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Candidate dropped bid for Pleasanton school board to focus on class size reduction

Original post made on Sep 7, 2012

The short-lived fourth candidate for Pleasanton school board says he dropped out of the race to dedicate his time to reducing class size in the district.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 7, 2012, 7:58 AM

Comments (63)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

What a great guy! This guy has been here for only two years and is already trying to do more than most of the long-time residents.


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Posted by Good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Good luck Sean, try to make sure that the money will be guaranteed for this purpose (not the vague promises of last time) and I'm sure here will be a lot of support from the community.


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Posted by Good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

By the way they didn't have to do staggered reading, that could be turned around for no cost. So if they said they had to do that, it is not true.


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Sean,
Please perform due diligence with the leaders of the last three parcel tax campaigns. Add up the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the district and supporters. Add up the tens of thousands of hours the volunteers and unions poured into the campaigns. More importantly, decide whether you want to be known for leading the fourth failed attempt at a parcel tax.
To the community who foolishly clings to the hope that maybe the 'next time' will do the trick, know there exists a quiet group of individuals who know how to thwart these efforts.
Have fun, Sean!


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Posted by me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

To Sean

Ignore Nomad. The last parcel tax garnered 65% of the vote... it lost by less than 1%. I agree with Good Luck. Parents are tired of what is happening in the schools and tired of our children's future being held hostage by people like Nomad.
Please post a way to get in touch with you those interested can join the effort.


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Sean, I hope you understand Mathematics as well as English. Losing does not care whether it is by 10 percent or 1 percent. At the end of the day, you have to decide whether you want to put forth the effort. You have to look at whether PPIE has raised anywhere near the fundraising goals it has set for the community over the last 4 years and the percentage of parents who contribute.
I will not ask you to ignore writer 'me' above. They and others will encourage you to put blinders on and not listen to or understand the concerns of the entire community. There are ways to win and ways to lose.
It's a long way until May.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Sean,

Please remember than not everyone who opposed the first two parcel taxes will oppose the third one. One very vocal opponent of the first two parcel taxes said she would support a new parcel tax if the language was specific. I think you are addressing her concern by aiming this tax at class size reduction.

Further, the demographics of Pleasanton continue to shift in favor of passing a parcel tax.

Best of luck, and I'll be happy to donate both time and money to the effort.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

To "Nomad",

This is all about math. If you've done time series analysis, you'll see a pretty clear trend of growing support here. Look at the demographics. I would give a third effort at a parcel tax pretty good odds of passing.

The only part of the community that I would urge Sean to ignore are those who would oppose any tax increase for any reason. Trying to convince Grover Norquist to support a parcel tax would probably be a waste of time.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I will support a tax with specific language. I have expressed concern about whether K-3 CSR is what the parents of this community will support, but I think that is yet to be determined. If CSR is what has the majority supports and the language is clear, I would support even CSR.

john, time series analysis . . . this seems to ignore whether more no voters will hit the booth. There were a significant number of no shows who might not vote in favor.


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Posted by me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I'm so tired of hearing about how people who didn't vote in the last election 'might' have voted. All the people who were against the measure assume that everyone who did not vote were also against the tax and constantly tout that.

First of all....if they didn't vote they don't matter. I would say if they were too lazy to vote the first two times, why would they come out now? Second, you have NO IDEA how they would have voted. Maybe if they HAD to make a choice, it would have been FOR the measure.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

me, I didn't say everyone who didn't vote will show up and vote no. I don't accept assertions that the outcome will be the 2/3 threshold will be reached just because it was close the second time. If you watch elections enough, you notice the statistical spread rarely changes as more results are reported.

I do think with specifics, a third attempt will likely pass.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 12:10 am

"If CSR is what has the majority supports and the language is clear, I would support even CSR." Readers of PW TSF this is a quote that I will remember as KR will work to actively make sure any attempts at a parcel tax will fail as she has devoted countless hours doing in the past elections. Watch as her target and personal requirements changes with each move PUSD makes. I am still wondering why KR is someone to be listened to, she has clearly become out of touch with classrooms across PUSD, evident in the content she posts. Take time to visit those 30:1 Kindergarten classrooms Pleasanton, you will see what I mean.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 7:21 am

@KR

" this seems to ignore whether more no voters will hit the booth. There were a significant number of no shows who might not vote in favor."

