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Pleasanton teachers agree to pay cut to reportedly save district nearly $4.6M

Original post made on Feb 19, 2010

In a statement released by the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, president Trevor Knaggs announced that teachers made a tentative agreement to take a 4.3-percent pay cut over the next two years.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 19, 2010, 6:36 PM

Comments (280)

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Posted by grateful parent
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Thank you teachers! Parents, it's our turn now, let's make a difference too!


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:54 pm

As a parent I guess what I can do is teach my kids those days the teachers are on their unpaid vacation days. I do not equate furlough with a pay cut. A real pay cut, like what I see in my industry, is working the same amount of hours/days but getting less.

Their statement is a bit unclear but it does sound like there will be less days of school, including this year. Not sure how that will work. I think it would be better to have teacher instruction days at no cost to the district. I know when I need to go for training, it is usually on a weekend and I do not get paid extra for it. I would be supportive of the unions on this if they still keep the same number of teaching days but it does not sound like that is the case.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I hope the concessions will preserve important programs and dedicated teachers for the children of Pleasanton.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm

@parent:

Yes, there will be fewer days of school, 3 this year and 5 next year. The days/dates are not public yet. Maybe families will have to make tough child-care decisions for those days.
Some teachers will need to make tough decisions about how to make do with about 4% less salary.
In the big picture, out community and society will have to make do with a less-educated future if bigger changes don't happen.


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Posted by They did what we wanted
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Now what? Are you going to continue bashing or will we give up some money to solve the problem? Teachers are contributing thousands per year through salary reductions. We can't afford to cut more. Look at the tragedy at Amador today. I am not saying it could have been avoided but more counselors could not be a bad thing. More adults with the kids could not be a bad thing. What are we going to do now to make this school district great once again?


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Posted by Another parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Thank you Pleasanton teachers for being a part of the solution. :)


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Posted by from a parent/teacher
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Please remember, that many of your own children attend school in PUSD, and the loss of days goes beyond my salary, but hurts our children, but WE overwhelmingly (78%) supported concessions to keep programs and keep great teachers. Please stop bashing us and work with us. thank you


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Thank you teachers for being part of the solution indeed. Hopefully the administration will do everything in their power to save all programs. As a community we will need to pull together to look at the financial needs and the impact on our children and schools. I certainly hope we will revisit the parcel tax and vote YES next time. Lets restore the quality of education, as well as our community and home values at the levels they once were.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:59 pm

4% is minimal. They'll need to be more in line with the wage reductions that the parents of their students are living with. Try 12% reduction with same amount of work days.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:16 pm

@parent:

Even though we won't be at school teaching those 8 days that we voted on, we will be working extra hours other days to lesson plan ways to include the material that was meant for those days, into other days. I can guarantee you that teachers will still continue to work just as hard, if not harder because of the cuts, than before.

I hope the community can see that the teachers are dedicated to this community, to the students, and to the programs, and that is why it was an overwhelming vote for concessions. We have done our part, I hope the community meets us halfway.


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Posted by Thank You
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Thank you so much APT for concessions. Pleasanton is going to make progress on the fundraising part of the equation. I can now see moving forward with another try at a parcel tax. I now have much more energy to work on all fundraising activities associated with education.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

These are significant concessions, and show the commitment of our teachers to high-quality education over the long haul. Thank you to all who voted in favor!


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

We appreciate the concessions so far. I do support our teachers, but am frustrated by the union and the mentality it has produced in the teachers.

They believe they are immune from the economic downturn and have a RIGHT to their salaries and raises - i.e. step/column.

The truth of the matter is that lot's of people are unemployed, and those that still have jobs have had to take real salary cuts (with no days off), and many business owners are down 20% - 40% in revenue.

It's not easy for anybody to live off less than what they are used to. But 4% is not much in this economy. I would LOVE if our family-owned business was only down 4%.

If we (unemployed and others with major income reductions) are going to be expected to pay a parcel tax (which I will fully support), then we need to see the Step/Column frozen for the time being.

We don't want to punish our teachers, we have some of the cream of the crop. But they should not be immune to actual paycuts and salary reductions, that the rest of the community is suffering from.

Yes to freezing the Step/Column
Yes to a Parcel Tax

We have to work together to preserve the education in this town.




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Posted by Another perspective
a resident of Avignon
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

It's really never enough is it?


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Posted by here you go
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

School district and teachers' association reach agreement on concessions

The Pleasanton Unified School District and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers are pleased to announce that they have signed a Tentative Agreement for the 2010/11 school year which will provide $4,587,000 in certificated bargaining unit concessions, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. The agreement is for one year, and includes the following:

Three unpaid furlough days in the current school year
The days impacted will be instructional days. The total amount saved by this action is $1,080,000. Pending Board approval, the three days would be Thursday, April 1; Friday, May 28; and Tuesday, June 1.

Five unpaid furlough days in 2010/11
The actual days are to be determined, but three will be student attendance days, and two will be staff development days. The savings from this action is $1,800,000.

Increase in staffing ratios at middle and high schools
The contractual staffing ratio (students per teacher) at middle and high schools will increase by 1. This will move middle schools from 26:1 to 27:1 and high schools from 27:1 to 28:1. Staffing ratios are not the same as class size, but this action will likely increase classes at these schools by about one student. The savings from this action is $864,000.

Suspension of the 7 period day at high school
Several years ago, the 7 period day was instituted to allow teachers a weekly collaboration period. High schools will now offer a 6 period day, and collaboration ("late start Wednesday") will be suspended. The savings from this action is $448,000.

Suspension of voluntary Staff Development Reform hours
This is approved training for which teachers can receive up to 18 hours of compensation. The savings from this action is $380,000.

Suspension of the Teacher Support and Training Advisory Committee
Savings from this action will be about $15,000.

At their meeting on February 23, the PUSD Board of Trustees will review and vote on a recommendation to remove items from the possible reduction list that could be supported by the savings generated by these one-time concessions from APT. These include:

Maintaining class sizes in grades K – 3 at 25:1 ($1.3 million estimated cost)
Maintaining class sizes in grade 9 English and math at 25:1 ($404,000)
Continuing instruction by elementary physical education, science, and vocal music specialists ($931,000)
Maintaining elementary Reading Specialists (one full-time position per site) ($720,000)
Maintaining counseling services at current-year levels for elementary, middle, and high schools ($752,000)
Restoring funding for the Barton reading program ($106,000)

In addition, the Pleasanton Unified Management Team (principals, vice principals, and District Office administrators) have also agreed to five furlough days for 2010/11 and to continue the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends. The savings from this action, approximately $240,000, is proposed to support the retention of a vice principal position at each comprehensive high school. For the current year, the Management Team had already agreed to three furlough days and the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends.

Negotiations with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), the bargaining unit for classified employees are underway. The CSEA leadership and membership have expressed many times their willingness to help the District address this critical budget challenge.

Chris Grant, President of the PUSD Board of Trustees, says, "The Tentative Agreement is a continued demonstration of the wonderful partnership we have with our teachers and APT, and exemplifies their willingness to support our students. I greatly appreciate the important leadership that the Management Team has shown and look forward to continued conversations between the District and our classified employees. This agreement is key as it will allow several critical student services to continue despite dramatic state-imposed budgetary reductions."

The Board will vote on the Tentative Agreement at their meeting on Tuesday, February 23.


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Posted by 20 Year Resident Of Vintage Hills
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Another Perspective, you are spot on, it really is never enough...unbelievable!


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Posted by Proud to be a teacher!
a resident of Dublin
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Thank you for the acknowledgement, parents. The teachers really want to see this district be successful and I am proud that we voted the way we did. I've spoken to several parents over the last week and they have been incredibly supportive and it is appreciated.

Parent-Your comments show you have no clue what teachers do. I have attended training on the weekends and have not gotten paid for it. I also grade papers and lesson plan at least 6 hours on the weekend and at least 2 hours a night, Monday through Thursday. I do not get paid for this additional time as well. Please get more involved in your child's school so that you can actually understand what you are talking about.


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

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Thank you
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I, for one, appreciate the concessions/compromise that the teachers agreed to with their vote. Taking a voluntary pay cut is not easy, and I appreciate the outcome of the vote. In turn, those of us in the community who have had *our* own paychecks reduced through furloughs, outright paycuts or layoffs, should work together with the teachers to ensure that necessary programs continue to be funded by the district AND the state. If your job has furloughed you X number of days a year, please consider spending it giving back to the education system in whatever way you can during those days.

Just a thought, and one which might help us all, especially the schools.


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Posted by reasonable parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I think the people who are saying that they took a 12(ish) % pay cut so, 4 % isn't that much need to consider 2 things:

1) Was is a pay cut that you willingly agreed to in order to save your colleagues jobs and save services for consumers of your products?

2) People who go in to education do so with the knowledge that they're not going to ever see huge spikes in their incomes, like bonuses that are awarded in the private sector. Likewise, they don't expect to be subject to the same degree of losses during a downturn. Getting a job in the public sector is like investing in a CD, whereas jobs in the private sector are like investing in a stock.


I am thankful that the majority of teachers voted to take a pay cut voluntarily. It's ironic that many who post here wouldn't voluntarily give up $233/year, but teachers voluntarily just gave up what amounts to thousands. Now let's show them that we care, too!

As another poster wrote on another thread: are you part of the community, or do you just live here?


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Posted by Parent volunteer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm

It is evident that some just want others to suffer as they are. I wouldn't wish my family's unemployment and financial issues on my worst enemies let alone my children's teachers! The fact that our teachers voted over 78% to covering OVER HALF of the budget deficit couldn't be more "real".

Thank you teachers for proving hundreds of ridiculous posts and speculation wrong- this amount of a concession is unheard up to this point in any district in the bay area and on top of it, coming from a community that actively campaigns against supporting the public schools, you chose to rise above their spiteful rants.

Your professionalism and dedication to the children of this community is evident through your actions and commitment to do more with less. I know a 4% pay cut is only the beginning of the cuts you will be having to cope with- so many fail to recognize you are dealing with $11 million less this year, and another $4 million will still need to be cut from your programs. They only see their own pain.

It is time for the majority who voted for a parcel tax to speak louder than the minority that defeated it. It is time to show through our actions that we value education as a priority worth preserving.


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Posted by PUSD teacher and parent
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I am proud to be a PUSD teacher and a parent of two students in this city. I am being part of the solution. I will gladly pay a parcel tax, continue to work above and beyond my duties and have a 4% pay cut because it will help the children in our town. It is not their fault that we are in this economic mess. They deserve a quality education from all of the Pleasanton School District employees and support from all of the citizens in Pleasanton. Our city is a wonderful place to live because of the people who live here. Yes, the economy is bad and many people are hurting, but I also see the movie theaters are packed, the coffee shops have long lines, the karate schools are full and you can see kids playing sports in every park. The parcel tax is not a lot of money and it will help to support programs that help children to be successful students.
If you have a student in this district, I encourage you to let the teachers who work with and care for them, know that you appreciate what they have voted to give up. Many teachers are facing a layoff (I am one myself) and I still voted for a pay cut that begins this year. I also have more students and families to work with, but the same high standards to teach. Sadly, we do not have the power to control a lot of what is happening around us these days, but we can make a difference for our town's youngest citizens. Please remember that it is truly about children, not jobs and pay! Thank you!


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Don't fire,
you are obviously very confused about what the job of teaching involves. Yes private schools work for the priviledged. What's your plan for the underprivileged? Public education attempts to level the playing field so that the American Dream is attainable for all. Perhaps that's what you don't like about public education?


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Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm

I am happy to see the teachers trying to do their part. I am however, disappointed that the cuts shifted to the high schools.


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Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm

4% less salary !!! Oh Pleeezzzze, you're breaking my heart ! ! ! And you're not just accepting less....You're counting each hour by hour, minute by minute, that the kids will not get education....how GENEROUS ! OF YOU ! ! ! I can see IF it was 10% , you might only take 5 % of a GENUINE CUT, and the other 5% cut would be NO school. But, you're counting the pennies (yes pennies when most of US have taken 10 %+ of REAL cuts) for you're little 4%....withOUT work. Thank You SO MUCH for your Generosity!
The unions better not run any of those violin ads with the soft voices about how much the CTA cares and always think of the children in all of their considerations. They always make me hurl anyway. Unions are for teachers.....NOT the children, and don't anybody ever forget that. IT's an employEE association.


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Posted by Me thinks "Don't fire" watches too much Glenn Beck!
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Well, I think the name I gave myself says it all. There will always be the nuts on both sides of the fence and "Don't fire" is just proving my point.

I am thrilled that almost all of these posts are very supportive of the teachers. After the hits they have been taking on these boards, they are owed an apology.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Thank you to those that voted for this concession. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision. I think this is an excellent first step towards a short term solution.

A long term solution is also required. The existing structure is no longer sustainable.


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Posted by Unbelievable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:31 pm

You are so right, Don't fire ! The district intentionally held an expensivre election, when nobody would vote...several weeks after a big election with a big turnout...wasting a fortune.
Instead of this 4% joke, why not larger classes, dumping the few protected lousy teachers. That would about balance, without losing pay. They must start taking stance to dump the bad ones.
The 4% cannot ever be called a cut...it's not. It's a furlough to hurt kids.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I agree 4% isn't enough. That is why a number of us are still taking a 100% salary reduction. There will still be a significant number of layoffs and this year's budget problem will be happening for at least three more years. Understand that nobody is particularly happy with the results of this decision, but it is the option that passed. I will still lose several of my colleagues. If you want teachers to feel the same reality everyone else is living in go ask one of them.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I'm going to flag any post that seems to encourage "poli-terrorism". Yes, I'm looking at you, "Don't fire". Let's bring the focus back to solving the $9 Million deficit of the school district. The teachers chose to step up and cover half of that. What are you going to do to help solve the *immediate* problem facing our community?


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Posted by MeThinks
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Me thinks Rat Turd, Gunslinger, and Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes are one and the same or they've all been drinking from the same bottle.


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Posted by PUSD teacher and parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I am not a lousy teacher and neither are any of the teachers who are facing a layoff that I know personally! You have never been in my classroom and seen me work with children. You have never heard the thankful parents whose children I care for and educate. How dare you say the "bad ones" should be dumped! My children have had excellent teachers in Pleasanton and I am so thankful for all they do. Private schools are not the answer. There must be public schools for the majority of students who cannot or choose not to attend private school.

I'd love to see you in a classroom of students and see how you handle the daily things that teachers face. We are educating and helping to raise the children in this town. We see the kids more than many parents do because they are having to work long hours to make ends meet. We are a team. You are obviously not a team player!


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Even though I'm a teacher, I'll forgive your typos in exchange for hearing your answer.

What are you going to do to help solve the *immediate* problem facing our community?


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Okay. Come on in and see the difference between my classes of 24 and 34. One is higher achieving than the other. I'll let you guess which, then come see why.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:08 pm

By the way, "Don't fire", you replied with "I'm gonna ask you raise class sizes", but you didn't answer my question. I'll repeat and emphasize.

The teachers voted to cover half of a $9M deficit. What are *YOU* going to do to help solve the *immediate* problem facing our community?


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Posted by Wow
a resident of California Somerset
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:13 pm

"And public schools cost the average taxpayer far more per capita than does private, especially if private were the only way and thus we didn't have to double pay like we do today if we want to go private, being still compelled to pay into the public system, which is full of traitorous agendas"

So "Don't fire", please tell me how private schools compare in any way to public? They are completely homogeneous and have little to no services for special needs or troubled students. They just tell them to get out. I know this because my kids attend a private school. And, I also know I pay a crapload more than the $52 in ADA that the public school would get for my kids. I decided to send them to private school because I live in Berkeley where the public schools are deplorable. I would LOVE to have a public school my kids could attend safely because I do think they are missing out on so much being in a sheltered environment.

Please tell me "Don't fire" how you will educate the masses. ALL OF THEM, for less than $52 a day. Rules of the game are that you are not allowed to kick any of them out for just not being good students, or being disruptive or fighting. You may kick them out for committing a felony but that's about the only reason. Otherwise you are charged with teaching all of them, and teaching them well, for $52 a day.

Post your plan here for all of us to read. I would really like to hear it, maybe we can take your ideas to the school board.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Foothill Place
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Hey Don't fire,
You talk about our salary being 85% of the budget. So what? We ARE education. Who do you think teaches your kids all day long? You want us to be 10% of the budget? The other 90% should go to what, pencils? Books? Yes, the kids would just read and do the work all on their own because you raise perfect little self-learners.
Maybe your kids are perfect little self-learners but most are not and they need us to push them and to encourage them and to motivate them. We ARE education.


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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Reasonable parent, you said "People who go in to education do so with the knowledge that they're not going to ever see huge spikes in their incomes, like bonuses that are awarded in the private sector. Likewise, they don't expect to be subject to the same degree of losses during a downturn. Getting a job in the public sector is like investing in a CD, whereas jobs in the private sector are like investing in a stock."

1) I have never been in a job where I have been GUARANTEED a pay raise every year regardless of my performance.
2) The average HOUSEHOLD income in Pleasanton in 2007 was $113,345. I would guess it has gone down since then. Since that is household income and many households have more than one person working, the average salary in Pleasanton is significantly less than $113k. According to the Sac. Bee, the average teacher in Pleasanton earns $81928, which is very close to, and very possibly higher than the Pleasanton average.
3) Teachers are required to work 185 days. The school day is 7 hours. That includes prep time and lunch. That comes to 1295 hours per year. Yes, many spend signifcant additional time, but MANY do not. The standard full time work year is 1920 hours (40 hrs/week, 10 holidays, 2 weeks vacation). MANY in the private sector work many hours of overtime with no additional pay. In this economy it's required just to keep a job. So teachers work approximately 75% as many hours as most full-time workers.
4) Teachers have the opportunity to supplement their income by working in the summer.
5) The LOWEST salary on the step/column chart for a credentialed BA is 60371. Therefore, a married couple of teachers fresh out of college immediately has a higher income than the average Pleasanton household.
6) It's nearly impossible to fire a teacher with 3 or mores years experience.

