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Pleasanton school board backs two competing education funding bills

Original post made on Sep 13, 2012

The Pleasanton School Board decided Tuesday night to hedge its bets and back both competing education spending plans up for a vote in November.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 13, 2012, 6:23 AM

Comments (38)

Posted by Mcdez, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm


The California State PTA supports Prop 38 because it is the ONLY initiative that GUARANTEES money for our schools. This money DOES NOT pass through Sacramento and CANNOT be touched by the legislature. This is funding is over and above the legal minimum the governor sends down to our school districts. Even with the governor's threatened trigger cuts, students would still come out ahead if Prop 38 gets the most votes.


Posted by No on all, a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I'll be voting No on each of them until the school district stops giving automatic raises each year, cuts out car allowances, and freezes step and column automatic raises.


Posted by Hmmm , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

No to 30, maybe 38. Would,it be possible for the government to "borrow" or "delay" more from schools if 38 passes though?


Posted by Mom O2, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

As a PUSD parent, I can't help but feel gouged by the schools. Walk through registration is bad enough: donating to fund PE clothes, organizers, graduation, ASB, yearbooks, etc. But then school begins and more request come to fund workbooks (text books), lab supplies, accelerated math, PE equipment, art supplies. Attend an event at the school and their hands are out again. It's so bad they should install ATMs at the schools. And god forbid my student play a sport. Then you're both 'donating' and fundraising. Will this go away with 30 or 38? My guess is no because the fundamentals are not being addressed as 'No on all' indicated.


Posted by Vote no on both, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Looks like the polls are going with a no on both of them. The highest gets 54% and that number is way to low this far from the election. Most experts are expecting both to fail especially in light of zero reform or savings from the legislature. That said, when these both fail what is the plan to reduce costs? The answer is that there is no plan.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

No plan B? I'm shocked, truly shocked. What about making up a plan that has no basis in reality and then acting surprised when it doesn't pan out? There we go, a plan!!


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

"The highest gets 54% and that number is way to low ..."

I thought they only needed 50% to pass, right? The 66.7% is for property taxes.


Posted by 3O is NO ! , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:38 am

Shame on the board! Why didn't they not offer an opinion, rather that this screwed up meddling. These fools will never see a penny from 30! Naive suckers, or political hacks ?? who knows why they would do such a stupid thing. Cowards.
Brown's scam last week waa to fool the ignorant and gullible into thinking he/they actually did something. Oh, they did all right...made some good steps for 30 YEARS from now....nothing for this decade or next ! He just continued to baby his current unions... pretending it was SO hard to hammer it all out and work out an agreement...so stupid people would vote for 30...you can always find enough stupid people to be easily fooled, over, and over, and over...they wonder why things are screwed up.
Pleasanton will never see a penny from 30. So we'll be PAYING on 30 and say SORRY but NO to MORE for parcel tax, when all our pennies will be going to 30. Disgusting. Pleasanton kids will lose twice !Sorry the board has neither brains nor spines.


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

Voters will not pass either of the tax props (30 and 38) this November 4th.

The anti-union, anti-school rhetoric has energized the right-wing voters in California, and they will turn out in unexpected numbers, defeating both propositions by narrow margins.

The public schools in California have been set up for failure and will continue to fail after the November 4th election.

How have they been set up to fail? Let's just say that someone sends you to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and only gives you $2, knowing full well that the cheapest price for any loaf of bread in that store is $3.75.

That's how California schools have been set up to fail: deliberately starved of the funds for basic operations, and then further punished by politicians and the nutty right-wingers for not being able to fulfill an impossible mission.

What happens to a society that doesn't value education and refuses to properly fund it? We're about to find out.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

You're right Daniel. The governor should give back all the money he "borrowed" from the schools NOW and figure out a different way to fund all the agencies, pensions and other excessive spending that leads to higher and higher budget needs with no real reform. Give the schools their money back without holding them hostage and our children will be much better off.


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

To 30 is no: a parcel tax may also be difficult this time around because parents are so upset about staggered reading.

