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In defense of Step and Column

Original post made by Trevor Knaggs, Downtown, on Feb 21, 2011

Now that the PUSD School Board has taken the important step of placing a local school funding measure before the voters of Pleasanton, it is inevitable that the issue of Step and Column salary increases will be raised once again by those pitted against the measure, so with your permission I'd like to shed some light on the issue for those community members who may not be familiar with the system.

The term 'Step and Column' is a term used in public schools to refer to a compensation schedule structured to provide incentives for experienced teachers to remain teaching in the district and seek education and training.
Step defines teacher salaries according to how many years a teacher has worked in the district. It is important to note that teachers do not automatically receive a 'Step' increase each year. A teacher can also improve her pay by earning college credits, commonly referred to as 'Column' increases. Columns indicate how many educational units a teacher has accrued. In PUSD there are five columns ranging from no BA and less than 30 units to a BA plus 75 units. It is important to note that teachers must spend considerable amounts of time and money to acquire these units and move across the salary schedule. With units at Cal state east Bay currently costing $225.00 each, it costs a teacher approximately $3,400 to acquire the necessary fifteen units to move across from one column to another. This amounts to $10,000 to reach BA+75 units, the far end of the column. Because of the time and cost required to reach Column V Step 20 only 130 full-time teachers (18%) are currently on the highest cell of our salary schedule.

There are many advantages to the 'Step+ Column' system. Pleasanton schools have been able to attract and retain many outstanding teachers that make our schools among the very best in the state. 'Step and Column' ensures that our teachers keep up with the latest information, trends and technology in teaching and instructional curriculum by providing an incentive to teachers to invest their personal time, energy and money into on-going education and training.

It is important to note that Pleasanton teachers have not received a COLA raise in over three years. 'Step and Column' has represented a lifeline for young teachers, new to the profession who might otherwise have been forced to leave teaching in search of a job, which would enable them to make ends meet.

'Step + Column' is not a system unique to PUSD. All of our neighboring school districts use it, as do all high-performing school districts in California. If Pleasanton were to abandon the 'Step + Column' system, we could expect to lose many of our best and most experienced teachers to other school districts.

As we move forward with the parcel tax measure, your teachers hope that the community realizes the commitment that they have already made to preserve the exceptional school district that we have here in Pleasanton. Despite the fact that they have received no COLA raise in over three years and despite receiving what amounts to an annual pay cut because they have to pay for their own medical benefits and the costs have escalated to the point where current Kaiser rates for a family medical plan and family dental plan have risen to $22,147 a year.

Despite all of this your teachers agreed to accept 3 furlough days last year and five this year to save jobs and preserve programs. Their sacrifice amounts to between $2,610 and $4,239 in gross salary depending on their position on the salary schedule. Together with their colleagues in CSEA and Management they stepped up to rescue the school district in its time of need and now they are simply asking the community to do the same. The $2m that the parcel tax would provide will not solve the whole problem, but it would help a great deal and APT remains committed to sitting down with the District at the negotiations table to find solutions to whatever deficit remains.

Comments (143)

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Posted by Diana
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The economy does not support a salary tax.

NO parcel tax!


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Posted by Another idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hey - why not get rid of some of the more senior, over paid, ineffective teachers and re-direct the savings to the younger, up and coming stars? This would greater impact on the overall quality of teaching.

I just got through watching "Waiting for Superman" which is now on Netflix. This is a must watch film. I was struck by how few poor teachers are actually let go - 1/2500 vs. 1/(50-100) for other professionals. Stunning.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Or how about bringing the pension money back into use for real educational purposes? If you are no longer teaching or serving the community, why are you entitled to our hard-earned tax dollars? Folks like us retire off our own 401K so why must I be taxed more to fund your raises and pensions?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I'm concerned that more time and attention isn't being spent on supporting the newer teachers in our district. They are the ones who are losing out by losing their jobs. Why is so much time spend defending step and column?

Unions say they want to help with social justice, but where is the justice in letting your most vulnerable members get the pink slip year after year.

I have no problem at all with the "column", but definitely problems with "step" when people are losing their jobs and the disctrict is not being given extra money from the state to pay for this.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

In the private sector, employees are "at will" whereas in the government and school districts, it is almost impossible to remove an employee who does something wrong.

Even the teacher whose blog just was discovered using profanities in diatribes against her students, saying they were only fit for future employment at the "trash company," and commenting about individual students will probably not lose her job. Of course, if a company employee in the private sector made the same comments in an on-line blog about their customers, they'd be gone in a microsecond.

Step and column, lifetime employment, and unsustainable and outrageous retirement pensions need to go. I have school age children but will be voting No on the parcel tax.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Trevor - Thank you for explaining your position. Let's help the reader understand this even more.
Here is the most recent PUSD scattergram showing the distribution of teachers across the step and column pay grid. Web Link
This shows 71% of the FTE teachers have reached the maximum column by obtaining 75 units. By the time a teacher reaches the 5th step, their salary is more than $10,000 greater than the teacher who is in the first column.
Clearly, when a teacher reaches 75 units, one year's salary more than covers the cost of their education. Every year after that, they are enjoying the benefits of their investment in their own personal growth. Those 511 FTE teachers have a fantastic ROI on their $10,000 and time investment. I'm not sure what sympathy you are trying to invoke.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Thank you for weblinking to the scattergram. I am astounded that 124 FTEs who are teachers are making almost 100K a year. Incredible!

They are making more than professors teaching year round at 4 year universities.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Trevor - You mention teachers pay for their own medical benefits. What % of teachers obtain their medical benefits through their spouse's or significant other's plans? The question was asked at the last school board meeting and Bill Faraghan could not answer it definitively. Is it true this large group of teachers are not suffering from the supposed 'annual pay cut' but are instead enjoying a windfall salary boost every year?


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Trevor - PUSD administration claims they will incur $1.5 million in increased salary expense due to step and column. Is it true that about $1.1 million will be due to teacher salary increases? Which means that half of the new parcel tax in the first year will be to cover teacher raises? And then by year 2 of the tax, all of the parcel tax will be consumed by teacher raises? Leaving nothing for the kids?
And I'm supposed to vote yes on the parcel tax because, why?
Help me understand.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

"It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government."
George Meany, AFL-CIO, 1955

"The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don't generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against tax payers. FDR considered this 'unthinkable and intolerable'".
James Sherk
Op-Ed, NY Times, 2-19-11

It is time for the unions to go.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm

You can see a graphical depiction of the "scattergram" along with the same data for classified employees and as well as management certificated and classified employees at:

Web Link


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Start afresh: Do you have a 2011 version of the salary chart you provided? This one is dated 2010 and says that there are 123 teachers at the highest step and column pay level, but Trevor says there are 130, so it looks like there must be an updated schedule somewhere.

Trevor: you talk a lot about helping the newest teachers but what I can see from this Jan 2010 chart is that 511 of 722 positions are at the highest column 5. There are only 4.5 alternate teachers (are these subs?) and 7.5 FTE on column 1 and 1 alternate and 27 FTE on column 2. What does the Jan 2011 version look like?

You say: "Step and Column' has represented a lifeline for young teachers, new to the profession who might otherwise have been forced to leave teaching in search of a job, which would enable them to make ends meet."

We don't seem to have many people in this category anymore because they are all getting laid off. So they have to get a new job to enable them to make ends meet anyhow. And I suspect many of these are the ones that have to pay for their own health insurance.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

To 'parent' - PUSD has not posted any updated info from 2010. On purpose maybe?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm not going to advocate for any particular alternative system, only say that step and column is an increasingly outdated compensation system. The reasons why have been discussed here previously ad nauseum.

"Teachers Develop New Performance Pay Plan for Teachers" Web Link

Since August 2010, the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) has partnered with 17 of Florida's most accomplished teacher leaders to generate a set of research-driven and classroom-based solutions – that is, TeacherSolutions – for effective performance pay systems. Over the past six months, the teacher cadre participated in face-to-face meetings, virtual webinars and online discussions. They also studied the research, examined local and state policy, and debated with the experts – with an eye toward incorporating student learning, teacher learning, teacher leadership, and market incentives into a comprehensive teacher compensation model for the state of Florida. In their multimedia report, Effective Teachers and Performance Pay, the teacher team explains why "now more than ever, teachers who learn more, do more, share their expertise more, and help students learn more, should be paid more." Their TeacherSolutions present new "third-way" thinking about these critical issues, which move past the typical "either/or" debates of defending the status quo versus "reforming" education. Megan Allen, teacher co-author and 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year encourages everyone to: "Read our work, listen to our voices, and let's together find a performance pay system that works for our students."


