it to give the students the quality education they deserve.

As for fundraising, I am not so sure. As a parent in private schools next fall, my wallet will follow my kids.

Parcel tax? Yes if PUSD does what needs to be done before coming to the community asking for money.


Posted by Sue, a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

The point is if PUSD does what needs to be done there would be no need for a parcel tax.

If PUSD and unions had always been responsible with our money we would not need these discussions.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Me wrote: "Suggesting taking the effort and time to secure the necessary credentials does not serve as predictor of perfomance goes directly in the face of requiring any credential for any profession. Of course it is a important predictor of performance, this is the very reason for credentails. That argument is incredulous!"

OK, so how does taking the time and effort to meet credentialing requirements predict future performance?


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

To get back to the original post in this thread....

Dark Corners proposed the following cuts, which also seem reasonable to me, and which the board can implement now:

- Summer school proposed changes ($200K)

- Eliminate District support for extra curricular activities ($70K)

- Reduce District Office professional services ($72K)

- Reduce Categorical Programs in Adult Education ($170K)

Granted, these are small dollar amounts, but there's no reason to wait till Feb. 23 to vote on these items. I also hope that CSEA will be willing to reach an agreement rapidly about modifying the service provider in warehouse/graphics, which the board could then approve, for a savings of $250K.

Everyone on these forums who has mentioned step and column seems to agree that S&C needs to be frozen. I hope that APT will be willing to reach an agreement rapidly on that one issue, which the board could then approve, for a savings in FY10/11 of $1.6 million.

Total -- $1.872 million

Where my earlier proposal and Dark Corners' current proposal diverge is on how much the district/board should ask for in union concessions, beyond the suspension of step and column. Dark Corners proposes:

- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)

- 5% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($4.5M)

I would argue that the board can ask for whatever it wants... but I don't think they're going to get concessions of $6.75 million from employees. I think a reduction of six instructional days is roughly the equivalent of a 3% pay cut (and it impacts everyone's pay, not just teachers, including management). Asking for a pay cut of 7.5% or more -- I'd be really surprised if concessions come back at that level. Those two items together would cost the average employee $7,500 next year (less for those at the bottom of the CSEA scale, more for teachers at the very top end of the pay scale, and more than that for principals and other members of the management team).

Again, I'm not saying the board shouldn't aim high during negotiations. I'm just saying that they will not have the sole responsibility if they don't get what they ask. And then they have a fiduciary responsibility to begin the pink slip process before March 15.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I feel relieved to read this discussion.

I was afraid that a day would pass without more hysterical, mean-spirited teacher-bashing by anonymous commentators.

It seems my fear was misplaced. Different day, same hysterical screeds.

Actually, it's the teachers who have the power in these negotiations. We can vote to refuse ALL concessions.

What then?

Pleasanton would be faced with either a state takeover of its district or else layoffs that would cripple the ability of the district's schools to deliver the same high-quality education that has boosted property values so high in this city.

The teachers of Pleasanton USD *did* offer substantial concessions last year: $1,000 per teacher in exchange for a 4-year, $233 annual parcel tax that would have amounted to $932 total.

The voters of Pleasanton said "no" to that deal.

Now it's the turn of the teachers, and I am urging my colleagues to "just say no" to concessions until the community proves it is willing to meet us halfway. We are not going to let the entire burden of balancing this district's budget fall on our shoulders when most of us can't even afford to live in Pleasanton on the salaries we earn now.

Year after year, Pleasanton teachers have delivered results that would be the envy of any privately-owned company, providing the children and teenagers of this community a fine education. But all of a sudden, when times are tough, we are the enemy and to blame for a financial disaster of international scope.

I've had a belly full of the teacher-bashing that goes on in the Pleasanton Weekly. No, it's not "outside agitators" who are doing the bashing and scapegoating, it's people in our own community, including the head of the Pleasanton PTA among others.

What's worse, the poisoning of relations between the teachers and the community they serve is being done anonymously. Once again, I call upon the owners of the Pleasanton Weekly to stop providing a forum for anonymous hatemongers to spew their venom. Make people own their comments, as I own mine by giving my real name each and every time I post.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Common Sense - my wise explanation was already given. If you can't understand a simple paragraph or two, I can't help you.

I will try to make it more clear. Schools are a factor in housing prices, but they are not the only factor and not the most important factor. Do you understand?


Posted by Sue, a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Daniel do you not understand that continued raises (S&C) at a time when there is no new income creates an impossible situation?

Our family has taken a 50% reduction in household income. Why is it my responsibility to pay for district staff to continue perks and raises.

There needs to be an across the board salary correction. Most of us have taken them in our own companies, why do you think I should pay for yours? I know you and I like you, but I don't have it we are struggling to survive.

The union should not sacrifice their own members jobs.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

"But I tend to think positively (like the Dark Corners' proposal) and if the PUSD Board would put the above budget in place, I believe the community would respond generously with fundraising and even a parcel tax."

Not a chance. Most all of the parents will support the schools with fundraising, but as people have said, taxes are going up and there is less money all around and I just don't see this community annually raising the funds that other schools are able to and I see little chance of a parcel tax passing no matter what happens this year. So we head closer and closer to privatized education, which may not be a bad thing. But as a society that a very dangerous road.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Daniel Bradford"

In other words, "tit-for-tat" eh?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Thrilling. Token one-time concessions offered in exchange for a new four-year tax when teachers have all the power in negotiations and can, through their actions, lead to state takeovers or mass layoffs. If you want to claim you have the power, then you're also claiming responsibility for the mess.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

DB wrote: "Make people own their comments, as I own mine by giving my real name each and every time I post."

And the first time someone anonymously uses your real name on their posts, you'll finally understand. What's to stop someone from even REGISTERING your full name here?


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm

"so how does taking the time and effort to meet credentialing requirements predict future performance?"

Really Stacey? Are you saying that we should do away with any certifications or licenses? As with anything, a certificate, license, degree, shows that you had the intelligence and ability to complete the tasks necessary or perform the duties to meet the standards.

People who only have a high school diploma are predicted to not make as much money as those who have a college degree. Does that mean everyone who has a college degree will earn more than those who don't? Of course not, but it a good predictor.

The teaching credential predicts future success because these people have met the standards, taken and passed classes, and usually have been in the classroom under the supervision of another teacher for a while.



Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

letsgo wrote: "Are you saying that we should do away with any certifications or licenses?"

No, of course not. I'm only saying that it doesn't predict future performance. As you point out, it shows that they've completed the tasks necessary or performed the duties required to meet the standards. I think you and I (and perhaps Me) have differing views of what constitutes "future performance". The certificate defines a minimum standard to which applicants are held. The implication from Me was that PUSD holds a higher standard. Even then, how can one predict that someone will go above and beyond those standards?

letsgo wrote: "Does that mean everyone who has a college degree will earn more than those who don't? Of course not, but it a good predictor."

