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COMMENTARY: Save Pleasanton Schools

Original post made on Mar 13, 2009

The newly-formed Save Pleasanton Schools citizens' coalition kicked off its campaign last Sunday to gain voter support for a $233 a year parcel tax, a measure that the Pleasanton school board has placed on the ballot in a special election to be held Tuesday, June 2.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 13, 2009, 5:11 AM

Comments (142)

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Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 13, 2009 at 6:40 am

Jeb - You propose that PUSD solve its revenue shortfall (and reserve fund decline) by imposing a tax on 20,000 home/property owners.

I would estimate that 50+% of these home/property owners have themselves experienced a revenue shortfall (and decline in savings/net worth).

What is your opinion/proposal for how these people are to resolve their revenue shortfall, and pay for the additional $233 per year, and the annual 2% increase in property tax, and the 1% increase in sales tax that starts on April 1, and all the other taxes/fees that are on the way?

Can you write this opinion next week?

Thanks.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:09 am

"The parcel tax, on the other hand, would provide specific, predictable and stable revenue. These funds would allow the continuation of class-size reduction at the current levels of no more than 20 students in kindergarten through third grade and no more than 20 in freshmen English and mathematics classes at Foothill and Amador Valley high schools."

Jeb, Not to suggest you need to agree with the people against this parcel tax, but I don't understand how you can see the questions being raised and not respond with some kind of coverage. The paragraph above ignores one of the questions: what is the impact if classes are 21:1, 22:1? These are reasonable solutions, more reasonable than asking for a tax and quite possibly a way to have asked for less. I think even teachers would rather do this than lose jobs.

I'm also surprised there is no mention of Arkin's proposals. They may not be THE solution, but they were a sincere attempt to look for another answer.

"We believe the safeguards are in place to make sure those programs and the personnel needed to support them will be in place to meet the public's demand for continued quality education in Pleasanton." I wonder if something similar to this was written years ago for the facilities bond--an oversight committee that hasn't met in five years.

I have repeatedly noted that three years of unsustainable raises put the district in this precarious position; the state problems only exacerbated that decision--they are not the cause of the district's woes unless we ignore what happened leading up to this point. Today I read a commentary to another economic crisis that fits here as well: "It is amazing how fast people learn when they are not insulated from the consequences of their decisions." Thomas Sowell

The district and Board need to pull the parcel tax, go back to the whiteboard, talk to teachers, talk to principals, come up with realistic cuts (if they are needed at all), and IF a tax is still needed, write very specific language on what it will purchase (I think counselors at middle and high schools are crucial) and that no one can receive raises for the life of that tax.

This proposal is dividing the community as one high school student noted on another thread. The newspaper should be covering both sides and asking more pointed questions of staff. June 2 will be a very sad day when the community votes not to insulate the district from its decisions. And then what? Do we really want to test this and waste even more time to get to a reasonable solution?


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Posted by john
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:25 am

Hi Jeb
Not to be mean spirited, but would you tell me what you currently pay ea year in property taxes? (please, yearly only)


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Posted by LIZ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:35 am

Jeb,
I am disappointed that you have either ignored or not read the rational well stated posts that have raised questions about the need for the parcel tax. To not mention that viable alternative suggestions have been discounted or even worse to say "safeguards are in place" knowing that those same safeguards have been abandoned for PUSD's current Bond Tax is seriously misleading the community.
This commentary seriously questions your balance on this subject.


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Posted by LIZ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:36 am

Jeb,

I am disappointed that you have either ignored or not read the rational well stated posts that have been raised questions about the need for the parcel tax. To not mention that viable alternative suggestions have been discounted or even worse to say "safeguards are in place" knowing that those same safeguards have been abandoned for PUSD's current Bond Tax is seriously misleading the community.

This commentary seriously questions your balance on this subject.


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Posted by Not so Rich
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:44 am

Watch your wallet. In Jeb's world, you would actually be paying much more than $233 per year - $400??. Remember the school board's wish list of something on the order of 50 programs to add to the district? This was just a few short years ago. Many of us said "no" back then. Not "no" because we are anti-school or anti-children, "no" because some of us out here in the real world actually saw the light at the end of the tunnel, the light that is coming right at us right now. The light of the freight train called "Game Over".


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

Jeb,
Please give full disclosure does any member of your family work in this or any school district?


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:04 am

I am currently busy solving my own financial crisis. With sales, income and vehicle taxes already set to increase soon this task will be hard enough. I love my community and generally support our school systems, but my union neighbors that work for PUSD are going to have to solve this one for themselves. NO ON THE PARCEL TAX!


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Posted by Thank you!
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

Thank you, Pleasanton Weekly!

Support your schools!

Support your community!

Even support your pocket book (property value!)!

YES ON PARCEL TAX!!!!


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Posted by Thank you Jeb!
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:33 am

Thank you, Jeb, for the Pleasanton Weekly's endorsement of this important school funding measure. We applaud your understanding of what is really at stake here in terms of our schools and our quality of life in this community. Many, many people will thank you for your insight and your perspective. Don't let the negative posts above discourage you. After all, most of them are written by one person pretending to be numerous voices.

Vote YES on June 2 on this parcel tax!


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Posted by john
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:36 am

I do have another question. The teachers union holds a couple of cards here in terms of the # of layoffs. Have they offered to help?


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:41 am

To Disagree w/B regarding this comment in your post:
I'm also surprised there is no mention of Arkin's proposals. They may not be THE solution, but they were a sincere attempt to look for another answer.