I fail to see the sacrifice. Teachers work fewer average hours and have comparable pay to the average Pleasanton resident, yet they still have much more job security. I really don't think that most of us in the private sector have reasonable expectations of "huge spikes" in pay or large bonuses, but we do have far less job security.

The whole compensation system for teachers is broken and needs to be fixed. Excellent teachers in in-demand fields deserve more pay than they get. But the many mediocre teachers certainly do not. I blame the unions. This is very typical of the fiscal mess that the entire state is in.




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Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:02 am

Thank you Teachers!


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Posted by A Few Corrections
a resident of Civic Square
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:26 am

Sorry, but your statistics are outdated and misinterpreted.

You cited the 2007 MEDIAN income of Pleasanton households as if it was the AVERAGE (mean) income. "Median" means half of all households have incomes above that figure and half have incomes below that figure.

The true wealthy of a community is actually measured by MEAN (average) FAMILY income. By that measure, according to the most recent Census Bureau data (2008), Pleasanton has an average family income of $172,482, while California as a whole has an average family income of $60,482.

You can access all of these statistics at:

Web Link

p.s.--There is a rather windy explanation of the difference between "household" and "family", but I used to work for the Census Bureau and I can tell you that "family" income is considered the truer and more accurate measure of a community's wealth.

By that standard, Pleasanton is doing very good, indeed.



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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:31 am

Educated -

Well said. I believe teachers should be paid fair wages, but they need a reality check. So often I hear teachers talk about "living on a teacher's salary", well a teacher's salary in P-Town is nothing to complain about.

I also agree that the union is only harming our kids. Teachers job security and salary (raises) should be based on performance. When it's not, it's a disservice to our children.

Many good teachers will get laid off in the coming months while some lesser quality teachers with more seniority will be teaching our kids. That is a shame.

Yes on freezing Step/Column!
Yes on Parcel Tax!

We can work together to make P-town schools better!


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:37 am

Interesting article about a Rhode Island superintendent who fired every teacher and administrator at the high school when they refused to comply with changes to the school which included the teachers to work 25 more minutes/day

Web Link

I wonder how he was able to fire union teachers?


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Posted by Don't feed the troll
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:54 am

People,

"Don't fire" has successfully baited many of you and derailed this thread entirely. By now, people should know to ignore trolling on a site such as this. Please stop allowing yourselves to be baited and let's keep this thread focused on the topic.


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Posted by Jeremy Detamore- p-town teacher
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:28 am

When did it become ok to start calling each other names? Would this discussion be filled with such vitriol if it was being held face to face? Anonymity does not give any of us the right to be insulting. Before hitting submit, I think we should all ask ourselves, would I use these words if I was looking at the person I'm speaking to. If not, then rephrase. Let's keep it civil people. And why are we afraid to use our names? If our opinions are well founded then we should gladly claim them as our own. Just a thought.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:49 am

A Few Corrections - Average (Mean) income is not an accurate measure. The "Bill Gates" example immidiately comes to mind. If you and he are in the same room, looking at an average (mean) salary measurement, you would be doing exceptionally well. The most accurate measure would be a weighted average, but as that is not available, using the median measurement is far more accurate.

And to the teachers that have agreed to these concessions, again, thank you, but please realize that the concessions you have made, while significant, are not scalable or sustainable. So yes, we may be able to stumble through this school year, but this will not work for years to come. I only mention this because the community is going to ask for more, and you should be prepared to come to the table to explore options that put our children's education first (this concession does not do that), as will the community need to as well. We are moving in the right direction, but this is only the begining. Thank you again for taking the first step.


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Posted by Playfair
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

This is a great first step. Let's stop the finger pointing, and work as a community. This is a CRISIS, not an inconvenience. Our children's education is the foundation for our future. We need grass-roots activism to change our state budget process and how our state leaders prioritize education. It effects everything, our schools, our jobs, our economy. Contact your local and state representatives and remind them they work for you and your community. Ask your children's teachers how you can support your child's education. Get involved. Your heart will feel better and your finger won't hurt so much.


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Posted by Jamie Plummer
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:37 am

I grew up in Pleasanton, attended Foothill High, and was lucky enough to come back and teach there last year. I was the teacher that got a 100% pay cut in 09 because I was a first year teacher. You say my starting income was over $60,000... did you know that $800 every month was taken out of my check for healthcare?

These Pleasanton teachers are the most caring and hard working group of people I have ever had the honor of working with. Thank you teachers for all that you do and the extra hours that you put in when nobody is looking.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

I add my thanks to those above to the union leadership, the district negotiations team, and all teachers for your work on this issue.

I, too, appreciate this step toward concessions. I am, however, disappointed at the lost opportunity to add those instructional minutes to the remaining days of the school year. As Teacher pointed out, the educational expectations of students are not reduced by those furlough days. Adding back those minutes, in the interest of students, should have been an absolute.

I am saddened by any give backs involving staff development and teacher support. Also by the loss of the flexibility of a seventh period day. These decisions appear to have been made on the basis of what it saves in dollars and not because it can be mitigated in other ways or was part of an in depth look at the educational program for possible changes in delivery.

The truth is furlough days are used to maintain retirement benefits/per diem calculations. According to the data posted on the district's web site, the vast majority of PUSD teachers are in the highest column and highest steps of the salary schedule. It would not be a surprise to see many teachers retire sooner, assuming they can afford it. It certainly is understandable with the future of the state and K-12 funding straddling a fault line.

Another point is, if the article is correct, this is 4.3 percent over TWO years. There are, in fact, districts in the state talking about 7 and 8 percent cuts. It is likely those are furlough day discussions as well. We won't know for certain until those negotiations close.

These concessions are one step toward pulling this district back together. A new superintendent and a board election in November will be additional steps toward finding a governance team more aware of the balance between being responsive to all constituents (taxpayers) of this community and their employee groups (of whom many are taxpayers as well).

We are headed in the right direction, and it will take all the pieces of the puzzle to make any attempt at a parcel tax possible.


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Posted by VV Teacher
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

@VV Parent
WOW! Where are the boarded up windows, abandoned buildings, and decrepit factories with broken windows in Pleasanton. Pleasanton is certainly not the poorest city in the state, and as you well know there are not 50% of our students failing. I don't believe most of our teachers are making more than other Pleasanton residents. In fact, most of us can't even afford to buy a home here. Teachers are making concessions. They may not be the ones you wanted, so too bad. "We don't want to punish our teachers, we have some of the cream of the crop. But they should not be immune to actual paycuts and salary reductions, that the rest of the community is suffering from." Oh, so you don't want to punish teachers, but you want to find out how to fire them when you don't get your way. Also, it's okay for teachers to share in the downturn and sacrifice salary, but when the private sector was enjoying their bonuses, stock options and other perks, what were teachers doing? I'll tell you, we were giving up part of our cost of living increases so that your children could have specialists in PE and science at the elementary level.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

The teachers help solve half of the budget shortfall and part of the community is still not appreciative and cognizant of this constructive effort towards a solution.

Very nice, people of Pleasanton.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

This is a good start by the union but in my opinion does not do enough. Unless step and column is suspended, everything that has been done this year will be undone in a couple of years since raises are still being handed out. You cannot hand out raises when income does not increase; simple economics.

If this was an offer to a reduction in pay but working the same number of days, I would consider this a one-time cut and a concession. An offer of working less days hurts both the teachers and the students. This was a loose-loose proposition.

I am disappointed in what was offered and disappointed in the quote by Chris Grant saying this supports the students. It does not support the students by cutting class days. Taking a pay cut without cutting class days would be supporting the students.

I do support the teachers but am very disappointed in this union concession.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

Don't fire, Gunslinger, whatever: I'll stick my neck out here . . . I'm not anonymous. As you are not a stakeholder (unless you are a non-resident employee of the district?) in our community and not party to any solution(s) this community will seek, how about you give it a rest? Otherwise, you are just a s***disturber. This of course is my opinion and is not necessarily the view of this newspaper or others on these postings.


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Posted by can't believe
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

I just can't believe some on here are still proposing a parcel tax. Cutting spending (good thing) does NOT mean we have to tax more. In the spirit of "fairness" (overused word) more taxes does NOT solve the problem or make it more "fair" for those involved in the spending cuts.

I just heard today California has proposed imposing a tax of 4.5% on top of our homeowner's insurance policies to pay for fire departments. Fire and police are supposed to be paid for out of our property taxes already. California stole money from its citizens in the form of a forced payroll tax as a loan to the state in December and is proposing to pay back this theft in IOUs. Some cities are charging for legitimate 911 calls - $300 a pop to pay the city when a robber is in your house? Why aren't they cutting the government payrolls? The unfunded pensions of unions and public employees have broken our backs, and the rest of the country will see it with Medicare and Social Security. And so it is the same w/ education.


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Posted by Please
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

I may be wasting my time trying to explain this, but I'd like to clarify a couple of things.

First, it was the district that took a suspension of step and column off the table, not the teachers. Freezing it would require either a permanent change to the salary schedule or a huge jump in payout when the freeze was over. The DO was reluctant to change the schedule permanently because it is competitive and they wanted to keep it that way.

Second, furlough days do not mean teachers are going to work less. As others have pointed out, what is expected of teachers and students is not going to change. We are all going to have to work harder to cram the same material into less time. You're right in saying that this is not going to benefit the students, but doesn't mean an easier time or vacation days for the teachers.

Finally, try to put this in perspective. The teachers as a group vote on what the union and district agree to at the bargaining table. To say the teachers are being greedy or not giving up enough is not fair. In the last two years we have been presented with yes or no options regarding concessions twice, and both times almost 80% of us voted yes. If you're going to be unhappy with the level of give-backs no matter what, so be it. But keep in mind that your children's teachers have overwhelmingly voted to keep education strong for your kids, so to direct your anger at them is folly.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

Don't fire, Yeah, the SD comment may have crossed a line, but I'll stand by it. Start a thread on state or national issues, K-12 education, taxes, or anything else you wish to discuss. You are using every topic without necessarily being on topic. And look at what I've written on other threads. We actually may not disagree on the various points you make. In this case, though, it is a very local topic, and I feel like you badger everyone. Civil discussion, not always easy, is more likely to be beneficial. Again, personal opinion of mine.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

Please -

So its ok, and in the best interest of our students, to require them to learn more in less time, but its "teacher bashing" if we ask teachers (and administrators) to do the same work for a reduction in pay?

And yes, you are correct, teachers only had the opportunity to vote on the concessions that the union and administration presented. However, one would be naive to think that both the union and administration didn't have studies to identify what the probability of certain concessions passing would be.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:54 am

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:57 am

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I'll address my remarks solely to Kathleen Ruegsegger, with whom I disagree on many things, but respect nonetheless for posting under her real name (as I do). I will ignore replies from anonymous parties--you want to engage in a debate, use your real name. (And thanks to my colleague, Mr. Jeremy Detamore, for doing the same.)

Ms. Ruegsegger: So the pay cut that my fellow union members voted for isn't big enough for you?

But isn't it true that you work as an administrative assistant for the Palo Alto School District?

Have you been asked to take a pay cut of any kind? I'm guessing you have not, and that's because Palo Alto not only has a parcel tax, the voters may well increase it.

"A Palo Alto Unified School parcel tax proposal is on the May 4, 2010 ballot for voters in the Palo Alto Unified School District in Santa Clara.[1]

Voters are being asked to replace the current $493/year parcel tax and increases it by $96 a year, so that the parcel tax bill each year would be $589. Palo Alto's parcel tax at its current level funds around 6% of the school district's annual operating budget with the roughly $9.4 million it brings in.[1] The district's current parcel tax is set to expire in 2011.[2]

Tracy Stevens, Anna Thayer and Al Yuen are running the campaign to get the parcel tax approved. It will take a 2/3rds supermajority vote to win.[1]
Palo Alto voters approved a $378 million bond measure on June 3, 2008."

Information from here:

Web Link)

A $589 parcel tax in Palo Alto, while Pleasanton voters turned down a $233 parcel tax? Hm, no wonder Palo Alto isn't laying off administrators, custodians, secretaries, counselors, or teachers--the people of their community support them.

In case anybody wants to argue that Palo Alto residents are richer than Pleasanton residents, they're not.

Median family income for Palo Alto: $166,063
Median family income for Pleasanton: $136,593

Median family income in Pleasanton is 82% of Palo Alto's. Palo Alto has a $493 annual parcel tax and is seeking to increase it to $589. Pleasanton voters turned down a parcel tax of $233, which is 47% of the tax Palo Alto residents currently pay.

My question for Ms. Ruegsegger: Why is a pay cut and no parcel tax good for Pleasanton (the community where YOU pay taxes) but a pay cut and a huge parcel tax is good for Palo Alto (where you do NOT pay taxes but collect your salary)? Seems to me you want to eat your cake and have it, too.


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Hm, my link to Ballotpedia regarding the Palo Alto USD parcel tax doesn't seem to direct properly.

Please copy and paste this link if you wish to visit that webpage:

ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Palo_Alto_Unified_School_District_parcel_tax_(May_2010)

You will need to put "Web Link." in front of it, of course :)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Gunslinger, I didn't get to see what was deleted. Anyone can report your comments as objectionable. I suppose if enough people do, the comments are taken down. It's a private enterprise; their rules. I guess the best way to avoid deletion is to self police the comments. Strong points can be made without being offensive.

I'll even admit I often write off line first to give myself time to think. I believe I write better than I speak, where I can get caught up in the spirit of a debate and forget to put up the bumper guards.


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

We who fight the unions have a lot more to lose by being outted than you do Mr. Bradford. So you can think you're high and mighty for stating your name, but you're really just pissing most of this community off.

What's one of the consequences of us being outted? The harassment of our children. You think that's BS? Then you're naive


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Kathleen they erased what I was talking about with you. You definitely read that. Look they erased everything. I found a lot of things written here to be objectionable. That doesn't mean I get to censor it. Only obscene, inappropriate comments should be deleted. You disappoint Kathleen. I didn't think that you would agree with censorship just because a few people (union members) don't like what I have to say


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by thank you teachers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

To the 78% of teachers who voted to help our school system: Thank you!!!! I'm a parent who can relax finally knowing that things are going to work out. I've seen the emails from parents flying around last night and please know that the vast majority of parents are so grateful and willing to help too. Please don't worry about some of the comments you see here. We're going to get there! Thanks again!


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Hah! What lies


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Daniel, Point by point:
Not what I said. Pointing out the facts of the 4.3 percent.

Uh, where I work has hardly been a secret or anything else about me.

No, although I suggested one in the staff requested input (one of 12 or 13 ideas I submitted). Next part is incorrect, however. It's not just a parcel tax, it's a basic aid district. Let me know if you need to know the difference between that and PUSD, a revenue limit district.

You are painting a picture from limited information. There is a soft freeze on hiring there; jobs are not being backfilled, including administrators. For a full picture of the suggested cuts for their Tuesday meeting: Web Link That said, yes, it's a very supportive community. And I've indicated I would support a parcel tax here when our fiscal house is in order. I donated twice what was asked in the Measure G proposal directly to my grandchild's school.

So, careful where you challenge me; I walk the talk, or whatever the saying is now. So I get my cake there and spend it here.

And, I'll talk to anyone here or in person.


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Posted by thank you teachers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Not at all, it's the truth. Things will work out here and parents are going to help too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by thank you teachers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I said the majority of parents thank the majority of teachers. And we do. Thank you teachers.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Gunslinger, I have no high and mighty feelings because I use my name. I don't care if you use yours or not.

I only looked at this thread for the first time earlier today, so I did not see what you posted and that got erased. And unless the entire entry (name, etc) was removed, I don't see where you responded to my earliest postings.

Let me point out I just stated what I think policy is and that it's theirs to decide. Stand on a corner with a sign; I'll defend your rights there or in other public settings.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

How would the community feel if a guy got busted with child porn, but this media source tried to cover it up by leaving out the child part, you know the relevant part, and instead said he was busted for merely porn. He plead guilty to possession of porn. Keep erasing me Jeb. You corrupt cowards. I will go there if you force my hand. It will bury you


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm

[Post removed for being off topic and disrespectful to another poster.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Gunslinger, This is getting tedious because we are posting on top of each other in real time. Few would think me pro-union. And no, I don't belong to one.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Question: Does anyone know whether Kids Club will stay open on the furlough days, or will they reduce their fees to the parents for closing these three days?


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Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

[Post removed for being off topic.]


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Ms. Ruegsegger: Did you or did you not state that you thought a pay cut on order of 7-8 percent was what is needed in Pleasanton USD?

And a "soft cut" (through attrition, rather than pink slips) is a far cry from losing 70+ teachers and many administrative and classified staff from PUSD.

I opposed wage concessions AT THIS TIME from my union because last year, we offered wage concessions equal to the amount of the parcel tax (an average of $1,000 per teacher for a $233/year, four-year parcel tax) and the community said "no" to us. I voted "yes" for the $1,000 wage concession but "no" to this year's package of concessions because I see teachers being asked to make all the sacrifices, through loss of jobs and through greater workloads and loss of salary.

Yes, I know 62% of voters who went to the polls voted for the parcel tax, but voter turnout was very low. If another 800 people had turned out to vote "yes", we'd have a parcel tax that would ameliorate some of these cuts.

