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Know the facts, no matter how you vote on Measure E

Original post made by Steven, Pleasanton Meadows, on Apr 6, 2011

People think that by putting more money into schools/education, we will get better students, better results.

Please spend the time to view this investigative report by 20/20, and decide for yourself before you vote on Measure E.

It is well worth the time, and it is NOT political. Please click on the link to view.

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="Web Link" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Comments (84)

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I'll save everyone the trouble of looking at Steven's video. It's an investigative piece into the state of US public schools by John Stossel, the well-known libertarian investigative journalist and columnist. Yes, there are a lot of dysfunctional public school systems in many inner cities and other places!

So what does this have to do with Pleasanton, Steve? Are you saying that our public schools are dysfunctional? No, it couldn't be that because our schools are top-ranked. Are you saying that Pleasanton school teachers are horrible? No? Then what? What is it that you want to say? Please just spell it out for us.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

To Sam:

S c h o o l s d o n' t n e e d m o r e m o n e y.

I just spelled it for you.

Please look at the facts, and make up your own opinion.


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Steve,

Pleasanton has an excellent school system, with excellent test scores and high college placement numbers. Pleasanton schools have very little in common with broken, low performing schools. PUSD needs the money from Measure E because funding from state has been affected by the economic downturn. Money from Measure stays in the Pleasanton schools. It does not go to the state.

I'm voting yes on Measure E.


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Posted by Repleasnacrat
a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Settle down there Sam. Don't pop a vessel! I don't think anyone has every said that our teachers are bad, horrible or anything like that. Our schools are top notch. But it is not solely because of the teachers or administration. It has more to do with the education level participation of the parents of MOST students. The PUSD school board is a dysfunctional as any level of government. Mistakes are made on every level. Money is and has been squandered for the 12 years my children have been involved with PUSD. If you truly analyze the amount of time most teachers spend with students, it aint all that encompassing nor difficult. Its a great job for most people. When you factor in science labs, speech specialist, PE yada, yada, ya. It was never designed to be full time career that afforded you the income to live in an upscale community such as Pleasanton. Map out where the retired administrators live and that will give you an idea how whacked the system is. Our teachers are great! As a mater of fact, I cant recall any of my children's teachers that I didnt think did a great job. But the bottom line is it only requires 180 days a year. Everyone else works about 230 to 250. Now I will let you do the math from here as to what a teacher SHOULD be getting paid. And help me with this one...why does someone that teaches kindergarten make as much as someone that teaches 6th grade or high school calculus? That would be a good question for your union!


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm

PUSD is not going to be operating on more money. The state is cutting back on how much money it will send PUSD -- and now that talks have broken down in Sacramento, those cuts will be significant.

Measure E will help to prevent some of those cuts.

I have yet to see anyone make a cogent argument that less funding for schools will improve students' education.


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Sandy - it is not certain that 'those cuts will be significant'. In fact, Gov Brown has not said what his 'all cuts' budget plan is. He and his administration have said that weeks could be cut from the school year, and more. But the most cogent plan has come from the LAO who recommends that busing and K-3 CSR be eliminated. That will be the majority of the $5 Billion that might be eliminated from education. Since PUSD has already eliminated CSR and has no busing, then the impact will be quite small. Don't panic.
Let's see what Gov Brown's budget plan is, and let's see what PUSD and the unions have negotiated.


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm

"Since PUSD has already eliminated CSR "

PUSD has not eliminated CSR. Class sizes in K-3 and 9 went from 20 to 25. They are in danger of going to 30.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

That's not what EdSource or California School Services are projecting:

Web Link

"Dramatic cuts to K–12 public schools and community colleges increasingly seem inevitable. Those cuts would total at least $2.1 billion or about 5% of Proposition 98 funding, but many experts—including the legislative analyst and the governor—have mentioned cuts of $4 billion to $5 billion as more realistic. School Services of California projects that even the 5% cut could push hundreds of school districts into financial trouble and make dozens of districts candidates for emergency loans from the state due to insolvency.

A cut of $5 billion represents about $800 per California K–12 student. In a school of 1,000 students that totals $800,000 or the approximate cost of 10 teachers."

PUSD enrolls over 14,000 students. The low end estimate of state cuts of $2.1 billion is equivalent to $320 per student, or $4.48 million for Pleasanton. The high end estimate of $5 billion is equivalent to $11.2 million.

Class size reduction at its current level costs the district $1.7 million per year, so these cuts will have additional negative effects on students. The list of budget reductions that the board of trustees approved on February 22 is available at this link:

Web Link


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Repleasanacrat:"If you truly analyze the amount of time most teachers spend with students, it aint all that encompassing nor difficult. Its a great job for most people.... It was never designed to be full time career that afforded you the income to live in an upscale community such as Pleasanton."