Sure, if you want to define "performance" in terms of how much the person earns (a merit-pay based system does). Even someone who doesn't have a college degree can perform above and beyond the minimum requirements for their non-degree job. How does meeting the minimum requirements predict such performance?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy,

What I get from Dark Corner's original post is that all the decision-making power is in the hands of the Board and the public needs to hold them accountable for what the community values and not devolve into blaming each other for who started the mess.


Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Daniel,

thank you for using your real name. Three of us... here's hoping it's a trend that catches on.

"I've had a belly full of the teacher-bashing that goes on in the Pleasanton Weekly."

I could not agree more. Teacher bashing and union bashing are not going to get us anywhere. It's tremendously demoralizing for teachers to read these forums.

"No, it's not "outside agitators" who are doing the bashing and scapegoating, it's people in our own community, including the head of the Pleasanton PTA among others."

If you are referring to Joan Laursen's comment at a recent board meeting about "pussyfooting around", I actually believe the comment was directed at the board and cabinet. After watching the recording of the meeting (I was not there in person at that particular point in the meeting), and reading the article in the Independent, I believe that Joan was misquoted -- the context of her comment in the article made it seem as if she was scolding teachers, and I do not believe that was her intention at all.

Of course, you're free to interpret her comments as you see fit.

It sounds like you're advocating for playing hardball at the negotiating table. Risky strategy... and clearly a challenge to what John Casey has said about a long history of interest-based negotiating. Not what I would advocate, but then, I have no business advising your union about how to negotiate, since I'm not a member.

I'm glad to hear that there's a debate going on within the union about how to approach negotiations. I'm very anxious about the possibility of ending up in an impasse, or the full-scale layoffs that will occur if the union and the board go to the brink and can't back down.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Realistically, I don't think you're going to get teachers to agree to get rid of S & C raises on a permanent basis unless you replace it with something else. This is a career with no possiblity of promotion (unless you want to be an administrator, which most teachers see as all of the worst parts of their job put into a full-time position: boring meetings, angry parents, discipline, nighttime supervision duties...).

So, come up with a better system and offer it! I wonder if it'd save this community much money, though, because most teachers here go beyond the minimum and would be paid highly in a merit system.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

"How does meeting the minimum requirements predict such performance?"

That's the whole purpose of a certification. THe requirements are set up in an attempt to ensure success. A license for a medical doctor is still just minimum requirements. Yet, I predict that a licensed doctor will be able to perform surgery better than an unlicensed.

I guess I'm not sure what you are getting at other than you do not believe any type of license or certification is any indication of future performance. And I guess I have a differing opinion than you.

Of course you can argue that nothing is a predictor of performance. I have hired people with masters degrees in engineering from Stanford who couldn't do basic spreadsheet work let alone engineering work. Yet, if you ask most employers, they are going to tell you that they predict person having a masters degree in engineering will be able to perform an engineering job better than a high school drop-out.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Thanks to Sandy Piderit for having the honesty and integrity to use her real name and to own her comments.

I am posting not because I hope to convince the teacher-bashers of the wrongness of their arguments, but rather to expose their nastiness and mean-spiritedness to the community as a whole.

Stacey's snarling at me--almost spitting at me with contempt, really--shows a lot more than she/he realizes about the tone of debate she/he has established in these anonymous and increasingly contemptible forums.

It's definitely not a civil tone, more of a slash-and-burn, take-no-prisoners attitude. We teachers are supposed to be part of the community, yet "Stacey" and the other teacher-bashers treat us as if we are unwanted outsiders who must be browbeaten into submission.

I am a spokesperson for no one but myself, but I can definitely say that I know quite a few teachers whose initial attitude of compromise and conciliation is increasingly turning to bewilderment and even anger at the slurs, lies, and half-truths being slung at us in the Pleasanton Weekly.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

"Schools are a factor in housing prices, but they are not the only factor and not the most important factor. Do you understand?"

There is an area by Blackhawk Plaza, where you have San Ramon on one side and Danville on the other. This is the new Danville of course, and also newer San Ramon.

Both places, within walking distance of each other, have similar type of houses with similar square footage, similar lots.

Comparing apples to apples here: same type of house and sq footage, same lot size, same HOA type of area, same neighborhood, they are within walking distance of each other BUT one is technically San Ramon, the other is technically Danville/

Price difference? It used to be 150K a few years ago, and right now it is still about 90K

How is that?

I can understand why certain places are more expensive than others.

All I am saying is that when all things are equal (these houses are in the SAME are, same everything but one has a Danville address), the school district does NOT seem to play a role in the value of the houses.

Pleasanton houses will retain their value and lose it for reasons other than the schools.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

"If you are referring to Joan Laursen's comment"

I have never met this person, but I know that she was a big supporter of Measure G. My neighbor was involved with the campaign, and Joan Larsen's name came up over and over, she supports the schools and was a big advocate of Measure G.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

"I am posting not because I hope to convince the teacher-bashers of the wrongness of their arguments, but rather to expose their nastiness and mean-spiritedness to the community as a whole."

The problem with a lot of teacher seems that they cannot accept criticism. You have to be in denial if you don't see how the unions are not helping education or any other field.

Have you watched what even Ann Duncan is saying? There is a reason this administration is pushing for more charter schools - yes, a democrat leader pushing for an idea the republicans have been in support of all along.

The unions are a problem. The teachers are good and bad. The good ones are great to have a round, the bad ones we are stuck with and our kids suffer with them, the administrators cannot do anything about them.

If you consider that teacher bashing, oh well.

By the way, last time the teachers did not make concessions. Their offer was tied to "if G passes"

That will never work, at least not for me. Seeing what places like San Ramon are doing with the parcel tax, it is clear districts cannot be trusted unless the deal is done and it is all in writing.

Promises are not enough, ACTUAL concessions are.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm

"Realistically, I don't think you're going to get teachers to agree to get rid of S & C raises on a permanent basis unless you replace it with something else"

I agree the unions will never go for that, they did not do that last time, they instead opted for having class sizes go up and peers lose their jobs.

But the board needs to say NO to any contract that is negotiated that does not include a freeze to step and column.

Teachers will be plenty come this june. Read the papers. ALL districts are laying off, even Cupertino and San Ramon will have to let go of excellent teachers because the soon to be clas size increase.

We can always start fresh. Board: refuse to approve an agreement that does not include step and column. There will be plenty of good teachers looking for work very soon. All the good teachers (the newer ones) across the state will be getting pink slips as unions across the state refuse small concessions that would save their colleages' jobs.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Correction:

"Board: refuse to approve an agreement that does not include step and column."

should read:

"Board: refuse to approve an agreement that does not include a step and column FREEZE."


