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San Ramon Unified cuts 136 positions, increases class sizes

Original post made on Mar 10, 2010

Speakers sympathized with board members of the San Ramon Unified School District last night even as they voted to raise class sizes and give layoff notices to 136 teachers and other employees.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 5:02 AM

Comments (116)

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

Man, it's a good thing they passed that parcel tax or oh, wait a minute never mind!


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Posted by sandy n.
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

We are incurring these cuts even though we passed the parcel tax AND we get hit up for "One time" donations ($300/family at SRVHS) from each individual school. All in all the price/cost is a lot less than private schools.


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Posted by To Sandy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

"All in all the price/cost is a lot less than private schools."

Yes, but in private schools if they collect money for say music, they use it for music. Otherwise they could not stay in business and would become the private school no one applies to.

What your district is doing is taking money they promised to use for programs like CSR and instead using it to pay for raises. Ask for a breakdown of where the money from the parcel tax is going to, you may think differently then. 300 dollars may not be a lot, but I would rather go to dinner with that money than give it to a district so they can spend it on teacher raises (you have heard of step and column, haven't you?)


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Posted by Kelly
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Mar 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

San Ramon, a district with a parcel tax is making big cuts to programs

Web Link


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Posted by Sue
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm

NO TEACHER IN SAN RAMON GOT A RAISE. In fact were giving things up for the children, get you facts straight.


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Posted by Patricia Collins
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

My sister is a teacher here in town and she got her union contractually agreed to raise last year and will get it this year. It is part of the union agreement with the district and guaranteed. I do not know why this is a problem because it is a contract the district agreed to and must abide by. The same as state pensions. It is just a fact of life so we must fund it.


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Posted by guess what
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

A friend of mine says her 90 year old mom still gets a $300 pension check each month from the SF schood district because she worked for 2 years in the lunchroom for 3 hrs a day back 46 years ago.
It just makes me wonder how much PUSD or SR is paying out in pensions. Hey, I couldn't believe the story, but she is a credible source.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I'm happy for the senior woman who a $300 monthly check!

go girl...


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

guess what, How about we take away your pension? do you think that makes any sense at all?


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Posted by To Frank
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I think the point is we cannot afford to continue to give raises because revenue is down and will stay that way for a while

The San Ramon School District is a perfect example of why we should NOT approve a parcel tax here in Pleasanton. What for? To continue to finance raises? No, I think after a while the money gets so low that the unions will have to re-think their position.

Look at what happened in Rhode Island: unions refused to be reasonable, so all the teachers got fired! And Obama, a democrat praised the move because it is in line with Ann Duncan's plans to reform education.

At some point, when California has to do something or face bankruptcy (well we are kind of already there, without much money), something will have to be done about unions and pensions and automatic raises.

For now, all I can do is vote NO on any parcel tax here in Pleasanton. Why? Just look at San Ramon, what good was the tax there? Oh yeah, the teachers get a raise - but I do not want to give money for teacher raises


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

To 'Patricia Collins' - A contract can be changed. Both sides need to have the strength and courage to do so.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

To the teacher from Pleasanton that got a pink slip last year and went to San Ramon: You were quick to put down PUSD and everything about San Ramon was wonderful. The horrible Pleasanton parents wouldn't pass a parcel tax. You said your job in San Ramon was not at risk, but now you are the new employee. Based on your union contract you should be the first to go. Glad you love San Ramon.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

If you are a homeowner in san Ramon that voted last year to assess a tax on yourself to save CSR, how stupid are you feeling right about now?


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Posted by To the Tea Partiers
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:38 pm

You have some nerve to talk about teacher self-interests, when in reality you have your own self-interests at heart: specifically, many of you don't have children in the school district anymore, and you don't care what happens to the schools now that you are finished with the system.

It's a typical case of passing on the guilt. You feel guilty about not wanting to support the local schools, so you blame the teachers and PUSD for financial mismangement. Let me ask you: HOW IS IT THAT ALL THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN CALIFORNIA TO HAVE A BUDGET SHORTFALL? DID PUSD CAUSE ALL OF THIS?

Of course not. People in Pleasanton are smarter than that. They know that your idiotic claims have no basis.

All I see from people like Resident are complaints about a parcel tax. If you had kids in school, I would think your first concern would be how your children will fare with crowded classrooms and program cuts. Oh wait, your children are grown, so you don't have to deal with it.

How convenient that after all the support your community gave you when your kids were in school, you now want to close the door.
Tea Partiers on average tend to be wealthier and older than the rest of the population. That means most of you are probably close to getting those benefit checks from the goverment. I get it: you want that money that should have gone to education to fund your retirement.

Talk about selfish.


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Posted by Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

The facts are that PUSD will face funding reductions from the state of more than $9.8 million during the 2009-20011 school year. Teacher raises only account for about $1.6 million.

Fundraising at its best may make up $1 million or so, but even that is unprecedented.

The reason San Ramon is proposing cutting programs and laying off staff is because teacher contracts were negotiated BEFORE the funding cuts from the state. I am more than willing to bet that teachers in San Ramon will give concessions to preserve CSR and other programs.

Let me ask all of you who oppose supporting our schools in any way: how do you propose coming up with the more than $7 million needed to close the gap?



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Posted by Yeah, right!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

To "To The Tea Partiers"

"If you had kids in school, I would think your first concern would be how your children will fare with crowded classrooms and program cuts. Oh wait, your children are grown, so you don't have to deal with it."

Wrong! I have small children in the Pleasanton schools, but I am not about to tax myself so that I can fund someone else's raises.

Do the math. The teacher concessions of 3 furlough days do NOT pay for their step and column.

I am concerned about my children's education but passing a parcel tax is NOT the solution. I can give and give, but the unions will continue to take and take, it is a never ending story.

Look at San Ramon: perfect example of a district that fooled the community into passing a parcel tax with the promise to use that tax to fund programs like CSR. Forward that one year and here they are: getting rid of CSR and funding raises instead! Read what that sister of a San Ramon teacher posted, wow do those people feel entitled.

Do I have kids in schools? Yes
Am I a tea party person? No
Do I think the current concessions by PUSD teachers make sense? No
Would I vote for a parcel tax? No
Do I think San Ramon residents were lied to and that those who continue to support their district despite the lies are not too smart? Yes

Do I care about education? YES and that is WHY I think the UNIONS must be gone as they are killing education and every industry in this state and across the nation.


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Posted by Try this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm

"how do you propose coming up with the more than $7 million needed to close the gap?"

1) Freeze step and column - on a permanent basis

2) 4% salary cut across the board: from the superintendent to the teachers to the janitors and secretaries

3) End the school year 5 days earlier

4) Do not allow teacher to take elective days off, only sick days - no more "go to my child's field trip time off"

5) No more car allowances, meals, cell phones for administrators.

That should do it


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Posted by Try this
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm

One more:

6) Lay off based on performance, not seniority.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymousse wrote: "The facts are that PUSD will face funding reductions from the state of more than $9.8 million during the 2009-20011 school year. Teacher raises only account for about $1.6 million."

Let's be clear on this (because it can be confusing).

This year's _projected_ shortfall of $9.8MM is for the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 school _years_. Most of the projected shortfall (~$8MM) is for 2010/2011. Built into these numbers are step and column for both this year and next year.

We won't know the actual numbers until the State's "May Revise". It may or may not include some attempts at education funding reform if our State legislature gets it's act together on the budget this year. Maybe we could do a PUSD fundraiser by making bets on how late the budget will be this year.


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Here is something to ponder if the teachers still continue not to give.




