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Pleasanton schools could face more than $5-million in new cuts, board learns last night

Original post made on Apr 13, 2011

With budget negotiations suspended in Sacramento, the Pleasanton school board was told last night that it could face as much as $5.4 million in new cuts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 5:17 AM

Comments (78)

Posted by Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 6:54 am

Doug Miller is right. Passing out fifteen million dollars in raises while revenues continue to slide downward is, at best, irresponsible. If it is really about the kids, it is time to prove it. Suspend the raises and the community will step up. Sit on your hands and you can expect your tax proposition to fail.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

Can PUSD or PW show where Gov Brown has a written proposal on which this fear is based?


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

Beth,

It is not irresponsible. In fact, suspending step and column would be irresponsible. None of the other top districts in the Bay Area have suspended step and column. We need to hire the best teachers we can. If I were a teacher with offers from PUSD and say, Palo Alto, and PUSD had frozen step and column, that would be a major factor in deciding which offer to accept. PUSD would be the only top quality district in the Bay Area with step and column frozen. Doug Miller has it wrong.


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

SteveP is a registered user.

"Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed additional cuts of $4 to $5 billion to schools across the state if his plan to extend taxes doesn't make a ballot."
There's an assumption throughout stories around the budget shortfall that no one seems to focus on. Just because Dems want to put another tax increase on the ballot doesn't mean it will receive the required 2/3 vote. This invalid assumption means the gov. has placed all his eggs in this basket because he fails to address larger issues like pension and prison reform. It's just so much easier to aks for more money and plead gloom and doom if we don't take the 'easy' way out.
Very lazy 'leadership'.


Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

Doug Miller is right. This is the way the rest of the world, including corporate America, works. Its survival of the fittest. Either the poor performers improve or get out of the way. I'd like to see some of the younger teachers stay. They are doing a great job.

This is why other states are eliminating collective bargaining for the state employees - to merit performance not seniority.

We definitely have to change the way we operate. May be that's what Luz Cazares means when she said "We would be looking at changing our operations fairly significantly at that point."

I am sure the PUSD Board collectively has an IQ more than 80.


Posted by Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

"It is not irresponsible. In fact, suspending step and column would be irresponsible."

Funny stuff!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

"It is not irresponsible. In fact, suspending step and column would be irresponsible. None of the other top districts in the Bay Area have suspended step and column. We need to hire the best teachers we can. If I were a teacher with offers from PUSD and say, Palo Alto, and PUSD had frozen step and column, that would be a major factor in deciding which offer to accept. PUSD would be the only top quality district in the Bay Area with step and column frozen. Doug Miller has it wrong. "

I diagree. Given that most of our teachers live in Pleasanton, I think they would not drive to Palo Alto for a job. Besides, with all the laying off (even Cupertino is issuing pink slips), there will be plenty of teachers looking for work.

In fact, I know of a PUSD teacher who received a pink slip last year and is now subbing because he/she could not get another teaching position (there were so many teachers looking for work), and this was a great teacher with skills in math/science.

I plan to vote yes on E to minimize the impact to programs but agree with Miller that the money from the parcel tax will not be enough to cover raises, much less programs. At some point, all districts will have to reform the automatic raise situation because it is not sustainable. Palo Alto has a 500+ parcel tax and just wait because in the next couple of years they will again come to their community asking for more in order to finance raises. Cupertino has a 125 parcel tax and is in the process of passing yet another 125 tax to run concurrently for two years with the old one. It is a never ending story of asking for more money to finance raises and that has to stop at some point, not just in PUSD or California.


Posted by Charlie Brown, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:52 am

Everyone says how wonderful a place Pleasanton is to live and they are correct, then whay worry about keeping the good teachers if raises are held down for awhile. Where will they go to, Oakland?

In tough economic times evferyone faces some belt tightening. I have been a commissioned salesperson all of my working life and when times are bad in my industry, I just have to tough it out.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

"I plan to vote yes on E to minimize the impact to programs but agree with Miller that the money from the parcel tax will not be enough to cover raises, much less programs."

I do agree with that, it is hard to see how there will be enough. I think the parcel tax needed to be higher, but I will still vote for it because it will help.