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Daniel - What is your proposal for how to solve the $8M budget gap?


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Sandy - Yes, several of the items in the proposal require negotiation. And that negotiation process has end game states that are less than desirable. Regardless, the question before the Board is what will it stand for? Quality Education and Putting Kids First? By taking a stand, and fighting for it, those who are opposed to it will be saying that they do not want Quality Education and that they will not Put Kids First. The rest can play out in the court of public opinion.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Daniel- "Now it's the turn of the teachers, and I am urging my colleagues to "just say no" to concessions until the community proves it is willing to meet us halfway. We are not going to let the entire burden of balancing this district's budget fall on our shoulders when most of us can't even afford to live in Pleasanton on the salaries we earn now."
Teachers only offered to be part of the solution IF the parcel tax passed. It didn't so your solution is ?


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

"the school district does NOT seem to play a role in the value of the houses."

All I'm saying is that the majority of the research shows that it doesaffect. The last couple I read put the number in the 2-5% range (other have had it higher). I don't have hose at my finger tips, but just do a google search. I agree that schools are not the leading factor in housing pricing change, but all things equal, the research shows that schools are a factor.

And just because houses are in the same district does not mean they are the same. I bet most people will in Danville will tell you Monte Vista is a better school than Cal High. (whether that true or not I don't know).


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Does anyone have a link to a teachers merit based pay system that is working well? My searches have not provided the information that I am looking for.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Dark Corners:
Kudos to you for coming up with a specific plan. If only you would run for the school board. The only thing missing from your is the huge expense associated with special accommodations that benefit a few at the expense of many. PUSD needs to start informing the public when they are threatened with litigation before they settle these cases out of court.

I voted for the parcel tax and cut a check to the PTA for $233 even though I took a 15% decrease in pay last year. I won't vote for another parcel tax until PUSD makes some meaningful cost reductions.


Posted by Tony E., a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Tony E. is a registered user.

Daniel

"No, it's not "outside agitators" who are doing the bashing and scapegoating, it's people in our own community, including the head of the Pleasanton PTA among others."

I know Joan and was at the board meeting at which this comment of which you speak was uttered. The Independent quoted a small fraction of what Joan spoke and I can assure you she wasn't bashing teachers.

While I'd never speak for Joan, my impression listening to her was that she was trying to communicate her frustration with a situation with many sides trying to somehow align in action to spare the kids of the community from the full force of the upcoming cuts. What I heard her say was that the board should budget for a parcel tax if they intend to pursue a parcel tax. That teachers should speak to their bargaining units if they wish to make concessions. That parents should donate if they wish to fund programs important to them. That the time for pussyfooting needs to be over if we intend to spare these kids the full force of these cuts. Hope that clarifies Daniel.

Tony Ellis


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Teacher wrote: "So, come up with a better system and offer it!"

Did you check out the Stepless Salary Schedule thread?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Daniel Bradford,

Snarling? No. Laughing? Yes. Because the irony at complaining about supposed teacher bashing and in the same breath bashing this community drips thickly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Daniel Bradford,

If you find someone's behavior contemptible, why do you emulate it?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The problem is that Daniel Bradford will not view any discussion about teachers as anything other than "teacher bashing". Case in point: making reference to Joan Laursen's comments as teacher bashing. That reveals Mr. Bradford's own contempt for this community when he dismisses all reasonable teacher-oriented conversation as "teacher bashing".


Posted by PTA member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm


Daniel, you've taken the comments of a few posters on these blogs and passed judgement on the community as a whole. You've completely ignored the many posts lauding Pleasanton teachers.
Now I'm wondering, how would you and your fellow teachers feel, if everyone who read these blogs thought your comments reflected APT's attitude as a whole? Yes, you've put in a disclaimer saying you are voicing your own opinion, but people will interpret or misinterpret your comments as they will.

Kind of like the way you misinterpreted Joan Laursens' comments and then used this forum to bash her. If you are unaware of recent history, let me enlighten you. Joan Laursens was one of the organizers of the Save Pleasanton Schools organization and a staunch supporter of Pleasanton teachers. As PTA Council president, one of the many tasks she oversees is the annual Excellence In Education Awards honoring - you guessed it - teachers. Oh, and by the way, all the work she does (did I mention she was also PTA president at Walnut Grove and has served on dozens of committees?) is done as a VOLUNTEER. Unpaid. No stipend of any kind. Just one among many parents who DONATE their time to the schools and yes, even donate their time to help teachers.
You didn't bother to check your facts, just lashed out, and even though several people who were present at the meeting you reference have put Joan's comments into context for you, I have yet to see you issue an apology to her on this forum, the same place you chose to insult her.
As Stacey pointed out, the very behavior you find reprehensible is the behavior you are emulating.
Now I'm sure you are going to want to cry foul and say this post is teacher bashing. Let me be clear. It is not my intention to bash all the teachers in Pleasanton....just you.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Daniel,
My company had two rounds of layoffs, required a mandatory 5 day per quarter shutdown, elimination of all raises/merit increases/COL adjustments/bonuses/etc, as well as a graduated salary reduction 5% - 20% depending on pay grade. While nobody was happy about these "concessions" never once did I haear the term "employee bashing" used to describe upper managements use of these tactics to remain in business.

I'm concerned you don't fully appreciate the impact this recession has had on the private sector. Instead of discuss the problem with those you (indirectly) seek to help solve the problem you have blindly labeled anyone opposed to a parcel tax a "teacher basher". While I do not expect you to be happy with any cuts, I do expect you to bring everything to the table if you're asking me to as well.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Not to change this to the other thread, but the Deer Valley "Stepless" salary schedule, looks liek the same as we have just in different clothing.

Compensation may be granted for education above a Bachelor's Degree in 18 credit hour increments. - these are the columns

The first five years of experience are paid at $800 per year. - these are the steps

Granted, its cheaper than Pleasanton, but I don't really see that as some revolutionary system.

Also their "Pay for Performance" money is paid for from additional taxes (prop 301). I couldn't really find any details on how this plan works.

So their plan seems to have some good points, but not much of a change from what we have.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:45 pm

(forgot to add)

Since its really not that big of a change, maybe its something that could be implemented in the near future. (the salary schedule, not sure about their "pay for performance" plan)


Posted by Beth, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Just so everyone knows - Daniel Bradford is not a teacher at Foothill High. Just an FYI.


Posted by PTA member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Beth,
I stand corrected.
Daniel Bradford is the Librarian at Foothill High School which does put him in the "teacher" category as far as union membership.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm

To Stacey,

Who was that person you were referring to on the other thread that was "probably a teacher"?


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Geez PTA member, that seems pretty derogatory towards Daniel. Why do you think he's not a teacher?


