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A Teachers View of Salary Concessions: Just Say No

Original post made by Concerned Citizen on Feb 18, 2010

This email was sent to me as a cut/paste from a friend. I believe it is important that all sides get their points of view across.

Good morning one and all.

I'd like to preface this letter by apologizing to all of you for sending this through First Class. I know our union leadership requested that we not "debate" the issue of wage concessions using the First Class email system because district administration and the Board are able to monitor these emails…but I wanted to address the entire union membership on this issue, not just those who are able to show up at this week's membership meeting, and First Class is the only way I can do that. Besides, does anybody really think our Board and district administration don't already know everything we have to say on the issue of wage concessions?

As the subject heading of this email suggests, I am urging my fellow APT members to "just say no" to wage concessions. While the argument for making concessions is powerful and valid, I believe that making wage concessions at this time is a mistake we will regret in the
not-too-distant future.

I believe that we deserve a fair wage for the efforts we put into our
profession. Many of us are already struggling with higher workloads and our wages have been either stagnant or declining in the face of loss of cost-of-living adjustments as well as increases in the cost of medical insurance.

The community of Pleasanton talks about "compromise"and "cooperation", but what do these words mean? To me, a "compromise" is when someone meets you halfway in solving a problem, or at least does his/her fair share to help solve that problem.

Last year, we teachers offered the community of Pleasanton a fair deal:
$233 a year in parcel taxes to help support our schools (for four years) and we, in turn, would each give the equivalent of $1,000 in salary. Teachers who own homes in Pleasanton would have made a double sacrifice, paying both the parcel tax and giving up salary.

We asked the community of Pleasanton to meet us halfway in solving this financial crisis. The community said "no".

Now it's our turn to say "no": "No" to wage concessions at this time. It is fundamentally unfair to expect the teachers of the Pleasanton district to shoulder the entire burden of balancing the district's budget.

Not only that, but what are we being asked to sacrifice? Five days of pay a year, one way or another, amounts to an average salary cut of $190 per month per union member, or $2,280 a year.

$2,280 a year. That's nearly 10 times the parcel tax the voters of
Pleasanton told us they couldn't afford (which amounted to 64 cents a
day).

In return, what will we get for these wage concessions?

We won't get protection from layoffs. The district cannot balance its
budget entirely through wage concessions. I estimate 30-40 people are
going to lose their jobs this year even if we vote for the wage
concessions, and it doesn't stop there. The budget gap gets even bigger next year, and the district will have no choice but to lay off even more teachers.

In other words, this time next year, the people whose jobs were "saved" through wage concessions will get pink slips, and we will all end up doing even more work for less money.

Wage concessions are a slippery slope. I would vote for wage concessions if our community had shown itself willing to give us an extra 64 cents per day to support the schools and cushion the devastating impact of these cuts. But until the community says "yes", I say "no".

There is another issue that is more of symbolic than practical significance: the Board recently voted to extend the contract of three top-level district administrators (Cindy Galbo, Bill Faraghan, Luz Cázares) for three years at the same level of pay they are receiving now.

While I agree with Dr. Casey and the Board that these three people's hard work and experience are vital to keeping our district running, the symbolism of guaranteeing the assistant superintendents their jobs at their current level of pay for three years at a time when we teachers are being asked to accept a combination of layoffs and pay cuts makes me much less inclined to accept the idea that we have to make wage concessions because "we are all in the same boat". No, we are not all in the same boat, because if we were, the Board would've demanded that our leaders(our district administrators) lead by example and take a pay cut at least equal to the one that we are being asked to take. While the amount of money that would actually be saved by asking each of these four administrators to take a 2% or 3% pay cut over the next three years is small in relation to our budget deficit, the message seems to be that not everybody will be expected to make sacrifices.

So what happens if we say "no"? We have to say "yes", don't we? It will be a disaster if we don't say "yes", won't it?

Well, two things will happen if we say "no":

(1) The district will be forced to lay off a lot of people. The cuts in personnel, in other words, will be accelerated. The people who are going to be laid off this year plus the people who are quite likely to be laid off next year will be laid off in one massive wave. The PUSD Board, faced with a budget gap of this size, will have no choice but to do that. Personnel costs are 85% of the district's budget, and everything else has already been cut to the bone.

(2) Many people in Pleasanton are going to be angry with us if we
say "no". But you know what? These are OUR schools—theirs and ours—and the taxpayers of Pleasanton need to take the responsibility that comes with that.

In good years, when we had enough money, the property owners in Pleasanton were more than happy to reap the benefits of higher home values that came from having such a good school system. Now, when times are tough, it seems they can't cut our wages fast enough. In other words, we are expected to sacrifice to keep the school system's rating, and Pleasanton property values, high—and the
taxpayers of Pleasanton expect to do nothing and sacrifice not a single penny.

I don't expect to see a parcel tax passed in 2010 if we vote "no" on wage concessions. That means a huge number of layoffs, in effect a big step backwards for the Pleasanton school system. But that big step will just take us where we will be in two or three years anyway, at this rate.

I'm sure all of you are aware of what happens when you put a frog in a pot of cold water on the stove and then turn up the burner: the water heats so slowly the frog doesn't realize he's being boiled alive until it's too late. I see the budget crisis in much the same way: a gradual decline is harder to arrest than a sudden, dramatic one. We need to dramatically focus the attention of the people of Pleasanton on the full extent of this financial crisis, and the best way to do that is to "just say no" to wage concessions.

Make no mistake, voting "no" on wage concessions is a hardball tactic and will take a lot of nerve. 2010-2011 will be a tough school year no matter what we do, and a "no" vote is going to make it even harder. But we need to demonstrate that there is just no way to fairly balance the PUSD budget without a parcel tax, and I expect that after a demonstration of what life is like when the members of the APT stand together and refuse further cuts in our wages, the voters of Pleasanton will pass a parcel tax in 2011 by a comfortable margin. If they don't, then it will be the choice of the people of Pleasanton to consign their once-excellent school district to mediocrity. Their choice—not ours.

There is always the possibility that hardball tactics can backfire, of course. Initially, we will anger many in the community, who will say that we are not putting the interest of the children first. That's nonsense:
how can we attract and retain the best teachers if our jobs pay less for more work? How can a gradually declining school district that is
perpetually starved for cash be "good for the children"?

A veteran teacher once told me the worst mistake he and others made after the Proposition 13 property tax limits passed 30 years ago was to make extraordinary efforts to make sure that the cuts wouldn't be felt, giving the illusion of "business as usual" in California public schools. Doing so enabled voters to think they made the right decision in starving our schools of money, and enshrined Prop 13 as a permanent part of California's finances.

Let's not make that same mistake again. I am more than willing to meet the community part of the way in solving the district's budget problems, but I'm not willing to do all of it. Yes, I voted for the $1,000 salary concession last year and advised other teachers to do so as well, because I wanted the voters to see that we teachers were willing to share the burden to fix our district's problems. Perhaps we were asked to take on too large a share of the burden, but we weren't asked to take it all on.

Now we are being asked, one way or another, to shoulder the entire burden of balancing the district's budget. It's fundamentally unfair andpolitically unwise to do so. That's why I am asking you to "just say NO" to wage concessions.

And once again, my apologies for sending this out via a mass email to all teachers through First Class. I do hope that you will vote your conscience and do whatever you think is best for the future of our schools, our union, and our profession, and that after the vote is over,we can work together to get through these difficult times as best we can.

Daniel Bradford, MLS
Librarian, Foothill High School

Comments (149)

Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

Let's not forget that the teachers received over $1M in salary raises last year.


Posted by teacher, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

my wife and i have been teaching in this district for 15 years. we've always been smart and cautious with our finances, and have tried every month to put a little bit away to save for college for our 2 kids. we've always worked part-time, as well, usually tutoring a few hours per week. at this point, with furlough days looming on the horizon, we're looking at a combined salary cut in excess of $10,000. we may have to make some dire life adjustments (e.g., moving away from the area) in order to cope financially. it sickens me that this community could not pass a parcel tax, and instead is asking its teachers to shoulder the burden. several people have argued that they have had to take pay cuts in the private sector, and therefore feel that teachers should have to take pay cuts as well. one of the major differences that should be understood is that companies in the private sector are not beholden to the state for their financial stability. these companies are largely responsible for their own well-being. i can say with complete certainty that my wife and i are in no way responsible for the $8 million shortfall our school district faces, yet some in the community would have others believe that we are to blame, because we've been sitting around collecting S & C raises for 15 years and getting rich off of them. i wish. then i wouldn't be faced with the decision to uproot my family to a more affordable, more teacher-friendly community.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

Another perspective:

When I was much younger I was a union employee. And after about five years of service my union membership, which was also associated with a much larger union in the same industry decided to turn down the modest two percent raise in the offered contract and "shut the industry down" by going on strike. So we marched off the job. At first it was a big party. We all made shirts (no – they were not pink) and held meetings which were full of a lot of bluster and support. Heck, people even brought food like it was a pot luck social gathering. But as the weeks passed things got a bit tougher and the reality of the situation began to set in. People stopped showing up to picket. And after six weeks without pay everyone was on edge.

So what happened?

After nine weeks of pay interruption the larger union settled for a two and one half percent cash raise, with a reduction in benefits. A short term gain and a long term loss, as in addition to the reduction in benefit it would take years of work to make up for the loss of wage during those nine weeks. And, of course, some of the relationships that became terse between employees and management remained so well after the conflict was officially resolved.

