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what I heard at the Feb. 24th school board meeting

Original post made by Sandy on Feb 25, 2009

I stayed all the way to the end. There were some important decisions made tonight.

First, the board is going forward with plans to cut over $9 million out of the budget for the next academic year. These are serious cuts -- the total budget of the district is about $130 million.

Second, they have not yet voted to go forward with a parcel tax (though it sounds like several are leaning that way) and they are open to community input. If you didn't feel comfortable speaking up at the meeting, you can email them to express your point of view.

Third, Superintendent Casey is rolling back five days of his pay between now and the end of this fiscal year, and another five days in the next fiscal year (2009-2010). Other administrators will be asked if they can voluntarily take days without pay.

Fourth, 17.5 administrative positions were eliminated. Those people in management positions do not have union contracts. They were not "laid off". The likelihood that they will rehired is probably zero. Those positions amount to over 20% of the administrative positions in the district.

Fifth, the only reason that another position was not eliminated was that three members of the human relations staff volunteered to take pay cuts. Two of them will reduce their salary by 40%. The third will reduce salary by 20%. Together, these voluntary actions will save more from the administrative budget than would the reduction of a full position.

Sixth, Valerie Arkin stated a desire to ask the teachers' union to modify their contracts, so that they are paid for one non-student work day during the year, rather than two. After the meeting, Superintendent Casey stated that the district is meeting with the teachers' union this Friday, so negotiating will be underway. I do not know what other concessions the district may ask for from the teachers.

If others who were not present have questions, and are not able to view the meeting on TV 30 when it airs, please post here and I will see if I can answer from my notes.

I was a member of the audience, so that's what I heard -- I don't speak for anyone else, and any errors in my understanding are mine alone.

Comments (53)

Posted by Ted, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

Was there a sense of the amount of a parcel tax? Sound like the Union membership and rich Lynn were pressuring for a "robust tax".


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:33 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Hi Ted,

I heard numbers between $175 and $365 from the audience. I think Valerie Arkin also said something about "between $175 and $185". No decisions were made at the meeting.

There were also a few comments about the risk of not passing the parcel tax. Personally, I think a higher amount is dangerous, because it will make it even harder to get the votes needed for passage.

I believe the board must pass a motion with the final wording on March 4, in order to submit the measure for the June 2 elections.

-Sandy


Posted by my 2 cents, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:34 am

The board voted on emotion rather than logic or intellect. Yes, I do feel bad for all the people that would lose their job. But the reality is that cuts will happen. It's happening to many people across the globe, in all walks of life. Suck it up!

Now, I do understand the need to have music instructors because music is a foreign lanuage...but PE specialists??? C'mon now, give me a break! It doesn't take years of college education to teach children how to run around the field and jump hoops. Casey had it right for a change but he folded like a matchbook at the end.

That large sum of money can be better spent on retaining real teachers, like those ladies in pink.

Gone are the days of lavish spending!

Speaking of lavish spending...


Posted by my 2 cents, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

"Superintendent Casey is rolling back five days of his pay between now and the end of this fiscal year, and another five days in the next fiscal year (2009-2010)."

That would be the equivalent of $5000 per year? WOW! Casey is giving back $5000 per year out of his $227,002 salary and $30,000 in perks. Times are going to be tough for him.


Posted by huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:41 am

"they have not yet voted to go forward with a parcel tax"

Were you asleep during the vote? They passed it unamiously! Details are TBD but they're moving forward with the parcel tax.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

Sandy is a registered user.

"huh?"

I paid close attention to the votes. There were unanimous votes in favor of items 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, and 15.6 on the agenda.

Item 14.1, "report and discussion to place a parcel tax on the June budget" was not an actionable item on the agenda yesterday. It was listed separately, under "report and discussion", but no vote was taken.

I believe that there is a requirement that items must be discussed at one meeting, before action can be taken at another meeting. Item 14.1, possibly with modifications, will be on the agenda for the March 4 meeting. We do not yet know if all board members will vote in favor.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:51 am

Sandy is a registered user.

"my 2 cents"

If you don't think that Casey's voluntary actions are sufficient, then I encourage you to contact board members directly to renegotiate his contract.