Repleasnacrat, you know I really don't think that I have to work very hard to counter your post because you are so good at torpedoing yourself. You do a wonderful job of undermining your own position with your not-so-veiled lack of respect for the teaching profession. To be sure, you're not alone in this on these forums but at least most of your comrades are bright enough to do a better job of disguising their lack of respect.


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Posted by former educator
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm

repleasnacrat from mission park states,

"And help me with this one...why does someone that teaches kindergarten make as much as someone that teaches 6th grade or high school calculus? That would be a good question for your union!"

So, repleasnacrat claims to have children in PUSD for 12 years and he's raising THAT question? It strikes me that repleasnacrat doesn't know very much about the education of our young people, perhaps including his own. I hope his children learned more than apparently he has.

I think the answer to repleasnacrat's question is pretty obvious to any caring parent who has had kids: the formative years, including kindergarten, are among the most important. It is in kindergarten that a child is inculcated with what it means to be a good learner in the classroom. A bad kindergarten experience could be a near disaster for the child's subsequent learning abilities and attitudes. Because my wife and I were conscientious about ensuring our child received a good education, we interviewed no less than 6 of his potential kindergarten teachers at private and public schools.
(We were most impressed with the public school teacher.)

When repleasnacrat states that he is unable to grasp the value of a kindergarten teacher, my heart goes out to repleasnacrat's children. Reading repleasnacrat's words, for me, is akin to observing a parent slap his child in the grocery store. The level of ignorance behind his words is, to say the least, utterly astonishing. And that he would pretend to know something about education, and convey it with words on these posts, leaves me shaking my head in sadness.

Repleasnacrat's post speaks to the enormous challenges faced by teachers at every level. With the level of ignorance reigning in repleasnacrat's household, it brings to light what a monumental task our teachers are faced with, day in and day out.


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Posted by Also Saddened
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Apr 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I agree with Former Educator! I read repleasnatic and want to reach out to help his kids! What an absolute shame!


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Posted by Kelley
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Apr 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Steve, can you please re post the link since it did not come through? Thank you.


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Posted by James
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm

The thing that really made me reconsider was the Michelle Rhee fraud scandal.

Web Link

Web Link

It turned out that all this evidence of improved performance due to "school reform" was actually due to fraud. Michelle Rhee, who was admired by John Stossel and interviewed on his show, appears to have been more interested in putting money in her own pocket than she was in helping children.

Pleasanton has fantastic schools and excellent teachers.

Three Yes on Measure E votes in this household. It is very encouraging to see that my neighbors are supporting it too.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:28 am

To Kelley:

Sure, here is the link again

Web Link


If you have not seen the video, please do. It is lengthy, but eye opening!! Even if you have already made up your mind, do see it.

Not bashing Pleasanton teachers, or Pleasanton schools.

As the report says, let schools compete for students, and let's reward teachers on results. Schools CANNOT be a monopoly. Let competition thrive!

Many foreign countries out-test our children. It is not even a close race, and they spend far, far less than we do in this country!

See the video!!! Then comment.



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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 7, 2011 at 7:25 am

@Steven:"As the report says, let schools compete for students, and let's reward teachers on results. Schools CANNOT be a monopoly. Let competition thrive! Many foreign countries out-test our children. It is not even a close race, and they spend far, far less than we do in this country! "

Steven, as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." What relevance does any of this have to our top-ranked Pleasanton school system? You want to tinker and experiment with some completely different system? Fine, then take your ideas to some sections of Oakland where the schools are really broken and show us what you and your comrades can do. But you want to try tinkering with the already excellent Pleasanton school system? No thanks.

Yes on Measure E.


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 8:06 am

Sam,

I agree with you. I can't see any relevance to Pleasanton in that video. People move here for the schools. These are the schools that parents want their children to attend by choice. People leave private schools to go to the excellent public schools in Pleasanton.

Everyone in my household will be voting yes on Measure E.


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Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

To follow-up on "former educator", all teachers receive the same pay, depending on the number of years they have been teaching. Does not matter the grade or the subject. So a PE teacher is paid the same as a teacher of AP English. Although I am sure the AP English teacher spends much more time with lesson plans and grading (and reading essays) than a PE Teacher. Does not matter the grade level or the subject matter.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

Sandy - here's the LAO's analysis. Web Link See page 5 for the details. Over half of the $4 billion will not affect PUSD (K-3 CSR, busing, basic aid district funding, and more).
So, you can use budget gross numbers, or you can use the LAO's recommendations and stop panicking.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

Arthur - Sandy's link to PUSD's budget cuts shows line item 10 which eliminated K-3 Class Size Reduction. These reductions were approved by the school board. This is PUSD's current plan for the next school year. Teachers affected have received their layoff notices.