Posted by Observer Lurker, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Stacey, you must get this question often but don't you have a life?!!! I marvel at how you can be everywhere, anywhere among these threads.

Disclaimer: This is simply an observation and is not meant to attack or tarnish Stacey.


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

To "common sense",

I don't see why you insist that school districts play no role at all in the determining the value of a house. The evidence you give certainly does not prove it.

You ask why a house in a comparable school district costs less than a comparable house in Pleasanton.

Can we agree that the Consumer Reports reliability rating for a car plays a role in its re-sale value? And yet a Honda Accord sells for much less than a Mercedes Benz. Why? Because the reliability rating is just one factor going into the resale value for a car. You can be sure that if that reliability rating dropped, so would the re-sale value of the car. It is the same way with homes and school districts. It is an important factor, but not the only factor.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Can I please have my critics drop their cloak of anonymity?

No?

Didn't think so.

I rest my case.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Daniel:

I did some searches and I do not consider you part of the teachers. It seems you are a librarian:

Web Link

And the rate my teachers website also shows you a librarian:

Web Link

You said you have asked your colleagues not to make concessions. I wonder if you also said that to the many excellent teachers about to get a pink slip? The only way to keep those great teachers is by having the old timers, tenured ones agree to concessions.

Do your fellow colleagues that are about to lose their job really agree with you? I doubt it.

As far as being a teacher, are you? Or are you a classified employee? Just curious.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Daniel, what do you suggest we do?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm

"Quality Education and Putting Kids First? By taking a stand, and fighting for it, those who are opposed to it will be saying that they do not want Quality Education and that they will not Put Kids First. "

Agree that we need to put quality education first. A parcel tax can play an important part in getting us there.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Daniel-"What's worse, the poisoning of relations between the teachers and the community they serve is being done anonymously. Once again, I call upon the owners of the Pleasanton Weekly to stop providing a forum for anonymous hatemongers to spew their venom. Make people own their comments, as I own mine by giving my real name each and every time I post."
If you are indeed a librarian, are you not a believer in free speech?


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Since I am a teacher, I will teach you just a bit:

1. In order to be certified as a school librarian in California, K-12, you must first be certified as a classroom teacher.
2. I am certified in grades 6-12 for Social Studies and English.
3. I have a Master's in Library Science and an additional credential as a library media specialist, as my particular field of expertise is known.
4. I am a member of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers and bargain collectively with my fellow teachers.
5. I don't sit in the library and check out books. I collaborate with my colleagues to develop the appropriate electronic and print information resources to support the teaching of my colleagues, and also instruct students at Foothill in research skills on a daily basis.

Yes, I am a teacher.

Now that I've answered your question, will you please answer one of mine?

What are you real names? Or, in the alternative, why are you afraid to post under your real names?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

To "resident",

I answered all you questions on the other thread about my personal affiliations and occupation. What about you? Why won't you answer? What are you hiding? Do you work for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association or not? Have you ever been to Pleasanton before?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm

"why are you afraid to post under your real names?"

Teachers do take it out on kids. I happen to have kids in the PUSD schools.

Next fall, I will gladly post with my real name, because my kids will be safely learning in private schools, far from all this nonsense.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm

"In order to be certified as a school librarian in California, K-12, you must first be certified as a classroom teacher."

The elementary school a friend of mine's kids attend has a librarian that is only a classified employee. Sure, the librarian has a college degree but no teacher credential. Are you sure that in California every librarian for k-12 must be a teacher? Do you have a link to this information?

In my friend's district, the reason they are getting rid of the librarians is because they are classified and can be given only a 30 day notice (versus teachers which is a more complex deadline)


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Dear Daniel, no matter if you are a certified teacher or not. One word for you and your overpaid teachers co-workers. Bankruptcy. That will solve all of the problems with current excessive wages, overly generous pensions and tenured teachers who cannot be fired. Just let the PUSD file for bankruptcy, invalidate all of the contracts and start over. Good luck to you, you can look elsewhere for part time work that pays a full time salary. But please, keep posting. You make the case for those of us who are tired of paying more than what we should be for substandard educators.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm

To "common sense",

Did you agree with my comments about home values? Do you see the correlation now.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm

To "resident",

Why don't you answer my questions? Do you work for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association? Have you ever been to Pleasanton? I answered your questions. Are you afraid to answer mine?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm

To Sue,

"There needs to be an across the board salary correction. Most of us have taken them in our own companies, why do you think I should pay for yours? I know you and I like you, but I don't have it we are struggling to survive."

The one gets repeated so much, but just isn't true.

"Most of us have taken them in our own companies"

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 1.1% increase in average wages in 2009 compared to 2008 when NOT adjusted for inflation. People may FEEL that the average worker got a cut in pay but it is in fact wrong. Some people got cuts in pay, some got raises. It averaged out to a small raise.

If you want to oppose teachers getting step and column raises, it would be better to stick to the facts. Maybe teachers got raises or pension condition that were too generous. Say that, but don't say "Most of us have taken them (pay cuts) in our own companies". It isn't true.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:53 pm

A reader,

Wow, I have been summoned! Three shout outs in the last hour!
I just answered you on the other thread, but I'll answer again because my answer has progressed somewhat in the last hour. (Thanks to you … so you see, your ongoing campaign has had some positive affect!).

I am a Pleasanton parent, homeowner, and taxpayer. I don't work for the Howard Jarvis association. In fact I had never heard of them until you mentioned them on the other thread. After spending about an hour on their site, I can certainly understand why you asked me if I was affiliated in some way. I guess the most current answer is no, but I intend to join. Again, thanks for the tip.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:00 am

Re: "The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 1.1% increase in average wages in 2009 compared to 2008 when NOT adjusted for inflation. People may FEEL that the average worker got a cut in pay but it is in fact wrong. Some people got cuts in pay, some got raises."

And a lot of them just got sent packing. Of course they aren't represented in your statistics because that wouldn't support you thesis that everything is grand! Pay is up! We need more taxes!


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

Reader,
I find it humorous that you conveniently fail to publish the details of the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that Civilian and State and Local Government wages and salaries and benefits grew at a higher rate than the private sector for the same period.

Web Link


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:22 am

To "Pleasanton Parent",

" find it humorous that you conveniently fail to publish the details of the Bureau of Labor Statistics ... "

Glad you had a laugh. Look what your link says:

"Private Industry Worker Data"

" ... The wage and salary series increased 1.4 percent for the current 12-month period, the same as the September 2009 12-month percent increase."

And that link is covers costs to employers.

Are you looking at the right data?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

To "resident",

" I guess the most current answer is no, but I intend to join. Again, thanks for the tip. "

Oh, such honesty. And you are so well informed. Have you ever heard of Proposition 13 in California? It may interest you as well.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:26 am

"that wouldn't support you thesis that everything is grand! Pay is up! We need more taxes!"