However, as Jim Ott said at the meeting, the board could cut every single administrator, and they would still need to make other cuts in order to balance the budget. Saving $2 million out of a $130 million dollar budget is not enough.


Posted by Alyssa, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:53 am

Valerie Arkin also brought up the fact that the district could turn over the Kids Club sites to another vendor. She stated this could save $450k per year. Casey said he would have to review the numbers. If this is true, I would definitely support that. I've wanted the YMCA at Donlon for years! It's much better than Kids Club - and the district would reap the benefit of having a vendor pay rent every month! I got the sense that Valerie Arkin did her homework! She was well prepared with a plan of action. The rest of the Board looked like deer in headlights!


Posted by It's Time, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

Dear School Board,

Thank you for your diligent work. I realize that you have been put in a very difficult position, but now is the time to step up and do some hard negotiating. It is a painful task, but a necessary one. It is what we elected you to do.

Let's start with Dr. Casey. He has offered a minor concession in the hopes of staving off public criticism. I believe the board should acknowledge the gesture, but insist on a true salary and benefit reduction. I would say $150K and approximately ˝ the current benefit package would be in order. Also the public will probably demand some type of repayment schedule be initiated on his interest free loan. I realize it is a difficult job, and there is no need to attack him personally, but the compensation must match the economic realities of our environment.

The union employees must decide for themselves how to proceed. You may offer suggestions, but it is up to them to decide whether to eliminate their scheduled compensation increases (COLA and S&C) and modify their compensation packages, or reduce their numbers through position eliminations. Again, this is a tough, but necessary job. Give them a number to work with and stand by your guns.

It is, at best, naive to assume you will be able to convince the homeowners to pass an additional tax at this time, regardless of the amount in question. While it is hardly empirical evidence, the PW poll, which limits each computer to a single vote, has not shown adequate support. And this is tool allows union members from outside of the district and school computers to register votes. If you make a reasonable assumption that the on campus computers account for 100 positive votes, the margin of failure becomes overwhelming.

Again, I understand that this is a tough assignment. But I am confident that most of us believe it is time for us all to live within our means.

By the way, thank you to Sandy for filing this detailed report.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

"My kids that did not have CRS were also doing multiplying & dividing in 2nd grade (love those multiplication timed tests). In fact the curriculum was pretty much the same for CRS and non-CRS until middle school math (no CRS there)."




As a elementary teacher for 11 years now here in Pleasanton, I can certainly tell you that the standards are much more difficult than then were pre-CSR days! So the fact that your children did just fine going through elementary school without CSR and beyond is frankly comparing apples to oranges. It is different now than it used to be. That is fact. Compare the standards from several years ago to now. You will see the difference. The trickling down of standards happened in all grades - not just at the middle school level. Ask any teacher if they are teaching the same standards that they used to be. They will tell you no. I now use many materials with my 2nd graders that I used to use with my 3rd graders! Standards are much more rigorous than they used to be. This is fact. This is why losing CSR will be devasting to our elementary school kids. Harder standards, more kids per classroom, loss of programs/specialists.....it's going to be just terrible for all of our kids. This is fact. Yes on a parcel tax!


Posted by Ted, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2009 at 11:41 am

"It's Time, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood",
You are absolutely correct. Are you in a position to take the lead in communicating to the Board on many of our behalf?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm

An excerpt from the "Big Decisions" thread:

Teacher,

"Of course there will be the usual outraged cries … 'we are doing this for your kids!' and 'I only work here to serve the community'. But anyone who is old enough to stop believing in Santa Claus knows there is more to the story than altruism."

Ask your union to make concessions. It will keep you and your coworkers employed.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Feb 25, 2009 at 1:35 pm


"Third, Superintendent Casey is rolling back five days of his pay between now and the end of this fiscal year, and another five days in the next fiscal year (2009-2010). Other administrators will be asked if they can voluntarily take days without pay."

This is a pathetic concession! Casey gets enough vacation days. He needs to give back his raise and many perks such as $1,000 car allowance to start.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Did the staff present a blow by blow picture of the budget--what they lost from the state, what was saved at the state level, what they have flexibility on from the state, and the money they anticipate from the feds ($2-$4 million depending on where you look)? Without this kind of detail, I wouldn't vote for a parcel tax.