The Pleasanton Weekly did not endorse Valerie Arkin when she ran for school board


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Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:42 am

Jeb,

I've been living in Pleasanton with my family since I was in Kindergarden (now I'm a college sophmore). Between my younger sister and I we've attended Valley View Elementary, Hearst Elementary, Pleasanton Middle School, and Amador Valley High School.

I really do understand that the School Disrtict is in major crisis right now as far as funding goes, but I don't think a tax is what we need to fix this. I think that much of the money that is used by schools is spent on things that we (speaking as a student) didn't need.

For example:
High Schools and some Middle Schools have rally's that are put on by leadership and from my experience, the rally's never added anything to my educational experience at school. It was just a reason to not be in class.

Another example would be the amount of paper handouts used in classes. After going to college I realized most of the information about my class and other worksheets and things were downloadable from a computer. And you may be able to argue that not everyone has a computer, but all students have to type papers no matter what level of schooling they are in, so access to a computer is all they need. Put documents that students need on PDF files and allow them to fill out homework online and submit it to the teacher in e-mail. That would reduce the amount of paper used and paid for tenfold.

I think what really needs to be focused on in our Pleasanton schools is not the rally's, the school bullentins, or the extra things that just help to embelish your high school experience; we need to focus on academics and keeping teachers who are able to educate their students, athletics to help with teaching values you cannot learn in a class, and making class enjoable for students. You idealy want students to enjoy even thier hardest classes because the learning enviornment makes them comfortable. I think the way to do that is lessen the events that pull kids out of class.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:48 am

Mr. Bing, thank you for endorsing the parcel tax! I disagree about the amount -- I am glad that the board showed restraint and did not propose a higher amount. These are tough times, and we must not make more of a dent than is necessary in homeowners' finances.

Regarding class size reductions...

my understanding is that in most elementary schools, there are approximately 100 children in each grade, K-3. This places logistical constraints on the ability to increase class sizes "slightly". Currently, for each grade of 100 children, there are 5 teachers. We could cut to 4 teachers, for a student-teacher ratio of 25:1. Or we could cut to 3 teachers (the current plan if no other revenues appear), for a student-teacher ratio of 30:1.

Intermediate options, like 21:1, or 22:1, are not practical.

Pleasanton residents value high quality education. I don't want what's "good enough" for our children, I want the best. We can continue to work to improve our schools in other ways, but letting our programs get cut this severely will certainly have negative impacts on children.

That is why I will vote YES on the parcel tax measure G on June 2!


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Posted by lover of the weekly
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:55 am

Boo Jeb, but not surprised. NO, with 4 votes in my home.


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Posted by Parent of two
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

Some additional points need to be made:

- I agree that the teacher's union should be tasked with some of the cost-sharing. Pleasanton teachers are already some of the highest paid in the state. A small decrease in salary for all of them would save jobs, but like most unions, they'll sacrifice the less-tenured to protect their own golden goose.

- Let's make sure that we purge the non-Pleasanton carpetbaggers from the schools. If the kids DON'T live in the district full-time, I don't want to be encouraging people to use work addresses, grandparents' addresses, ex-spouses' addresses, etc. to take advantage of Pleasanton's high quality (that I paid for).

- Cut back on these teacher "in-service" days. We're paying them for several days a year WHEN OUR KIDS AREN'T EVEN THERE! If we're paying them, they should be teaching.

- I'm torn about the parcel tax. I don't mind paying it if I know it's going to be used to keep GOOD TEACHERS employed, and improve the class ratios. However, I do mind paying it if it's going to go into administrator's pockets, keep BAD TEACHERS from getting fired, and fund useless projects.

Rather than cutting teachers, how about cutting administrators and bureaucrats? The teachers teach the kids, administrators just spend money.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:18 am

This is exactly why I depend on this newspaper … for the girls soccer scores.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:23 am

I am one person, Liz is one person, I believe other posters are one person each--as I do for those who are for the parcel tax.

21:1 or 22:1--not practical? A leap of faith at best. BTW, 25:1 isn't a bad answer either.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:32 am

Our household is voting yes on Measure G because we want Pleasanton schools to maintain an upward trajectory in standard of educational excellence. All these suggestions about the teachers, the union, Dr. Casey giving something back - how much would they all have to give back to overcome the millions of dollars to be deducted from our district from the state? This problem is not exclusive to Pleasanton - districts all over the state are facing reduced funding. How we handle it here in Pleasanton, particularly given that the surrounding communities have already passed a parcel tax, is something we CAN control. This parcel tax measure is a way of stabilizing funding in our district. We don't know whether things in the economy will be better or worse next year, but our schools certainly are not in a position for continued funding cuts.

Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by stayhomedad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:33 am

I am one person too! Whenever the opposition doesn't want to respond to a valid point, they make outlandish claims to avoid the real issue.
Why haven't we heard from Jim Ott? I'm a big fan of his, and he seems smart enough to grasp the reasoning here. He is on the school boards side, but even HE can't ignore the facts!


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Posted by Yes for schools!
a resident of Danbury Park
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:38 am

Bless you Pleasanton Weekly for having the clarity of vision to support this tax. We moved to this town largely because of the schools, and it's with the state having to pull funds away from education, we must take our destiny into own hands. This tax funds less than half of the required cuts to balance the budget. This means many administrators will STILL lose their jobs if this tax passes (in fact, 50% of the district staff is being let go next year). Classified staff WILL lose their jobs, and programs WILL be cut, even if the tax passes. $233 is a reasonable amount and if we value our kids, we should vote yes!


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:40 am

No on Parcel Tax unless there are signifcant cuts in pay and benefits of both Administration, staff and teachers.


