Posted by Julie, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:09 am
In spite of some of the passionate arguments presented in these blogs and around town, the proposed tax has virtually no chance of achieving the necessary two thirds favorable vote required to implement a new tax. And that just isn’t going to change, regardless of how many forums are held. I implore the district to use the substantial amount of money that a special election will cost in the classroom.
Posted by John Adams, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:32 am
I agree completely with Julie.
And a note to Joan Laursen: Online petitions are virtually worthless, for the same reason these forums don't carry the weight of meeting attendance. To make an impression you have to get real paper and hit the streets.
Posted by Chris, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:35 am
The election cost is just a drop in the bucket. This is a financial crisis. The people of Pleasanton have the right to vote on this issue. That's the way democracy works. Have you ever been surprised that something passed that you thought never had a chance?
Posted by Richard, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:37 am
Cost reductions have been a fact of life in the private sector for some time now. Government services are well behind the curve on this. No one likes to see it happen, but there will have to be some substantial cost reductions implemented. A new tax is simply the wrong approach.
I’m going to borrow a quote that I read elsewhere on this site, because I thought it made a lot of sense.
“It’s often been said that the taxpayer pays for every government service at least twice through administration fees and actual service costs. Of course, if you pass a tax on yourself to fund something that is traditionally covered by another tax you pay for it at least twice again.”
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:03 am
“It’s often been said that the taxpayer pays for every government service at least twice through administration fees and actual service costs."
That's what happens when you vote for representatives who like to increase taxes and expand government programs. Do the right thing and elect representatives who believe in tax cuts and reduce government spending! Hold on to your wallet in the next 4 years people!
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:11 am
How about we shut down the administrative offices and not make any cuts from the classroom. When Sacramento and Washington scream for all the reports they want, we can say, you pay for them, you'll get them. I personally don't see any benefit to the Department of Education except to creat a ton of high paying Government jobs with lifelong benefits attached to a defined benefit pension plan that no private sector employees have because they are to expensive.
Posted by parent, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:13 am
Cut backs are one thing. Decimating our educational delivery in the classroom is something else. If our children do not get the educational foundation they need to succeed, all of our futures will be impacted.
It's about time Sacramento started to take children seriously. Ranking 47th in the country in educational spending is a disgrace that none of us should be willing to live with.
Posted by another Julie, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:14 am
I voiced the same thoughts at the Tuesday night meeting.
The board used poor logic in choosing not to do a survey because it would likely give similar results as the survey taken a year ago. That survey indicated overwhelmingly that a parcel tax would not pass. Four of the board members indicated they would ignore the results of a new survey. While I do not want more money spent on another survey, without indication that the superintendents campaigning at the school sites has changed the potential to pass a tax, it is irresponsible to spend the money on a parcel tax campaign and a special election.
To divide the community and spend money on a special election for a parcel tax that will not pass is irresponsible.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:21 am
Pleasanton today isn't what it was a couple of years ago. In recent years, there has been a constant influx of families with school-age children moving into the area. Just take a look around your neighborhood. Six new families with young children moved into my block in the past 8 months alone. I would be surprised if we don't have the 2/3 majority to pass a parcel tax.
If we can make our properties more appealing to young families in the current economy by investing a couple of hundred bucks a year, that works for me. I'm all for a parcel tax.
Posted by Linda, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:27 am
the people of Pleasanton need to do their homework and look around at other communities. San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek and Livermore have had parcel taxes levied for their schools for years. Even Oakland passed a parcel tax. It is amazing to me that the school district has gotten this far without a parcel tax. If you want to keep your property values stable and your test scores at competitive with the districts around you, people are going to invest a little in their schools.
Posted by Dood, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:39 am
Linda is right. PUSD has done a wonderful job shielding us from a parcel tax for many years. Many districts in the surrounding area have had parcel tax for a good number of years. Don't be so shortsighted! Hurting our schools will in-turn hurt YOUR property value. We all have a vested interest in this to make it work.
Posted by Lucky Guy, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:41 am
That's the problem, the school district is NOT run like a business and it needs to be. They say they do but they are not. The best thing I have ever seen them do is "pat themselves on the back and say how great they are". I put two kids through the district, they are good but not great. They could be but they are not even the top rated school district in the Tri-Valley....anyway, a plan should have been created for the possible and inevitable "5 million or 10 million deficits" long ago. Afterall, school budgets are tied to the State Budget and it fluctuates. No thought put to that possibly. Let some top business people look at the books and I guarantee you a balanced budget could be met. We elect non-pros to the Board (not their fault and God Bless their passion) who then rely on Staff Studies by Administrative Staff to provide info. It's possible the Staff Reports could be slanted one way or another. I am not saying that has happened but it could. You want your cake and eat it too but now there is no cake, just a small cup cake so improvise and find creative ways. A parcel tax won't happen. You cannot rely on a $230,000 plus School Superintendant to do it. Live within your means-a lesson lost in this generation. My parents generation was able to find ways to make things work and they fought wars to boot. By the way have any of you seen what college books are costing now--$200 per for some---greed. My first suggestion--stop watering the grass, especially when it is raining. Duh---
Posted by annoyed parent, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:51 am
I would just like to point out that during the economic boom years, teachers weren't getting rich off of stock options, ridiculous bonuses, increased salaries, etc. Instead, they were still just plodding along with the usual step and column raises. The private sector and the public sector are totally different.
Posted by Ralph, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:14 am
“I would just like to point out that during the economic boom years, teachers weren't getting rich off of stock options, ridiculous bonuses, increased salaries, etc. Instead, they were still just plodding along with the usual step and column raises.”
Who are these people that get these ridiculous salaries and bonuses anyway? Most of us have seen our self funded retirement plans fail to the point that the new strategy is work until you have the privilege of skipping out on your last medical bill.
Let’s not spend too much time lamenting the fate of the poor union protected government worker. After all, the tortoise seems to be running a pretty good race.
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:24 am
Jim - the tax that we are paying now to PUSD goes directly to infrastructure/construction of the schools... making them safe, etc. It has nothing to do with Education in the schools. You need to take a good, hard look at the Measure's we're paying on. We cannot simply "shift" that money to education because that is not what the voters voted on when they passed those measures years ago. This is where the Parcel Tax would come in. This is why it is so important to seriously READ the measures that are put in front of the voters. I can tell you now, I WILL vote for a parcel tax where the money goes directly to our classrooms.
How much is already on our tax bill for schools? When does it expire?
In 1998, the citizens of Pleasanton passed their second general obligation bond to support schools, Measure B. The funds raised from Measure B, along with the previous Measure A, go to capital (building) projects. Supported projects included new schools (Hearst Elementary and Hart Middle), new classroom buildings (such as at Foothill and Amador Valley), and modernization projects (such as Fairlands, Alisal, Valley View, and Lydiksen). There are about 15 years remaining to complete the repayment of the two bonds. On your tax bill, you will see a line item for “School Unified.” The current rate is about $76 per $100,000 of assessed value. This rate is estimated to drop to about $45 in 2014, $18 in 2015. and $2 in 2021. Money raised from this type of bond cannot be used for operational expenses.
Posted by Concerned!!!!, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:40 am
In response to Kim's posting - NO WHERE on that web page did it say anything about a Salary Tax. Please, tell us where you saw this!!??? In addition, a Salary Tax was never discussed at any meetings. So if this is your own wording to describe a Parcel Tax, the exaggerations & dramatic assumptions are not necessary.
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:50 am
Jim, I am just curious to know who said the Parcel Tax is going directly to salaries. I understand the current economic issues. We are all living it right now (including my family) & we are all in this together. I just find it sad to have all of this come down on our children. It is not their fault our State Government cannot figure out how to budget our money, as it's not our fault either. The Parcel Tax will be very specific in what it is going to fund. Should salaries be included on that, I'd be with you in hesitating to approve it. I truly believe it will go to our classrooms, keeping class size reduction, etc.