"Given that most of our teachers live in Pleasanton, I think they would not drive to Palo Alto for a job. "

But I know of teachers living in Santa Clara and Milpitas. They could easily make the commute to either school.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:58 am

" Where will they go to, Oakland?"

I just gave the example of Palo Alto. Both PUSD and Palo Alto have hired teachers in the last year. It is a fact.

"In tough economic times evferyone faces some belt tightening."

I do VLSI design for a living (as do a number of Pleasanton Residents). Quality education was critical to be able to do this job. Hiring hasn't been stronger in a decade. You're in sales? What do you sell?


Posted by Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

Tenured teachers aren't going anywhere. That is a completely hollow threat. The system actually works both ways. We can't pick and choose the best teachers like any normal "right to work" job. But they can't leave either without sacrificing their security and pension.


Posted by freeze the raises you morons!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

You can either freeze the raises or you can continue down the path of cutting everything. With or without the tax, the raises for the teachers will eat up $15 million in the next few years. GET A GRIP!. These raises must be frozen.
Tenured teachers, as well as most with a job at all, will go nowhere. Where are they going to go? If they got a job in some other district their seniority would make them the first to be let go. We will not see our teachers leave if the raises are frozen. If PUSD refuses to do that then I will just sit back and watch the whole thing fall apart. At this point I really don't care either way.
Greed will sink this ship.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

"Tenured teachers aren't going anywhere."

But non tenured and new teachers picking their first jobs can. It is not a hollow threat.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

To "freeze the ...",

I glad the no on E side refuses to sling mud or demean other posters. It is really refreshing to see that. Or maybe not.


Posted by CEO, a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

Corporations have never failed our society. They are always in the right, and everything they do is for our benefit. Let's submit our children to the rigors of the corporate world from an early age to make them beneficial cogs, I mean components, I mean functioning members of society. If the educational system goes corporate as the great Doug Miller suggests, then teachers should get to fire their students or replace them when they fail, much like an engineer can replace his or her parts when a machine fails. All hail corporate E-Merica!


Posted by question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

I thought the budget planned already assumed that the tax extensions would fail and that the parcel tax would fail to be on the safe side. So why new cuts?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

"Both PUSD and Palo Alto have hired teachers in the last year. It is a fact."

Can you provide some more information on this? I know a teacher in PUSD who was given a pink slip last year and ended up being a substitute teacher as he/she could not find equivalent work here in the East Bay due to the large number of teachers looking for work. This teacher was in math/science and was an excellent teacher but got laid off due to seniority rules.

If PUSD was hiring, which areas and grade levels? Music? Language? Please provide some information because what I hear does not match what you say.

"But I know of teachers living in Santa Clara and Milpitas"

Yes, but those are very hard to teach areas. There is a reason these people are teaching in PUSD and not close to home, and it is not because of step and column because that exists in Milpitas and Santa Clara, and those districts do give teachers health care as part of the benefits. One has to wonder why these teachers did not go to Palo Alto in the first place, or accepted a job closer to home. Many of the PUSD teachers live in Pleasanton or surrounding East Bay areas like Livermore.

"I think the parcel tax needed to be higher, but I will still vote for it because it will help."

I too would have preferred a bigger tax because I think the amount does not matter as far as passing the measure or not. G failed but I don't think the amount was to blame. Maybe now with Casey gone, people will be more willing to support a parcel tax.

I am in support of E because it will minimize the impact to our students, but I don't agree with the districts not addressing the biggest problem: raises we cannot support in the long term.

Keeping my fingers crossed and hope E passes....


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm

"Can you provide some more information on this?"

Friend with a kid a Vintage Hills Elementary said they just hired a new teacher this year. There may be information on it at the PUSD web site.


Posted by question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Surely they'd offer it to someone laid off who is subbing now?


Posted by Fire 'em..., a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Fire ALL PUSD teachers for next school year and then rehire only non-union ones.


Posted by Charlie Brown, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Where do they go Oakland?

I don't think it will be in Palo Alto. According to "palo Alto Onlie" website "A total of 52 teachers in the Los Altos School District have been notified that they may lose their jobs"


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Charlie,

That's Los Altos, not PAUSD. Just Googled a little to find this. Could be more information out there.