Web Link


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:06 pm

To 'Anonymousse' - If you are counting 2 school years, then the cumulative cost of the salary raises is $4.8M, or half of the $9.8M deficit.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

"Do not allow teacher to take elective days off, only sick days - no more "go to my child's field trip time off""

Yeah, we'd hate to see a parent care about their children. Sure, parents will keep their child home because the child says they are tired, but have a teacher who needs to go to their mothers funeral and that is just bankrupting the school.

C'mon, you really can't be serious. You make decent points and then it all blows up in your face when you make stupid statement like that.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:21 pm

"Lay off based on performance, not seniority."

Its a find idea, but what are your performance criteria? Please provide some details on you plan.


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Posted by Get rid of unions
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:23 pm

"The Kansas City school board narrowly approved a plan Wednesday night to close nearly half the district's schools in a desperate bid to avoid a potential bankruptcy."

If I were a trustee there, I would let the district go bankrupt. That way there would be no obligations anymore, start fresh, send the unions crying elsewhere. The unions are responsible for the bankruptcy of many entities: City of Vallejo, the car industry and now this school district. Bankruptcy does not sound so bad if it lets you get out of the unreasonable union, salary and pension obligations and start fresh with nonunion employees


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Posted by Not the same
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:27 pm

"Yeah, we'd hate to see a parent care about their children. Sure, parents will keep their child home because the child says they are tired, but have a teacher who needs to go to their mothers funeral and that is just bankrupting the school."

Teachers get plenty of time off, they already work part-time, but it is pointless to argue with you since we all know you are pro-union, in a dumb blind way.

Attending a child's field trip is not the same as attending a funeral. Many teachers posted in past threads how they are entitled to take time off to attend their children's assemblies, field trips, etc.

If they don't like it, by all means change professions and get into a more flexible job that you can be absent from WITHOUT having to call another person to do your job. If they want to be teachers, then act as adults and stop taking time off just because you feel like it.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Not The Same - here is your quote

"Do not allow teacher to take elective days off, only sick days"

A funeral is not a sick day. I'm not sure how to interpret this otherwise. Please explain to me in your infinite wisdom oh great one.


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Posted by To letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm

"Its a find idea, but what are your performance criteria? Please provide some details on you plan."

We could start by keeping track of the teacher's attendance record.

We also could do what many states are doing: hold teachers accountable for students' test scores. Yeah yeah, unions are against it and have their well rehearsed reasons but that is a valid way to evaluate a teacher, not to mention to qualify for "race to the top" federal money.

We could have the principals visit the classroom and have more awareness of what goes on in class. I for one would appreciate a visit to my child's class so people could see what really goes on in there and how the teacher behaves and what is said to the students.

Teachers argue this would be subjective but come on, in the private sector, employees are evaluated by their boss, it would be the same for teachers.

Finally, if there is a teacher that 95 percent of parents try to avoid and complain about, well, then it is not just one hysterical parent and the teacher must be watched closely to see what is causing the many complaints


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

"then act as adults and stop taking time off just because you feel like it."

Isn't this what adults do? When they feel like taking time off from work, they do it per the days off allotted. If you are worried about teachers getting summers off, just go to year round school. BUt to suggest that a professional should not be allowed to go to their sister's wedding, or best friends funeral, or attend important events in their child's life is just playing into the unions hands and probably the reason teachers think they need unions - to protect them from people like you trying to prevent these things.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

"Teachers argue this would be subjective but come on, in the private sector, employees are evaluated by their boss, it would be the same for teachers."

I think it can be done, but not with the current structure. There is not physically time for the principal's to visit the classroom often enough to evaluate. There are some schools that do peer review and such which apparently is effective, but there are also studies that even these can be hit or miss on their effectiveness.

Test scores always bothered me, because how do you compare a teacher at the high school level that is the only one teaching the subject? I guess you could do extensive statistical analysis, but then it gets difficult, because we all know data can often be manipulated to tell the story you want to hear.

There needs to be a change. What that change consists of, I don't know. The question is, has any of this actually been presented to the teachers. All these posts blame the teachers for not changing, but have then been given a framework to look at? Has the School Board made any effort to implement change?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

"1) Freeze step and column - on a permanent basis"

What a truly silly suggestion. Freeze teachers salaries, forever!

What if this policy got put in place during the last major economic downturn. Teacher salaries would be frozen at 1934 levels -- about $100 per month. Maybe you think that is what teachers are worth?


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

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "What a truly silly suggestion. Freeze teachers salaries, forever!"

You know as well as I that that is a statement as equally absurd to make as the one you're responding to. Step and column are raises but not all raises are step and column.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm


To "Patricia Collins"

You said that raises were agreed to by the unions and so therefore we must pay them. Therein lies the problem. Elsewhere in silicon valley, companies are laying people off or instituting paycuts, furloughs, etc. The school districts must do the same in order to deal with the current economic difficulties.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:32 pm

"Step and column are raises but not all raises are step and column."

You wouldn't know it from reading these blogs. I read it all over the place that teachers haven't sacrificed at all and are "getting their usual raises" same as always.


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Posted by "old tenured" 30 yr old
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Here we go with the "teacher attendance" ignorance issue again. How about asking how many days the teachers have accumulated to date? We get 10 days a year. At this time I have 53 days accumulated. This is a low number amongst many of my colleagues. But then again, you seem to only focus on the negative.

BTW, "Not the same"- my son is having surgery next week, needs a ride home from the hospital, should I ask for your permission to go, since you are the one judging my personal time? One teacher wrote about going to an assembly, now all the teachers are doing this? I guess I could judge this whole community by the ignorance in your post?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

"You said that raises were agreed to by the unions and so therefore we must pay them."

I think she means this is contractual. There is a legally binding contract. It is analogous to the situation with AIG and others. The government bailed that company out, but they continue to pay record bonuses and salaries because contracts were in place guaranteeing that. The difference here is that the schools is San Ramon have not failed. In fact they have excelled. Extra revenue from a parcel tax has helped soften the blow of an economic downturn that was no fault of theirs. Local school funding should not rise and fall with the vicissitudes of economic trends on Wall Street. That would be a foolish policy that would be bad for our children and bad for our communities.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Regarding the previous post:
Saying that teacher cuts are "foolish" is a mistaken notion. in tough economic times, everyone needs to cut back and learn how to work together and be more efficient. See original message.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:57 am

I remember our 2nd grade teacher last year pulled her kids out of school and they all went off to Disneyland for a week because she didn't want to go during school vacation...so the district paid for a sub AND the school lost money because her kids weren't there...

Not saying this is typical; just saying it happens...


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Posted by Patricia Collins
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

My point is that the teachers contract in San Ramon was not one sided and was agreed to by not only the union but also the negotiating representives of the school district who must have agreed that it was affordable otherwise it would have not been agreed to and ratified by the board itself. Teachers should not be the victims of the incompetence of the board and its representatives. If you want someone to be held responsible hold the school board responsible and sue them personally. If one is sued and loses you can bet they will make much better decisions in the future with other peoples money.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:15 am

So much for the "San Ramon Has A Parcel Tax And Look How Great They Are" position. The sooner everyone realizes every school district in every state of this nation is affected by the economic downturn, the faster life can move on towards finding real solutions outside of MORE TAXES.


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Posted by To Patricia Collins
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:17 am

"must have agreed that it was affordable otherwise it would have not been agreed to and ratified by the board itself"

Yeah, they knew they could afford it because they lied to the community into giving them more money in the form of a parcel tax, with false promises of keeping programs.

Tell your sister to enjoy her raise, because I doubt that San Ramon parents will be stupid enough to fall for the cry for help from their district a second time.