If the voters had approved the modest $233, 4-year parcel tax, I would have written a letter in favor of wage concessions, instead of one opposing it.

People say I misunderstand the "anger" in the community towards teachers. Perhaps the community misunderstand the sense of anger and betrayal that many teachers feel when they see our profession and our hard work getting disrespected in forums such as the Pleasanton Weekly and few, if any, people in the community counterbalancing that with expressions of support.

And no, I absolutely don't respect anyone who enters a very public debate, slings arrows at others, and hides behind a cloak of anonymity. Shame on the Pleasanton Weekly for allowing it.

I'm just a hick from a small town: Salina, Kansas. We Kansans aren't sophisticated like Californians. That's why my hometown newspaper, the Salina Journal, has this statement in its letters to the editor section:

"The Salina Journal welcomes letters to the editor; length is limited to 250 words, and must be signed and include an address and a daytime phone number for verification of authorship."

I guess it is true that I'm just a naive, unsophisticated country bumpkin who doesn't understand why people need to use pseudonyms and yet still demand respect and serious attention for their views.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I guess I don't see it as fear. Another Community could be anywhere (Danville or Timbuktu). Could be they don't see the posts as being relevant to a P'town discussion. It's not like the editors are my fans or friends. They don't call for my opinions, I can promise that much.

I've said plenty during the Measure G campaign that would have been considered as going against the will of the majority. Those posts are still there as far as I know. So, it is possible to participate. You can always call Jeb or Gina and ask without identifying who you are.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

[Post removed for being off topic]


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Daniel, I said other districts are considering those percentages and that was in response to a post saying PUSD's concessions were larger than anyone. It clearly wasn't true.

I have written why PUSD is failing. Not going to repeat it here.

An "if" was offered. That's been debated already as well. The community, or part of the community more correctly, said no because of the history of financial indiscretions of the current governance team.

It is common knowledge that many who said they would vote yes actually voted and voted no. Many believe it would not have ameliorated anything because there was no trust the money would have been spent as intended, as was the case with the donations.

If the management had done a lot of things differently, I would have written in support as well. Still would.

Clearly you misunderstand; there is and was no anger toward teachers. Teachers have lots of support through volunteering and class donations and fundraising and hard earned tax dollars. I'm sorry you don't see any of that. What is of concern is a system, not the individuals.

You speak with the safety of tenure, with the unlikely case of your children being marginalized.

Letters to the editor always require a signature; forums like this do not. You cannot compare the two.

A rose by any other name . . . Anonymity does not make people speak poorly; it's a choice.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

So if I may finally say my piece.

The unions are like a 600 pound person who loses five pounds and says "See, I've done my part, now gimme more candy."

I had more to say but I gotta get my groove back since they erased me ten times


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Don't fire, It may surprise you to learn I stopped reading your posts early upon your arrival to the PW (turnabout is fair play on this issue as well), genuinely. Don't know you're from Danville; don't care. Your posts are the most potent, most rabble rousing, most threatening in your less than humble opinion. They are also counterproductive, conspiratorial, and combative.

Between you and Mr. Bradford, I'm now fighting both ends against the middle. Yeah!


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Posted by bottom line
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I can't believe that people still have negative comments to make about the teachers! You should be grateful. If they weren't helping bail out the district, the children in this community would be facing devastating blows to their eduction. There are still more cuts that will be made, so it is not business as usual. So I'm appreciative and THANK ALL THE TEACHERS for being willing to make concessions for the benefit of others!


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

[Portion removed because it was off topic.]

Anywho, to bottom line, you don't get it. We need to be rid of the Infantile notion of small class sizes. These concessions you speak of are nothing compared to what really needs to be done. It would be like if someone was addicted to heroine, meth and pixie sticks. And then he says "I gave up the pixie sticks! Why aren't you happy?! Why do you not want to give me more money."

Smaller class sizes= Hiring more teachers

small class sizes serve the teachers unions first. Any benefits to the kids are minor and of secondary consequence to them


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Posted by Well Done Teachers...well done
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

To all Teachers:

THANK YOU for your continued support of education in Pleasanton. While many here will harp, nit pick, complain, whine, and generally dismiss ANY proactive efforts you make - please know there are many, many that stand and applaud you.

My suggestion to all teachers is to stop reading the messages left here on this forum. They do not represent (IMO) the views of most - and will merely frustrate you sine there will never be enough that you can do, to satisfy the SAME individuals that have been posting for a year.

Forget them! Your responses only allow them to post up... Yet again- their same "rants".

You know what you have done is a sacrafice - regardless of what some poster here may say.

You know that the loss of teachers this past year has not helped further educaton in our city.


You know how hard it is to teach up to 33 in a class.

You know that the sacrafice given by your vote will impact your own family.

And yet, you still move forward. I admire each one of you... And wish you nothing but the best.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I love how well done talks about how hard it is for the TEACHERS to command a class of 33 (please). What job isn't difficult? This is the root of the matter. Teachers want their jobs to be easy. Well that ain't the working world.

And it shows that it's the teachers who have the problem with a larger class, because they are incapable of teaching properly. That's why I say pay those teachers we keep even more, so that capitalism ensures we have the best brains at the helm of our classrooms. But such people could easily handle 40 kids, let alone 30.


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Posted by Well Done Teachers...well done
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Don't Fire:

you are exactly the poster I had in mind when writing above. LOL

In keeping with my own advice...... No further from me.

Enjoy. ;-)


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Don't Fire:

Are you a teacher? If not, you do not have the credibility to preach about how easy it is to teach 20, 30 or 40 kids in a class. Why don't you come teach for one hour in a class of 30 with 15 English Language learners, 5 autistic children, 5 GATE and 5 ADHD children? And not just teach - but be their counselor, coach, social referee, tutor, nurse, confidante, friend.

I believe that teachers belong to a special breed. They go into the profession not to earn money but because they have the passion to teach, serve and prepare minds. It is first and foremost a vocation to them. These are good people who will do their very best to teach the whole child with their hearts and souls no matter how bad the system is. When it comes down to the wire, it is the children whom they teach that matters, not the parents or community or people like you who throw stones at them.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I am a teacher actually.


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Posted by Miguel
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm

It seems sad that PUSD couldn't cut 4% of its administrative staff and save everyone the trouble ... the teachers I know at Amador really give their heart and soul. I'm not sure I can say the same for the administration.


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Posted by Stayed tuned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Miguel


Stay tuned...... ....


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Instead of undermining what teachers willingly gave up why aren't we looking at the fact the school board agreed to extend the three asst. sups. contracts for the next three years at their current salary.


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Posted by Parent volunteer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Nothing like a backhanded thanks Kathleen- you just cant go without insults to this district. Now for sure it is very clear, nothing the district does will ever be good enough for you. The survey isnt good enough, the give back isnt the right kind.....In that regard, you have about the same credibility as Gunslinger.

The fact is the administration and teachers have actively done something to work towards solving the budget issue that is plaguing all school districts in California, while a minority here see their "work" as actively complaining. That is not solving the issue- that is "work" to divide this community and cast doubt against the school district. Tired of hearing your "facts" that are really just your opinions. Not buying it this time from you.


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Posted by Parent volunteer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Miguel-last year 33% of administration was cut from PUSD

"the Pleasanton Unified Management Team (principals, vice principals, and District Office administrators) have also agreed to five furlough days for 2010/11 and to continue the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends. The savings from this action, approximately $240,000, is proposed to support the retention of a vice principal position at each comprehensive high school. For the current year, the Management Team had already agreed to three furlough days and the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends."

Amazing that the criticism continues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm

If you are indeed a teacher, Don't Fire, then you seem to be an anomaly.

There's always one in the bunch.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Holly Sanders
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Teachers - Thank you so much for your concessions, and please know there are many of us out here in the community that are appreciative of this. Now I am ready to start fundraising and take on any other necessary activities with our community, so we can try to maintain the quality education for our children during the worst budget crisis in the history of our state and, perhaps, country.


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Kathleen~
I am interested to read what your proposed changes for the district are. Do you have them published somewhere?
I don't know how to get heard in the district. I personally don't want to be a spokesperson, but I am surprised others have not joined forces to be heard. Or maybe they have and I am just not in the know. It seems like you have a lot to say. Do you write suggestions to the board or go speak at the meetings? I hope you do.

The teachers are saying that their furlough days will not make their jobs easier, and that they will not be days "off" as they will be figuring out new lesson plans since they will have less days to teach the same material. If that is the case, then why didn't they furlough non-instructional days? They would still have the teaching time, and could do their "teacher work day prep" stuff on their own schedules.

No, the concession wasn't enough. And it's not a genuine paycut. If our kids education was a priority, the furlough days would have been staff development days, not instructional days.

This makes me sad.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Sometimes I feel like if it were up to some people in this community, teachers alone would be taking a 12%, 15%, 50%, whatever number cut, to make up for the deficit, and that the community wouldn't be responsible for a dime of it. For those of you that say we aren't giving up enough, this is how I feel your solution would look like.

Really?? Unfair. On so many levels. Yes we are taking 8 days off without pay. Yes your kids now have to find something else to do on those days. Feel the impact yet? We do on a daily basis. Now maybe for those 8 days, some of you will too.

I appreciate SO SO SO much the community members that have posted on here saying that they appreciate and support us for these concessions. A voluntary pay cut is not an easy thing to vote for. Knowing that there are people in this community that do support us means the world and means that we did the right thing in voting for these concessions.


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Teacher from Golden Eagle neighborhood (that in itself is telling how well our teachers are paid)~

You answered my question as to why the furlough days will be instructional days instead of staff days - because you want to 'stick it to the parents' so we will "feel the impact".

I heard that teachers were actually upset because they wanted the days off to be more intrusive - like random Wednesdays instead of extra days tacked on to holiday breaks. They wanted to really burden the parents, and wanted them to "feel it".

As someone who DID vote for the parcel tax, and who DID give A LOT of money to the ILPS fundraiser this summer, and who WILL be lobbying for the next parcel tax, I find this abhorrent.




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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I'm battling a bad cold, so I'll make this mercifully brief.

VV parent wrote: "No, the concession wasn't enough."

No, it never is. That's why I warned my fellow union members that giving concessions at this time, without the community promising to share part of the burden via a parcel tax, was unwise. The community and the teachers have to meet each other halfway.

The 78% who voted "yes" for these concessions did so in the hopes of helping keep PUSD schools quality, and also in the hopes that by showing teachers are willing to make unilateral sacrifices, the community will step forward and provide additional funding.

It's a beautiful dream, but no more than that. Truth is, you don't get anything in politics--and that's what this is--unless you have something to give in bargaining. The teachers already bargained away their ability to say "no".

This time next year, it will be more layoffs (after a round of layoffs this year) and more pressure for wage cuts. This is how PUSD will gradually decline. Unfortunately, I think many will look back on the warning I wrote, urging teachers to "just say no" until they get some promises from the community, as a prophecy come true.

Holly Sanders, thank you for your kind words. I really hope that I am wrong and that people like you will prevail in the community of Pleasanton. We have such a wonderful district here, with so many great kids and supportive parents, not to mention a lot of first-rate teachers, which makes it all the more mystifying and frustrating when the community refuses to provide even a small parcel tax to mitigate this budget crisis.

Ms. Ruegsegger writes that I have the "safety" of tenure. Tenure is not safety; if the cuts go on long enough, even a teacher like me, who has been with the district since 2003, might have his job cut.

And Ms Ruegsegger writes from the safety of a job in the Palo Alto District, which has a substantial partial tax of $493 a year and is making a strong effort to increase that by $96 a year before it expires in 2011!

Perhaps Ms R would like to lobby for Palo Alto to repeal its parcel tax, since they are clearly the fount of all evil? But then she'd likely lose her job in that district as an administrative assistant. 'Tis a shame Ms. R doesn't practice what she preaches, and presents her own opinions as facts.

Just remember, for some people in Pleasanton, no matter what the teachers do, or what some of the parents do, their efforts and sacrifice will never, ever be good enough.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Parent volunteer, I've done my research on some of Kathleens points. You are foolish to compare her to me. She is by far more moderate than I. For you to lump her into my category just shows how moderation doesn't work on your type. Which is why I don't go there anymore. That's why my guns are blazing.

And if you want to label all suggestions as whining, then I will throw that right back at you whiner. Here's a suggestion, maybe I forgot to say it- RAISE CLASS SIZES TO 40 STUDENTS

DONT CATER AN ENTIRE SYSTEM AROUND ILLEGALS- as observer pointed out he feels we need low class sizes because half his students don't know how to speak the first language of this country. Why?! Why don't you all at least in spirit thus support control of our borders. You can't defend illegal immigration than ask us to fund their education at such an astronomical fiscal burden, and whine about how you have to teach them.

Why do so many kids have this so called ADD?!! What a load! They need to exercise more! We need greater phys Ed!!

There! Are you unionists listening?!! Was that what you may define as solutions?! Or does that fall under your broad cloak of complaining and fingerpointjng?!


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Posted by Another Teacher
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

"If that is the case, then why didn't they furlough non-instructional days? They would still have the teaching time, and could do their "teacher work day prep" stuff on their own schedules."

For the record, we have no more teacher work days this school year. In order to make a budget impact this school year, to help start solving the problem, we needed to take school days from this school year. Next school year, 2 of the days we are giving up are teacher work days at the beginning of the year. Rest assured, most of the teachers will still be at school preparing for the school year. We just won't be paid for it.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Daniel,
I disagree with your statement that the community and teachers must meet "halfway". The community does have a responsibility to help solve this problem, but it doesn't mean an even match. I think you fail to recognize that the community already pays for education. While you feel that teacher concessions are "never enough", many in the community feel the same about taxes - its never enough. You tell me, how much is enough Daniel? $233 this year an for the next four, until you move into the next step? Then what? Another tax to support your raise? Healthcare costs are still rising, are you going to hit me up for that next year as well, even after your colleagues voted to forgo healthcare benefits in favor of an increased salary and pension payout?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

To Parent Volunteer and Daniel:

This is interesting. If I respond to others with information that's already been vetted, it means I don't appreciate the concessions or teachers. Not true. I said we are headed in the right direction. I am looking forward to the coming changes.

I don't work with any "safety" in Palo Alto--I'm in one of the few at will positions in K-12 education. I posted the link for what is happening to PAUSD's budget. Read it. And do a search on my name and see how many times I have said I would support a well thought out parcel tax.

VV Parent--It's all out here somewhere or another. I had an interesting exchange on "what would your schools look like." I've said for some time that the union contracts, the new superintendent, two new board members, and a future attempt at a parcel tax were the key points for the community to be vocal about. I've written the board--met with two on a few occasions; I attended one budget meeting; I have spoken quite a bit with Sandy Piderit; also with Stacey and with others for and against Measure G. I provided input for the superintendent search and to the budget email. I write to legislators here and there from our state, to other key leaders, and to Washington. They don't write back much. I don't want to overstate, this is not a lot of people, but they are key people. I've learned from all of them.

To all Teachers: I have friends, family, and people I work with in education that are or were teachers. For the best of you--and there are many, you have my deepest respect for the work you do. I do have concerns or reservations about K-12 education where I will continue to raise questions, but they are not addressed to the work of individuals. I am not your enemy, but you can determine that for yourselves.


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Posted by typical pleasanton resd
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:09 am

Teachers - please ignore all the backstabbing and ungrateful idiots who tend to anonymously use this forum and who fail to support you. Most of these people probably do not work at all, much less in a career with low pay, no paid medical or dental benefits, and in a position that significantly influences the future of society, so please forgive their complete ignorance and the fact that they are totally out of touch with the reality of your situation. I'm sure I speak for the vast majority of normal, thoughtful people when I say that I appreciate your hard work and the concessions you have accepted. I recognize that these are not "vacation" days as the moronic ignoramuses would suggest. Rather, they represent LOST INCOME for you because they are days you would normally work and get paid. I guess some people resent the fact that they have to care for their own children on these days. Please keep up the good work - do not let the comments of spoiled, entitled, verbal, idiotic Pleasanton residents affect your efforts. The rest of us, who are busy working for a living, don't usually take our free time to post on these forums, and to some extent that is our own fault. I just wanted you to know that you are appreciated far more than you will find here.


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Posted by Caesar
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 5:25 am

That is not a pay cut
The reduction in pay is a result of days off.
A pay cut is when you do the same work for less pay.
They won't suspend step and column. I won't vote for a parcel tax



At this rate, they will be off 6 months a year.


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Posted by Not a good deal
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:06 am

I will not vote for a parcel tax. This is not a good compromise, the teachers did what was best for them, not the students. If you look at the days the agreed to have "off without pay" it is right before holidays, so many teachers are absent anyway, they just won't get paid for them or have to pay the sub.

However, it is not really a paycut. A paycut is when you do the same amount of work for less pay. These lazy teachers said: sure a "paycut" but do not expect me to work yet the students have to do the same amount of work with less days in school.

A true paycut would have been to take the days off from teacher work days, not instructional days.

Also, a note to those who plan to donate to music: DON'T!

By eliminating the 7th period, music will have few enrolling. Do NOT waste your money on music until you see whether these classes will have any enrollment at the high school level. Funny part is, the middle schools still get their A (extra) period because "collaboration" (late wed) is still a part of middle school.

But elementary still gets Science specialists? Give me a break. This is something Grant and Hintzke (do they have college degrees?) pushed for a fought for. But we do not need Science specialists in elementary, a GOOD teacher should be able to teach the curriculum, but of course we must not have good teachers in elementary if they cannot cover basic science material!

