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Has it come to this?

Original post made on Mar 23, 2012

Seniors at Foothill High School and their parents were no doubt surprised earlier this month by a letter from John Dwyer, the school's principal, warning that if they didn't fork over $40 per student by April 1, graduation exercises will have to be "scaled back substantially" for the Class of 2012. Dwyer said that this year's costs to rent a stage and hold commencement exercises on the school's football field for the graduating class of 543 seniors will be an estimated $21,646, funds that Foothill doesn't have.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 23, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (50)

Posted by Get your head out of the sand, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Maybe you haven't heard? The district has cut all sorts of funding because of the state financial woes. Parents are being tapped into more and more each year. And it's not just Foothill. Schools all across the valley have hand to fund raise to support their graduation ceremonies according to this article:

Web Link

And do you really think local businesses, service organizations and corporations are not being tapped into? Service organizations have come to the school booster organizations to support THEIR charitable endeavors and local businesses are being tapped into to support school sports and other worthy activities that the district can no longer fund.

Wake up! Is it really news to you that schools are under funded? Ask Foothill about their fair share (sports) shortfall going into this year. And their current fair share shortfall. THAT figure might surprise you even more than the graduation costs. Still think Foothill isn't broke?


Posted by But money grows on trees, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

...Then the PUSD board needs to get its head and whatever else is in the sand and stop the outflow of District dollars out to highly paid contractors assigned to perform studies that most companies do with in-house staff.

PUSD needs to stop: a) buying textbooks that sit unused in classrooms because the teacher makes their students create 'their very special own textbooks' and b) asking for more handouts when PUSD continues to spend money like it grows on trees and c) renting a stage for graduation? ridiculous. Have it on the lawn, folks.

Now we know why school districts are broke. Stage rental fees. Come on!


Posted by Linda, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

The stage with shade awning is for the district administrators and the board to sit on.
All schools own portable stages.
Let the Superintendent and Board sit in the cheep seats with the rest of us, use the portable stages, that we own, for our kids to have their 10 second walk-upon, and use the administrators car allowance to cover some of our kids sports costs.
$40 is not worth having to sit through another painfully long ceremony (too many kids) for my kids 10 second walk.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Yes, it has come to this.

I left the Foothill faculty last year to become a college professor, but I'll be proud to write a $200 check for this fund to help make up the shortfall from any students whose families can't afford the $40. High school graduation is one of life's rites of passage and it should be as special an occasion as we can make it. The graduation ceremony is not elaborate and actually many of the costs are donated--for example, every year a parent or group of parents donate bottled water, which is usually needed because the ceremony is long and the weather is very hot.

Knowing the Foothill parents, faculty, and staff as I do, I'm sure that there are many who will contribute more than the $40 minimum to compensate for those students whose families are struggling financially. $40 is not a lot for most Pleasanton families but quite a lot for others.

And yes, I think Superintendent Ahmadi ought to forego her $400 (used to be $600) "car allowance" and instead submit a mileage report when she uses her personal vehicle on district business. But, to me, that is a separate issue from the costs for Foothill's and Amador's graduation ceremonies. The students don't have any control over how the state of California's or the district's money is raised and spent--why punish them because we adults can't work things out?


Posted by Barbara Kirk, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

As president of the Foothill High School Academic and Activities Booster Club I want to make it clear that the Pleasanton Weekly made their "opinion" without know all the facts and if they had taken the time to do any research they would have found out that there are parents working very hard behind the scenes to find alternative funding sources so parents won't have to pay for the entire cost of the ceremony. They also neglected to report that Amador Valley High School asked their senior parents to pay for their graduation ceremony as well. They just asked at the beginning of the school year during the walk-thru registration process instead of later in the school year. It is really disappointing that the Weekly would not take the time to get both sides of the story before making a judgement.

These funding issues are our new reality and I will tell you that car and phone allowances at the district level won't even begin to cover what the state has taken away. Our communities need to step up and support our schools instead of bashing them at every turn.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I'm not sure that HS graduation merits the attention we give it.