And now you're putting words in my mouth! Is your argument that week? People were claiming that "most people got pay cuts" and that is factually false. And yes, we need a parcel tax.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

Well, my argument this week will be the same as my argument next week. Come to think of it (to quote some of the old time greats of comedy), I'll be here all week.

And while I certainly do believe that you personally need a parcel tax (to continue your employment), the majority of Pleasanton residents do not need or want new taxes.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:44 am

And yes, I have heard of proposition 13. In fact it is the reason my parents are still able to live in the home they purchased many years ago.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 7:55 am

"Did you agree with my comments about home values? Do you see the correlation now."

No, I do not agree. There is a small correlation but it is small.

I researched several areas, and the prices in many areas are high despite the bad school district. Examples of places like that: Santa Cruz, Willow Glen, San Francisco.

The houses I gave as example by Blackhawk Plaza (one in San Ramon, one in Danville) both have the same schools within the San Ramon school district. There is a price difference, with the Danville address being more expensive (same type of house, same lots, same schools and school district, one Danvill adress the other San Ramon)

In Pleasanton, what is and will continue to bring values down are all the short sales and foreclosures.'

Prices have gone down to almost year 2000 prices, and that had nothing to do with the schools.

San Ramon, a good district according to you, saw a huge decline in price values because of the foreclosures and short sales, especially in Windemere but all of San Ramon was affected. It is stabilizing and even going up a little because the inventory of good houses up for sale due to foreclosure and short sales is down.

Likewise, investors really went for houses in an area of San Jose with schools that are so bad you would not want your kids there. The attraction? The super cheap housing that made it affordable. That area, I predict, will have good schools as soon as the kids of the new owners start taking tests.

So what comes first, the chicken or the egg? It is the families and people who live in a community who determine how great or bad the schools are.

Pleasanton is an attractive place to live. I will stay here even though my kids are going to private schools this fall. Why? Schools were a tiny consideration when moving here. We like the suburban feel, the parks, the downtown, Pleasanton is a very nice place, and the schools will stay good because of the people who live here.

Yes, there may be some renters moving out to other districts. But all districts are going through the same, and all are looking at increasing class size (yes, including the three someone "reader" gave as example: San Ramon, Cupertino and Palo Alto - yet I don't see Cupertino and Palo Alto losing home values because of what their districts do, those places have other things that are attractive)


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:09 am

And again, if you factor in the people that got 100% pay cuts, or became "under employed" by reduced hours, I am claiming that most people got pay cuts. You continue to be VERY selective with the information you present. For instance the same table lists total compensation for local and state government employees as 2.4 % annualized for 2009 and 3% for 2008.

You also fail to note that these are national numbers, and not necessarily reflective of our local economy. Or that California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation (only slightly exceeded by Michigan and Nevada).

Then there is this little diddy about the numbers from the US department of labor statistics that you are quoting, which pretty much invalidates the accuracy of the summary within the range you post:

Because the ECI is a sample survey, it is subject to sampling errors. Sampling errors are differences that occur between the results computed from a sample of observations and those computed from all observations in the population. The estimates derived from different samples selected using the same sample design may differ from one other. A measure of the variation among these differing estimates is the standard error. It can be used to measure the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the expected result of all possible samples. The chances are about 68 out of 100 that an estimate from the survey differs from a complete population figure by less than the standard error. The chances are about 90 out of 100 that this difference would be less than x.x times the standard error. The statements of comparisons appearing in this publication are significant at a 1.6 standard error level or better, unless otherwise indicated. This means that for differences cited, the estimated difference is greater than 1.6 times the standard error of the difference.

In other words, combing through government data to find a select piece that appears to support your cause will not convince the public that everything is rosey. There is just too much real world evidence to the contrary.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:29 am

About the increase in salary comment someone made:

That is about as accurate as Obama in his speech saying he had created jobs!

Many people have taken paycuts, not seen a price increase.

Manipulating data, and the government seems good at it these days, can be done and information at that point is presented in a twisted way. Examples: Obama claims jobs were created yet we have double digit unemployment here in California and close to 10 percent in other states; Obama during his speech claimed that he saved a teacher's job and was proud of it - what he conveniently forgot to mention is that the same teacher is now facing layoffs.

Just like Obama the dept of labor can be twisting facts, after all it is a government agency that indirectly reports to Obama


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

One other important point I forgot to clarify … this data is derived by dividing the total reported income of the national sample group by the total reported hours of the same group. While that might be useful to gauge compensation of employed individuals in some very generalized national sense, it has very little direct correlation on the ability of someone that lives in a specific area (like San Jose, Fremont, Pleasanton, etc)to absorb additional taxes.

Do you live in Pleasanton? Any foreclosures in your neighborhood? Any residents that now spend their days at home? Look around before you climb back on that tree stump and shout the merits of a new tax to support the compounded "roll over" costs that S&C raises create.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:29 am

The spin-off debates on the relationship of school district quality to home prices, average annual wage increases, and proper Town Square behavior are all well and good. However, they take away from the thinking and problem solving needed to maintain educational excellence. Each day that goes by, is one day closer to the decisions the PUSD Board will need to make on solving the $8M budget gap.
Last night's Board meeting clearly showed that the Trustees and Union are on a path to hurt our kids more. Why? To maintain a harmonious relationship between PUSD and the Unions? To keep Tyranny of the Seniority in place?
The proposal above is a way to reduce expenses and maintain/improve education quality. Anyone else have proposals?


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:44 am

Stacey--"OK, so how does taking the time and effort to meet credentialing requirements predict future performance?

You're kidding right!!


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

"Last night's Board meeting clearly showed that the Trustees and Union are on a path to hurt our kids more. Why? To maintain a harmonious relationship between PUSD and the Unions? To keep Tyranny of the Seniority in place?"

Dark Corners:

I am not surprised, the board has so far made decisions that affect the kids and keep the unions happy.

You ask why. Here is my OPINION: 1) We have three yes men on the board. They do not do anything but what Casey tells them, and Casey imo, does not have the best interest of the students or Pleasanton (the fact that he is retiring and sold his home says a lot); 2) we have a union who is not willing to give up their goodie bags, did you read Daniel B. posts? 3) Going with the status quo is easy, and after all, in 2008 we elected 3 members 2 of which never disclosed their educational qualifications - could it be because it is nonexistence and these folks did not go to college? (Just a thought)
4) board members who are not fiscally responsible in their personal affairs (foreclosures are a matter of public record) cannot possibly be fiscally responsible with a district 5) Watching the board meetings one feels like throwing up - those board members seem absolutely clueless


Posted by HonestMom, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

HonestMom is a registered user.