Something good came out of this: it showed everyone just how parcel taxes do NOT work as they are used to pay for raises like the one your sister is about to enjoy at the expense of her students.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:01 am

"it showed everyone just how parcel taxes do NOT work as they are used to pay for raises like the one your sister is about to enjoy at the expense of her students"

Its post like this that show us how bad this whole discussion has become.

We are now equating teachers getting paid more with a decrease in students education. Do if I go back to my math class, if we decrease teachers pay the students educational experience will improve. If we keep decreasing until the teachers pay approaches zero, then the students education will approach infinity. Therefore, unpaid teachers will make the school perform at their highest level.

Its an interesting arguement. I don't happen to agree, but maybe I can see the argument. I think you are going to have difficulties finding more that a handful of people willing to be teachers for no pay - that would be my major concern.

Here's my solution: No parcel tax, cut programs (yes, that means teachers), until you reach the level the current necessary spending level. Work with teachers on alternative pay structures that are implemented over a period of time (i.e. don't get those teachers that are near retirement all in a frenzy that will push the union to create a roadblock to change). Get some Board members who are willing to work toward the end goal of efficient spending(not those that rubber stamp the district budget, nor those that come in with a mindset to fire every teacher).


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:06 am

I did have one idea on teacher pay. Teachers should get paid by the number of students in their classrooms. Each years teachers could say, I would like 20 or 30 or 35 or 50 students in my class (there will need to be some adjustment between elementary, middle and high school). Those that are willing to teach more students get paid more. There of course would need to be some sort of minimum performance standard (say on testing) and if you did not reach those levels you were not allowed to have more than say 20 students. That way, those good teachers that can control a classroom and educate can have more students and get paid more. While those that aren't performing, or don't need the money or like a more personal approach can work with smaller groups for less pay.


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Posted by To letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:11 am

We are not talking about decreasing teachers' pay, we are simply saying they should not get raises during this financial crisis because the revenue is down. You cannot expect taxpayers, many of whom are either unemployed or did not see a raise themselves, to give money in the form of a parcel tax to subsidize teachers' raises.

We are simply saying that the public sector which includes teachers need to understand that we are still in a RECESSION. Many people are doing without raises and many without jobs.


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Posted by To letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:12 am

We are also saying that districts like San Ramon should stop their lies.

If they want a parcel tax just to subsidize teachers' raises, then say it, put that on the ballot. You will see how quickly that tax fails.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:45 am

This is not meant to be arguementative but lets look at pay rates of teachers that work "part-time"

In SRVUSD a teachers that comes out of college and then goes to school for teacher credentialing and masters degree will have a degree and a little under 45 additional credits, so let's assume they take the extra classes and get to +45 on the pay schedule. So if they have been teaching for 20 years, they would currently be getting paid $67661.

$67661 / 186 days / 7 hours (contracted hours) = $52 / hr

In the "full-time" world that would equate to

$52/hr * 1680 hrs = $87,360 (1680 hours assuming 8 hours per day, with 4 weeks vacation + 10 paid holidays)

Are we overpaying, underpaying or paying just about right?

(Let's look at this in general, not with the light of this years budget crisis) In Pleasanton, the numbers are a bit higher due to the health benefits not being included (which most companies do provide) the values are similar.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:49 am

Just a side note - I did not subtract the 10 days of sick/personal necessity from the teachers rate as most companies provide sick time in additional to the vacation time. However, if you do subtract those out, the equivalent "full-time" pay would be $92265.


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Posted by San Ramon residents cannot be so dumb, or maybe they can!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:54 am

Look at what Ms.Bunny from San Ramon had to say:

Web Link

"You hit one of the "nail's" in this debate, right on the head...oversized budgets have been taken for granted FOR YEARS, AND YEARS...

It is unfortunate we are now in crisis with education in the US, but it is, no surprise. It's been coming for some time...

When it comes right down to teaching our children, more often than not? It is NOT forever and always, about money, it is about competency in given subject matter. Across the nation, we do have an extreme measure in play - the firing of teachers, whole staffs, "left and right" and it's growing. While I don't feel this is the whole answer by any stretch, I do believe it is part of the answer. They have to understand that like the private sector, they are not immune to scrutiny or the economic woes of our country. Again, often, and in this case in particular, it is about ACCOUNTABILITY...in the ability to teach; and in spending habits, which again, are at issue with me when it comes to the SRVSD."

And what amazes me is that even though San Ramon residents approved a parcel tax, they are being blamed for the crisis:

"shocked" of San Ramon wrote:
"Until the parents in SRVUSD either: 1. tax themselves like more progressive districts do without whining ($112 per year is chump change -- BUSD get $1 per sq. foot of house size) or 2. show some moxi, band together and sue the state to revoke Serrano v. Priest, the 80 "basic aid" districts in California who are rolling in cash ($11000 - $16000 per student per year) will continue laughing at you and educating our state's elite."


See? It is never enough. San Ramon passed a tax and now they are saying they should tax themselves more? What happened to getting expenses under control instead? How about stopping the union nonsense?


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

You have to factor in the pension benefit. There is really no equivalent to public employee retirement packages in the private sector. The pay plans start to look a lot better when you add the words "for life" after the number.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:00 am

Stacey is a registered user.

How exactly does a legislature "revoke" the decision of a court case? What they do is make laws that implement the requirements of the court's decision. And therein lies the issue, poor implementation.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

Stacey is a registered user.

letsgo wrote: "Here's my solution: No parcel tax, cut programs (yes, that means teachers), until you reach the level the current necessary spending level. Work with teachers on alternative pay structures that are implemented over a period of time (i.e. don't get those teachers that are near retirement all in a frenzy that will push the union to create a roadblock to change). Get some Board members who are willing to work toward the end goal of efficient spending(not those that rubber stamp the district budget, nor those that come in with a mindset to fire every teacher)."

You actually think more like I do than not.


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Posted by Basic Aid - does PUSD qualify?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:33 am

"Serrano v. Priest, the 80 "basic aid" districts in California who are rolling in cash ($11000 - $16000 per student per year) will continue laughing at you and educating our state's elite.""

I have always wondered why Pleasanton has not at least explored the option of going basic. Can we look into it? We should at least get numbers and see if it makes sense for us.

Unbelievable that in San Ramon they are cutting the programs they said the parcel tax would finance. Amazing what that sister of a SR teacher said and how entitled she feels for her sister to continue to be a parasite like the rest of the public employees.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Mary - The private sector has long had pensions. Many corporations were still giving them to professional employees until about the last decade (I have one that they stopped in about 2002). Private sectors often have bonuses, 401K matching, stock purchase options, etc. Teachers also pay into the pension plan. Its not free for the teachers, it basically is equivalent to a 401K matching as the district and employee payments are about equal. Yes, there is basically a guranteed rate of return with the pension benefits, but my point is that they are not worlds apart different and salaries can actually be compared.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Stacey - does that frighten you? :-)


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

letsgo,

No. :)

One thing I'd like to point out about the private sector with things like bonuses, stock options, and even raises, those compensation perks are typically tied to performance.


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Posted by To letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 2:01 pm

"Yes, there is basically a guranteed rate of return with the pension benefits, but my point is that they are not worlds apart different and salaries can actually be compared."

That is a huge difference, don't you think? My 401K was highly affected due to the downturn, and yet teachers' pensions stay the same. That does not seem right, given that - is it Calpers? also speculated trying to get bigger returns. They should live with the losses like the rest of us. Yes, I am young and have time to see my 401k recover but my point is, it is not right for the taxpayer to be held responsible for pension losses.