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

PUSD's link here Web Link


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Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

Yes, Let's know the facts about our successful district before you vote:
Seven Pleasanton Schools Honored
California business group names schools that have excelled in academic achievementWeb Link


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

Looking at the list of cuts posted by StartAfresh, I agree with some of the cuts, like the health liason position - nice to have but definitely not needed and the other health staff can take over the duties.

I also did not realize that reading specialists were paid so much - doing the math for the amt to be cut and the number of specialists. For what they do and the number of students they serve, they get paid a bit much. Barton is mostly run by volunteers (the ones who do the actual tutoring), so I am not sure why we need two paid positions for that program, one would be enough.

I do not agree with elimination of CSR in k-3 although I think we will be fine if we eliminate CSR in 9th grade (given that our students have been without CSR in 4th - 8th grades)

Now a question:

which cuts will not be made if measure E passes?

I am a bit confused about how to vote now. At first I was against E, then I figured I would vote for E since the root problems must be addressed at the state level and we should not punish our kids. I have not received the ballot yet but would like to make up my mind already.

Which of the potential cuts listed would be saved by measure E? And what about 7 period in HS? I hear they are re-instating it - would that money come from measure E or what would be cut in order to bring back the 7 period? Anyone knows?


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Posted by Start Afresh
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

Resident - don't hold your breath about HS 7th period. It is likely not coming back. Sure, PUSD can stagger the schedule to get 7 periods at Foothill, like they do today at Amador, but PUSD will likely NOT spend any money to bring back sections at the high schools.


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Posted by arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

Start Afresh,

Where does it say "This is PUSD's current plan for the next school year"? What it says is "List of Possible Budget Solutions for 2011]2012". Measure E would help prevent some of those things from happening. That is one reason why my family and my neighbors will be voting yes on Measure E.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

"Adult Education ‐ Reduce program offerings to contribute an additional $100K of
prior year carryover and current year funding to the General Fund for a total
contribution of $579K."

I also agree with cutting this. Why do we need adult education? If any of us needs an enrichment class or something, we can go to the rec center or one of the many community colleges. Last time, I saw adult ed classes offering things like chinese and stuff, very nice but again, we can take those at the community college if we really are interested in them.

Overall, I am OK with the cuts proposed, except for CSR in k-3.

What is the plan for measure E funds? What are they planning to cut to fund step and column and will then re-instate with measure E? What about the 7 period and the plans to bring it back? (the no cost option does not quite work because it does not accomodate all students who want to participate, so the question is how the selection of students will be, or how are they planning to fund it so that all who want can participate)


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

"Measure E would help prevent some of those things from happening. "

What things? Can you be more specific? If I vote yes on E and it passes, what will be funded with it? What is the plan for the 7 period in HS? (re-instate as they say and if so where is the money coming from). It would be nice to get a list of the items the district plans to fund with measure E before having to vote, and the ballots i am told, will be here anytime this week.

The sample ballot has a very vague statement of what they plan to do. For example, retaining teachers could mean saving CSR or reinstating the 7 period, or keeping PE specialists in elementary, etc. Anyone knows anything specific?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 11:51 am

"Resident - don't hold your breath about HS 7th period. It is likely not coming back. Sure, PUSD can stagger the schedule to get 7 periods at Foothill, like they do today at Amador, but PUSD will likely NOT spend any money to bring back sections at the high schools. "

But students have signed up for 7 periods, what's the deal? And if they do bring it back, is that what E is for? Or what would they cut?


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Posted by Rodant Kapoor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Resident,

If you haven't worked it out by now, Start Afresh is trying to confuse people. Or, at the very least, is dangerously under-informed.

The current agreement brings back 7th period in the fall, unless a new memorandum of understanding is negotiated. The 7th period/collaboration schedule is part of the 3-year contract, but suspended up to the end of this school year by mutual (and temporary) agreement.

So when s/he says "it's unlikely 7th period will be returning," Start Afresh probably means, "I want you to think this is so because I need to manipulate you into voting against Measure E." Either that, or "I imagine it is so, so it must be true!"

Keep reading and you'll see the pattern this poster, like Nomad and others, is engaged in.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

"Resident", what do you expect us to all do here? Debate the merits of reinstating the 7th period versus keeping PE specialists versus saving CSR? Perhaps you would rank the importance of these three specific issues in one order, "Arthur" would rank them in another order, and I would rank them in yet another order. So where do we end up then? Are we any closer to coming to a consensus?