Agree With Dark Corners - The unions are in this for themselves. They know if they take actions to 'hurt the kids' the families will eventually cave in to their demands. The CA teachers union and NEA shuld be investigated under the RICO act.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

"Anyone else have proposals?"

All the proposals such as freeze in step and column, etc have been dismissed or not taken seriously.

Yes, there are proposals but there seem to be two sides here: one which advocates for the students and wants to keep cuts away from the classroom and programs and 2) the unions and union lovers which only want their goodie bags regardless of how much they hurt the kids and their education.

I firmly believe that no matter what we tell the board, they will bend over yet again and do what Casey and the unions want. We will have excellent teachers lose their job, the dinosaurs and not too good ones will stay and get raises, our kids will suffer and many parents will move to private schools and continue to say no to parcel taxes. My guess is, this community may even reelect Ott and Kernan...look at who they elected in 2008 (I did NOT vote for Grant or Hintzke for the record)


Posted by Seriously?, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Common Sense-
I am so glad that you have made arrangements for your kids to go to private schools in the fall. I don't want my children influenced by your Tea Party philosophy. Off you go now to another uninformed rally.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm

"In other words, combing through government data to find a select piece that appears to support your cause will not convince the public that everything is rosey. "

Never said "everything is rosey". Never said that many haven't taken pay cuts. Never said many haven't lost their jobs.

I wasn't "combing through government data", I was taking their summary of wages publication for 2009 at face value. Maybe BLS is slanting the numbers to make their boss look good. Who knows? Where is a better source. When Fox news reported on this release, they didn't dispute the numbers. Same thing with the Wall Street Journal. They reported an inflation adjusted drop of 1.6% in wages in 2009 and a CPI inflation rate of 2.7%.

As to solutions to the problem facing the schools, I'm hoping for a wage concessions from teachers and administrators combined with a parcel tax.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

To "common sense",

"and many parents will move to private schools and continue to say no to parcel taxes."

Many parents can't afford private schools and people aren't saying no to parcel taxes, in fact all the high quality school districts in the Bay Area have them. Some have passed quite recently, despite a deep recession.


Posted by FedUp, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm

To COMMON SENSE:
"We will have excellent teachers lose their job, the dinosaurs and not too good ones will stay and get raises..."

You have expressed this comment over and over on different threads. Have you even looked at the pay scale for PUSD teachers? The majority of dinosaur teachers as you call them, do not get a step and column raise. Most teachers that benefit from the S&C are the younger teachers. Your accusation that the greedy dinosaurs want to keep their S&C and get rid of the young teachers is NONSENSE. By the way, my children have had both the younger and the older teachers. We have been very pleased with the education experienced teachers have given our children. They have been and still are excellent. Your rash judgements about older teachers show LITTLE SENSE. Maybe you should change your post name. Good luck with the private schools. Public schools do not need parents like you.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 11, 2010 at 7:53 am

PUSD reported that as it stands today, 52% of teachers will receive a raise in 2010. They have also published a list of the seniority decision rules and a list of the seniority ranking of all the teachers. I don't see teachers/union working to change the state ed code and union rules, so the more senior teachers can be viewed as wanting to keep their raises (and jobs) and force layoffs onto the less senior teachers.


Posted by W Ron Sutton, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

In order to calibrate our thinking about pay, please calculate, then, compare the resulting compensation levels AFTER asking PUSD employees to accept
1) frozen increases
2) 5 days off
3) 5% reduction in pay
with a COMPARABLE past compensation level.
In other words, do the above actions result in pay levels equal to 2006?


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

"Your accusation that the greedy dinosaurs want to keep their S&C and get rid of the young teachers is NONSENSE. By the way, my children have had both the younger and the older teachers. We have been very pleased with the education experienced teachers have given our children."

It is the old timers who will get to stay, the new ones will be laid off. You can thank your "wonderful" teachers for your children having increased class sizes, less enrichment programs, no PE, no music.

It is NOT nonsense by the way. It is the old timers that benefit from all this lack of concessions. Why do you think PUSD teachers have higher pay but pay for their own healthcare? Because the majority (the dinosaurs) have a spouse to cover healthcare, and they do not care at all that the younger, more dynamic, better teachers have to pay for healthcare because a lot of them are not married and cannot rely on a spouse for health coverage.

Good luck with your old timers, you will have plenty of those around next fall.

You will also have crowded classrooms, less programs, but I guess you must like it that way since you see nothing wrong with the old timers getting raises at the expense of both their younger colleagues and the students.

"Good luck with the private schools. Public schools do not need parents like you."

I will be fine and so will my kids. You on the other hand should worry about the quality of education your kids will have thanks to those dinosaurs you call great teachers.

And btw, public schools do need parents like me because we are the ones with the kids who score high, and we are the ones who donate money. With our kids in private schools, no more donating to the schools, PTA, PPIE. And when another parcel comes around, a NO vote is what we will do.

Many people I know will stay in PUSD schools because they cannot afford to go private. But they know that from now on they will have to find other private places for music, sports, enrichment activities, and they also do not plan to donate money.


Posted by Beth, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Common sense -

Please stop generalizing.

My kids are at the top of their class (GATE) and we donate time and money to our public schools, We CHOOSE to stay in public school (though we can afford private) because we think public education is a value worth fighting for. You cannot better the system if you are not in the system.

Furthermore, our children's best teachers are those on the verge of retirement. We are literally begging one of our teachers to stay one more year and not retire this year. So your generalization about younger teachers is once again worth nothing.

Apart from your outrageous generalizations, you have lost your right to comment or complain about PUSD once you decided to bail out.


Posted by To Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Sending his or her students to private schools doesn't exempt Common Sense from paying taxes that fund education.
Common Sense has the same rights to comment or complain about PUSD as do other taxpaying citizens of the Pleasanton community who do not have children in the school system or anyone else. Should we muzzle those who post as being from other communities from participating on this forum?
Agree or disagree with Common Sense's arguments.
But his or her right to free speech is the same as everyone else's.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm

"Apart from your outrageous generalizations, you have lost your right to comment or complain about PUSD once you decided to bail out."

I am still a taxpayer here in Pleasanton, and it is my taxes that are being spent the wrong way. I have the right to complain about how my money is being misused, just like I have the right to vote NO on parcel taxes and campaign quietly against fundraising and parcel taxes.

You should let your good teachers about to retire do so. The more teachers who retire, the less teachers that will get a pink slip

By the way, your GATE program will be GONE next fall.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm

"My kids are at the top of their class (GATE) and we donate time and money to our public schools"

You and I are in the minority because past fundraisers failed miserably. Did you see the ILPS effort? The goal was some 2.5 million, which would have been realistic if ALL the parents in the schools donated. But not everyone agrees that the schools should get more money, not everyone agrees that the current leadership is doing the right thing.