Web Link


Posted by checking, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Typical agency that is trying to pass a tax. When the ballots are out, have a meeting that says that the sky is falling and things are even worse than we thought.

It is called scare tactics.

There is officially nothing new from the State for finances. Any changes now are just speculation and scare tactics.

I am disappointed in the district and the board on the scare tactics. I even received an email from a board member that says we need a parcel tax since we are receiving less fees from developers. This board member should know better that developer fees are for capital improvements and not operations. She is either lying in her email to scare people, or she does not know how district finances work.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm

No on E people

Clearly you don't understand the complexity of negotiating a contract with the teacher's unions. We are under contract now! The teachers don't have to give up anything and trying to force them will probably only make matters worse.

Keep in mind that teachers are people too and they want what's best for them and their family. If you were in their position, would you do? Vote to have your pay, benefits or promised raises cut or just keep things the way they are now and let the new guy get laid off?

As being you are complaining about $98, I presume you would say "NO WAY JOSE". Go ahead and lay off the new guy, but don't cut my pay, benefits or promised raise.

Voting NO on E won't help with salary negotiations. In fact, it may hurt. So please stop it. Voting yes on E will help send a message from the community to the teachers that we share their pain and hope they will help out by agreeing to conncessions that won't affect the quality of education.


Posted by I wonder, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I wasn't at the board meeting. Did they mention how many concerned residents are sending in additional tax donations to help the district through the budget shortfall? How much extra money was collected last year after G failed? Why are you folks waiting for the parcel tax to pass before you cough up some cash?


Posted by question, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

The fundraising campaign is called CORE. We are waiting for it to start. I think they've now decided it won't start until after the parcel tax is decided in May, which I think is way too late. They have not decided what the funds will pay for yet.

People including me contribute to the PTA at school for individual school site funding.

I think they raised about half a million after the last parcel tax failed and more than 600k last year, but waiting this long this year is not going to help.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The suggestion that taxpayers should pay their continued raises while many of us suffer sever financial setbacks in this economy is outrageous.
Brian do you really think we have to bribe teachers to do there jobs that they are well compensated for.

The attitude of entitlement is amazing.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

No other community has suspended step-and-column raises for their teachers. All of the cities surrounding Pleasanton have parcel taxes.

We cannot be the only community to allow the state to totally dictate how much money our schools can spend.

We need to protect our schools from state budget cuts by providing them with a source of local funds. We need to protect our community and respect our teachers.

Yes on E.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

"while many of us suffer sever financial setbacks"

And many of us don't. I work in VLSI design, and hiring has never been stronger and I owe my ability to perform my job to my public school education. I'd venture to guess many Pleasanton home owners are doing quite well these days.


Posted by I wonder, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

"question"; nobody is stopping you from donating money to PUSD right now...you don't need a campaign set up for this...just write a check. And donating to CORE won't work, you need to give the money to PUSD to offset the S&C increases.

Jack, I'm glad you're doing well but many of us are not. Instead of volunteering for me to spend another week's worth of groceries off my children's plates, why don't you fork over more money to the district?


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

"Jack, I'm glad you're doing well but many of us are not. Instead of volunteering for me to spend another week's worth of groceries off my children's plates, why don't you fork over more money to the district?"

I've already given many times more than the parcel tax would amount to. How about you? You demand that I give, how much have you given? Maybe you're worried about that guy in the $950,000 home with no on E sign in his yard? Are you the one who said people in the financial services industry aren't doing well? Aren't they the ones who caused this recession, not PUSD?


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I suspect most people writing here, pro or against the parcel tax contribute more than average to the schools. The only reason most people are interested in this topic is because they care.

There are different paths ahead, all with challenges and people disagree on the one to take, but I think most would agree they want the best education for the kids. People just differ on the way to assure good schools for the future.


Posted by PTAs are a PAC (Political Action Committee), a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Donating to your PTA is not necessarily going to help the classrooms. If you look at the donations the PTAs made to the parcel tax campaign, you can see where their donations are going. Hearst School PTA donated $5,000 to the parcel tax campaign, according to documents filed with the county.