I know that overall, our children's education starts at home. We are very involved with my son's school (my daughter has not started school yet, but will in 2 years). I work full time, as does my husband. Our evenings include dinner time, going over school work, getting prepared for the next day, etc. These are my children & it is my responsibility to ensure they are doing their best & we are providing the environment for them to succeed. It becomes more difficult however, when that "environment" becomes diminished because of lack of funds, etc. We moved out of the East Bay (over the hill) so my children wouldn't be in the environment we were in. I hate to see that begin to slip away, should that end up being the case.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:59 am
Assuming a parcel tax is used to fund only CSR, what constitutes CSR? Let's not be naive about what the money would go towards. CSR requires more classrooms and teachers. How do those teachers get paid for?
Posted by Not A Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:02 am
I support education and see the benefit to all of us (with or without children) to have high ranking schools. However, I live close to Foothill High School and every year see the cars driven by both students and parents and it seems to me there is no lack of funding available through increased parental participation.
Instead of taxing all of us, why not start with the people directly impacted. Are the students required to purchase a parking pass? Do parents currently make monetary contributions for each child they have in the school district? In addition, all areas of compensation need to be reviewed and realigned where possible-this is happening to all of us. Once those areas are explored then approach us with the least amount of parcel tax increase needed.
Posted by A Lifetime Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:03 am
…………… Without the parcel tax to help the schools, your $1M home will worth only a fraction of its value today in a couple of years ………………
I’m sorry but that is just a silly and sensationalistic scare tactic. Fortunately the residents of Pleasanton are far too intelligent to fall for such nonsense. Every district in the state will be making some modifications to their budget. All ships rise and fall with the tide. And it is well documented that our schools were exceptionally well rated long before the big cash influx of the last few years.
Posted by Very Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:03 am
How about PUSD starts by showing us that they're willing to stop their excessive spending by renegotiating Casey's contract?
It's absurd the amount of money we're paying Casey to do what he does and he's not even good at it. The board made a costly mistake and now it's time to fix it.
When that happens, I'll support a parcel tax.
Superintendent Dr. John Casey is employed under a contract which ends June 30, 2010. His annual salary is $227,002, with a 12-month work calendar and 24 days of vacation. Medical and other health insurance may be purchased at his sole expense, and the District contributes $5,000 annually for life insurance premiums. At the completion of each year of the contract where he has worked at least 85% of the days, he receives a payment of $10,000 into a tax-sheltered annuity. He receives $1,000 per month as a transportation allowance and membership in professional organizations as appropriate and necessary. When Dr. Casey moved to Pleasanton, he received a $200,000 loan to help purchase a home in the community. This loan is interest free and must be repaid within 18 months of the termination of his employment. There is no provision or expectation that the loan would be “forgiven.” The current balance of this loan is $190,000.
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:13 am
Not A Parent: I agree with you, completely. We contribute to the school when we register & throughout the year... to the PTA, the Science & Technology fund, etc. I don't speak for everyone, but I think the majority of parents do contribute to the school directly. I know I've donated supplies to my son's classrooms, even after purchasing everything required at the beginning of the year. Trust me, we get a LIST of supplies to purchase, and we (my family) do so willingly. I have the entire summer to come up with everything, so spread out over months, it's easier. It's a few hundred $$, in addition to the monetary donations we make at registration & throughout the year. I think a parking fee would help the individual High School, but in elementary, that doesn't help us. I think (hope) most of the parents are doing their part, but beacuse it's a public school system, the district cannot "require" parents to give money. Requiring that makes the schools private.
We wouldn't know what specifically would be on a Parcel Tax until the measure is written. I just think that we should all calm down & give it a chance to be written, see what is on it, then go from there. Assuming it would only go to salaries, is just that, an assumption. We don't know until it is written.
Posted by patron of Main St, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 11:46 am
Not a Parent has the right idea. Charge the kids who drive for a parking pass, we paid to pave and maintain the parking lot. Even better would be to charge a fee every time some lazy kid gets driven to school or picked up by a parent. The kids can walk or ride a bike, we did and we lived to tell about it. That would cut down on the needless traffic surrounding the schools and the cell phone talking drivers who fly through the crosswalks and intersections before and after school without thinking. Check out the school parking lots and the lines of mommies picking up the kids -- not many old and rundown cars. If these parents can afford to buy their kid a fancy car they can afford to pay my share of the parcel tax too.
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Lets all shed a tear for the residents paying "twice that amount" of property tax on thier 2 million home - boo hoo.
I'm pretty sure they didn't afford it through thier teaching job.
You can debate the value of the unions, the value of the school district, the pay of the adminstrator, the cost of providing a school for the children to attend, the usefulness of PE teachers, whether all government is a pig at the trough, etc.. etc.. ect.. till the cows come home.
But you miss the point, it is not about any of that. It about the children. When you say the schools will have to make due with less teachers, less counselors, less activities, less... you are saying to our children that thier education is not valuable, they are not worth the investment, our community is not worth the investment, wow!
All the other debate around this (whether or not you home value is effected, whether teachers or administrators are overpaid, whether we are over taxed etc..) is all aimed at appealing to all on this board on the most selfish levels, on both sides of the argument.
But is is not about that, that is all red herring, it is about the children.
I support the tax, although I don't live in a 2 million dollar mansion. It will be a sacrafice to me, like most of you.
I have to admit, I am really disappointed (even saddend) in my community, the fingerpointing, the naysaying, the me, me, me, additiude. This and other threads have been full of attacks, inuendos, etc.. but really no viable solutions, other than let someone else pay for it. Yes these are indeed hard times, but they were not made so at the hands of the children.
Hopefully this board is represents the minority, and the healthy unselfish part of the community is busy or not participating.
Posted by patron of Main St, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm
38 year resident -- you miss the point. It is supposed to be a SHARED SACRIFICE. Where is the sharing from the district regarding their salaries? They want money out of my pocket to pay their raises and I will never vote for that. SHARE the sacrifice, take a pay cut like nearly everyone else in this town. Only after every single person, from Casey on down, takes a pay cut will they even get my attention long enough for me to consider a parcel tax. A parcel tax funds their salaries and raises, it does NOT save the children.
Posted by Joe the Plumber, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm
"Not a Parent" and "patron": I DISAGREE with you two, completely. Are you suggesting that we should "punish" people for being able to afford nice wheels or being successful in what they do? Give me a break!
Taxes paid by those wealthy folks support a good chunk of local services that we all enjoy. It's nonsense and wrong to think that wealthy people should foot the bill for everything. This is insane. Having great schools benefit EVERYONE in the community so it's fair that everyone should bare some of the burden.
I should also remind you two that we odd to be thankful that the rich are still spending their money on luxury wheels. Our economy and our jobs depend on it!
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 12:27 pm
Maybe if you require that the parcel tax be used strictly in the classroom, without any corresponding classroom reductions from the district, and freeze all administration salaries until the parcel tax expires, you might, and I stress might be able to pass it. In the meantime, consider getting rid of the idiots in Sacramento who got us into this mess. When one of the richest States in the country is ranked 45th in education, only we are to blame for electing people who have no clue how to run a business. And don't let anyone fool you, there is no endless supply of money, there has to be a bottom line ( read net profit ) in order for a business or state to survive.
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm
After reading these comments, I realize there are a lot of people that have no idea how school funding works and what the parcel tax would actually cover. You can't just move money and the school is not asking for more money. They are asking for us to replace what the state is cutting. All of the surrounding cities have passed parcel taxes and I wonder why Pleasanton is so set against it. I am obviously for the parcel tax, but even for those who will ultimately be against it, please make that decision on real information not just the desire to attack the schools and teachers. For most people, if they asked for the full amount to balance the budget, it is less than $1 a day. You could make yourself coffee at home instead of going to starbucks and cover it.
