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What the heck is PUSD's Core Academic Instruction Parcel Tax

Original post made by Start Afresh on Jan 28, 2011

Looking at the agenda for the 2/1 PUSD Special Board Meeting, is agenda item 5.1 Report, Discussion and Possible Action to Approve Resolution 2010-11.16 Calling an Election for Voter Approval of a Core Academic Instruction Parcel Tax. Web Link
There are no other board materials available for review at this time.
Is PUSD going to spring a resolution and vote on it without any opportunity for public review, debate and comment?
And how can their be a so-called 'Core Academic Instruction' parcel tax when PUSD knows darn well that money is fungible and as long as raises and longevity bonuses exist, PUSD can not claim that tax money is only going for core academics.
I challenge PUSD to show how budget funds are not fungible.

Comments (78)

Posted by parent2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm

And at the same meeting they were falling all over themselves to check that the consultant hasn't promised anyone that class sizes won't go up. Minimizing class size increases, honestly . . . If they can't promise to keep class sizes down with a parcel tax, what is the point? They used a survey to find out what people wanted from a parcel tax (that it will benefit the kid's education, no salary increases), but they aren't going to give it to them.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

"attracting and retaining highly-qualified teachers"

That is the only clause required to allow the entire parcel tax to go toward increased compensation. The money that is needed is already in the district. They just need to cut something other than the programs or school days.


Posted by check this out, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Actually, 69% of those surveyed said that a measure designed to "attract and retain qualified teachers" would receive their support. (page 7 of the report)

I believe that competitive salaries are necessary to attract and retain qualified teachers. The data suggest that most voters think that's a worthwhile investment.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

"Actually, 69% of those surveyed said that a measure designed to "attract and retain qualified teachers" would receive their support. (page 7 of the report)"

Then just be honest and state what the money is really for.


Posted by parent2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

So maybe the "PUSD We Don't Have Enough Money to Pay for Staff Raises and Valuable Student Programs, So Can You All Chip In 'Cause You Know Which We're Going to Cut" Tax.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

The resolution is here: Web Link


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thank you for introducing the word "fungible", which captures the basic concept of the interchangibility of money inside an entity that controls its subsequent distribution. The only way a parcel tax can become acceptable is if the proceeds flowed into an independent entity ("the customer"), who then decides its expenditure with PUSD after witnessing the PUSD budget decisions regarding the funds PUSD controls.

The central issue is who controls the use of the additional money. If PUSD does not fix its internal budgeting decisions to be satisfactory to the "customer", they don't get the money.


Posted by PEVC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm

CORE is an excellent example of PUSD's fungible money. They allocated $ for step and column raises and longevity bonus increments. At the same time, eliminated positions/funds for technology specialists, library assistants, elementary band. Then struck a deal with PPIE/PSEE to raise funds to restore those very same positions, and provide technology funds for the high schools.
Now, this year, replace CORE with the parcel tax, and you have the same fungible $ and PUSD will using funds for administration and raises. Exactly the opposite of what the parcel tax says it will do. Opens the barn door wide for a juicy lawsuit.


Posted by Inaccurate survey results, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:03 am

"Actually, 69% of those surveyed said that a measure designed to "attract and retain qualified teachers" would receive their support. (page 7 of the report)"

I was one of those surveyed, and I said yes but only if that meant new dynamic, competent teachers. I told them if it meant giving raises to the teachers already on board, then no. To that they said: is that a yes, no or no effect? I told them again, they asked the same ridiculous question again. So the lady doing the survey checked as a yes.

Accurate results from the survey? No.


Posted by Inaccurate survey results, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:10 am

"Opens the barn door wide for a juicy lawsuit."

Unfortunately, it is about the way they word it. If they are vague, there is nothing we can do, legally speaking. That is why they are saying "minimize cuts to class size reduction" instead of "keep class sizes at 20 students in k-3" for instance.

That is why the survey was so vague - they got yes answers to questions that could not be answered by a simple yes, no, no effect. Many people will gladly pay for a parcel tax as long as it is guaranteed not to go to raises, directly or indirectly, but the survey only asked the narrow, limited question.