Why is it that all those who are saying yes to a parcel tax are ignoring all the questions about mismanagement of public funds or that there needs to be a change in how business is conducted at the district office?

On the other thread I offered a possible idea for a different kind of parcel tax for discussion (and a beat down if warranted), but it's lost in the thread even though it is a way to support teachers and site administrators more directly.

It seems that as long as the "rock" of those pushing for the parcel tax as originally proposed continues to meet the "hard place" of those who see all the flaws in the proposal, the only outcome will be the crush that will make it impossible to pass anything.

Thank you to those who attended and to Sandy for taking notes.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

p.s. There is no new information that I can find on the PUSD web site (FAQs update is February 18) and only the budget for last school year.


Posted by Me, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Feb 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

For Alyssa, a member of the Donlon Elementary School community.

The YMCA did operate Donlon and KIDS CLUB had to come in a fix up their mess. I have had two kids go through the KIDS CLUB program and friends attend YMCA centers. You will not hear one complaint about KIDS CLUB from me. As for Valerie Arkin, I am going to dismiss her biased suggestion since she is on the YMCA Board of Directors. KIDS CLUB is an invaluable place for our kids and I am thankful the YMCA was not an option.


Posted by 38 Year resident, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 25, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I think it was generous of Casey to donate back $5000 a year.
Folks on this board seem to be jeleous that he is more educated, more qualified, has more responsibilies and thus makes more than them.

They complain that him giving up $10 K over two years is too little, in the same breath complain that paying $1800 over five years will be devestating to thier own budget. Someone even made the ubsurd suggestion that he should leave around $90K on the table.

Sure at first glance it may seem out of line, but have you checked similar pay and benefits in competing markets. Superintendants are expected to move into the community they serve. Thus the incentive to move to Pleasanton.
This type of arrangement is also common for City Managers and other public officials. It is quite typical that these arrangments exist. How many on this board have experience administrating anything near as complex as a 130 million dollar budget? How many have pursued thier vocation to the point of having a PHD. How many have managed over the well being of thousands of kids?

I know thier are plenty of C level people living in Pleasanton with millions and millions of dollars. No one is asking for thier apology, nor should they. Same principal applies here, except the c level person (the super) is making several hundred thousand dollars, not millions.







Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Disagree w/B -- Unfortunately, Luz Cazares was ill Monday and Tuesday, and was not at the meeting. Information is not yet available about how the federal stimulus will be distributed within the state. The staff is still reviewing all the information attached to the state budget to understand what restrictions on the use of categorical funds are being relaxed, and how that influences the board's options for the district budget.

I am trying to form my own opinion about the integrity of district administrators and whether there might be mismanagement of public funds going on. It's difficult to know the origins of people's concerns, since I only moved here six months ago. I'm certainly reading the posts here.

Why not put up a new post about your alternative for the parcel tax, instead of letting it get lost in the comments on something else?


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Luz Cazares' being sick is unfortunate, certainly for her, but for us too. How can staff present information to the Board on cuts or the need for a parcel tax or what a parcel tax amount should be and what it would be used for without their key budget person?

I'll check into posting idea.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Looks like we are finally moving on the right track. We need more concessions from Dr.Casey and the other top administrators along with the teachers' union. California is still bankrupt. The new state budget is a joke. We won't get half the increase in revenues that we are forecasting. With the increases enacted more people will be leaving the state. Real estate prices will drop more as there is no real reason to be in California which has become one of the least attractive states and will not command premium prices. One has to be realistic and face the music. We have been living in lala land over the past decade driving up public spending by over 35% while the state stagnated. Obama's speech was great and his priorities are right but we cannot keep printing paper for the rest of the world to subsidise us. It is almost too late but everyone needs to tighten their budgets not just the private sector.