Doesn't ignore it.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

@John, There are no voters who will vote yes, including me, with a better approach. Don't change the language and it is just as likely a third attempt would fail.

After two campaigns and extensive media coverage, the community is better educated about the finances of PUSD and other districts. I believe that to get that 2/3 vote, the language has to be carefully written to ensure any parcel tax funds go to the goal--in this case the proposal is K-3 CSR--and only that goal.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

If you libs address the real issues of poor education in this state like poor teachers, unions, tenure, and pension you wouldnt need a parcel tax. It will never pass in this environment. Here is a suggestion. Those with kids in school should donate $1,000 dollars a head and as soon as you see that your hard earned money went to step and column raises for teachers I believe you will change your tune. You people are a trip and sound like Obama and his views on education.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

"After two campaigns and extensive media coverage, the community is better educated about the finances of PUSD and other districts. I believe that to get that 2/3 vote, the language has to be carefully written to ensure any parcel tax funds go to the goal--in this case the proposal is K-3 CSR--and only that goal."

If the community is better informed, it must mean you're losing your mojo, Staceleen. Your policy of misinformation and propaganda just might have been enough to have created the sliver of difference between the number of voters who opted for the last parcel tax and the number required for it to pass. I'm sure you wrung your talons with glee and salivated at the thought that your grudge against the district robbed many students of programs, support, and opportunities that they might otherwise have benefited from.

And the poster above definitely speaks for me--and I suspect many others--who find your hollow claim to support a hypothetical parcel tax risible. At least, it would be funny if it weren't so sickening. It's truly sad that there's no way to get you to pause and take measure of your behavior and honestly recognize and address whatever emotional issue it is that drives you to victimize school children.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

@KR

Again, it takes those factors into account. I'm also not against specific targeting of parcel tax funds; I would support a tax that would be used for CSR only, and would be cut if offsetting funds became available from the state, for instance.

@Paul

Pleasanton schools are not equivalent to average California state schools. PUSD test scores (such as SAT and API) regularly rank near the top. PUSD SAT scores bested those of private schools like Valley Christian in 2010. My family moved here for the schools, and were lucky to have class sizes of 20 in kindergarten. I would happily support a parcel tax that would restore smaller class sizes. If we could get kindergarten and first grade to 15 students per class, I would support that too.

And by the way, I'm an independent, not a "lib". I've voted for Republicans, Libertarian, and Democrats.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Nurse Shark, You know I sat on the committee for the second parcel tax. My hope was to get specific language. Some of my input was incorporated, but not in regard to specific language. You also know that I have donated, at a minimum, the amount of the first parcel tax every year since it failed.

john, do you mean the parcel tax would cease if the state reinstated CSR? That could mean any attempt for a replacement tax could then focus on a new area of need.
Interesting concept if I'm understanding you correctly.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

"Nurse Shark, You know I sat on the committee for the second parcel tax. My hope was to get specific language. Some of my input was incorporated, but not in regard to specific language."

No, what I know is that you acted like a petty tyrant, that you demanded that the parcel tax be written precisely to suit your own personal preferences. And like a petty tyrant, when you did not get your way, you sought instead to destroy what was agreed upon by the consensus of the committee. What I know is that you did not work in good faith.

"You also know that I have donated, at a minimum, the amount of the first parcel tax every year since it failed."

Again, no; I do NOT know that. What I know is that you CLAIM that, just as you claim many other things that cannot be confirmed. It's too glib and convenient to say "I'd vote for another parcel tax, if..." when that "if" is your insurance against ever having to put your money where your mouth is. All I know are your real actions, not your hypothetical ones. And your real actions stink, lady.


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Posted by Anthony Colleta
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

Some things are beginning to make sense to me. I never understood this person's incessant chest-thumping, but when placed into the context of a petulant vendetta against the district, it then begins to shed light on the matter. Given all of her me, me, me references, I don't think anyone pays her much mind.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Interesting tell there. I said no more than anyone else. I accepted the invitation to the committee knowing it was precisely because I was against the previous attempt due to the lack of specific language. There was no surprise in my comments, there was no vote, nor was there any promise that all committee members would support the final "consensus." There were no petty tyrants.