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Posted by stayhomedad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:40 am

OK KGM, I'l bite. Would you rather have a parcel tax of $233 a year and make no changes to the administration, or patch all of the spending holes FIRST and then maybe pay half that amount for the parcel tax?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

"On May 19, Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature are floating a number of measures that, if approved, would provide more tax revenue and allow the state to borrow from specific funding resources to reduce part of the state's current deficit. Some of those new funds could go to replace some of the state's reductions in education funding, but school analysts don't believe there will be enough statewide to make much of an impact on Pleasanton."

Of course you conveniently neglected to mention who will pay for this new source of income. Provide more tax revenue somehow sounds like the pennies will fall from heaven. NO NEW TAXES!


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

stayathomedad,

I will gladly pay a parcel tax ot $233 per year now. I don't know specifically what "spending holes" you are referring to, but even with the parcel tax, district funding is severely reduced and cuts and adjustments will have to be made. The ballot language provides for "no proceeds for administrators' salaries," if you are concerned that they will be benefitting from these funds.

Hope that answers your question. :)



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Posted by Parent of two
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

KGM,

According to you, the money collected from the parcel tax can't be used for administrators' salaries. Fine.

Even if they don't get some of this money, they'll just vote themselves a greater proportion of the current budget.

Why are people so willing to raise taxes, and so unwilling to cut spending? This tax/spend/tax/spend cycle got us into the current debt situation. It's OK to cut some teachers, but let's cut the ones with the lowest performance ratings, rather than the ones with the lowest tenure.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:38 am

There seems to be a firm division on this proposition … between those who own a parcel and those who don't.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:46 am

Parent of two,

It's not according to me, it's according the ballot language (fact). If you want to make your decision operating under your assumption that the adminstrators are going to vote themselves a "greater proportion of the current budget," that is your deal.

I am willing to pay more taxes in the face of the level of spending that will need to be cut. Even with the parcel tax, millions of dollars in spending will need to be cut. I don't see this as a typical tax and spend scenario. We would be insulating our schools from the lousy economic conditions of the state right now.


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Posted by Parent of two
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:05 am

KGM, fair enough. You seem to be making an informed, thoughtful decision based on personal analysis. And I agree with you to a point. I would like to see other options discussed before they simply raise taxes, and I don't think enough work has been done to curb administrative expenses and negotiate compromises with the unions.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:05 am

KGM, As others have noted, vote as you choose. I don't expect to change your mind. However, the state can only be called the cause of the district's woes IF you ignore what happened leading up to this point.

Administrators could use the relief a parcel tax will create on the general fund to give themselves a raise and still say with a straight face that they did not use the parcel tax. I can't imagine they would try it.

Many of us believe the language should specifically state what positions will be funded and say that no raises should be awarded to anyone for the life of the parcel tax. It has a two-fold outcome, the money goes where intended and there will be a lot of thought before a re-up of the tax is considered after four years at zero.


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Posted by PW
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

It has become as big as an elephant that the majority of those against the parcel tax have not read much into what already has been proposed and actions to follow. Too many are still waiting for "cuts in administration, etc". The cuts have been identified. Where are you people? In Tahiti with your heads in the sand? Instead of blogging all day, go online, get a cup of your favorite beverage and read about all the cuts....with or without the parcel tax. IE Walnut Grove is losing 24 out of 46 staff members. Good luck parents at Walnut Grove. Have fun next year. Donlan's numbers are about the same. People...read first, spout off second! Get truthfully informed.

"YES" on the parcel tax.


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Posted by Free the Fremont Students
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm

My neighbor knows several Fremont families that rent a low-rent apartment for the Pleasanton address and then sublet to cover the expense.

This gains them access to Pleasanton schools without the ticket price of buying or renting a home for their entire family.

I do not know them. How can PUSD ensure that only those that LIVE in the city go to school? The water bill or telephone bill isn't enough.

I've also seen if your friend is at the registration table, they will let parents slide on bringing their 2 required bills to registration.

This must stop! If you want Pleasanton education, LIVE in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Daddyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm

In the interest of full disclosure, I own a parcel and I have young kids so going from 20 to 30 kids would have a severe impact on my kids education. If that happens I will most likely move. I love Pleasanton and want to stay so obviously I'm supporting the parcel tax. Having said that I wouldn't dismiss a lot of the misgivings that many of you have about the way schools are run (and I would say all public schools not just Pleasanton) and the way that money is spent. I will say this however, I'm going to turn 40 years old this year and as long as I can remember (and I mean back to when I was a kid) I've heard these arguments about the way money is spent in schools and the way that the teachers union is run. It doesn't matter where you go you will hear the same complaints. In all that time nothing has changed. And no matter how righteous your argument, it won't change in time to help the kids that are in school now. All of government is about the same. You pay $2 for every 75 cents worth of value, but that is the way that it is. You either pay and we have good schools or you don't, and well, Pleasanton won't.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I just want to quickly point out that given the way the language of the parcel tax is written, none of the programs listed are guaranteed. Consider that if you are leaning toward a yes vote on the parcel tax because you believe in the merits of the K-3 CSR program, there is absolutely no guarantee that the parcel tax funds will ensure a 20:1 student-teacher ratio at all four grade levels. Your money could end up going to support 25:1 ratios in grades 1 and 2 only. You have no guarantees other than vague promises with some sort of oversight committee without a clear mandate. All the parcel tax language says is "here is a vague list of programs we would like to spend the money on".