San Ramon Valley Unified is in Contra Coata County
ADA limit is 5,501 API base score 893
Pleasanton, Alameda Co
ADA limit is 6,199 API base score 893
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) Board of Trustees voted to place a measure on a mail-only ballot that will be mailed to voters in April. The “Excellence in Education Act” would protect teachers and academic programs in local classrooms if it garners the 67% vote needed for passage. The $144 annual parcel tax carries a term of seven years, and would replace the district’s existing parcel tax that expires in June 2009.
The District received 63% of the vote in its attempt to pass a $166 parcel tax last June (67% needed for passage), and is now asking the community for a lower amount. “We know that this will not come close to bridging the gap we are seeing in State funding, but we want the voters of the community to know that we listened to them and that we fully understand the impact of the slumping economy,” said Enoch.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm
The students do pay to park at Foothill High. It is minimal and it could be increased. Anyone with a student knows to "bring your checkbook" to registration. In addition, the first week of school you write numerous checks for science, Spanish, etc. There is also the Academic Boosters and the Athletic Boosters....
Why doesn't the district sell the elementary school land on Vineyard? They already lost enough money trying to sue the developer. Did they really think a developer with attorneys would sign an agreement to build a school at any time at any cost? The district will never build the school. That is reality. Get rid of it now. I know, real estate values have decreased, but some money is better than no money.
I will not vote for the Parcel Tax because I don't believe the district will manage the money properly.
Posted by patron of Main St, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm
for Pleasanton Mom -- save the "make your coffee at home" sarcasm for someone else. I don't care if the parcel tax was one penny per day I would vote it down because the district is not responsible enough to run their business like a business.
If you feel that one dollar per day is so insignificant then please pay mine as well as yours. And I will continue to drink my coffee at home or anywhere else that I choose.
Posted by An Equally Concerned Parent, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:54 pm
Thanks for the web links. That was VERY enlightening. I was kind of shocked at the average teaching salary in Pleasanton ($81,446, plus retirement benefits). I guess I will be ignoring any further postings regarding this “impoverished” class. It also seems like the extra $15,000 per teacher is not buying much compared to the San Ramon District.
Posted by Not a Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm
To Concerned Parent and Parent (resident of Foothill Knolls)
Thank you for answering my questions. Sometimes it is hard to sort through all of the rhetoric when one is not directly involved with the system and I do not want to have a knee jerk reaction to the parcel tax increase one way or the other. This is too important of a topic and I appreciate the comments being posted.
Posted by An Equally Concerned Parent, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm
Wow … no wonder we have so many applicants each year. If this site is accurate Pleasanton is paying a substantially higher rate than any other district I have checked. Including those that are ranked above us on test scores.
Posted by parent, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm
Teachers salaries in Pleasanton appear higher than other districts, but the teachers MUST buy their own health care. For a family of four, this can cost upwards to $2000 per month depending on if you take Kaiser, HMO or PPO plans. If you are comparing districts, you need to factor that in. Some districts provide the benefits, others don't.
Posted by Yes, but, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Yes, all employees who CHOOSE benefits pay from their salaries. Many choose not to purchase the benefits because a spouse can cover their family AND the stipend for benefits (around $10,000 at the time) was rolled onto the salary schedule years ago. This helped retiring staff members achieve their highest year of pay for calculations that determine their retirement income. Grant it, benefits have increased faster than the COLA, but I wonder if plan options have changed to decrease the cost to employees.
Posted by Ricky, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm
First of all, if someone is paying 2K a month for their family health benefits, they are getting the worst deal in the nation. This also assumes the other parent has no participation in the payment. And that is pretty substantial pay for what is essentially a nine and a half month, fairly low pressure job. AND there is a pension!
Posted by teacher, a resident of another community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm
I can see why some people might be opposed to a parcel tax and appreciate that some of you are more interested in understanding all of the facts of the situation before making a decision. What I can't understand is the anti-teacher sentiment reflected here. Most teachers are hard-working, dedicated professionals and on a day-to-day basis the job is more stressful than you might think. In fact, in many survey's, teaching (education) is among the top 10 most stressful jobs.
I don't intend to persuade anyone here on the issue of a parcel tax. I merely want to let you know that I work hard (well beyond the scheduled school day or school year), care about my students, and am fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. I suspect that most of my colleagues feel the same way. I will also readily admit that compared to teachers in other areas, I make a good living. Though compared to other individuals with comparable educations, I make significantly less. Everyone knows teachers go into the profession to make a difference, not a ton of money.
Up until now I have always felt respected and supported by the community. I hope that rational dialogue about the budget situation can continue without the "teacher bashing."
Posted by An Equally Concerned parent, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm
I had no idea that Pleasanton teachers made that kind of money. Even if you take 10K a year out for health benefits, that would be the equivalent of nearly a 100K position with a pension plan, health benefits, and a one week paid vacation for an average teacher if the pay was annualized. ($81,446 minus 10K, divided by 185 working days, times by 5 days a week, times 51 weeks a year = $98,479.62) I think we have some room to work here before we start talking about a tax to supplement the other taxes. That’s not bashing. It’s just reality.
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm
To the individual who said the Private Sector does not have the "Benefits, Retirement or Security of Public Sector Employees" -- you forgot one "the low salaries"
And what type of security were you referring to? Oh thats right the Layoff notices that are going out March 15.
Ricky - Where did you get the idea that spending the day with 20-34 kids of any age trying to educate, a broad base of students was low preassure. Certainly even Stacey would agree you're dead wrong.
BTW - $10,000/12 is approx $815/mo -- looks like you could have spent more on your division.
As to patron of Main St -- the district cut some $2 Million from its budget last year. It is quite convenient to attack the administration or teachers. This ignores the fact that the school district did not waste the $ 8 million on some boondogle (like the banks post bailout). It just went away, to the banks, for thier post bailout boondogle (I digress). The school district was fully public about its contract both with teachers and with the super. Where was your voice when things were good. Where you at the school board meetings, imploring the board to save for the impending doom. Did Stacey fight the CSRs then, of course not. It is Monday morning and we all want to second guess (quarterback) after the fact.. Really we want to throw stones. Because we all know if 'patron of Main St', 'resident of another' and Stacey had been in charge, we would not be in this mess. Oh and they would have agreed to work for less that the market was offering for thier hard earned PHD in public administration. Because we all know how altruistic they are. Really lets try to drum up as much negative emotion as we can because we are bitter that we could not ask our employer to make it affordable for us to live in the community (which is typically expected of adminstrators in gov't offices.)
Hmm - wonder if any City Officials have similar arrangments. (police, fire , City Manager as is typical in most bay area cities) -
Posted by Parent, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm
It is unfortunate that to counter the "teachers are over worked and under paid" mantra many of us feel that we must show that is not true. Certainly in Pleasanton teachers are showered with support and well paid. When we are discussing budget issues and teachers salary is more than 80% of the budget it is relevant to the discussion. I don't think it is bashing to give facts.
Looking at the ED-Data it is clear why Pleasanton needs more money than San Ramon. It is not more books for our kids it is the much higher salaries. That is not bashing but it is relevant.
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm
An Equally Concerned parent -- You numbers are not correct.
First, the number of work days for teachers do not equate with classroom days (more like 205 days) second the standard days of work used for 12 month employees is 220 days not 255
52 - 3 weeks vacation and sick - 10 holidays
220/205 * 82000 = 88000. If you use the 185 Day Number it comes to $97000.
If you subtract the benefit stipend - it annualized to $77 and 86 K respectively
Really not on par with the pay that folks with advanced degrees and 12 years of experience get paid in industry. (Last survey I saw for this area had that around $125K plus benefits - I will try to find the link)
The teachers most likely to get laid off are paid lower.