So teachers don't pat yourselves on the back. And if you want money, don't count on parcel taxes. Instead, get all the parents from the 9 elementary schools to give it to you. They are the ones who will benefit from all you "concessions" - elementary schools do not have the material that high schools have to cover. So days off in elementary do not matter, in high school they do.


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Posted by P-Town Dad
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:39 am

My objective viewpoint is this:

1. Thank you teachers for coming to the table with a willingness to work together. Too often unions dig in their heels and threaten a strike as their opening ante.

2. The unpaid days off will require teachers to adjust their personal budget. However, taking unpaid days off is not the same as working the same amount of days with less pay.

3. Without addressing step and column, this is a one-year solution.

4. I am already making significant concessions. The cost of my children's sports involvement has gone way up! Last year, my child's high school sport cost me far more than the cost of the proposed parcel tax.

5. Before I vote 'yes' for a multi-year parcel tax the teachers and district must agree to multi-year concessions including giving up step and column increases.

6. The issue of reducing lifetime pensions hasn't even been brought to the table yet. This is a significant budget item and benefit that hasn't even been discussed yet. We cannot judge costs, benefits and concessions without taking lifetime pensions into account.


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Posted by Parcel Tax not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:32 am

Daniel B. talks about Palo Alto and its parcel tax. Parcel taxes are NOT the solution, not even in Palo Alto. Unions continue to get their perks at the expense of the students. Read about the cuts to high schools in Palo Alto even with the high parcel tax:
Web Link

And it is not just high schools, other levels are about to suffer as well, but their employees keep getting raises, step and column, they keep too much staff.

We will see if Palo Alto renews and increases their parcel tax, because so far it has not helped them keep programs, only unions that are happily demanding more and more.

PUSD must address issues such as:

- step and column

- union perks and benefits, retirement

- administrative waste (allowances, too much staff)

Until we address the unions and how they are driving every industry into bankrupcy, we cannot and should not give more money to anyone, not PUSD and not the state of California.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:51 am

typical pleasanton resd -

Your post suggests you are anything but. A "typical Pleasanton resident" is educated, able to think critically, form an argument based on facts, and leave 2nd grade name calling tactics at the table. You are no better than those you aim to attack. This concession will allow us to limp through next year, but what about next? Do you think it is scalable? Do you think when S&C kick in next year and we face another deficit, the solution should be again, more school days off? If the crux of your argument is "lost income is lost income" then shouldn't it be that the source of this lost income support education first? You are right to feel upset and angry, but your anger is misguided.

Critizing the concession is not "teacher bashing".




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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:55 am

Not the answer: The link you provided loaded strangely enough for me to wonder about it, and it is dated 2004 where cuts were done during a previous downturn in property tax growth. Try Web Link Item 8 for current budget reductions being proposed.


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Posted by Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:21 am

Katleen,

I cannot find the current year link. But here is an article for 2010 cuts to Palo Alto:

Web Link

For a school district with such a high parcel tax to be talking this type of cuts, it is amazing.

An acquaintance in Palo Alto keeps me informed of the changes over there. You said the community was supportive, so far because they too are getting tired of all of this.

No one has escaped the realities of this economy, not even Palo Alto residents.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:23 am

None of the current "problems" have anything at all to do with the local district or California for that matter. There were no "unsustainable" raises given to teachers. In fact the raises given were probably not adequate. The current PUSD deficit was completely caused be a once in a century global financial crisis. It was caused by unregulated speculation in the derivatives markets, not "excessive pensions" or salaries any of that. None of that is the cause. Keeping 1 or 2 million extra in reserves would have done very little to help with the budget, and we would have still needed substantial tax increases to maintain our school quality.

1. Step and Column does not need to be fixed. Who invented calling this a problem? We need to fully fund it.

2. Perks for Administrators are not excessive or wasteful. This is utter nonsense. We need to continue to attract the best talent to PUSD. And that includes cell phones and car allowances.

3. The current administration is doing an excellent job. Parents move to Pleasanton for the excellent schools. This improves the quality of life for all of us.


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Posted by Elaine
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:36 am

When you have the Teacher's Union dominating our public school system, there is NEVER enough money for them. Listen to the NEA's chief legal counsel, Bob Chanin, below actually ADMIT that the NEA's top priority is NOT ABOUT THE KIDS...it is about more money to the Unions!

Videoclip >>> Web Link

I personally will NEVER give our public school systems one more dime until the unions are dramatically reduced or eliminated (which will never happen when democrats are in power).


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

@Don't Fire:
re: Raise class sizes to 40. Come on in and see the difference between my classes of 24 and 34. One is higher achieving than the other. I'll let you guess which, then come see why.

Again: The teachers voted to cover half of a $9M deficit. What are *YOU*, as an impassioned member of the community, going to do to help solve the *immediate* problem facing Pleasanton?

@Another Teacher:
"For the record, we have no more teacher work days this school year. Next school year, 2 of the days we are giving up are teacher work days at the beginning of the year. Rest assured, most of the teachers will still be at school preparing for the school year. We just won't be paid for it."

Amen. I'll be one of those.

My $0.02:
I think that this concession is *not* good news for the students or parents...less instructional days means less learning. But it saves programs which make a difference, such as Barton reading, and others. Also, it's a wake up call that the funding system is broken. This is part of an immediate fix, but what is our district/state/country going to do to fix the system in the big picture?


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:47 am

Yes reader, your local demands do have to do with californias state problems. The state required low class sizes because a bunch of local unions demanded it until it became a statewide mandate. Now you can make excuses that local issues don't effect the state. I don't hear any teachers here saying "Yeah I agree the infantile class size ratio is ridiculous and burdensome, however we can. Do anything about that mandate so help us out."

No! They are happy to defend such state mandates, and illegal immigration, and group homes and a miilion other things which result in our local classes being overpopulated.

The facts are that nothing provides the biggest bang for the buck as raising class sizes. It does not effect 99% of the students and it cuts out more than %30 of the education budget.

Teachers salaries are the school budget. Everything else is marginal. Raising class sizes PERMANENTLY will not only save the education system bu the state itself from bankruptcy. Public education is the largest consumer of taxpayer dollars. Being that teachers' salaries are effectively the education budget, this means that teachers salaries are the most burdensome consumer of taxpayer property. By lowering class sizes the public school system was forced to hire twice as many teachers. And so low class sizes are the root of taxpayer burden. End of story!!!

And if class sizes were so important to our kids future (not), but if they were then why do the unions fight for illegal immigration rather than against? Because more kids means more hiring of teachers! Get it

And so you see that the unions are for anything that requires the hiring of more teachers. They don't care about our kids. They don't pity the illegal immigrants. If illegal immigration somehow forced us to fire teachers, you better bet they'd be putting all their force behind protecting our borders.

The unions were for putting junk food into our schools because the candy was taxed and thus went to the "schools," ie: their salaries. When Arnold tried to get rid of junk food in schools the unions fought passionately against him, saying "he wants to take money away from your children!" What?! They argued that the kids would buy the candy somewhere else anyway. Oh is that right. Well then I suppose we should provide Porno, cigarettes, whatever! After all, they do usually get that somewhere else. The idea that they may eat bad outside of school is irrelevant! A school is supposed to teach the RIGHT WAY, the ideal! Nevermind that the kids sugar laden bodies is what's truly behind ADD and the like, along with a lack of physical activity. They don't care about your kids! They will scrounge a buck out of anything at your kids expense!!


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:56 am

And teacher, just cause you can't handle 40 kids doesn't mean no one can. You might not be up to the nob. I'm fine with that. We'll have to replace you with someone who is. With all that extra money we'll be able to pay those teachers we keep more, thus hiring the best who absolutely can handle 40 kids a class and we're still way ahead fiscally.

You want to keep saying what am I doing. Homeboy, I ain't the problem. You are. Don't come to me with your bloated, corrupt system and demand I meet you halfway. You wanna repeat your same line, well then I throw the same line back at you. You unions are like an obese 600 pound person who has been living off our welfare and we finally get sick of it, so you lose 5 measly pounds then come to us looking for more candy. No! Us needing to meet you halfway in this scenario is a complete non sequitor. You're like a thief who steals forty dollars. I ask that you give it back. You give me five in return then say "Now what are YOU doing to meet me halfway?"


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

Sorry for the typos. I meant to say that you're not up to the job teacher


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

you know what, you're right. Now that I think of myself as a 600 pound person or a thief, I can't help but agree with you.

I can handle 40 kids. I can;t teach them as effectively as 34 or even 24, so if you want a less educated future for your town/state/country, let's raise it to 40.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

To Elain,

Unions have nothing to do with the current budget shortfall in PUSD. This is the myth that the rapid anti-government people keep repeating, hoping enough people believe it. We are currently in global financial crisis cause completely by reckless derivatives speculation by "financial" companies like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and AIG. Without that, there would not be any need to ask the taxpayers for a parcel tax at this time.


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Posted by To P-Town Dad
a resident of Avignon
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:17 am

Pensions for teaching staff is self funded. We pay 8% mandatory into STRS for our entire career. Not sure how the admin is funded or if they are. Admin is not part of APT/CTA/NEA, but any cuts we take they take. I am hopeful this pay cut will encourage a few of the lingering admins to retire at the end of 09/10, we could use some new blood.
It's interesting that so much of the perceived problem with education lies in the unions. The administration is not union protected and in all my years of teaching I have experienced more incompetence with that group than with teachers. Yet I never have seen any of them removed or penalized. I honestly don't care one way or another about the union, take it or leave it. I just do my job and do it well, that's how I was raised. I will give back 5% of my salary along with the thousands I spend in my own classroom. I know that the negativity on this blog represents so little of this great community. I am happy and proud to work with your kids and I am thankful to be able to live in Pleasanton so that my own kids can attend these awesome schools.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:18 am

Yeah, well that obviously wasn't my point teacher. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment toward another poster.] When I say handle, I mean with equal efficacy. If you want to threaten us with a lower education if we ask you to step up, then I guess you CAN'T handle it.

Many of my friends in the private sector, you know the real world, the sector that pays for your sector, have gotten unpaid "promotions," which simply means they're working more for the same pay. Do you think they have the nerve to tell the boss "fine but the work will be subpar." The boss would fire their butts and hire someone who would do what they require. In fact, the employees are working even harder at the jobs they previously performed, along with the new burdens, because they're so darn grateful to have a job at all. We the taxpayers are your bosses. Like it or not we pay your bills. You don't come to us with a snippy teenage attitude and expect more money. We'll drop the hammer on you


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

A reader, you don't get that we have been thinking that the education system was bloated for DECADES!!! This recent recession just forced our hand. People will allow waste when there's plenty of moolah. But when the sugar hits the fan they are forced to confront all wastefulness. Yes the bankers are scoundrels! Yes the fed is a POS!! Yes they are all corrupt and so are the unions!! To the taxpayer you appear to all be different tentacles of the same beast attempting to rob us and destroy the very fabric of our civilization.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:33 am

To "typical pleasanton resd",

I'll second that. The uneducated few posting these ridiculous comments are not in any way typical of Pleasaton residents. How many of them understand multivariate and vector calculus, organic chemistry, or quantum mechanics? How many have read and understood Shakespeare or translated Virgil? Are any of them contributing to the future of their community or society? No, these people sit next to their radios overdosing on ignorant self indulgent blathering of high school dropouts like Rush Limbaugh. Childlike and incapable of thinking for themselves they can only regurgitate the what they hear on talk radio.

Don't worry. Those people are very much in the minority.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

I just want to add that I am disgusted by all the name calling and mudslinging on this blog. Let's try to keep things civil.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:49 am

a reader: I would love to have a conversation with you. I think you may be the only person who literally believes the points you are listing.

1. Three years of raises with no guarantee of raises in the COLA or continued enrollment growth is and was unsustainable. The state, national, world concerns aren't helping, but the snowball was already rolling down the hill in 2005-06.
2. Step and column is possibly a flawed system; tenure too. There are any number of solutions.
3. Perks for administrators should be eliminated: pay one fair salary, and no more.
4. There aren't rose colored glasses thick enough to make the first part of that statement true and all the evidence to the contrary has been presented. We do have great schools, great parents, bright children. Yes, that makes it a good place for all of us to live, as do parks, a low crime rate, access to jobs throughout the Bay area, access to entertainment, cultural events, museums, wildlife, shopping . . .


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Posted by Hector
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

Reader:
Public employee pensions are driving counties and the state towards insolvency. The liability associated with paying the pensions far exceeds the money that has been allocated, so yes unions are a huge part of the problem. Over 80% of CA state employees are union members versus about 7% of private sector employees. CalPers also engaged in speculation not just the investment banks.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

Hah! Keep things civil reader?! You call people dropouts and blatherers and a number of other things. Hypocrite. Let me say that I agree that Limbaugh is a fat blowhard. I never listen to him or Fox News. I normally hate Beck, though his speech yesterday wasn't bad, as scattered as it was sometimes. But that's cause I have a soft spot for anyone who takes on the Fed. But that's why I like Spitzer the most. Obamas pretty good on this too, which is why I like him. But when people become "uncivil" it's because they have had enough. As you felt when you railed on Limbaugh, cause you despise him. Well that's how we feel about the unions. Your type has slung as much mud, you're just so sensitive when it's slung back

You personally attacked those like me in your snobbish public teacher way, talking about how we don't know as much as you. Hah! Most of us could debate you under the table on ANY subject. History happens to be my favorite subject if you'd ever like to test your wits against me. I assure you my accomplishments in the real world required more intellectualism than you could comprehend. I'm sure the same is for most your opponents. Your snobbery is indicative of most public school teachers. You think you're smarter than everyone. Hah! It's such a joke. You know what, this certainly isn't true for all, but is for most- those who can't DO... Teach


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

"Public employee pensions are driving counties and the state towards insolvency. "

Fine. That has nothing to do with the shortfall in the PUSD that we are currently experiencing. That is a myth. This is all coming from Washington and Wall Street. We would not have experienced this huge dip in money from taxes were it not for the credit crisis. The credit crisis directly resulted from the collapse of several large, interconnected financial institutions. California pension plans invested in mortgage backed securities, and that was speculation. But the very same institutions that sold them those securities were betting even more heavily against them using instruments like credit default swaps. Goldman Sachs was selling CalPers collateralized debt obligations as "safe" investment grade bonds while at the very same time betting against those bonds using derivatives. A transparent, properly regulated derivatives market would have COMPLETELY prevented this, and there would be no budget shortfall for PUSD.

People want to latch on to an easy explanations for problems. Do a little digging, and things don't always look as they appeared at first glance.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

To VV Parent:

Wow really?? If you seriously think that a teacher in Pleasanton could afford a house in Golden Eagle, you need a reality check. My parents live there. For the first year or so that I was teaching in Pleasanton, I had to live with them because I couldn't afford to do anything else. So please, do not make comments about people's personal lives when you have absolutely no idea.

Thank you for voting for the parcel tax and donating. Unfortunately, there are many people in this district who did not vote for the parcel tax and who did not donate. Those are the people I feel we need to target and inform them on what really is going on with the budget. There are many parents out there who I know 100% will say "oh sweet! Another 3 day weekend! Jonny, why do you have this monday off?? OH well! Let's go on vacation!" And they won't understand why we no longer have school that day. So yes, in a sense, it is to make a point. Not to people like you who understand where it is coming from, but for the many many many people in this community that will have no idea. I do feel bad that it will put a burden on many people and child care and of course, why wouldn't I personally want an extra 3 day weekend?? But, the point (in my opinion) needs to be made. If anything, next year's 3 instructional days (5, but 2 are staff development) haven't been decided yet and I am hoping that at least 1 of those 3 is a random wednesday.

I think we can all have a civilized conversation without the generalizations and stereotypes. Please.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

"You call people dropouts and blatherers and a number of other things. Hypocrite."

Um, it was an attempt at humor.

And I am not and never have been a teacher.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:37 am

Reader,
The credit crisis has played a part, exposing an unsustainable growth in investments backed by nothing "real". Like he private sector, unions used the "bubble" to increase pay and benefits - now the bubble has burst and so have the private sector compensations that were indirectly tied to it. The same needs to happen in the public sector. So while teachers are not to blame for the problem, they share a responsibility in recognizing that the phenomenon that brought them the increases is no longer present - rendering the benefits they received under it no longer sustainable. Its not about assigning blame, its about fixing the problem.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

Oh so calling those who disagree with you childlike and incapable of thinking for themselves, was that just humor reader? You lacked civility there and you know it. But that's okay. We need to all stop being so sensitive to how a message is put forth and focus merely on the message


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Posted by a parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:37 am

The reason some are voicing a negative attitude is that we have a small number (relatively) of pathetic teachers in this district that make a huge negative impact on the lives of the children they teach. If we got rid of them and the Union, and were left with the wonderful, hard-working teachers who really do care, there would be more support. Thank you to the wonderful teachers who make a difference! Your efforts are very appreciated!


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

parent: I agree (well maybe not the "pathetic" part) but there are some teachers who are probably past their prime. The tenure system is certainly something that needs to be reformed. Is it going to happen in the next year? No. I hope parents wouldn't refuse to help the district because of those few teachers.

And thank you for your support of the rest of us:)


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Posted by Parcel Tax Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Here is another article about Palo Alto, and for 2010:

Web Link

It shows how even in good districts, the salaries come first, students last. They would rather raise class size but no layoffs, as the article says.


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Posted by Parcel taxes Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

"but no layoffs"

I meant no layoffs to other staff that may be not as needed (too much staff is not unique to PUSD)

What is going on in Palo Alto shows us what all districts would have if they could get away with it: keep asking for more and more.

palo alto already has a 493 parcel tax, now they want more than than and we will see if they get away with it in May.