I foolishly donated in the past, but if I had to do it all over again, I would not give the district a cent.

We will see how many people feel the way they do. I hear that a fundraising campaign is already on the works. We will see how much people like you donate and how your donations are used. Last time, many wrote checks with certain items in mind, and in the end, the district decided to fund things like elementary counselors - not an item many put on their checks.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

"campaign quietly against fundraising and parcel taxes."

I can understand campaigning against parcel taxes, but campaigning against fundraising? What are you hoping to accomplish with that? Why do you want to put your energy into discouraging others from giving?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:35 pm

"campaign quietly against fundraising and parcel taxes."

And what do you mean by quiet?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader,
If I recall correctly, I was referring to Get Educated.

Well, Mr. Bradford, I don't know what case you think you're trying to rest, but now that you've put yourself out there, don't be surprised if you have a hard time finding anyone who wants to hire you in the future because they'll know ahead of time that you can't take any criticism without calling everyone a teacher-basher and that you'll just be an obstructionist to any sort of collective bargaining issues. I mean, honestly, if I were looking to hire you, why do I want to give myself that sort of potential grief when you've voluntarily imprinted your track record for all the future to see? Perhaps then you'll come to understand why the world has changed and moved on as the Internet has provided new assaults upon people's privacy. Man, the government and private companies used to pay for this kind of demographic information, but now they just get it all for free.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sad. Search on Google for "daniel bradford teacher" and the first match is... Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's a book for you to read, Mr. Bradford: Web Link


Posted by FedUp, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Common Sense:
"With our kids in private schools, no more donating to the schools..."

But the public schools will still get your tax money. In the words of Cholo, "Tee hee hee, tee hee hee."

By the way, at what age does a teacher become a "dinosaur", 30, 40, 50, 60? I would think the young teachers would like to know when they too, inevitably become a "dinosaur" and lose their usefulness, thus becoming a bad teacher. Thank goodness most parents do not make such NONSENSICAL generalizations as you do!


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:15 am

Stacey, way to emulate the behavior you find so contemptible.

I don't know why you feel the need to continue to "correct" Mr. Bradford through multiple posts on various threads against him. He called you a teacher basher in another post and clearly he was correct.


Posted by Irving, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2010 at 5:42 am

I agree completely with Really?: Stacey seems to have set out to prove Daniel correct with her over-the-top persecution. Could she BE any more shrill and aggressively anti-teacher?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:20 am

"But the public schools will still get your tax money. In the words of Cholo, "Tee hee hee, tee hee hee."But the public schools will still get your tax money. In the words of Cholo, "Tee hee hee, tee hee hee."

Yes, that is why I will continue to be against a parcel tax. The district has and continues to misuse the money.

But in case you have not noticed, the education funds are less this year and with the California deficit, I think it may keep going that way. So my tax money will be used less and less for public education (k-12). My tax money also pays for higher education, so I am OK with that.

By dinousaurs I do not mean age necessarily, it is attitude. Most old timers develop an attitude, but I have met truly excellent teachers that have been here a long time - they are not necessarily very vocal but are aginst the collective bargaining and the only reason they belong to a union is because there is no choice, the union pretty much demands it.

in my OPINION, Daniel B. sounds like someone with already a bad attitude, and again in my opinion should be let go and someone else hired in his place. Does Foothill really need a Head Librarian AND a library assistant? Come on, that is just waste. Besides, a lot of districts, even high performing ones hire CLASSIFIED (cheaper and easier to fire if necessary) staff to act as librarians.

Why would I want to tell people not to give money to the schools? Because hopefully one day the community will unite and together demand real leadership and good decisions. This administration and board do not have the best interest of the students in mind. All they care about is their perks and raises, and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for him, not the other way around.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for him, not the other way around."

should be

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for them (the board), not the other way around. They also do not understand that the board works for the community and they should do what is in the best interest of that community, not what is in the best interest of the greedy and many times incompetent, employees"


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

Correction:

I wrote:

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for him, not the other way around."

should be

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for them (the board), not the other way around. They also do not understand that the board works for the community and they should do what is in the best interest of that community, not what is in the best interest of the greedy and many times incompetent, employees"


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:25 am

Correction:

I wrote:

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for him, not the other way around."

should be

"and the board obviously does not understand that Casey works for them (the board), not the other way around. They also do not understand that the board works for the community and they should do what is in the best interest of that community, not what is in the best interest of the greedy and many times incompetent, employees"


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

Stacey is pointing out something we should all be aware of and remind our kids about - what you post on the internet is forever.
We remind our kids to be careful about what they post on facebook because college admission officers and potential employers often check these sites to gather more information about an applicant. Even if you remove something you've posted, someone may have saved it and can repost it somewhere else at any time.
Daniel Bradford has stated that the teachers' union should not make any concessions and has criticized a prominent member of the volunteer community.
Will these comments hinder his ability to get future employment? Possibly.
I'm not bothered about his comments about what the teachers union should do. I don't agree, but his opinion is his opinion. I'm not even bothered much that he ripped the entire Pleasanton community based on the comments of a few. I don't like it, but I understand he was frustrated.
But his comment about Joan Laursen was completely wrong. If he had acknowledged that he posted in haste, made a mistake and apologized, I could let the comment pass. We all make mistakes. How we deal with the mistakes we make affects how people view us.







Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

Mr. Bradford,
I've gone back and reviewed all your postings on this forum, and in virtually every one you express your dissatisfaction that this forum permits anonymity to posters.
I want to thank the PW for providing a forum which allows posters the freedom to express their opinions anonymously.
As readers on this forum, we all have the option to ignore the posts we don't like - or respond to them. We also have the option to "report objectionable content" to the PW when we read posts we believe to be offensive and ask that they be removed.
I do not believe that any poster must provide his or her real name for a post to be of interest or value.
As evidenced by your own postings, providing one's real name does not necessarily act as a filter on what one posts.
There are consequences to posting an opinion with your real name. If you have a business here in Pleasanton and post an opinion on an issue that is being hotly debated in the community, your business may increase by those who agree with you. It can also decrease as those who disagree with you may take their business elsewhere.
While I believe the majority of PUSD teachers would never allow a parent's views to influence the way they treat the child of that parent, it happens. Parents who post on these blogs are aware of this and choose anonymity to shield their children from teachers, parents and others who might allow their disagreement with the parent to influence their attitude toward the child.

You enjoy the luxury of posting with your real name.
You can post your opinions without fearing your livelihood could be affected.
You do not have to worry that what you post might influence the way your site administrator treats you. If you believe your site administrator is harassing you in any way, you can bring in the power of your union to deal with the behavior.
You do not have to worry that your post might offend your peers because they have no authority over you.
You do not have to worry that the students of parents who disagree with your posts will disrespect you because you are the one in the position of power in the classroom or library.