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I am sad to see the attitudes that dominate the comments section for Pleasanton Weekly. The prevailing opinion seems to be that teachers have some sort of responsibility to make tons of sacrifices in their lives during hard times for the good of the community. In reality, these are people who have spent four years in college earning a bachelor's degree in education, and then another year post-graduate earning the teaching credential required in California. These are well educated professionals who deserve to be compensated for the important service that they provide to the community. Instead they are among the most underappreciated public employees. A vast majority of teachers are extremely dedicated to the work they do and the students and families they serve, and deserve the compensation that they are paid. A strong education program is critical in preparing students to be productive members of society when they grow up. To allow the ability to produce quality education for students to diminish will turn out to be a huge long term loss to this community.

OK, full disclosure time: My wife is a teacher in Pleasanton and received her pink slip today. She spent 5 years earning her teaching degree and certificate and accruing thousands in student loans. She has about a decade of experience as an elementary school teacher and has consistently earned high ratings during observations of her performance. Since I have known her, she has consistently spent untold and uncompensated hours of her own time preparing lessons for class, grading papers, and otherwise striving to improve the educational experience of her students. We have spent many evenings in our kitchen practicing science demonstrations so that she could ensure that when she took them to her class, they would work. It's hard to forget one relatively modest weekend vacations I surprised her with during which she had to spend the entire day filling out report cards. Over the course of her career, she has spent thousands of dollars of her own money to buy supplies, books, and rewards for her students (not tax deductable by the way). I know these all sound like the clichés but they truly are fact and the benefit goes directly to the children of our communities.

In response to the repeated call to cut benefits: she does not receive any benefits from the district that aren't already required by law (payroll tax, STRS, Unemployment insurance). All her benefits (Dental only in our case) are paid entirely by her by deductions from her paycheck. If she did take the medical benefits that are offered, they too would be funded entirely by deductions from her paycheck.

Where is all this talk of no changes to administration coming from? Principals are being required to take furlough days (i.e. pay cut). Assistant Principal positions are being eliminated and those remaining are being shared among multiple schools. One suggestion by a poster suggested eliminating paper handouts with assignments by computer might be limited by the fact that computer support has been cut to the point that one tech person supports many schools. My wife's classroom has three computers, of which one works just well enough to access her district email. My point is, administrative cuts have already been made, and they are already impacting the ability of the teachers to do their job.

Addressing some of the other suggestions I have seen here:

Class size reduction is an all or nothing proposition, see #2 at this link. Web Link

CSR is a ballot measure approved, state funded program. If the district drops class size reduction, it will lose an additional $4M from the state, so the intermediate class size reductions to 21, 22, or 25 will all likely be more expensive in direct costs to the district than 20:1. 29:1 would be break even. To lose that funding from the state would be plain dumb, as it seems in this climate, it would be impossible to get back.

Oh, one thing I do agree with is what a waste of time high school assemblies are, at least in my own memory of them. What I don't see is how eliminating assemblies and rallies would recover an $8.9M shortfall.

Who is really at fault here is our state legislature, and the governor who allowed a 10% cut in state education funding on top of copious income and sales tax increases. If I were a citizen of Pleasanton I would be spending a lot of time writing letters and making phone calls to Ellen Corbett, Joan Buchanan, Mary Hayashi, and Alberto Torrico for letting things get so out of hand in Sacramento. I know as a citizen of Livermore I have already sent correspondence letting Assemblywoman Buchanan and State Senator Loni Hancock know how I feel about the state of things.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for your consideration.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm

From the Save Pleasanton Schools' website:
"Pleasanton has largely been sheltered from the foreclosures and property devaluations seen across the state mainly due to the strong reputation of our school district."

School quality has nothing to do with preventing foreclosures.

From the Save Pleasanton Schools' "Sample Letter to Friends":
"With the proposed budget cuts, the outstanding education that my (son/daughter/granddaughter/grandson) receives at (school name) will be at serious risk. Our school faces the possible elimination of
( note: choose from among these that you are most concerned about or find out what specific programs or staff will be cut at your school: class-size reduction in grades K-3 and 9th grade Math & English; reading specialists; counselors; vice-principals; intervention aides; tech support aides; library/media assistants; elementary band and strings programs; extra-curricular sports; campus monitors and noon supervisors)."

Again as I wrote above, none of these programs are guaranteed by the parcel tax language. The district could end up cutting parts of CSR or increasing the ratios and use the extra money for sports. The parcel tax language gives no clear mandate from voters.


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Posted by Informed
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm

PW, read every thread on this topic from Disagree w/B and other like-minded posters over, lets say, the past 14 days, then tell us if we're so ill-informed.

2 No on G votes here!


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Posted by duh!
a resident of Avignon
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm

$212,179 - Salary of a governor who manages 239,791 employees in the great state of California

$227,002 - Salary of a small town school Superintendent who manages 1200 employees

You do the math.

Yes on Responsible Spending!

Yes on More Accountability!

No on Parcel Tax!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Steve from Livermore wrote above that CSR is an all or nothing program. This is not true. From the link he posted above:

"In a school district, must all schools participating in the CSR program select the same grade levels for reduction?

No. Implementation of the CSR program is by school site, and which grade levels participate may be different for each site as long as the implementation priorities are met. At each school, grade 1 must be implemented first, followed by grade 2. Once all first and second grade classes at the school have been reduced, the classes in grade 3 or kindergarten may be reduced.