This decision, which has no cost savings and costs K-3 children weeks off their school year, has created a lot of tension and loss of good will. K-3 parents are usually the ones you'd count on for support for this kind of thing in terms of volunteer time and money. I would like to see a clearly defined parcel tax pass, but I don't see it as a slam dunk either.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Daniel, I agree with you to a point. Yes, a district gets $5 for a $50 textbook that is mandated; special education is mandated and underfunded (state and federal funding). Voters would understand those issues and would likely vote to support specific areas (how about a parcel tax that funds bonuses and staff development days for the bottom half of the salary schedule?). But you neglect the costs of teacher pensions and the unwillingness of unions to look at any other models of compensation/benefits and brush it off to "anti-union, anti-school" "right-wing voters."

It's frustrating for taxpayers to hear about the value of education and then those same people are mocked for being educated about the looming unfunded liability. Parents are told they need to be more involved in their child's education and are then dinged for not liking split reading, no bottled water, and meatless Mondays. It's difficult not to feel like we're being told to "sit quietly and pass your paper(dollar)s to the front of the class."


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I'm tired of being an enabler, so I'm cutting them off until they deal with their fundamental problem and recover from their addiction to wasting my money.

No more excuses. No more lies. Let them hit bottom so they can experience the moment of clarity that they need to turn themselves around.

No on both.

Mike


Posted by Bill, a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Mike, the problem with your recommendation to "let them hit bottom" is that during that time (two to five years to hit bottom; ten years to recover - if even possible) a whole generation of students will be deprived of an adequate education. It will take another generation or two for Californians to make up that loss. Your target has become the children, not the legislators.

I'm voting yes on 30 to prevent the trigger cuts that will cripple schools this year. Then, I plan to hold my representatives in Sacramento's feet to the fire to cut unnecessary costs, unfunded mandates, and reduce clerical/paperwork fees to make educational funding more efficient.

I hope you might consider doing the same.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

How will you hold your representative's feet to the fire?


Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I'll be clearer: we are moving rapidly towards forcing public schools into massive failure. This is what right-wingers *think* they want.

Be careful what you wish for (or actually engineer).

Universal free education is one of the pillars of our democracy.

Teaching already has one of the highest turnovers of any profession (50% leave in the first five years). The constant drumbeat of criticism against teachers has dispirited many of my colleagues at both the K-12 and the college level (where I now work). Teacher morale is an all-time low, and I honestly can't recommend the teaching profession to anybody at this time.

A minority of Pleasanton voters are in the process of trashing a once-great school district, for example, to fit their own hysterical anti-tax ideology. They make no connection between good schools and a stable democracy, nor even the simpler connection between good schools and high property values.

One of the reasons I quit working for PUSD was when the Pleasanton voters turned down a tiny parcel tax that would have amounted to 28 cents a day, while Palo Alto voters increased their already hefty parcel tax. I just couldn't stand working in a community that had such an element of self-destructiveness and yes, even hatefulness in it, a community where a minority was allowed to sacrifice children's futures to their bastardized Ayn Rand ideology.

But yes, the statewide measures will fail and schools statewide will collapse over the next year or two, unable to fulfill their stated mission even by heroic measures.

This is not a good thing, although I realize most of the folks who participate (anonymously, of course) relish the coming meltdown.

Just remember, the next time you call an ambulance to your house: that paramedic is a public school graduate. I think it would be good if the paramedic can spell "defibrillator", don't you?

This is the world you made, folks. How do you like it?


Posted by No on all, a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

The former superintendent is making $155,000 a year for doing nothing other than play golf for the next 20 or so years. Most people in the school system are retiring around age 50 rather than at age 65.

This means most of our tax dollars are funding outsized pension payments. Change the retirement age to 65 and this would stop.

This means also that in CA most people running the school district are hired around the late 30s and early 40s, are completely underqualified compared to people having the same position in other states. This means the Elected School Board members in most cases have far more experience in business and management than the staff in the school district they are elected by the people to oversee.

The end result is that school districts pay hundreds of millions of dollars in CA on a boatload of consultants because the internal staff of school districts many times don't have the qualifications to do the jobs on their own.

Also, this means that consultants continually do poor quality work because the internal staff can't even review the consultants' work before throwing the deliverable out to the Elected School Board.