I always thought that my donations to the PTA went to education, and not to campaigns. After I saw just about every school's PTA donated to the parcel tax campaign, I have decided never to donate to PTA anymore. I thought the PTA was void of politics. I don't mind the PTAs getting involved in volunteering for the parcel tax campaign, or individual members contributing to the campaign, but it does not seem right that the PTA can donate money that was donated to the PTA by parents who thought the money was going to directly impact their schools.

I also believe that if PTAs are making donations to political campaigns that they loose their tax-exempt status, meaning you cannot write-off your donation to the PTA. Organizations that make donations to campaigns create a separate entity for political contributions so they do not loose tax-exempt status of their main organization. I don't think what the PTAs are doing right now are legal and jeopardize their tax-exempt status.


Posted by Liam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

There needs to be a balanced approach for PUSD contract negotiations:

1. "Step and Column" needs to be trimmed to a bare minimal, cost of living increase only, say 1%.
2. "Pay for Performance" needs to be implemented in a tiered approach so only the best teachers are rewarded, may be the top 10% get an addl. 2%, the next 10% gets an addl. 1%, the next .5% and so on.
3. The PUSD then needs to continue cutting the expenses that are the most unneeded.

I will NOT vote "YES" on any Parcel Tax increase until this is done.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

"No" on E

Concentrate on voluntary donations.


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm

See also Web Link for the way PTA is lobbying to lower taxpayer protections.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

We finally got our ballots, and I just mailed them. My spouse and I voted yes.

I urge everyone who is planning to vote no or is still on the fence to consider voting yes on E.

I was against E at first and entered comments on these forums about it, but thinking more about it I realized that voting yes on E was the right thing to do. Yes, step and column bothers me, and no, I do not believe that we would lose teachers if we reformed the automatic raises. But I think that passing measure E will minimize the impact of cuts to programs.

Support our students and vote yes on E, please. Perhaps in June when the tax initiatives fail or when Brown sees he cannot even put them on the ballot, we will see much needed reform of unions and pensions, problems that need to be addressed at the state level first. In the meantime, let's keep our quality schools! Yes on E!


Posted by common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

If it were so easy to maintain the status quo, we could just wiggle are noses. Unfortunately, things are bad and getting worse. The ballot measure is like putting out a 4 alarm fire with a squirtgun. Major steps need to be taken and these include laying off teachers and reducing the school year and reducing the Administrative staff. The world won't end.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm

"Major steps need to be taken and these include laying off teachers and reducing the school year and reducing the Administrative staff."

PUSD has already done all that. Haven't you been paying attention? Measure E isn't a panacea, but it will help.

Yes on Measure E.


Posted by I wonder, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Jack, you're the one who is demanding that everyone contribute through the parcel tax. Glad to hear you have been contributing; I suspect that most who are in favor of Measure E have not; in fact a poster above you seems to be waiting for a new fund raising program to be started. You also "I'd venture to guess many Pleasanton home owners are doing quite well these days". I would venture to say that most of them are not doing that well.

Everyone who thinks Measure E will solve problems in the district should be sending checks to the district now.

And since you asked, I have donated. I donate to the programs that I choose to support. About $3000 this year and over $2000 last year as well as countless volunteer hours.

I have already voted NO on Measure E.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

How about this idea. Those who don't want to pay $98/yr get permanently rezoned into a different school district, say Dublin or Livermore. Those of us who value good schools and the property value good schools bring can pay the $98/yr which will help keep both. The other people can keep their $98/yr and live with mediocre schools and the permanent reduction in property values that being zoned in a mediocre school disctrict would bring.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Doug Miller may be right, but voting No on E won't do anything to help. Teacher's are already under contract and don't have to agree to any changes. So voting No on E will likely have one effect and one effect only. A further reduction in school quality due to elimination of programs, an increase in class size and a reduced school year!!!!


Posted by Cutfromthetop, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

How come the discussion only revolves around teachers? They are the one group of people in the district who have a direct impact on the kids. Funny how as people retire or leave we still find it necessary to fill their positions even in a time of budget issues. As the district cuts program and staff we should need fewer to people to manage the programs and staff. It may mean administration has to work a little harder, but if we go by salary and pension, they also make more and have a greater impact on the district expenses. I just wonder why that is not brought up on the blogs or to the school board.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Teachers, school staff OK salary freeze" Web Link

""Our whole goal is to maintain the current salaries and benefits, avoid furlough days and possible layoffs," said Chris Pedersen, a labor relations representative for the CSEA."