The wording, I am sure, will be vague for the parcel tax on the ballor.


I will vote NO. Brown needs to reform the unions, and PUSD needs to deal with step and column.


Posted by Inaccurate survey results, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:41 am

"Opens the barn door wide for a juicy lawsuit."

Come to think of it: there could be one way we could bring legal action against PUSD but I am not sure. A lawsuit against the Santa Clara Open Space Authority took place a while back after a mail in vote for a measure to pass a tax successfully passed. I know because I own a house in the south bay, and I got a refund. It was explained to me that because it was a mail in ballot, and not everyone knew about the vote and not everyone had a chance to vote, the rights of voters were violated. Read about it here:

"In 2001, the county's Open Space Authority established the assessment on property. The money was to be used to purchase open space, much of which is located in South County. But justices Monday said the assessment violated Proposition 218, "The Right to Vote on Taxes Act," passed by voters in 1996.

Prop 218 limited the ability of local governments to impose real property assessments. Five years later, the Open Space Authority imposed the county-wide tax through a vote by mail. Of the approximately 314,000 official ballots mailed, 48,100 were returned, a 15 percent response rate.

Immediately, the taxpayer's association filed a lawsuit charging that the tax was illegal because it did not meet Prop 218's "special benefit" distinction. "

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

"Unfortunately, it is about the way they word it. If they are vague, there is nothing we can do, legally speaking."

I don't think they can make specific promises because they don't know how much money they are going to get from the state.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

The measure says this:

"Under no circumstances shall any of the proceeds of the core academic instruction parcel tax be used for adminstrators' salaries or benefits and no parcel tax revenue will be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees."

THAT is a very specific promise for four years!


Posted by read the survey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm

The presentation of the parcel tax (Web Link) says that the support of this parcel tax is dependent on a couple of items:
- This measure will not be used to fund increased salaries and benefits for employees. All funds will go to
protect programs for students (77% favorable response).
- By law, no money from this measure can be used for administrators' salaries or benefits (72% favorable
response).

Yet the board is looking at approving a parcel tax election on Tuesday while still continuing raises for ALL employee groups (teachers, classified, and management). Step and Column raises will continue in all the employee groups. That means the school board is risking even more money to pay for an election and they already know the public has asked for all raises to cease and they are ignoring the public. And why did the district even waste money on a survey if they are going to ignore the concerns?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I just went to the link to look at the survey provided by read the survey. Please someone doublecheck to see if I am going crazy.

On page 6, I've added up the yes's and maybe yes's for $98 and they add up to 69% with a 4.8% margin of error. So it is not 71% in favor as discussed in the board meeting. I looks like they made a mistake and added up the percentage in favor of a $74 parcel tax where it does come to 71%. So the conversation that has been held is flawed.

I think that the consultants added up the numbers wrong and that acually means with a margin of error going the wrong way, the vote would be around 64% in favor.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

They should just exclude seniors and parents who no longer have children using the services. I think that would be fair to those who have already paid their share. I have 3 children in school and do not think it right that others pay for my children.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I have gone back to the Pleasanton Weekly article about this. It says "71% would support a parcel tax, and that 69% would back a tax of $98".

So it wasn't a mistake, they knew the number of 71% is based on a $74 parcel tax.

Yet 71% is the number that is used in the pie charts and summaries about this parcel tax elsewhere in the survey.

That was the number people were talking about at the recent board meeting. Is this because 71% is the number that can get you to a parcel tax passing with the margin of error?

A mail in ballot costs a lot of money so we really need to make sure that it will pass if we're going for it.

I am increasingly concerned about the information we, and possible the board, are being given to make a sensible decision about the best way forward to pass a parcel tax in this community.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I have gone back to the Pleasanton Weekly article about this. It says "71% would support a parcel tax, and that 69% would back a tax of $98".

So it wasn't a mistake, they knew the number of 71% is based on a $74 parcel tax.

Yet 71% is the number that is used in the pie charts and summaries about this parcel tax elsewhere in the survey.