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There are pros and cons to every system. Trevor doesn't examine those pros and cons, only tries to sell one particular system with a little FUD thrown in (our most experienced teachers will leave and take the big pay cut from being credited only a small number of years on the other district's step schedule, really?).

BTW, monarchies used to not be unique either.


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Posted by Indefensible
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Funds or not, I find the idea of giving "step" increases to anybody for just passing another year is INDEFENSIBLE.....even WORSE, you know the odds that there's at least one that should be fired, NOT given HIGHER PAY. You would never find anything so absurd in the private sector, when you have to justify to the bottom line. I hope it's your kid, not mine who draws that one.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:08 am

Guest workers (otherwise known as Pleasanton's school teachers),

Additional experience? Purchased additional college credit to enhance one's teaching experience? Furloughs, reduced pensions and benefits, paycuts? Who cares? You don't count. We have much higher incomes and accumulated assets than you do, but we deserve it because we've worked in the private sector, proven our loyalty by kissing up, or, hey, we've inherited it. Whatever. Rough rocks.

Because we're operating with a stunted moral code that doesn't allow us to see past our own selfish interests, we're incapable of recognizing how teachers' unions were formed not to compete with owners and management for part of production/consumption pie, but rather as the most efficient means of cooperating with the community (via the community's representatives -- elected officials). Instead, we insist on applying a skewed private sector model which doesn't apply and, truth be told, is not at all analogous to public school teachers' unions. But that's not the point. Instead of viewing teachers' unions on its own terms, we insist on how there shouldn't be teachers' unions -- well, maybe elsewhere, but not here in Pleasanton -- because they are not like private sector unions (which we also hate, but that's beside the point, as you must realize we're trying to throw anything up at the wall that will stick in order to preserve our fat purses and pocketbooks).

So, Pleasanton teachers, get real! Wake up! Get a life! Go out into the real world and get a real job! Do something that is truly important and genuinely more highly valued in our capitalist economy, like entering sales or something.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:18 am

Trevor, Someone has already mentioned that step and column adds $1.5 million each year to a budget already under a tremendous strain. Responses to that strain have increased class sizes and cut eight days of learning (furlough days). The latter, by the way, is a method used to protect teachers' per diem calculations for retirement income. It would be helpful and appreciated if unions were to offer alternative ideas for attracting and retaining the best teachers. Certainly taxpayers, like those in Wisconsin and other states, are pushing for change.

There is no doubt that excellent teachers are a necessary part of a successful learning environment for students, but there should be acknowledgement of the contribution to that environment by parents who value education and by taxpayers who have already willingly invested in that environment in myriad ways. They are, at least, equal contributors.

I will once again point out that paying for medical benefits was a choice made by the unions years ago. It was a decision that boosted salaries for the calculation of retirements, and it has been noted before that some 70% of teachers have benefits from another source (usually a spouse).

Most surprisingly about this post, Trevor, is defense of step and column ($1.5 million) and support of the parcel tax ($2.1 million), which seems to actually suggest what also has been posted before, the parcel tax will pay for step and column.

I am not against a parcel tax that provides specificity for usage of the funds (counselors, Barton Reading, fill in the blank). Sadly, this newest proposal is as vague as the previous one.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

Trevor – Nice job on putting a positive spin on an indefensible position, but make no mistake. The answer on your new tax for raises is a resounding NO.


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

S & C is a raise. Raises mean NO ON ANY PARCEL TAX.
Trevor quotes figures for the loss of pay for 5 furlough days. Doing the math with his numbers shows that teacher pay ranges from $522 to $849 PER DAY if he is correct. The vast majority have health insurance via a spouse so they took the additional money as a yearly bonus. Not bad pay for working part time. Every weekend, school holiday and summer off.
We are NOT obligated to pay an additional tax to provide raises for people who are not indentured servants. Don't like the pay? You are free to leave.
NO ON ANY PARCEL TAX


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

"Sadly, this newest proposal is as vague as the previous one. "

So then you're against this one too?

Sadly, I don't think that there will be any action on step and column regardless of the passage or failure of the parcel tax. The result of failure will just mean more cuts than would otherwise happen. You can try to make a statement by defeating the parcel tax, but with a majority of voters voting for the tax, I don't think the district will take a failure in the 63%/37% range as a call to freeze step and column. The practical effect of the failure will be that loss of programs and teachers.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

concerned parent (or District person), if Step and Column are not frozen, just like citizens of Menlo Park circulated a petition which was passed by the voters outlining what specific items related to the Menlo Park union contract with employees, if the Board takes no action to rectify the situation with the union contract, the citizens can always collect signatures and put it before the voters.

BTW: I think Kathleen R.'s post said that the "new" parcel tax language was as vague as the last one and that if it had had some sort of specificity as to what specific programs the money would be directed to, she might have supported it. Sadly, it looks like a paid consultant wrote it for the District and in the public meetings, said that "specificity" would "tie the District's hands." It seems the consultant is driving what the District does, not the Board.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

I fear that the parcel tax has been set up to fail to blame the community for the loss of programs when they easily could be saved by proactive negotiations by the management and the unions and by proactive fundraising initiatives by the community.

This community values education, but they also value integrity. How can people join the phone banks when you're being asked to say that the parcel tax won't be used to pay for pay raises when it will? So many people are finding this difficult and it didn't have to be this way.

I'm glad Trevor has brought this discussion out into the open, rather than it being the "unmentionable" topic that everyone knows about but won't address. It is his job to defend the union, but it is the school board's job and I hope the management's job to protect students. Unfortunately too much of what I hear from those two groups is the same rhetoric the union is using.

Who is defending the children? Who is going to say regardless of whether you think it's bankers, government, unions, the general greediness of everyone or whatever that got us into this mess, the one group we can be sure didn't is our children - the future of this nation.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

"concerned parent (or District person), "

You assume that I'm a "District person" because I will be working for this parcel tax? You do realize that there are a bunch of parents just like me who will also be working hard to get it passed. What kind of assumptions should I make about you? Is it important to you that this be personal. I'd me happy to meet with you personally to discuss this. I will be volunteering and going do to door to drum up support for this, not because I think it is perfect, but because I think passage is a better outcome than failure.


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Posted by NO to a salary tax!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:09 am

Well said parent!

Trevor you added nothing new to the issue. Salary increase can not be justified. The State has ordered a salary freeze and are not funding salary increase. The unions solution is to take money from the students or demand it from taxpayers rather than accept the reality of this economy that we are all subject to.

There is NO defense of Step and Column in this economy.

NO to a salary tax!!


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

" if the Board takes no action to rectify the situation with the union contract, the citizens can always collect signatures and put it before the voters."

OK, and what will that lead to?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:19 am

To concerned parent: you have got to be kidding me. You are planning a door to door campaign?

Have you not seen the articles where burglers are doing the same thing to see if people are at home? My pre-schooler once opened the door to a stranger - one I had asked the day before not to knock on the door again and to leave any info on the doorstep. And yes, I had taught her not to do this.

Phoning is fine, but door to door, not at all fine and that would close the case for my still open mind about this situation.


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Posted by don't forget pensions
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

Don't forget the great pensions the district employees receive. Here are 15 recent retirees that made the $100,000 club:

CASEY, JOHN M $155,756.28 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

COUPE, WILLIAM S $124,990.68 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

DELLANINI, SALLY R $111,388.08 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

DELLANINI, STEVEN J $101,083.32 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

DONALDSON, MERLIN C $178,119.96 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

JAMES, BILL $109,323.00 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

KETTWIG, JOSEPH L $109,696.92 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

KINDRED, KATHLEEN $116,401.32 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

KREITZ, ROBERT W $154,536.24 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

KROETCH, ROBERT M $140,567.88 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

LEONARD, PATRICIA A $106,708.44 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

MAHER, STEPHEN P $137,527.20 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

PUPPIONE, RICHARD J $100,872.00 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

RADULOVICH, WILLIAM M $115,506.48 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

SCHACHT, ANDREE M $107,100.12 PLEASANTON UNIFIED


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

First, break up the union. Next, bring in high-priced 'administrative reviewers', responsive to the community, who will determine which teachers stay, which teachers go, which get rewarded, which get punished. In order to ensure that the 'reviewers' do not become entrenched and bureaucratized, make them go up for community approval (election)every two years. That way, see, in a fully politicized environment, we'll make both teachers and their 'reviewers' are so scared of community sentiment they won't be able to see straight. (Ha! Then let them even try to think about teaching our kids how we've evolved from monkeys and apes!)