Just to point out another difference: there is no such thing as a guaranteed job in the private sector, no tenure protection whereas in the public sector seniority and tenure give job security. Also, in the private sector bonuses and income are based on PERFORMANCE. while we have some very excellent teachers, we also have bad ones that get the raises and perks simply because of seniority, tenure, credentials. In the private sector, your level of education counts, but what determines your bonuses and salary and even stock options is how competent you are and how well you do your jo.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

"401K was highly affected due to the downturn, and yet teachers' pensions stay the same."

401Ks were also greatly affected (positively) by the huge stock market gains in the 90s and early 2000s. The stock market has an average return per year of 18% per year from 1990 - 1999.

Its true, most bonuses in the private sector are based on performance. But most of the bonus is based on overall company performance and group/division performance (with sales being a mjor exception). So if we look at performance of teachers overall in Pleasanton, the test scores keep going up (our only current consistant measure of performance - while its not great its the only thing we really have right now) so the "company" is doing well.

I'm not saying the comparison is apples to apples, but you can compare salaries pretty closely as the compensation is very similar.


"we also have bad ones that get the raises and perks"

What do you mean by perks?


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Posted by Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm

To "To letsgo"
You said: "Also, in the private sector bonuses and income are based on PERFORMANCE."

Not always. When the company I worked for did well, just about everyone in my office got bonuses, whether or not they deserved them. Also, people in private sector industries get promotions, usually based on years of experience and performance. Teachers do not get "promotions" to a managerial position, for example. A teacher will always be a teacher.

Think about it: There are no Teacher Supervisor positions. The district's way of promoting teachers and giving bonuses is through step and column. To do away with step and column altogether is akin to telling the private sector industry to do away with promotions and bonuses. I understand the frustration against automatic raises, but this is conditional upon the teacher completing a course of continuing education.




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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm

To Anonymousse,

Yes, you have it right. In fact, if you look at some of the bonuses given out by AIG, they are contractual. I some cases they are given specifically to those individuals who caused the company to need a bailout to survive.

Another example is that of a dentist. A dentist will charge higher and higher fees as time goes on, though he may be doing exactly the same work. How many dentists are charging the same for a root canal or crown as they did in 1975?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader,

And yet those contracts would not be signed by AIG to JUST ANYONE. They make those kinds of contracts with those who have RISEN DUE TO MERIT.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Do you think someone running a very large insurance company or at the top manager level has only been hired based upon years of experience and degree earned? Certainly those are qualifications for a job, and yet you don't see every PhD with many years of experience running a large corporation or at the top level of management. In fact even those people get laid off!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

And we even find in the private sector very successful people who didn't bother to get additional education.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm

"And yet those contracts would not be signed by AIG to JUST ANYONE. They make those kinds of contracts with those who have RISEN DUE TO MERIT."

You don't see the irony in that remark? If achievements of these executives were so meretricious, how is it that they ran the company into the biggest corporate failure in the history of the world? I would sooner choose names at random from the phonebook than hire these people.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

"And we even find in the private sector very successful people who didn't bother to get additional education."

So different jobs have different requirements.

Continuing with the example of a dentist, one that goes on to get a certification in endodontics can charge more for the same root canal than a dentist without the certification.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It isn't ironic. That company should have been allowed to fail. But really what you're doing is detracting from the main point that employees in the private sector typically are compensated based upon performance.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Continuing with the dentist example, better performing endodontists make more. Happy clients bring more business.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A teacher specializing in math instruction could make more than a teacher not specializing in math instruction. But two teachers specializing in math instruction may not perform the same.


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Posted by Pleasanton parent
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Let's go--your calculations are not quite right. How many Exempt employees do you know that only work 8 hours a day. Teachers want to be considered Professionals which in the private sector equates to Exempt. No overtime, no set breaks or lunch hours, can work more than 8 hours/day or 40 hour a week without overtime compensation. The expectation is that you take work home, work weekends, even travel on weekends with no compensation. Professionals rarely go on field trips without taking a vacation day. My husband gets PTO. It includes sick days and/or personal days, not both and it is one per month. Less than the teachers get.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Oh Pleasanton Parent, come over to my house this week. No overtime pay? Well, see, after my work day, I have to plan for the next day, clean my classroom, grade papers, and prepare for tomorrows activities. THEN....I will be working on report cards. Standards based report cards take at a minimum of 30 minutes per card to fill out. With 33 students, that will be 17 hours, not counting the the number of minutes to grade all of the essays and assessments used to fill out the report cards.

Did I mention I have a family, young children, dinner to cook, homework to help with, sports to drive to, you know, the regular house jobs....that puts my day ending at 12:00pm every night this week. Oh forgot, at that time, I will then have the opportunity to respond to the many emails that need to be answered within 48 hours.

And guess what, I gladly do it! This is what the job is all about- communicating to parents about how their child is doing. What I can't believe, after completing this schedule for the past week, is the comments such as yours. You have no idea, yet you feel the need to insinuate that teaching is not full time. You are the one who is "not quite right"


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Posted by Trophy
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I would like to point out that Stacey does not have children attending our schools, hence why she can sit on a computer and fan the flames of discontent. Must get boring being a trophy.


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Posted by To Trophy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:51 pm

At least Stacy is a resident of Pleasanton.

Let's see, Kernan a current board member:

- does not have kids in the schools

- has children who WORK for the schools

- does NOT live in Pleasanton but uses a technicality to say he is a resident; I am sure if someone decided to sue they would get the truth, which is Kernan does not live in Pleasanton because he cannot be a resident of two places at the same time


Yet you are OK with Kernan making decisions in our district but have issues with someone like Stacey posting? WOW!


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Posted by To teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

"Did I mention I have a family, young children, dinner to cook, homework to help with, sports to drive to, you know, the regular house jobs....that puts my day ending at 12:00pm every night this week."

Well, you and everyone else! You cannot include dinner or helping with homework or driving kids around as part of your paid job!

And teacher, how often do you really grade papers? Most kids don't get work back for weeks.

And report cards... that is only done 3 times a week in elementary, twice in the upper grades,

really how often do you really stay up late with work related items? What do you do from 3-5? Kids are released at 3 (give or take minutes depending on the school)

And what kind of work do kindergarten teachers really have?

I volunteered in my child's elementary a lot, and all the grading got done in class, mostly by volunteer parents. The grading the teacher did, did so between 3 and 5. Come on!


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Posted by To teacher - correction
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

"that is only done 3 times a week in elementary,"

it should be

"that is only done 3 times a YEAR in elementary,"


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Posted by Huh?????
a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Love these pedantic definitions of who works hard and who doesn't. I guess I'll bite. Let's look at your post carefully:

>How many Exempt employees do you know that only work 8 hours a day.

Very few. So?

>Teachers want to be considered Professionals

You betcha. With a capital "P" even.

> which in the private sector equates to Exempt.

So if you're not exempt you're not "professional?" That's a rather narrow definition that seems limited to corporate employees. What if you're a roofer? A lawyer with your own practice? Are these amateurs?

>No overtime, no set breaks or lunch hours, can work more than 8 hours/day or 40 hour a week without overtime compensation.

>Newsflash. No teacher waltzes in at 7:59 A.M., and out at 3:01. The expectation is that YOU, the teacher, do what is necessary that is connected with supporting your class - planning, conferences, cleaning, fronting the $$$ for supplies (maybe you'll get paid back, maybe not), staff meetings, back to school night - you're expected to get it done. No problem there.

>The expectation is that you take work home, work weekends, even travel on weekends with no compensation.

Yep. It happens to educators, too, routinely.

>Professionals rarely go on field trips without taking a vacation day.

WTF? If by "field trip" you mean "travel connected with the job," that is simply not true.