And my union? Well we really didn't have enough power to protect ourselves. The half percent theoretical cash gain for the other union members was funded by a twelve percent cut for us and the same benefit reduction. Of course we really had no choice, as once the larger union pulled their support. We were left without any power to negotiate.

Unions make a great show of strength for all. But the reality is that there is a hierarchy in every organization. And if you are not one of the people sitting at the negotiating table there is a very high percentage of chance that your interests are being traded to benefit the interests of others. This eventually is the case in virtually every labor negotiation.

The employees of PUSD currently have an opportunity to spread the financial setback equitably among the group. You can waste time arguing that the community has not made enough of an effort to avert these crossroads, but it won't change the outcome and refusal to acknowledge that much of the community employed in private industry have faced equal or greater sacrifice only serves to galvanize those affected against additional taxation efforts (if you need confirmation, look no further than the pitiful fundraising performance over the last year for any educational expense other than music or sports, which most parents accept as self funded anyway).

The employees of PUSD are quickly approaching the moment that any choice to find a unilaterally equitable solution for all will be removed from the table. And while the eventual outcome will potentially benefit a few, many will be sacrificed. If you are smart enough to determine which end of the stick you are likely to be handed, DON"T WAIT. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO USE IT!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:17 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I knew this was written by Mr. Bradford before I even got to the end.

"how can we attract and retain the best teachers if our jobs pay less for more work?"

Well, there's solutions for that, but your union rules prevent them from being implemented.

"In good years, when we had enough money, the property owners in Pleasanton were more than happy to reap the benefits of higher home values that came from having such a good school system."

But you know, Mr. Bradford, as well as I, that unless someone actually liquidated their asset during the good years, they haven't reaped the benefit. And those that purchased during the good years are reaping a lot of misery. House = illiquid asset, salary = liquid asset.


Posted by Furious Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

How dare you hold parents and students hostage because the parcel tax did not pass! I voted for it and donated to the Save Our Schools program and now a slap from some of the teachers! We could not do enough and this is our thanks? Our family has suffered through a 20 % salary cut back we had no say about it was just imposed, take it or leave the job is all the choise we had. I have 2 kids in college already, how do you think we do it? You just do what you have to do and that's it. Sorry Foothill Librarian and APT it's your turn to step up and help out, I'm are already sick of the whining that Pleasanton does not respect it's teachers. You may become right if this kind of nosense continues.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"It is fundamentally unfair to expect the teachers of the Pleasanton district to shoulder the entire burden of balancing the district's budget."

Yes I agree with that. I don't know what the Board is planning, but I think they should only ask for 85% of the shortfall from employees, 60% from teachers. And it was absolutely awful about the assistant superintendent contracts. The Board did more damage to their credibility by those three year renewals than any poster here could ever accomplish. Casey, announcing his retirement a day after the election, broadcasts well his own self-interest in not wanting to lead by example on concessions. But how is any of that the fault of the Pleasanton community? The Board is the decision-making body. Hold them responsible. Yes, the community will get angry. They'll also get sad, but life goes on. In the grand scheme of things, students still grow up. PUSD has been through budget crises in the past and it still came out better than before. PUSD teachers have gone on strike before too, and Pleasanton is still a nice place to live. Parents make up for whatever shortcomings occur. It is rather presumptuous to suggest that PUSD will be once-excellent all because of wage concessions or not.


Posted by Not a teacher-hater, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

Mr. Bradford's logic is highly flawed as has been nicely pointed out by Stacey and Furious Parent. This will turn more people against the teachers (when the anger has largely been aimed at district administration). Those that share Mr. Bradford's delusion of being indispensible should do so at their own risk.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

BTW, the headline of this thread should be "A Librarian's View".


Posted by Wow!, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:32 am

I agree with Furious Parent. I voted yes for a parcel tax that I did not believe in, I donated money during the summer, wait I donate money every year to the school for one thing or another. Last year was tight for my family, fortunately my hubby still has a job but there were no pay raises, no bonuses which help us be generous throughout the year.

Since my children have started school in Pleasanton, I have felt that we are held hostage by the teacher's union. Why do they get to dictate which days they get off and the kids do not attend? Why are we supplying their class rooms with miscellaneous supplies? Some of which now come home unused at the end of the year. These teachers are spoiled and it shows. This economy sucks and everyone but the teachers have taken a pay cut. Why do they think they are so special to not be affected? Yes, they do work hard but something has to give somewhere. At least taking 5 or 8 days off would be fair to all teachers!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Concerned Citizen,

Thanks for posting this.


Posted by A PUSD parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

During a discussion prior to last year's parcel tax vote, I was glibly told by a PMS staff/faculty member that the cost of the parcel tax to each individual was "no more than the cost of a night out." What!?!
Pleasanton staff/faculty are very well paid.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

"there is just no way to fairly balance the PUSD budget without a parcel tax"

You mean there is no way to give teachers the raises they want without the parcel tax.

San Ramon passed a parcel tax, and right now, they are going to increase class sizes, they say they hope to do so to 26 students in k-3 but it could be higher. In 9th grade, classes go up to 30 students. San Ramon residents voted for the tax to keep PROGRAMS and now the money is about to be used for other things, like union perks (teacher raises). You can find their information on their website.

A parcel tax is NOT the answer, not the way things are right now. Once the cuts to unreasonable perks are made, once step and column is frozen, etc, then we can see how much deficit we really have, then we can talk about a parcel tax for the TRUE amount of the deficit.

By the way, this Daniel B. is NOT a teacher but a LIBRARIAN, and in many school districts, even high performing ones, this position is filled by CLASSIFIED staff, which is paid LESS and can be laid off with only a 30 day notice.

The community is also experiencing financial hardship. Property values are way down and many have lost jobs or wages. We should not have to finance raises for teachers when a lot of people are not seeing raises and many are losing jobs.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

"During a discussion prior to last year's parcel tax vote, I was glibly told by a PMS staff/faculty member that the cost of the parcel tax to each individual was "no more than the cost of a night out"

You can tall that staff that the cost of one of us becoming really wealthy is for one of us to receive, only once, only one dollar per person who lives in the USA. Millions of people, at a dollar per person means millions for the recipient, right? But why should it be? Why should a person become a millionaire just because? Same with teachers. A parcel tax may well be a night out, or a dollar per day or however they want to look at it, but why? Why should we give money so that some teacher can get a raise?


Posted by Another Teacher, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Please do not mistake Mr Bradford's opinion as that of all teachers in this district. While I do believe that he makes some valid points, I do not think that his approach is the right solution. Mr Bradford's opinion is just that. He does not represent any other teacher. My sense from speaking with other teachers is that they do not take the same position as Mr Bradford.


Posted by Unions a problem not just for PUSD, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Read this article:

Web Link

It looks like teacher unions are not just a problem for PUSD but for the entire state of California. The article talks about how the teacher unions are against initiatives that would give money to California.


Posted by yet another teacher, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Thanks to "another teacher."

While Mr. Bradford makes some compelling arguments, we do not all share his opinion, and many of us are willing to make concessions.

I must say, however, that it is frustrating and disheartening to read over the comments on this forum only learn that so many community members feel that we teachers are not worthy of a fair and competitive wage. I can see why some teachers might feel undervalued by the community and therefore "dig their heels in" when it comes to concessions.


Posted by Oh Danny Boy, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Oh Danny Boy, once again you write something that calls for an apology.
So you think the schools will become mediocre if teachers don't get a raise?
Many parents have reminded PUSD that a key element of how well students perform in this school district is the students themselves. Obviously you need to be reminded again that Pleasanton is a community of well educated supportive parents who are actively involved in their children's education.
Try going to a community without this kind of population - there are some within 20 miles - and see how easy it is to teach students who don't have the support Pleasanton students have or how easy it is to teach in a community where parents can't or won't donate their time or classroom materials.

You do not speak for the teachers of this community.







Posted by Sandy Piderit, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Well, it sounds like ballots are out and union members are being asked to weigh in. Using district email addresses to lobby other union members to vote... doesn't sound smart. Isn't there a rule against that?

I hope that the majority of teachers are willing to contribute to softening some of the budget cuts. I don't consider teachers responsible for the budget situation -- asking them to contribute to a solution does not imply in any way that they caused the problem. Certainly I haven't lived here long enough to be considered a cause of the problem, but I'm still willing to contribute to a solution.

I do believe that teachers share an interest in preserving as much of the current high-quality education system as is possible. I guess we'll find out soon about the results of the union vote.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Oh please Daniel -- keep posting your ridiculous thoughts! You make the case better than any of us ever could that teachers are overpaid in this district. Greed, greed, greed.


Posted by Not a teacher-hater, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Another Teacher and Yet Another Teacher; don't fall into a defensive position thinking the community is against you or begrudges you earning a fair salary but you need to stand up to the Daniel Brandford's and the strongarm tactics of your union. They are the ones seeking to create a divide.

No need to repeat the many good points that have been made on these posts...rest assured that as individuals providing good service to the schools and students you are respected and valued. Thanks for speaking out.


Posted by Just a Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Another Teacher and Yet Another Teacher:

Ditto to "Not a teacher-hater" comments above. We love and respect our teachers and feel they are stuck, smack dab in the middle if a super big mess.

I read this blog, at times, but rarely post. I really take the negative comments towards the community (like those that Daniel Bradford expressed) and towards teachers with a grain of salt, as should everyone else. It seems there are a small amount of posters with negative attitudes in regards to a small percentage of teachers. We are on our 4th PUSD teacher and cannot be happier with our childrens success. I really feel I speak for many parents in this community. Thank you for doing such a great job!!