The way I look at it is either (A) you trust the Pleasanton school system to make the proper decisions or (B) you don't trust the Pleasanton school system to make the proper decisions. If you do trust them to make the proper decisions, then a "yes" vote on E is easy. If you don't trust them, then no amount of specificity in spending plans will ever satisfy you.


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Posted by Residents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

""Resident", what do you expect us to all do here? Debate the merits of reinstating the 7th period versus keeping PE specialists versus saving CSR? Perhaps you would rank the importance of these three specific issues in one order, "Arthur" would rank them in another order, and I would rank them in yet another order. So where do we end up then? Are we any closer to coming to a consensus?"

All I want is to know how measure E funds will be spent because that would influence my vote.

Too many programs are on the chopping block and some have already been cut and they are talking about re-instating them.

All I want to know is how exactly will PUSD use measure E funds. I have not gotten my ballot yet and will be contacting the registrar of voters, but hopefully I can get some answers before I vote.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

"The current agreement brings back 7th period in the fall, unless a new memorandum of understanding is negotiated. The 7th period/collaboration schedule is part of the 3-year contract, but suspended up to the end of this school year by mutual (and temporary) agreement."

Thanks Rodant. But where will the 440K needed come from? Will PUSD use measure E funds or cut existing programs?

I would love to see period 7 re-instated but not at the expense of programs currently being funded. I would certainly prefer to keep k-3 CSR than take money from any elementary program to bring 7 period back (and I have HS kids)

If indeed 7 period is coming back, what is the plan? What is PUSD planning to cut in order to fund it? The sample ballot is vague but there is no room for funding the 7 period, or is there?


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Posted by Rodant Kapoor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I'm sure there will be plenty of people coming along to tell your their own opinion dressed up as fact, but the truth is that a clear plan is not yet in place because it is still early in the budgeting scenario and there are many variables that have yet to work themselves out. First is ongoing negotiations with the teachers' union, and at this stage there's no public information to be had about how that is going or what is being discussed (as with any negotiation in progress). Second, it almost certainly looks like we will face further cuts from the state now that there will be no special election to extend CA's tax increases. Finally, of course, is Measure E, which won't be decided until May. In my opinion, the likely cuts from the state are going to place us in a worst-case situation this year. Who knows if Measure E will pass, either.


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Posted by Jones
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

My wife and I are going to vote Yes on Measure E. Let's hope one bad scenario is followed by another!


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Posted by Jones - corrected
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Sorry Folks I don't do this often :)

Let's hope one bad scenario is not followed by another.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Less is more. The less the community spends on education, the better the education is for our children, or so the argument goes above.

Nonsense.


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Posted by New Mom
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 8, 2011 at 8:12 am

VOTE YES! The state is cutting and cutting. The money has to come from somewhere. We just moved here and I was shocked at the state of the schools. My freshman daughter had to take one less academic class here then she did in our previous district because of there is one less perdiod due to budgets. Furlough days? Is that a joke???? I hate to tell you....PUSD is a 'great district', but not any better than 'great districts' across the country. I've lived in two other such districts. But if the schools aren't funded, we won't be at the top.


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Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

New Mom, the problem in our district is it is business as usual. Tax revenue is down (because people's income is down) but the district keeps giving out automatic raises. You cannot have the state cutting and cutting and still keep giving out raises. Simple economics. The parcel tax will not even cover the cost of the raises over four years.

Time for the district to make some fiscal changes, stop automatic raises and eliminate the outrageous pensions. We are not flush in money anymore. Can you believe we have 15 retired administrators making over $100,000 per year in their retirement pay, going up to $176,000 per year? We also give out free medical insurance to retirees, paid for by the taxpayers, not a penny is paid for by the retiree while working or while retired. This has to stop.

I am voting No on Measure E. After fiscal reforms are made I will probably be a supporter of more money but until the district gets a handle on things I do not want to give them more money. It is like giving money to an alcoholic that promises after you give them the money they will go to AA. Got to be the other way around.


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Posted by pRes
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Apr 8, 2011 at 9:24 am


Jill,

Where do you get this information? Is it public?

"15 retired administrators making over $100,000 per year in their retirement pay, going up to $176,000 per year?"

I would like to see the salary of each PUSD employees like this one:

Web Link

I am not sure if $2M (20k x 100) more would help anyway to PSUD.


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Posted by arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

Jill,

Comparing PUSD to an alcoholic just doesn't compute for me. Pleasanton has one of the best school districts in the state, and my family moved here for the schools. I did some research on these "automatic raises", and they are what is known as step and column increases. Only step raises are automatic, and many teachers are not even eligible for these. Column increases only come from the teacher achieving a higher level of training. This is the same method that all the other top performing districts use in the Bay Area. I'm completely in favor of this, because it allows our district to hire the best new teachers and retain them. If I were a teacher and had offers at Palo Alto and Pleasanton, and Pleasanton had frozen step and column salary increases, that would be a major factor in my decision of which offer to take. My message to PUSD is don't freeze step and column. Measure E won't solve all our problems, but it will help. PUSD didn't cause the recession. Measure E will help us maintain the high quality of education we have here in Pleasanton.