>My husband gets PTO. It includes sick days and/or personal days, not both and it is one per month. Less than the teachers get.

PTO varies by company. If your husband doesn't like the amount of PTO he gets, he's quite free to find another job. (Why are we talking about your husband - what about you?)

All jobs have their unique plusses, minuses, and characteristics. Some teachers are crappy, just as more-than-a-few employees of private firms are crappy. That is an issue. Demeaning the job in general is useless, divisive, and sounds like it was read verbatim from some playbook.


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Posted by to teacher
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm

To teacher, we are very grateful for your contributions and I'm sure you knew what was involved when you chose your profession. Like all of us exempt professionals, we do what we have to do to get the job done. And we also have children to take care of, meals to prepare, running about, etc. The only difference is that you have a union fighting for you. When my company struggles, I have to work longer and harder because there are fewer people to do the job. It's the way it goes right now....this is the 'real world' for a while, for ALL of us. Our family income took a paycut with my spouse's job and he still works the same number if not more hours. That's a true pay cut and directly hits my family because it's less money, but more time on the job to keep the place afloat. We're all in this together, but something has to give. My husband doesn't get to stand out front and ask people to save his company...he goes to work everyday and tries to make it better. I'm sure many of our PUSD teachers and staff are doing the same thing and it is appreciated. Let's put kids first when it comes to our schools; isn't that the PUSD motto?


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Posted by To huh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

"If by "field trip" you mean "travel connected with the job," that is simply not true. "

I think they mean what other posters have said: teachers take elective days off to go on field trips with their children (not their students but their children they are parents/guardians to)

It is not travel connected with the job. That would be when a teacher takes her class on a field trip. But the problem people talk about is when the teacher takes a day off, calls a sub in order to go with her own child on a field trip


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm

"But really what you're doing is detracting from the main point that employees in the private sector typically are compensated based upon performance."

But not always. The system is imperfect. It is the same for teachers. I teacher with extra training in general will be more effective than one without. It is not always the case, but just as with the dentist, it is true in general. The bottom line is that the system works. Could it be improved? Sure. Is it a high priority to improve it? Not in my opinion. We should now be focused squarely on getting the revenue that we need to maintain the quality of our schools in the face of this economic downturn.


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Posted by To A Reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

"The bottom line is that the system works. Could it be improved? Sure. Is it a high priority to improve it? Not in my opinion. We should now be focused squarely on getting the revenue that we need to maintain the quality of our schools in the face of this economic downturn."

The system does not work, and the focus should not be on increasing revenue but on changing the satus quo. That means freezing step and column, finding a way to get rid of bad teachers, getting rid of unnecessary expenses. Of course someone like you who is so focused on taxing people cannot think straight and happily ignores the obvious.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm

The clear answer to a revenue shortfall that was entirely caused by forces beyond the control of PUSD and even the state of California is to increase the revenue. Simple stuff.


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Posted by Bunch of nuts!
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Really, I have decided that is what most of the negobloggers are.
The following was posted by one of you.
"how do you propose coming up with the more than $7 million needed to close the gap?"
1) Freeze step and column - on a permanent basis (Great idea! I bet you will attract some amazing talent to a thankless, difficult & dead-end job!)
2) 4% salary cut across the board: from the superintendent to the teachers to the janitors and secretaries (Yeah, because janitors are really sucking the school districts dry)
3) End the school year 5 days earlier (okay! Works for me)
4) Do not allow teacher to take elective days off, only sick days - no more "go to my child's field trip time off" (What is this crap?! Really, most professionals can take vacation time. This time is important for teachers to be able to raise their own kids. I am pretty sure these professional days are not dragging down the district into financial ruin)
5) No more car allowances, meals, cell phones for administrators.
That should do it" (Okay, that works for me too. Except the phone thing, they need phones for work.)

Seriously though, the real problem is the nosedive of the economy. Where were all the negobloggers when there was plenty of money? Why didn't anyone care then? Shouldn't you always be scrutinizing a system and looking for ways to be more efficient? The economy tanked because of unchecked greed and now many people are angry and bitter. Stop being stupid and really try to solve the problem.


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Posted by Davis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm

The answer to the "where were you in the good times" question is simple. Right here paying our taxes. What has changed is that the businesses and individuals of California are making significantly less money. Therefore the cumulative tax take is diminished. That means that the services funded by those taxes must make adjustments. It does not mean that government agencies should impose new taxes to make up the difference. Frankly anyone that thinks more taxes are a good idea is an idiot.


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Posted by Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:08 am

What's killing California's economy is pension obligations costing billions of dollars, only to increase over the years.

Prop 98 guaranteed a certain amount of money for education. The state has not been able to meet this amount mostly due to aforementioned pension obligations. Just as Prop 13 has protected many of the posters here who are complaining about supporting their local schools, Prop 98 was SUPPOSED to protect our schools. The schools should demand the money that was stolen from them, and the state should TAX pension obligations to get some of the money back.

Almost two-thirds of a California school's budget comes from state funding; the rest is composed of about 20%-30% local funding via fundraisers and parcel taxes, with about 10% from the federal government.

We are now finding out how vulnerable our schools are, even though it is written in the state constitution that schools are to be protected from budget swings. Until the mess in the capital is sorted out, our schools are left only with local options for raising money: fundraisers and parcel taxes. Fundraisers earning more than $1 million are a pipe dream. What is the district left with other than a parcel tax?

For those who propose drastic cuts to school programs and teacher salaries, you don't think this isn't going to have reverberations throughout the entire community?

When the quality of schools goes down here, home values will have to come down. Who would want to pay a premium to live here if the schools are crappy? Get used to more meth houses in downtown, people!


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Posted by To "Bunch of nuts"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:55 am

"Seriously though, the real problem is the nosedive of the economy."

No, that is what the government and school districts want you to think.

You know? One of the board member went through personal foreclosure in 2009. Yes, they can blame the economy blah blah. When you look at public records and see that more money was borrowed than what the house cost initially, you realize the economy might have accelerated the inevitable, but the reality is: the piggy bank would eventually run out of money and the recession simply accelerated the process.

Same with schools and pensions: they have acted like the money grows on trees. Pensions, automatic raises are not something we can afford on an ongoing basis, and the economy has just made that very clear. But the economy is not the root cause.

Let's see, step and column has been going on for years, even before 2008. Casey was getting 1K per month in car allowances well before 2008. The list goes on.

Is it all because of the recession? NO, in fact, wasn't it many years ago when Davis implemented the 3 point system which makes pensions very unaffordabla and the only ones who benefit are the unions?


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Posted by To Sandy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:46 am

The extra days at Thanksgiving: maybe students were absent, but you know what? So were the teachers. What do you think is going to happen with the upcoming furlough days? The memorial weekend is now extended, why not take those extra few days and make it the summer vacation? PUSD is simply not thinking correctly. It would have been better to end the year a few days earlier, so parents could book a summer camp. Instead, we are taking vacation time, and making it a real vacacion which means more days, less ADA money.

And Sandy, the teachers did not do this for the students. By "giving up" salary they financed Music, PE, but not for the students.

Teachers lobbied hard to keep this because it is a union thing: PE in elementary is a prep period, Music in elementary is a prep period, Science in elementary is a prep period. Getting rid of them would have meant getting rid of the free time the teachers get when they can dump the kids with another teacher. It would have also meant teachers actually working a full day: they would have had to do PE, and Science.

They found it easier to go to the high schools and get concessions from teachers there. Why? Because the teachers in high school do not get extra work from cancelling the 7 period.

The teachers, like their union, only care about themselves, their checks, their days off, do not fool yourself into thinking they actually care about your kids. They are using the emotional parents who cannot analyze the situation.