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hrm, is that a basic aid district?


Posted by optimistic mom, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Their expenditures per ADA appear to be almost double what Pleasanton gets.

The agreement with CSEA is very constructive. I hope we will see something similar here in Pleasanton. Even if measure E passes, we will need the cooperation of our teachers and staff to close the budget gap that results from an all-cuts budget at the state level.

FYI, the bit about post-retirement health benefits mentioned in the article is already status quo in Pleasanton.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Elk Grove: Web Link

"The agreements with all labor groups include furlough days, freeze in step (and column for EGEA) movement, the temporary suspension of the annual lottery check payment and change to health care plans."


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I know there's some pretty wild stuff going on down in Capistrano. The Board there wanted something like an across-the-board salary cut of 10% a year or two ago. Freezing step and column was one of their other options. Don't think they did well in their negotiations though. Hard to come out and say you want a 10% cut...


Posted by Wow!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Did you just post a link about what is going on in the Elk Grove school district? Do you not know how low their test scores are? How many gang problems that school district has?


Posted by Wow!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Did you just post a link about what is going on in the Elk Grove school district? Do you not know how low their test scores are? How many gang problems that school district has?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I also posted a link about Mountain View/Los Altos High School District and made mention of Capistrano which looked to do such a thing. Chino down in the Inland Empire was also looking at freezing step and column. One link I didn't post was San Marino - "Both the CSEA and the unrepresented Administrators and Directors have agreed to a series of voluntary concessions – including taking unpaid furlough days and freezing their annual step increases for the third year in a row" (Web Link). There's even some document floating around from counsel giving advice to school boards about freezes. My point was to give examples of districts around California that are considering or have frozen raises. What's your point?


Posted by Mark, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Stacy,

None of the high quality districts have frozen step and column. Of course you can find miserable districts, desperate to try anything doing it, just as you'll see them trying Michelle Rhee's methods -- charter schools, merit pay and all. The point is that none of the top performing school districts are doing it. That is what matters to PUSD.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Seems that you are not familiar with those districts.


Posted by Mark, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Los Altos High is a middling school. There are many problems. Test scores aren't in PUSD range.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It certainly isn't trying Rhee methods either.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2011 at 12:01 am

I find it both difficult to believe and troubling that the dialogue continues to revolve around raises. There are way too many financial issues facing the districts finances to even contemplate increased compensation. As someone else said, If it is all about the kids then prove it.

Everyone at the district offices should understand the issues by now.


Posted by Not Suprised, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 14, 2011 at 3:22 am

I am seriously surprised at the simpletons in this town. I thought they couldn't shock me anymore, but the self righteous "I got mine" attitude is simply disgusting. Most of the people opposed to the parcel tax probably had their kids receive many years of free schooling from the state and city of Pleasanton, or do not plan to be a part of this community when they have kids. Either way these people have received benefits from our wonderful school system and now don't want to pay the piper. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 14, 2011 at 5:44 am

To "Not Surprised" - Depending on how you want to count, Pleasanton's simpletons supported PUSD with $120,000,000 or $145,000,000, or $165,000,000 in taxes in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. And they do this EVERY year. I don't see any hatred. I see lots of love and concern that wants as much of that to go towards the kids education and for PUSD to reach Fiscal Excellence. Web Link


Posted by paying, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:11 am

Plus in Pleasanton we are paying for school bonds that started in the 1980's and cost the average homeowner $850 on top of the other taxes paid.

"Not Surprised", you say you live in Ruby Hill. Do you know there is a portion of that development that is considered to be in the Livermore School District and would not pay the parcel tax, and does not pay for the school bonds, although all the kids go to Pleasanton Schools. Perhaps you should work with your neighborhood to fix that problem so our district gets the bond money and potential parcel tax from all of your neighborhood.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:25 am

"Pleasanton's simpletons "

Start Afresh,

Do you really think you're helping matters with personal attacks? Is it a good thing to demean other posters? Why not stick to the issues and lay off the insults.


Posted by comment, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

"It certainly isn't trying Rhee methods either."

Thank goodness for that. There may be hope for them yet.