That was the number people were talking about at the recent board meeting. Is this because 71% is the number that can get you to a parcel tax passing with the margin of error?

A mail in ballot costs a lot of money so we really need to make sure that it will pass if we're going for it.

I am increasingly concerned about the information we, and possible the board, are being given to make a sensible decision about the best way forward to pass a parcel tax in this community.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm

You can complain and talk about technicalities all you want, but there is going to be a parcel tax on the ballot. If it passes by 2/3 then we all have to pay. If not, no one pays. That's how are system works. The money will go to the district which has many expenses, teachers salaries being one of them. You can state a parcel tax is for this or that and it has to be but then you can funnel money from somewhere else. I think people are smart enough to understand this. People will vote for what they want. A $98 parcel tax isn't going to pay for very much if the state keeps cutting another $3 million every year. Nobody really wants to pay more taxes, but most of us beleive we'd rather have some of our money go to the schools then the other crap the state spends money on.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

In some ways it would be nice if schools were not limited to regressive parcel taxes and we could keep money local, but then we start running into equalization issues. Even parcel taxes may constitute an equalization issue. They just haven't been tried in court.


Posted by read the survey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Actually, if it does not pass, we all paid for another election which will mean a couple more teachers laid off plus several more months of the board, and unions, not working on a plan. It will have been almost two years from this proposed parcel tax from the last attempt but the district has not done anything in these two years to look at the structural problem and do something. Their plan has been "hope".

If the parcel tax does pass, they will be back in a year from now trying to figure out what to do again as the step and column raises will be more than the parcel tax income. The problems will continue until the district addresses the structural issues or the tax revenue from the state recovers. Its a game of chicken now.


Posted by read the survey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Stacey, I think the parcel tax does present an equalization issue. The State sets a revenue limit per student so that it does not matter whether you live in a rich city or a poor city, your child get get an equal education. That is why the state took the property tax away as the funding mechanism for schools. Now with parcel taxes, a rich city can raise a parcel tax to enhance their revenue limit and we are back to the original issue that a child in a rich city will be getting a better education than a poor city.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

And revenue limits are still based upon some amounts from the 1970s, as if communities don't change. California has to really revisit equalization. At one time the State was going to start moving all districts to the same amounts incrementally, if I recall correctly. A much better method would be to provide per pupil funding based upon the pupil's educational needs. Categorical funding is supposed to kind of do that, but it doesn't do that very well.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm

And that raises the fundamental question for Pleasanton...are we willing to stand up and fight for no taxes as our education funding will be much less than surrounding and currently comparable school districts. It will certainly be an interesting economic study if we don't. It will really challenge (and in many years perhaps answer) the question of how additional funding affects education.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The real problem is in determining the right amount of funding. The State does a very poor job at doing this. Local knowledge could be a better predictor. Too little funding can be harmful to student achievement while more funding links poorly to improved student achievement. For equalization purposes though, the State still needs some sort of way to determine the adequate amount. For example, some programs (mandates, iirc) are funded by districts applying for the funds. Apparently the amounts reported by districts for the same program can be wildly different, which means that someone ain't telling the truth about how much it really costs. :)


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm

"Nobody really wants to pay more taxes, but most of us beleive we'd rather have some of our money go to the schools then the other crap the state spends money on."

I agree. Those were my thoughts too.

"It will really challenge (and in many years perhaps answer) the question of how additional funding affects education."

I think we've already seen and erosion in quality of education. It will probably only continue.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Concerned parent wrote: "I think we've already seen and erosion in quality of education."

We have? Let's wait for 2009/2010 API scores I guess.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sorry, I mean 2010/2011.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

We have? Let's wait for 2009/2010 API scores I guess.