Then the community should elect a CEO to run things like a business -- no, not like the thousands and thousands of businesses that fail each year because of incompetence and mismanagement -- but like one of those successful businesses, like Verizon. This all can be done on the cheap and save the wealthiest mid-level city in the United States a few bucks. Teachers will not want to teach here, you liberal morons say? Fine, we'll hire people with sales experience or who, by their own chest-thumping testimonials, show much prowess in teaching their own children (at least up to 2nd grade level).

Community Measure No.1: Prospective teachers must take a litmus test regarding their personal politics. Pleasanton will lead the nation in insisting that 50% of newly hired teachers be democrats, 50% republican. This will ensure that science and math are taught in a balanced way. Pleasantonians Unite! We shall overcome! Take power away from teachers and the union thugs and give it to the community of great minds such as the posters on this thread who know what is best for the community and its children!


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm

" You are planning a door to door campaign?"

I'm hoping to put hangers on doorknobs to raise awareness of the campaign.


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Posted by parents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for clarifying concerned parent. That makes sense.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm


Please read "California Teacher's pension system headed toward insolvency", at the Mercury News. Web Link

If we do not all sit down and reform pay and pensions, the reality of running out of money will force it upon us. Either way things will change.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

concerned parent:

you seem very involved with the parcel tax. Can you tell me when I will receive the ballot? Will it be mailed to me or do I have to call Alameda County to ask for it?


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

It's pretty clear at this point that there will be changes to the pension and compensation packages of most public employees in the next few years. It is no longer a matter of choice. The public won't accept more crippling taxes, no one can justify further borrowing, and we are out of money all around. Every public union is positioning themselves to remain unaffected by the changes that are clearly on the near horizon. They say the best defense is a good offence. The union strategy consists of continuing to demand raises and more taxes until there is nothing left, and then hope to negotiate the softest landing possible if that day ever arrives.

That day is officially here. Say no to new taxes. Say no to bailouts.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm

From the article Steve posted:

"reformers say CalSTRS' formulas can be revised only by legislation, a statewide initiative or possibly a constitutional amendment and litigation -- not to mention immense political will. "

This is exactly what Wisconsin is doing, and I hope they succeed. If Wisconsin is successful, perhaps other states will follow its lead. Minnesota, Ohio and Colorado are also pursuing the union reform, and the union has already filed a lawsuit against Minnesota.

The unions can fight all they want, but in the end the reality is that there is no money. You cannot negotiate when there is no money. It is time for the unions to get a clue and realize the taxpayers can no longer afford to finance their pensions, etc.

Trevor: I find your post informative, but I can tell you that there are a couple of things that bother me:

1) You say step and column benefits the younger teaches. But it is those younger, newer teachers who are getting pink slips so that the tenured ones can get a raise.

2) You speak of health care costs. Trevor: do you personally pay for health care? How many PUSD teachers pay for health care? How many PUSD teachers get healthcare through a spouse? Since you are talking about the cost of healthcare, it is only fair that we the community understand how many teachers really pay for health care and how many are just enjoying the salary boost because of the assumption that they would have to pay for healthcare.


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Posted by Confused Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

It appears I have quite a bit of research that needs to be done regarding Measure E. After reading Trevor's post, I couldn't help but notice some familiar language:

Trevor stated:

"There are many advantages to the 'Step+ Column' system. Pleasanton schools have been able to attract and retain many outstanding teachers that make our schools among the very best in the state."

Measure E Ballot Language:

"Attract and retain highly qualified teachers"

And:

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

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but Trevor's words equate to the ballot language, therefore the parcel tax CAN be used for Step and Column. Then it states that the tax will not be used to increase salaries or benefits for employees, aren't teachers employees?


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

To confused parent: They can for example say that they can no longer fund Barton reading and other programs - partly because they have to pay $1.5 million S&C salary increases while the state is giving us flat funding.

Then they take these things out of the general pot of things we have to pay for and put it in the parcel tax pot. Then the parcel tax pays for Barton reading and other valuable programs and the general fund pays for the salary increases.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

"you seem very involved with the parcel tax. Can you tell me when I will receive the ballot? Will it be mailed to me or do I have to call Alameda County to ask for it?"

Don't know. I haven't contacted the campaign yet, but I plan to.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

"Don't know. I haven't contacted the campaign yet, but I plan to."

Please post the information when you have it. I would like to know when to expect the ballot, as well as when it needs to be turned in (and the Alameda County registrar of voters puts you on hold forever).


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Just some clarifications on teacher pensions. Teachers pay 8% of their salary into the pension fund with the district paying 8.25%. So it is not funding only by the district.

Many private sector employees have pensions.

Every private sector employee has a pension that is called social security (teachers do not pay into SS so they do not recieve benefits and also can not receive spouses SS benefits). Sure, most people will not rely solely on SS for retirement, but I bet their are very few people who are going to turn it down.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

If we assume that Step & Column needs to be changed, the school board/district needs to be the driving force. If the union negotiates with the district, the district needs to bring an alternative pay structure to the negotiations. I don't think they ever have, have they?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

"Just some clarifications on teacher pensions. Teachers pay 8% of their salary into the pension fund with the district paying 8.25%. So it is not funding only by the district. "

But they retire with a lot more than 16.25% - ie, we the taxpayers pay the difference between what the teachers pay into their pensions.

Look at the chart posted above. We have two principals (Walnut Grove and AVHS) who retired with more than 100K in annual pension. I doubt they put that much into their funds. And look at Casey's pension. It is the taxpayers who are stuck with the bill.

As for social security, don't fool yourself. By the time we are old enough to retire, there won't be any money left, so plan ahead and save/invest. Besides, even those getting social security, they are not getting the generous percentage that public employees get.

It is only a matter of time before the unions are gone for good, especially since they refuse to make even the smallest changes, like not getting a raise during a financial crisis.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Teachers do not receive social security only STRS. Please remember that when you pay a teacher you ARE paying for the service. Teachers deliver the service to the students. if everything else dried up and all you had was a dry erase board and a marker, teachers would still deliver the service.


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Posted by Pension Tsunami Club
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I looked at the posting above regarding the pensions, that are probably only the tip of the iceberg, and I was shocked. Coupe just retired and over the next 25 years, the pension will cost taxpayers $3,124,767.00 !!! The pensions are outrageous, far more than was paid in.

Also, those pensions alone cost us $1,869,557.92 for only a small subset of 15 employees, over the next 25 years, will cost taxpayers $46,739,448.00.

That is absolute insanity that our local school district increased the pay for these individuals so much that they've placed this burden on the taxpayers.


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Posted by keep in mind
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm

There are several different retirement situations here. Teachers contribute to the the STRS and collect what may be social security level retirement - depends on years of service etc... It has been mentioned it operates similar to a "match" program.

The 6-figure pensions are for administrators (they have a different contract), superintendents etc... *These* are the problematic obligations. Frankly I have yet to meet a principal (ok maybe one) who deserves a cushier retirement than a teacher who spends every day in the trenches...


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

The point is pretty simple. No amount of funding will ever be enough as long as the fox continues to guard the henhouse.


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Posted by don't forget pensions
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Look at these items:
DELLANINI, SALLY R $111,388.08 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

DELLANINI, STEVEN J $101,083.32 PLEASANTON UNIFIED



Husband and Wife who both knew how to milk the system and rob the taxpayers who are on the hook for the pensions. That family is now taking home $212,471 per year in retirement!

I am sure a lot of the pension problem in Pleasanton is pension spiking where employees spike their income in their last year with things like unused sick time. Just look at:
DONALDSON, MERLIN C $178,119.96 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

That is Clem Donaldson. I do not believe his final year of working had a salary that high so he is probably making more retired than working. Clem was one of John Casey's cronies that was brought in to the district. He is actually making more on his pension than our retired fire and police chiefs and we thought their pensions were outrageous. Clem was just a paper pusher.

I guess the life skills our district is teaching our children is, "Take advantage of whatever you can. If you find a loophole that benefits you directly, use it. Does not matter if you screw somebody else out of their money."

When people spike their income for pension purposes, they have not paid their fair share into the pension system. The pension payments are made on standard salary; not these other things that these people do in their last year of employment. So we, the taxpayers, are paying for people like this who find a loophole and take advantage of it.

Did you also realize that these retirees receive health insurance for up to 7 years, totally free? It is a gift from the taxpayers of Pleasanton as that benefit is paid by our district and is not part of a pension system or a pool of workers. So we are handing out pink slips to new teachers while these administrators steal our money.