I can prove those donations were made. How silly of you to think otherwise.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

@KR

"john, do you mean the parcel tax would cease if the state reinstated CSR?"

Yes, that is what I had in mind. I just threw it out there, hadn't given it much thought.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Anthony--if you have been following then you know that if I make indirect references, the accusation is that it is about my lack of confidence. If the word "I" is used, then the claim is it's all me me me. "I don't think anyone pays her much mind." Yet I'm accused of single-handedly causing the failure of two parcel taxes. It's simple enough, I support public education; I do not support waste of taxpayer funds.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

john, it's a guess, but it would probably take attorneys to determine how to make that work. I could support a specific tax with a possible exit--even while I'm not hopeful about the state ever restoring that funding.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

"I can prove those donations were made. How silly of you to think otherwise."

You've backed up an unsupported claim by repeating the same unsupported claim. How silly of me not to be convinced!


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Posted by Anthony Colleta
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

I don't think anyone has given you credit for 'singlehandedly' defeating the parcel tax efforts. It seems only the inflatable you would give yourself that credit. No, I've spent years reading posts without responding, and now I do so with the suggestion that, quite to the contrary of your exaggerated and inflated view of yourself, no one pays much attention to you, despite your conspicuous presence on the post boards.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Actually, I've had to respond previously as I will now . . . one person, one vote. No more posts than many others.


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Posted by Amber Wilson
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger says in reference to her puffy claims to be a big giver to the schools: "I can prove those donations were made. How silly of you to think otherwise."

I think that statement is one of the most silly things I've read in a while. Kathleen knows full well that there is no way for her to prove this to the readers here. Yet she says it. Does she believe what she says? Does she think anyone else will believe her? I think such a statement shows how utterly detached from reality she is.


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I stated that you were really showing how out of touch you have become with what is going on in classrooms because of your continued disbelief about the benefits of small class sizes.

Before CSR, students were expected to be proficient readers at the end of 1st gr. With CSR, the standards changed, mastery of reading was lowered to end of Kindergarten or students are at risk. With over 25 million in cuts the last 4 yrs, we no longer have VPs, reading specialists, intervention programs, and classrooms are full with 30+ kids, yet the standards remain the same.

Now more than ever the number of students entering K with special needs (autism) has risen enormously. Now tell me how these children couldnt benefit from a classroom of 20 students? Yet I read your repeated posts of not getting your "bang for your buck"

Out of touch with how these children learn, out of touch with how teachers are instructing, and out of touch with LISTENING to what teachers are trying to warn will be the natural outcomes of these cuts, not because of a lack of work and effort on their part, but because of how kids learn best. Out of touch because you in essence have taken the professionalism away from the professionals and told countless others to do the same.


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Posted by Teachers
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Sure are a lot of teachers on here and those with interests in other peoples money anyway. The highest state income tax rate in the nation and already two school bonds are enough.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Really?, I think there are other ways to address CSR that are more cost effective and don't involve new bonds for facilities. I would, however, support a tax that is specific to putting class size at X:1 if it is clear the funds will not be taken to cover other areas of the budget. I like john's suggestion that if state funding returns the tax would cease. I have always said that parents should decide what specific things should be saved and I would support their choice. I don't ignore the professionals, nor am I out of touch with the demands placed on them. One of the other things I have suggested is a parcel tax expressly to provide bonuses for teachers--I have preferences here, of course, but I would support it even it was an across the board boost for all teachers and classified staff.

Amber, Name the person or person(s) you want me to prove it to--someone you find credible to state the facts here. Heck, get a stadium and I'll pass out copies of the canceled check.s I have no reason to lie about what I give.


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Posted by Amber Wilson
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm

[Removed because it was disrespectful and did not pertain to the issue being discussed]


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Amber, please. I am just offering to prove my claim in any absurd fashion that will satisfy the question. Pick a person. You?