# Will a school district be obligated to maintain the reduced size classes it implemented in the prior year?

No. Each school district may implement as few or as many grade levels and classes at as few or as many schools as desired each year, as long as the grade level implementation priorities are met at each participating school site. The school district may also choose not to participate. Discontinuing all participation in any year would result in no CSR funding for that year. However, the district would be eligible to reapply the following year. "


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Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm

To "Free the Fremont Students":

Last time I checked we had a school board trustee, Pat Kernan, who rents an apartment in Pleasanton, but whose family home is actually in Camino. PUSD fought hard to allow him to keep his position. With a trustee helping to make decisions for Pleasanton who doesn't have his family home in Pleasanton, and won't be paying a parcel tax should it pass, why would you think PUSD wouldn't overlook a little address swapping with the students?


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Posted by Janet
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Rae, I agree with almost everything you say. Mr. Kernan, as a renter, will end up paying the parcel tax, in the form of a rent increase that all landlords will pass along to their tenants. I have said since the Kernan Camino house issue surfaced that he needs to resign from the board. The backing he received by the other board members (before the new board was seated) is disgusting.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Yes on parcel tax.

Cuts are EXTREMELY DEEP that even parcel tax might not save our schools.

What more without parcel tax?

Think about it.

Yes on parcel tax.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm

OK fair enough Stacey. The district could limit CSR to fewer grade levels, and prioritization of for that has already been communicated. My first point was that 21:1, 22:1, and 25:1 are non-starters. My second point stands, it would be dumb to lose ANY additional funding from the state to support this program.

"However, the district would be eligible to reapply the following year. "

Key word here is "reapply". This does not say that the district has a guarantee to return to the program. With limited state budget, if choices had to be made on where to fund the program, my bet would be that a district continuing the program would be given priority over a district reapplying after dropping the program.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Steve wrote: "This does not say that the district has a guarantee to return to the program."

Yes, that's a valid fear I think. I also think there's gotta be some eventual give by the State because practically all districts in California are facing these problems. Personally, I'd like to see some education funding reform at the State level as recommended by the LAO. CSR shouldn't be merely an incentive program.


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Posted by PPL
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Stacey, what is the LAO?


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Posted by No on G
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Steve, the politicians you mentioned are all in the pocket of the unions. The unions backed them and paid for them and guess what, it's payback time (it always is with unions). The pols will do whatever the unions tell them to do. To think otherwise is to be naïve to a fault.

Have a nice tax and fee increase, or twenty!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm

California's Legislative Analyst Office. Specifically what I was referring to is this: Web Link

There's some other links I have somewhere from a Stanford study group on education financing and a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation study. The main conclusion is that education funding should align with State educational goals and our current system doesn't really do that.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I thought of third point about CSR and state funding. Since most of us pay state income taxes, we pay for the CSR that is distributed to the participating school districts. If a district is not participating, that community still has a share of its state income tax payments going to fund the CSR program, but all the benefit goes to other districts.



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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I must step in here and say that the district has gone to great lengths to investigate what programs/services are most important to families with children at our schools, so that they can understand the priorities of the community they serve when trying to determine what they should do with this funding if it becomes available for next school year.

We are voting Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

NoG... "Steve, the politicians you mentioned are all in the pocket of the unions. The unions backed them and paid for them and guess what, it's payback time (it always is with unions). The pols will do whatever the unions tell them to do. To think otherwise is to be naïve to a fault. "

Is the payback to the unions you are referring to the 10% cut in the state education budget leading to thousands of teacher layoffs statewide?


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Posted by PPL
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Stacey, thanks for the explaining what LAO stands for.

As for your last comment "The main conclusion is that education funding should align with State educational goals and our current system doesn't really do that.", this will always be a problem, since on the one hand, many of us fight for local control of our school district, while, on the other, we can't or won't do without funding from the state and, to a lesser degree, the federal government. Many, many years ago, we lost local control and now MUST align with state and federal goals and mandates, whether or not they make sense for us locally.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Steve,

I agree - why are so many people calling out the union - what do they have to gain with all of these layoffs? Makes NO sense - so tired of reading about it!

We are parcel owners voting Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm

PPL,

I think I'm somewhat self-contradictory on that subject. On the one hand, local control means being able to have enough flexibility to address local needs (i.e. EL, low-income students, etc.). On the other hand, local control leads to wide disparities in educational quality and opportunity. I'd prefer to see districts have funding flexibility to address local needs while being required to meet State or even national-level curriculum and accountability. I think the LAO's suggestions can help achieve that.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Don't get me wrong about unions. I don't beleive unions generally pursue policies that are necessarily good for the the enterprise their members are employed by, and can easily be bad bad for that enterprise. In this case however, I don't see how union support or alleged influence of state assemblymembers has anything to do with the problems that led to the shortfall at PUSD, or the Parcel Tax that is proposed to limiti the impacts from the state decisions.

Obviously the union will support the Parcel Tax, is it will do nothing but benefit the members.


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Posted by No on G
a resident of Parkside
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Steve, the governor is making across the board cuts, in just about every sector. Everyone will have to do with less. Get used to it.
Oh, watch for the union backed protests, they are coming.
You know, my parents see the way we act and just shake their heads. Most of us want everything we want, when we want it and have never really sacrificed anything - spoiled rotten, I'd say!

Pro Children
Pro Community
Pro Teachers
Pro Schools
NO ON G – THE PARCEL TAX! (until PUSD & the teacher unions clean up their acts)


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

"Steve, the governor is making across the board cuts, in just about every sector. Everyone will have to do with less. Get used to it."

It's true, we will have to take our medicine, but that doesn't mean we don't have to fight for what we think is most important to maintain our society.