Mike


Posted by caring parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

It's a chicken and egg thing Barbara. The community does need to step up, but it is not helpful to see car allowances cut for everyone except for the large ones managers at the top receive.

Why there are any car allowances at all in this day and age is also an issue when many employees in the private and public sector have lost so much. So it's symbolic and hurts fundraising.

Hopefully some good decision making will enable people to trust management to make the best decisions for our students. And then the money may flow in.


Posted by Michelle, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm

My son graduated from Amador last year. I could be mistaken but believe I remember our principle thanking a boyscout or maybe a boyscout troop for building the stage. Perhaps it could be shared between schools.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Mar 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I, too, got John Dwyer's letter and nowhere did it say that "parents are working very hard behind the scenes to find alternative funding." Apparently, Barbara Kirk didn't have a problem with Mr. Dwyer's omission of this fact, but objected to the Pleasanton Weekly not reporting it. As a parent of a Foothill student, I am grateful that we got this opportunity to publicize the need for additional funds to cover the cost of graduation. I believe the editorial is asking the community to step up and support students, just as Ms. Kirk requested.


Posted by Al Cohen, AVHS Exec PTSA Member, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

AVHS PTSA has contributed thousands of dollars to help cover the cost of graduation. We have done so for the last several years. In addition, we have granted $25K towards teacher, admin and student mini grants for the last two years as well. For those of you who wonder what a PTSA can do for your school, and why you should join each year, I submit this as a few of the reasons.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

The real issue is not funding. We all know school budgets have been slashed. The real issue is that Foothill has not been pounding the pavement since August to raise this money, which is what Amador has done. Why did the first fundraising request go out just two months before graduation? Irresponsible.


Posted by I have an idea..., a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Why don't we get rid of the middle school promotions ceremonies and put that money towards high school graduation? It's a joke that we make middle school promotion such a big deal. I would say the same for any kindergarten or 5th grade ceremonies, if they have them. Kids pretty much automatically get move onto the high school anyway.

Also a joke - the 8th grade promotion dances, which last year at Pleasanton Middle School was decked out with some fancy sports car loaned from a parent. Just a way for the parent to brag and teach our students how to be materialistic.


Posted by ptownparent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 25, 2012 at 6:51 am

Before spending ANY amount of money it might take to hold the high schools' graduation ceremony, serious consideration should be placed on an important issue. Last year's graduation ceremony held at Foothill High School field was THE most MISERABLE,incredibly sorry event that NO graduation should ever have to be. The freezing cold weather last year (hot weather most years)should be and important consideration when planning the graduation ceremony. Forget the fancy stage, awning, artificial grass, sound system, etc. It's a waste of money if everything else about the event is so bad.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

My third graduate was last year. The events are too hot or too cold, administrative speeches are too long and too many kids make the event too long. I have never left one feeling like it was a celebration of the students.
There are ways to reduce costs, parents are foolish to pay the district for this.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

@ptownparent - "Last year's graduation ceremony held at Foothill High School field was THE most MISERABLE,incredibly sorry event that NO graduation should ever have to be. "

I'm sure all the graduating students enjoyed the ceremony even if you didn't - the event was for the students that worked hard for the previous four years (including my child) - I was there and they seemed to have a fantastic time.

How was the school to know it was going to get quite chilly in the evening - the preparations are already underway - not many mid June evenings are 50 degrees, if you knew it was going to be cold you should have brought a coat and blanket. What did you expect the school to do? Bring in hundreds of outdoor heaters?



Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Lots of complaints here, no solutions.

If you have an issue with how Mr. Dwyer runs Foothill as opposed to his counterpart at Amador Valley High, take it up with the Superintendent.

Once again, whether Foothill solicited the funds two months before graduation or at the beginning of the school year--so what? You can either contribute $40 for your kid or you can't. If you can't, no worries, other people who can afford more than $40 will be happy to contribute.

I don't even teach at Foothill now and I don't have any children who are going to graduate from there, and I'm sending a check.

As for the ceremonies being too long: Pleasanton high schools are too big. The optimal enrollment for a high school is perhaps 1200 students; the two high schools enroll 2100-2200 each. As a consequence, many students complaint of feeling "lost in the crowd"--but again, what control do the students have over the size of their graduating class?