So you believe that API scores are the end all of the measurement of education. At least we know here you stand - you stand for API scores


Posted by read the survey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

It actually is not fair that Pleasanton receives almost $550 more per student that a district like San Ramon. All district should receive the same, or possibly an increased amount based on non-english speaking students because of the additional cost. San Ramon's demographics are similar to Pleasanton's but we receive another $8M from the state based on our enrollment. That is already 4 times the proposed parcel tax. San Ramon has a parcel tax just to bring them to the same level of state funding that Pleasanton receives. Where San Ramon does exceed us is in donations but out district administration was not interested in setting up fund raising like San Ramon. San Ramon's fundraising is at the school level. Our district administration want the parcel tax so the district has control. They claim it is better. If it is better for the district to handle funds than the individual schools, than it would make sense that it is better for the state to handle funds than the district. Obviously the money going right to the source is much more efficient. Plus people will more likely donate if they know the money is going to programs that they can control at the school level. But I digress and went onto another topic; sorry.


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

"It actually is not fair that Pleasanton receives almost $550 more per student that a district like San Ramon."

But as it turns out, life isn't fair. While I may agree with you, we have to deal with what we have. Everyone live here for a reason, whether it be the schools., the town, you were given a house here, etc...everyone knows (or should know) the rules of the game coming in.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Me Too,

Not really, but what I think personally about API doesn't matter. There is certainly a value placed upon it by the real estate market, which places a monetary premium on places with good schools.

So, how do you define quality education? Is it in the number of students taking AP classes? Is it in the percentage of graduates or the number going on to higher education? Or perhaps it is in the number of different educational opportunities or the size of the achievement gap? Does class size constitute a measurement of quality?


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Stacey - that is the ultimate question. I DO NOT KNOW. I would have to say that I don't think standardized testing is the best way to measure educational quality. I think it may be the best way to measure per capita income though. Measuring education quality is extremely difficult because we don't know the exact required outcome. I don't think any of the things you listed can measure educational quality by themselves...maybe some combination...it may be that its nearly impossible to measure but we may be able to go by the adage...if it looks like a duck and smells like a look good chance that its a duck


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2011 at 10:39 pm

"On page 6, I've added up the yes's and maybe yes's for $98 and they add up to 69% with a 4.8% margin of error. So it is not 71% in favor as discussed in the board meeting. I looks like they made a mistake and added up the percentage in favor of a $74 parcel tax where it does come to 71%. So the conversation that has been held is flawed."

So the conversation is going a different direction, but do you agree that 71% agreed to a $74 parcel tax, not a $98 dollar parcel tax?

The Board said last year they wanted to pay decent money to a decent consultant because that was the only way to get real info on if a parcel tax is feasible. Are they listening to the info they are getting?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Jan 30, 2011 at 2:41 am

Just say NO to parcel tax!

Go cut those bonus and raises and keep you hands out of my pockets!


Posted by Laursen and Bowser are the problem, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2011 at 3:47 am

Post removed. Monikers that are slanderous, borderline slurs or critical of individuals and/or organizations are not allowed on this forum. They may be re-posted using a more civil moniker.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:39 am

"We have?"

Sure. Fewer school days, larger classes in k-3, fewer specialists are eroding quality. Heck, word on the street is turning more negative lately. There is a lot more to it than API scores.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

Stacey is a registered user.

We'll see. I'm not one to define education quality by the size of student-teacher ratios in K-3 since the Tennessee STAR study shows only a statistically significant improvement at ratios we have _never_ had in PUSD. I'm more apt to define it by the quality of the teacher.

What matters in terms of education funding, property taxes, and parcel taxes is what the real estate market values as a measurement of quality: the API score.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Me Too - Re-read the 4 page glossy mailer PUSD (admitted they) sent out earlier this month to get more parcel tax supporters. The first topic is 'Academic Achievement' and the first graph shows students' rising API scores.
We know where PUSD stands on this topic, don't we.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Please, attend the meeting and address the board members. They need to hear from you, they do not read blogs.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:10 am

"What matters in terms of education funding, property taxes, and parcel taxes is what the real estate market values as a measurement of quality: the API score."

They also value word of mouth and class sizes and a whole lot of other factors.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

"They also value word of mouth and class sizes and a whole lot of other factors."

Class sizes are the number 1 factor for our family.

"they do not read blogs"

Actually they do. This particular one was mentioned at a number of meetings, so they know the issues that are being raised.