OH and San Ramon does not have a high school in the top 400 nationally - Ptown has two
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm
38 year resident,
I'm flattered by your love affair with me. Show us that you really care about the children by advocating just as strongly for education reforms at the State level as you do for a parcel tax in your own negative emotional fashion. Leaving the rest of California's children to fate and funding this community's children can be seen as equally selfish.
Posted by Ptown Mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm
Where does that top 400 come from?
If it is the Newsweek rank, that is based on how many AP tests are taken by the students(Paid for by parents at $100 each). It does not matter how many of the tests are passed just how many are taken. The AP tests are pressured on students to achieve that false honor.
San Ramon has the same API base score of 893.
Even with San Ramon's parcel tax Pleasanton has more than $600 per student more to work with.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Carriage Gardens neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm
I really wish you all would take a fraction of the time you take to post blogs to instead go to one of the budget forums, or better yet, go to a board meeting. Show your face, say your name, and state your position. Stop hiding anonymously behind these blogs.
Posted by Dood, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm
Wow...that's shocking! Teachers have to work on a minimum wage and that doesn't even include benefits? Even the highest offer is only $98,045. The fresh college grads I hire these days get paid a starting salary of $101,275 a year. Stocks, insurance, and 401K matching are provided to my new hires at no cost to them. It's no wonder no one wants to be a teacher.
They need to bring adjust those salaries up to par to attract good talents. I can't even imagine living with those wages...that's sad. You've really got my attention now...Wow!
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm
You are talking nonsense. I have just had two kids graduate from top colleges with business and engineering degrees. I was surprised at how low the starting salaries are and they are expected to work 60 hour a week.
Posted by Dood, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm
Inheriting an attitude like yours is probably keeping them from getting a decent paying job. Nearly all of my new hires come from employee referrals so just having a degree and coming out of top colleges won't cut it these days. It's who you know...pissing people off with your kind of attitude won't get you anywhere.
Posted by Off the fence, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm
I must admit it’s a bit hard to figure out where Dude is coming from. There is very little chance that he is an actual employer, based on his scattered comments.
But the rest seems pretty clear. Salaries are 80% of the budget. Pleasanton pays more to its employees than any other district by a fairly wide margin. The district gets more per student than any of the surrounding areas. And it’s still not enough. Something has to give. And it is pretty unlikely it will be an increased tax assessment.
Posted by Confused, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm
I am so confused about the discrepancies I see posted throughout this blog.
First of all, I keep seeing references to the parcel taxes paying salaries. Obviously this would not be acceptable for the money to go solely to salaries, but who do you expect to teach the children. Should we take the parcel tax money and dump it into supplies and technology and just let the kids have at it. If you want smaller class sizes with more attention to each student, you need to have the teachers to teach in the classrooms. The teachers need to get a salary. They wouldn't expect you to do your job for free, so please stop insinuating that the teachers should.
Second, as a teacher, it is really hurtful to be pegged as a money grubbing, selfish leach. I work very hard and I care very deeply for the children in my classroom and at my school. I work long hours, despite what many of you might believe, and am not done at 3 o'clock as implied. Even when I leave school, I am taking work home, contacting parents, and working on preparing projects to better the education of those in my classroom. I am not asking for millions of dollars. I am asking to get paid my salary, which is comparative to other teachers withing the Tri-Valley area. What we are looking at in the district is not a few new teachers losing their jobs. I think most of us expect that to happen each year due to cost cutting. What we are looking at this year will decimate our school system. I have been in this district for 6 years and will certainly be losing my job as will many beloved teachers who have been here a lot longer than I have. Even if the parcel tax does go through, Pleasanton will still be making major budgetary cuts. We received a 4 page list of cuts that are likely to be made and already our spending for the year has been cut off. Pleasanton is not going into this lightly, but they need help.
I saw reference to Pleasanton not planning for this issue. PUSD had a rainy day fund, but with the swift cut of the education budget that money was gone. It was taken last year when PUSD was trying to prevent suggesting a parcel tax for the residents of Pleasanton. That money is gone. We are not receiving more funding.
I also have seen numerous references to the teachers receiving so many perks working in Pleasanton, such as medical care and tax benefits. FYI - Pleasanton teachers pay their own benefits. $500 or more dollars come out of our salary every month to pay for our luxurious Kaiser benefits that barely cover our basic care. As far as taxes, we can't write off the supplies we purchase for our classrooms with our own money. Those supplies are covered only by the teachers with no benefit for supplying them besides knowing that the kids will get a good education.
I've seen many references to the need for parents at particular schools to pay for the great education they are receiving. Don't forget that not all schools in this district are created equally. We have several schools that are not stocked with families living in million dollar homes. Funding at additional schools will not solve the problem for those schools that do not have the funding and parent attention that some schools have. If you neglect those schools, property values will still go down if test scores go down. Oh, and the talk of raising funds are particular schools for keeping teachers at that school won't work either because A) PTA can't pay for salaries and B) the district's seniority list prevents saving specific teachers.
Finally, for those of you that are against the parcel tax because you have grown children or no children at all, this budget cut will still affect you. If Pleasanton shortens the school year 5 days as suggested, that is 5 more days kids are going to be unsupervised and wandering through town. If the class sizes go up, test scores will go down. This will affect your property values when you go to sell your home. The parcel tax committee is looking into a senior exemption, as well, to minimize the costs of the elderly that may already be struggling to make ends meet.
Now, after stating that, the best thing we all can do is not sit online an bicker about whether or not we should have a parcel tax. There are some very convincing writers on here - please channel your energies into something that will benefit us all. Contact the governor and our state assembly people and let them know what you think about the education budget being cut as it is. If we can prevent or minimize some of the cuts from the state, we are less likely to need to take the drastic measures at the local level. If you go to the following website, you can easily contact numerous lawmakers at the same time and voice your thoughts: Web Link
Posted by Beth, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm
I have attended meetings but feel tat the information given is very lop-sided. I am still using these blogs to gain other perspectives and while some is anecdotal, other is informative. I appreciate the links people are providing. I also feel I have a good enough head for numbers to understnad how the majority of the school budget goes for salaries and thus a parcel tax IS directly linked to examining that aspect. I do not intend to demean or belittle the work our teachers do when I want to know exactly what they receive so please do not take my comments as negative in that way.
I want to question 38 Year Resident's numbers and dispute of the number of work days. First, while you say 185 teacher days is incorrect, how do you come up with 205? Please explain. I would contend that is way overstated. You also seem to imply that teachers do not get sick days as other sectors do and that is not true. And while many holidays fall during school breaks, they do get some holidays that other sectors do not, namely Veterans Day, and this coming Monday as Lincoln's birthday (in addition to the following week's Presidents Day.)
And what is the top 400 ranking that is referred to? Can you provide a link for that? I have seen the Newsweek list each spring but that is simply based on the number of AP tests taken at the school. I do not give much credence to that number myself and think that a better test gauge would be SAT College Board scores. I believe that San Ramon meets or beats Amador and Foothill in that regard. I saw figures on this about a year ago but have been unable to find a reasonably current source right now. Will post when I do.
Posted by Beth, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm
I also wanted to say that our family with 3 kids has health insurance benefits through my husband's job but we must pay for it also. It costs us about $12,000 per year for medical, dental and vision. We chose one of the best medical plans available to us, a PPO. Our dental and vision did not have good choices and benefits are pretty lousy.
So of the figures mentioned already, I believe that $2,000 per month for benefits is excessive but $10,000 per year may be a bit under.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:14 pm
Thanks for the links. Though those didn't seem to answer my question exactly, they've got bibliographies mentioning other studies that seem to be more of what I'm looking for. These documents talk about the benefits of CSR, but I didn't see anything quantifying by how much test scores increased.