Yes on Measure E.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

I am planning to vote YES. $98/year is a small price to pay to maintain our good schools, keep our quality teachers, and keep our community a nice place to live.

All of the Tri-Valley cities have parcel taxes (except for ours) and by cutting off local funding for our schools, we are exposing our district to the state's budget ax.

By at least guaranteeing a source of funds through Measure E, we can protect our schools somewhat from periods of lower-than-expected funding.

Jill, comparing PUSD to an alcoholic is harsh. Good schools do nothing but HELP a community and society in general. Your posts are nothing but typical tea party rhetoric.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

Good post, Arthur. In their efforts to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, Jill and some others don't seem to realize that our city and community are in constant competition with other cities and communities. As you pointed out, we have to compete with other communities to get the best teachers. We also 'compete' for for new homebuyers who 'vote' with their dollars for various cities, pushing property prices up or down in those cities as a result. If we fail to effectively compete with our neighboring cities, then we will end up with the worst teachers and the lowest property values in the area. If we fail to support our schools, both teachers and prospective homebuyers will walk away from Pleasanton and look elsewhere for better, more supportive communities.


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Posted by RobinM
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

To Former Educator.

Thank you for your words. My sister is a kindergarden teacher and works just as hard (if not harder) as my sister-in-law who teaches high school math.

And to repleasnacrat; I'm concerned about your children who only completed 12 years of schooling, K-12 is 13 years of schooling.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:12 am

The reason the schools are top ranked is the students not the teachers. The parents who live in Pleasanton are generally very educated and start teaching their children before they ever get to the PUSD.
Cal Grad


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

"Cal Grad", yes demographics are one important reason that our schools are top ranked. But all the factors are linked together. If the quality of our teachers goes down and we make more cuts to student programs and our student-to-teacher ratio becomes worse, then what effect do you think that will have on the decision-making process of well-educated prospective homebuyers? Do you think that Pleasanton becomes more or less attractive to them? If there is even the perception that our schools are not on par with those of our surrounding cities, all those well-educated professional homebuyers will decide to buy elsewhere in other cities with top-ranked schools (e.g., Danville, San Ramon) and avoid Pleasanton. Say "goodbye" to Pleasanton's demographic advantage.


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Posted by question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

"If the quality of our teachers goes down and we make more cuts to student programs and our student-to-teacher ratio becomes worse, then what effect do you think that will have on the decision-making process of well-educated prospective homebuyers?"

So why isn't keeping our student-to-teacher ratio something we are focusing on? This is the key to property values. Why isn't this guaranteed for four years as part of the parcel tax? Why are we guaranteeing raises, but not class sizes? I think the priorities are confused or deliberately not being made clear, which is why people are struggling with this vote. I'm voting yes, but can see the no side too.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

"So why isn't keeping our student-to-teacher ratio something we are focusing on? This is the key to property values. Why isn't this guaranteed for four years as part of the parcel tax? Why are we guaranteeing raises, but not class sizes?"

Well, I don't think that there is a single "key" or factor. Student-to-teacher ratio is important, but so is attracting and retaining good teachers. Note that we don't give raises to teachers simply out of the goodness of our hearts. Giving raises is not a form of charity. We give raises to teachers for the same reason that companies give raises to their employees: To recruit and retain good talent.

Speaking as a recent Pleasanton homebuyer (moved into the Oak Hill area just last July) I can't overemphasize how important schools are to the buying decisions of homebuyers. Homebuyers talk about school quality all the time. If you go to Redfin, for example, you'll see the forums filled with posts from house hunters asking each other about the best schools in various areas. School quality has an overwhelming effect on your property value.


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Posted by arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:15 am

question,

Just a clarification. You said "Why are we guaranteeing raises, but not class sizes". I don't see anywhere that we are "guaranteeing raises". There is no language in the parcel tax that guarantees that step and column will be cut, and the same is true about class sizes.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

@Sam: as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

If that is the philosophy, then we would still be driving Model T's or perhaps the horse and buggy.

Competition brings improvements, otherwise we would still listen to music on a gramophone, instead of a multichannel stereo system.

We need to be flexible and realize that the answer is not spending more money. Where is it going to stop?