Posted by Laursen and Bower post deleted, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm

"Actually they do. This particular one was mentioned at a number of meetings, so they know the issues that are being raised."

That may have something to do with my earlier post being removed. I did not insult anyone. I simply stated how Laursen and Bowser are pro-tax types. That is true and can be verified by watching past board meetings. Laursen was very involved with measure G and Bowser was in favor getting the percentage of votes needed to pass a parcel tax lowered from 2/3 to a simple majority (he spoke about it at a board meeting, you can watch the video if available under archives).

With pro-tax people on the board, it is understandable that we now see another parcel tax about to go on the ballot.

I would vote yes on this tax if I actually saw that no money would go to raises, and like many posts have said before, in this and other forums, it is unlikely that we will see step and column frozen, and that is a raise, so the money from the tax would go, directly or indirectly, to finance raises.

The board needs to be honest with the community. Some on these forums have said they would support the tax even if they go to raises, so let's have an honest statement on the ballot, one that explains how raises are part of a contract, and that the tax will go, one way or the other, to finance those raises. Then we will have an educated community voting for the tax. If indeed people do not mind their money going for raises, the tax will pass, but if they do, it will fail again like measure G did (btw, I voted yes on G but I am so disappointed that I plan to vote no on this mail in tax)


Posted by read the survey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I went through the packet report for the parcel tax. I did not realize this was going to cost $250,000 to hold the election but that is what the report says will be the cost to the General Fund.

So if the tax of $2,100,000 wins, we have the first year step and column raises at $1,500,000 plus $250,000 to pay for the election. That only leaves us $350,000 for school programs for the first year. Then with step and column the next year we will be $900,000 behind this year as the step and column next year will be $3,000,000 minus the parcel tax income of $2,100,000.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm

"Tognazzini said MHUSD cannot fund special elections for parcel taxes and the tens of thousands of dollars that it would cost would have to come from the community through fundraising. Also, the board would have to approve several resolutions detailing how the money would be spent, convene a committee and rally voters to approve the tax."

Web Link#

This is interesting - it's about a parcel tax that is under consideration in another district. This district says the comminity would have to come up with the money for the election for the parcel tax because the district cannot fund it. They also say it costs tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands as we're saying here.

Maybe we are doing the same (community funding the tax, not the disctrict)? Does anyone know? I would feel better about the parcel tax if this is the case, because if real people are contributing real money towards the cost of the election, the risk of it failing won't be on kids programs or teacher's jobs here - it will be on the people stepping up with the funds for the election.

And I would think the people funding it will carefully check the results of the survey to make sure it accurately represents a parcel tax that will pass in Pleasanton.


Posted by Hmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm

"So if the tax of $2,100,000 wins, we have the first year step and column raises at $1,500,000 plus $250,000 to pay for the election. That only leaves us $350,000 for school programs for the first year."

So let's see. We tax the community 2.1 million to have only 350K available for programs.

NO on the parcel tax. 350K finances very little, about as much as the 250K that will be spent on the election. So don't spend 250K and instead use it for something like a few teachers in k-3. After all, 250K is not that different from the money we would have from the tax after financing the raises and paying for the election.

Is the election costing that much because there are consultants involved? How much are these consultants getting paid? Because as a person who was surveyed, I can tell you that they did not ask the right questions, and I would not trust the conclusions of the consultants. How much has the district paid so far for these consultants? And how much more are they going to pay between now and the election?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Don't forget to throw in the 1.7% assessor's office fee. It's a slice of the revenue that the assessor keeps for their costs.

In the Measure G materials, the district assumes 20,000 parcels (have to account for possible exemptions). So 1.7% of $1.96MM is $33,320 to the assessor's office.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

"So if the tax of $2,100,000 wins, we have the first year step and column raises at $1,500,000 plus $250,000 to pay for the election. That only leaves us $350,000 for school programs for the first year. Then with step and column the next year we will be $900,000 behind this year as the step and column next year will be $3,000,000 minus the parcel tax income of $2,100,000."