Posted by What's really important?, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm
The notes on this blog are so confusing and contradicting. Here's what I see.
~Education in California is a mess.
~People want the district to be run like a business, education is not a business. We can't sell the kids we produce, and we can't fire under-performing kids.
~PUSD is an amazing district because of the combination of amazing teachers (yeah, not each and every one, but a whole lot of them), involved community members/parents AND the management team.
~The majority of the cost of education is the people (salaries) and the facilities.
~Teachers are in no way overpaid for what they do.
So, what do we want? The state is too much of a mess to save our district. Do we want to do it or do we want to become another crap mediocre school district like most of the others in California? Yes, cuts can and will be made but attacking the salaries of people who work tirelessly with our kids is undignified and uncalled for. Why do you think teachers need unions? So they are not at the mercy of every stinking parent who gets a bug up their butt about a grade, or the way their child was talked to. The unions are not perfect, teachers are not perfect, the community is not perfect. But, we are all in this mess together and we need to prioritize. I personally believe that if we invest in education and continue to help our kids achieve we will be "paid back" many times over. Life is short, education helps people to live more fulfilled and productive lives and allows people to live with financial security. Our school district will suffer from these cuts. And we will all suffer the consequences. I don't say this to scare anyone into anything, it is what I believe will happen.
Posted by Add this, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 9:32 pm
Teachers do have a wonderful pension plan. Totally self-funded which they HAVE TO contribute 8% of their salary into. In addition to the 2k in benefits (yup, it's really that much, my teacher friend just showed me his paycheck!) that they have to take unless they can get them from a spouse. Also, they are not able to deduct classroom expenses anymore and it takes a LONG TIME to get to the top of the pay scale. These people deserve more respect that you all are giving them, they work with your kids. Don't you value your kids enough to be more respectful?
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm
Stacey - I would be happy to come by and collect that tax daily for you if it would make it easier for you!
Patron of Main Street (or whatever your name was) I wasn't being sarcastic - I was putting it in perspective. However, please don't pretend there is any circumstance in which you would support the parcel tax or our schools. It is obvious that you wouldn't. I am just asking the people stop bashing the teachers and schools. Yes, the majority of the money goes to salaries. Of course it does. It is a service. Education is what they provide. Teachers are your largest expense. That doesn't seem that out of whack or surprising. Again, the school is NOT asking for more funding. They are asking us the replace what the state is taking away. This isn't a government bailout where some Executives have mismanaged the funds. It is money that is being taken away. Here today gone tomorrow. Why do people persist in making it sound like those money grubbing teachers aren't teaching our kids and darn thing and now are asking for more money? That isn't it.
Posted by Matt, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2009 at 10:55 pm
There will be cuts. If parcel tax is passed, cuts will still be made. Not enough money will be collected from parcel tax to cover $8.7m shortfall.
On "Salary Tax" as in parcel tax, who is teaching the kids? The teachers! In education, you need teachers, human, to teach. There is no automation in here, can't put robots to teach.
We can become idealistic, try to resolve this at state level, or take things into our own hands and control what we can control. I can't control what's going on in the state; we can only influence what's happening at state level. But, we can do something about our own school, community, and have consistent and stable funding to ensure we have adequate resource to provide good school.
We can bicker and argue as much as we want, but find a solution, not arguing for the sake of it.
If you don't like parcel tax, then help to influence the state assembly, politician to ensure that the education funding is not impacted much.
Posted by Jerry, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:39 am
One would think PUSD Administration would have a good idea of exactly where the funds from a parcel tax will be applied(line by line).
If they haven't already, it would be helpful if they would just come out and say, "Line by line, this is where the funds will be applied". I have an idea they know and are holding the meetings at the various school sites merely as a marketing tool and "See, we value your input".
What exactly is the purpose of the "Budget Advisory Committee". From what I've read so far, it seems to be top heavy with people that could be directly touched by budget cuts, although, I did read that several parents and, if I'm not mistaken, several "community leaders" were members.
At this time, I haven't decided "yea" or "nay", but from what I've observed while watching the board meetings on TV28, if you are "nay" your opinion isn't as valued, by some board members, as the "yea" crowd opinion. In my opinion, one board member in particular should realize that his attitude toward people that participate on this forum isn't helping his cause. Although his attitude won't sway my vote one way or the other, it would seem he should realize he needs all the support he can garner.
One "plus" that was stated by someone(don't recall who)at the last board meeting - If a parcel tax is approved there will be a "Citizens Oversite Committee" to monitor the use of the funds.
Posted by Julie, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 8:03 am
Todays board members and parents that support this parcel tax are sincere and well intended when they talk about restricted use and oversight of the proposed parcel tax.
The reality is it would be foolish to ignore the districts history with the Measure B Bond taxes.
The committee that ran the 1989 Measure B campaign made sincere commitments to the community that the money would be used for specific projects, listed in what is called the Blue Book, and nothing else. They said if all of the money was not needed it would be returned to the taxpayers. They required an oversight committee to ensure compliance.
The last meeting of the oversight committee was 2/2004, five years ago. In the meantime many millions of those dollars have been spent on projects not in the Blue Book. We will continue to pay special property tax assessments for those projects until 2021.
Check your property tax bill to see how much you are already paying to PUSD.
Posted by Need Credibility, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:11 am
It is important to note that all an oversight committee does is certify to the Board that money is being spent properly. They don't direct where money is spent; they have no say in where it does get spent; and they are only certifying documentation provided to them. This does and has worked with the right people in place and with proper items being brought to Board members for approval of the design/bid/build documentation--a public process. It does happen that interest on the bond money and efficiencies in construction have allowed for additional projects to be done--again with the proper chain of approval. If this has not been the process and if this was not what voters approved, then there is little reason to trust a parcel tax, given to the same people, will be handled correctly.
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:15 am
Stacey - no love affair, you just post the more than anybody else (probably double). Would be hard to respond to any of the negative stuff and not include you.
As far as the numbers, to start the 185 days are actual classroom days. As pointed out on the blog (several hundred times) there are 3 official work days. Prior to beginning of the school year and new semester, teachers spend at least a week and a half in their classrooms preparing (14 days),this gets me to 203, I'm sure any of the teachers on the blog could fill in the last 2 days and then some.
Holidays and summer are built into that number. How many MBAs with 12 Yrs experience are getting less than 3 weeks vacation accrual? Not many.
As to the comments about government working like a business, I will have to draw reference from Kieso and Wygant; Business on a business model which includes profit motive, they maximize revenue will minimizing expenses to make a profit to fatten the business owners pockets. Government does not and can not function that way. Government uses the 'Economic Service Model', there is an expected level of service from the constituency within an economic limit (the budget, but the entity has little or no control over the revenues. One could easily argue (and be right) that by trying to get local predictable revenues (parcel tax) the school district has done what you asked, acting more like a business, trying to maximize the revenues.
Since the community is receiving a particular level of service at the current funding (which certainly arose out of constituency expectation) drastic cuts, will require a different expectation. That means the kids will get less. Sure the school district can absorb and should absorb some of the cuts at the current level of service. Like all (bureaucratic) systems they suffer entropy, but there is no way that the size of the cuts required, that service levels will remain intact.
I applaud efforts to try to mitigate the efforts and ensure a uniform education (across California schools) by pushing for adequate state funding to prevent drastic cuts.
I have heard arguments that property values are not impacted by school performance and have previously posted studies that prove they do. One blogger suggest it was merely the perception that our schools were good that protected property values. That the study didn't prove it was actual performance. To that blogger, I ask, where do you think the perception of a good school district comes from? School districts are not magic shows.