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Posted by Amber Wilson
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Dream on, Kathleen. Maybe you might just go stand out on a street corner and wave the checks at passing motorists? Maybe they'll care. Come back and tell us all how that went for you.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Amber, so, you don't actually want the truth. It would be embarrassing to have to admit I've done what I said. And, I suppose, you'd have nothing to contribute here that relates to a possible parcel tax.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

[Removed because it did not pertain to the issue being discussed]


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Posted by Amber Wilson
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I supported the last parcel tax. I was able to do so without making a spectacle of myself.


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Posted by good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

It's good to have a parcel tax. It's also good to have specific wording so people know what it will be used for.

I support Sean's initiative. I also agree with Kathleen. She has said she will support it for CSR even if that is not what she personally thinks is the way ahead. I believe this and think it's great news. I personally do believe supporting CSR is the way ahead and the parent community certainly believes this is a priority worth fighting for.

Let's make this happen! I think we're all on the same page here and it's a no brainer to pass if there is specific language, which I know many, many people are asking for.

I think the issue here is trust and if you take away the trust concerns (ie. people know exactly how this funding will be used and the money is tracked just for CSR) this could work.

Get on the same side people - I think you're already there so stop fighting!


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

Sean in the article said, "I've gone to enough school board meetings." I talked with some of the school board members and they did not know who this person was when he was thinking of running for the school board except he was a friend of board member Bowser. So I think when he says "I've been to enough school board meetings", he has probably gone to one. If you search the district's website for the minutes of meetings, his name is not mentioned once so he has probably never even given an opinion at a board meeting.

The article also gives him credentials for doing the parcel tax since he was a professor at St. Joseph's University. However, he was only "Visiting Assistant Professor" there and only for 3 years. After that he was a high school teacher for 3 1/2 years. Those two gigs are his complete educational experience. Not sure why the weekly did not do just a quick search to find that out. I found the term "Tenured Position" means that he has been employeed for at least 3 years. Not what I would call an experienced but rather he became a union member that was harder to fire. If you go to the websites that rate teachers or professors you will see that his ratings are about average but those who rated him highly was because he gave out free candy bars and doughnuts.

I am not saying he does not know what he is doing but he is certainly stretching the truth. I wonder how much he would stretch the truth to try to get a parcel tax passed. I am also concerned since the district is working on a parcel tax like this and at the same time is researching for a new bond measure that would be needed to pay for ideas in the facility master plan they are working on.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

"The article also gives him credentials for doing the parcel tax since he was a professor at St. Joseph's University. However..."

I don't see how that experience in any way disqualifies him.

"I am not saying he does not know what he is doing but he is certainly stretching the truth. "

Where have you shown that he is "stretching the truth" in any way? Maybe one board meeting was enough to see that the school board wasn't functioning. It was enough for him, and that is opinion, not fact. That he didn't "express an opinion" at a board meeting doesn't mean that he didn't attend.

What I'm finding more suspicious is your motive for posting what seems to be a biased character assassination of someone who you admit you don't know. It seems to me that you may be someone who is so opposed to taxation of any kind and for any reason, that you'll use whatever tactic you can, fair or unfair to defeat any tax proposal. I'm more suspicious of your motives than of Sean Kullman, and I don't know either of you.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

A concern. Specific language certainly (that I'm sure some segment of the population will disagree with as not being specific enough) but what about technology, staffing libraries, etc., i.e. all of those areas that have had heavy cuts? Pass a PT for class-size reduction and that's all we end up with. I can hear it now, "We already passed a parcel tax for CSR and now they want more/another". Aren't there other areas that are also "need to have's" and shouldn't they be included? (OK everyone, attack!!!)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Joe, for me, if this is what current parents are willing to support, I would vote for CSR language. I would agree there are many other areas that could be addressed that could cover more than just grades K-3. However, Mr. Kullman is just beginning this process. I'm willing to see what he learns as he moves ahead in the coming months.


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Posted by Larry
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:37 am

I give Sean credit, he is a trying to get something done, but I suspect he missed the solution. Why is it that so many people that work with the schools think the answer is more money? It is about money, but not that not enough money is coming in, it's just we spent all the money for something else. And without saying it out loud, you know what I'm talking about. Run the schools as a business, not as a hobby.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

Larry,

I'm not sure I agree that we need to "run schools as a business". I agree that the schools could manage money differently. But the key difference is that a business is run with the ultimate goal of making a profit. A public school system is run with the ultimate goal of educating children.