Posted by reasonable, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 4:02 pm

I think we all just need to be reasonable. All stake-holders are going to have to make some concessions. This includes monetary concessions for Casey (I agree with 38 year resident above, though. His salary is not out of line with competitive wages for his position), administrators, APT, certificated (non-teacher) staff AND property owners, and it also means a loss of some services for families. The parcel tax they are asking for will only cover about half of the budget shortfall and the rest is being made up with cuts and concessions (TBD by negotiations with the unions, but they will happen). For some of you who have written "I'll only vote for a parcel tax IF..." please be reasonable with your conditions and keep a healthy perspective on the amount they're asking for vs what is at stake for the entire community.

And here come the flames... ;)


Posted by Alyssa, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

To Me (from Walnut Hills),

To clarify, per PUSD (I just called and asked) the YMCA was never at Donlon. The City of Pleasanton has run a program there, but not the YMCA.

I agree that Kids Club has a great program. I have used both programs (Kids Club and YMCA) because we moved to a different school two years ago. They are both stellar. However, I see YMCA as the better provider beacause they are licensed and offer a variety of other family programs besides just child care. And most importantly, if the District could save money and gain revenue, I certianly think it's the smart choice to turn to the YMCA. The YMCA could reatin the current staff - so the changes to the daily routine would be minimal.

These are tough choices to make. But when push comes to shove, I'd rather keep counselors, instructional aides and music classes in our schools and use an outside vendor for child care services.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Feb 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I'm not sure if it's a different branch of the YMCA than the one I have experience with, but we had our kids in the childcare center that was run by them (the one that was on the corner of the district office property) and it was an utter DISASTER. Ultimately, enough families pulled their kids out that they had to close the center. Proceed with caution, PUSD!


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Common sense tells you that the work still needs to get done in the PUSD regardless of cuts or days off. Dr. Casey (or teachers) taking days off without pay does nothing for me. The work is still there and still needs to be done - unless of course we're saying that they are currently over paid and sitting around eating bon-bons instead of working off their "to do" lists. So, like private industry....Dr. Casey and the PUSD teachers may just need to take a % paycut and not just unpaid days off!


Posted by Beware, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm

PUSD and the California Teachers Union....please tread carefully. I grew up in a VERY unionized community. Most of the town worked for a large unionized employer. These employees thought they were protected forever. They would "strike" at the least little thing they didn't like. Whenever management wanted them to try something new or change a process they would cry "it's not in my contract". Well, today that same vibrant wonderful community is a ghost town laden with huge problems and high unemployment. The large unionized company decided to take their jobs elsewhere. They closed shop and now NO ONE has a job. Do we really want this. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE...embrace it....strive improvement in all ways. I guarantee this excercise in budget management will prove to be a positive thing if everyone works together. Union and Non-union.


Posted by Beth, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Sandi a question for you.
Can you clarify your statement that Casey is rolling back 5 days of his pay? I want to understand if he is offering to take a pay reduction OR if it means he is offering to take 5 furlough days of no work, no pay. There is a significant difference in my mind.
Thank you for your details. I was only able to watch part of the meeting on the live feed so I appreciate your summary.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 26, 2009 at 5:56 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Beth -- I can't, because I don't exactly understand the distinction. If I have an opportunity, I'll ask Luz Cazares to clarify how his action affects the budget.


Posted by extra vacation days, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2009 at 7:47 am

"Beth"

It's 5 furlough days as reported by Emily:

"Some new reductions to the budget include Superintendent Casey taking five unpaid days off during the current school year as well as next year."


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:38 am

Think of the five days as a donation to the district from his checking account. It doesn't change his salary (for retirement calculation) nor his contract.


Posted by Leo, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:45 am

He's tossing us a bone...a small bone...but still a bone nevertheless. Thanks Casey for your generous $5000 donation. Will your employer match that?


Posted by Mom, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:05 am

The decision makers need to tread carefully on offering KidsClub to an outside vendor. KidsClub has done a phenomenal job in keeping the kids in a safe and nurturing environment. The staff is very dedicated and do a great job. I agree with a lot of others who have said, a %age reduction to all staff, regardless of their position, would make the best sense in closing the budget gap. This way most positions can be retained with less compensation. An across the board % cut would also seem to be an equitable reduction than focussing on certain tiers. This is happening all over the private sector ... so lets not go off on the Communist tangent.