Look, if you don't think high school graduation is a big deal...if you think the ceremony is not worth $40 or even 40 cents...if you're upset because PUSD has failed to control the East Bay climate to your satisfaction...the answer is simple...DON'T CONTRIBUTE. Every student will walk in some sort of ceremony no matter how much or how little money is raised.

I am very familiar with how effective Foothill's fundraising is, since the Foothill High Library is and has been the beneficiary of the generosity of its parents for many years (ever since the state took away virtually all school library funding 9 years ago). I have every confidence that Foothill will raise every penny it needs and the kids and their families will have a graduation ceremony to remember.


Posted by Grad, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm

AABC works tirelessly for Foothill. I get that and appreciate it. I wish we didn't have the president of that group complaining about what this opinion piece didn't include. I don't think the readers needed yet another diatribe on budget cuts, when Amador asked for grad money, car allowances, and on and on and on... So Barbara thanks for all you and your people do, but quit nitpicking and realize you need all the help you can get. My take on this is that you should be appreciative of the word getting out that these kids need help with their graduation.


Posted by Kevin T, a resident of The Knolls
on Mar 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Well said, Grad.


Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I think both high schools should use their gymnasiums. The grads and parents need a dose of what life is like for the rest of the world. And yes, austerity is sometimes good for the soul.


Posted by Theresa, a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Grad, I agree with your comments. I'm the parent of a graduating senior. My husband lost his job several months ago and now we're in a whole new financial category and I can't do much to help with the cost of the ceremony. I believe Barbara Kirk's criticism was out of place. I felt it was whiny and ungrateful. Maybe some gracious words of thanks, along with what's being done by AABC and parents to help defray the cost of graduation would have been the way to go to get her point across. I just want this day to be special for my graduate and welcome any help that comes from the publicity.


Posted by I hate these forums, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 26, 2012 at 9:11 am

It is funny that most of you are accusing Barbara Kirk of complaining. Aren't almost all of the posts complaining about something? All schools in the district work very hard to raise money to fund what the state has taken away. Like Daniel said (very well, I might add), you don't have to donate. All this animosity toward each other is pointless.

I do not have a graduating senior. I do however have a Junior and and Freshman at FHS. I will be donating $40 to this year's graduating class for graduation ceremonies. I see how hard these students work during high school. The students deserve a graduation ceremony. Who cares if the parents think it is boring, too long, too hot, too cold.


Posted by Sara, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

Graduation is the most borning, pointless thing I have ever done. Waste of time and money. You walk up there and get a folder with nothing in it. Shake hands of people you have never met before and listen to speechs that never end. Then you get to move your tassle to the other side of the hat. Woohoo. Big freaking deal.

Hope you all figure how to pay for all of it......


Posted by Barbara Kirk, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:13 am

Some of you have said that I should be grateful that the Weekly got the word out that the schools need funding help. What you fail to see is that the point of the editorial was not to try to drum up community support, but to bash FHS for not doing a better job of fundraising. If you read the last lines of the editorial they say about our efforts, "...it's an outrageous one coming from the school that should proudly salute its graduates and seek help from corporations and service clubs to provide and pay for its seniors' cherished and final rite of passage."

My point being that if the Weekly had merely picked up the phone and asked anyone involved they would have found out that volunteers and service clubs are working toward alternative funding goals to help offset the cost of the ceremony so parents don't have to pay for it all. The request to parents is just merely one piece of the fundraising effort. In now way did this editorial address that.



Posted by Barbara Kirk, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

Also, included in Mr. Dwyer's letter to senior parents was a half page flyer letting parents know that a portion of the funds raised at our upcoming Denim and Diamonds event would go toward graduation. Not all of the funds raised will go toward the ceremony because this is a fundraiser being sponsored by various booster clubs on campus and the proceeds will be split among the groups.

If you are a Foothill parent and don't know about the Denim and Diamonds event please contact me or go to the school website. We have sent out information via all school emails, we have sent home information with your child, I stood outside school the other day and passed out flyers to parents, information is on the website. We are doing all that we can to communicate the need for donations and for volunteers. If you have any questions or wold like to help please feel free to contact me.