As I keep saying, we are going to have step and column either way. So if the parcel tax doesn't pass, we will have to cut even more. It is as simple as that.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

concerned parent - do you think the community can raise the $$'s to pay for this election like other good communities are doing? If so, I'd be more in favor.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm

"we are going to have step and column either way"

Let's leave this one up to the negotiation teams. I don't see why anything is a done deal in CA. We don't have enough money to continue valuable student programs and raises. So which will the board choose? They were elected to make these decisions.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:14 am

"As I keep saying, we are going to have step and column either way. So if the parcel tax doesn't pass, we will have to cut even more. It is as simple as that."

Pass the tax or see more cuts to programs because we are financing raises no matter what? Sounds like blackmail to me.

Concerned parent:

If you are so sure that the community is OK with paying for raises through a parcel tax, please email the board and tell them to be honest on the ballot. Let everyone know that the money raised from the parcel tax will go for raises, one way or the other, and that if the parcel tax does not pass, programs will be cut in order to pay for those raises.

If the community votes yes, it means they agree with the concept of "raises no matter what, even at the expense of programs so let's tax ourselves instead of thinking about good long term solutions."

But if they vote no, it means they do not agree with the concept of giving raises instead of spending the money on the programs we all value. It means people are tired of the nonsense, and it means that, unlike you, not all of us are willing to be held hostage and be forced to finance raises.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

I just read the agenda for the Feb 2 meeting. It has the wording for the parcel tax and what it would support. It is very vague. It also says the 250K to fund the election would come from the general fund. What programs are we losing just to finance this election? Does anyone know? What is the breakdown of the 250K cost? Stacey said about 31K goes to the assessor, but what is the rest for? Does that include the consultants' fees?

It does not look like something that would pass, imo.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

The agenda is for Feb 1, not feb 2. Here is the link:

Web Link


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:51 am

" It means people are tired of the nonsense, and it means that, unlike you, not all of us are willing to be held hostage and be forced to finance raises. "

I don't feel forced, and I have talked to the board. I never said everyone in the community agrees with that. I think the best outcome for our community would be to pass a parcel tax and continue step and column raises. I'd like to see it higher that $98 if we could get it passed.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

There are just a BUNCH of teachers in the high school that should have quit years ago, they have lowered themselves to the behaviors of the students instead of working to upgrade the attitude of the students. Joining in with sexual innuendo instead of diminishing them.
I agree that the money raised will go to pay for higher salaries across the board. Why can't the union understand this is NOT the same economy.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:20 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And we haven't even gotten to CalSTRS issues yet...


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

"There are just a BUNCH of teachers in the high school that should have quit years ago, they have lowered themselves to the behaviors of the students instead of working to upgrade the attitude of the students. Joining in with sexual innuendo instead of diminishing them."

I haven't encountered any of that with my children, and the comment worries me a little. How do you define "sexual innuendo"? There are sexual innuendo in Lysistrata, Titus Andronicus, and plenty of classical literature. I don't think you're talking about that. At any rate, I can't see what that has to do with a parcel tax. There was someone else complaining about the teaching of evolution, and I don't see what that has to do with a parcel tax either.

"I agree that the money raised will go to pay for higher salaries across the board. "

I don't think that it will be across the board. It will only apply to those who are eligible for increases.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

"And we haven't even gotten to CalSTRS issues yet"

I don't see what we can accomplish by not passing a parcel tax to address issues with CalSTRS. What we will accomplish by not passing a parcel tax is the cancellation of programs and a continued erosion of quality of education in our schools.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

concerned parent wrote: "I think the best outcome for our community would be to pass a parcel tax and continue step and column raises."

I think it would be helpful to many readers, myself included, if you explained your reasoning up front when you write such statements.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

"It also says the 250K to fund the election would come from the general fund"

Why is this coming from the general fund???? If the community will not even support the cost of the election, what chance does the election have?

Other disctricts say quite rightly that they cannot afford to finance an election and they want the community to do this. $250,000 will cost kids programs and teachers jobs that we cannot afford to lose! Concerned parent, can you and your friends please raise some money to pay for the election?

I really am annoyed that we are taking this out of our general fund rather than fundraising like other communities.