At least the $10B High Speed Rail project our state voted for last fall is still on track, at a cost of $680M/year for the next 30 years. That program is much more important than education.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Steve: The web link you posted for CSR was altered by the recent vote on the state budget. There is now a sliding scale of "fines" for going over 20:1. I've posted it before and will look for it to post again. It's a temporary (two years?) waiver.

I said I should change my name to broken record . . . you cannot blame the state for this mess unless you ignore the bad decisions made by the district leading up to the crisis.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm

No on G,

I know you posted to Steve, but I've got to respond.

Clearly many of us are not willing to "get used to it" - sorry. The schools are being asked to do with too much less. That is my opinion, yes; and in light of everything else, I'm not willing to see our district suffer such deep cuts.

Of course the union will protest - they are paid to look after their constituents - that is part of their job.

I can't speak for how spoiled you might be, but I (and most people I know) am perfectly capable of waiting for what I want, and have made many, many sacrifices over the course of my life - many sacrifices for others - many sacrifices for our public school system. What I don't want is for Pleasanton's children to have to make the kind of sacrifices they would have to make under these budget cuts.

I am going to vote to sacrifice (though I prefer the term "invest") $233 per year on a parcel tax to benefit our shcools.

We are parcel owners voting Yes on Measure G!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm

OK, I'll check that out about sliding scale stuff.

I don't believe providing a competitive living wage to professionals is a bad decision.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Well, if you cannot afford an ongoing cost its a bad decision. I would love to see teachers paid a decent wage, merit pay, other options. New education secretary is talking about it too.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Ditto, KGM.

Yes, yes, yes on the parcel tax!

No parcel tax= abandoning our kids in these dire times.

Our kids spend 6 hours of every day of their lives for 13 years in schools. Let us continue to support our schools and make these the best place to be for them.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm

If the ongoing costs are a result of the relatively large raises a few years ago, I doubt anyone could have anticipated what has happened with real estate and the economy and the resulting impacts at the state level. Those raises weren't too terribly off what inflation dictated those years, and in otherways offset increasing health insurance costs. I think they weren't totally unreasonable.

This has been fun, but I am heading off for the weekend. Had fun debating with all of you this afternoon.

Cheers.


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Posted by George Martin
a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Interesting comments today. How many of you had classes of 20:1 when you were in elementary school? Seems by the comments, everyone here is very well educated. If I remember correctly, the district gets money from the state to fund CSR, what happens if the state pulls this money? Will the parcel tax have to be changed so that more money from the tax goes to CSR? Then does that mean that counselors are now going to be cut again? Thank you Valerie Arkin for trying to find other solutions, I am sorry no other board members are listening. Freezing everyones salary would save about 1.5 to 2 million, of course that means that Dr. Casey should not get his annual perks either. Taking away the above average retirement benefits from the top administrators and others will save another $500,000 to 1,000,000 depending on when they retire. Remember the new business person even admited that the retirement incentives for teachers and administrators were under estimated thus causing almost a million deficit for this year alone. Mis-management or just mistakes? Mistakes that cost people jobs, hurt the kids, and cost the taxpayers more money.


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Posted by john
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm

please correct if wrong(hope i am) but i'm imagining myself in a union. i know that some percentage are going to get laid off but the vast majority are secure. I even know whose going to get laid off because of seniority(god, i would love that!). If there where a union vote to accept concessions, which way would i vote? tough one but i expect my leadership would never let it go that far and my pay and bennies would be secure.
I really really wish that the union would offer some small concession.It could go a long way in affecting the vote but i honestly believe there's just no incentive -quite the reverse.


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Posted by cathy
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 13, 2009 at 8:56 pm

How can I become a registered voter? I am very concern about this matter ...

Thank you!


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Posted by -
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Cathy,
Please see link below:
Web Link


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Posted by Laura
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I am registered as a permanent absentee voter but I'm not sure if that status will apply since this is just a city wide ballot.

I am going to be out of town on the date of the parcel tax vote. Does anyone know how I can get an absentee ballot for this, or will one be sent anyways even though this is a citywide ballot?

Thanks!!!


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Posted by Joker
a resident of Civic Square
on Mar 13, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Laura,

I'll tell you, but it depends on which way you're leaning. LOL! ;)


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Posted by Laura
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Joker,
Fine don't share. Regardless of which way people are leaning, I hoped there was someone who could respect that people are entitled to their opinion and would be willing to help out a member of their community.

I had hoped there was someone out there who would want to teach their kids about the democratic process and that all voices are valued, whether or not they agree. And that lesson is free :-)




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Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 14, 2009 at 12:13 am

Laura - go to the web link in the posting right above yours. It's the Alameda County Registrar of Voters....your best source for all your voting-related questions. Call them if the web site doesn't have what you are looking for.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 11:24 am

Steve made a point about giving decent wages and feeling the recent PUSD raises were in line. I wanted to get to the bottom of that. Using the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (San Francisco) and a person more knowledgeable than me, here is the comparison. Link to data is Web Link

2005-06 PUSD gave 4.6%; CPI was 3.9 (June '05-Jun '06)
2006-07 5.73% v 2.6%
2007-08 4.1% v 4.1%
2008-09 -3% for the last six months of 2008

That's 3.83% higher than the CPI for the period 2005-2008 (ending in June). Using $100 million for the budget for salaries, that's a difference of $3.83 million . . . dangerously close to the amount requested in the parcel tax. This also does not include the step and column raises that occur each year, nor the stipends for education, etc. It appears that decent raises could have been given and still money could have been put in the bank.

And what was put in the bank? Districts have a line item in their budgets titled Designated for Economic Uncertainties. San Ramon has $6.9 million; Livermore has $4.5 million (cited from their First Interim Reports). And Pleasanton . . . it's zero. That, I think, is mismanagement.