Some of you may think the ceremony is superfluous, but for many kids and parents it's really important. The whole point of all of this is to keep the tradition alive.


Posted by Bobby, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Is there some reason why it cannot be done at the fairgrounds like it always was in the past? Should be free, no stage needed and plenty of parking.


Posted by Amador Parent, a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

No Barbara K,

The Weekly reported this EXACTLY as it currently is. What parents are doing behind the scenes at Foothill are not relevant, neither is what AVHS is doing, the article is about Foothill. FHHS HAS asked for a $4o dontation. Is this incorrect? Yes, AVHS asked for the donation, and I like most parents paid it. Was it a lot? No? But its not the only time during the year you all reach into our pockets, the PSD is always there with cup in hand for one reason or other. The biggest day being when we pay our property taxes. The only area I can agree with you on is that the students deserve a wondeful graduation. But thats it, I am so tired that just because we are an affluent community, the thought is that our check books are always open.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Oh, I promised myself I wouldn't argue with people whose sense of entitlement wouldn't fit into the State of Texas, but I just can't let this one go....

"PSD is always there with cup in hand for one reason or other. The biggest day being when we pay our property taxes"

The laws of the State of California require every child to be provided an appropriate education in our public schools (that means open to everybody). And you equate the property taxes you pay to help support this mandate of universal education to begging? To charity? Really?

I'm sorry you're annoyed by PUSD asking parents in the affluent community of Pleasanton to help make up the shortfalls caused by this state's economic crisis. I was raised to be grateful for what I had and to feel privileged to share what I had with those less fortunate. My parents called it "Christian charity" but you don't need to be a Christian or even a believer to understand and to practice the concept. I'm sure the Hindus, Muslims, Jews, nonbelievers, and people of other faiths who live and work in the community of Pleasanton would agree with me.

Instead of feeling gratitude for having the opportunity to live in a beautiful community that has low crime, well-maintained streets, and a top-rated school system, what I read on these forums is whining. Why do I have to pay $40? Why can't somebody else take care of these things so I won't be bothered? Why is the weather so hot in the summer? (That last one's my favorite.)

Here's my suggestion: log off your computer and go sit somewhere quiet and ponder your responsibilities to your community, not just to your own children and your own family, but to all of the people of Pleasanton--especially the kids, who have absolutely no responsibility for creating any of this mess and yet are asked time and again to pay the penalties for it.

That's right, I want you to think not of what the world owes *you* but of what *you* might owe the world; to give without a thought of yourself, because you have been blessed with the ability to help others. "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." Anybody want to Google where that quote originated?

$40 *is* a lot of money for some people. I've taught in schools where the only decent meals children got during the day were the free breakfasts and lunches the schools provided. Instead of being grateful that $40 is nothing to you, you complain about the inconvenience of being asked for this pittance. Do you have any idea how petulant and selfish you sound when you do that?

Oh, my goodness. I really do need to stop reading these forums.


Posted by Steven, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Daniel,

I think that much of the fury is directed towards our elected politicians that are NOT using the funds (property and other taxes) received in a responsible way.

Therefore, they are always extending their hand for more money.

The taxpayers are simply sick of it!!!! We have endured job losses, pension losses, income losses, our homes have lost value, and yet we are getting bombarded to pay more and more.

The reason we live in this beautiful community, that has low crime, well maintained streets, and a top-rated school system, is because:

The people that have chosen to live here are not the type that would commit crimes!

They are not the type that would throw rubbish in the streets or somehow try to destroy property.

They are educated, and they want the same for their children, in other words they are instilling their values to their children.

The state or the city should be grateful that they have this "cash cow" called Pleasanton that provides so much income to them in the form of taxes (income, property, sales, etc).

We the taxpayers are sick of paying more and more. Simple as that.

We keep reading about car allowances, money spend on consultants, pay increases, etc. etc.

So, no, I will not pay $40.

As Margaret Thatcher said: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."