The school system the way it is now needs fixing. They waste too much money. I hear commercials on the radio from the Teacher's Union!!! Commercials!!!! Really? Really? They could spend that money to reduce class sizes, or preserve programs from being cut. And don't get me started with how much money they spend on electing politicians. Really???

But no, they want more money!! I do not hear commercials on the radio for the electrician or retail worker, or even the software engineer that lost their jobs, or want to preserve their job. What about those people?

But no, the teachers want their raises, or perhaps their union want their raises so that they can have money to spend on more commercials and their nice salaries and pensions! Talk about a systen that really needs fixing.

As Rick said, "The reason the schools are top ranked is the students not the teachers. The parents who live in Pleasanton are generally very educated and start teaching their children before they ever get to the PUSD"

It is no wonder that the union resists competition, they are scared to lose their money.

No more money. PUSD needs to learn to live within its means.

NO on E





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Posted by question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

"Just a clarification. You said "Why are we guaranteeing raises, but not class sizes". I don't see anywhere that we are "guaranteeing raises". There is no language in the parcel tax that guarantees that step and column will be cut, and the same is true about class sizes."

No, it's different. Teachers have a contractual right to step and column raises, so they are guaranteed.

Class sizes are on the cut list with many other things and no one is saying what the parcel tax would fund. They could easily move class sizes to 30-1 and use the parcel tax money for other things on the list.

I for one would like class sizes to have similar contractual rights as the S&C raises (via the parcel tax ringfence and the committee looking after it) if the parcel tax passes. Class sizes are essential to property values, teacher retention and student development. I think this is more important for all the stakeholders - community, teachers and children - than raises to be perfectly honest.


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Posted by question
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

"Student-to-teacher ratio is important, but so is attracting and retaining good teachers"

By the way, retaining teachers mostly about class sizes. The reason we have sent pink slips to so many teachers is all about increasing class sizes. Not a great attraction and retention technique to put people's jobs on the line year after year after spending whatever it takes to "attract" them.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

Steve, I'll tell you exactly what I've told others here before: If you want to try tinkering with some "innovative" new ideas for public education, then take your ideas over to some of the truly broken and dysfunctional schools in Oakland and show all of us what you can do. Try out your ideas on some school which ranks as a low "1" or "2" on GreatSchools 1-to-10 scale and show us how you can turn it into a school which ranks "9" or "10".

But you want to take your scalpel an operate on Pleasanton schools already operating in the loft "10" range? Thanks but no thanks. Go find another patient to operate on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

" software engineer that lost their jobs"

Put our your resume. It hasn't been this good since the dotcom days.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Before I vote on this can someone answer my question what about the kids that come from other cities and attend PUSD? There parents are not paying this extra amount but they are getting the benefit of our schools. How do you make this equitable?


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Anne, I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to. When preregistering my daughter for kindergarten a month ago, I had to show two proofs of residency (e.g., utility bills, close-of-escrow documents, etc.). If you know of any particular cases, report them to the PUSD.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Sam: No tinkering needed. Plain and simple, competition brings results. This country was built on competition, free markets.

Schools should not be a monopoly.

NO on E


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Anne,

I don't see how your question is relevant. If they come from any of the cities neighboring Pleasanton, they are paying parcel taxes in those school districts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

"If they come from any of the cities neighboring Pleasanton, they are paying parcel taxes in those school districts."

?? That may be true, but those parcel taxes are going to those other school districts, not PUSD.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rodant Kapoor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Steve has a point, Sam. We should have something where if a parent wanted to, they could send their student to a "private school" of some sort. This competition would end the monopoly currently in place.

It's like Steve said, our current strong economy was built on free markets. Look at how well corporations are serving Americans in areas such as banking, real estate, energy, automobiles, health insurance, air travel, and communications--wouldn't it be wonderful if we could fix our broken Pleasanton schools by bringing this successful model to the classroom?


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Steve,

There is nothing "plain" or "simple" about it. To institute some kind of "competition" at PUSD would require setting up an entirely new system for evaluating teacher performance (I assume you are talking about competition between teachers). It is easy to get such a system wrong and make matters worse. We've all seen the results of what happened in the Michelle Rhee case, which has been held up as an example of a successful application of merit pay. It was not successful, far from it.

Web Link

We already have a top performing school district. Parents move here for the excellent schools.

Yes on Measure E.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Sam, If you work in Pleasanton you can send your child to a PUSD school. I know of this with many kids, kids who use grandparents address to go to our schools, it goes on all the time.