In San Ramon, the teachers lobbied very hard to pass the parcel tax, and they were successful. But they lied to the community saying the money would be used for programs like CSR. This year, oh no, no CSR why? Because they need the money for themselves and their raises and who cares about the students.

Luckily in PUSD the teachers were not successful at lobbying in favor of the parcel tax. They came by my house talking about how important measure G was. I nodded and then voted NO.


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Posted by Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

To "To Sandy": what a bunch of malarky you wrote.

The specialists were adopted by the school system a while ago, as recommended by the school board. They are what SETS PLEASANTON SCHOOLS APART from other mediocre school districts. I must say, though, even in the average school district I grew up in we had a dedicated PE teacher, as well as a music teacher. So you'd rather PUSD teachers teach PE, music, and science themselves so that Pleasanton schools can be like other SUBPAR schools?

And from the results of the survey parents took (if you have kids in school, you would have filled one out), PARENTS OVERWHELMINGLY VOTED TO KEEP THE SPECIALISTS.

And regards to the elimination of 7th period, teachers are getting laid off because of it.

San Ramon's current budget problems stems from a state funding reduction, just as in Pleasanton. The teacher contracts in San Ramon were approved BEFORE this fallout, so the district is still liable. The reason SRVSD is PROPOSING cutting CSR and other programs is because they are still on the contractual hook with the teachers. Note that none of these cuts have actually taken place, and the district is currently in negotiations with the teachers union to save CSR and other programs.

When these concessions happen, and I am more than willing to bet that they will, San Ramon will still be in better shape than Pleasanton. SRVUSD has been experiencing enrollment growth, which amounts to more money, and they have a parcel tax. They also get roughly $4 million in donations just from parents alone! And then there's the bonus of having larger reserves than PUSD.

Please think before you write.


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Posted by To Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

What sets Pleasanton schools apart is the high schools.

Very few people get a house in a district with good elementaries and crappy high schools.

Yes, the specialists were approved by the board. Grant proudly announced how it had been him and Hintzke who pushed for the Science specialists.

It does not take away the fact that now it is a prep period for the teachers.

Yes, teachers in high school will be laid off because of the 7 period, but the ones who stay employes will NOT see their work load increase because of it. In elementary, teachers would lose the free time they get when they send their students to Music, PE, Science, so losing this would have increased the work load of the teachers who remained employed.

And your statement that San Ramon will be better off: you are the one who should think before you write. "A reader" just months ago also talked about San Ramon being better off than Pleasanton- and look, San Ramon's classes in elementary are going to 28 and will hit 30 soon.

Yes, the contractual obligations blah blah. THat is the whole point. THe community was LIED to - I have friends in San ramon, and they believed that by approving the parcel tax the programs were safe.

San Ramon should have been straigh forward and told people: hey give us money to keep valuable programs for a year and after that we will use that money for contractual obligations (ie raises) with the union.

It would NOT have passed, they knew it so they lied to the community instead.

I am sad to see you are so dumb that you choose to believe all the nonsense PUSD and other districts are throwing your way.


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Posted by Anonymousse
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm

You still opened your mouth too soon: you said "And your statement that San Ramon will be better off: you are the one who should think before you write. "A reader" just months ago also talked about San Ramon being better off than Pleasanton- and look, San Ramon's classes in elementary are going to 28 and will hit 30 soon."

Huh? It hasn't happened yet. What are you talking about?!?


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Posted by kate Barker
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm

When I read the article in the January 16th article in the Pleasanton Weekly I became a bit concerned over Pat Kernan's comment:

At Tuesday night's meeting, veteran trustees Pat Kernan, Jim Ott and board president Chris Grant spoke passionately about making education a priority in Pleasanton by passing a parcel tax.

"For 14 years, we have fought to get this district to where it's at," Kernan said. "It could go away, literally, overnight."

Kernan said he wanted each of the 20 kindergarten students in the class his daughter teaches to have the same opportunities his six children had.

"If those cuts are implemented, this is going to be a crap district," he continued. "I didn't move here to have my kids go to a crap school. I'll be damned if [the kindergarteners] are going to get a secondary education while I'm on this board."

These comments were met with loud applause by those in attendance.
==========

Kernan's comments irked me. I know some of Kernan's kids went through school around the same time our kids (1990-2004.) Those who don't know, the old Walnut Grove had an average of 900 kids. The largest attendance count was 1054!

Kristina started kindergarten 1990. There were 30 kids, 15 in kindergarten and 15 in first grade.

Greg started kindergarten 1992. There were 37 students in one class. The class was sized down to around 30 after hiring a new teacher. How did they succeed? They succeeded by the contributions of teachers, parent/retired volunteers, staff, and school board.

We are very supportive parents. We set common sense rules and expect accountability. Neither we, nor the kids wanted us hovering over them.

Our kids never had the luxury of a small class size, EVER! What happened? They came out educated, prepared, and motivated by their own efforts.
==============================================
Our daughter, Kristina graduated Amador '02, and SFSU'07 in photojournalism. She is working at Rapid City Journal in South Dakota (with benefits!)
Kristina also has earned many accolades, awards, and professional accomplishments. Her peers admire her; including established pros. Kristina also is a free-lance photographer on her own time.

Our son Greg graduated Amador '04, and SJSU'09 in mechanical engineering. He is working full-time for a hi-tech start-up in Pleasanton (with benefits!) In his spare time, he created a wildly popular application for a large forums site.

CSR a good thing? Yes? No?...But how much better than a class of 30?
Doomsday? NO! Don't panic...

I hope teachers, parents, and their children who went through PUSD 1990-2004 would comment on their experiences.




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Posted by To Anonymousee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm

"Huh? It hasn't happened yet. What are you talking about?!?"

That shows just how naive you are! How truly sad that is. You should move to San Ramon and you may just find out soon enough.


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Posted by To Kate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Class sizes of 30 are not something to be proud of. In the 80s -- the time you're talking about -- California had the highest class sizes in the nation. That is why they enacted CSR in the '90s. Why do you want to take us back to the Dark Ages? Home prices back in the '80s were $100K, too. Do you want us to go all the way back there too?


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Posted by Schools had nothing to do with price increases from the 80s on
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

"Do you want us to go all the way back there too?"

That had nothing to do with the schools. Prices went up in good and bad districts alike. In fact, it was the well to do people whose kids ended up making the schools great. But even in bad school districts, a house bought in the 80s saw a huge increase in value (think Gilroy, or even Oakland)

Sure, right now that everything is expensive, people will tend to buy in a good school district instead of a bad one. But look around, all districts are going through the same, so what will sell homes is how safe a community is and what the demographics are.

Again, schools are not responsible for the increase in house values from the 80s to now.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

It is preposterous to suggest that school districts do not play any role in a home buyer's purchase decision, and as a result effect the market value of house. It isn't just common sense. It has been studied and correlated. Any person who pays more for an equivalent house in a better school district (this happens all the time), effects the value of that house. It makes no sense to deny that.


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Posted by To a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm

"Any person who pays more for an equivalent house in a better school district (this happens all the time), effects the value of that house. It makes no sense to deny that."

What was said was that the increase in value of houses from the 80s to now was not necessarily correlated to school districts. Look around, even bad school districts like Oakland saw a huge increase in property values from the 80s. So th person that said if we did this or that we would go back to values of the 80s because of schools: not true, if 80s values are reached it will have nothing to do with the schools, just like the rise in home values from the 60s to the 80s or from the 80s to now had nothing to do with school districts.