Look it up: Web Link


Posted by Zoey, a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I could harp about our sociallist politicians, the corrupt teachers' union, the incompitance of the teachers, the communistic car allowances and the need to vote Tea Party candidates into office. But when it comes right down to it, I'm tired of paying money for anything that don't directly benefit me. Just call me selfish. But where I come from, everyone gets up early to milk the cows and feed the pigs, including the youngsters. I didn't graduate myself, but even if I did I never would of needed any 40 extra dollars for graduation frills.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Steven,

You forgot about to say -- Hands off my Social Security and Medicare!!!

Taxpayers owe me that, but I can't be bothered to pay $40.


Posted by Let's Move On, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I might as well add my two cents worth because I feel so strongly about this topic. I'm really bothered by the comment that the editorial was bashing Foothill's fundraising efforts. Barbara, you're so wrong. I think you completely misinterpreted and missed the point. There was no bashing. The point of the last sentence is what is outrageous is that a school has to resort to asking parents to help pay for a graduation at this late date. No one is complaining about your fund raising efforts. In all of these posts what seems to be forgotten is the need to work closely with all parts of the community, including the media, for the benefit of the students.


Posted by But money grows on trees, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm

"Move On" --- the editorial is bashing the school district management and its fiscal mismanagement and ineptitude, not the people having to go out and do the fund raising because of the District's mismanagement and ineptitude.

The editorial is definitely bashing the school district and the school board with the implication that it somehow finds the cash to fund management cozy perks ( "While the school district wrestles with fees paid to management personnel in car and mileage allowances"....) yet at the same time parents are required to *fork over* fees for basic graduation at the last minute.

And meanwhile, the royalty aka management gets a car and mileage allowance.


Posted by caring parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I agree with the last two posters, I don't think PW was in any way trying to put down a particular school or people who are trying to raise money. They're just saying "how could we have come to this?" as a district.


Posted by Keep it simple , a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

I will echo someone else's comment that no one bothered to pick-up on, why can't we use the Fairgrounds? Is it too late to ask them? It would be so much cheaper! Admittedly, I do not know a lot about the details of planning the graduation, but it seems that we would not have to rent as much equipment.


Posted by Get Real, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

I'll bet most of the people carping about the $40 fee for their kid's graduation are the same ones that fork over $500 or more to take their family skiing for a weekend. Also, quit drinking beer for a couple weeks and you have the $40. Or, pack you own lunch for a week instead of eating out and you have the $40. I can also bet that those whining about the $40 never spent a day as a parent volunteer in the classroom. "Hey, xxxxxx, can you flip me another brewsky?"


Posted by Michelle, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

$40 is $40 quite complaining people. If you can't afford it don't pay it, someone will help. Graduation is a big event and should be celebrated. The amount these kids do today to keep up good grades and graduate should be honored.


Posted by FHS Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

The fairgrounds is no longer used due to capacity but it should be looked at again during these tough times. The students, parent groups, and administration are doing everything they can to raise these funds including asking parents for assistance. Yes our children go to a public school and I've seen comments such as "if we wanted to keep paying out money we'd send our kid to a private school". Has anyone checked the cost of tuition at our local private schools? They are in the tens of thoussands. So while we don't like having to pay these fees/donations, etc. we still come out significantly cheaper than sending them to private school. As far as PUSD, I would suggest they "lead by example" and refuse the car allowances and any other substantial financial perk at this time. Everyone is feeling the pinch and it should be voluntary at that level.


Posted by Fairgrounds, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

The Fairgrounds should be used and always was used in the past. They have a stage and obviously have lots of seating. Foothill used to have their graduation say at 2 followed by Amador at 5 and it flopped the following year. This Foothill and Amador thing must have happened a few years back only. My daughter graduated from Foothill in 2006 and it was at the fairgrounds and everyting was perfect.


Posted by another Pleasanton Neighbor, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

Glad to see there was so much heated debate on this one.

Yes the kids should have a graduation ceremony. This is especially important for some kids that maybe would not have made it. This is a way to say "yes" you stayed the course.

The speeches do need to be shorter.