Perhaps then we should raise a parcel tax to advertise how good our schools are while they rot, to protect the “perception”.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 9:35 am
38 year resident,
C'mon now, don't be facetious. You love to write about me because you have an infatuation. From the very beginning of your participation on this blog, you've been more interested in attacking posters personally who don't agree with you than in having any meaty discussion. What does me being altruistic have anything to do with whether to pass a parcel tax or not? It must be your obsession with me instead of with the issue.
Posted by Joe, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Feb 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm
So much time, energy and money being wasted:
Fact is our Schools are being forced to cut the budget which means possibly getting rid of much needed programs, I believe we have great Teachers in Pleasanton, however Teaching is a job like any other job that is changing today with freezing wages as well as having mandatory shut downs, I have to tell you that I would rather be Employed than get a 3 or 4% raise that will not effect my lifestyle in the least bit, heck make the reviews and raises every few years. Teachers wages should be froze for now and the district should also look at other ways to cut down the pay while keeping Teachers working, in this day and time there is really no threat of people moving to other companies and the retaining of Employees is not even on the scope as there is no threat. I for one think that in regards to Pleasanton that we should look at a parcel tax for Schools, further more we should all contribute $100.00 per kid, we have 4 to the district as well, Pleasanton Schools rank very high and we can continue to lead the way by example of what it takes for a community to come together and keep our Schools running as normal as possible through these times, after all here in Pleasanton we always hear that "it's about the kids", I know when it comes to sports programs that "its about the kids" is a bunch of crap, but as far as the Schools go we should not only say this, but also truly make it happen. One final note, we also need to make sure that the Parents of kids that live out of the area and use their parents address or friends address so that their kids can benefit from the positives Pleasanton Schools deliver are held accountable to help fund this as well.
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm
In response to your post, who were you referring to when you said "Public Entities are Hogs" - Public entities are made up primarily of public servants.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2009 at 10:22 am
And I'm sure without having to look it up that Palo Alto and Piedmont are also facing cuts, despite having a parcel tax. Livermore certainly is. What do you think are these districts are going to do? Propose an increase in their parcel tax to make up the difference? $500 parcel tax!
PUSD has to make deep cuts before considering proposing a parcel tax. Public entities are hogs that love feeding from the public trough.
Some more condescending post -- but just a sample:
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2009 at 9:27 am
Doom, gloom, and greed.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Do you enjoy repeating propaganda?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm
"This annual fee would not have to be paid by those who rent apartments or homes"
Laura Foster is being disingenuous. While true that property taxes are not paid _directly_ by those who rent, many owners pass on such costs to their renters in rent increases.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 26, 2009 at 9:48 am
"I do believe that with the schools going down hill"
Are they going downhill? How can you tell? How fast are they going to do downhill? Give the kids in school some credit. They're not going to suddenly become dumb in one year.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm
Mac, far from it. I was wondering if PUSD seriously has PE teachers for K-5, if it isn't a joke. It sounds ridiculous if true. (Note: My children have not entered this age group yet.) I went to Fairlands and don't recall having a separate teacher for PE. We did like Long Time said, played basketball, tag, four square, dodge ball, etc. Based upon personal experience, I can't see the need for one. I'd be interested in understanding what the district's justification is for this. Show me the studies...
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2009 at 8:35 am
What is shameful appears to be the lack of critical thinking on this issue. Several posters here seem to be working on the assumption that throwing money at a problem is the way to solve it. I invite them to send their next paycheck to our State legislature.
PE teachers prevent obesity? PE teachers do not purchase all the Nintendo DSes or iPods or junk food for the kids. It is shameful that parents think somehow teachers are going to fill in the holes the parents dug.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm
Looks like this discussion is devolving. It is unfortunate that this budget issue has to get conflated with perceived personal characteristics of staff.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 12, 2009 at 11:54 am
It would be interesting to have the data detailing the number of school districts across the country with PE teachers for elementary school vs. those which don't and the obesity rates in children in those districts. LOL!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm
"I won't back off my claim on home values"
"Which Measures of School Quality Does the Housing Market Value?" Web Link
"The results suggest that the housing market values proficiency test passage rates but not value added by a school district. Therefore, it may be that parents do not choose schooling based on which school districts are best able to improve students’ academic achievement; instead, they appear to choose school systems based on peer group effects"
Note that housing values are based upon a public's perception (or misconception) of what constitutes a "quality school", namely test scores, rather than in the quality of teaching as measured by how the students improve (the value-added measurement). Also found this Web Link "If you look at raw data (I have WA State at hand -- the supposedly "43rd" ranked state in the nation when it comes to funding), you'll see that there is precious little difference, if any, between academic achievement in districts that allocate more money to education than those that can allocate less." I wish I knew what this person was looking at.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm
BTW, proper cost benefit analysis DOES place a monetary value upon all those items that we think can't have one assigned. In order to include the cost of rising obesity rates, it would first have to be shown that PE in elementary school plays a role in that. Does it?
Posted by Sherri, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2009 at 7:32 am
"I don't know how anyone can say "blindly" giving money away. There is plenty of information out there to read."
Indeed! Everything I'm reading tell me that the community is being extorted by Casey. It's either give us more money or we'll hurt your kids and your home values, period. No, we won't consider a pay cut but we would consider programs cut...programs that have direct impact to your kids and home value.
Sorry but I've read enough to know that Casey is not going to give himself, his staff, and those teachers a raise on my back.
Posted by Derek, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm
Pleasanton Mom: I finally figured it out! The state takes away some of the fundings and PUSD is asking us to makeup for that by paying more taxes instead of looking at how they can trim some spending.
The community and taxpayers can tighten their belts and pay more taxes. Meanwhile, Casey continues to get his half-a-million dollar pay check + perks and teachers are still looking at getting a raise this year. That sounds like a great plan. Where should I send my check?
Posted by Ann, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm
"Pleasanton Mom" a resident of the Mission Park,
YOU do not get it....2 mil of the 8.7mil shortfall is for future staff raises (PUSD has $2 mil roll-over cost every year). New money is needed to keep up with their raises, they have been using our reserves to pay their raises.
Without new raises (pay freeze) and if the administration returns their (money grab) raise taken days before the budget crisis was announced, the 3mil in federal bailout money would almost eliminate the "illusion" of need for a parcel tax.
Wake up, this is a SALARY TAX at a time when salaries should be frozen!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2009 at 1:57 am
Derek - They have figured out how they can trim the spending. If you have looked at the list, you will see that what is to be trimmed will make a huge difference in our schools - and not in a good way. This is why many people are supporting a parcel tax.
Ann - Are you referring to COLA? I know they did not give pay raises with the reserves (at least our school didn't). This isn't a "salary tax".
Posted by Ptown Mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 8, 2009 at 7:06 am
You seem to genuinely want to understand what we are saying.
While we don't know how much yet, we acknowledge there will be some cut or lack of increase to state funding. PUSD needs a 2mil increase in funding every year to cover what they call step and column increases. They don't want to call this raises but that is what they would be in the real world (this is hide the pea). These pay increases account for 4mil of the 8.7 shortfall. All pay increases must be frozen until the budget crisis has ended.
The fed stimulus money will be around 3mil for PUSD (they won't acknowledge this funding source because it is not ongoing funding). We have now reduced the 8.7 down to 1.7.
If the unions and management donate back 1.7 (better yet 6% back from management) of their recent raises, until the economy rebounds, we are whole again without any loss of teachers or program.
Sadly this is not what PUSD wants, because they are accustomed to living large, they are demanding that we give them a pot of ongoing discretionary money that can be used on salary otherwise known as a parcel tax.
PUSD has pouted and said "everyone else gets a parcel tax so we should get one too". We can see with unbiased documentation that PUSD should not need a parcel tax because they have significantly more dollars than our neighboring districts even with their parcel taxes. We can see that San Ramon is outperforming PUSD with $600 per student less.