In fact, Pleasanton was not even that good a school district when it first began its growth. People moved here for a variety of reasons: a nice suburban area, not as expensive as the neighborhoods in Silicon Valley, low crime, that it was those people who moved here who made the schools great. Granted, that then attracted more people. But trust me, it is not just the schools. And the rise in price for a house in the 80s? Well, good and bad district saw the huge increase in price.


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Posted by To "To a reader"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:13 am

Let me ask you this: do you think bad schools wouldn't affect the housing prices here? Do you think Pleasanton would be as desirable a place to live if it has the reputation of not supporting its schools and letting them go downhill? Do you think families would want to move here, when they can buy a house in a better school district?


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

Reader,

I think they are not that connected as people would like to have us people including you. We in Pleasanton have good schools right? Then go to www.zillow.com and see how much your home has dropped in value over the course of the last year without our test scores dropping. We need business in this state and also must get out of th pension liabilities and quickly. The Governor if he had any sense would file for bankrupcy. This would force movement.


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Posted by To Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Foreclosures and job losses have nothing to do with school districts. You are really reaching to justify your ridiculous analogy.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Ok I will try and go real simple here for you. Companies who flourish pay taxes on profits, sales tax on comodities procured, hire employees. A hired employee is also making money for their efforts, they in turn pay sales tax on purchases, federal and state income tax, and they use the leftovers to buy other comodities which in turn increase profits, taxes etc. for other companies who employ other people. If you make it impossible or unattractive for them to run their businesses in California because of regulations, high taxes, etc they move elsewhere and take their jobs to another state or country. When this happens people lose their jobs, income, and do not make housepayments so therefore they lose their jobs.

Without all of the above their is less tax revenue for things such as schools. This is how an economy works. Do you understand now or do you need to stay after school?


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

"Let me ask you this: do you think bad schools wouldn't affect the housing prices here? Do you think Pleasanton would be as desirable a place to live if it has the reputation of not supporting its schools and letting them go downhill? Do you think families would want to move here, when they can buy a house in a better school district?"

If all thinks are equal, then a better school district wins. Ie, if you had another place just like Pleasanton nearby, then yes, the one with the better schools would be a little higher in price.

However, there is no such thing. San Ramon may have good schools, but imo it is not a desirable place since there are too many cities in one school district (Danville, San Ramon, parts of Blackhawk, Alamo), no downtown in San Ramon. Livermore is simply not good demographics and that is not the schools necessarily, have you visited all parts of that town?

Safety, a nice looking suburban area, good demographics, low crime, a k-12 district in ONE city, parks, all of that is what makes a house more or less expensive.

Besides, right now even districts which so far have been expensive (look at Cupertino) are getting ready to make drastic cuts to programs.

In a year, most districts will look about the same. And the house prices will be higher in the ones with better demographics, low crime, good looking neighborhoods, parks, kid-oriented activities (little league, etc).

Again I say this: the increase in price of a house bought in the 80s had nothing to do with the schools. Every house in every neighborhood in good or bad districts went way up in value from its original 80s price.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Also, keep in mind that people go wherever they can afford a house with certain criteria (nice area, low crime, etc). Pleasanton's attraction also is that it is way less expensive than any nice looking suburb in the south bay (again all things being equal, I am talking about a similar suburb with the parks and the demographics, etc, not just a place that has a reputation for good schools but you get to live in a dump in a not so good looking urban area)


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm

"Besides, right now even districts which so far have been expensive (look at Cupertino) are getting ready to make drastic cuts to programs."

And this is because every district, regardless of how good or bad it is right now (or has been up until now), has the union getting in the way and has to make cuts to valuable programs in order to keep "feeding the fat cats."

Parcel tax you say? No, look at San Ramon and even Palo Alto. So house prices may not be linked to school districts in the future as much because all the districts are putting the unions first and cutting programs in order to finance contractual obligations.

What will attract people to neighborhoods? Nice looking homes in nice looking areas, with good demographics (which will keep the scores up in spite of bad district management and the unions), low crime, nice parks, nice overall for families (little league, etc)

But again, this is today, it was different in the 80s when the rise in price of any house regardless of location (but within the Bay area, of course) was not linked to schools. An Oakland home bought in the 80s saw a huge huge increase in price, even though Oakland is not a good school district or even a nice neighborhood or desirable place to live. It has a high crime. The price increase from the 80s to now had much to do with prop 13 (too few properties in the market, too many people wanting to own a home and houses selling for multiple offers - this will not be seen for a while, at least until the foreclosures stabilize)


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm

"price increase from the 80s to now had much to do with prop 13"

In other states, people are more mobile. In California, because of the price increase many original owners chose to stay in their homes and the supply of available homes for incoming folks was limited. Prop 13 made it possible for those original owners to stay in their homes rather than sell because they could not afford the taxes. The supply of homes has been limited and has recently increased a bit because of foreclosures.

Even now, with prices crashing big time, many original owners of way back are holding on because they know they could not afford to move or even rent a place even with today's cheap prices.


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Posted by To Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm

You cannot correlate local foreclosures to the local school district, because a majority of a local school district's funding comes from the state. I'm sure you know about Prop 13 (because as a long-time homeowner you are benefitting very well from it) and how property tax revenue is distributed statewide to different districts? So your local property tax dollars are going somewhere else.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm

No, it's YOU who don't understand! Redistribuing tax dollars is all part of Obama's Alinsky plan to destroy this great nation, but you act as if this is cool. Well what's so cool about Marxism? Liberals and leftists like you are ruining America.


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Posted by To "To the person who asked"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:26 pm

You said: "Parcel tax you say? No, look at San Ramon and even Palo Alto. So house prices may not be linked to school districts in the future as much because all the districts are putting the unions first and cutting programs in order to finance contractual obligations."

Again, many anti-school people have jumped the gun on this. Both these districts had contractual obligations to their teachers before the funding cuts. No actual program cuts have been made yet, and there are negotiations in progress. You cannot use these districts as an example, because they are still better off than ours.


You said: "What will attract people to neighborhoods? Nice looking homes in nice looking areas, with good demographics (which will keep the scores up in spite of bad district management and the unions), low crime, nice parks, nice overall for families (little league, etc)"

All agreed, but is this enough to justify a $100K-$200K or more average price difference between Pleasanton and, say, Dublin, which has similar low crime, nice parks, and lots of family friendly neighborhoods, but not-as-good schools?

I just read in the Valley Times today that "being in a good school district is the best insurance policy to insure property values". Just look at cities with variable school test scores. You'll see that the neighborhoods with the best-performing schools have the highest home prices. And that is not because of demographics or nice parks. It is because of the schools.

I'm not saying Pleasanton isn't a nice place, but you will realize that when the community lets the schools go downhill, prices here will have to come down to a level that is more in line with places with just-average schools, such as Livermore.


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Posted by To Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Another shameless attempt to slander Obama. Did Obama create Prop 13? I think YOU had better go back to school.


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Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm

This comment did not come from the real Rat Turd but rather an impostor trying to troll I believe.

"No, it's YOU who don't understand! Redistribuing tax dollars is all part of Obama's Alinsky plan to destroy this great nation, but you act as if this is cool. Well what's so cool about Marxism? Liberals and leftists like you are ruining America"

Be careful of anyone using my name who slanders or tries to provoke liberals and leftists as he says here. Everyone wants to be a Turd but there is only one...........me.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 6:45 am

"Both these districts had contractual obligations to their teachers before the funding cuts"

The economy has been in trouble for a while, those who were surprised by the crash in the fall of 2008 were ignorant or not paying attention.

Just recently, PUSD negotiated the contract with the teachers, and knowing that we have low revenues, they still did not freeze step and column. Now next year they can cry and say they have contractual obligations, poor us. Nonsense! They knew very well when they negotiated the contracts that revenues were down, and now they are counting on the community to give them money in the form of a parcel tax to meet those obligations.