Taxpayers can't afford to pay 2-3 different people to do the job of one person. This doesn't happen in university administration. They hire consultants for specialized projects, not as day to day consultants that bill the university for decade after decade.

Throwing more money at a broken system will not solve any problems. This will just means school districts will offer superintendents more than the already outrageous salaries they already receive.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Daniel, more grousing and no offer of solutions. You don't see that as a problem?

I don't think anyone is criticizing teachers. There is recognition and high regard for the difficult tasks they have at hand. There is concern over unfunded pensions, though, and that lies at the feet of union leaders and administrators. It seems to me there is less respect from within--I've got mine and I'm sorry you, newbie, have to pay with your job (Does that figure into the high turnover? How many times can you face a pink slip and not look for another career?).

I think the number of voters who will vote no on increased funding under any circumstance are few. There are previous non-supporters who will vote yes with specificity. There were years of unsustainable raises given, cash out refinancing of bonds without voter representation, and many other reasons the "tiny parcel tax" failed. Again, you ignore the issues and any sense of accountability.

Many Pleasanton residents put their kids through PUSD before CSR; they volunteered, donated, started PPIE, and supported unification and two bond measures. This is the world you abandoned.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Mr. Bradford,

So you quit PUSD because the local parcel tax failed, blaming the low morale on Pleasanton voters. Then how come the morale is so low at the college you're at now? Are Pleasanton voters responsible for that too? Of course not. With the amount of local control the State gives to LEAs, parcel taxes post-recession are nothing more than band-aids. You speak of Palo Alto as if they haven't cut either. How can you honestly expect school districts to continuously backfill State obligations to fund education with parcel taxes? What's worse, parcel taxes for backfill are an affront to equalization and violate the spirit of Serrano. Take your beef with school funding to the State, where it properly belongs. They've been defunding education well before the recession hit.


Posted by jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Stacey,

If you mean by that parcel taxes allow wealthy school districts to afford better schools than poorer school districts, I'm for it. On top of that, a band aid is better than nothing.


Posted by jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm

"Many Pleasanton residents put their kids through PUSD before CSR; they volunteered, donated, started PPIE, and supported unification and two bond measures."

I'll be blunt. 30 years ago Pleasanton schools sucked. They were no better than Livermore or Dublin (in fact Dublin and Pleasanton were unified). They got better for a while, and now they are sinking back.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm

"How will you hold your representative's feet to the fire?"

Do any of you people really think you're holding anyone's feet to the fire by saying not voting for a parcel tax? You think you are sending a message to anyone? Do you really think that?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

jack, they didn't suck. THere are lots of very successful adults who were the students back then. Dublin had some of their schools in Pleasanton. Unification changed that to meet city borders.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

By the way, if you want to fix the problem, all that's needed is to convert school employee pensions to a program similar to what the federal government went to in the eighties, with Social Security and 401k style plan. Done right, it will eliminate the unfunded pension liabilities.

As far as paying teacher's and principal's salaries, jack up taxes high enough to pay them. They aren't over paid. As far as tenure goes, for the most part, leave it alone. We're getting along fine. Sure there are some real dolts on the payroll who should probably be let go, but it isn't that big a problem, and not nearly as big as some people make it out to be. Not a top priority in my book.


Posted by jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Kathleen,

There are successful adults from some of the worst schools in Oakland or Stockton, but I wouldn't send my kids to them. A school is only as good as its test scores (SAT, ACT, AP, and the like), and scores weren't that great in those days.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 15, 2012 at 8:28 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

jack,

The historical data shows gains (I looked at Amador SAT data), but I still don't think it sucked way back when (I looked at 1989-99, which was the oldest available). Web Link Other data is available if you want to look at it. I assume you know the total score (1600 then and 2400 now) changed in 2005-06, so you can't look at an average of 1107 in 98-99 and compare it directly to an average of 1747 for 2011. And this also doesn't factor in the changes in socio-economic makeup of the community over that 12 year period either.

By the way, test scores are only one measure of a school or district. You could probably get all 2400s if you screened students for ability and then made them eat, sleep, and drink testing. Wouldn't want my kids to have gone to that kind of school either.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

Kathleen,

"And this also doesn't factor in the changes in socio-economic makeup of the community over that 12 year period either."