This community has always supported our schools through 155mil in bond taxes, high developer fees, parent donations/volunteering and fundraising. PUSD must be responsible with it's spending and the unions must be reasonable. We taxpayers have reached our saturation point.
"Pleasanton Mom" If you are still unclear let's have coffee. Stacey would you like to join us?
Posted by Budgeting Issues, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2009 at 10:23 am
Pleasanton Mom: You state: Are you referring to COLA? I know they did not give pay raises with the reserves (at least our school didn't). This isn't a "salary tax".
I'm not sure what you meant by "our school didn't." Individual schools don't have "reserves." They don't determine how district reserves are used. COLAs are raises and they did use reserve money to give raises to administrators--an ongoing cost from a one-time source of funds. I think that was about $400,000 at the time.
Posted by Budgeting Issues, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2009 at 10:37 am
Another "Pleasanton Mom" quote: Again, they have not asked for MORE money. They are asking us to replace the money that is being taken away from the state. There is a difference.
They are asking us to replace the money that is PROPOSED to be taken away BY the state (nothing has happened yet). The DIFFERENCE is they have no rainy day funds left for an event like this because they squandered what they had on lawsuits and raises they could ill afford. Casey and those negotiating weren't looking past the next pay check. This was not putting children or teachers first if class size reduction is lost and layoffs occur. The best they can come up with is to now raid the technology fund and to raise taxes with big "or else" threats about CSR, etc.
I don't know how you can give more money to the same people under this kind of stewardship.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Feb 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Hi 38, I think it would be nice to let you know that this thread has been forwarded to the Office of the State of California, Attorney General as well as to the FBI because there is tone to your posts that is crazy. Just in case, I've made the report. Lets play safe in 2009!
Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 9, 2009 at 9:51 am
Wow Frank, stalking now that was really a stretch....new to the bogging world ??
I was merely responding to the attack on me accusing me of attacking others when I merely disagreed with their opinion. I and others, have been called (non - critical thinkers, propagandist, hogs etc..) when we disagreed with the blogger, who happened to be the most dominant blogger across the board. Did the blogger think that others with different opinions would not respond. No of course not, but since I challenged the premisis of her argument based on its foundation, the new tactic used by the blogger was to try to deflect. I must have an infatuation with some unknown person in cyberspace.. LOL. Thruthfully the reason I respond to Stacey (and she will like it) is because of the anti parcel tax bloggers she at least attempts to provide a basis for her argument. Something worth arguing about.
Frank, Frankly I was wrong to include her name in the post including, the altruism statement. Not that it was not relevant to my discussion. But it was pointed at the majority of bassless arguments, attacking the school district, the adminsistration and teachers without a fact, not her tactic; So Stacey I appologise I digressed. For Example:
Posting the superintendent salary, why did he get a low interst loan ectera. The answer is simple and clear. Like a businessman that every body expects, he sold his service a competitive price. Also PUSD expects him to live in Pleasanton as a condition of employment. Was he supposed to be altruistic and say oh no you should pay me less, even if I could make more in Palo Alto? Would you do that? His job has gotten more difficult not easier.
If you were working as a teacher you had made a trade off in your decision to take that employment as a public servant. You will never get rich (with your post graduate education) in good times, but should be afforded some protecting in bad times. It's kind of like buying treasury bonds - a lower risk/reward profile
Posted by Bill, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 9, 2009 at 9:09 pm
It seems to me folks are getting distracted here.
I would never normally vote for any kind of tax. I don't believe that government, in any form, is effective or optimal. I also support vouchers and believe that teachers unions don't really represent teachers, and actually hurt their cause more than help it.
With that said, I believe that teachers should be honored for their critical role in society. It takes a very special person to be a teacher. When they get tired and lose their dedication to teaching they should quit or be fired. Nobody deserves a job without accountability. My sister was a teacher and my mother worked in the school district for her entire career. I can tell you that they live very modestly and deserve every dime they get.
I have donated $1,000s of dollars to the schools that my kids attend. Finally, our schools are getting hammered with cuts. If I can give $300 to the Pleasanton schools in order to help them out, knowing that the $300 is going directly to the schools, its worth it. There is absolutely no denying that a $300 investment in the schools will also translate to many times more than that in property value protection.
If you have ever attended a Pleasanton School band recital, or a theater performance, if you have ever sat in class and watched the quality of education we have here in Pleasanton, then you would understand. Its a special place that we should protect fiercely and not let those idiots in Sacramento and Washington screw it up.
Posted by Leslie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 10, 2009 at 7:39 am
And I will vote to cancel out Bill’s vote. So the district is no closer in their campaign to delay the inevitable solution that must ultimately come putting a Band Aid on the problem. Even if you were to pass a tax, what would you do next year when the shortfall is again tallied? The district has budgeted for money that does not exist, and will not for the foreseeable future. Of course it is going to be difficult to choose to reduce salary expenses and suspend raises. But our town, state, and country are finally learning that living within our means is the only sustainable course.
Posted by Ann, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:03 am
Bill has not read or understood the above posts that make clear the evidence that PUSD should not need more money if the managed it better. We know they already get more money than districts that outperform us.
Posted by Bill, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:55 pm
Thank you for your rude response. I have read and do understand. In this case I do not want to throw out the baby with the bath water for $300 bucks. I'd rather fund locally and not rely on Sacramento or Washington to take care of our needs. Watching these fools on TV passing this massive spending plan packed with lies and pork makes me want to puke. At least here we have the ability to influence how this money is managed and spent. We may as well make sure that our kids get the education they need, cause this younger generation is going to have to bail out the country for the sad mistakes of their parents and grand parents.
Posted by Mom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm
Okay, all of you that want to trim the fat
Choose the following----
Intervention at the Middle School and High Schools
Counselors at Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
Band and String Teachers
Barton Reading -Elementary, Middle, High
1-2 days nurse clerks
Technology specialists who keep all the computers running at each school and teach
Library clerks at all sites
Class Size Reduction for K-3/9th grade math and English
You tell the children what "fat" you are going to trim from their quality school program.
It's not PUSD's fault that the state has increased spending in the wrong areas for years. K-12 educational funding has not increased, but the funding for prisons has. Why are you blogging about that??????? Do some research about the "pork" in Sacramento.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:22 am
You forgot to list the $2MM it costs to "roll over" (according to PUSD) the PUSD budget each year due to automatic pay increases like "step and column". That money could fund K-3/9 CSR and keep ~186 teachers employed.
P.S. I have mentioned the prison spending in earlier threads. So much for California's "tough on crime" stance.
Posted by Dad, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:22 am
Last night was a show of union solidarity designed to intimidate school board and parents. Teachers overflowing the district office, giving one another high fives, they showed the teachers are still out of touch with what is happening to the rest of the world. They collectively stomped their feet and said they deserve more money not less. They seem to think that the parents of this community owe them more money and are being mean to them if anyone suggests we can’t afford it either. They won’t listen to the fact that everyone is taking pay cuts to avoid losing their jobs.
Last night demonstrated why parents must remain anonymous to protect our kids.
Posted by Reality check, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:59 am
We are trying to keep a business running that supports 15 other families. To do so my husband is working sixteen hour days. Everyone knows there will be no raises and everyone is hoping everyone does not lose their jobs.
Posted by Amador Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm
If the teachers don't support belt tightening in order to save some of the above mentioned programs, why should we. Let's face it, we all need to be willing to give something and if the teachers and their union aren’t willing to budge, then it makes it hard for me to want to support any kind of tax increase. Both my husband and I have taken "a hit" at work in the form of increased medical contributions, delayed or cancelled raises, fewer paid holidays-cutting back is all over the place and we sacrifice so others can keep their jobs. Based on what I have read regarding teachers salaries-they are paid a solid, professional salary and they could afford take a hit like the rest of us.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Services we provide to this community come with a price. That price is contractually binding so let's skip those salary reduction talk. Cutting programs and laying off teachers will have a direct impact to the classrooms, and ultimately, YOUR home value.