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Another Teacher, "we teachers are not worthy of a fair and competitive wage"

Where is that stated? Additionally, a competitive wage is just that - competitive. Pleasanton teacher's salaries are amongst the highest (yes, yes, less than half of you pay your own health benefits which is something you voted for in exchange for a higher salary and future pension payout).


Posted by 1 more teacher, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I'll second that motion of "this does not represent all of Pleasanton teachers". In speaking with MANY colleagues about all of this, I feel that people like the one that wrote that letter are the minority and that most teachers are more than willing to give concessions. However, the minority view (in this matter at least) is MUCH more vocal than the majority. So community, please do not assume that everyone feels the same way. We are hoping that by giving concessions, the community will meet us halfway. We tried to do that last year with giving up the staff development days in return for the parcel tax, and that didn't happen. So, we're trying it again, hoping for a different outcome. Even if we still have step and column next year, the concessions which I'm assuming we're giving (the vote is today and tomorrow so not sure 100% yet) will be more than what the step and column raise would be, so we will be taking a wage cut for next year, and a fairly significant one at that.

We NEED the community to step up and cover the rest of the shortfall. We will not do it all on our own.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm

My husband didn't get to vote on furlows and paycuts like the union. Must be nice to have input. He was just told that there was an across the board paycut and furlow weeks. How things could be different if he was in a union. Also, benefit costs went up and co-pays increased and we didn't even get to complain about it. Now you want me to vote for a parcel tax so that you will give back a little. You don't have my vote and I won't be giving my forced donations the first week of school.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Let's make sure we're all using the same facts regarding the supposed deal "...we teachers offered the community of Pleasanton".
In this article last year (Web Link) union president Knaggs said that the elimination of two staff development days would be "between $652.00 and $1,059 in salary in the concession depending on their position on the salary scale", and it would be effective for only one year.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm

A way to save money and get rid of "teachers" who may not be a good fit for jobs here in PUSD is to do what other districts are about to do: replace the "teacher librarian" with clerical staff.

"California's already beleaguered school library program has taken another blow from recent cuts in education, with proposals of massive layoffs of certified media specialists across the state. Most recently, Santa Rosa City School is considering eliminating seven credentialed teacher-librarians from district libraries and replacing them with on-site clerical staff overseen by a centralized district manager."

Web Link

While I agree that a library is better off with a good person running it, in our school district that is simply not needed. PUSD children go to the library on their own or with parents, and by the time they are in high school, they know how to do research. We do not need someone a teacher librarian, we can save money by replacing that teacher librarian with classified/clerical staff.

Daniel B. in a different thread made it sound like it was required to have a certified, credentialed teacher to run the library, but it does not look like that is the case. Other districts are already using classified/clerical staff for their libraries, and others who are currently using teacher librarians like Santa Rosa, are about to change that and replace those teacher librarians with clerical staff.


Posted by Retired Pleasanton Teacher, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm

What a great district PUSD WAS. So sad for the students; so glad to be gone. Morale must be a disaster. The teachers are asked to take less compensation and more responsibility with fewer to share the load. The parents are calling them "whiners" even though they are asked to work miracles with some of these children. How about a little support for those people who spend more quality time with the children than many of their parents? In this system, the union is the only protection on which teachers can rely. They certainly can't rely on the Pleasanton residents.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm

just heard from a teacher friend the teachers are voting on 3 unpaid fulough days this year and 5 next year plus no Open House this year or next


Posted by guess what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I'm reading the postings from retired teachers and current teachers complaining about being asked to do more for less. Guess what? We in the private sector have been living this way for the past 10 years. We've taken approx %20 pay cuts and been asked to work nights and weekends.
I do appreciate Pleasanton teachers and want them compensated fairly, but I think they are. Economics have changed.
I'm not asking anyone to work a "miracle" with my child. I'm sorry retired teacher feels it takes a miracle to teach our kids.


Posted by TO Daniel Bradford, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Daniel Bradford and others,
Which California school district do you think would be more supportive of teachers?
Which California school district compensates teachers more competitively?


Posted by teacher w/o a million-dollar home, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

"We in the private sector have been living this way for the past 10 years. We've taken approx %20 pay cuts and been asked to work nights and weekends."

Um...do you have any evidence to support that private sector jobs have reduced salaries 20% over the past decade or is that just one of those wild and wacky claims people make up?


Posted by guess what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm

The following article says:

The average, inflation-adjusted annual wage of Silicon Valley tech workers, including bonuses and stock options, tumbled from $120,100 in 2000 to a low of $87,300 in 2002, and stood at roughly $105,500 in the first six months of 2009.
I suppose you think I'm making up the 10% unemployement rate also.

Web Link


Posted by teacher w/o a million-dollar home, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm

It looks like you've stacked the deck with one specific field in one specific area to support your sweeping statement that salaries in the private sector have decreased 20% in the past 10 years. Sure, the salaries of tech workers during the rabid dot-com spending mania were excessive, but that particular market correction does not apply to all private sector jobs--not even close. It is, in fact, the most extreme case, not at all the average.


Posted by guess what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

To -teacher w/o a million-dollar home
I'll ask you what you asked me.
Do you have any evidence to support your statement?


Posted by teacher w/o a million-dollar home, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:10 pm

From the New York Times this fall: "For the first time since perhaps the Great Depression, it seemed possible that average hourly pay would actually begin falling, even before inflation was taken into account.

But that's not what has happened.

Wage growth has picked up in the last several months, according to two different government surveys. You don't hear or read nearly as many stories about pay cuts these days. Even though unemployment has reached its highest level in 26 years, most workers have received a raise over the last year." Link: Web Link

More recent evidence: "the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations said that for workers still collecting a paycheck, the average inflation-adjusted wages have actually increased" Link: Web Link

Your turn.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Or we could talk about the construction industry, which now has a reported 28% unemployment percentage.


Posted by teacher w/o a million-dollar home, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm

resident,

We could, yes, but I'd rather not change the subject just yet.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Frankly, as far as I am concerned if the best argument from the teacher without a million dollar home is "your rich, you can pay more taxes" then you can send them all home. Let's start with open applications in June.


Posted by teacher w/o a million-dollar home, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

resident,

Would you kindly point out the words I used that led you to that interesting "paraphrase" of my posts?

I'd be happy to engage in a real discussion with you if you're serious about this issue. But I can't tell just yet if you are.


Posted by guess what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I looked at your web links and was honestly shocked. The articles were mixed, citing "inflation adjusted wages" and mentioned

The Census Bureau reported last week that median real household income — which, of course, includes households that have suffered a job loss — was lower last year than a full decade earlier.

The article I cited was location specific, and we, my family, are both "tech" employees so that is our reality.
I think Pleasanton is a commuter town to Silion Valley and includes many tech workers.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm

I cannot believe that teachers are sharing emails and voting information which is then being shared on blogs. The problem with putting this information out to the public is that it is seen as the opinion of all teachers and we are judged based on statements of few and partial information shared with "friends" who then share it on a blog with the public. Just as parents, the community, etc would not be judged as a group, but as individuals the same may be true about teachers. I do not share my opinions or voting choices with the public. I am a teacher who does their job and I believe goes above and beyond in my job. I believe in what I do and give my job at least 100% if not more. I believe the majority of my fellow teachers do the same. I am also a parent in the district and believe that my children have had teachers who have been dedicated to their careers. These are challenging times for everyone and instead of pointing fingers and discussing what is fair (life is not fair) it is time to work together. " A house divided amongst itself cannot stand."~Abraham Lincoln


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm

for teacher w/o a million dollar home -- I really don't care about statistics (which you and everyone else manipulates at will). For the record I have taken a 50% pay cut and my spouse has taken a 100% pay cut. We will do just fine because we have always saved a lot and spent wisely. But I promise you that no matter what my income or job status is, I will never vote to increase your pay every year while you concede nothing. You and Daniel just keep on posting, you are cementing the parcel tax opposition with your every snide and self-serving comment.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Million Dollar Homeless,

You are, in fact, correct. My paraphrase was rash and unwarranted. It was born from frustration with the ongoing argument from the PUSD staff that somehow the Pleasanton community has not done their collective part. As I have mention, repeatedly, in other threads the taxpayer does their part by sending a substantial portion of their earned income to various agencies to support public services (like education). I agree it is oversimplified to say that your pay should be directly affected by your private sector neighbor's, but not by much. Government has to get itself under control. And that means adjusting their expenditures in both directions based on tax revenue.

I am also frustrated that the district employees have not opted to take a global adjustment to solve the problem. This would have had a slight affect on all employees, but would have kept everyone employed and won the unconditional support of the community. Instead the employees have negotiated like the community is sitting on the other side of the table with their checkbook in hand. The negotiation is based on a phantom funding source, as the community is unwilling and/or unable to add an additional tax at this time. And the vocal and arrogant portion of the employee base that Mr. Bradford so eloquently represents has only served to galvanize this position.

And frankly, your clever, but arrogant moniker didn't help either, though I see from you subsequent posts that you are earnestly attempting to have a subjective debate. Over and Out.


Posted by Teacher who shouldn't have looked at Pleasanton Weekly, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

A few comments:

1. Concerned citizen: If you are willing to post Daniel's name under his comments, why can't you be man, or woman, enough to post your own name?

2. Once you add the cost of health care, Pleasanton teachers ARE NOT heavily compensated for their work. 1/3 of my salary pays for my family's health care. Who here can honestly say they pay that much money to take care of the health of their family?