Mark is right about that district. I used to live in Mountain View and there were gang problems and discipline problems, much worse than what we have in Pleasanton.


Posted by Ree, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Although I do not support the parcel tax, I do support the science, art, drama and sports programs by donating as much as I can. Just because some people are against it, doesn't mean they do not support our school district.


Posted by I wonder, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Dear "comment",

Look closely, Start Afresh did not refer to people as simpletons; he was paraphrasing "Not Surprised" of Ruby Hill.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Just sent in 3 NOs on E. We will know the results in the fullness of time. Brown is going to bomb on his referendum and O'Bama will have to cave in on the Debt limit issues. The tax payers are in FULL REVOLT and can taste blood. We have been exploited for too long. Revenge of the Taxpayers!!! Yay!!


Posted by so bizarre, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

What is so "unique" about Pleasanton, is that it is the only community that actively campaigns against their own school districts efforts. Other communities propose parcel taxes, and they either pass or fail on their own merit - but folks don't crawl out from under rocks to organize against the very institution that makes their town useful. Can someone explain that one, it seems very odd to me, and I am new to this town (obviously).


Posted by Observer, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

@ so bizarre:

My thoughts exactly, you have expressed them very well.

I would like to add that whether Measure E passes or not, the damage has already been done. Teachers have been terribly criticized, dishonored, and disrespected. Prospective home buyers into the Pleasanton area will also be confused, as when they contemplate making a long term commitment to the community they would like to definitively know whether or not the community supports their teachers and schools, not only in the past, currently, but going forward into the future.

The small, but loud contingant of NO on Measure E folks have made this community appear wishy-washy on this important matter.

Danville/Alamo/San Ramon support their schools without complaint.


Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Anyone with a 4 year credentialed college education willing to do their current professional job for a teacher's salary?

Did not think so!


Posted by honest truth, a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Apr 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

Yes there are lots of things wrong with the system at the state and union level that we have a right to be angry about. But rejecting Measure E hurts only one group of constituents here - OUR CHILDREN. Do not confuse the issue. If you want to take on pension reform, self supporting union leadership, tenured teachers, etc, then do it, but voting NO on Measure E hurts the wrong people folks. This is just misdirected anger. We should feel lucky there are so many people who still care enough about education and support Measure E.


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

I agree this is all about the children honest truth. But, I'm really having to debate in my head the best way forward.

Yes, Measure E would be a short term help as it would cover the raises and the cost of the election for this year, so these things wouldn't eat into 2 million of the 3.5 million proposed cuts to school programs. And for this one year reason, I'll probably vote for it. But cuts will still have to be made and I'm struggling a bit to trust if they will be focused in the right way since we haven't been told what would be saved with the measure passing.

And it would also mean that we're going to have to do this thing over and over again because there isn't enough money for the raises and things like reading specialists, 7th period, AP classes and CSR. And this process has been painful for parents, teachers and children.

I guess we'll see where it all goes shortly.


Posted by New resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Look, all this hostility is because it's the new fashion, made famous by the Tea Party wing-nuts. Rant and rave, ignore honest debate and negotiate with only one word - "no." The civility and intellectuality of this country has gone downhill ever since GWBush and his evil henchman Karl Rove made stupid good, smart bad, and the truth a sill waste of time.

We just bought in Pleasanton, and I can attest that this noise about not supporting the schools is extremely concerning. And it did impact how much we would be willing to spend in case we have to go the private school route some day. We had friends discouraging us from paying the Pleasanton premium for the schools b/c they figure without ongoing support, it may be money lost.

So to all those people who don't believe there will be direct impacts from not supporting schools, you can see it happening already.

I have an idea, which won't fly legally, but would make the point. I propose that each person who votes no on measure E, should have their home titles marked as "not in the PUSD." Think how much their home values would drop if they could not sell it to people with kids, or only those who would have to use private schools... more than $98??? Think tens of thousands or more.

So I say you may not like the way things are run, but in the context we're in, do you think saving $98 is a better financial move than losing tens of thousands of dollars in home value?!?!?!

I for one will be paying in thousands of dollars in personal donations to the schools, so I'm no hypocrite. But those of you not willing to pay your share, and yet still wanting to reap the benefits in your home values are.


Posted by I don't know, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

"I propose that each person who votes no on measure E, should have their home titles marked as "not in the PUSD.""