Whether I teach here or in another district next year is unimportant to me. The community as a whole needs to step up and pass a parcel tax of $400 or more to support teachers and schools.
Posted by Amador Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Teacher, resident of Vintage Hills:
Would you prefer to see salaries(benefits, etc.) remain untouched and have programs cut (including layoffs) in order to balance the budget? Do you think this train of thought is reflective of the majority of the teachers in our dist?
Posted by Bill, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm
"Teacher, resident of Vintage Hills"
Your attitude displayed on this blog is the very bane of teachers. Its snotty and without merit... unfortunately it is teachers that carry themselves as you do that over-represent teachers and give them a bad name.
Statements like "United we Stand" and "what district I teach is unimportant to me" are sentiments that inspire division, and make me want to tell you to go to Oakland and fight guns in the classroom instead of trombones in the classroom.
As far as Im concerned...I hope you're on the cut list. You're an embarrassment to your profession. Unfortunately I know a couple REALLY GOOD teachers on the cut list that deserve to keep their jobs and should not be fired because of Sacramento BS.
Now that you see what we get when the State is run by an entrenched point of view, just wait and see what happens at the Federal level with the same bunch of knuckleheads (Pelosi got her training in California and is an embarrassment to our State) led by the "father of all". We start off the process with a multi-trillion dollar plan. Once you start talking about a trillion here and a trillion there...eventually you are talking real money! God help us.
Just vote for the parcel tax and spend your energy fixing government at State and Federal level. Their screw ups are gonna cost us a hell of alot more than $300 bucks. Meanwhile our kids dont lose out.
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm
Teacher, I just let my gardener know that unless he could reduce the amount he charges me, I'll be mowing my own lawns for awhile. Rather than lose work for him and his 3 employees, he adjusted his fee to less than half of what I was paying him. I'm keeping him on- for now- as a result. We renegotiated. Of course, he's not represented by any gardeners unions...
Posted by Bill, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm
But when we are trying to decide on cutting back the gardeners services or firing the gardener, it would be great if the gardener wasn't acting like a jerk. Especially when many of us actually value the gardener and believe in the services the gardener provides.
Look at the Steel Workers, Auto Workers, textile workers, Airline Pilots, Airline Mechanics.....the list goes on and on......the unions did them no good.
Dump the attitude....focus on solving the problem in a community kind of way....
Posted by Maria, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 9:11 am
To Teacher -
"Whether I teach here or in another district next year is unimportant to me. The community as a whole needs to step up and pass a parcel tax of $400 or more to support teachers and schools. "
If you are truly a VH teacher, then you would know that parents/families of this school have stepped up way, way beyond for the school. VH PTA have raised thousands and thousands of dollars to help with programs and to reduce teachers out-of-pocket classroom expenses. With your statement, you have insulted parents/families who continously spend hours of volunteer work and donated thousands of dollars for the school. When you say "the community as a whole", aren't you part of the Pleasanton community? What can you do for our community to help keep our kids in school? Not passing the parcel doesn't mean that parents dislike teachers. I know a lot of really good teachers that may lose their job. And unlike you, they do care so much that they may not be teaching in Pleasanton next year.
Posted by Saddened, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2009 at 7:11 pm
I think it may be time to escape your tiny little cocoon and fly away to another district or profession. You have been coddled and pampered for far too long. There is a real world out there where people like my husband-who works in high tech-gratefully took another %10 pay cut recently in order to not lose his job. He is still doing the same job he always did-in fact a bit more because there were layoffs as well.
I agree with Maria that if you are indeed a teacher at VH you have been the recipient of much time and many perks on the job that most of us would envy. No one helps me with my part-time job at the hospital (I’m a professional and can handle the long stressful hours keeping people alive myself) but I, for eleven years, spent time at VH grading papers, helping with science projects, running reading and math groups, working Gold Rush Days, Nona Strega spaghetti feasts, Camp Skeeter, Science Fairs, not to mention supervising and driving kids on field trips. I still have wrapping paper I purchased years ago, so you could get your $35.00/kid stipend at the beginning of each year. I also paid the $25.00 class fee each and every time you asked for it plus the $125.00/ student PTA donation. Sure I did it for my kid but you had better believe that I did it for you too, to make your life/work a little easier.
I am therefore absolutely stunned to see in writing that not only are you unwilling to help remedy this budget disaster with any sort of wage freeze, you are demanding more-much more.
Posted by Barbara, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2009 at 8:58 am
I too volunteered thousands of hours at Vintage Hills over the 15 years my kids where there.
"grading papers, helping with science projects, running reading and math groups, working Gold Rush Days, Strega Nona spaghetti feasts, Camp Skeeter, Science Fairs, not to mention supervising and driving kids on field trips. I still have wrapping paper I purchased years ago, so you could get your $35.00/kid stipend at the beginning of each year. I also paid the $25.00 class fee each and every time you asked for it plus the $125.00/ student PTA donation." Add FAME, KIX, Monthly teachers appreciation lunches, Halloween carnival, Book Fair and generous teachers gifts (there is no out of pocket expense). I am also disappointed by "Teacher, a resident of the Vintage Hills" attitude.
The Pleasanton teachers union exploits the low pay and poor working conditions that teachers in less fortunate cities experience to demand more, more , more. Pleasanton teachers are appreciated, paid well and treated very well.
"Teacher, a resident of the Vintage Hills" does the profession a disservice. Thank you to the many good teachers in Pleasanton.
Posted by Daddyo, a resident of the Rosepointe neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm
Are school districts run like crap. Yes.
Should teachers, staff and administration see some cuts to their salaries or benefits. Maybe.
It is all really irrelevant though because nothing is going to change in those areas. You aren't going to change the way schools are run in two weeks. What will happen is that my kid will be in a class with 32 5 year olds instead of 20 by the end of the year, the quality of the Pleasanton schools will decrease a lot, and I will immediately consider moving. Pleasanton home values will take a hit. We will spend more money in a few years rebuilding the programs and investment that was destroyed. Our children will be less able to compete in the global economy. We will have made an extremely poor short term decision. Efforts to punish the district for the, real or perceived, piss poor management of our resources will ultimately be unfruitful and cost you more money in the long run. I would also like to say that while I agree that salaries should be considered when looking at the cuts I think that some of the opinions expressed here are a little out of touch with reality. Very few large organizations reduce salaries. Hourly workers may see reduced hours and commission based workers may see reduced commissions but salaried workers almost invariably either get fired or retained in the business world. Often their projects are cut or cuts just have to be made somewhere and that is exactly what is going to happen if we don't find the money to save those programs. A few hundred bucks isn't very much in relation to my property taxes and I bought a pretty average house about 6 1/2 years ago. If your taxes are that low you've been livin' large on prop 13 dollars for a while, you had to know prop tax increases were comin' for one reason or another.
Posted by you are so stupid, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:19 pm
I can't believe all the idiots on this site. That's fine, morons, vote no on the parcel tax and lose $70,000 on the value of your home. You are all so short sighted and stupid, you deserve it. You'll whine about it later and blame someone else, just like you are doing now. Guess what, then it will be too late and you can blame whoever you want, but you'll have lost a lot of property value. This is preventable, but you all are too stupid to prevent it.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:20 am
An online estimator site says my Pleasanton home has lost $130,000 in value in the last 30 days. This has nothing to do with schools. We are in midst of a worldwide economic crisis. We must not perpetuate it with more job loss or more taxes.
Teachers do not need to lose their jobs if the district makes reasonable cuts and concessions are made.