3. Someone wrote that they were frustrated they had to supply their child's classroom with materials. I'm frustrated that for over 10 years I've had to supply your child's classroom with materials because the district does not give me a fair budget...AND takes copy costs out of the money designed for materials.

4. How in the world could some of you think that this man represents the teacher's union? I choose not to judge all parents based on the 1-2 frustrating interactions I have with parents a year (not too bad when you consider I have 190 students), and I hope you would do the same for me.

5. While you have had the opportunity to read one teacher's email, it is too bad you did not receive the opportunity to read the responses asking him to knock it off.

6. Dan-you were warned NUMEROUS times to not use First Class to communicate your feelings. This is what you get for not listening.

7. Those of you who think teaching is easy and that we have quite a life. I challenge you to volunteer in your child's classroom for a solid week. Or better yet, take a job as a substitute. You will be saying something much different, once you see how frustrating (and rewarding) our job is.

8. THANK YOU UNION LEADERSHIP! I am proud to be a member and am appreciative that you worked with the district to solve this situation.


Posted by What?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm

"even though they are asked to work miracles with some of these children. How about a little support for those people who spend more quality time with the children than many of their parents?"

Miracles? Most of the PUSD kids I know do well on their own, only a few have some problems. That means that MOST teachers have easy classes. Sure, there are some special ed kids, some english learners, but the MAJORITY of PUSD students do well on their own, teachers do not "work miracles" - it is the other way around, kids do well IN SPITE of bad teachers.

What do you mean teachers spend more quality time with kids than their parents? You must not be talking about Pleasanton.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

"1/3 of my salary pays for my family's health care"

Then why do the teachers agree to the more pay but I pay for my own health care deal your union negotiated?

If this is such a bad deal, why don't teachers demand that their union negotiates to do what most districts do? (ie, less pay than in PUSD but cover health care)

Could it be because most teachers benefit from this deal of no health care but higher pay? I think so, at least those who are staying (not getting laid off thanks to seniority rules) are probably not paying healthcare because a spouse covers, which means they have a higher salary than the average California teacher, and they are selfish because they do not care about their colleagues who do have to pay for their own healthcare

Isn't it time then for the PUSD teachers union to redo their contracts and have less pay but healthcare benefits like other districts?


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

"Most of the PUSD kids I know do well on their own, only a few have some problems."

How many do you know? And are you getting this information mainly from kids who say they succeed even though their teachers are, in your words, bad?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm

"I'm frustrated that for over 10 years I've had to supply your child's classroom with materials because the district does not give me a fair budget"

So what is all the money we have given to the PTA over the years used for?

I have had to buy classroom supplies every year, written checks for the classroom fund, written checks to the PTA which is money that is supposed to be used for the school, then there is the book drive, the donations for specific classes, how is all this money used? Because on top of all the donations, I also buy all the materials my children need, so they bring their own pencils etc to school, and I also give pencils for the class. Where does this all go?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm

"How many do you know? And are you getting this information mainly from kids who say they succeed even though their teachers are, in your words, bad?"

I know a lot of kids. And why don't you look at greatschools.net? PUSD does not have that many problem kids in the regular schools.

No, I am not getting this information from the kids but from the parents, and hey my own kids do very well whether they have good or bad teachers. If the teacher is not so knowledgeable and does not do a good job, we make sure the california standards are learned - every parent I know is familiar with the California Dept of Education website, where you can download standards per grade level, as well as sample STAR tests to go over before testing begins. Yes, it is the community that is behind the well to do schools, the teachers are not doing it on their own, and many times, the bad teachers just ride along and claim credit when in truth it is the parents, students, privat tutors.


Posted by Teacher who shouldn't have looked at Pleasanton Weekly, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Common Sense-It was a STUPID change to our contract made before my time. I assure you, I would not have voted for it if I had been around. 51% of the teachers have to pay for health care. You're right, it is time for us to stand up.

You are wrong in thinking that all of the money going to PTA over the years goes directly to the teacher's classrooms. They also go towards funding librarian hours, after school support (to benefit the children and families of Pleasanton), paying for students who cannot afford to go on field trips. All worthy causes, but don't think that your entire check goes to the teachers. As my friend who works for the IRS tells me, teachers are the least audited profession out there because the IRS discovered that when they audited a teacher, the government ended up owing the teacher more money because they contribute so much.

I've seen you post on here numerous times and I would refer you to # 7 in my argument. I love my job and how I get to help children in this community. But you have no clue how challenging this position is, until you take over a classroom. I do not know your job and would not make the same assumptions about you that you like to make about teachers.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm

"when in truth it is the parents, students, privat tutors."

should be

"when in truth it is the parents, private tutors that are responsible for the success of the students."


Posted by Boomer, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I would like to point out something that appears to be overlooked. We are, per the US Census Bureau, the wealthiest city of its size in the nation for 2005 and 2007. We are the largest concentration of wealth of its size in the wealthiest nation on the planet in the best time to be a human in the history of recorded history. There is too much being taken for granted here. Is this about ungrateful teachers? I think not. These are proud educators. And their anger is justified. They are the guardians of our children; their precious education that we all hope leads them on a path to having a better future than we had. Their dedication and excellence is the reason people want to move here. Your property value is what it is because of them. It's not the plants in your front yard, the granite counter top kitchen, or the 4 car garage; those items can be found in any house in any city in California. Sorry for the reality check but it's them, not your house, which is unique.

Are you telling me that the ONLY way to deal with the city financials is to cut services? In our rich city? HELL NO! The city officials are afraid. They think if they talk about taxes you will fire them. If things are as awful as portrayed shouldn't there be a balance of service retraction and rate hikes? Where is the real leadership? I don't pay them to tell me half the truth or to tell me news only when it will not damage their image. In times like these who has time for half truths and double talk.

The true value of this community, the reason people flock to live here is not for school building, the cop car, or fire engine. It's not how many historical buildings we have downtown or the quality of the roads or the stellar city governance. It's the people. The teacher that cares more than they should, or have to. It's our excellent firefighters and cops that protect those that live here and those who travel through our city bounds. Our public works people that make sure things function and stave off decay.

On Nov 4 1930 voters passed a bond measure to begin construction on a regional project. The bond collateral was not credit. It was on the personal homes farms and business properties of everyone in the counties that voted. That project was the Golden Gate Bridge. We need that courage here and now. Not only from not only our elected officials but citizens as well.

Right now you are being forced to make a decision that will affect the city and its perceived value for decades to come. Do we really know our value? Do we know what is really important to us a community? How far will we sacrifice to keep that which we hold scared? Do we reinvest in us? Do we go out and find the best personnel that could not be retained by lesser cities to work and live here? Do we pay better than average because we want the best and are willing to put out for it ( you do get only what you pay for )? Or do we hide, squirrel away our personnel wealth, pretend that it is the job of someone else to pick up the tab (and it's a big one) and/or invest the time and wither? Are you part of a community or do you just live here? The decision will shape this city forever. Those who look here in the future will see it. Those around us now are watching.

Are you part of a community or do you just live here?


Posted by Teacher who shouldn't have looked at Pleasanton Weekly, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Wow, Common Sense. I just read your previous post and had to laugh out loud. Every year I put the web address of where parents can go to get the standards and sample STAR test. I GUARANTEE that most parents do not do what you claim to do.

Get in the damn classroom. You have no clue. The fact that you are just speaking to parents and not getting all sides of the stories (teachers, administration) tells a lot about your flawed way of thinking.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

and I would like to point out that we have the highest paid teachers in a state with the highest paid teachers in the nation, therefore no need to pay more and actually their wages should be reduced to match the current economy.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

"51% of the teachers have to pay for health care."

Then the 49% who are happily taking more pay than the average teacher in California should take a paycut retroactive to when they started seeing a bigger check in exchange for "covering their own health care" and the 51% who are paying for healthcare should have the union re-negotiate their contract so that salary is comparable to other districts but health care is covered.

After all 51% is the majority, I would think they should be able to get the union to change the silly agreement that actually makes sense for them.


Posted by Teacher who shouldn't have looked at Pleasanton Weekly, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Fred-
Could you please post the link to the article that proves Pleasanton has the highest paid teachers in the state? Does it also take into account the cost of health care?


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

"7. Those of you who think teaching is easy and that we have quite a life. I challenge you to volunteer in your child's classroom for a solid week. Or better yet, take a job as a substitute. You will be saying something much different, once you see how frustrating (and rewarding) our job is"

I was a substitute for a while when my kids were much younger, before going back to work full time in the private sector. I did not think it was frustrating, and I did not sub in PUSD but in a district with lower socio economic families. Once you know the curriculum which most parents do, it is not that difficult, and when someone knows how to work with kids, which again most parents do, it is not frustrating.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"when they audited a teacher, the government ended up owing the teacher more money because they contribute so much."

That's interesting. The deduction for teachers seems rather small to me.

"51% of the teachers have to pay for health care. "

I'd verify that number with the district. Last year it was well below 51%.


Posted by At Will, a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm

At every corporation I've worked for, in the face of salary cuts and layoffs, I have seen where each employee who sent out a broadcast email to all employees of the company or had posted a rant on internet bulletin boards, or complained about its customers or stockholders on an internet bulletin board, then HR would take action and immediately remove the employee from the building and they would be gone. That is why there is "at will" employment in California.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

"I GUARANTEE that most parents do not do what you claim to do."

That is how little you know about the parents in this community.