Posted by Maria, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

My daughter goes to Kids Club in VH, and I can absolutely say that they have an excellent level of service for the kids (care and programs). These excellent staff will be out of jobs if YMCA take over. YMCA is like a typical daycare where very high staff turnovers exist and I will not entrust my kid's care to them. I've had enough bad daycare experiences in the past and won't make that mistake again.

My understanding is that KIDS CLUB is operated separately and funded solely by the parents (Someone please correct me if this is inaccurate). Please leave KIDS CLUB alone.


Posted by lack of credibility, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 11:33 am

Let's add two more items to the list for PUSD's lack of credibility.

1) PUSD has said the special election will cost $150,000. The registrar of Voters Office says the true costs are estimated to be between $210,000 and $290,465 based on the 41,495 registered voters we had in the last election, if there are additional new registered voters it will be even more.

2) The Board has not voted on the parcel tax but the campaign has begun!!!!

Add the cost of running the campaign, which will be donations from the community that would be better donated to the district, and this is going to be a hugh waste of money when it does not pass.

_____________________________________________________________

Save Pleasanton Schools flyer:

Thank you for the donations so far!

Come to the Kick-off Rally, March 8th

They have already accepted donation, I guess they know the Boards vote in advance!


Posted by Rebecca, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm

To answer Maria - you are corect the Kids Club is funded by parent fees. However, it was stated at a Board meeting sometime last year that the program has been losing money for several years. So the District was having to make up for that. An outside vendor (YMCA or anyone else) would have to PAY the district to provide services. So the District would not only be able to stop subsidizing child care but would even earn money on the vendor agreement.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

The YMCA ran the preschool program that was built on the district property. It fell apart and the Y left. I can see why Kids Club has to be cost neutral and maybe the parents who use the program need to pay more, but it's a sure bet the Y isn't the panacea for before and after school child care. Why did they bail?


Posted by Me, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Feb 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm

FYI:
The YMCA had a program at Donlon that ended in 1996. Shame on the PUSD for not remembering that fact.


Posted by Me, a resident of Walnut Hills
on Feb 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Saving $50K (not $450k) at the expense of quality child care? No thanks.

As far as I know, Kids Club is still a highly sought after program here in Pleasanton. It's like striking gold if your child gets into it. Also, Kids Club fees have increased over the last year.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Closing Kids Club is a big mistake!!!! I was unfortunately not able to attend the last Board Meeting, but I'm sure the person who came up with this horrendous idea, has some stake in the YMCA! That DEFINITELY needs to be looked into, as that is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST!!!! I'm a firm believer you get what you pay for! There's a reason the YMCA Program is cheaper! I have had personal experience with both programs, and there is no comparison. Kids Club by far has the better program!!! It's bad enough that the YMCA is the only program offered at all the middle schools in Pleasanton...which I find disappointing since Pleasanton is known for having such great schools. I have experienced enough bad daycare, I don't want to have to experience it again!!! I would definitely look at other options if this was to happen. If, YMCA is taking over the Kids Club sites, but keeping ALL THE STAFF, and leaving the program in TACT, AS IT IS, then fine!...But, if this means losing the summer program and activities for the kids during the summer months, then you will definitely have a fight on your hands!!!


Posted by Leo, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm

If Kids Club costs the district even a dime, we should offload it onto the Y. Why are we subsidizing day care? Is that even legal?


Posted by Mark, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm


Kids Club staff are much higher paid than the YMCA childcare.
Increase the Kids Club fees so it can pay rent to the district and see if parents are still willing to pay the fees over if it was less expensive and run by the YMCA.
The District should not subsidize childcare in this time of budget cuts.


Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm

No need to give it to the Y. Just need to know what it would realistically cost parents to keep the program in the black. Walnut Grove had a program that was neither the Y nor Kids Club. Is that still the case? What are the costs there?


Posted by Barbara, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I think putting YMCA Before and After School at all the schools is a great idea. Fairlands, Lydiksen and Mohr YMCA Y-Kids are excellent. And I've heard good things about Walnut Grove EDCC. It must be difficult to manage having Y-Kids at some sites, but have Kids Clubs at Alisal, Donlon, Valley View, Vintage Hills, and Hearst. I think if the Kids Clubs were Y-Kids, there would be less adminstrative overhead, staff could rotate at different facilities, and PUSD staff would not have to do all the recordkeeping and collection of monthly fees and registration.