I don't know about this. You'd probably also have to refund the $800+ in bond money paid every year + tax money paid for public schools over the working years of people (those who work and pay taxes anyhow), which could amount to quite a lot of money to refund . . .


Posted by New resident, a resident of Ponderosa
on Apr 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Well, it would be a waste of time to figure out some methodology or accounting on this, but I'm sure on a $1M house today, at least $200-300k of value comes from the school quality. If you don't believe that, look at the relative home prices of like properties in decent cities that just do not have as good schools. I can speak from experience having been watching this for several years now.

But my point is simply that there are those who would like all of the benefits, and none of the costs. And that is actually a pretty good summary of today's problems. No taxes, but want benefits like medicare, police, roads, etc.(tea baggers). No risks, but want outrageous profits (wall st).


Posted by I don't know, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I agree schools are very important for house values. I actually don't think these arguments are about the money though, it's about accountability.

I actually don't agree that people want the benefits without the cost - they have been disappointed in how their money has been spent though and are making a stand - no more money without reform.

A lot of people, myself included are incredibly worried, in fact genuinely scared, about our county's debt and most people know that medicare, SS etc do have to be reformed so there is money left over for the future workers who have paid into the system. The prison system has to be reformed so we have more money for education. The pension and overtime and spiking issues have to be dealt with so we can afford safety workers. Salary increases need to be tamed until we can afford them.

Our family works hard and I've seen a program on TV - the one where someone tries to "get America back to work" and people not working at all don't get much less in income as us after taxes. And prison guards . . . don't get me started!


Posted by New resident, a resident of Ponderosa
on Apr 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm

100% agree with you. So why isn't there more focus on those real things, and throw in the defense budget too. Could do with a lot less if we weren't attacking everything that moves (which is more about oil and forcing a replenishing of armaments than anything else).

Instead it's all about teachers as the great evil. In a world where everything has issues, why are we focusing on the lower end and not the top? Why cut salaries on those making even $100k while giving more and more tax breaks to people making tens, hundreds and thousands of millions a year? Which is actually better for the economy??? Trickle up. The teacher will spend that extra $1000 while the billionaire most certainly WON'T.

It's because the politicians work in their self interest which is campaign funding from the wealthy and corporations, and staying in office, which comes from not touching benefits like SS and Medicare which would anger the active senior voters.

So I agree with you that there are many reforms needed... but perhaps picking on some of the other ones first wouldn't have as much of a devastating effect on our country's future as education. And lastly, it's not like conservatives have been supporters of education at any time in our history, including good times. So this is an ideological and class-war issue about schools, more than it is fiscal.


Posted by I don't know, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I agree 100% about defense spending and much of what you say.

I'm afraid from my point of view it's both sides that need to reform .

Of course the top end needs to pay more taxes. Of course the banks need to be reformed. But the union contracts, certainly in CA, are causing some major, major problems for us and they have to be reformed too.

People act like the union workers are working class and I just don't think that's true - people who are not bankers, tech professional or union members are the ones really getting hammered here because they don't get the high pay or the great benefits.

"So this is an ideological and class-war issue about schools, more than it is fiscal."

This is what I disagree with. I think it is a fiscal issue - you can only spend what you make. I'm actually voting yes because I love the teachers here and want to help make next year OK, but I don't like it when people get on their high horses about this. I'd much rather we could work as a community and volunteer even more and make things work with hard work. I don't think it's all about money.


Posted by New resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Yes, at the very local level I can agree it's more about fiscal policy, sustainability, etc. And I personally plan to be both a volunteer and a significant donor, way on top of any assessments - so I'll be walking the talk.

But at the state and particularly national level, it seems there has rarely been support from the conservatives for schools, universities, student loans, etc. And I think that must be ideological... or maybe just "I have the money to send my kids to private school, why should I care about or fund anything for the masses." Or more cynically, "It's easier for me to stay in power if we have a large, less educated population that will believe any TV ads and various lies, like trickle-down economics."


Posted by Bill, a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

We, the schoolteachers, DESERVE all your money! Please vote YES on the parcel taxes! Web Link


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2011 at 10:02 am

An Easter Sermon about Measure C

Web Link


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