On the question of how much money needs to be "coming in" to the K-12 education job well, I don't know if it is so easy to say that enough is coming in right now. Some people will automatically say that enough is coming in already, regardless of the amount, just as surely as some people will never say that enough is coming in. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. In my opinion, there was no need for a parcel tax in the 1999 - 2007 years when tax revenues were high, though some would have supported a parcel tax in those days. When the financial panic hit in 2008, the resulting recession was worse than any since the great depression. This has depressed tax revenues to a greater extent than anyone could reasonably have anticipated. For this reason, I think a parcel tax is needed now, to back-fill some of that lost revenue. The effects of the downturn are being felt in the classroom, and a parcel tax can help offset that.


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Posted by LisaZ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I have first-hand experience with the increase in class-size & how it has impacted my children. My daughter started Kinder with 20 children. Two years later, my son started Kinder and the class size increased to 25. And now, it is up to 30!

Our educators have and continue to do their absolute best given these obstacles, but when you have 5 (or more) students raising their little hands because they have questions about an in-class assignment & & less time in the school day, it has become increasingly difficult for our educators to address the needs of those who struggle or even those kids who just need a little help. For some kids (as with my son), the lessons and assignments start to pile up because they could not finish them in class. Then, when it is time for an assessment or test, children can get overwhelmed because they don't necessarily grasp the concepts.

Even without CSR, OF COURSE it is our job as parents to support & help our children with their school work, but reducing class size will provide more time and opportunities for teachers and students to spend more 1x1 time to help them in class while it is fresh in their minds.

I think some folks may go a little overboard regarding whether the funds generated from a parcel tax will be used for CSR. If the verbiage says it will be used for CSR, then we should expect nothing less. Let's not get all caught up in some sort of conspiracy theory. Instead, let's focus on helping our children and our teachers.

And to put it into perspective, the amount of $$ we as residents of Pleasanton will end up being asked to contribute on a YEARLY basis will probably end up being the equivalent of a few dinners out. I think my family and I can stand to stay home a few more nights a year to ensure a quality education for our kids.

GO SEAN!


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Posted by Good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

It's about numbers Lisa. Last time they generally said the tax would support lots of things including lower class sizes, but did not ask for enough money to do this. So people really did not know what their money would go on, but suspected it would end up in the black hole. The district has not been supportive of CSR, so many thought this would be the piece not covered at all / for too long given costs also escalate every year.

A tax just for class size reduction would be measurable if class sizes are guaranteed at 20:1 for xxx years of the parcel tax.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I hope you people start being a bit more factual and realistic. Keep in mind that we are number two in the nation in tax burden, we already are paying two school bonds, and if our genius Governor has his way we will increase our already records sales tax and will become without a doubt the state with the highest individual and joint state income tax rate at over 11% and 13% for those making a million a year if they have not left the state yet. All of these initiatives are only there to reduce the annual budget deficit from 20 down to 15 billion dollars. Keep in mind that California is just ignoring the 800 plus billion dollar unfunded pension liability. Pleasanton alone has an unfunded pension liability of between 180 and 220 million dollars and growing.

Now you want to voters to approve another tax increase on themselves for what? Everyone knows that if passed it would just go to contractual step and column annual merit increases to a group who are already the highest paid teachers in the state. In order for the money to go to CSR the union would have to agree to forego the merit increases and we all know that will never happen. I have a niece and a sister in law who teach in Pleasanton and another who teaches in Livermore. They all agree Pleasanton is all about unions and getting more money. It is all that is talked about in the union meetings. Ever wonder why retired Pleasanton teachers get all of the sub jobs even though they are retired and worked for years? The union and greed. How many ex police chiefs do we have under 60 and retired with full pensions. No I say let it be and it will self correct itself. Remember this, the only way out of union contracts is either by negotiation which will never happen or going bankrupt which we already are in this state.