Posted by Hailey, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 26, 2009 at 6:19 pm

If the PUSD wants the Kids Club program to generate revenues for the Districit's general fund ,then they should be offered the opportunity to come up with a plan. They have never been a for profit organization.
Aso if we stick to the facts Kids Club is self suffient and they do not use any general fund money from the District.In these time of uncertainty we need to make sure that we base our opinions on facts, and facts alone. They are are not operating in a deficit, as stated by Valerie Arkin. Kids Club cutrently has a reserve of $400,000.I am appalled that a very intelligent Board member would make a statement without first knowing the facts. We have been serving families for 24 years.......


Posted by Maria, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 8:40 pm

With all due respect to Ms. Valerie Arkin, as a PUSD board member; I think it is a conflict of interest to suggest/propose to replace Kids Club with YMCA as she is also a board director for YMCA (Web Link).

In VH alone, for the 40 kids they have; they probably generate about $212,000/year ($400/mo and $650/month on summer). There are 5 Kids Club in PUSD and Donlon have approx 70+ kids (someone again, please correct any inaccuracy). Kids Club being solely funded by parents, I still don't understand why PUSD need to subsidize funds to them. Could this be another mismanagement?


Posted by Alyssa, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

To correct some information stated in other postings:
1. YMCA and Kids Club fees are exactly the same
2. a PUSD employee stated at a Board meeting last year that Kids Club runs at a deficit
3. Valerie Arkin is no longer on the YMCA Board



Posted by Salene, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Kids Club has 24 years of quality service to the community at no cost to the District. The program pays for itself through parent fees. The program has no impact on the general fund.

YMCA- high staff turnover, parents asked to donate $ on a regular basis even though their fees are exactly the same as Kids Club and set by the District. Have had probationary contracts with the District for last few years due to poor service.
The YMCA was actually cited for lack of supervision and losing children. I was at the parent meeting at the District when these complaints were allbrought to the attention of the District. Why is the YMCA still operating here? Ms. Arkin can send her child there but I perfer not to subject my child to this poor quality program. Let's get back to the important discussion of solving the District's huge deficit and quit wasting time on a non-issue. Ms. Arkin should be ashamed for trying to enhance a program for which she was a board member for until a month ago...which hat are you wearing? YMCA? or PUSD?


Posted by Sheri, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm

To the poster who mentioned that the YMCA lost a kid. How do you know that? If that did happen, why didn't Pleas. Unified do something about it? If that was the case, they are equally to blame.

Also, did you know that a certain Elementary "lost" a kid recently? School employees had no idea where the kid went and the parent was called and was frantic. The kid was found but after some time. I don't fault the school for this, but it can happen and if one of our schools can make that mistake, anyone can. You need to know facts first.

If Mrs. Arkin is a YMCA board member (don't know if she is), she can only be a conflict of interest if she gets money from the YMCA. If that is case, she should excuse herself from decisions about the daycare. If not, there is no conflict.


Posted by Leslie, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2009 at 11:49 pm

I agree that if the Kids Club program costs the district even one dime then the program should be outsourced to the YMCA. The YMCA has a long history in this town and everything I've experienced in the past two years has been fantastic! My kids participate in a variety of Y programs and I love that the Y is licensed, offers families tons of support and focuses on character, something this community could stand to learn something about. There is no better childcare provider than Ms. Megan. She makes it so fun that the parents are envious of their kids!

I appreciate that Ms. Arkin did her homework. She was well prepared, focused and came up with cuts that had the least impact on the classroom. Good work, Ms. Arkin!

Childcare programs serve a very small percentage of PUSD students. Why would we think twice about outsourcing this tiny program!!!!

And wouldn't it be better to have licensed programs??? To answer Ms Hintzke's question, I heard Ms. Galbo say that the Kids Club programs are not licensed. Dr. Casey assured the audience that they are licensed. He's either lying or he's uninformed. Kids Club programs are not licensed so clearly the Y is held to a higher standard!