You are free to post whatever you want to post because the only consequences you face are the responses you receive in this forum and as Stacey pointed out, perhaps if you seek employment elsewhere. But even that is not really a problem for you since you are tenured and you have seniority. Unless PUSD chooses to eliminate librarian positions throughout the school system, you are in no danger of receiving a pink slip.

I have also noticed that you not only rail against the PW policy of allowing posters anonymity, when you call out against specific posters for posting anonymously, they are posters with whom you disagree. You do not chastise anonymous posters with whom you agree and insist they should use their real names.

It's my opinion that this forum provides the community with a valuable service by allowing community members to freely express their opinions and engage in meaningful discussion.

I hope you will rethink your attitude about the value of PW's policy of permitting anonymity and relying on the community to monitor these blogs and report objectionable content.

We can all talk about freedom of speech, but there are degrees to that freedom. Your insistence that posters should not be anonymous, in my opinion, calls for limits on the community's freedom of speech.




Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I am appalled that an employee of the District has found it necessary to malign the PTA President, who whether you supported Measure G or not, undoubtedly spent hundreds and perhaps thousands of hours of her personal time and effort working on the passage Measure G, with a primary objective of saving teachers' jobs in this community.

I do not know Joan, but I can say that from my perspective, the PTA and the parents went all out to get the parcel tax passed, but got little support from the union or administrative leadership in terms of meaningful salary freezes or reductions.

I find it extremely disappointing that a District employee would make accusations against people in the community that went all out to help save District jobs. This speaks volumes on how ungrateful the District employees are in efforts that the community has put forth in trying to help the District financial situation.

If the District ever tries to put on another Parcel Tax on the ballot, I would certainly not waste any of my personal time on trying to fund raise for its passage or campaign for it, donate to its cause nor would I vote for it if another was put on the ballot.

As far as I'm concerned, when teachers have started to bash PTA leaders, it has burned its bridges with the community.


Posted by Destroy the unions!, a resident of Foothill Place
on Feb 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Sure, destroy the unions. Please be sure to hire some competent administration so that we can teach and not worry about getting fired every time a psycho parent comes along.


Posted by Daniel Bradford Fan Club, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm

As a teacher at a high school in Pleasanton I can tell you that our highly-educated, very talented librarians are an invaluable resource for our schools. I can design a project and just discuss it briefly with a librarian and voila! As soon as the very next day an entire plan of attack will come my way in terms of resources, tips, advice.
It's really astonishing how much work our librarians do. Yes, I suppose the act of checking out books is not all that hard but the responsibility to educate the educators is huge. We are lucky to have these librarians because without them the quality of our work would suffer. I know already that the nay-sayers (people who have never tried to do my job) will say that I can do it all but the fact remains that there are only so many hours in a day and by working together we can accomplish so much more for your students than we ever could alone. Mr. Bradford is more than a teacher.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Daniel, Admit the error you made about Joan Larsen and THEN talk about what services you provide the community's children. Otherwise, you are extraneous whether you use your real name or not.


Posted by Our district is a mess, a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Feb 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Reading these posts is depressing and disgusting. It seems to me that a viable option is to allow the union and the board to come to an impass so that we could be taken over by the state. I work here ( I am classified staff ) and can tell you that the management of this district is corrupt to the core. This is not a district of character in any way shape or form. It's a district of who your friends are. Your kids do not come first. Friends of administrators and superintendents come first. This is not a good thing for our schools and it is probably just a very small part of the overall corruption. I'm certainly not privy to all of what happens here but the bit I see is not pretty. Unqualified individuals are hired over individuals who are qualified on a regular basis based on who they know and great people are let go because they clash with the wrong people while others who are not fit to be around children stay. I say let the state takeover. It would be the best thing for PUSD.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm

The discussion about and directed to Daniel Bradford is not about what he does in the Foothill Library, but what he has done on this forum.
He may be a wonderful librarian and educator.
But he's called one of the most sincere supporters of PUSD and its entire staff a teacher basher and he should apologize to Joan.
All his other comments are intended to deflect from his own behavior.
Mr. Bradford, you've been given a very good explanation of Joan's comments in context by Mr. Tony Ellis. If that is not enough for you to recognize your error, you can contact Trevor Knaggs, any school board member and dozens and dozens of community members. Every single one of them will tell you that Joan Laursen is no teacher basher, but a dedicated volunteer with the best interests of the PUSD, its students and its teachers at heart.
I do not assume you speak for anyone but yourself. So only you can apologize for your behavior.
What are you waiting for?



Posted by honestly everyone, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Enough. This is all getting so ugly. Can we just let the board do their jobs? They've asked for our input and they've got it from the people who have talked at the meetings. Now let them respond. Maybe everything will be fine - not perfect for everyone, but as OK as they can make it given the budget situation. Maybe Pleasanton will look good after this. Give them a chance. And please stop all the personal attacks. It's really, really depressing.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I say outsource whatever a Daniel Bradford is. Libraries are a thing of the past and this is the internet age. Lay him off and let's save some money.


Posted by honestly everyone, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

just stop


Posted by really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

" Anonymity on the Internet is obviously corrosive to good manners and decency."

The above is a quote from one of Daniel Bradford's posts.

Ironic under the circumstances.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:11 am

As the teachers union and PUSD Board conclude the latest round of negotiations and voting, the Feb 23 Board meeting approaches where the first decisions on the 2010-11 budget are scheduled to be made. Opening positions and debate on 'Cuts' and 'Concessions' have been made and the consequences will now begin to play out.
PUSD has a survey available (Web Link) to understand how parents of elementary, middle school and high school students value programs and services and to guage donation support.
Dr. Casey announced at the last board meeting that a fundraising campaign may start as early as March 1. Other fundraising efforts have already begun (Web Link).
Their Moment of Truth is now.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm

A substantial parcel tax would go a long way in solving these problems.


Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Just said that on my two surveys I filled out! If we want the quality programs and services then we need to pay for them. Sacramento certainly isnt using our tax dollars to do so. I'm not willing to let the education of Pleasantons kids suffer because of the State's lack of funding. I have donated this year, and will continue in the future even though we are currently facing reduction in salaries and unemployment in our household. Education is our number one priority in our house.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 9, 2011 at 6:42 am

One year later, and PUSD is in the same predicament. Cutting essential student programs while raises continue to be given out. Claiming that one-time (one-year) furlough days demands a four-year parcel tax. Knowing full well that cuts will be required in year 2 of the parcel tax (per Luz Cazeras, 2/8/11 board meeting).

And did you know that Daniel Bradford resigned (as per the personnel document approved by the board on 2/8/11)? Anyone know why?


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