Posted by Common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm

"You will be saying something much different, once you see how frustrating (and rewarding) our job is"

If you find your job frustrating, you should consider switching to a different field. People should enjoy their jobs, not be frustrated by them.


Posted by Now very informed, a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Great posting -- I have just learned a whole lot about how the APT teachers treat us taxpayers with ingratitude and contempt. I volunteer my time in the classroom and I have to use up my vacation time to do it (I guess that's not worth anything?) The entitlement mentality leaves me speechless. Sadly, as others have already observed, the APT membership is living a fantasy. "Just say no" is exactly what I'll be voting at the next parcel tax effort.


Posted by Oh Please!, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Now Very Informed:

Get off your woe pulpit.

The rant of one person is not the rant of all teachers or of the APT.

One person's opinion DOES NOT represent the rest. Be careful. Do not generalize.


Posted by Uncommon Sense, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Hmmm...the virtual war between parents and teachers is brewing, percolating, simmering!

Some posters here seem to forget that Pleasanton teachers are ALSO taxpayers like you, parents of PUSD children like you, spouses of jobless private ex-employees like you.

Teachers are hurting, too, just like you.

Peace, all. Keep your cool.


Posted by Sarah, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

How sad Daniel Bradford has declared war on this community.

When Librarians get put on the top of the list for cuts his peers can thank him for it.


Posted by Sarah, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

How sad Daniel Bradford has declared war on this community.

When Librarians get put on the top of the list for cuts his peers can thank him for it.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

To "Guess what",

People keep making this mistake over and over. You put out a link that talks about "inflation adjusted" wages. Then people keep saying that teachers kept getting raises WITHOUT ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION. It is not an apples to apples comparison.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm

The sense of entitlement that rings from some of these posts is sad. These people want the best of schools but don't want to pay for them. They seem to think they are entitled to great schools. It is very greedy. They are the ones who could ultimately cause our children to pay the price.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I continue to be amazed that some feel entitled to ask for more funding through additional taxes.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

And exactly what gives you the impression that the community is not already paying for the school system? I suppose you are entitled to the opinion that this is all the fault of "the State", though I would opine that you are unclear on the concept of a balanced budget based on realistic income.


Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Very well said Boomer.

Many people say they value a quality education, but is education their top priority? No one likes the affects of the economy, but are we willing to go to "war" against each other, blame each other, wish each other the same ill fate, in order to even the playing field and prove a point at the expense of our children? Are we willing to save what matters most to us, the education of our community's children, or are we too consumed with only looking out for our own best interest?

In the past ten years, as CSR was implemented, I didnt hear this outrage about teachers' salaries and pay schedules. It seems very telling that the focus has turned to blaming them and demanding they pay for the solution only when this community was asked to share in the solution. If they do vote to concessions, as a member of this community, I believe we need to make education our prioroty and share in the responsiblity of maintaining our quality programs.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Thank you to all you pro-unionists who spoke on this thread. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

I'll only address Boomer,[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] we make this community great. Not you. You go on with all your self righteous buddies over to Richmond and teach there. I can't wait to see the property values rise there. You know, since you are the only reason our property values are high. It has nothing to do with crime or other demographics. No no no, the first thing a person thinks when they're buying a house is "do they have small class sizes there?". I don't care about gangs, or the environment there, just the class sizes, and no furlough days. If they have teacher furlough days I'm not moving there. No sirreee.

Ya, you all go on and scat and see how much our property values drop. Go on! We dare you. Get! We'll teach our own kids.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. We must be done with the public education system and revitalize the private system. It's cheaper and infinitely better


Posted by Jack, a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Well for goodness sakes, it is good that we have a city wide housing cap so more folks don't move here and add even more burden to our schools.

I am in favor of more senior housing... those folks don't have kids an school anymore.


Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by End the union monopoly, a resident of Nolan Farms
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:38 am

The reason we have the entitlement crisis is because the union is a monopoly labor provider. Freedom in markets and monopolies don't mix. We need to bust this monopoly and get competition into our schools. Out with the seniority and tenure systems that are killing our schools and hurting our kids. No more sheltering the low performing teachers who hide behind seniority for 20 years and then soak the taxpayers for a life pension that's more than regular working people earn. With this unfair system we had to lay off great teachers and keep the useless. Not again! This is America, not the Soviet empire -- more freedom of participation with top quality teachers supported by committed volunteers with a balanced budget and no more debt! Together, we'll save our schools and keep the dream alive for our kids.


Posted by P-town dad, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:44 am

A discussion of teachers' wages would not be complete without discussing their lifetime pension upon retirement. Given the fact that they will receive a monthly pension with cost of living increases for several decades after they quit teaching, I think they can come to the table with a concession for a few years now.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:20 am

After having kids in our schools for 8 years, I think I can add my opinion. The teachers here for the most part are the best!! We chose to vote for the parcel tax. When it didn't pass we sent in our $233 to support the district.

The district has problems with the budget, just like everyone else. We have some of the most educated, talented people around running this district. They should be able to come up with a plan to balance our budget without taking away from the teachers salaries. As to many of them paying for their health care, so do we in our jobs pay for our companies health care plan.

I think the administration in the district office is top heavy, and could afford to lay off some of those workers before they lay off teachers.

Lastly, I want everyone to really think about the reason most families buy homes here. It's because of the excellent school system! We value educating our kids and living in a safe and calm city. That means you pay for it with taxes and support for the school district. Get a clue, people!


Posted by ???, a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

P-Town Dad-
Did you know that teachers do not get social security? And in the state of California, did you know that if we worked at a previous position, paid into social security, and then retire as a teacher, we will not see one social security check because it's against the law? EVEN IF WE QUALIFY?????? Even if we worked for 10 years in the private sector?

I really wish people would start checking their facts before they post.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

for ???
I'll give up my social security any day for your guaranteed for life pension, paid for by the taxpayers. Although I have contributed the maximum amount to social security every year of my working life I will be subjected to means testing (I have saved my own money and will be penalized by receiving NO SS money) and will never get a dime of it. If you think that will not happen just remember that until a few years ago SS money was not taxed, now it is. Means testing for recipients has been on the table several times and thus far has failed to be written into the tax code.
Teachers, and all other PUSD employees, MUST give up something. To be so arrogant as to think that you should be exempt from economic reality is foolish.


Posted by Another Solution, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:44 am

If the teachers don't want to make concessions AND the community does not want to support a parcel tax, then CUT PROGRAMS. During good times programs were added and expanded... well during bad times, programs should be shrunk or cut entirely, at least until the economy gets better. Here are some suggestions for programs cuts: Advanced Placement classes at the high school level (basically "free-college" for high school students), academy classes, elective and ROP classes, BARTON reading program, collaboration, A/B periods at HS level, class sizes should go up to 30 in k-5 classes as well as freshman English and math classes (10 years ago there was a 32:1 ration and we went on to graduate and did just fine), leadership classes, AVID, GATE....etc. The list goes on and on. Let's really "tighten the belt" so to speak.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It is amazing that this discussion about social security keeps coming up. I suggest everyone read about GPO and WEP on the social security website. Did ??? know that even private sector workers get reduced spousal benefits or none at all EVEN IF THEY QUALIFY?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's the links again:
WEP: Web Link
"Before 1983, people who worked mainly in a job not covered by Social Security had their Social Security benefits calculated as if they were long-term, low-wage workers. They had the advantage of receiving a Social Security benefit representing a higher percentage of their earnings, plus a pension from a job where they did not pay Social Security taxes. Congress passed the Windfall Elimination Provision to remove that advantage."

GPO: Web Link
"The law has always required that a person's benefit as a spouse, widow or widower be offset dollar for dollar by the amount of his or her own retirement benefit."


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

I agree that this was a fairly bold notice sent out. Especially when it has been parents (aka community members) that voted a very close 62% to the required two thirds needed for the parcel tax. It has also been the community that raised 450K additional funds during the summer. It has been the community that has offered up ideas for fund raisers to help individual schools. To say the community won't meet the teachers half way is fairly insulting when the only additional funding being given over to the school at this point is the community itself. I'm very concerned over the predicament of our schools are in since the very resources my children are dependent on (ie Barton, reading specialist) are in jeopardy. As a family we too have suffered severe financial cuts in our personal income. Include into that hardship that we have donated to classroom funds, science lab funds, provided the children with their own school supplies, have given paper and supply donations to the classroom, and have volunteered in numerous activities in the classrooms to help with the load on the teacher due to the elimination of classroom reduction benefits. As a community member, a parent, and a financially struggling citizen (as many of us are) I also find this notice a slap in the face. But I also have to remember that this is one individual's opinion and I have hope that it does not represent the general consensus of all Pleasanton teachers. I would hope that most educators would acknowledge that 62% of the community (more than half) is willing to meet them halfway and since we were unable to do it through the parcel tax we are attempting to find other ways to contribute if not through the district itself, through individual schools. I appreciate our teachers and staff but the bottom line comes down to this, how can we provide the best education for these children and keep as many jobs as possible? If wage concessions will secure one more job for a fellow union member and help benefit our children, isn't it worth a try? Even if instituted for a short period of time?


Posted by Another Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:29 am

To the Foothill Librarian and teachers who ask for parcel tax increase, I'd vote No to the parcel tax increase for these reasons:
1) I'm currently home because the company I worked for went bankrupt
2) I still can't find another job
3) Our house value is UNDER THE WATER

Teachers,please be fair!!! Perhaps you all should ask your unions to lower your monthly fees - Don't ask Pleasanton residents for more during tough times.