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 27, 2009 at 6:32 am

It is very sad to see that so many people are not doing any research and strictly going on here say. You are correct. The Kids Club program is not licensed. Due to the fact that they are on school property and only serve children from the school in which they are providing care, they are exempt. However, they comply with each and every regulation. Licensing could go into any of their sites at any moment and not find a single problem. Unfortunately, the same is not said for the Y who stocks their buildings full of children.
Having children who attended Kids Club I can personally attest to the outstanding care they provide. I will admit it has been some time since my children attended but they have been around for 24 years! They are doing a lovely job and have never cost the school district one penny! As far as I know their "deficit" is simply to do with the fact that their reserve used to be even greater than its current amount of over $400,000. Why would you uproot so many children from their second home?
And as for the claims of the Y losing a child and breaking several licensing codes along the years, I suggest you do your research. This is all public record and I wish I could tell you these were lies.
A big kudos to Chris Tibbetts and all of the Kids Club employees, keep up the great work! The school district should have hired their accountant, maybe then they wouldn't be in this mess. Good luck PUSD, don't make another mistake.


Posted by Maria, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2009 at 9:21 am

To Alyssa

"Valerie Arkin also brought up the fact that the district could turn over the Kids Club sites to another vendor. She stated this could save $450k per year."

Question: During the meeting, did Ms Arkin specifically say if the 450k/year they could save, is for subsidy funds to Kids Club or revenue they could gain? I agree with 'Concerned, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood' that deficit they're talking about is the now low reserve of $400k. Kids Club from what I was told by a supervisor, was never in the red. They use reserve funds for upgrades (like computers, carpets, repairs, etc) and now its down to $400k.


Posted by John, a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

Funny, but Valerie Arkin was listed as on the YMCA Board of Managers two nights ago. This morning she's listed as "emeritus". When did the resignation take place? I think this should be disclosed by Ms Arkin.

I think that she has a conflict of interest based on her past association working on behalf of the YMCA and should recuse from this discussion and voting on this issue. If she wants to advocate for closing Kids Club operations and assign it to the YMCA, let her do it from the Speaker's rostrum, not from a seat on the board. I question her objectivity and impartiality on this issue.

While I doubt that she financially benefits if the YMCA gets the Kids Club business, an organization that she worked for in the recent past would get financial benefits. I can't see how is this is not a conflict with either board policy or state law. At a minimum, it doesn't smell right

I am also concerned over why there is only discussion of the YMCA. If Kids Clubs were to be closed, doesn't the district have an obligation to publicly bid this out to child care providers (there are many private ones out there, and have public review of those bids). We're talking about taking district owned property and converting it to private use - any actions should be fully transparent so we can all see what we get and what we lose

Lastly, I would like to understand how well the YMCA is doing now on those operations they have in the district. Are they financially sound or operating in the red? Are they in compliance with discrict requirements and performing well. If not, why should go down this path?


Posted by Leslie, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

As a Y-Kids mom I can tell you that the Y is doing a great job with our program. I was one of the people that attended the PUSD board meeting in the fall to renew the Y contract. Parents and kids from the three Y sites filled the room! Everyone said great things about their experience with the Y, one dad who'd been in the program for many many years. I love the staff and they love our kids! If you want to see what a great job the Y is doing, go visit the Y-Kids program at Lydiksen. You will undoubtedly be impressed!

Despite all that, that really isn't the issue. I for one am very concerned about the cuts and I want them to come from as far away from the classroom as possible. Childcare is not the same as cutting reading specialists, music programs, PE! And it shouldn't even be in the same discussion as CSR. I agree with Leo. If it costs the district, they should get out of the childcare business.


Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

We're intentionally giving topics pertaining to the June 2 parcel tax measure and teacher layoffs a rest because the postings have become repetitive and, in some instances, accusatory and hurtful to teachers and other employees of the school district who are unable to respond to postings, most of which are made under the cloak of anonymity. The postings online will remain, but future postings to these threads or new ones dealing with teacher layoffs and the parcel tax can be made only by registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly forum.


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