But they are not talking about laying off or trimming expenses where needed. Instead they go to the community crying about cancelling programs, increasing class size, their budget this year (no teacher pink slips) assumes the 1.8 million they will get when the community votes in May to increase the tax. Even then, they say they will have a deficit.

Long term, what all districts including PUSD and Palo Alto need to do is fix the broken system and stop the raises, the outrageous expenses. Taxes and fundraising only serve as temporary fixes.


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

@ Teacher in Golden Eagle,

You are right, I should not assume anything about where you live. About having to live with your parents when you were first hired, just know that a lot of people who first enter their field don't make enough money to live on their own. I am not saying teacher's make an outrageous amount of money, but I do believe Pleasanton teachers are paid fairly.

I REALLY want a parcel tax in the near future. The only way I see that happening is if the teachers were to take a *real* pay cut - meaning same amount of days worked for less money. I understand you think by taking furlough days it will make the community & parents *wake up*, and vote for a parcel tax, but instead it is doing the opposite. It is making people angry that it wasn't a true concession, and they are less likely to vote yes on a parcel tax (not myself included - but this seems to be a general feeling that I worry about).

If the community saw teachers willing to continue to work the 8 instructional days for less pay, and we saw a freeze on the step/column, I am certain the community would step up to the parcel tax.

Please know that I am voting yes on a parcel tax either way. My kids have too much to lose not to. But I worry about it getting enough votes again. I want the teachers to make better concessions to motivate the community to vote yes. I don't think the teachers should have to carry the full burden of this budget crisis. And I don't think if they made more concessions the community would just say "good, now we don't need a tax". I think it would motivate them to step up to the plate and work together.

Yes on Step/Column freeze
Yes on a *true* pay cut
YES ON A PARCEL TAX


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

And yes I agree with P-Town Dad (I think it was) who says the tenure system is broken.

There are not a lot of awful teachers in the district, but when your child has one, it is devastating. We need to get rid of teachers who aren't performing (regardless of age, as that's not always the factor) and keep the great ones. It's heart breaking to see wonderful teachers get pink-slipped when others should be the ones to go.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Not the answer: Please read what is being proposed in PAUSD. Web Link (Item 8 for those who wish to read the full report.)

There are unfilled positions and recommendations for layoffs on the classified side. And PA is talking about 22:1 K-3 and 24:1 at 4-5. Still below what PUSD proposes. There are nearly $4 million in cuts on the list, a healthy reserve they will rely on, and the hope for an increase to the parcel tax. Should the requested parcel tax increase fail, they still have a year to plan before the current parcel tax expires. They have eliminated long-term future commitments to retiree health benefits. They are relatively healthy by comparison. I say this only to be clear about the differences.




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Posted by NONE
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I am a new resident to Pleasanton - moving here because I thought it was a welcoming community that supported teachers - schools and public education - After reading this I am ashamed of all of the negative comments toward the fantastic teachers that this district is lucky to have. Support your teachers through this challenging time - and please KEEP YOUR KIDS in school....Vacations can happen later - every day in school, brings more money to help!


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Posted by Parcel Taxes Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Kathleen,

Also read what they say: they ASSUME the parcel tax will pass. So the 22 and 24 class sizes assume that in May the community will vote yes on the tax.

Also, it says that even if the tax passes, there will be a deficit and their solutions do not solve anything long term:

"The first $2.1 million will be used next year under the plan discussed Tuesday. And if the parcel tax passes in May, tax revenues will jump by $1.8 million. That's why the district is only looking at $3.7 in immediate cuts, despite the $7.6 million deficit."

The bottom line is: instead of freezing step and column, getting rid of expenses, they assume the community will say yes to an even bigger tax. Probably next year they will do the same since the state budget is not growing any time soon.

Asking for more money is not the solution. Trimmin expenses, freezing raises, that is what we need, and Palo Alto is the perfect example of administrative abuse and continued threats to the community unless they get more money.


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Posted by No parcel tax
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

At the last board meeting, it was suggested that elementary schools had too many cuts and if the cuts were spread around to middle and high schools, the parcel tax would pass.

WRONG! By having eliminated the 7 period day in high school, the board will have a difficult time enlisting support from those parents. Even those of us with kids in elementary but also kids in high school will say NO. We know that elementaries do not need counselors, or science specialists. We know that high school matters and cuts will affect greatly, a parcel tax when implemented will be too late for high school students to benefit.

So whoever said to spread the cuts to enlist support did not know understand the impact of said cuts in high school.

We know that now with the high school cuts, we have to give more money for extracurricular activities and will have to make up for cuts.

You won't get money or parcel tax by having essentially eliminated by default high school programs.

They should have done a freeze to step and column.


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Posted by Miguel
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm

To Parent Teacher RE: Administrative Cuts: "Amazing that the criticism continues"

You suggest that the administration has given enough ... Now, in business the executive is responsible for a balanced budget ... in school admin terms they are merely concerned about cutting "their personal salary" to meet with reasonable expectations. NOT ENOUGH! Admins don't teach, therefore are THE MOST EXPENDABLE part of the budget. If a balanced budget should target anything, it would be to NON-CRITICAL functions such as bureaucratic management. Teachers are the core, start cuts from the top until the budget requirements are met. Flatten the management pyramid ... There is really no argument against that logic.

So,in conclusion, NO! you haven't given enough, because you have not cut enough from your side of the bargain. Remember, education of children is the goal, not administration life-styles.


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Posted by Miguel
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

One more note on this subject: We live and work near Silicon Valley. It's a tough world, but one that gives us an abundant lifestyle. One of the downsides of technology is that the business model becomes outdated, fails economically and the business goes bust ... pure and simple ... most of us have had some direct dealings with this "otta here" phenomenon.

Now my point is: Administrators have to own up to the fact that schools are not in the business of keeping administrators in business but kids educated. When that fails adjust the business model, cut budgets, raise revenues. I really honestly believe the "false issue" is choosing between teachers and programs, when it should be choosing between teachers and administrators .... to me that's an easy choice.

Ask yourselves this: "What do we face everyday in the rough and tumble world of the VALLEY? Why are school administrators exempt from the reality of their own circumstance. IF: a manager in the Valley failed to make his/her division profitable would they get small cut in their salary ... OR???"


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I'm not complaining about living with my parents at all. Just explaining why I am from Golden Eagle. I think I am paid well for the profession I am in, considering we all know that the salary is not a reason people get into this profession. Also consider though, that my health care costs are about $600 of my paycheck every month (NO I was not in the district when this was voted on therefore can't do much about it right now) and because of where I am on step/column I have not received a pay increase in my 3 years of teaching. I'm not complaining about any of this. This is what I chose to do and I am comfortable with the paychecks I get. However, please understand why it is SUCH a big deal for people like me to voluntarily take a wage cut for the rest of this year and next.

People say we didn't do enough for concessions. Let's be realistic, it will never be enough. We weren't given the option to vote on 8 days off vs 8 days working without pay. That was simply not an option. So, with the options we were given, 78% voted on a voluntary wage cut for this year and next.

While it may not be what everyone wants (community and/or teachers), it is a huge step. Will those days of instruction lost for your student be the difference between them graduating or not? Probably not. Will they really lose that much information? Probably not. Will it save the district a ton of money and hopefully bring back programs and great teachers? Absolutely. Let's look at these concessions as a very positive thing and a great step in the right direction for the district, rather than "not enough".


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Posted by David
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

The days off were going to be forced by the district anyway. This is a dissapointing ploy to avoid any real cuts.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

At the negotiating table it was likely either a 'voluntary' pay cut, or more 'involuntary' layoffs. What actually went to the teachers to ratify remains to be seen.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

To PP,

" now the bubble has burst and so have the private sector compensations that were indirectly tied to it."

I get your message, but "private sector" companies like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are paying out record bonuses this year. I say "private sector" because I don't think these are really private companies, considering the bailout dollars they got from the government directly and indirectly (through AIG).

I agree that fixing the problem should be the focus.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

To teacher,

At least people aren't saying that this is actually a raise and not a pay cut. They are saying it isn't a real cut. That is progress.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

If it isn't a real cut, then please explain to me how after doing the math on my own paycheck for the rest of this year and for next, I will be making less money. Not a real cut??

I don't really care what people are calling it. The proof is in my paycheck and in everything that will be brought back because of what we are giving up.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Not the answer: You are quoting from articles, not from what is being presented to the PAUSD board. I believe staff is presenting the budget information realistically.

Seque: if S&C is not frozen, next year's 5 days is somewhat offset by any movement on the salary schedule. Okay, maybe it's a ding rather than a dent, but it's worth mentioning.

For teacher, I believe we all understand that you will bring home less. The disconnect is with furlough days. Most people, as has been pointed out, take the cut and still have to show up at work. While I understand why furlough days are the preferred route to reductions, they hurt students and teachers and parents who may have to take off if they don't have Kids Club or other child care options.


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Posted by Sadism Detector
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Feb 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

The district is facing an $8 million budget crisis and the teachers have agreed to pay for more than half of the deficit out of their salaries. But it seems some people aren't satisfied with this solution because it's not painful enough to teachers.

You can dress it up any way you like with false arguments about how pensions and unions (instead of a housing and credit crisis) have led to this, but the bottom line for some is simply, "I don't like some teachers (or I'm jealous of their summers off) and I want to hurt them all."

Nice.

Our educators deserve much, much better than this.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm

SD, To determine how we get beyond furlough days as a way to resolve local and state education budget shortfalls, the continued discussion is important. Many of us want to be more than spectators in resolving the bigger issues.

These concessions are a significant step, but they aren't a permanent fix--unless you agree fewer instructional days or no staff development is a positive, permanent solution. Then you can say half the projected problem is resolved.


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Posted by Parcel Taxes Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm

"Not the answer: You are quoting from articles, not from what is being presented to the PAUSD board. I believe staff is presenting the budget information realistically."

What I quoted from the articles is just a nice, and accurate summary of page 3 of the PDF file (item 8 of the Board of Education, Palo Alto, obtained through the link you provided to PAUSD), so what is the problem? The article is just a nice summary.

Bottom line is that Palo Alto is counting on the 1.8 million from the parcel tax they hope to pass/renew/increase in May, 2.1 from the general fund and the rest from cuts to programs such as language learners (english tutors), reduce high school teaching periods, increase in class size, etc for instance.

No mention to freeze to step and column, or any other items that make sense.

Like other districts (Cupertino and San Ramon for example) Palo Alto is relying on the community to give more and more, while they continue to threaten to cut programs while keeping the nice salaries and raises and perks for employees.

You know, some in Palo Alto are just waking up, hopefully for that district's sake the community will again throw money at the problem in May, but you may not want to count on that. Everyone has a limit and like I said, Palo Alto residents have not been immune to this economy.


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Posted by Parcel taxes Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm

"summary of page 3 "

and below that in the same file where they itemize the proposed cuts. Page 3 outlines the summary that the Mercury News hadL 1.8 hopeful revenue from the hopeful tax in May, 2.1 from general fund and the rest from the cuts outlined in the pages below page 3, same PDF file


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Posted by Parcel taxes Not the answer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Everyone should read this thread:

Web Link

One post talks about how the "paycut" (3 days off without pay) just pay for the step and column, so the "paycut" is offset with the raise!

Any input?


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Please look at the Step and Column table on the PUSD website. If a teacher were to work for 30 years, they would receive an automatic bump, or raise if you like, in pay for 14 of the 30 years. If they work longer than 30 years, there will be no more bumps/raises. When you say that the unpaid furlough days are equalled out by S & C bumps, it is only true in some case, less than half.

And if you didn't have the facts on a S & C freeze, it would save the district 1.6 million. Instead, the teachers came up with a solution of over 4.5 million. So, freeze S & C for one year to save 1.6, or take the unpaid furloughs for 4.5. Seems like simple math, 4.5 is greater than 1.6, don't you think it is a better solution?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Freezing S&C means that the certificated who would increase a step or column would pay for the "pay cut". Since they are the benefactors of the step or column increase, they pay for their own costs.

Furlough days means that all certificated staff pay for the "pay cut" equally. The cost is being distributed amongst everyone instead of only amongst those who are getting increases.

Don't compare one year of S&C increase ($1.6MM) to concessions of roughly $4.6MM over two years. That's disingenuous.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Are you sure of your math?

"The agreement will result in a three-year contract, and a one-year memorandum of understanding that establishes three unpaid furlough days in 2009-10 and five unpaid furlough days in 2010-11," the report reads.

The $4.6 MM is saved over TWO years. Therefore, your comparison with the $1.6 MM is erroneous.

Furthermore, if you truly got the facts, you would see that the furlough days actually save only $2.8 MM over two years, where the remaining are savings that may or may not impact a particular teacher's salary that year.

Go to: Web Link

and try to figure out how the other changes will actually work.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

"In a statement released Friday afternoon by the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, president Trevor Knaggs announced that teachers made a tentative agreement to take a 4.3-percent pay cut over the next two years."

The 2009-10 budget shows that certificated salaries are $67MM. Over two years salaries will be at least twice this number, or $134MM. 4.3% of this number is $5.7MM, NOT the actual reduction of $4.6MM. Therefore, the reduction is actually 3.4%. (Is someone dyslexic?)

What kind of spin is Mr. Knaggs generating? Or is the PW publishing backward figures?

Furthermore, the PUSD web site only shows about $2.8MM over two years actually affecting most teachers due to furlough days.

Can the union president please present a simple but accurate analysis supporting his claim, whatever it may actually be?


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Posted by just an opinion
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

The PUSD administration should take a good look at giving back some compensation.. . .really


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm

"These concessions are a significant step, but they aren't a permanent fix--unless you agree fewer instructional days or no staff development is a positive, permanent solution. Then you can say half the projected problem is resolved. "

There is no permanent problem to be solved. There was a short term problem that was entirely the result of a very unusual global economic crisis. This will pass. It was not a problem with PUSD or California. I would hate to see people use the global credit crisis to push their personal agenda on our school system by casting this as a problem with the way we run and finance our schools.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:42 pm

"Don't compare one year of S&C increase ($1.6MM) to concessions of roughly $4.6MM over two years. That's disingenuous."

Okay Stacey, tell me, would you like us to take 4.6 Mil in concessions (that will never have to be paid back) or 1.6 mil in freeze of S & C (that will have to be paid back)? Seriously now, which is better to help this district? "Disingenuous"? How on earth can you call this concession anything but good? How is a freeze better than 8 days that are almost three times bigger in effect? Please tell me how this is "disingenuous"? Tell me, if I was going to buy you lottery tickets, would you want 46 tickets or 16 (and you'd have to pay me back for the 16)? Would you want 4.6 pizzas or 1.6 (and you'd have to pay for the 1.6)?

Please tell me, what am I missing here? It's like many of the posters above have said, it will never be enough!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Get the facts,

I'm not calling the concession anything other than a concession. Disingenuous is just your attempt at portraying a one year amount as comparable with a two year amount, not anything about the concession itself. The reason you can't lump the amounts together is because FY09/10 budget is for FY09/10 and FY10/11 budget is for FY10/11. I'm merely putting the concession into perspective for the benefit of the general public who reads this.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The fact that certificated staff get frozen on a salary schedule is entirely an arbitrary creation supported by the unions. Therefore I don't really care about it in support of an argument. It is like saying that you made up some house rules and now you can't play the game because of these rules and somehow the public is supposed to go along with these stupid rules. So change the rules if they create such a problem. Question the rules. Tradition is not an excuse to continue doing dumb things. It has been done elsewhere (i.e., see stepless salary schedule).


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm

My understanding is that people who are for freezing the step/column, don't believe it should be "paid back" later on. Teachers simply won't be advancing on the step/column for the time being. When it is unfrozen, they can continue to advance. But there will be no pay back.


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Does anyone know how many staff development days there are per year?


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Just as I told my fellow teachers before we voted on these concessions: The amount, no matter how large, will never, ever satisfy some in Pleasanton.

There are people in Pleasanton who want the teachers' union dissolved, and in fact, are anti-union (all unions!) in principle.

Unfortunately, this is working out just as I predicted. The first cry after the announcement of these significant concessions is "More! We must have more!"

This from a community that offers not one additional cent in parcel taxes, a town whose residents are so impoverished that they can't afford 64 cents a day for four years to support their schools during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Who knew that the Association of Pleasanton Teachers was responsible for the global economic crisis? President Obama needs to send us all to Guantanamo Bay.


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:17 am

Mr Bradford,

Yes, some of us do believe unions served a purpose at one point in our history, but are no longer needed. I am not ashamed of that. I do believe the teachers union is doing more harm than good at this point in time.

Your letter to your fellow teachers only did a disservice to this whole situation. For one, obviously most of them do not agree with you, so it did no good with your agenda. And two, now that it has been publicized for the general public to read, it has only infuriated the masses. Your letter further divided the community into an "us vs. them" mentality. Your letter may in fact have LOST votes for a future parcel tax.

Lastly, the community would not have been crying "more!" if the concession was a true paycut. They should not even be calling it a "paycut". If your fellow colleagues would have been willing to take a pay decrease of 4% without shortening the school year, then people would have been satisfied. Actually maybe they wouldn't be. I don't think the community likes the idea of having to "bargain" with the teachers. If the district needs to make paycuts, then they should be able to without having to ask permission. Who else in the country gets a say as to whether they get a paycut or not?


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Posted by seriously?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:48 am

"some of us do believe unions served a purpose at one point in our history, but are no longer needed.... Who else in the country gets a say as to whether they get a paycut or not?"

Anyone else who is in a union, that's who. Unions are formed to improve the conditions of employment. Employers who announce paycuts or layoffs are definitely a threat to the conditions of employment. That's why employees band together and form unions -- to protect themselves against arbitrary or self-interested employers.