Posted by Thin the herd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:01 am

In the produce or be fired world, the employer has the right to terminate anybody, anytime, for any reason. Only public unions protect dead weight. Sad for the good teachers to have to suffer because unions would rather force schools to continue paying for the bad teachers. You good teachers should demand your union reps protect you OVER those who should be terminated....they eat up the $$$$$. Why do you surrender your rights to union bosses.....demand from them like you demand from us.


Posted by RS, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

I think like everyone else they should take a pay cut, It is very arrogant not to take a pay cut to keep more teachers working. THESE OUR THEIR FELLOW EMPLOYEES, When citizens of California our loosing their jobs and houses, a pay cut is a small sacrifice. GET REAL, WE ALL WORK HARD AND SOME OF US 12 MONTHS A YEAR!


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

"In the produce or be fired world, the employer has the right to terminate anybody, anytime, for any reason."

Not true. Hard to make an arguement when you start off with a blatant lie.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

Its a bizarre arguement that one teacher should take a pay cut to keep someone else working. (I'm not arguing that overall the teachers should not take a paycut).

I've never seen in the private sector where lay-offs were happening that people stood up and said let's all take a pay cut so Timmy can keep his job. Maybe it happens at other companies perhaps more at smaller companies where everyone knows each other.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

"If the teachers don't want to make concessions AND the community does not want to support a parcel tax, then CUT PROGRAMS."

YES! We don't need to offer every class under the sun, like 8 different foreign languages. Yes, there are state minimums which need to be offered for graduation, yet our district and community seem to think that we need to continue to provide the same offering without the same financial support.

Yes we can ask teachers to make financial concessions, but what happens the next year and the next? Are teachers going to have to make financial concessions every year to pay for all the programs? That state funding is not coming back anytime soon and a parcel tax doesn't seem like a very good solution, so the district needs to make the tough decisions.

Cut programs, cut salaries - change the game.


Posted by Alternative fix, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:48 am

Another Solution- I totally agree with you. For several years the community of Pleasanton has enjoyed many "extra" programs within the school district. But times have changed, and so should programs at all levels. There are dozens of cuts that could be made which would alleviate a parcel tax and teacher cuts. Let's bring school back to the basics- the core subjects. If programs are not cut, the district will just find themselves in the same situation next year. No school distict should have the "Bells and whistles" if they can't afford it.


Posted by marcus, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

Yes, teachers get pensions. Not too long ago many many people were getting pensions. Yes, non-union workers at private companies. I worked for a major national company that provided pensions until about 2000. They changed their policies because the world had changed. The number of people that stay at companies for 30+ years has greatly declined. Pensions were an offering of loyalty. The is no longer that loyalty between eomplyee and employer. Whether that's good or bad is another debate.

Teachers do not have bonuses, stock options, 401K matching, overtime, etc. Any reduction in salary is also a reduction in pension.


Posted by Sarah, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Daniel Bradford shows himself to be a petty, spiteful person, he has lost my respect. He has caused damage to his peers and this community with this letter and other posts.
Will he apologize and make amends?


Posted by Me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm

The whole healthcare vs pay thing is coplete and utter ignorance. The Teachers union decided to participate in a IRS sec 125 Cafeteria Plan. The same type of plan my corporate employer offers. If they had selected to require benefits, the PUSD outlay would have been near identicle. The compensation mearly takes on a wage form vs a benefit form.

I found it funny that one poster pointed out that Tech Workers salaries mean was a mere $105k per annum. They didn't bother to post the higher end. Funny that the mean exceeds the high point for highly educated teachers.

For the fools that argue that teachers do not have to work miracles, are you resntful because yours failed too?

I think everyone with any common sense (even those lacking that use the moniker) know that the intent of Mr Bradford's letter was to raise emotions and fuel though. I'm sure that the teachers have resolved to the fact that they will have to make soem concessions.

I know many teachers, and most are not in the profession either for the boatloads of money or the easy work schedule (yeah right). They are in it for the joy they receive helping your children reach new hieghts. I'm sure that it will be the rare case that a teacher's efforts will be reduced as a result of the vile some have spewed out on this board. Likley they will work even more tiresly (including Mr Bradford.) His was simply an expression of the feeling of betrayal most teachers are feeling from the minority of the community that forced the burden on the backs of the teachers.

The teachers (though most would keep thier jobs, and they know who they are) will by majority vote to take concessions to save as many poistions as possible because they know it is what is best for the schools and the children.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Worth noting that the median pay listed for the Tech industry requires substantial education and is not for part time employment, nor the guarantee of tenure, or often the choice of schedule or work location.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Me,

Can you explain why Mr. Bradford gets a hall pass for his vile while others do not? Perhaps others are also feeling just as frustrated by the system that has been put into place?


Posted by Proud of APT, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

There's no way I'm voting for a pay cut. You parents can go to hell. Every day you send us your misfit kids who act up, disrupt our lessons, threaten us, make up stories about being molested to intimidate us, smoke pot in the yard, and can't wait to get out of class for sex and booze. We bust ourselves to get your self-indulgent stuck-up brats to graduate. And do we get any thanks? Noooo! All we get back is your abuse, complaints, and harassment. Union reps need to cancel the cuts and demand living wage raises for us!!


Posted by hall pass, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I think he gets a partial hall pass because he wrote an e-mail to his colleagues and did not intend it to be posted here for all of you to weigh in on. This is something that should've been "kept in the family."

I am a teacher who voted "yes" on concessions, but I can understand the perspective of Mr. Bradford. I just don't agree that voting "no" to concessions would serve as a wake-up call to the community. Instead, they just would further vilify us and blame us for the budget problems. At least if we meet the community half way, maybe they'll see that we're reasonable and then they might take a more reasonable stance as well. Perhaps that's utopian. We'll see what happens in the next few months...

I DO think teachers & counselors are going to have to have better boundaries next year. With larger class sizes, a heavier workload, and less income, we just will not be able to provide the same level of service as we have in the past. That's a reality many parents are not going to like and I imagine teachers will come under fire again when they reasonably say "no" to something a parent feels entitled to.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

OK … if the union is meeting us half way, how about we switch positions? I'll take three days off without pay next year and the employees can take a pay cut (same net effect as a new tax, by the way) to make up the difference.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Mr. Bradford posted here himself (supposedly it was him) in another thread saying basically the same thing. I got the sense from his other posts that Mr. Bradford doesn't understand the true impact the Internet has on society and privacy. The posting of his letter to this forum is a perfect example of it.


Posted by Just another parent, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

To Proud of APT -

If you despise our kids that much, please find another profession or transfer to Oakland, Richmond or even San Jose. We certainly do not want you. Without us parents who give our time volunteering, making countless school donations, taking vacation days to drive on field trips, etc. your teaching life will the hell that you want us to go. We don't get paid to help in school, but you do.


Posted by Guess what, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm

RE: Proud of APT
Okay, now I think we are all being punked.
Pleasanton has quality teachers, and I don't believe those comments came from one of them.
Some punk just stirring the pot. If not, . . . I concede, I'm scarred for all of us.


Posted by wow, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I am blown away by the message in the first post sent to the teachers. I have gone to the board meetings, the community meetings and am trying to be part of the solution and am certainly contributing financially and with time as a parent. I can't believe that DB thinks we don't care and don't contribute. Thanks to the other teachers who have weighed in with a more balanced perspective, we do really appreciate all your hard work. I honestly hope we get somewhere as a united community.


Posted by Tech Worker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

To all teachers who think tech workers get paid so much more than you do. We do!
But compare our jobs to yours.

We work in a very competitive industry. Most of us work 60+ hours a week and often lose vacation time because we can't afford to take time off except for the work furloughs imposed by our employer. We're too busy and with the threat of layoffs always hanging over our heads, we need to constantly prove our dedication to our employers.
Travel is required in our jobs, including traveling all over the world. In order for us to be at the client's location on Monday morning, we leave on Saturday or Sunday. Our employer is willing to give us comp time for any weekend travel, but no one has time to take it. While we get to travel to Europe, Asia and South America, we are there for work, so all we see of foreign countries is what we see from the air and commuting from our hotels to our clients' offices. We don't get to pick and choose when we want to travel, so we've missed our kids' soccer games, weddings and many other social activities. We are required to attend early morning or evening meetings as part of our job duties.
Even when we do take a vacation, our laptops and cell phones travel with us, and vacations are often interrupted or cut short by work demands.
In our "free" time, we must keep abreast of the rapid advances in technology.
Employment is not guaranteed for us regardless of position or seniority but is dictated by the economy. Thus far, those of us who have not been laid off have had bonuses eliminated, taken pay cuts and seen our benefits' cost increase substantially.
Even the most dedicated teacher does not put in the kind of hours we do daily and yearly. Divide your pay by your hours, and divide our pay by our hours, and you're ahead of us.
Teachers are dedicated professionals and deserve respect and admiration.
But please stop the comments about how so many in this community made and make so much more than you do. It's not a fair comparison unless you also compare hours worked, working conditions, and employer expectation.
We understand the difficulties of your job. We would like you to understand the difficulties of ours.
We have the opportunity to earn more than teachers do, but we pay for that opportunity dearly.

Signed,
Tech Workers


Posted by Woot to Tech Workers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Very, very well-stated post by Tech Workers. My husband also works in the tech sector and what Tech Workers wrote is the 100% truth about the industry. Thank you for posting.


Posted by get a grip people, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Oh Boohoo tech workers. When did this turn into a whining session... it's almost comical to read the "poor-me" emails. Everybody feels like they got it so hard. All the "donations" they've had to make to classrooms. hahaha Suck it up people! You're whining makes you sound pathetic and bored with your life! This is life!! You chose your destiny.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Waaaaa - I have to travel all over the world.