The graduation should be held outside at the football field. And each family gets only 2 or 3 tickets. The the graduation should be filmed and shown on the same channel that the Pleasanton School Board is broadcast on. This way the people that have too many kids (it is awful with the wild running around children that parents let loose) or the ones that feel they can bring too many relatives and make it difficult for others to find a seat. Then all these extra people including the ones that do not want to be out in the cold or heat can watch the graduation (instead of watching the school board meetings) and the graduation can be run and re-run several times over the course of a week.


Posted by Amanda, a resident of Foothill Place
on Mar 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

This thread is toxic. The way all of you write makes me want to move. I'll pay $40 for my child to walk in a graduation. My child deserves it.

If Foothill changes the ceremony or cancels it, then we'll have to read about the disadvantage your child suffered because the evil district made changes.

I'm done reading these streams. It disgusts me.


Posted by But money grows on trees, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

Students shouldn't have to pay a "$40 get out of school fee" to graduate as if it is some sort of parking ticket fine.

PUSD doesn't have the $21,646 because it is continually forking over millions to consultants like the quarter million dollar facility study and forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for ongoing lawsuits.

It is the District that is toxic because it can't get its spending under control, and still has management perks and mileage allowances when each and every school in this tiny District is reachable within a 10 minute drive. Every meeting the staff proposes and approves more and more consultant studies. I'm sure they are approving spending more money on consultants in this evening's Board of Education meeting, as they do almost every meeting.




Posted by Mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:59 am

I think that it is disgusting that the district can't pay for this. They certainly like to flaunt their test scores and achievements. They pay someone more than $20,000 a year to correlate all the info.

High School graduation is a big deal for the students. It should be celebrated. Now, I'm not commenting if $24K is too much or not. I don't know... I haven't been to their ceremony

In my uneducated opinion, it comes down to the fact that the district cuts what they know parents will pay for in the end through donations. parents will pay for graduation, raise money for smaller class sizes, technology, etc. They cut these things.

Parents will NOT donate to pay for car allowances, more positions at the central office and contractor studies. These are the things that are cut.

Sad for our students.


Posted by mom, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

**corrected** sorry

I think that it is disgusting that the district can't pay for this. They certainly like to flaunt their test scores and achievements. They pay someone more than $20,000 a year to correlate all the info.

High School graduation is a big deal for the students. It should be celebrated. Now, I'm not commenting if $24K is too much or not. I don't know... I haven't been to their ceremony

In my uneducated opinion, it comes down to the fact that the district cuts what they know parents will pay for in the end through donations. parents will pay for graduation, raise money for smaller class sizes, technology, etc. They cut these things.

Parents will NOT donate to pay for car allowances, more positions at the central office and contractor studies. These are the things that are NOT cut.

Sad for our students.


Posted by 3grads, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm

All three of my kids graduated from Foothill, two at the Fairgrounds one on the Football Field. There is an 8 year spread between them. From my youngest to oldest the size of the graduation class almost doubled. The Fairgrounds simply could not hold even immediate family members and the graduates. Graduation at 2:00 in the afternoon some years was well over 100 degrees and miserable, dangerous for some. The change to Amador and Foothill's football was welcomed by parents from both schools. The only thing that they might consider to cut the cost would be to hold both graduations at the same school alternate years, requiring only one rental cost to be split by the two schools.

Where can I donate to Foothill's graduation?


Posted by Barbara Kirk, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

3grads and to anyone else that wants to help,

Donations can be sent to Foothill High School, 4375 Foothill Rd, Pleasanton, 94588, Attn: Graduation Ceremony

Thank you to those who understand and get, that even though most of us are upset about the budget and wish things could change, they are not going to change overnight and we have a need now that we can't ignore. Real change takes time. We can't cut off our nose to spite our face.


Posted by But money grows on trees, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

The editorial reflects the tone of the similar article in the Tri-Valley Herald that is posted on their website where a Foothill parent is quoted as:

"My frustration continues to be that it seems like every time I turn around at that school, I am being nickeled and dimed at that school...."

Also the Amador principal states the District is not providing District funds for graduation in the same article.

Students should not have to pay a $40 get-out-of-school fee in order to graduate from a public school. Period.

