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Guest Opinion

Original post made on Feb 28, 2009

Pleasanton is told that we live in a "bubble" that bears little resemblance to the rest of the state. This should be taken as a compliment and is a direct result of all our efforts to maintain excellent schools, quality city services, and safe neighborhoods. We may disagree among ourselves, but like family, we're united in common defense.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (22)

Posted by Facebook User, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 28, 2009 at 6:25 pm

If you are a Facebook user, join the Yes on Pleasanton Parcel Tax group for information about the parcel tax and how you can be involved.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

and if you have a brain just wait for the election and vote NO


Posted by liz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2009 at 7:19 pm

The reserves were first used to pay administrative raises and the short fall is 2mil each year for salary increase. That is not a valid reason to ask for a parcel tax when our incomes are decreasing. There must be a true salary freeze and reduction of recent raises.
Then with the 2 million from the federal money, and a few painless cuts, there would be no need for a parcel tax.


Posted by Liz, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2009 at 7:44 am

Taxpayers will have a hard time justifying yet another new tax that will go to pay PUSD's, high payed administrators and well paid teachers, continued salary increases (call it what you like S&C are raises).

Without a true and absolute salary freeze MANDATED in any parcel tax language FOR THE LENGTH OF THE TAX it will become a game of hide the pea. Money will be moved around, paid by the parcel tax in one pot and freed up in another for raises. It is not that teachers are not valued but this economy can not support raises for anyone. We must preserve jobs over raises.

We love our kids we care about our community and we support our teachers but everyone must make concessions.

As the parcel tax stands now it will fail and a lot of money and community resources will have been waisted!!!


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 7:52 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Liz, the estimated $2 million in federal money is a one-time deal. What will we cut next year, when we no longer have access to that money? Or perhaps the assumption is that the state legislature will come to its senses and reverse the downward course of state funding on education...

What cuts would you recommend?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 1, 2009 at 7:56 am

Sandy is a registered user.

"I am outraged that the lack of fiscal responsibility on the state's part will have such a devastating impact on our excellent school system." Well said, Joan!

Nothing that the local teachers or administrators did contributed to the huge budget cuts that were made statewide.

I believe our challenge now is to find the most responsible way to cope with those cuts locally. We must give board members our ideas about how to cope so that our schools will experience the least possible damage in the long term.


Posted by LIZ, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2009 at 8:09 am

The federal money is this year and next year.

If we have an absolute salary freezes we will not be rolling over the 2mil each year accumulating deficit. The parcel tax does not help us if we continue to incur more debt each year due to pay increases, we would need to increase the parcel tax each year.

I would support, and encourage others to support a parcel tax, if true concessions were made. And the PT language must included this language "FOR THE LENGTH OF THE TAX there will be a MANDATED absolute salary freeze".




Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 1, 2009 at 8:13 am

Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood posted:
and if you have a brain just wait for the election and vote NO

---------

Well stated.


Posted by think twice, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

If they want things to cut, here's a piece of fat to trim:


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 Terrence, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 1, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I have 2 elementary kids @ Walnut Grove and a son who is a freshmen @ Amador. I will VOTE NO on any parcel tax. I will encourage anyone I meet/talk/run into @ Farmers Mkt, Church, HS sport event etc to fight this additional tax.

NO TO ANY PARCEL TAX

NO TO ANY PARCEL TAX

NO TO ANY PARCEL TAX


Posted by suckers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2009 at 1:07 am

Perhaps Larson should go read Liz's post and get a reality check.

Web Link

We in Ptown do indeed live in a bubble, a bubble of inflated education spending with little accountibility and relatively lower performance. PUSD's administrators and teachers have managed to funnel our money to line their pockets, and when funding for payraises from the state dries up, they demand more by deploying scare tactics and gullible PTA parents.

Numbers don't lie and I encourage everyone to question the things the PTA and PUSD are telling you.

Please...Don't get suckered into paying more taxes for payraises and perks for the administrators and teachers.


Posted by sean, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2009 at 1:42 am

I am even more outraged that the lack of fiscal responsibility on the PUSD's part will have such a devastating impact on our excellent school system.

Time to demand serious concessions from the union and the administrators is now.

NO PARCEL TAX!


Refresher:

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 Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

Sandy is a registered user.

The cuts made last week include 17.5 FTE of administrators -- over 25% of those on the payroll now.

You could cut every single administrator out of the budget, and still not have saved enough money to close the budget gap that the district faces.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 2, 2009 at 9:26 am

Sandy, You lose credibility when you make statements you can not support.

14,467 students in the district, PUSD spends $567 per student on administration, that is a total of $8,202,789. on administrative costs per year. The 8.5 shortfall is over a two year period. We know we will be getting more than two million from federal money. We could very easily balance the budget if we cut every administrator out of the budget!!!!

I HAVE NOT seen anyone suggest we should cut every administrator. What I see are facts to support trimming administration to bring PUSD inline with other successful districts.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

Sandy is a registered user.

I didn't realize that when people discuss trimming the administrative budget, they wanted to eliminate more positions for principals and assistant principals -- I thought they were talking about the district office.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 2, 2009 at 9:44 am

I am not suggesting eliminating any site positions, I would like as few positions as possible eliminated. We need to look at where the fat is in the budget and trim it. This tells us where to look.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 2, 2009 at 10:08 am

Sandy is a registered user.

The $8.2 million you cite for administrative costs includes administrators such as principals.

Also, the $2 million in federal stimulus is an estimate, and we should hear this week about what strings are attached. It is not yet clear how much can be used for general fund purposes. In any case, it is only a 2-year investment, so using it for teacher salaries would only put us back in the same position two years from now.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 2, 2009 at 11:04 am

Yes, and I am sure San Ramon has principals also so that is not the fat.
This parcel tax will not address any long term solution if the district overhead is not brought inline. There must be an absolute salary freeze until the crisis is over or we will need a new tax each year to keep up with the PUSD salary increases.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Pleasanton had a quality school system well before the boom years. Throwing money at education feels good, but does little to change the outcome. Parent education (and not just the classroom type), involvement, and social values are the most predominant factors. The formal education system builds on the foundation created by good parenting. And that will not change in this area for the foreseeable future.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2009 at 11:42 am

We need to follow the example of private industry and all of us that are reducing our budgets. Like Hewlett Packard the top administrator needs to take the biggest pay cut of 20% or more. The next higher paid administrators 10-15% and the teachers 5-10%. Also eliminate all luxuries. Cut back to the bare necessities. We are in a different era. California is still bankrupt and will not be able to issue any bonds in the foreseeable future. Who in his right mind will buy California bonds? I have some already and they are trading like junk bonds with the worst rating of all states.

Live within our means. Parents have to pitch in and teach their kids. Maybe more home schooling.


Posted by pay up, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

"We need to follow the example of private industry"

Schools operate when funding is available and cease their operation when funding ceases. Unlike for-profit companies, there are no incentives nor reasons for the district to cut their operational costs as they're not expected to turn a profit. Spend what you have and cut what you can't fund is the model for public service.

If you want schools to operate much more efficiently, privatize them. Otherwise, just shut up and pay.


Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:57 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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