Maybe, you should just read all the comments they say about teachers and working extra hours. Ff you don't like the pay or conditions, just leave.


Posted by Thin the herd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

To Letsgo....(likely a union striker). NO, YOU are wrong. Don't start out with the 'lie' con. CA is an 'at will' state....all the rest of us work at the 'will' of the employer. If they don't like how you comb your hair...it's OK to give you a final check and say clean out your desk now. You've been so protected by unions for so long, you are clueless to life in the real world. Next time don't cry 'it's a lie' unless you KNOW what you're talking about !


Posted by Suffering tech worker, a resident of Valley Trails
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Tech Workers is entirely correct. We live under bullying bosses who give us 10 hour assignments at 4pm and demand them ready by 9am the following day. We therefore work day and night. Some of us have to sleep at the office. No PUSD teacher sleeps under a desk, no teacher gets work dumped on them at 4pm for overnight delivery, no teacher has to work one weekend after another, and no teacher has a boss standing over them threatening to offshore their job. Our pay has been lowered and lowered, and our hours have being going up and up. We're being screwed and have no union and no retirement plan. Teachers have it a whole lot better. Their complaints are just not right.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Thin the Herd - first your lack of intelligence continues to shien through as you assume I am some union person.

I would like you to walk into work tomorrow and fire somebody because they are black. Then you can keep us up to date on the progress. There are lots of unemployed people, so they should be very easy to replace.

It appears you are the one who has no idea. Have you ever hired or fired anybody? You sound like someone who just started working a couple years ago and read an article about "at will" employment.



Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Seems like the point of tech worker's post is that every job has its upsides and its downsides.


Posted by hahaha, a resident of Danville
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Become a teacher if you think teacher's have it so good. You sound ridiculous comparing apples to oranges on this site. BTW- guess you don't have one of your "10 hour assignments due tomorrow at 9 am OR you're not jet-setting off to Europe tomorrow to meet clients Monday morning.... or else you wpuldn't be on this website cryin the blues about how, in your words: "Teachers have it a whole lot better."


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Hmmm, suffering tech work, looks like maybe you should start a union :-)

The purpose of unions initially was to protect the workers against dangerous and unreasonable workplace conditions. I would agree that most unions are not needed these days and tend to do more harm then good as we have some government agencies looking out for our safety (OSHA). But if we are getting to the point where workers are being subjected to miserable working conditions and being forced to work 20-24 hours a day and not allowed to go home and work 363 days a years, it sounds like maybe we actually need more unions instead of less. I'm glad I don't work as a software engineer, that was almost work of choice years ago, but ended up in a different industry.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

to get a grip who said

This is life!! You chose your destiny.

So tech workers go into their jobs knowing the kind of hours and work expected of them and the pay , and teachers go into their jobs knowing the kind of hours and work expected of them and the pay.

So if everyone is choosing their destiny, then it sounds as if you should be telling the teachers, as well as the tech workers to get a grip.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Parent - exactly. Every job has its pros and cons and we all choose them (some to a lesser extent than others). So everyone can stop whining. The issues I think for teachers is that many posts tell teachers that they should be making less money than they do now, while teachers (at least the ones posting here) mostly disagree. The teachers feel that they are disrespected while the non-teachers are jealous (maybe) that teachers have the summers off.


Posted by letsgo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

To add to my last post - just think you could be the president of a major bank and only be able to get an $8 million bonus this year instead of the usual $30 - $40 million. The rest of you think you are making sacrifices, but that's a $20+ million dollar sacrifice. How is he going to feed his family?


Posted by Get a grip people, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Yep, your right. People are in charge of their destiny, and I do think teachers (and all others on this site) should get a grip on themselves and stop whining like babies. I am against a parcel tax and against teacher cuts. I do think expendable PROGRAMS should be cut. Reading programs, CSR,counselors, librarians, elem PE program, AP, AVID, Collab, A/B periods, Outdoor Ed, sports, music, academies... Bring em back when times are better fo rthe good ol PUSD.


Posted by another techie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Last Jan my co. had 10 mechanical engineers. This Jan just one, me !
My pay was cut $10,000., & I pick up all the slack left from other jobs.$10K cut is not good, but I'm luckier than the other 9 !!. To make the house payment, my only choice is to drain my 401K...my ONLY savings !!. That't to survive now, as I'm middle age....I don't know what I'll live on as a senior...The 401K is all I have and my boys are ready for college....which Cal ARBITRARILY cuts aid at 80K...which my wife & I barely exceed...we need to hang on to our house which is now below what we paid....but my kids won't be able to attend, since they can't get aid, but I have no savings. YOU want me to pay you more !?!?!


Posted by get a grip, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 19, 2010 at 3:52 pm

another techie,
Sure sounds like you're up shit creek. If you would have chosen to beoome a teacher, you wouldn't have had that huge salary you had as an engineer years ago BUT you would have had some retirement. Too bad you had your priorities wrong, as you were merely looking at the short term rather than long term. Guess your kids will just have to go to a junior college and then get college loans to pay for their degrees.


Posted by June, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm

What really upsets me is when the kids come home and tell me that their teachers have been talking in the class rooms about how the community treated them so bad by rejecting the parcel tax, how underpaid they are, and how they may not be able to be their teachers anymore. It is really wrong to do that to kids. This is a complex matter for adults to resolve and no one should be playing the heart strings of our kids


Posted by july, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

wake up June!
This is reality. You can't shield your kids forever. Use this time to have a constructive conversation with your kid about challenges our schools are facing. Although, I don't agree with teachers talking about being laid off to their students, ultimately YOU are their parent and YOU should be the level headed parent that can talk to their kid without letting emotions get the best of you. It's ok to share with your kid, that times are hard in the schools right now.


Posted by Citizen, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I am a classified employoee and would vote to give up days even if the teacher's union does not. All employees of any "company" in financial difficulty need to be a part of the solution!


Posted by June, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm

What makes you think that I have not already had a level-headed conversation with my kids about the parcel tax. You are correct, that is MY responsibility. YOU leave it alone.


Posted by Teachers, stop!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

"Although, I don't agree with teachers talking about being laid off to their students, ultimately YOU are their parent and YOU should be the level headed parent that can talk to their kid without letting emotions get the best of you."

You are wrong. No teacher should talk to the students about the budget crisis in PUSD. My kids too have come home telling me what their teachers said, and I do not appreciate it at all. btw, who are you to tell others whether they should talk to their kids about it or not?

Teachers: Understand that students are NOT your friends, they are NOT someone that should listen to your problems, they are your students, period. In class, you teach the material and that is it, your personal life, your feelings about the budget, all of that is yours and not to be shared with students; find a friend or someone who cares about your situation and stop putting the burden on our children.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I think teachers would love to teach "the material and that is it," too bad so many of you need and want teachers to parent for you too!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

To Get a grip,
We are in agreement that expendable programs should be cut, although maybe not which ones we define as expendable!
I do not support cutting teachers' salaries, but do think that unless those extracurricular programs are cut, that is what will happen in some form.
I think teachers are right to be upset about salary cuts, but not about the way they have been paid because the salary structure is something they agreed to.

I don't know the history of how teacher pay was determined in Pleasanton, but I've always wondered why their union didn't negotiate higher starting salaries and tuition reimbursement when there were no budget issues.



Posted by Like My Job, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I like my job and I have known for a long time it is what I was meant to do. Like anything in life it has its ups and downs. Prior to teaching I worked in the private sector and non-profit sector and they both had their ups and downs. I have worked in two other districts. PUSD, like other districts, has its good and its bad. I work hard and many hours by choice. I take on extra duties by choice. I do my job because I believe in learning and I believe in sharing that passion with others. I also believe in helping others. We all make choices and must accept responsibility for them. We all have two choices when it comes to our circumstances we can either change them or accept them. There is no reason to compare your life to the lives of others, blame others or put others down.
The unfortunate part of this whole mess it that children will lose out while the adults are busy pointing fingers, feeling sorry for themselves, or busy keeping scoresheets about who has given what and done what.


Posted by Thin the herd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I agree with June. I get very upset at teacher's campaigning and playing politics in our classrooms. Playing personal pity games is really pathetic. Presidential, Mayoral, parcel tax,or personal pity, it is simply not appropriate regardless of age or grade level.
Nothing justifies stooping that low.


Posted by another techie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Get a Grip, you jump to conclusions. What "huge" salary. I've never hit $100K, and there's no retirement..so a $10K cut is hefty. I think we'd find pay, protection, & retirement exceed that all over school districts.


Posted by resident, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Geez only in Pleasanton; your kids are in big trouble in the future and we (parents AND teachers) are to blame.


Posted by reality-based, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I am just concerned that if APT doesn't agree to concessions that
Pleasanton will not be able to raise funding for schools including
a potential parcel tax. This is about shared pain. I understand
too that my children's education is ultimately a parental
responsibility. In the end, I believe in community and building
community. If we don't invest in our schools, our community
will begin to suffer and we will unknowingly become more like
our neighbors that are 20 minutes away, it is a slippery slope.
So to the teachers out there, please vote for reasonable
concessions, and us parents will help raise more funds, we
are in it together, it is a partnership. Let's work together
to keep our schools great.


Posted by teacher, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

We did vote for concessions. Read the article on PW.