The District has plenty of money it is spending on consultants and perks, but not students.


Posted by Mother of a FHS grad last year, a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

I've never commented on this board - however Daniel - your post -
"The reason we live in this beautiful community, that has low crime, well maintained streets, and a top-rated school system, is because:

The people that have chosen to live here are not the type that would commit crimes!
They are not the type that would throw rubbish in the streets or somehow try to destroy property.
They are educated, and they want the same for their children, in other words they are instilling their values to their children"

I'm not sure if you've noticed, howevever the past couple years the "affluent beautiful neighborhood" you speak of is full of kids shooting up heroin (along with every other drug available), at both the middle school and high school level. The parents of good ole Pleasanton just choose to turn their cheek until their child ends up overdosing or dead. It's sad but real. You all need to WAKE UP. Pleasanton. What a joke.

I apologize if I offend anyone, I am just so tired of hearing how great and wonderful a place Pleasanton is to live and raise your kids. I moved my oldest son here from another state when he was 10 and by the time he got to FHS it all went downhill..along with all his friends. I am doing my best to get my youngest son OUT of this community and will be moving ASAP. I would rather live in a city that recognizes and deals with the issues then sweep them under the rug. And don't get me started on the racism in this town. It's disgusting. Anyway, I'm done with my rant. Go ahead, take your best shot at knocking me down.


Posted by Foothill parent, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

Barbara,
Thanks so much for what you and the other wonderful parent leaders/volunteers do every day to make our school so great!


Posted by FHS Family, a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:33 am

Wow--this thread IS toxic. I read PW's editorial the same way Barbara did -- it was clearly critical of Foothill. It didn't criticise the district's spend of car allowances or studies in lieu of supporting graduation ceremonies for students. Whether it was meant to come across as critical of Foothill is debateable, but professional writers should know how to script their language to avoid ambuigity. Authors of similar coverage on this topic (Patch, Times) did their homework and reported that all schools are having to fundraise to support this rite of passage--Foothill is just one of many. That is the sad truth in all of this.

Many thanks to those parents who donate what $ they can to support our schools, and to Barbara and the parent volunteers at all of our local schools for giving their time and talents to support our kids.


Posted by Lisa, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

PUSD pays Monsanto a hefty sum to regularly spray our schools with pesticides
(which include weed killers.)
Other school districts use Integrated Pest Management:

B.  Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an alternative to the traditional method of chemical pest control. IPM is a system of prevention, monitoring, and control that is designed to choose the most economical and environmentally friendly method of pest control. The primary benefits of IPM use in schools include reducing the risk of pesticide exposure and generally reducing the potential harm to children.66 IPM integrates various methods of pest control rather than using traditional chemical spraying.

The elements that make up IPM include: (1) biological control, or using beneficial organisms against pest organisms; (2) chemical control, which involves using pesticides in a responsible manner; (3) legal control, which is simply abiding by state and federal regulations that deal with pest control; and (4) cultural control, which uses methods such as sanitation and fertilization. When necessary, and usually as a last resort, target-specific, low-toxicity pesticides are applied in a way so that the effectiveness of pest management is maximized and exposure to humans and other non-target species is minimized.

Aside from diminishing health risks, IPM also enhances pest control in general, by providing long-term results, reducing the risk of pesticide resistance, and providing a written record of pest activities and control actions. There are, however, some barriers to implementing IPM: it can initially be more expensive to put into practice; it requires [*PG157]greater skill and knowledge than traditional pest control; there is additional paperwork; everyone at the facility, even students, must take an active role; and, it requires persistent attention, including the possibility of ongoing training.71 An essential component of IPM is consistently monitoring and inspecting for pests to determine the location and degree of infestation.72 Monitoring—which involves using traps, visual inspections, and interviews with staff members—can be incorporated into other activities, such as cleaning.73 Obtaining professional expertise and training the school staff in IPM procedures comprise a large portion of the start-up costs.74 Increased costs, however, are not permanent; within a year or two of the IPM program, the costs drop to a level that is equal to or below those of traditional pest-control programs.


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