I also feel like people in this community are being manipulated - via the leaflet, which that said the parcel tax would not fund teacher raises. And by the second survey results which have been published in papers saying we have 71% support for this tax when we do not, we have 69% (and this is based the surveyors saying that the tax would fund education with no raises to anyone according to the people who took the survey) with a 4.8% margin of error. Last time the election hinged on a couple of % point so being accuarate does matter a lot.

Why is the board voting on something where the results are obviously so flawed and no real communication or dialogue about S&C or the other union's raises has ever happened?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 11:48 am

Oh and while I am fuming. Two of the board members did try to ask the consultants to demonstrate that their was support on the ground for this - I think they need 50 or so active supporters per school site. The consultants got away with giving no numbers at all about the support they have raised.

Please ask this question again and get some real answers on this before you vote.

If you do have this level of support, it is a good sign and as I have always said I would like this to pass, but it has to be done honestly. In my view I would like a parcel tax without raises, but if 2/3rds of the community are honestly OK with the raises even though programs will suffer to pay for it, then that is OK with me too.

My biggest problem has always been is that I do not think it will pass the way that it is designed if raises are part of the mix and therefore it is a waste of money we do not have. I have no issue at all with trying if the community is paying for the cost of the elections and consultants.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

"I don't feel forced, and I have talked to the board. I never said everyone in the community agrees with that. I think the best outcome for our community would be to pass a parcel tax and continue step and column raises. I'd like to see it higher that $98 if we could get it passed. "

Since you do not feel forced or blackmailed, why don't you write a big check to PUSD?

I feel lied to, and blackmailed into, voting for a parcel tax. I voted for G but will vote no for this upcoming parcel tax because I do not agree with financing raises during times of budget deficits.

Last time, G failed by a small percentage. Now even people who supported it, like me, will vote no. What makes you think that it will pass, especially with attitudes like yours, going around speaking of how wonderful it is to pay for raises? Are you related to a teacher or union member?


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

The $250k hasn't even been budgeted for, so things will be cut right away to finance this election.

Concerned parent and parcel tax supporters, how about showing some leadership and 500 of you get together (that's approx the 50 or so supporters per school site right and perhaps the union can toss in a few $$'s?) and pay $500 each to fund this election, save jobs, save school programs and give this thing a bit of momentum.

It shouldn't be money that is meant for the kids and which is not budgeted for that has to pay for this election.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

concerned parent,

The reason why Measure G didn't pass, and why we're reading push-back against another parcel tax here, has a lot to do with the concept of tax morale. Posters here are writing that they won't support a parcel tax because of step-and-column. It isn't that they want to attack teachers or don't support education, but they want to see the district use its current dollars more efficiently and have found S&C to be an easy thing to hook on to as an example. It is reasonable for citizens to question how the district spends its money just as it is reasonable for employees to make similar questions when the subject of cutting salaries comes up. Every one wants to feel that their contribution will be meaningful and not going into a black hole.

"attitude towards paying taxes is better when resources are spent more efficiently" Web Link


Posted by long time parent, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Stacey, I would go a bit further and say that posters are not saying that step and column is a bad thing. It is just something that we cannot afford at this point and time. And out of fairness, it is hard to get behind the concept that the taxpayer should pay more so employees at the district can receive a raise right now.

Nothing to do with how we feel about teachers or the concept of step and column (although I would prefer merit pay instead of the current system).


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

"Stacey, I would go a bit further and say that posters are not saying that step and column is a bad thing. It is just something that we cannot afford at this point and time"

Yes, exactly. To me it just seems like common sense, you can't give out raises when you can't afford them.

The biggest thing that bugs me is the way it is being handled. The whole "making the right choice" thing that we try to teach our kids.

Meetings late at night, language that implies the parcel tax won't pay for raises, when the things that are going to be cut and put in the parcel tax basket are being cut because of raises. Hoping people won't notice . . .

I am so worried about the cuts they are proposing again, but this time around I don't think it's our money that will help, it's our strength and resolve to get people to tackle the structural issues so the kids have a chance in the long term to get a truly great education. I feel like we're dying by a thousand cuts now.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

"Are you related to a teacher or union member?"