There is so much corruption at the top. No more tax money to them until they fix things!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm

"one of John Casey's cronies that was brought in to the district. He is actually making more on his pension than our retired fire and police chiefs and we thought their pensions were outrageous"

And he is not the only one. I remember a board meeting held during the summer after measure G failed but money was raised through the I love Pleasanton Schools campaign. Casey requested that a few employees who had been laid off be brought back on a temporary basis (for a few months) so that their pensions would not suffer! And the three yes men, were quick to agree with Casey.


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Posted by Moody
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

What is the price of a great education? Teacher? Clean school? You people commenting are all whacked!!!!


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

A fair price that is comparable with other good school districts nationwide. One that enables us to keep valuable teachers and valuable programs.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Watching board meeting . . . lots of time and questions about jazz and band . . . must mean that even more time is going to be spent talking about academic issues and class sizes, right?


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I agree that the comments here are "whacked". Even Dublin and Livermore have parcel taxes. Their teachers also have step and column raises. Why is Pleasanton, the nation's wealthiest mid-size city, asking our teachers to take pay cuts and schools to lay off staff so that we can spend $98 on spa visits?

Totally whacked!


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Anonymous, I don't know about spa visits (I've never been to a spa, thanks for the generalization of Pleasanton residents nonetheless), but the avg pay rate for Dublin USD is $20,000 less per year and Livermore Valley USD is $12,000 less per year than PUSD. So why would Pleasanton residents want increased salaries when PUSD already pays more than surrounding districts?

Also I will bet you are new to the community or rent and do not realize the Pleasanton property owners have been paying:

1. for a parcel tax since 1988, when PUSD was formed, and it still hasn't been paid off yet.

2. for yet another parcel tax since 1997 and that one isn't paid off either.

Maybe borrow someone's county tax bill and look at the line "Debt Service" for PUSD. Mine says $975 per year already.

In fact, they both won't be paid off in the next decade either.


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Posted by To Karen
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Sure, if you look at the numbers Dublin and Livermore pay less than Pleasanton. But they also have benefits included. I pay $1,500 a month for Kaiser, so I make less than Livermore and Dublin teachers. Yet my test scores are through the roof.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm

What do you mean, whacked? Blame my having to visit the spa and pay $98 on the high teacher salaries and pensions I'm being forced to pay as part of our crippling tax structure. I'm so oppressed by the onerousness of Prop 13, that it takes all the energy I have simply to limp to my Lexus SUV in order to reach the spa.

You say Dublin and Livermore pay a parcel tax? Well, they are suckers. That's why THEY'RE not the wealthiest mid-sized city and we are. We know how to protect ourselves against the valued 80% of our society who would seek to change the fact that they earn 7% of our society's wealth.

See, the teachers think they should be able to get paid a salary that is consistent with the job they do in the community, be able to retire before they die, and expect a reasonable pension, i.e., deferred salary, as part of their retirement. We don't. You call us whacked. In fact, we are all about justice: just us. What is whacked about that? Isn't that the way capitalism is supposed to work?

The teachers in our community are valuable commodities. We treasure having them, just like we treasure other valuable commodities. Just like the cashiers at 7-11 or Arco. And you don't see them asking for a parcel tax, do you? You know why? Because they are our valued and valuable private sector workers who have learned their proper place. And besides, even if they did, we'd just list the pension amounts of their managers and scream as if those amounts belonged to the cashiers themselves. So, hey anonymous and moody, wake up!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'd write a defense for step and column more along these general lines ...

The step and column salary schedule is still a useful teacher compensation system. Previously, teachers were paid based on their position; a secondary school teacher earned more than an elementary school teacher. This former pay system exacerbated inequalities amongst women and minorities who were most often found teaching elementary school. The more prestigious positions in secondary schools tended to be staffed mostly by white men. Administrators were wanton to play favorites. This discrimination lead to a compensation system that sought to equalize teacher pay.

The measurements of years of experience (steps) and continuing education (columns) provides the basis for an objective advancement in pay. Administrative opinion is removed from the determination of how much a teacher is paid, thereby disabling discrimination. Columns can even be thought of as a form of merit-pay.

Studies have shown that teachers do best in schools with a stable faculty and a supportive, collaborative working environment. This kind of working environment is conducive to increasing student achievement and teacher quality. It is highly dependent upon management's ability to foster it. School districts often do little to link principal pay and management practices with programs that are effective in improving student outcomes.

In the absence of such policies, the step and column salary schedule still provides teachers a safe haven from the effects on their pay of an administrator's discriminatory whims and poor working environments.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

"1. for a parcel tax since 1988, when PUSD was formed, and it still hasn't been paid off yet."

I've been paying property taxes nearly two decades here now, and I haven't ever seen a school parcel tax on my bill. Maybe you're looking at the school bonds and don't understand that that money can only be used for facilities.

Pleasanton does not currently have a parcel tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yea, that school bond thing is a whole other can of worms...


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

The music / band program sounds amazing and it looks like there are lots of options / ideas to restore 7th period for high school. Hopefully this works out as well along with keeping our other valuable programs for the other age groups. Fingers crossed.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

"Mine says $975 per year already."

I am impressed with that. I just checked my bill and it was half that. It seems it a little ironic to me that people with homes worth well over a million dollars (correct me if my math is wrong) are complaining about teachers earning too much, and about paying a $98 parcel tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

concerned parent,

The bonds are ad valorem, so people with more house tend to pay more. The same is not true of the flat-rate parcel tax.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm

"The bonds are ad valorem, so people with more house tend to pay more. The same is not true of the flat-rate parcel tax."

Yes, of course, we've already discussed that. That even adds to the irony. Someone like me with "less house" will have proportionally more of a tax burden based on the value of the house than Karen, yet I am for it and she is not.


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Posted by don't forget pensions
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Yes, the bonds... They have not had an oversight committee meeting since 2004. They also had a list of projects when we approved the bonds. The District ended up getting more money for the state for the facilities. So instead of the district borrowing less on the bonds, or paying them off earlier, they decided to purchase more items, not on the original project list of the bonds.

The district also kept refinancing the bonds, which extends the amount of time we have to pay them. It is like refinancing a 30-year mortgage on your house when you have 10 years left, and now you have a lower payment but start the 30 year mortgage all over again. Some of those bonds were supposed to be paid off a long time ago. Now we will be paying them until the year 2024! The buildings that were financed with this bond will not even last that long. So we will be paying for buildings, even after their useful life.

So while the current item on our property tax is not used for operations, it is a tax we in Pleasanton pay for that is exclusively for the Pleasanton Unified School District.

To "To Karen", you are one of the few who purchases the health insurance through the district. This was negotiated some time ago since most teachers have a spouse that has insurance. So those people get a higher salary, which they can use on anything, plus they get a higher pension because their salary is higher. Our Classified staff receives a health insurance stipend but the teachers wanted higher salaries for pension calculations. Also for $1500 you might want to get your own health insurance and not get the expensive one the district offers. My company does not offer health insurance at all so I have to purchase my own for my family. It is expensive but not $1500. The District health insurance is more expensive because of guaranteed issuance (i.e., anybody who works for the district, no matter what their age or their health, gets insurance for that rate). If you are healthy you can probably get a better deal purchasing the health insurance on your own. Then do what most district employees do, on your last year on the job before retirement, purchase the district health plan for that year. Then once you retire the district will pay 100% of your health insurance premiums for up to 7 years.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"The buildings that were financed with this bond will not even last that long. So we will be paying for buildings, even after their useful life."

More than that since the district has been deferring maintenance instead of taking care of the current assets.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Lest we forget our history... During the last boom, the state was handing out emergency credentials and signing bonuses because too few people wanted to make a career of these thankless low-paying jobs. Many teachers still burn out and leave every year. Cut too deep now, and we'll just pay for it later.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The State did offset the money the bonds raised to fund capital projects. So they went and spent the bond money on something else and marketed the refunding as "saving taxpayers money". I can go and refinance my mortgage into another 30 year fixed and save in the monthly amount I pay and line the pockets of the mortgage company with 30 years worth of interest.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Board makes virtually no comments about union sunshining negotiations. PE being cut for elementary. Summer school cut for elementary. Still waiting to hear about class sizes.

Public comment started at 10:35.


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Posted by elementary parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

11:21 - First mention of class sizes going up from 25-30 by Trustee Chris Grant. This is the #1 thing that elementary parents voted for as important in the survey last year. None of the other Trustees even talked about this. All the talk is about about programs for kids who need help - get it totally - but what about all the kids of this district?