The anti-parcel-tax crowd argues that taxpayers should not have to take on any more of the district's costs, because they believe that the district administrators are making bad decisions. Why should taxpayers be protected, but not employees?


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:10 am

@seriously?

I was referring to all unions, not just teachers unions. I don't believe they are needed anymore, plain and simple. There are laws to protect employees.

I am not anti-parcel tax, so I am not lumped into that group. But tell me, how are taxpayers protected?


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:51 am

VV parent: Normally I don't respond to people who hide behind pseudonyms, but I must say that your vision of a disenfranchised, powerless work force is one I don't share.

Why is democracy ok outside the workplace but not in it? Through the power of my union, I am able to have a say in my working conditions and, to some degree, my wages. Unions are nothing but the concept of democracy extended to the workplace. Unions are needed now more than ever to protect workers.

And my letter has "infuriated the masses"? You are their anointed (or self-appointed) spokesperson? No, it's infuriated the people who were already rabidly anti-teacher and anti-union, and who never would've voted for a parcel tax under any circumstances. I'm still waiting for a mob wielding pitchforks and torches, but nobody seems to take the initiative to organize it.

If the power of my letter is so great that it can doom a future parcel tax, then why wasn't it strong enough to sway a majority of teachers to my side? Unlike you, I don't pretend to speak for the "masses", only for myself.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:42 am

This thread is amazing because everyone apparently has bought into the funny numbers like $4.6MM and 4.3% coming directly out of all teachers' pockets. Let's look at the pieces:

"Three unpaid furlough days in the current school year
The days impacted will be instructional days. The total amount saved by this action is $1,080,000. Pending Board approval, the three days would be Thursday, April 1; Friday, May 28; and Tuesday, June 1."

THIS IS A TRUE REDUCTION ACROSS THE BOARD OF $1.08mm.

"Five unpaid furlough days in 2010/11
The actual days are to be determined, but three will be student attendance days, and two will be staff development days. The savings from this action is $1,800,000."

THIS, TOO, IS LOST WAGES OF $1.8mm.

"Increase in staffing ratios at middle and high schools
The contractual staffing ratio (students per teacher) at middle and high schools will increase by 1. This will move middle schools from 26:1 to 27:1 and high schools from 27:1 to 28:1. Staffing ratios are not the same as class size, but this action will likely increase classes at these schools by about one student. The savings from this action is $864,000."

OK, SO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS SEE NO EFFECT. SO, MECHANICALLY HOW WILL THIS REDUCE THE TAKE HOME OF ALL OF THE MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER'S? WHERE, EXACTLY, DOES THE $864k COME FROM? IS THIS MONEY THAT WON'T BE THERE TO HIRE NEW TEACHER? IF SO, THIS IS NOT MONEY OUT OF THE POCKET OF EXISTING TEACHERS.

"Suspension of the 7 period day at high school
Several years ago, the 7 period day was instituted to allow teachers a weekly collaboration period. High schools will now offer a 6 period day, and collaboration ("late start Wednesday") will be suspended. The savings from this action is $448,000."

SAME OBSERVATION. HIGH SCHOOL ONLY. WHO'S TAKE HOME GETS REDUCED? WHERE, EXACTLY, DOES THE $448k COME FROM?

"Suspension of voluntary Staff Development Reform hours
This is approved training for which teachers can receive up to 18 hours of compensation. The savings from this action is $380,000."

THIS IS A PERK AND VOLUNTARY. NO ONE'S TAKE HOME IS REDUCED.

"Suspension of the Teacher Support and Training Advisory Committee
Savings from this action will be about $15,000."

SAME.

SO, THE MAIN CONCLUSION IS THERE IS ONLY $2.8MM OVER TWO SCHOOL YEARS THAT IS A REDUCTION IN TAKE HOME FOR ALL TEACHERS. THEREFORE, OUT OF A CERTIFICATED SALARY BUDGET OVER TWO YEARS OF APPROXIMATELY $137MM THE GIVE BACK IS 2%.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:45 am

A question:

Does anybody know if the teachers get paid for the week of Thanksgiving? PUSD students get the entire week off.

If they do get paid, wouldn't it be better to make those 3 days that the students are already not in school, the 3 days without pay instead of the instructional days being proposed?


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

What keeps cracking me up is that these unionists Donta get the concept of the straw that broke the camels back. They keep saying "Whah whah whah, we're getting blamed for the bankers financial crisis." No you're not! Stop saying that. We are fully aware that the bankers and Fed and all the damn financiers are scum. We get that. We get the derivatives market and all the other sheister mechanisms they used and still use to destroy our economy. You just don't get that we were thinking that the public education system has been bloated and wasteful for DECADES!!!! Long before this recession most of us thought you were robbing us with your self serving demands for lower class sizes and the like. Your salaries are the largest burden on the California taxpayer. And for what?! To keep class sizes low, because you can't teach all the illegal immigrant English language learners, and all the kids with so called ADD, who are really just typical restless kids who are a bit hyper and thus need more exercise and less sugar. But what is the first thing you want to cut?! Physical education! And you want candy and sodas in the school so you can tax them to pay for your salaries! Yes for years we've thought you were selfish. You want your pathetically small class sizes, and even then you make recommends to parents to put their kids on that toxic Ritalin crap if the kids are remotely kidlike, ie: restless. Yes for years we've thought you were wasteful selfish thieves!!

This banking crisis is merely the straw that broke our back. You are a big heap of hay on us that we're ready to thrust off. I often hear you unionists say that the negative comments about you unionists does not reflect the community. You're right in a way. Many don't give a dang about step and column or furlough days or such minor, small print concessions. The majority want massive change. They want to raise class sizes, stop paying for illegal immigrants who consume 25% of our classrooms, and a number of other things that won't just save a few million, but tens of millions of dollars locally and billions of dollars statewide. And we never bought into the nanny state thinking that small class sizes are necessary for kids to learn. And we never bought into the idea that we should spend billions catering to the lowest common denominator, especially when most don't belong in this country in the first place. And the rest just need a little exercise to be able to better focus.

And so, stop being so dim as to assume we don't get that financiers brought about this recession. We get that. We just know that you and your bloated system was on it's way to doing the same soon enough, and with that financial straw we got so fed up we're ready to throw it all off our backs, all this government imposed burden, and start anew. To most people, the bloated government and financial system are just different tentacles of the same beast trying to rob us


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Posted by I agree with Frank
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

Frank's right--these savings are not just from teacher salaries, but are cleverly devised to do away with select programs so as to minimize the impact on students.

For shame!

Like Frank, I want teachers to have to empty their piggy banks for our schools! Or, at the very least, have to ring a bell and shout "unclean!" as they pass through our town.

How dare they reach an agreement that doesn't hurt them more! This is so unreasonable!!


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Posted by ljl;lk
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

"Does anybody know if the teachers get paid for the week of Thanksgiving? PUSD students get the entire week off."

Teachers are salaried, meaning they don't get paid for specific days.


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Posted by Unions are not needed unless you are not competent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

"Unions are needed now more than ever to protect workers."

Why, the private sector does not have unions, and workers do just fine, you know why? Because they rely on their skills, their hard work, how competent they are to stay employed.

Someone like you I am sad to say, would not, imo last very long in the real world (private sector). Maybe that is why you rely on the union, to protect your job whether you deserve to be employed or not.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

"Teachers are salaried, meaning they don't get paid for specific days. "

So how are they getting "not paid" when they agreed to not work on the 3 instructional days proposed?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

a reader wrote: "There is no permanent problem to be solved. There was a short term problem that was entirely the result of a very unusual global economic crisis. This will pass. It was not a problem with PUSD or California. I would hate to see people use the global credit crisis to push their personal agenda on our school system by casting this as a problem with the way we run and finance our schools."

Oh, but there is a permanent problem. There's a Leonard Pitts' column today in the Valley Times you might consider reading. Web Link Try as you may to state otherwise, this is not solely because of state, national, global issues.

By your statement I infer that you believe it is okay to wait for California to get back on its feet, starting meting out COLAs to K-12 education, watch that possibly get negotiated away, and then run into this same problem in five years that we are having now. And we will, because we have in the past--90s, early 00s.


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Posted by lkl;lkj
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:58 am

"So how are they getting "not paid" when they agreed to not work on the 3 instructional days proposed?"

Their salary is based on the number of contract days worked in the year, so it would be pro-rated down for each furlough day.




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Posted by Questions about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

"Their salary is based on the number of contract days worked in the year, so it would be pro-rated down for each furlough day. "

So why can't the district just prorate the days without taking additional instructional days off?

The teachers aready get the entire week of thanksgiving off. That is 3 extra days that many districts do not get.

So no need for extra days off, just adjust the pay to include the fact that these teachers already get 3 days off at thanksgiving, so they should be witout pay.


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Posted by lkl;lkj
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:06 am

"So why can't the district just prorate the days without taking additional instructional days off?"

Because teachers' salaries are based on days WORKED, not days off.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:09 am

"Because teachers' salaries are based on days WORKED, not days off."

But the teachers have said they are so generous that they are taking 3 days without pay... well, make those 3 thanksgiving days off without pay, problem solved. That would save the money and not affect the students

Of course, Frank is right, these "concessions" are just disguised as "the best interest of the students, poor us teachers" when in reality they are not.

Students already get 3 days off at thanksgiving (more than other districts and on top of the thanksgiving thurs and fri) so make them without pay, that would be a true concession.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:11 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I agree with Frank,

It seems to me that you're putting your own assumption into Frank's post, possibly you didn't understand it? All he's saying is that the claim of a "pay cut" of 4.3% is false because the actual "pay cut" is only 2% (via 8 furlough days) and the rest of the savings is achieved through a different means than a decrease in take home pay. But if "4.3% pay cut" is easier for you to understand where the $4.6MM in concessions is coming from, have at it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Whether the "pay cut" is 4.3% or 2% really makes no difference on the question of generosity, whether it is "enough" or "never enough". But a true understanding of the concession, how each amount is achieved (where the money is coming from), leads to an ability to gauge their true short and long-term effects on the district's budget.


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Posted by Frankly
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:17 am

"Students already get 3 days off at thanksgiving (more than other districts and on top of the thanksgiving thurs and fri) so make them without pay, that would be a true concession."

Your plan doesn't save any money, it just would make the teachers have to work an additional three days for free.

I'm curious: do you have a job? And if so, how many days do you work for free each year?


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Posted by Joe the Plumber
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:20 am

Work for free? Sounds like socialism!


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:22 am

"Your plan doesn't save any money, it just would make the teachers have to work an additional three days for free."

It saves the money of the 3 furlough days they are talking about. Instead of the 3 instructional days proposed, the 3 days should be days that they already take off and the students are already not in school.

"I'm curious: do you have a job? And if so, how many days do you work for free each year?"
Yes, I do, how about you? I work as many hours as needed to get my work done. I work nights, weekends, whenever, my job is flexible. I am working from home today because guess what? Schools have the day off but in the real world we still have to work. I am just waking up and will logon to work in the next hour. Why are you curious?
I work more hours than a teacher, that's for sure.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:23 am

"ow many days do you work for free each year?"

as many as neede to get the job done. Unlike teachers, I do not keep track of every minute I put extra. I work extra time, weekends, evenings if it is needed to meet deadlines.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:23 am

"By your statement I infer that you believe it is okay to wait for California to get back on its feet, starting meting out COLAs to K-12 education ..."

This would be a wrong inference, where did I imply anything like that?

"same problem ... And we will, because we have in the past--90s, early 00s. "

This is not the "same problem" and that we will face in 5 years, unless there is another global financial crisis. I don't recall a parcel tax effort in PUSD in the early 00s (that has nothing to do with any "reserve" money). There probably should have been an effort at the time, but not much we can do about that now.

You talk about facts, but you haven't presented any.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

Daniel, I'll stand with VV Parent on the issue of unions. The raises negotiated in the recent past and the generous retirement packages are unsustainable. The unintended consequences of rolling benefits onto the salary schedule isn't working either. And tenure has protected only the worst performers (a minority to be sure); the best are a known quantity and don't need the protection. It's also prevented a way to reward the best.

I've never been a union member, but my father worked in the trades, in Chicago, for 30 years. You don't get more union than that (well, maybe Detroit, but that experiment proves my point too). And I've worked with private and public sector unions. Their time has passed.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:30 am

And one last thing. We need our kids doing more physical education not just for ADD, but also for depression. I am sickened to my bones, almost dead inside, when I hear of terrible tragedies such as what just happened with Evelyn Gonzales. God bless her and her family. These types of suicides are becoming way too prevalent. When kids get depressed, we often want to just talk to them, but that's not enough. The depression is physical, meaning that their brain at that moment is not capable of feeling better through mere words and thoughts. They need to be made to move, to induce the bodys natural drug supply of endorphins, dopamine, seratonin and the like. They don't need zoloft. They need to be made to move. I believe to my core that all this countrys rampant depression is due to poor nutrition and\or lack of physical activity. We are tormenting our kids by not feeding them right, not allowing them to move enough in the sun and fresh air. Every kid that is so depressed as to want to do what Evelyn did is a wake up to us all. God bless her and her family. This has gotta stop. One can judge a country on it's prisons. And one can judge a community on their child suicide


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

Questions, The problem (reason?) is per diem calculations for retirement. Just cutting $ lowers that per diem calculation. Cutting days (and the requisite $) maintains the per diem rate. So, 180 days at $200 each or 175 days at $200 each--you lose 5 days @$200, but your calculation in the retirement formula stays $200 per day.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

A pay cut outside of unionized government work is a reduction in pay with no reduction in hours worked. What the teachers have agreed to is unpaid vacation.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Get the facts wrote: "Would you want 4.6 pizzas or 1.6 (and you'd have to pay for the 1.6)?"

Caveat emptor. First I'd ask what kind of pizza this is because I know that the 4.6 pizzas is not the same as the 1.6 pizzas ($4.6MM over 2 years is not $1.6MM over 1 year). If the 4.6 pizzas were BBQ Chicken from California Pizza Kitchen, I might consider it. But if the 1.6 pizzas were a real New York pizza, I'd reconsider the offer. That's just personal preference though. The point is that I'd not think of the two different pizza offers as the same or comparable because the pizzas are different!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The merits and demerits of a union debate... for another thread.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

Stacey is a registered user.

APT is a public employees union. Not comparable with private trade unions in terms of economics.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

So, everyone is now mad because PUSD has found a way to save money without cutting teacher pay as much as you all wanted? So basically the only way everyone would be happy is if I got a pay cut??? Why would you wish that on anyone??

"Unlike teachers, I do not keep track of every minute I put extra. I work extra time, weekends, evenings if it is needed to meet deadlines."

Uhh that is quite the generalization buddy. I don't know a single one of my colleagues who "keeps track of every minute I put extra". Teachers also work extra time, weekends, and evenings. You aren't special because you do that as well.

This thread was positive at one point. People saying thank you to PUSD for taking the voluntary cut we did. It has now turned into a bunch of people (or could be only a few??) into complainers about why teachers didn't take more of a cut and how it isn't even a "real pay cut" anyways. So unbelievable. I HIGHLY doubt that most people on this thread will take their actual concerns down to the school board. Some of you might, but most will just continue to sit on this thread, ripping everyone to pieces. Very productive.


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Posted by mommyx4
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

THANK YOU TEACHERS!!!


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Posted by Thanks But,
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

Although the financial returns on the APT contract are substantial the self serving nature of unionized employees lives on. As stated in other posts they are essentially just getting extra days off with no real concessions for the long run. Funny how things also turned against the High School students who can no longer have a 7 period day. Who gets hurt in the high school class ratios? The high achieving bright students because the classes they take will have the highest ratios, What makes them less worthy of quaility classes and teachers who will be able to provide individual attention?


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Posted by Why Barton?
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

The Barton reading program is not supported by all the schools, why does that have to stay? The reading specialists are supposed to still be in place, why can't they reach these students. Does Barton work for all the students it touches or are we throwing money at a program that is not consistently successful? Show us the numbers Barton program, for all your students not just the few successes.


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Posted by soccormom
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

I think we have great teachers! What about asking the rest of the upper levels of the school district to take cut back's. Board members can just be the start.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

It's so funny how teacher talks about how the thread started off with fawning adoration of the teachers then turned negative. Are you that naive? The beginning of the thread was stacked by unionist AstroTurf. Now you're seeing the grassroots. It's called critical thinking teacher. You should retake the SAT


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

teacher, It really is people trying to get at the information not being published. Its a well-eduated community that likes clean, clear facts. I'm talking offline to others to really KNOW what has been done. I'm grateful to avert loss of program, but need to understand what is being stated without the documentation. Critical thinking is a good thing, right?


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:11 am

Notice how "grateful parent" chimes in at the exact moment, the very minute the editor posted the article. Um hmmm


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

Stacey, last time I checked, 4.6 million is larger than 1.6 mil. Honestly, would you rather we took the 1.6? That would leave a 6.4 million deficit. The 4.6 we took is more than half the deficit. We took a CPK cut, not a Little Ceasar's cut.

Really, would you rather we backtracked and took the 1.6 instead? If that's the case, then I don't take a pay cut this year, but there are more cuts and more teachers laid off than our 4.6 plan. CSR is almost surely gone in this scenario.

Stacey, is that what you want? Really?


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Posted by PUSD teacher/parent
a resident of California Somerset
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

I appreciate parents that understand the sacrifices we as teachers are making. Teachers are now being asked to do even MORE work for less pay, and many of us have lost jobs, or have lost a percentage of their job. I hope the community will now meet us halfway. When are the higher-up administrators going to start taking responsibility and take the same cuts we take? How about all those retirement pensions that are being paid out? Why are the highest paid district employees guaranteed not to have a pay cut in the next three years while the rest of us suffer along with the kids?