San Ramon knew well about its obligations. Did it let its community know? NO - Again, if they had gone to the community and said: Give me money and we will keep the programs you value for one year, after that we will use your money to pay for raises (contractual obligations we were foolish to get into) and at the same time we will cancel programs.

As for Palo Alto, the same. I know someone who lives over there, I had them read these forums. They were upset about what a certain employee had said. Some over there do know about the nonsense going on, but up until now they turned a blind eye. This economy has changed things because people know it will be a never ending story. Things will not get better for a while, revenues will be down for a while, and until the union automatic raises and pensions are dealt with, each year we will see the "give me money, poor me, I have to cancel programs again"

Guess what? The parcel tax would have FAILED

"All agreed, but is this enough to justify a $100K-$200K or more average price difference between Pleasanton and, say, Dublin, which has similar low crime, nice parks, and lots of family friendly neighborhoods, but not-as-good schools?"

Actually, it is. Dublin is very urban, and the family friendly neighborhoods are pockets, so if you get out of your little pocket it is not as nice. There are a lot of apartments, so the demographics in Dublin are very different from Pleasanton. Dublin and Pleasanton are not "all things equal but the schools." You cannot compare the two and say the only difference is the schools.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 6:49 am

I inserted a paragraph in the wrong place. Here it is again:

"Both these districts had contractual obligations to their teachers before the funding cuts"

The economy has been in trouble for a while, those who were surprised by the crash in the fall of 2008 were ignorant or not paying attention.

Just recently, PUSD negotiated the contract with the teachers, and knowing that we have low revenues, they still did not freeze step and column. Now next year they can cry and say they have contractual obligations, poor us. Nonsense! They knew very well when they negotiated the contracts that revenues were down, and now they are counting on the community to give them money in the form of a parcel tax to meet those obligations.

San Ramon knew well about its obligations. Did it let its community know? NO - Again, if they had gone to the community and said: Give me money and we will keep the programs you value for one year, after that we will use your money to pay for raises (contractual obligations we were foolish to get into) and at the same time we will cancel programs.

Guess what? The parcel tax would have FAILED.

As for Palo Alto, the same. I know someone who lives over there, I had them read these forums. They were upset about what a certain employee had said. Some over there do know about the nonsense going on, but up until now they turned a blind eye. This economy has changed things because people know it will be a never ending story. Things will not get better for a while, revenues will be down for a while, and until the union's automatic raises and pensions are dealt with, each year we will see the "give me money, poor me, I have to cancel programs again" - people are tired, what was once an occasional cry for help will be a yearly thing that if successful will not keep programs, ie, giving money to school districts will not guarantee programs, the only thing it will be good for is to meet obligations with the unions, and why should people give their money for someone else's raises when they themselves are going through the uncertainty of these economy?

"All agreed, but is this enough to justify a $100K-$200K or more average price difference between Pleasanton and, say, Dublin, which has similar low crime, nice parks, and lots of family friendly neighborhoods, but not-as-good schools?"

Actually, it is. Dublin is very urban, and the family friendly neighborhoods are pockets, so if you get out of your little pocket it is not as nice. There are a lot of apartments, so the demographics in Dublin are very different from Pleasanton. Dublin and Pleasanton are not "all things equal but the schools." You cannot compare the two and say the only difference is the schools.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 6:58 am

To the person who asked, If I am "the certain employee" in Palo Alto, I'm happy to respond to the person you know over there, out here so they can be anonymous or directly.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:19 am

I meant to also include this link about Dublin:

Web Link


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Posted by To "To the person..."
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

You're still side-stepping the point: There is plenty of research out there that points to school district as the number one indicator of property values. I never said it's the only factor, but it's the most important one for housing values. I find Dublin to be a nice community, and in fact, we almost bought a house there, but decided to buy a not-as-nice house here in Pleasanton because we thought the schools were better. Now if we were looking to buy a house now, we would probably choose Dublin, seeing how unsupportive this community is of their schools.

Schools didn't know by how much revenues would be down (they still don't know by how much funding will be down, with the variables being the state revenues and enrollment, the latter is not known until right before school starts). And, actually, schools are guaranteed a certain amount of funding because of Prop 98, which has not been met in the last few years. So now you're saying it's the schools fault for the state's reneging on the schools' constitutional rights?!?


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:29 am

"Now if we were looking to buy a house now, we would probably choose Dublin, seeing how unsupportive this community is of their schools."

That is certainly a personal decision. I would still not choose Dublin. Look at San Ramon, a supportive community that passed a parcel tax, but that does not change the fact that the district administration and the unions are running the show, programs are being cut, class sizes going up, all even though they have a parcel tax.

And what about Livermore? They have had a parcel tax for years, and has that increased the desirability of that area? No.

We can argue back and forth but we obviously don't see eye to eye on this. Schools are important but they are not all that is important. With this financial crisis, every district is crying and asking for more money from their communities, then they turn around and they still cut programs.

Those who say they will move out of Pleasanton, blah blah: I challenge them to find a school district in a place just as nice as Pleasanton, a district that has truly put the kids first, unions last. Let me know if anyone does, because at the point that even districts like Palo Alto and Cupertino are putting unions first, crying about not having enough money despite parcel taxes, that tells you that unless education is reformed in California, pretty soon all school districts will look very similar, and what will make one community desirable over the other is: demographics, etc.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

"chools didn't know by how much revenues would be down ("

But schools DID know revenues would be down (how much was not known but it was a well known fact that they would be down). With that knowledge, they should have known better than agree to a contract with raises. Raises are not realistic when revenue is down.


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Posted by To the person who asked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:38 am

"And, actually, schools are guaranteed a certain amount of funding because of Prop 98, which has not been met in the last few years. So now you're saying it's the schools fault for the state's reneging on the schools' constitutional rights?!?"

I believe the teachers' union back years ago agreed to Arnolds proposal to take the prop 98 money and schools took an IOU.

The CTA, with how much money they spent lobbying politicians, is by no means an innocent entity here.

And btw, prop 98 funding is not honored, yet pensions are. That hast to tell you who is running this show, right? The unions. They are the ones looking out for themselves, who cares about the kids. Same with parcel taxes, teachers don't care about kids, only about their raise and contract, so who cares if the kids suffer because of severe cuts to education, as long as they keep their check as per their contract, they are fine with that.

And that is the same in every district, good or bad, rich or poor. The unions do not discriminate. And the teachers use emotions to get to parents, threaten to quit blah blah. Oh yeah, with so many unemployed teachers: I challenge every PUSD teacher to quit and find a better situation for themselves, it will be hard.


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Posted by More to worry about
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm

It looks like we will have more things to worry about than the schools:

Web Link


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Posted by Teacher in other district
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm

With all the talk of the blood sucking teachers and their pensions, there are some facts you may or may not be aware of.

As a teacher, I pay 8% of my salary into the State Teacher Retirement System. My District may a similar contribution (I believe it is 8.25%). I receive a pension payment based on several factors. These contributions are similar to employee and employer contributions to Social Security.

If a teacher has worked in the private sector and qualifies for Social Security like any other US worker, their benefits are reduced by the amount of their pension. This also applies to Social Security benefits a teacher would receive as a surviving spouse.


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Posted by listen
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

To ANYONE who would think it would be right to deny a teacher "time" with their children try sitting next to the child who is upset their mom or dad couldn't make their award assembly or go on at least one field trip. I think when we get heated people tend to forget why education is here--THE KIDS!! It is not all about academics, our children have to grow up to be confident successful adults.


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