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Posted by good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

"Everyone knows that if passed it would just go to contractual step and column annual merit increases"

Not if the money is guaranteed contractually for CSR, that's why people want specific wording. The district would then still need to tackle their structural issues.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Good luck,

You can word it anyway you want but the contract that was agreed to by the district and the union says they get the money. It has to come from somewhere and will. You guys need to consult with a labor negotiations attorney as I fear you are going to go down a rabbit hole on this one even though your meanings are good but just inexperienced.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Rudy,

" Keep in mind that California is just ignoring the 800 plus billion dollar unfunded pension liability."

There is a large unfunded pension liability in the state, but I don't see how not passing a parcel tax for PUSD is going to help with that.

Also, like you say step and column pay increases will continue, but with a parcel tax for CSR, there will also be money for CSR. I'm not following your logic. The money will have to come from somewhere whether or not a parcel tax passes.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

What I am saying is that there will never be enough money in this state to feed the pension monster we and the unions have created. The best way to reset the clock would be to go bankupt or a least declare the obvious and this way all contract must under law be renegotiated. The PUSC has a collective bargaining agreement with the union which guarantees annual merit increases and contractually these terms must be met. I would be against the law and violation of their agreement if someone tried to pass a law which afforded CSR and not the merit increases already agreed to. It is just the law.


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Posted by good luck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm

In my view, which is probably wrong, if we pass a parcel tax for CSR, the district of course will still have the 1.5 million or so of incremental step and column to pay for that the state will not fund, particularly if the taxes don't pass.

So in the future (since the parcel tax will be guaranteed to keep class sizes at a certain level and this amount is fully funded), they will have to cut something other than CSR to the tune of that amount or renegotiate. Given that parents prioritize CSR and the district has been trying to dump CSR for years, it would give the parents (and many teachers) the priority that they value and the district would have to look elsewhere for cuts or negotiate.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I do not believe it is legal to have two different contracts but for the sake of what we are talking about here lets say you can. If you were to have a parcel tax for CSR and at the same time there was not enough money for merit increases which are guaranteed the only recourse would be to lay off teachers in order to generate enough money to give merit increases to high seniority teachers. So if you are laying off teachers how do you improve CSR. The system is broke and needs to be corrected otherwise everything comes to a halt when the music stops or in this case we run out of other peoples money.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

"So in the future (since the parcel tax will be guaranteed to keep class sizes at a certain level and this amount is fully funded), they will have to cut something other than CSR to the tune of that amount or renegotiate. Given that parents prioritize CSR and the district has been trying to dump CSR for years, it would give the parents (and many teachers) the priority that they value and the district would have to look elsewhere for cuts or negotiate."

Good point, and a good reason not to vote for the parcel tax.

It is the same with the proposed taxes (Brown) for this november. He says if they don't pass, tuition will go up (colleges). But really, if they pass, we only delay the tuition increase by a year or two because the money is going to be used for the unfunded liabilities, so it is better for the taxes not to pass and get some serious union reform.

Same with the teachers' union.... how long do you think we can afford to continue to give 1.5 million in step and column raises when there is simply no money? How many programs are we going to have to cut? Why can't we just hire new teachers and never give them tenure? Better yet, non-union teachers only, like they do in many charters.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

The cost of funding the severely under funded CalSTRS pension system (teachers retirement system) will severely impact the Pleasanton Unified School District budget. The projected ADDITIONAL cost to the district, currently just over 8 of payroll, needs to be increased to 24 percent of payroll in order to keep the system solvent, according to CalSTRS (the teachers retirement system). That is an additional 16K for every 100k of payroll. The problem is the PUSD can't afford to absorb the increased cost.

Who is going to cover the increased cost of the severely under funded teachers pension liabilities? Nobody seems concerned about the issue but I hope people wake up before it's too late. It is a BIG isue.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

"Our educators have and continue to do their absolute best given these obstacles"

Actually, those educators collectively and with their union, decided that they would rather see their peers (the newer and lower paid teachers) receive pink slips, rather than forgo their precious raise (step and column)

Their best? I don't think so. They have what they asked for: less teachers, but those who stayed got their raise, and the ones paying the price? The students, as always.