Arthur, Are you sure that every city has a parcel tax?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rodant Kapoor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Anne,

So what? Go turn them in, then. Unless...YOU'RE ONE OF THEM!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Rodant, I disagree with your characterization of Pleasanton schools as "broken". You want to see "broken", go look at some schools in parts of Oakland or Hayward. Do you think that a community with "broken" schools could make this list?: Web Link

I'm not necessarily opposed to experimenting with new ideas. But if, for example, you're going to let your teenage son tinker with some radical new fuel-injection idea that he claims will boost engine performance 200%, are you going to let him do his tinkering with the broken down Datsun in the back, or with your brand-new Lexus?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Rodant, The schools know they are from another city, if you work in P-town you can attend a P-town school. As for my children they are grown, so I am not one of them. I just want to know if there is any way to get the funds transferred from another district for these children. It would sure help the budget situation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Anne. "Rodant" and I are in agreement on this one - and I don't think that happens often. Stop complaining to us and report the cases to the PUSD. Unless the grandparents are legal custodians of the kids, I don't believe that the kids are allowed to go to PUSD schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@Anne: "I just want to know if there is any way to get the funds transferred from another district for these children. It would sure help the budget situation."

Probably not, but it's not your problem. Just report the cases to the PUSD and let them handle it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rodant Kapoor
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Sam,

I suggest you set your sarcasm sense on "tingling" and re-read my earlier post.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

:-)

Sorry, my sarcasm sensor works just fine in verbal conversations, but for some reason I often have difficulty picking it up in posts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

pRes, You can get a list of the Pleasanton Unified School District Retirees that are collecting over $100,000 at: Web Link

As for salaries of the employees, The Bay Area News Group did a public records request to the District in February to get that info. I heard that the New Group finally received the information and is working on posting to their database. Their database is at: Web Link . They have the Pleasanton City Employees listed but not the school district yet (different agency). You should look at some of the salaries for the City and especially look at how much they receive in "other" income, typically used to spike pensions. For The City, you can see a bunch of people who retired the year of the salary survey (two stars by their name). Some of their "other" income was way above their annual salary.

As I have heard from somebody (or maybe read), Public Employees seem to think the pension system is to build wealth, although it was intended to give a reasonable retirement income. Many of the retirees come back and "consult" for even more money while they are collecting the pensions.

The CalSTRS pension system is different than CalPERS. STRS is for teachers and the contribution rates are set by legislation and not by actuarial computed numbers. Here is an article: Web Link that shows that if CalSTRS does not raise their rates, they will run out of money by 2040. They have an underfunded pensions plan. In the private sector, the feds would be all over them. Since this is paid for by tax money, those in the pension plan are not worrying as they know the taxpayer is on the hook to pay their pensions should the system run out of money. When are we going to do something about these outrageous pensions in a system that is underfunded?

I am voting No on Measure E until I see some reforms in our District. I have little influence over the State problems but as a community we have more control over our District and we need to tell them they need to run this fiscally better. We have been doing well because we received lots of money from the state previously plus we have been borrowing against our capital funds to pay for operations, like pensions. The gravy train days are over and the district needs to show some responsibility.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Jill,

The state pension problems need to be solved at the state level. Our school district is one of the best in California. It isn't some kind of "gravy train". It is producing excellent results. The great recession is what caused the shortfall in revenue from state. Voting no on Measure E will not affect that in any way. PUSD did not cause the recession. We need Measure to help mitigate the effects of the recession.

Yes on Measure E.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wow
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Sam- it is becoming very clear why you want to keep the status quo. Your teacher wife can make a lot of money in Pleasanton while you sit on the p-town weekly boards all day. Everything you've said in your posts (at least the ones I have seen) is just reiteration of union talking points.

And speaking to your "Datsun and Lexus," argument, that actually reminds me of how many luxury cars are parked in the faculty parking lot at our school. Guess the Pleasanton teachers aren't doing so bad after all. It looks like we are doing a good job, "attracting and retaining talent."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by arthur
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

To "Wow",

Do you think taking the discussion personal really helps your argument? Could it be that Sam, like me, moved his family to Pleasanton and paid a premium price for his house because of Pleasanton's reputation for good schools? Maybe he doesn't want to want to see things get worse, as they did in the Michelle Rhee case? We can have a difference of opinion and still have a civil discussion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fighting Ignorance
a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Wow,

Nice argument. Oh, wait. You have no argument. This raises the question: Do you have a brain? I'd love to hear what was the cause behind you failing high school. Please share. It would be more interesting than reading the limp points you attempt to raise. Please tell us more about yourself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Well, "Wow", if your memory and reading comprehension were better, you would recall that my "teacher wife" works just part-time as a language teacher at a private school. I'm sure her pay is quite a bit better than at a public school (which, come to think of it, kind of defeats your argument about how public school teachers are raking in the dough), but even so she doesn't make all that much money.