I was talking about a 30 year period, but yes that is major part of it. Pleasanton was a lot more of a backward hillbilly town back then.

"By the way, test scores are only one measure of a school or district."

They're the ones that matter.

"You could probably get all 2400s if you screened students for ability and then made them eat, sleep, and drink testing."

I wouldn't have a big problem with that (2400 SATs, 5 on AP tests,...). Look at Quarry Lane School. There is plenty of "teaching to the test" there, and people are paying $25,000+ per year to attend.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

john, I didn't find 30 years of data and that would have been just before our first move here. That time period was just prior to a change in administration that turned a pretty good district into a very good one. It brought unification, K-12 curriculum alignment, improved facilities . . . and while there were some cuts in the early 90s, there was money in the bank.

Have to disagree about test scores; there is so much more to a having a good learning environment. There's a lot to recommend Quarry Lane School if you have the money. Web Link I would choose it were it up to me to decide.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 11:32 am

Did choose it for one of mine. It was mainly about the test scores for me.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

john, I would think the high number of teachers with advanced degrees is important. Stats show class size is 18:1. Are some classes smaller? Do you like the school? How about your child? Sincere questions that might sway someone in this household.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Bill,

Blackmail works when you have something you don't want known.
Kidnapping works when you have someone you don't want hurt.

Unless and until you are willing to deprive the blackmailer and kidnapper of the leverage they have by refusing to pay regardless of consequences, they will continue to use blackmail and kidnapping as a means of getting what they want from you.

Mike


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Kathleen,

It has been five years since we had a kid in Quarry Lane. We liked the smaller classes and academic focus. Didn't like the teacher turnover at the time. For us, not worth the money.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

From what I recall, at the time the lower grades had larger class size than the upper, I guess because the school was fairly new.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Mike,

I think you've figured the end game wrong here. I don't think there will be some kind of bounce from the bottom. I thing the schools will just get bad and stay bad if our only course of action is to refuse all tax increases. We'll just hit bottom and stay there if we don't do anything else. We'll just end up with rotten schools and administrators retiring early with bloated pensions.

Like I said above, I think the main problem, and the one that should be the focus of our efforts, should be pension reform. The rest of it is just noise.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I agree pension reform is the real issue. And when it is tackled comprehensively there is a better chance for taxes.

I don't think people in California will allow the schools to go bad when we're still paying prison guards 6 figure salaries and have too many gov't agencies etc. People are going to have to think about what they value, who they vote for and who owns the votes of the people they vote for. There have been some very expensive and ridiculous bills voted for even recently that demonstrate how "owned" many politicians are.

I hope people are paying attention. Because every time you vote these people back in office you are saying you are fine with their policies, their spending plans, and how they prioritize keeping status quo for certain groups of people while penalizing school children.


Posted by 3O is NO ! , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Bill, you are falling for the 30 campaign tactic...to scare you with threats. Newsflash....schools are never going to see a penny from 30 anyway. Don't be so gullible. It's unions first, last, and always, when they trick you with a general fund proposition. Unions are underfunded too...a real crime against taxpayers. Brown got nothing from them last week, except for NEW HIRES !! sorta like winning ICE in WINTER ! NEW hires will retire in THIRTY (30) years!!! Right now, WE are still on the hook for 30 years, until somebody has a spine and cares enough to actually save CA ! Right now, nobody seems to care....including neutered Brown ! Arnold tried harder than Jerry did last week. Jerry failed with his last day of the legislative session CON job !! But, you bought it ! !
Schools will be without even if 30 passes.!!
IF you MUST vote on something, vote 38, which is designated FOR schools (30 is NOT).
To be safe with two bad choices, it has to be neither, then go for
a proper, reasonable parcel tax for pleasanton. iF 30 wins, it will be NO parcel either. I'm not pay both 30 and a parcel, and the Board wasn't smart enough avoid 30, which has zero guaranteed for schools...just more slick political talk for the ignorant and gullible.
No on both.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm

John,

Tough love.

No on 30.

Mike


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