Posted by Thin the herd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Letsgo, you're still running off. Race and disabilities are so understood, they don't need to be restated. In the real world..without any safety nets, it is terminate at will. Lawyer Len Tillem on KGO radio 12 noon weekdays, and 4 -7 on Sunday's never goes a week without telling several callers, sorry, the boss can fire at will !! You must have led such a sheltered, baby safe, union protected life, you are clueless to what a tough world it is out there. Some people are courageous and strong enough to face the world without a net. Maybe we know the scope of our talents.....and apparently you know yours.


Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Teachers stop! What you fail to recognize is that students are thinking, intelligent beings that recognize the programs they want are not going to be there next year. This is a great example of how it is not about the adults of this community, but about the kids. And now you have such low regard for their concerns that you would not even consider that they are the ones asking, complaining, wondering about the fate of their schools? So you want teachers to lie to them? Youre saying they dont have a right to know?


Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Thin the herd...heaven forbid our schools teach our children how to think for themselves. Isnt that why we want our children educated? To become productive members of society? My kids teachers teach them how to think, not what to think, what are you afraid of, they might have opinions different from you?


Posted by why, a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm

why is this thread allowed to continue. Remember that these anti-teacher posts represent a tiny fraction of those of us in Pleasanton.


Posted by Jimbo, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

On a personal note, I know many fine teachers in the PUSD. I have great respect for these individuals, and the work they do. I also know some duds. So none of this is personal.

The Teacher's Union, like all unions in my opinion, are too powerful. Do you have a right to a competitive salary? Sure, but lots of salaries in the private world are less than what they were 2 or 3 years ago, at least for those who have not been laid off.

It is the gold plated retirement packages that are the real problem. California can no longer afford them, and it is as simple as that. Public employees have had a great ride all these years, but the party is over. California is one of the most heavily taxed states in the union, and voters are fed up. So are businesses, many of which are leaving the state. And many who are staying are saying "enough"! 85% of the cost of running the PUSD is salaries. Time to reduce the budget. Some will lose their jobs, and this is a shame. But in the bigger picture, unless public agencies learn to become more efficient, and their unions become more realistic about the kinds of retirement benefits they demand, municipalities are going to be forced into bankruptcy.

The era of "just raise taxes" is over. It is over because the taxpayers are tired of paying, and a tax revolt is the next thing coming.


Posted by Teacher because I love working with people, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:35 am

Interesting posts, people... a few questions I have for you is:
1) how much money has your non-teaching job paid you over the last 20 years? I'm betting that if you lay our salaries since graduation side by side, yours will shadow mine by more than double - which was my choice - I did go into teaching knowing that the money wasn't great. I didn't go into teaching hoping that others would tell me that I should be happy making even less to keep providing the same services to their children!
2) Why have you been asked to take a pay cut and how is your organization impacted? In private companies, when downsizing is needed, it's because they're making less sales, have fewer customers, etc. We (schools)don't have less customers! We are still required to provide a minimum number of educational hours per year.
3) When was the last time you spent a week in a classroom to see how children REALLY behave?. . . "Whereas I say we're not responsible for others' bad parenting, and neither are you..." (from 'whites of their eyes') Actually, I DO have to assume responsibility for others' bad parenting, as I have to deal with the students who are in my classes. I'm not allowed to say that students with no discipline can't attend my school! You'd be amazed to see how much class time is wasted in discipline issues.
4)Do you really believe that all teachers agree with our union politics? About 1/5 of us just voted "no" on our union's contract, but we'll still have to go along with it, because our district is a "union shop".
5)Did you know that we HAVE to pay union dues, even if we don't belong to the teacher's union??
I've got many more questions for you, but I need to work on grading some of your childrens' papers today (it's a 3 day weekend - that means plenty of time for me to get my work done!)


Posted by Teacher because I love working with people, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:36 am

Oops - just did another read - missed a typo . . change that to: "a few questions I have for you ARE...."


Posted by Jimbo, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

Teacher because I love...

Interesting points. I actually think we should pay public employees more now, and reduce retirement benefits later. To your point, yes in theory a teacher will make less per year than a private sector worker. However, you do get significant time off, which is part of the attraction.

And I am willing to bet that if you take the AVERAGE teacher's salary plus retirement pay for say 30 years on the job and 20 years retirement after, that is is significantly more than the private sector workers average salary plus average retirement pay from their 401k. Because the reality is that saving for your own retirement while living in California is extremely difficult, thanks in no small part to the cost of living and tax burden.

It would be interesting to see a study that compares the 2. Public employee retirement benefits, like social security, made sense when there was 16 workers for every retiree. Once you get to 10, or 8, or 5 workers supporting every retiree, it reaches a point where the system can not sustain itself.

There is going to be a lot of political turmoil in California over the next couple of years as we try to grapple with how to reduce spending so we don't go broke.


Posted by Jason, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

Economic realities need to drive decisions not what someone thinks they "deserve" based on their "effort." Mr. Bradford and the Unions are completely out of touch with the massive deficits of both the PUSD and the State of CA. They also fail to appreciate the wage reductions realized by those in the private sector.


Posted by inmyopinion, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

EVERYONE must share in the budget problems of our state/county/city and school district. The fair thing is for teacher concessions/parcel taxes/parent involvement/donations/fundraisers etc. The apathy with everyone concerned is apalling. If EVERYONE shares the burden in the tough times, EVERYONE can reap the benefits in the good times and those who should benefit the most...the students...will.

Jason hits it on the head.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

"They also fail to appreciate the wage reductions realized by those in the private sector. "

And those "wage reductions" have been greatly distorted and exaggerated. A check of the statistics at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a 1.1% increase in average wages in actual dollars for 2008 - 2009 (when NOT adjusted for inflation). People may "FEEL" that the average worker got a pay cut, but the statistics do not bear that out.

The teachers are offering a substantial pay concession here in Pleasanton.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Teacher because I love working with people wrote: "5)Did you know that we HAVE to pay union dues, even if we don't belong to the teacher's union??"

If you're not a member of the union, you have a right to a rebate of part of that money.

Web Link
"An amount equal to full dues is deducted from your monthly paychecks and you are entitled to a yearly rebate of monies that the union admits not spending on collective bargaining, contract administration or grievance adjustment."

Also
"Using your dues rebate check, you can join organizations such as the Association of American Educators (www.aaeteachers.org) or the Christian Educators Association International (www.ceai.org) for your insurance and legal needs. These are professional organizations, not unions. Your rebate check will more than cover the cost of joining one of these organizations."

Did you know that unions sometimes get kickbacks from insurance carriers?


Posted by Former PUSD teacher, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

This is mind boggling to me. So because the residents of Pleasanton refused an additional tax that was not wholly stable in it's foundation, you are saying let's stick it to those guys and hold the kids hostage? If the Parcel Tax *had* passed, the district would still be in a huge debt! By the way, I do not hold the district responsible for this mess-it goes back so many years, but nonetheless-here we are. Most teachers in California have taken pay cuts in order to keep their key programs afloat-the APT-union strong one here in town has actually made their true values clear, Teachers first, kids second. There are so many parents unemployed around town-many for months on end and their house is now worth hundreds of thousands less than they paid for it-yet, the writer of this email wants to essentially stick it to the homeowners/parents because they didn't pass the parcel TAX last year. For some, having a job, even with a pay cut (remember that the average teacher in town is making about $73,000 here) would be a godsend.

I sure hope this gentleman doesn't need to show my kids where to find a book on economics at AVHS, I just don't think he understands how it works. He is VERY, VERY familiar, however, with how his UNION works, right?


Posted by VV Parent, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Mr Librarian & other teachers commenting, can you please answer this.

If providing a quality education to the kids is the priority, then why did they take instructional days as furlough, and not staff development days?


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:26 pm

And tell me this VVparent, how is staff development days not a benefit to students? You are claiming that collaboration and training as a staff is not necessary? Is that how the private sector works? Teachers are having to restructure the schools with the $11 million in cuts this year and $8 million coming soon. (Actually only less than 4 million since they have said yes to concessions) How exactly do you think this restructuring is supposed to take place? You must still be one of those who believes it is business as usual. Future cuts include no IT person, no librarian, no specialists, increased class sizes- and you question why teacher staff development days are needed?


Posted by VV Parent, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm

@ Really?~

No, I'm suggesting you still have your staff development days, just without pay. THAT is a paycut.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Actually, you continue to post incorrect information VV Parent- we wont be having our staff development days. Our restructuring will be on our own time. I'm sure you will be responding more false information stating that it still equals a "fake" concession. Your need for teachers to feel more pain is sick. You clearly have no idea how this years cuts and the ones we now face affect those in the classroom.


Posted by kfs, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

Fact one. most everyone has suffered a cut in pay in the last few years. I have seen a 25% decrease in my income. I have lived in this town for over 40 years and quite frankly the school system, as good as it is could be much better. There are and have always been a few good teachers but most are self serving freshmen. the email says it all"OUR schools well theirs and ours" We saw this in the Lin property battle "dont mess with our ridges" really when did you buy the ridges. But the fact is teachers, the schools arent yours you are just lucky to be employed there. The core problem is this type of mentality. Its not about the kids its about the teachers and how much money they can make. FYI pleasanton schools dont have to many trouble kids couse they simply get rid of them. They lable them fill up a file on them and they ship them out to village or the nearest gutter. They dont want to "waste there time teaching bratty kids" a quote from a pusd teacher. The fact is they love the great kids who really dont need the help of the mostly overpaid babysitters but do nothing for the ones that really need the support and guidence. to quote one employee of the school district " we cover our ass"


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