As for the implications of nice cars in parking lots, your logic is faulty. My wife actually drives a fairly nice car even though, as I already stated, she doesn't make all that much money. How did that happen? Pretty tricky puzzle isn't it? But I think that a Pleasanton school 2nd-grader can figure it out, so I'm sure that you can, too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The Pleasanton teachers and administrators all deserve a 20% raise, just for having to deal with all the greedy tax cutters constantly attacking them. I can't imagine why anyone would want that job. Plenty of better-paying professional jobs that come without the grief.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I took my boys out for breakfast today- a treat for spring break, one spent at home since my voluntary $4000 pay cut and no movement on S&C for the past 4 yrs ensured no vacations this year.

As we sat there, a table of ladies were speaking so loudly about "the teachers making all this money, and demanding more, working part time, ruining our whole economy...." Lie after lie, we had to sit and listen. Actually they sounded just like Jill et al

My sons, old enough to know better, were shocked at the disrespect they had for educators- they are the first to feel the affects of me working all vacation grading, lesson planning etc, missing games for meetings, not doing homework with them because I have school work to do....etc. They were so upset by these women, we had to move tables.

Funny, the ladies left, climbed into their Mercedes and didn't think twice about how they behaved in public. THANK YOU ladies for teaching my children a valuable lesson today- my boys showed more character and were better behaved than you. You left quite an impression on them, how ignorant and mean adults can be. They said this would never be allowed in their class- especially since what they were saying wasn't even true!

Somehow, this town is not so Pleasant anymore and I really question why I work so hard for so many years to educate this town's children. I really question why I value their children'e education more than they do. I also wonder why after years of praise and requests for kids to be in my class- I am now the villian, one not to be trusted.

This is a sad day for sure. I believe it is time to look for a new job, a new community, one that values education and listens to the professionals working for them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

arthur, while many of the pension problems need to be solved at the state level, locally we should do work to not allow spiking of pensions and we should not being giving out free medical insurance to the district retirees. We simply cannot afford to do this.

It is not the great recession by itself causing all of this. It is actually the great economic boom followed by the great recession. With the great economic boom we had a big influx of tax dollars. The tax dollars were all spent on operations which need to continue. Then we had the great recession. Well we are paying more for operations because of the economic boom and now we are caught. The state, and the district, should have been putting money aside when we had the boom (which we all knew could not continue at that rate).. We spent every dollar on programs (including salaries and raises) when we had the boom. Now that we are not in a boom, we cannot afford everything we did during the boom era. It is time to evaluate our spending policies and make adjustments. The main thing is we have to save money when times are good to pay for step and column raises when the economy is not expanding, or we have to halt step and column raises when the economy is not expanding.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

What bothers me about 'Wow', is just what he was doing in the school parking lot? Counting faculty cars? Taking down license numbers? How does he seem to think he knows so much about some of the posters here? He's clearly weak-minded, and I wouldn't trust him on any school premisses without authorization. I'll tell you what. If a guy knocked on my door and started saying the kinds of things he says on these posts, I'd call the authorities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thank you for what you do, "Be Positive." There are some (many, really) who appreciate your hard work and sacrifices.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

Be Positive,

At $98,000 a year for nine 180 days of work, you can likely buy your own Mercedes if you want one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

That should have read ...for 180 (really 176) days of work ...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by annoyed
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Beth,
It is ignorant to believe that teachers work only 180 days a year. They are paid for only 180 days and we'd better hope that they don't start working on only the paid days! Our kids will be in a world of hurt if that happens.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oak Hill Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 10, 2011 at 9:04 am

Still no compelling reason to vote yes on Measure E. Not enough has been done by the school district (trustees, administrators, and teachers) to reign-in costs during this difficult economy. I'm voting NO on E.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jenny and phil
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2011 at 9:32 am

We support our excellent schools and our excellent teachers. We have some of the best in the entire state of California. Both of our kids have done extremely well in school. It is because of the great teachers they've had, without exception. The parcel tax will help maintain the excellence. The measure will help Pleasanton through this difficult economic period. We do not want to see the quality of our schools go down. Our kids' future is at stake. We sent in our vote in support of Measure E.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Repleasnacrat
a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Ok, lets review here! The consensus is that we have great schools, great teachers, great kids. The cost of operating these schools far out weighs tax revenues! How do you reign said cost of operations! Review the overall cost and make necessary adjustments. So who can handle a task of this nature. Someone from Sacramento? The school board? Independent review parties that consist of union members and or tea party members. How about the Administration. Come on folks, stop drinking the kool-aid. This not a big deal. Lets see how they perform with less dollars. Everyone else seems to be doing it. Just for fun it would be interesting to fire the lot of them and have a rehiring fair. That alone would cut 20% from the budget!


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