No. Is it so strange to you that I would be for keeping step and column and not be connected to a union in some way? I think it is a thing that we can afford at this time, and I'm not the only one. Far from it. Look at some of the truly excellent school districts in the Bay Area. They are keeping scheduled increases for teachers and paying parcel taxes. They want to maintain the programs and hire the best teachers.

" especially with attitudes like yours, going around speaking of how wonderful it is to pay for raises"

Um, what?


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

"and pay $500 each to fund this election, save jobs, save school programs and give this thing a bit of momentum."

I have already given a good bit more than that to the district.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm

"but this time around I don't think it's our money that will help"

It will help. The $2 million parcel tax will pay for $2 million worth of programs for children. We will be paying step and column whether or not a parcel tax passes.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

"I have already given a good bit more than that to the district."

So have I for CORE etc, I always pay far more than requested in every case I have been asked.

But have you given that to pay for the election? Do you have that much faith it will pass? Great if so, only another $49,500 to go. It's a LOT of money.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Sorry that's another $249,500 to go.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm

"It will help. The $2 million parcel tax will pay for $2 million worth of programs for children. We will be paying step and column whether or not a parcel tax passes."

No, we will be paying step and column as long as let our leaders negotiate this way by covering over the cracks with more and more $. We have a choice to say no and let our leaders be leaders.


Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

What consistently baffles me is how you all wail and gnash your teeth about the parcel tax (or whatever) without ever actually getting off your duffs and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. The PUSD has been discussing this for months.

Seriously, what does it take to get you to step away from the computer, get in your car, DRIVE TO A PUSD MEETING and speak out about it.

From what I've seen, not one person has come to the school board to say no to the parcel tax, although at least a dozen supporters have shown up.

It's easy to whine away in a forum, but when it comes to actually confronting an issue in person, you are nowhere to be found.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm

"I think it is a thing that we can afford at this time, and I'm not the only one."

You think it is something we can afford? Wow! We cannot even afford to keep CSR in k-3, and we had to cancel the 7 period, but step and column is something we can afford?

And if you are not the only one, then it should be easy to pass the parcel tax without the need for half truths, right?

The ballot should read: "We can afford raises, and we are going to pay for them, and in order to have money to pay for all the raises, we have to cut programs x and y which directly affect the students. The parcel tax will help with this effort."

Let's see how many yes votes you get. G did not pass, and this parcel tax won't either.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm

"From what I've seen, not one person has come to the school board to say no to the parcel tax, although at least a dozen supporters have shown up."

That is what happened when they decided to put G on the ballot. Only the supporters showed to the meetings but that does not mean everyone agreed. The outcome? G failed. I guess there were more people against than for G, yet only the pro-G went to speak before the board.

No one in their right mind is going to show up at the board and speak against the parcel tax, especially if they have kids in the district.


Posted by concerned parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

"I guess there were more people against than for G"

Of people voting, I think 62% were in favor, so more were in favor than against.

"No one in their right mind is going to show up at the board and speak against the parcel tax, especially if they have kids in the district."

OK, what about all the ones without children? What to they have to fear? Why did I have so much trouble finding someone opposed to the tax who was willing to discuss it face to face with me? Is it because I'm 6' 2" tall? I'm not that intimidating. No one seems to want to discuss this except for anonymous postings on these forums.


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm

No one in their right mind is going to show up at the board and speak against the parcel tax, especially if they have kids in the district."

+1

I've been to lots of board meetings, so it's not about time or caring.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

"Why did I have so much trouble finding someone opposed to the tax who was willing to discuss it face to face with me?"

Your mind is made up, so what is there to discuss? I read your posts and you sound like a broken record, the message being: tax, I agree with giving raises, tax, we can afford to give raises.

Why bother?

I saw your most recent comment about how you are glad the board agreed to the tax and you will volunteer your time and money. Good luck, and we will find out soon enough how many people agree and how many do not, with this tax that will go to finance step and column


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