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Posted by Amazing
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thank you teachers for what you've done to help with the budget!

It is truly amazing that parents of PUSD students want their kids' teachers to suffer with even less pay, larger class sizes and layoffs.

The majority of Pleasanton parents are great! Thanks for showing your support to teachers.

For the remainder..... If you don't like PUSD or Pleasanton, please move to another city and school district that meets your approval. You'll likely find more taxes or enrollment costs!

Yes on Parcel Tax!
Yes on Support Our Teachers!

No on all the negative posts! Get a clue... get involved.... or get another community to live in.


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Posted by hey
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

@Thanks But...

High schools didn't have feel many cuts or impact last year. It's time to equalize things throughout the entire PUSD.


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Posted by guess what
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

I read the article and think I might be confused. I am appreciative that the teachers are being part of the solution.
My interpretation of the deal is that the teachers will basically be doing porportionally less work for the porportional less pay.
Is that right?


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

Amazing is Astroturf. Though he tried to hide it, you can tell how he writes as a third person about the parents. And don't you dare tell us to leave an area we've lived in our whole lives. You get! Go on to Richmond if you don't like what you're dealing with here


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

THANK YOU to the teachers and the union leadership who were willing to be reasonable and make this much-needed concession. I only wish the days off were at the end of the school year, not extending spring break and memorial day, which will be so much more disruptive.

Now, the parent organizations need to figure out how to fundraise (or charge fees) to retain things like elementary band (without which we won't have much of a middle school band).

We must also figure out how to retain a music program without a high school 7th period. For 9th and 10th graders, this is an untenable choice. Band or science? Chorus or Spanish? Music needs to either A) be made into an extracurricular program (fee based if necessary) or B)displace PE for those students involved. Or maybe someone can come up with another solution? What is NOT a solution is to force kids to take band/choir/etc. as their one elective and delay science until their Junior year.


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Posted by Thanks But
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

@ hey,
I would guess you do not have high school students yet. There already was no class size reduction except in math and english in Freshman year, the counselling departments are overwelmed, custiodial servies are not able to keep up. Sports team funding was cut to save academics. It goes on and on. The high schools were always taking more than their fair share of the load so there was less that should have been cut to start with.
PE classes have 40-50 students per teacher, science classes have easily 30, What will your opinion be when your student takes Biology or physics with over 30 kids per class?


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Posted by Teacher spouse
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

I'm a spouse of a Pleasanton teacher and can't believe some of the comments on here. My spouse has taught in this district for 13 years. The past 3 years.... no pay increase at all. I'm sure next year will be another 0% pay increase... Factor that in with the 4% pay decrease, and I find it hard to believe the parents of Pleasanton can't at least say a simple "Thank you" to the teachers.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

"My interpretation of the deal is that the teachers will basically be doing porportionally less work for the porportional less pay."

Yes, this is correct, but most teachers will try to squeeze in all that they were planning to do even without those three days. So in most cases, it's the same work at an accelerated pace.

"I only wish the days off were at the end of the school year"

I agree, but I am guessing they weren't put there because of the potential outcry of it disrupting graduation events. The board has to agree to the dates, maybe they will choose to put them at the end of the year. (Possible, but unlikely.)


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

To 'frank' and others -
It remains to be seen how PUSD will implement the increase in MS/HS staffing ratio and the 6 period HS day. Each of them will cause a reduction in classes/sections and would normally cause a layoff of about 15 teachers given the amount of savings. If PUSD uses layoffs, then those 15 teachers experience a 100% pay cut. If the union/Knaggs wants to call a layoff a paycut, they will just be called on it. Much like the APT is still in denial about what a salary raise is (Web Link).


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Posted by Seen Better Times
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

This is truly a sad day. Teachers are already underpaid, especially math and science teachers who could command larger salaries in industry. They put up with so much these days, including unruly students; students that don't care; parents that are disengaged, insolent, overbearing and rude; incompetent administrators; and paying for critical supplies out of their own pockets. I know teachers that are working 100 hours/week.

I haven't heard yet that the administrators are taking a pay cut; and since they have higher salaries they should take an even greater percentage cut than teachers.

It's critical that we bounce most of the current members of the Legislature for prioritizing social programs over education, running businesses out of California, incredibly poor fiscal management, and conducting themselves like pigs at the slop trough.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

To 'Seen Better Times' - PUSD website (Web Link) says the management team will also have five furlough days next year in addition to the three furlough days in this school year. Since the reduction in pay is pro-rated, higher salaried people will have a proportionally higher (gross) reduction in pay.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

"Since the reduction in pay is pro-rated, higher salaried people will have a proportionally higher (gross) reduction in pay."

Actually, if the management team takes the eight furlough days, since they work more days each year(with only one exception, management works 197-222 days each year, compared to the 185 teachers work), then they will take LESS of a % hit (although higher in dollars, because they make more). To make it an equal hit, management should be taking 9-10 days for an equal % hit.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

Now I'm naive and need to take the SAT over again?? "Fawning adoration of teachers??" Did I ever say that? Critical thinking?? Maybe 1/3 of posts on here are critical thinking. Kathleen don't chime in and be condescending too.

You guys are ridiculous.

Off to take the SAT again! Yippee!


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

Kathleen's posts call PAUSD's situation healthy, while working tirelessly to discredit Pleasanton Schools problems as mismanagement.

I find this opinion hypocritical considering:

- Last year, PAUSD teachers received a 2.5% increase, this year; they received an increase to their benefits to offset rising costs. Yet when PUSD did this 5 years ago, it was deemed mismanagement. How is giving unsustainable raises in PAUSD while asking the community to raise their parcel tax to over $500 healthy? How is this better management than PUSD, who hasn't had an increase in the last three years during the crash in the economy, and have agreed to a pay cut! Web Link

-When questioned about an article summarizing PAUSD's budget information, Kathleen said that it is not clear in the provided written material, yet it is clear when the staff presents the information, then claim the opposite about PUSD "That the details are not posted with the packet is a disservice to the public." It is very clear when you speak with our staff at the multiple meetings they have held over the past months. Again, ok for PAUSD, but not for Pleasanton Unified.

-Kathleen said- "There are nearly $4 million in cuts on the list, a healthy reserve they will rely on, and the hope for an increase to the parcel tax." So using the reserve in PAUSD is healthy planning, yet when Pleasanton did the same years ago before asking the community for a parcel tax, you repeatedly tell this community that this was mismanagement!

Tell me what pay cut has PAUSD staff taken? And you use it as an example of a healthy, well-managed district. I find your logic hypocritical, and only a calculated effort to get this community to think poorly of Pleasanton Schools. Your name is very well known in the schools and this is how many see your "support" of our schools in everything you post.

Bottom line, whether you agree with the details of the concession or not, our current deficit is $8 million for this year and next. PUSD teachers will cover over half of that deficit, beginning this year and continuing next year. This does not include the fact that the rest still will be covered primarily on the backs of the elementary schools (see the board packet). Teachers will still be feeling the "pain" that so many here are craving. They will be doing an enormous amount more while being paid less.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:31 am

To 'Get the facts' - thanks for the additional detail/facts. Your suggestion is a good one. Every $50-100K helps.


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Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Rosewood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

To "GetEducated,"

Well said! Kathleen has become a sort of Madame DeFarge, and Pleasanton teachers are well aware of her hypocritical agenda against them. Thanks for exposing the facts so clearly!


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

For all those who are calling for cuts from district leadership... you must have missed this part of the tentative agreement:

"In addition, the Pleasanton Unified Management Team (principals, vice principals, and District Office administrators) have also agreed to five furlough days for 2010/11 and to continue the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends. The savings from this action, approximately $240,000, is proposed to support the retention of a vice principal position at each comprehensive high school."

The management team used similar givebacks to add to the funds raised through ILPS last summer that were used to reinstate positions for one year.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Get the facts,

Really, what do you want? You want me to validate your assumptions about me? Honestly, how can I criticize the fact that concessions were made without strings attached like being dependent upon a parcel tax passing? That's not what I'm doing at all. All I'm looking for is an understanding of how these concessions impact the district's budget and long-term fiscal solvency. Comparing a two-year dollar amount with a single-year dollar amount doesn't lead to that understanding.

Incidentally, I agree with you that the other employees should be taking the same deal.


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Posted by long time Pleasanton resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm

A thank you to the teachers for agreeing to salary cuts. What about the administration --- will they step up for a pay cut now??? Everything you are doing, board, is hurting the kids and the teachers, who are in the trenches! Isn't the purpose of education our PRODUCT --- the children? Lets get down to the education of our future generation... don't they deserve as good an education as the alumni of PUSD had...


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Stacey, it sounds like we agree more than we disagree. I was just hoping that you would agree that 8 days equalling 4.6 million is better than one year freeze equalling 1.6 mil. And on top of that, let me make a prediction that next year the teachers will be negotiating another one-year deal for 2011-12 of a 4-5 day pay cut/furlough days.


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Posted by Don't bother
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

"Now, the parent organizations need to figure out how to fundraise (or charge fees) to retain things like elementary band (without which we won't have much of a middle school band)."

Don't bother. Without the 7th period, you will see that music programs in high school will lack enrollment.


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Posted by To Kathleen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Looks like Palo Alto, as a city, is finally getting a clue:

Web Link

My acquaintance in Palo Alto said the same is going on about schools. Some people are finally starting to say wait a minute, more taxes? higher? where are the cuts? Kathleen is quite hypocritical in what she says about PUSD and Palo Alto Schools (although I disagree with parcel taxes no matter where because of the waste)

I asked my acquaintance to look in here and tell me his thoughts about what it has been said about Palo Alto.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

To 'Don't Bother' - There may be a reduction in enrollment in the high school music sections as a result of the 6 period day. But all high school music sections (band, wind ensembles, choir, orchestra, jazz) are intended to be scheduled for next year. Community fundraising supported elementary music last year. Fundraising for next year has already started (Web Link). The Arts are Alive and everyone's support is welcomed.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Get the facts wrote: "I was just hoping that you would agree that 8 days equalling 4.6 million is better than one year freeze equalling 1.6 mil."

Ok, let me put it this way. $4.6MM is better than $1.6MM because it is a larger amount and only because of that. I also wouldn't characterize 8 days as $4.6MM. What's been reported so far is that 8 days is $2.88MM and the difference from $4.6MM is made up by other than furlough days.

How does it impact individual employees? Furlough days cuts into everyone's pay check equally (as opposed to an S&C freeze which only means those expecting an increase would see none and those not expecting an increase would not see a decrease). How do the other changes impact individuals?


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Posted by Dude
a resident of Verona
on Feb 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

With all this talk about PAUSD, I thought I'd see how their teacher salaries compare. Quite comfy! Check it out:

Web Link


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Posted by Don't bother
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

"Community fundraising supported elementary music last year"

At a board meeting this month, both parents of music students, as well as a music teacher from high school said that they were concerned about the elimination of the 7th period because of its impact on enrollment in music.

It is true. My neighbor's child participates this year but won't next year. Therefore, we will not donate again to music as we did last year because we only did it to support our neighbor. We do feel that without the 7th period, there will be very little enrollment, so the classes can be there, let's see if they keep them if the enrollment is too low.

No student will sacrifice a core class or required class in order to do music. Many people from what I hear are already looking at programs outside of school to substitute the music they will no longer be a part of in school.


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Posted by Don't bother
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

"Community fundraising supported elementary music last year"

The only reason the upper grades donated to elementary music is because they are feeders to middle school and then high school.

With high school music compromised, the same donations won't be there.


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Posted by Teacher and parent
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

As a teacher I felt it was best not to read what's been written on this blog until now. I'm encouraged by the support from some community memebers and discouraged by the the insults from others. It appears that those throwing the insults really don't know what a teacher does. My official work day is 7 hours. Do I work that? I get there an hour early to set up and stay after to help students. I grade papers or prepare almost every night and always on weekends. With 175 students, if I collect one assignment and take two minutes for each student, I've now added almost 6 hours to my week. That's assuming I give them ONLY 2 minutes and collect ONLY one assignment a week. I still need to talk to parents and plan lessons. As professionals, we take classes and attend workshops on weekends and in the summer.

Our class sizes at high school will be increased, our classroom budgets will be cut even more, and health insurance costs will surely go up again. I realize that health insurance has increased for everyone, but how many people pay $750 a MONTH out of pocket for their insurance?


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Posted by Ferdie
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

This is just the usual bait and switch by the unions. The teachers need to agree to give up their step and column or worded correctly annual merit increases which are destroying fiscal responsibility. When this is frozen then come back to us.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

What you have to understand teacher is that the insults were first flung at parents by the unions. We weren't so angry at first. We merely disagreed on some things. But unions accused us of being cheapskates who didn't care about our kids future. If the unions will stop being sensationalist, I assure you we will too


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm

GE: So incorrect. This is the usual. I said PAUSD has a "healthy reserve" and is "relatively healthy by comparison." Criticize me or them all you want, but at least USE THE WORDS CORRECTLY.

I don't make the decisions here or at PAUSD. The benefits in PAUSD also came with the concession to eliminate future employees qualifying for benefits after retiring. Long-term thinking to eliminate a long term issue. PUSD's last raise was 2007-08—two years ago, not three. I said I appreciated the concession.

Again with the misquotes—I responded to the use of the word ASSUMED stating it was only used in the article posed, not in the PAUSD board materials. Look at the link I provided, the report is some 30 pages and detailed. There is a one page summary on the cuts for PUSD, but no backup material. That is a problem.

PUSD had burned through its reserve at one point. They are on the state watch list. They are required to do a third interim financial report. All facts.

Repeat, I said "relatively healthy by comparison." I don't think poorly of Pleasanton schools, teachers, and many management and classified employees. Can't say the same for the governance team. I've been clear about that; no hypocrisy.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

"But unions accused us of being cheapskates who didn't care about our kids future."

Please show me where this had been said (by anyone other than Dan Bradford, who is alone on his island).

Please show me where we have said this, because we haven't. What we heard last year was a "shared sacrifice". So we offered up a pay cut that would take away no student days, and would amount to more from each teacher than the parcel tax would from any homeowner. We did our part, but the parcel tax went down in defeat. Now, we are continuing to hear "shared sacrifice", so we upped our sacrifice 400% to 8 days, not attached to the passing of a parcel tax this time, so there is no guarantee that the community will pass a parcel tax to hold up their end of the "shared sacrifice" (not a term we coined, by the way).

So please show me where we have accused anybody of anything. It hasn't happened. The community has come to us asking for a "shared sacrifice", I believe we are holding up our end of the bargain.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Get the facts. You need to get the facts


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Posted by fluff
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Thank you teachers! However on the efforts of our teachers giving making their concessions to help the district out,why is Barton still being supported and one that will be brought back? It only supports maybe 100+ students. We have thousands of students and our reading specialists are wonderful!! Again why is Barton being supported so highly for the few? That money could be used for other items that will be cut that do affect all the students, not the few elite. Barton tutors are out there in force and can still do their job without having district shelling out money for it. There is no room for "fluff."


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Actually, I didn't call anybody "cheapskates" either, but thanks for misstating my position.

I will reiterate: I supported concessions a year ago because it looked as if the community would meet us part of the way: we would give up $1000 in pay and the community would agree to a $233 annual parcel tax for four years, after which the tax would expire.

I opposed concessions this year of any kind because Measure G (the $233 parcel tax) failed and the community isn't promising to try and pass another one in the foreseeable future. If the community was willing to promise us an earnest effort to get a parcel tax measure passed, I would one of the ones not only voting for concessions, but urging others.

I used the phrase that I oppose concessions "at this time" until the community shows some willingness to share the sacrifice. I knew from the start that my view would not prevail, but because it's an unpopular one, I felt it was my responsibility to at least make the argument. I received 52 emails from teachers in support of my letter because I expressed the frustration a lot of them are feeling. And the "no" votes did garner 22%, which means that some teachers were frustrated enough to vote against these concessions. I respect the views of my colleagues who voted "yes" for concessions because I understand their line of reasoning and think it is as equally valid as my own.

I never said the entire community are cheapskates, but clearly there are some rabid anti-unionists blogging on the Pleasanton Weekly who are willing to sacrifice the quality of Pleasanton schools to their anti-union, anti-tax dogma.

Now back to my island. But I'm not alone here. I've got the Skipper, Ginger, Mary Ann, the Professor, Mr. and Mrs. Howell...


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm

"Get the facts. You need to get the facts"

Funny, but I was asking for you to name your quote, which you didn't do. Don't post unless you can back it up. Tell me when you heard the teachers accuse anybody of anything. Don't tell me I need to get the facts when I am asking for YOU to back up YOUR statement. I have posted nothing false.


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Posted by still can't believe
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I usually never read any post on this forum but this thread intrigues me. I checked back today and quickly read the posts (not all the long ones, I will admit) to see if some were still pushing the parcel tax because of concessions made by the teachers. And lo and behold, I still see people pushing the parcel tax. Cutting spending (good thing) does NOT mean we have to tax more. That's an oxymoron! Again, in the spirit of "fairness" (overused word) more taxes do NOT solve the problem or make it more "fair" for those affected by the spending cuts. Its just that SIMPLE!!! My intrigue has sadly been confirmed. People just don't get it!

And to respond to the question by "Posted by Teacher and parent" I pay $625 out of pocket every month for my health care BUT make a lot LESS then you and I am sure have a higher co-pay. So if you are looking for equity, there you go. We both have equally costly health plans. But whose looking for equal outcome?? As a teacher you chose your career path and as a parent you can contribute whatever additional monies you want to the educational "pot". Its just that simple!