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Posted by Mom 2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 11:37 am

Thanks Weekly

Yes on the Parcel Tax
means: small class sizes, maintaining reading specialists, Barton, intervention programs, technology specialists, librarians, clean schools, counselors, and librarians

Yes on maintaining our high quality, well training teachers who were pink slipped, most with at least 7 years in PUSD, but some with combined experience as high as 25 years (PUSD has always been able to attract trained talent)

Yes on maintaining our property values. Even realtors and loan agents I know personally who typically vote no on taxes are saying "yes" to this measure because they have first hand experience how even a rumor of decline of services in the schools will affect property values.

Yes on saying we can't trust Sacramento to maintain the quality of public schools anymore!

Yes on writing all the representatives at state and federal level and say, "Enough in enough". They are abusing our tax revenue and trust!

I understand the anger because I am angry too that I MUST pay more taxes to ensure that Pleasanton stays within the TOP TEN school districts in the state of California. However, it's the best investment over all the other taxes I pay: stays in Pleasanton, maintains our status, maintains property value, but most importantly, it maintains a high quality education for the children in our town.

I hope more of you that are angry at teachers, administrators, Jeb Bing, and P.T.A groups would direct your complaints towards Sacramento. The governor is now on the campaign trail to promote measures that will hurt school funding even more. He wants to reverse the voter approved Proposition 98 which he has been ignoring the past two years. He has no respect for the voters of California and that they have made it clear that school funding is a top priority! If it was a top priority in Sacramento, PUSD would not have to seek a parcel! If you blog every day and you haven't written your representatives, well...........


YES!


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Posted by Shelly
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm

No NO NO NO to a parcel tax....I will not add anything to my property tax regardless of property value. Some of us simply can't afford another dollar. I'm just trying to keep my house right now. I like living here and believe the teachers are wonderful so a few more kids in their class won't make them any less of a teacher. I think the district should reach out to the parents to help the classroom teacher with sevice rather than dollar.We talk about the kids and the tax will help them but we forget how some of us struggle to live in Pleasanton and we want to raise our kids here but I live on every dollar I make and not a penny do I have extra. Some people can buy a pair of jeans for the amount the parcel tax is and some of us could never!!! I got a pay decrease this month and to add that to a raise in my taxes will most likely force me to lose my house. Please vote no!!!


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Regarding the fund for economic uncertainties, I would like to point out that both districts cited (San Ramon and Livermore) benefit from parcel taxes, passed by their communities, for additional school funding. PUSD has until now avoided asking citizens for a parcel tax for additional school funding. So it is difficult to say that is due to mismanagement because it is comparing districts with different funding sources.




These are definitely challenging economic times for everyone. As far as asking parents to help more, I know our school's families are already helping a great deal. While our teachers are indeed very competent and increasing class size won't make them "less of a teacher," it will substantially alter type of instruction given in the classroom (adding even 5 more students is a big change).




It is $233 per year for four years.




I am a parcel owner voting YES on the parcel tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Disagree w/B,

Your comparison reminds me of how the State calculates COLA and how this can cause too high of a contribution in good economic times and too low of a contribution in bad economic times.

Web Link


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

KGM: San Ramon and Livermore weren't taking the parcel tax dollars and putting them into the economic uncertainty fund--they were clearly PLANNING ahead. It is a fair comparison.

Are you then saying that while the district was receiving large COLAs, giving large raises, and putting nothing aside (when it had the money to do so) it was good management of taxpayer dollars? More like the story of the ants and the grasshopper--Livermore and San Ramon were the ants, and Pleasanton is the grasshopper.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Disagree w/B,

It is still an issue of having the funding source or not. When you have more available funds, you can plan better for uncertainties. SR and Livermore communities voted for a parcel tax to benefit schools, and their schools have benefitted from that. How could that not have put them in a better position than PUSD is in right now? PUSD refrained from asking for additional funds through a parcel tax until absolutely necessary, so in that sense, I see the ant/grasshopper analogy - and I wish we would have passed a parcel tax sooner.

I also remember reading in one of these threads that there was a return of COLA this or last year.

Now I am going to spend some time with my family!
Have a great weekend!

(Yes on Measure G!) :~)


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Posted by Brandon
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

The postings here are interesting and entertaining. I turned 18 last Christmas so it'll be my first time voting. I'm leaning more toward a no vote on the tax based on my personal (less than perfect) experiences with the educators in Pleasanton and also the many valid arguments made in these postings.

To me, KGM and others, are in a state of denial that there are problems inside PUSD that need fixing. We can continue to pump money into a failing system and let the massive hemorrhage continues or we can fix things and then properly fund the district. That'll get us the biggest bang for the buck. I urge those of you who support the tax to not be as short sighted as the PUSD administrators have been for the past few years.

My vote will be No on Measure G. No on parcel tax.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm

KGM: Pleasanton HAD the money without a parcel tax, that's the whole point. They could have given raises of 3.9, 2.6, and 4.1 and still had money in the bank.

And Pleasanton didn't refrain from a parcel tax, their survey last time (which they chose not to do this time) told them there was no support. Makes me think it's because EVEN back then they weren't able to make a case because of current practices.

Dial forward to today, and the lesson clearly wasn't learned--they still spent, didn't save, and now have nowhere to go. They've shown up for class without homework and unprepared for class. That's something you don't reward by passing Measure G--for that you get an F(ail).