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Posted by elementary parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Trustee Bowser votes against keeping reading specialists. Joined by 2 others eventually. No interest in CSR.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:06 am

You can't squeeze anymore blood from this stone. I am taxed enough already. Cut your programs and do what you gotta do. There is NO WAY you can justify sticking me with a salary tax in this economy. Didn't you see the report today that we just lost more on our equity? And now you want me to pay more to fund your salary??? What are you smoking?


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 6:06 am

The professional job market has strengthened substantially in the past 6-12 months. At some point, we're going to have an exodus of high-quality teachers who realize they can double their pay and reduce their work hours by leaving the profession. It happens every few years in strengthening economies, and I know several fine people who have done it.

Our Congress has decided it is important to extend focused tax breaks for oil companies earning billions and individual million-dollar earners. They have decided it is a priority to continue providing unlimited money for wars against countries that did nothing to us.

On a local level, we are also asked to set our priorities. We have the option to help the city and school district retain the high quality people they've been able to recruit by offering premium jobs, relative to other agencies and districts.

For my part , I happily pay my taxes, because I get great teachers and city staffers in return.


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Posted by John
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2011 at 7:56 am

"The professional job market has strengthened substantially in the past 6-12 months. At some point, we're going to have an exodus of high-quality teachers who realize they can double their pay and reduce their work hours by leaving the profession. It happens every few years in strengthening economies, and I know several fine people who have done it."

LMAO at possibly the biggest lot of BS I have seen in print this year!


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Posted by John
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:09 am

I find it interesting that this topic, which has, by far, the most comments of any recent topic has been removed from the front page. PW has always claimed this selection is computer generated. Looks more "agenda generated" to me.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

John,

Not sure what part of b's statement you were thinking was BS. The typical way to increase take home pay by a lot is to change jobs. About the job market strengthening, I'm not so sure...


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

The bit about going from 100k to 200k just like that maybe . . . or the total lack of jobs in CA?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Heh, good point. I wasn't seeing it literally. :)

I'm still having a hard time seeing how the step and column salary schedule is an incentive for young teachers to not leave the profession.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

b, No teacher is going to double their pay and cut their hours by leaving education. We can probably agree most teachers (or at least the best) are working 40 or more hours a week, but for a limited number of weeks (36 or so rather than 50). So while they may double their pay, they will work more weeks at a minimum, and for the kind of pay you are talking about, more hours per week. They might leave, however, for what appears to me a more stable work environment, because K-12 education has a bumpy road ahead.

I believe STRS and PERS will continue to be a burden on taxpayers, but listing people's names and what they make in retirement (yes, many of these people are my friends), while provoking, is not helpful to the concerns of Pleasanton and this school district. The problems of the pension plans (yes, I can retire on PERS) have to be resolved at the state level. Jerry Brown wants to extend taxes for 5 years—this is time to leverage that position in Sacramento.

I am still in favor of a sustainable system that trades tenure and step and column for one that focuses on children and rewards the best teachers while allowing us to eliminate those who don't/didn't/no longer belong in the classroom. I am not in favor of furlough days (again, they protect teacher retirement calculations) or cutting programs or essential staff like reading specialists.

I contacted the consultant and administration and a board member about the language of the ballot, albeit unsuccessfully in creating the change I personally wanted to see. Yet our district, like every district in this state, is in deep trouble. Much is because of bad choices made by a previous administration and board.

We seem to have lost the idea that this is about educating children and keeping parents informed of their child's progress and needs.

So, in thinking this over time and again, perhaps this is the time to press this governance team to stand firm with the union and in making administrative cuts. They want a parcel tax, but the focus has to start with the children. Permanently suspend step and column (surely there is a way to calculate it so the district has to have X in reserves before a NEW plan can be put in place), no furlough days—take the cuts and work the 180 days, permanently eliminate all me too clauses in administrative contracts (the effect is that those negotiating will not benefit from the outcome), no car allowances, no automatic increases for administrators, cut the PR position, put back the assessment position. There's likely more that can be done to save reading specialists and people key to the "promise and talents of our children."

I realize these are draconian and difficult suggestions—so is the budget. How much more dire does it have to get before these steps will be taken rather than the suggested cuts that seem to be meant to frighten parents and certainly continue to hurt students? Where is the leadership? Show me bold measures, and I'll gladly give you $250 a year for four years.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

"...or the total lack of jobs in CA"

Maybe we work in different fields. In computer engineering, electrical engineering, and information technology we are certainly seeing a pick up and I have already posted local data showing that it is happening. At my company we are already having to increase offers to get people to take jobs, and that includes experienced and new college graduate offers. Pleasanton is full of such professionals, and they tend to value education highly.

However, the bit about going from 100k to 200k any time soon is more than far fetched.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:51 am

"So, in thinking this over time and again, perhaps this is the time to press this governance team to stand firm with the union and in making administrative cuts. "

OK, so how does anyone actually go about that? What does a citizen do? Just saying no to a parcel tax doesn't in itself bring about any of these changes. It just results in furlough days and program cuts. They're already doing that.

"They want a parcel tax, but the focus has to start with the children. Permanently suspend step and column (surely there is a way to calculate it so the district has to have X in reserves before a NEW plan can be put in place), no furlough days"

But I don't think any of the best districts in the state doing anything like this. Are there any good districts in the state? Are they all just different shades of bad? Seems to me that if we do this, some of the best teachers are just going to say to hell with it.

"permanently eliminate all me too clauses in administrative contracts (the effect is that those negotiating will not benefit from the outcome), no car allowances, no automatic increases for administrators, cut the PR position, put back the assessment position. There's likely more that can be done to save reading specialists and people key to the "promise and talents of our children."

Totally agree with this, but how do we get that done?


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

John, your response simply demonstrates that you're an outsider with no clue what goes on inside our schools.

Teaching is a thankless job with long hours, endless abuse from parents and taxpayers, low pay and poor morale.

The exodus and shortage of teachers in California was big news a few years ago. If your memory is short, go look it up. With more cuts imminent and a fairly healthy white collar job market locally, it is only a matter of time.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

Kathleen, you are wrong. I know several people who have done precisely that. Teacher pay and hours suck. Local job market for professionals is quite healthy. Doubling a junior teacher's pay isn't that hard to accomplish. We are talking going from 35-40k as a teacher to 70-80k in other professional positions. Was a piece of cake for these people.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

b, Pleasanton's newest teachers earn over $55,000 their first year. Not gravy, but better than you suggest. Someone posted the scattergram out here; can't get this year's at PUSD (at least not as of Monday). I don't dispute they could make more, but they'll put in more hours for that pay.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

Teachers, administrators, classified staff all work hard with the best interests of our kids in mind. Pensions are a benefit of all this hard work and something they contribute towards. However, limits need to be set on these pensions. Members of strs and pers should only be receiving a portion of the outrageous amounts reported and they should be investing in personal retirement accounts to supplement their retirement. Pension limits along with Step and column should be reevaluated.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

"Maybe we work in different fields. In computer engineering, electrical engineering, and information technology we are certainly seeing a pick up and I have already posted local data showing that it is happening"

These jobs require specific qualifications to do. The person above was suggesting someone could double their pay and reduce their hours easily. Most 200k jobs require someone with many years of experience in their profession, management experience and extensive personal networks in their field. Employees get about 12-15 or so days of paid vacation. People who work 200k jobs work very long hours every day.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

LOL at the salaries being posted on here. $100k/yr doesn't go very far in Pleasanton these days, and will only decline in value over years. If you think that's an outrageous annual withdrawal from a retirement plan, perhaps it is YOUR savings plan that is the problem.

These people have forgone higher income elsewhere (yes, someone with the ability to be a Principal would earn FAR more in Silicon Valley) in order to receive higher employer contributions to their retirement plans. As others have noted, many also "bought" additional years, the equivalent of a private-sector employee choosing to contribute more to their 401(k).

We should all be so lucky to have employers that force retirement contributions in order ensure retirement at a reasonable age and level of salary. To characterize it as a handout is just laughable.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

I never said these people went into $200k jobs. I said they doubled their pay, which is true. I also said this was a few years ago--it would be harder to do right now. But with the current strengthening of the professional job market, along with the renewed attacks on school funding, it is likely we will see teacher attrition and shortages again within the next few years.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

If there is a healthy job market, then there will be a healthy economy, more tax revenue and plenty of money for school funding.