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Posted by It's time
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Isn't it time for the School Board to eliminate the car allowances and switch to a reimbursement program?
And what about administrator expense reports? Those lunches Casey and others enjoy in Pleasanton on the taxpayers' nickel should also be stopped.
When others in the district are taking home less pay, it is insulting that administrators continue to enjoy perks.


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Posted by what's Rest of the Story
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

How much of a cut have administrators taken??... I agree their cut should be considerably more ! Anxious to hear.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of your yes
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Get the facts, shall I provide you quotes that show conservatives want tax cuts, that the earth revolves around the sun, and that tiger woods likes white chicks? I'll look it up in my cabinet, filed under mindnumbingly obvious facts. Are you really serious? Where've you been?


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Posted by PUSD teacher/parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Dark corners of town: It doesn't matter that all the music sections will still be offered next year, because without the option of a 7th period, many, many students will not have room in their schedules to enroll in them.


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Posted by Dave
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

There's only you and me and we just disagree.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:53 pm

"How much of a cut have administrators taken??... I agree their cut should be considerably more ! Anxious to hear."

Scroll up.

"In addition, the Pleasanton Unified Management Team (principals, vice principals, and District Office administrators) have also agreed to five furlough days for 2010/11 and to continue the reduction or elimination of mileage stipends. The savings from this action, approximately $240,000, is proposed to support the retention of a vice principal position at each comprehensive high school."


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Posted by VV Parent
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Mr Bradford,

"the community isn't promising to try and pass another one in the foreseeable future"

Were you not at the board meeting where a LARGE group of concerned parents presented a statement to the board asking that they begin discussions about a future parcel tax? I guess you are also unaware of the MANY schools that have individually been holding meetings about the current/future state of the budget, which has included discussions about a parcel tax?

To the teacher who complains they pay $825/month in health insurance. Is that for yourself or your entire family? If it is just for yourself, then you are right, that is highway robbery. You could get individual coverage through Kaiser for less than $300 (maybe less than $200/month). But your mighty and powerful UNION won't let you, right?
If the $850/month is for your whole family, then I would say it's a bargain, because I pay $1200/month out of pocket for my family of 5 through Kaiser.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm

"I work as many hours as needed to get my work done. I work nights, weekends, whenever, my job is flexible. I am working from home today because guess what? Schools have the day off but in the real world we still have to work. I am just waking up and will logon to work in the next hour."

Though we had the day off today, I still spent the day grading projects, reports, and assessments; planning for upcoming activities, and looking at data from my class to decide how to best serve them. Though I had the day off, I still went into school. Though I had the day off, I was still thinking of my students and how I can best serve them. I didn't do this because I had to. I did this because I promised my students I would have their reports back to them and I owe them the best education they can get. So please don't assume that just because the students were not in school today, I was sitting idly by wasting district money. I work nights and weekends too, and not because my job is flexible, but because I need to in order to be prepared for my students the following day.

"My interpretation of the deal is that the teachers will basically be doing porportionally less work for the porportional less pay."

That interpretation is not correct. As teachers, we are still bound by the California State Standards which dictate which skills students are expected to master before leaving our care. We are still expected to and will teach the students the same amount of information, however we have fewer days to share that knowledge. We would still have the same amount of information to cover whether the school year was 183 days, 180, or 120.


To the poster that criticized the general profession of teaching as people who are just watching the clock and counting our salaries, you clearly have never set foot in an elementary classroom. If I was in this for the money, I would work only the hours I'm "paid" for. I would come in at 8:00, not 7:00, and I would leave at 2:45, not 5:00. I would bring nothing home. I would not stay hours after school for meetings to find ways to help a struggling child. If I was in this for the money, I would have quit the first time I reached a challenge with a student struggling to learn. If I was in this for the money, I would have quit after the first defiant child or angry parent.If I was in this for the money, I would have quit after the first belittling pink slip because of budget cuts. I would not have voted "yes" two times in two years to have my pay cut (or for the sake of argument, having less money come home in my paycheck). I would not have taken a cut in pay to save my colleagues because I know that they are a valuable part of my career and your children's success in school. However, I did not quit. I keep coming back despite the criticism for our choices. Please understand that a few money counters do not represent the whole lot of us. The majority of my colleagues got into this profession and have stayed in this profession not because of monetary and time related perks, but because of the genuine love of education, knowledge, and community that our career provides.


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Posted by PUSD teacher/parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm

"My interpretation of the deal is that the teachers will basically be doing porportionally less work for the porportional less pay."

That statement is completely false. Students still have to graduate & pass the CA High School Exit Exam, so teachers still have to do the same amount of work in less time and for less pay.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:21 am

"Get the facts, shall I provide you quotes that show conservatives want tax cuts, that the earth revolves around the sun, and that tiger woods likes white chicks? I'll look it up in my cabinet, filed under mindnumbingly obvious facts. Are you really serious? Where've you been?"

I've been right here, waiting for the answer to my question, which you keep avoiding, I presume because you don't have an answer. So I repeat: Please show me where, anywhere, it has been said, "But unions accused us of being cheapskates who didn't care about our kids future." We have never said that, please prove it if you are going to make that statement.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 6:58 am

Get the facts, your new moniker should be Sarah Palin, due to your inability to remember the fundamental positions spouted by your group. When I saw that Sarah Palin had to write "tax cuts" on her hand I was like, "really? That's a fundamental conservative talking point!" But maybe if she forgot to write that on her hand she wouldve found herself in the embarassing situation of saying "who says conservatives want tax cuts?! I demand you show me proof of such a stance!"

Get the facts, I knew you were a union member from the start, but that wasn't completely confirmed until your last couple posts were you admitted it. But it's not lime you unionists post as unionist 1, unionist lover, I'm a union member, and the like. So, when I quote you "typical Pleasanton resident," or "observer," or "parent," you can say "well they're not unionists.". Oh but they are.

But the people are discerning. We know a wolf in sheeps clothing when we see it. And you just come across as naive, for the readers have long seen your sides talking points over the year and years. I'll admit you were far more brazen last year. Our backlash has prevented unions from getting on their high horse and talking crap about us as much. But nonetheless, your talking points are still pervasive. Those who disagree with you must not care about the quality of the schools, are so cheap that they would not sacrifice the cost of a night out on the town for the benfit of their childrens education, and that we're often just a bunch of selfish old people who don't want to put into a system that they took and gained from, blah blah balh

Never once do you concede that maybe your opponents just disagree on what's a good education, how to create a better system, and how to best benefit the kids. If your side will concede that we care about the kids and that we do want to give them the best education possible, then we'll concede that you're not just selfish usurpers who always want more money for themselves. Basically, we need to come to a place where both sides are recogized as equally caring for the kids. We just have differing views as how to best care for them


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Posted by Questions about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

"Though we had the day off today, I still spent the day grading projects, reports, and assessments; planning for upcoming activities, and looking at data from my class to decide how to best serve them. Though I had the day off, I still went into school...."

Teacher:

That may be true for you and other high school teachers. But come on, don't tell me that a kindergarten teacher has this kind of work. Elementary school teachers do not need to spend extra time grading papers, most of the grading is done by parent volunteers (I have been one of them) during school hours.

It seems to me that we need differnt contracts for the different grade levels, which shows how ridiculous it is to have collective barganing.

A high school Calculus teacher has to work to prepare lessons and grade tests, a lot more work than say a kindergarten or first grade teacher.

Yet elementary age kids get half days off because poor teachers have to hold a conference and no way can they do that from 3-5.

For elementary teachers, days off are truly off, and the job is truly part time.

If a kindergarten teacher who has been teaching that grade level for more than a year still needs more time to prepare, I have to question that teacher's ability to do much of anything. Is that teacher really competent?

So the unions have hurt all teachers since the contracts it seems should be different depending on whether you teach high schoool or elementary.

That is why the 3 furlough days during instructional time are OK for elementary but NOT for high school.


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Posted by spouse
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:27 am

"But come on, don't tell me that a kindergarten teacher has this kind of work. Elementary school teachers do not need to spend extra time grading papers, most of the grading is done by parent volunteers (I have been one of them) during school hours... For elementary teachers, days off are truly off, and the job is truly part time."

I'm a spouse of an elementary teacher and I assure you my spouse does school work on days off! Plus, she is there until almost 5pm Mon-Fri and usually 2-4 hours on Sundays to prepare the room and lesson plans for the week.


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Posted by long time Pleasanton resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:57 am

The problem, as I see it, is not the 5 days of furlough, it's the large class sizes in the primary grades. The wonderful language arts and math programs only work when a teacher can work in small groups or individually with students. By changing the ratio, we go back 15 years and even though Pleasanton test scores are great, the students at risk (and there are still many of those in town!) won't have the support to get ahead academically and will pull some of the school scores WAY DOWN. With 32 in a kindergarten, the teacher cannot take 5 students to the reading table and expect the rest of the class to work quietly in groups. The good teachers will still be working hard, both on school days, weekends, and off days. Elementary teachers, remember, teach all subjects unlike high school teachers, and it takes hours of prep, correcting, classroom management, innovating new techniques, keeping up the classroom decor and organization, not to mention classes to improve techniques (all after school, weekends, summers). I have found over the years that no one outside the education community REALLY understands the work and time that goes into being a GREAT teacher. It's not an easy career.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

"I'm a spouse of an elementary teacher and I assure you my spouse does school work on days off! Plus, she is there until almost 5pm Mon-Fri and usually 2-4 hours on Sundays to prepare the room and lesson plans for the week."

What lesson plans? A teacher keeps teaching the same grade over and over, the lesson plans are the same year after year. I have kids and the curriculum and lesson plans were the same. The teacher just photocopied and reused. I am sorry if your spouse has to work so hard to get such an easy job done.


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Posted by Question about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

"Elementary teachers, remember, teach all subjects unlike high school teachers"

Yet they need science specialists, music specialists, pe teachers, librarians, in order to teach all subjects. Math and Language Arts is what they teach, important subjects at any age, but from a teacher's end, not much work. Again, once you have taught a grade level for years, your lesson plans are pretty much done, you have the materials, the class. And some teachers continue to get the easy classes, problem-free kids year after year, all in an elementary school is familiar with that. Collective bargaining should not be done.

Argue all you want, those of us with elementary school kids know the drill, even the homework packets stay the same from one kid to the next!


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:43 am

Longtime resident, I disagree with your assertion that you can't focus on five kids while the rest sit quietly doing their work. That's what we did in school, when there were more than 32 kids a class. Why do you suppose, as the generations go by, we expect less and less discipline from our kids? Do you think that's a good thing for their futures in the real world?

And what simple solutions could we provide to attain greAter discipline?

I'll give ya a hint: exercise and nutrition

Do you think those parts of the system are adequate? Because I sure don't.

And please stop assuming people don't know what a teacher does, or what it entails to take care of kids. You teachers have that as your final copout. Listen, we don't have to work for the oil companies to have a valid opinion against offshore drilling


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Posted by Swami
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

Thank you, teachers, for the sacrifice. This does open the door for addressing the funding gap with contributions from parents and other residents (who are willing to contribute since they see the value from living in a good school district).
The reduction of school days and hours places an additional burden on the parents.
Am wondering if we can make up for a part of it in co-op mode, likely will need school facilities. Possibly this would cover specific topics on the lost days (will need stay-home parents to help) and/or on weekends ( better suited for working parents), with volunteer teacher leadership. It will be hard to replace the structured education provided by the teachers, however.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

With the cost of one less teacher we can afford to pay for four hundred students to have proper nutrition, which is the root of lack of discipline. You all need to do your research on health and children. Kids don't need Ritalin. They require proper nutrition. And the school system does not provide it! Their nutrient-deprived, undercooked, grade F garbage does not help the kids bodies and minds. Kids naturally like to learn, to obey. It's a farce that they're hard to teach, as long as they've received proper nutrition and exercise. Anyone seen kindergarten cop? Remember how Arnold gets them disciplined? By making them do ample physical activity. This is a fact. Add with that proper nutrition and you can have a teacher at the helm of 40 kids. We need to spend more in these areas, and it will save us a fortune on uselessly small class sizes


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Posted by Questions about time off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

"The reduction of school days and hours places an additional burden on the parents."

Wrong. It places additional burden on the students because they will probably get even more homework to make up for those days.

Parents will work from home or make other arrangements that day.

The point is that the teachers have not taken a paycut. They have taken days off without pay which is different.

They are lazy imo, why didn't they just take the days off without pay that they already get? Yesterday for instance (only Pleasanton had the day off, San Ramon had school and so did many other districts). Or why not the 3 days off they already take at Thanksgiving? No, they are trying to look good with funny facts and numbers. Teachers are not fooling anyone with these so called "concessions


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Posted by Questions about days off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

For those thanking the teachers, you may want to read this thread:

Web Link

Funny facts and numbers the union is using to show how "generous" they are and all of that are explained in some posts.



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Posted by Hello
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm

First off San Ramon had a four day weekend last week with Friday and Monday off. Pleasanton takes two 3 day weekends, same number of days. Why not look at the whole calendar? Secondly, a teacher may teach the same grade for several years, but each year a different set of students walk in the door each year. A good teachers sees individuals who are not cookie cutter and can't teach the same thing day by day. Funny, when the state takes over schools they have teachers teacher say and do the same things across the district as they are teaching robots. While many teachers may do similar activities year to year, good teachers change things each year to meet the needs of each class.


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Posted by David
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I hope we can keep up our quality of education with all of these cut backs. Teachers are frustrated, kids are frustrated....it all stinks!


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Posted by professional crisis
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I have been a teacher who has worked in Pleasanton schools for the last ten years and have been a teacher for nineteen years. I am disappointed and appalled at the vitriol spewed on this site. I know some teachers cause parents much frustration and dissatisfaction with the school system. Please remember they are in the minority. Let me say that yesterday and last Monday, two days that teachers had off, I went to work. When I left seven hours later, there were at least ten cars in the parking lot. I have gone to graduate school for the last five years, paying tens of thousands of dollars of my hard-earned money to get an advanced degree so that I can learn how to support troubled, at-risk students. Teachers do not get tuition reimbursement.

I have given up my afternoons, my lunch periods, and summer breaks (not paid) to support students. Over the years I have spent tens of thousands of dollars of my own money to pay for books, notebooks, binders, dividers, papers, pens, websites, highlighters, art supplies, ink for my work printer, photocopies, snacks, and treats for my students. I know I should have invested my money in my retirement fund instead.

What is the motivation to continue to work with this level of commitment when the community is not supportive? I don't know if I can continue to work in this town, the town ironically called Pleasanton.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Thank you teachers! You are far too generous. I am grateful for all the work you are doing for our children and the sacrifice you offer.


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Posted by Don't fire til you see the whites of their eyes
a resident of another community
on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Thank you taxpayers! You are far too generous to these government apparatchiks, aka: unions. Thank you for raising your kids properly, giving them discipline and critical thinking, and providing a stable, crime-free environment for schools to thrive. Without you, the teachers would be running out of their cage-window schools to their cars like they do in Richmond and Oakland. Thank you!


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Dear Questions about days off:
You commented that as a high school teacher it can be expected to spend hours grading. I never said I was a high school teacher. In fact, I am an elementary school teacher, and have taught the same grade for 6 years over my teaching career. Clearly you have not been in an elementary classroom for quite a while. While high school teachers specialize in one area, elementary is expected to know all concepts. We are not only teachers, but nurses, counselors, police officers, and at times, parents. Each year we are blessed with a new group of children with very diverse needs.I would love to meet this "problem-free" class you mention. I have never met one that is free of problems. I have never had a single year's worth of students I could treat in exactly the same way. Beyond grading and planning, we have prepping for all activities. The younger the child, the more prep is necessary. If you figure I have 25 students, to whom I teach math, writing, reading, science, and social studies to daily, you can consider that 125 students or assignments I'm working with daily. I work after school to tutor students that are struggling - for free - to ensure they are making the grade.

With regard to your discussion about report cards - have you seen our report card lately? I have 28 standards to assess and comment on this trimester alone. First trimester, I have 25 different standards, and third trimester I have around the same - PER CHILD. Each of these requires an assessment to document for the parents in case there is any disagreement about the grades. With 25 kids, if I meet with parents for 30 minutes (which is pushing it to review all standards and expectations of the grade), I'm usually conferencing from 12:30 - 4, after teaching that morning, and then staying until 5:00 or 6:00 to prep for the following day. I still conference on Friday for the remaining conferences and then stay to prep for the following week.

I am not saying any of this for a pity party. I love what I do and I would not change my career, despite the mud slinging or pay cuts. However, you are asking the people on this post to get their facts straight before accepting the concessions that have been made. I am asking you to do the same. Please do not make generalizations about a career you obviously have no understanding of and do not belittle those of us that work very hard with your generalizations.


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Posted by What about our kids?
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm

The APT chiefs must be laughing about the concession agreement. The top schools koolaid came through and parents once again got fooled. Instead of earnest reforms to the system we get a constant drumbeat that PUSD schools are the best-of-breed education vehicles that have no problems and have perfect teachers and excellent students and are administered by thought leaders. Okay, time to look under the hood. What are we doing about vicious bullying and abuse of our kids by thugs? What about uncontrolled inappropriate behavior? What about out of control Village HS ?!! What about alienation of the disoriented and disabled? Never mentioned in school newsletters, the superintendent never talks about it, never discussed by the board. Where is APT on this? Their members must know all about this. Are they doing anything? Why do we only hear from APT about teacher pay and benefits and class size? When are we going to hear about our suffering children in this system?


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