Do what most of us do: make up for whatever the schools lack at home, and be smart about what you give money to, say no to more taxes.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

@Arnold

Not passing a parcel tax in Pleasanton will do nothing to solve under funded CalSTRS pensions.

@Resident

The step and column increases are coming whether or not we pass some kind of parcel tax.

@Rudy

"the only recourse would be to lay off teachers in order to generate enough money "

Another recourse would be to cut other programs. If voters want CSR vs reading specialists or music or art, then that is their preference. There could be other ways to word a parcel tax so that CSR is last to be cut among a group of alternatives.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

" I think my family and I can stand to stay home a few more nights a year to ensure a quality education for our kids."

If that were the case, I would vote yes for the parcel tax. But the reality is that the money will go to pay for teachers' raises, and a year or two later, the district will again be asking for money to pay for those raises. It has happened even in the best of districts. Some passed parcel taxes that promised to keep CSR and other programs, just to see those programs again on the table for cuts (even when the parcel tax was still in effect) - so, they asked for a second tax! (ask Cupertino or San Ramon)

So, unlike you, many of us would rather spend the money on dinners out. Because if not, we are just giving it so that the teachers spend it on dinners out or whatever (and that includes board member Bowser's wife, who is ateacher and union member) - see, the teachers supported the election of their fellow teacher's husband, and now he votes on issues that affect the teachers' salaries and indirectly, his own family income. I refuse to be a part of such nonsense and will vote no on a parcel tax.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:47 pm

"The step and column increases are coming whether or not we pass some kind of parcel tax."

Eventually, there won't be more cuts to make. And eventually, there will have to be some reform. We are seeing that in other states already. There is no money, period. Want raises? Let's see how long the nonsense lasts. I will vote no on a parcel tax. If the district keeps cutting programs, I will make up for what my kids don't get at school, here at home or through enrichment programs. But I will vote no on any tax increases, local or state. Reform is needed, and eventually we will get there, as more and more California cities file for bankruptcy. I guess we need to play chicken with Brown, the unions, the teachers and PUSD.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

"Posted by john, @Arnold Not passing a parcel tax in Pleasanton will do nothing to solve under funded CalSTRS pensions."

Passing a parcel tax won't do anything to solve any of the issues facing the PUSD. Passing the parcel tax will only allow for increased compensation which will only increase the cost of pensions and further exaorbate the financial head-winds the district is facing.

For the PUSD It is easier to promote parcel taxes than doing actual budgeting, which the CTA isn't interested in. They would rather promote increased taxes "for the sake of the children."

John says, "Not passing a parcel tax in Pleasanton will do nothing to solve under funded CalSTRS pensions." John, what plan do you propose to solve the underfunded pension issue?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Arnold, There is no money for CSR in the PUSD budget, so passing a tax to reinstate CSR does not supplement the district's budget, so PUSD cannot cover S&C or provide raises or cover the cost of pensions.

There are many things I personally believe are more important than K-3 CSR and/or there are more cost efficient ways to have CSR, but if it is what parents value most, I would vote for language specific enough to put that back in place.

The pension problems must be solved by the union leaders and administrators who caused them. Union leaders need to be more open to ideas like merit pay or off the salary schedule bonuses. Administrators cannot have me too clauses that give them the same compensation and benefit increases as what they negotiate.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:05 am

@Arnold,

"john, what plan do you propose to solve the underfunded pension issue?"

Me, personally? I'm not a policy maker, I'm a nobody. I don't have some kind of pension reform proposal. I'd like to see the retirement age raised, and some kind of blended 401k style/social security thing for new hires, like most of the rest of us have. There are many pension reform proposals out there, and don't know what I could add to that. I sure hope our representatives in Sacramento act on them, because it is a looming problem. I'm not sure why you're asking me for a plan.

A parcel tax to save CSR for K-3, or for just Kindergarten, or to bring in more reading or science specialists is a separate issue. I would be in favor of any of those.


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Posted by Rudy
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:15 am

The district and teachers won't like this but there is a way to establish checks and balances and that would be a ballot initiative requiring voter approval on all contractual agreement which impact city and school labor economics


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