There isn't now so we need to take a break from salary increases for the sake of saving kids programs and saving teacher jobs in the short term.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

b - your arguement that we are at risk of losing many teachers to this mythical professional market out there is completely specious for so many reasons.

Bottom, line this exodus is not happening. Why? Because these jobs require certain education, experience, personal networks, etc. Plus let's remember all the other unemployed more qualified candidates out there.

Your implied threat is hollow.


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Posted by s
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

In case the rest of the group does not know it, the person posting as "b" is a strong union person and was doing all the posting on this forum in support of the city unions and how they are underpaid and do not get enough benefits. You need to put his comments in context. I think a $100K job is not bad. Especially if you have a couple where both work. Remember teachers can also work in our summer school or other jobs to supplement their income. Many choose to have more free time than take on another job when school is out. That is their choice.

To protecting newer teachers, if you look at the scattergram you will see that there are very few new teachers. The seniority system causes all the newer teachers off the payroll first so the step and column raises are actually hurting the newer teachers. You could argue that without step and column the newer teachers will not get as many pay increases but with step and column those teachers are being laid off instead. I imagine most new teachers would rather have a job than being laid off to give raises to those who have more seniority.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:15 am

Threat? I didn't threaten anything. I'm merely providing a history lesson from the not too distant past.

Mythical? I'm the only one here providing real-world examples from actual people I know. The rest of you are portraying hypothetical and improbable Chicken Little scenarios.

Yes, out here in the real world, the economy and professional job market have changed substantially in the past year.

Economic conservatism is a good thing, but falling off a cliff is not the only scenario for which we need to be prepared.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

So ... then why haven't we seen an exodus of teachers?


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

You're not reading carefully.

We DID see a big exodus and shortage a few years ago.

Since the current trajectory is that a) the labor market will continue it's current recovery, and b) the Tea Party/Chicken Little crowd will continue to starve the education system, it is therefore probable that we will soon see another exodus/shortage.

Why aren't we seeing it now? Because the cycle is still playing out. But it is a cycle we've seen before, and history is a great predictor.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

You are making plenty of assumptions with the biggest being that we will have the same go-go economy that we had a few years ago. Things are fundamentally different now.

The prudent thing to do is to adjust compensation if/when we have a turn-over problem. We are far from that today.

I do believe that we need to have a much more differented pay system for teachers so that the up-and-comers and the best can be justly rewarded. And what is standing in the way of this? The union.

"Waiting for Superman" is a must watch.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

"Why aren't we seeing it now? Because the cycle is still playing out. But it is a cycle we've seen before, and history is a great predictor. "

It is also because right now it is tough to get a job. Yes, the tech sector is coming back, but come on, how many teachers would qualify to be a software developer? We don't even have good math/science teachers. Be realistic and admit that the majority of teachers, with bachelor's in "soft" areas would not be able to compete in today's economy, not right now.

I again saw a post complaining about the cost of health benefits for PUSD teachers.

Trevor: you NEED to answer the question. How many PUSD teachers pay for health care and how many get it through a spouse and thus enjoy the boost in pay?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

b - if history is such a great predictor, can we assume that we will have another significant down-turn in the next couple of years therefore we need to start taking action now? ;-)

Again, it is more prudent to deal with issues once they manifest themselves as opposed to fighting ghosts/shadows as you are suggesting.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

"We DID see a big exodus and shortage a few years ago. "

That is because anyone who was breathing and had a pulse could get a job. Even those without college education were hired in the dot com era. That is long gone. It is tough to get a job right now. And yes, many people have multiple job offers to choose from, but they are experienced, tech workers with years of experience.

I'd like to see what a 2nd grade teacher could qualify for with his/her degree in what? Education or liberal arts or history? Not sure teachers can compete in today's economy. A few would, those who chose to go into teaching after working in the private sector, but most would not be able to even get an interview. We still have many unemployed, and some unemployed folks are more qualified for the jobs that are opening than most teachers.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

s, don't make stuff up about people you don't know.

I hate unions. I work in the technology industry. I support our city/school employees because they provide us with great services at reasonable cost, and I gladly pay more than my fair share of taxes in order to support these premium services. It makes Pleasanton a great place to live, and comes back to me in quality of life and premium property values.

I've posted all these points before, and have remained consistent in my message. Feel free to look it up. But don't Continue to make up lies about me.


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Posted by to b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

But b, you haven't done your homework. You posted only 3 hours ago that you think teachers make 35-40k.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

The people I know didn't become software developers in order to double their pay.

We're at the start of a recovery cycle after a painful recession, Chicken Little. Given your scattergram, we need to provide a reason for young people to choose this profession over the next 3-5 years, not more reasons for people to avoid it.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Did you see the oil price today b - it went over $100 briefly? Notice commodity prices going up causing worldwide food shortages due to our government using $500 billion stimulus to prop up the stock market?

I'll believe there is a recovery when we stop using artificial stimulus and dollar devaluation to get us there.


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Posted by Taxed enough
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

b - when you file your taxes, do you pay more than the minimum due?

If not, why don't you first lead by example before you continue to bother others with your inconsistent and convoluted rationale.

Better yet, why don't you and the others on this blog who are more than happy to spend more money on an already inefficient government infrastructure, start up a campaign to collect donations for those poor under appreciated under compensated civil servants.

You won't because talk is cheap for people like you. It is much easier to spend other people's money.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

No, that's not what I posted several hours ago. Go re-read it.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I pay more than my fair share of taxes, I'd bet more than you do. I also donate plent to the schools and other community organizations

I'd be perfectly happy to go back to Clinton-era taxes (and surpluses). I've seen no evidence that those tax rates hurt job creation, or that current rates have helped job creation.

That's what I'm willing to do to help this community and this economy. What are YOU willing to do, other than to sacrifice the salaries and benefits of OTHER people?

This city and these schools run a much tighter ship than any company I've ever worked for, built, consulted for, etc. My kid bought his own crayons and his teacher bought her own books. Not aware of any companies that operate like that.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Please read : "Pressure for school reform is building", Web Link

This is actually happening throughout our country and by both Democrats and Republicans and by "we the people" (remember us!) the taxpayers that foot the bill.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Yeah, old news. The Tea Party already won the election. The vitriol continues to increase The recession will be used as an excuse to squeeze every possible nickel out of public workers. And in a few years, we'll be wondering why our streets are potholed, the fire department takes 20 minutes to show up, our schools are going downhill, and new college grads don't want to work in the public sector.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm

When will Mr. Knaggs write a companion piece titled 'In defense of Tenure'?
Michelle Rhee and studentsfirst.org have launched a campaign called "Save Great Teachers".
Go here Web Link and watch the short video.
Mr. Knaggs and the teachers union have not offered anything new to advance the education system. They have not endorsed merit pay for the best teachers, improved evaluation systems, nor methods to keep the best teachers. They stick to 'pay everyone the same', 'last in first out', and defend the poorly performing teacher.
And he wonders why the teachers union is being challenged here and across the nation?
Now is the time for new ideas, to start anew, start afresh (quoting a local teacher union president's remarks in public).
Time for Pleasanton teachers to vote in a new APT leader.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

"Just like the cashiers at 7-11 or Arco. And you don't see them asking for a parcel tax, do you?"

I see it all the time, its just phrased as "minimum wage" - do you really thing that a 7-11 clerk would be paid what they are now if there were no minimum wage? How about Wal-mart?


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

"They have not endorsed merit pay for the best teachers, improved evaluation systems, nor methods to keep the best teachers."

What proposals were put forward that the union did not endorse? Or did the union make a statement that they would not endorse ANY merit pay, improved evaluation or method to keep the best teachers?


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Posted by Taxed enough
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Interesting that you conjecture that you pay more taxes than me when you don't even know who I am. And then you go on to that same old tired tea party disparaging stuff.

Again, I'll ask the simple question. When you file your taxes, do you pay more than is due? If not, go whine somewhere else. Come back when you are leading by example.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

"The people I know didn't become software developers in order to double their pay. "

So where did they go? Some teachers in PUSD are making 80 or 90K, so double that is close to to 200K. The ones making the entry level salary are the ones getting laid off anyway, so no exodus there but forced termination of employment so their colleagues can get raises.

Tell me how they did it (get a 200K+ income) without going into the tech field, or becoming a corporate attorney or something like that.

Please share, you have my full attention.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

It looks like Florida, too, is about to reform unions but without ending collective bargaining:

"It can't be that if you work in government, you get paid better or you get better fringe benefits than if you work in the private sector,"

"The governor, a former health care executive elected in November, also wants to end a program that encourages older government employees to retire early by allowing them to draw a pension check and return to work for the state."

Web Link

Whether a big or small reform, many states are looking into union reform: Minnesota, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin....


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Trevor:

You started this forum, and you mentioned the cost of health care benefits that PUSD teachers pay.

You SHOULD answer how many PUSD teacher pay for healthcare and how many are simply getting a salary boost by getting health care through their spouse.

PUSD teachers cannot have it both ways: draw bigger salaries with the excuse that they pay for health care, AND at the same time complain about it even though they get health care subsidized by their spouse.

Your silence on this question leads me to believe that the MAJORITY of teachers, including you perhaps, are NOT paying for health care and LIKE the BOOST in salary that the "I pay for health care" excuse gives.


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Posted by Another idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I am voting no on the parcel tax.

But here is what I am willing to do if it does not pass. I will donate double the tax amount to a fund/program that identifies and rewards the best and most effective teachers.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Resident, please re-read my posts. Your response makes no sense in the context of what I actually said.

"Some teachers" is VERY different than "the typical" teacher or "most" teachers. I'm trying to use real-world examples, not Tea Party fantasy statistics.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

"another idea" - very reasonable. But how do you measure "best" or "most effective"? Those are very subjective standards that many before you have tried and failed to quantify. The result always seems to be horrible standardized tests or administratively expensive subjective evaluations. It is easy to talk about, but hard to do.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Good job, Valerie and Jamie, for TRYING to keep reading off the list of cuts. Too bad the other three board members didn't concur. What are they wanting to use the money for instead? I know. They are just trying to make the parents even more concerned so that they will pass the parcel tax. Thanks! Nice ethics.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

A recurring theme on these forums is the people who say "I will not vote for the parcel tax because I want x, y, and z". But then every time I ask what will you do to bring about x, y, or z the answer is not vote for a parcel tax. But that won't cause x, y, or z to happen.

Are any of the no voters actually planning to do something other than vote no?


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Posted by Another idea
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Employee ranking occurs all the time in the private sector. While no system is perfect, the stars to tend to rise to the top in most evaluation systems.

We need to break out of this union mode that everyone gets paid the same according to tenure or education level and start rewarding teachers for actual impact.

As an example on another blog that tried to highlight the positive examples of teaching, Mr. Richey was mentioned several times by both parents and students. Obvious stars like this do get identified. The Mr. Richey's of the world need to be rewarded.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Major reforms are needed in terms of merit pay and better accountability for tax dollars. Local school districts have a "use it or lose it" mentality and take every dollar given by the State and immediately make plans to spend it. Redevelopment agencies are siphoning off what taxpayers pay in taxes and giving it to for-profit mega corporations and developers to redevelop so-called blighted properties (e.g. in Danville and Lafayette, there is a LOT of pretend blight, yes :-)?)

Web Link

Get rid of redevelopment agencies and there will be more than enough money for the State to fund K-12 education. And the local school districts need to cut back on their spending, focus it on children, rather than basically being beholden to the unions. Also local school districts need to stop blaming the nefarious "State" and take some responsibility for their own mismanagement of funds and failure to control their outrageous spending habits.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

"Focus it on children" what on Earth does that mean? Handing out wads of cash to the kids, so they give favorable feedback on their customer service surveys? It seems that the best way to "focus it on children" is to hire the best teachers you can afford. But then again, I'm learning on this forum today that I'm pretty dense, so please do educate me about your plans.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm

"A recurring theme on these forums is the people who say "I will not vote for the parcel tax because I want x, y, and z". But then every time I ask what will you do to bring about x, y, or z the answer is not vote for a parcel tax. But that won't cause x, y, or z to happen."

I don't know for sure how I'm voting but you do raise a good point, which I think "Me Too" also raises. Who is responsible for making / initiating changes to the system?

I guess I hoped that by raising some of these issues early on that the management and union would start talking about it themselves while there was still time to talk about alternatives.

We've got a problem because there are a lot of people who won't vote for the parcel tax because of step and column for various reasons. There are also a lot of people who would contribute a lot more than $98 if they thought it would be spent effectively.

I know you think the parcel tax is better than nothing and you might be right. But it's not going to inspire change and I suspect it is change that will lead about a successful parcel tax, which even if successful, is not going to raise that much money.

I'm concerned that as long as voters let status quo exist than nothing will change for the better. I have no problem with teachers being paid really well - it is a hard job and it is a successful district. However, given this is the case, I don't like that raises come ahead of programs and teacher retention in really tough times

I think it's the management's job to suggest changes, the board to approve them and the management to negotiate effectively with the union.

You're right though, if the management aren't going to do anything about it, who will? I'd happily join a committee to do some research on this.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

b:

You claim the job market is so great that we may see another exodus, teachers leaving the profession in order to double their pay. You claim you know people who have done this.

Like I have said before, the jobs right NOW are mostly in the tech sector.

I ask again, where did these people you know go work? A teacher making the entry level salary would be laid off anyway so no concerns about quitting there. The higher paid teachers would need considerable skills and would compete with many to get to double their salary.

Right NOW the economy is tough, and your claim that unless we bend down and take whatever the union says we will lose teachers, is a fantasy/threat that you refuse to back up with facts. Again, what industries or companies did these people you speak of go work for? And when?

Or did they simply move from public sector job A (teaching) to public sector job B (like working for the city or another state agency)? Because the private sector right NOW is not easy to switch to from a teaching profession, especially those with degrees in the liberal arts or education. The hiring right NOW is mostly in tech, biotech, highly skilled professions.


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

People with $200K jobs most likely have little or no job security. There are not a lot of $200K jobs. I have worked for 30 years and do not make $200K although I work 60-100 hour per week, 12 months a year. Lucky if I get 3-4 weeks of vacation per year.

Then you see:
DELLANINI, SALLY R $111,388.08 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
DELLANINI, STEVEN J $101,083.32 PLEASANTON UNIFIED

Husband and Wife now taking home $212,471 per year in retirement. My 401(k) plus Social Security (including my spouse's) will never be close to this. In fact we have not made this while working. These people received 2 to 3 months vacation per year.

Perhaps if teachers want greater pay we should have full-year schools.

I know there are those who say that the teachers work on school things during their time off but so do I, along with most people (in the high tech industry at least). I am constantly training myself on new technologies to stay current. There is now way you can start in high tech and stay in the industry for any length of time unless you are always learning the latest and greatest. This is something that many of us do in our own time, not company time. You become obsolete if you do not keep educating yourself.

I do appreciate (most) our teachers and think they are well paid. I don't think they are overpaid but I do not think they are underpaid (in Pleasanton at least). I don't think that raises now, step and column specifically, should be done now. We don't have the money.


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Posted by Poller Bear
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

s,

Steve and Sally Dellanini are NOT TEACHERS. You post their retirement on a topic about step and column (teachers), discuss them as if they were teachers, but then you fail to point out that they're not part of APT and that their retirement and salary has NOTHING to do with step and column. Why not also post the retirement number of some wealthy CEOs while you're at it? It's just as relevant to step and column.

The real question, though, is are you're being deliberately deceptive or are you really just that ignorant?


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

The real focus of the "defense of step and column" is the political turf-war waged by an entrenched special interest group- the teachers' unions. While trying to maintain the facade that they are the ones fighting "for" our children, they continue to pursue an agenda that resists any change that may actually prove beneficial for students, e.g., merit pay rather than job for life and automatic raises for seniority.

This step schedule looks like something that you'd see for an assembly line worker with its set pay raises per step, not a professional.

A union is a special interest group. Their mission is to protect the interests of their members. Period. The students and parents are NOT a member of the union-and never will be the primary interest of the union.

Furthermore, schools do not have to have an incentive to hire the best people because things now work as follows: if the schools do a lousy job, they still get kids, and they still get money. They're not competing with anybody. And so if they hire lousy teachers, or their friends, or something like that, then the school still gets money and kids.

As it is now, you can have a Ph.D. in political science or a Ph.D. in physics and be a university professor and not be allowed to teach high school government or physics in K-12 schools.

There are lots of people in Silicon Valley who are maybe retired engineers, or chemists, they can't teach in the public schools either because they haven't gone to an 'education' school, and they aren't 'qualified.' Well, this is ridiculous.


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Posted by Indefensible
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

So, they lost $3 - $4,000. for 'agreeing' to not teach for THREE days... When you lost ALL your pay when your employer said don't come back any more, did your employer ask for your 'aggrement'? No? Mine neither !


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Posted by Poller Bear
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Karen,

You're right, but why stop there? There are clowns, short-order cooks, beekeepers, breakfast cereal taste-testers, and even former Alaskan governors who aren't being hired by school districts right now. Why? Because they aren't "qualified." Ridiculous! We don't expect other knowledge workers, like lawyers or doctors to go to "law" schools or "medical" schools, so why should teachers be any different? What next, art schools? Trade schools?

As to the union, you're right again. Why would a union of educators defend the rights of working educators? Pretty suspicious! Sure, they spend their working time looking after the best interests of our kids, but when it comes to collective bargaining, they still shouldn't focus on themselves at all. That kind of thing is best left to prayer and faith in our infallible conservative values and leaders.




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Posted by Poller Bear
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:10 pm

"So, they lost $3 - $4,000. for 'agreeing' to not teach for THREE days... When you lost ALL your pay when your employer said don't come back any more, did your employer ask for your 'aggrement'? No? Mine neither !"

Why is it the teachers' fault that your boss fired you and told you "don't come back?" I missed that part.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

I found the following oped on the corrosiveness of our entitlement culture interesting.

Web Link

This is playing out on multiple fronts including education. Here we have a union machine that demands increased pay/benefits every year regardless of the economic reality it operates within. To feed this appetite, layoffs must occur, programs must be cut and new sources of revenue must be found. It doesn't matter to the union whether/not the end result is fewer teachers with higher per capita personnel costs. As long as they get what is theirs. They are entitled to it!


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 8:56 am

The teachers I know have had to fight tooth and nail for every little 2% raise they get in good years, and have to fight to save jobs and benefits in the bad years. They will never see a bonus or stock option like so many of us see in the good years in the private sector, nor have the opportunity to earn Silicon Valley-level salaries.

Why is it that you feel "entitled" to lambast people who earn an honest living serving us? Go pick on Wall Street or an oil company.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 9:08 am

b - I thought you said you hated unions. Maybe you could elaborate on why you hate unions?

Also, I thought you said you work in private sector and manage a large team. This is the basis upon which you impart your profound wisdom. You sure spend a lot of time on these boards for someone who works. What gives? You must be doing something as you said you pay more taxes than me.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

"The teachers I know have had to fight tooth and nail for every little 2% raise they get in good years, and have to fight to save jobs and benefits in the bad years. They will never see a bonus or stock option like so many of us see in the good years in the private sector, nor have the opportunity to earn Silicon Valley-level salaries."

b:

You contradict yourself so much. Now you say that teachers will never have the opportunity to see a salary like those in the private sector, yet before you spoke of the exodus of teachers leaving the profession to double their salary!

Which is it? I am confused now. At first I thought you had some major wisdom to share (something the rest of the world did not know about) since you claimed to know teachers who left teaching and did so well salary wise, how they found jobs right away and doubled their salary. You spoke of a massive exodus of teachers if we did agree to the unions' demands. I said that I doubted that since the major salaries are in highly specialized professions, and that I did not think a 2nd grade teacher with a degree in education could compete for a good paying job in today's economy.

It looks like you can't keep track of your own little stories, which seem to be a product of your imagination.

Which is it? Do you really know teachers who have doubled their salary upon leaving the teaching profession? If so, I ask once again something you refuse to answer - where did these people find the awesome jobs that doubled their salary? What industries are they in? and when did they make this move? And two more questions - where in the salary level were they when they were teachers (entry level or highly paid?) and what kind of degree and experience do they have? Because right NOW the only hiring with good pay going on is in the tech, biotech, highly specialized professions.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

"You spoke of a massive exodus of teachers if we did agree to the unions' demands. "

I meant to say "if we did NOT agree to the unions' demands"


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

"The teachers I know have had to fight tooth and nail for every little 2% raise they get in good years, and have to fight to save jobs and benefits in the bad years. They will never see a bonus or stock option like so many of us see in the good years in the private sector, nor have the opportunity to earn Silicon Valley-level salaries."

b:

You contradict yourself so much. Now you say that teachers will never have the opportunity to see a salary like those in the private sector, yet before you spoke of the exodus of teachers leaving the profession to double their salary!

Which is it? I am confused now. At first I thought you had some major wisdom to share (something the rest of the world did not know about) since you claimed to know teachers who left teaching and did so well salary wise, how they found jobs right away and doubled their salary. You spoke of a massive exodus of teachers if we did NOT agree to the unions' demands. I said that I doubted that since the major salaries are in highly specialized professions, and that I did not think a 2nd grade teacher with a degree in education could compete for a good paying job in today's economy.

It looks like you can't keep track of your own little stories, which seem to be a product of your imagination.

Which is it? Do you really know teachers who have doubled their salary upon leaving the teaching profession? If so, I ask once again something you refuse to answer - where did these people find the awesome jobs that doubled their salary? What industries are they in? and when did they make this move? And two more questions - where in the salary level were they when they were teachers (entry level or highly paid?) and what kind of degree and experience do they have? Because right NOW the only hiring with good pay going on is in the tech, biotech, highly specialized professions.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

It looks like union reform is going to happen, even in California:

"(CNN) -- The fight over public union benefits and collective bargaining is spreading across the United States. Here is a state-by-state breakdown:"

"California

Lawmakers introduced a bill that would do away with collective bargaining of pension benefits for the state's public employees. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown had imposed a statewide hiring freeze across all government agencies."

For the entire article, go to:

Web Link


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Posted by the raises
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

If you go to the website ed-data.k12.ca.us you can pull up teachers salaries history
In 2007 they received a 3% raise
In 2006 they received a 6% raise.
In 2005 they received a 5% raise
In 2001 they received a 4% raise
In 2000 they received a 14% raise

Calculating this, the last 10 years from the ed-data data the teachers have received a 44% raise.

'b' is just making up information, like he was doing on the city pension issue.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Resident, do you really have no better argument than to pick apart my sentences?

Let me lay it out more clearly for you: They will never see a bonus or stock option like so many of us see in the good years in the private sector, nor have the opportunity to earn Silicon Valley-level salaries >>> IF THEY STAY IN THE TEACHING PROFESSION. <<<

Was that really not obvious?


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Posted by s
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm

b, saying the same rhetoric you have been doing for some time. Good ol union man.

I will gladly exchange my worthless stock options for a guaranteed pension and tenure. And getting 4 months off per year.

B, at least you are consistent. You believe city employees who can retire at age 55 with 80+% of their salary in pensions is fair, when they don't pay a cent into their pension plan (the taxpayer pay all of it). You also feel that the average salary for a misc employee at the city (i.e., non-management, non-police, non-file) at $85K is underpaid


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Posted by Agree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:47 am

Public employees are having a very, very difficult time lowering their expectations to the level that the rest of us are used to.

The money just isn't there for pensions anymore...not even current pensions.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 12:51 am

OK, how many people would be OK with going to a board meeting and saying we'd like step and column to be frozen for the duration of a parcel tax. Would teachers join us to save jobs? I will go for it if we get a group together.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2011 at 1:46 am

The school board needs to face reality that employee pensions and automatic salary raises are unsustainable and bringing California to bankruptcy.

Web Link

'Public employee pensions have been transformed from a mechanism for providng retirement security into a vehicle for accumulating wealth.'

Public employees/teachers/administrators earn far more in lifelong retirement than while they were actually on the job.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm

What are the teachers willing to give up. I heard they are not willing to give up furlough days this coming year. When over a 100 teachers call in on a holiday weekend or just on any Friday and there are not enough subs to cover the classrooms, tell me how they are thinking of our children. I think it's time to tell these teachers enough if enough. It's time to realize that you are costing the district money. If you read there contract which you can find on the district web site, you will see that teachers are allowed to use all of there sick days and still not lose a full days pay. If there are really that many teachers calling in and getting paid plus the subs have to be paid. $$$$$$ Just ask your children when they come home how many subs they had that day or call the school office and ask how many called in. How can you have consistency in the classroom if you bring in subs to babysit and not really teach our kids. If this is really happening I think we can call the District Office and ask, then what makes them think we will pass a tax to help with step and column.
If the teacher ever agree to a wage freeze they are just going to want retroactive pay when the economy gets better, and put on the step and column that they would have been on before a freeze.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm

"How can you have consistency in the classroom if you bring in subs to babysit and not really teach our kids. "

I have asked my kids and they haven't seen any kind of excessive use of substitutes. Where does this come from?

I think the teachers have given up enough. I've made up my mind that I will vote for Measure E.


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