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Posted by IMO
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Wow lots of posts on all these blogs. Very intelligent ones and even some that are quite funny (wearing green blog). Looks like some posters are posting on the multiple blog sites.

Having read many, many of the posts on all the blogs I find the most consistent argument and sound reasoning for the NO vote to be those written by: Disagree w/B. Lots of clarity, facts and clear reasoning in all of her/his posts. Seems to answer the opposition w/ a good sound argument.

Can anyone tell me what poster I should go back and re- read for the same consistency and sound reasoning as I noted above for the Yes vote.

I would appreciate that. thanks in advance


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Clearly many of you have not read the list of cuts already made by the district. These cuts were made at the administrative level. Administrative positions at the district level, 3 middle school vice principals positions and all but one elementary vice principal positions have been cut. Principals have been asked to take furlough days this year and pay cuts next. It is funny when Steve included this information in his blog nobody really commented on it, probably because it deflates much of their argument.
Even if the parcel tax passes, times will be lean throughout the schools, programs will be cut and everyone will be effected. They will still be getting by with less.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Get Real, Ignoring for a moment that the cuts aren't real, I've been thinking about how to frame my comments for beyond the vote.

I don't feel the failure of the parcel tax will be a victory for anyone unless the district takes that message and does the work it should have done in the first place. We need multiple choices and a forum for discussion that isn't overwhelmed by: those who feel threatened by job loss, those who feel their child's education is being threatened, and timing that doesn't feel like the district is artificially spinning the arms of the clock from behind the wall. The failure of the budget was solely caused by bad decisions. State issues just complicated that failure.

I have repeatedly suggested that teachers (no union leaders), principals (no DO administration--sorry, but there needs to be an ability to speak freely), parents, business leaders, other community members, and maybe Ms. Arkin (who at least tried) need a place/sufficient time to rip through the budget to talk about real cuts and real solutions. That could still mean a parcel tax, but it could be far less than $233.

The reason I say the cuts aren't real is because all we've seen is the first part of the process--cut what's easy and dramatic, send out pink slips (required by March 15), pray the parcel tax passes (June 2), and THEN AND ONLY THEN, pass the budget by June 30 (law).

Now, in the perfect world, the district won't run the exercise, the Board will pull the measure, and the discussion can begin in earnest, soon, and with sufficient time to come up with the best answer(s). And that group will take it to the community at large for vetting and with the hope of real support for the measures to cut and a measure for a parcel tax if it is warranted.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Get Real, thank you for reiterating the cuts have already been made. This parcel tax won't be some kind of over-the-top windfall for the district administration. The amount of revenue generated from the parcel tax will keep schools running at an acceptable but still very reduced service level.

I'll say it again. The district has run on the funds allocated to this point, when the state deeply sliced the education budget. The district's approach to remedy this is to cut expenses AND pass a parcel tax to benefit the schools.

It is not an issue of being in denial about how the district is run. As I mentioned earlier, these economic times are going to force everyone to re-evaluate how things have been done - from the largest companies to individual households. The point is that as a community, we can offset some of this funding instability by approving a temporary parcel tax so that students in our community are not made to suffer the consequences of such a drastic reduction in funding.

Given the reputation of our district, I would hardly say there is a failing grade involved. I disagree with how this argument is being framed as rewarding the district for "bad behavior." This is not just an opportunity to punish the district for real or perceived indiscretions. There are real dollars being removed from the system here. This is about preserving an acceptable level of resources for the students in our public schools - resources that were removed at the state level. If this situation makes people want to look more closely at how things are run at the district level, then great - I am all for accountability. However, that doesn't change the fact that the district now will be dealing with substantially reduced funding from the state, and that will affect our kids tremendously.

We are parcel owners voting Yes on Measure G!
G is Good for our schools!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

If you think what the vice principals received is "fake", why don't you ask one of them to see the letter they received,or look at the cut list, it is not a "pink slip". They were told they will not have that position next year regardless of the parcel tax.
Yes, there was a lot of attention given to the "pink slips". I do not believe the district handed them out for effect. The state requires districts to notify district its employees by March 15 if they will not have a position next year. The district did not pass them out to get people to vote for the parcel. They were following the law. Unfortunately for Pleasanton and many other districts the future is grim. Reality is, that even with the parcel tax many of those employees will still not have jobs next year.
The thing is the parcel tax should not be about people's jobs, it should be about the students and their needs. The education of children, or lack of, does effect the whole community whether you have a child in the public school system or not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Disagree w/ B -

Thanks for the great research and analysis, and providing it for public review. Wouldn't it be nice if the PUSD would provide this data, or the Weekly would do local investigative research. The more fact based analysis that comes to light, the more voters will see that a NO on the Parcel Tax is a statement on PUSD's poor fiscal practices, lack of transparency and the public's call for better solutions to the problems they face.

Nicely done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Mom 2 - If all the school districts in CA are suffering the same revenue shortfall, and if they all are making the same cuts in programs/teachers/services, then wouldn't they all be in the same relative decline?

Further, wouldn't this mean that relatively speaking, Pleasanton schools will still be highly ranked and regarded?

Further more, if someone with kids is looking for a home in the East Bay, wouldn't they still choose Pleasanton?

Then can we conclude that the CA education budget cuts has zero effect on home prices?

What does anyone else think?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I believe the failure of this proposition is a foregone conclusion. The only question left is whether the district will forge forward and waste taxpayer money by holding the election for the sake of appearances, or will they go back to the drawing board and return the budgeted election cost funds to the classroom.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm

GR: Yes I mentioned the law requires the notices, but ask non-tenured teachers, they get them year after year, and the best are rehired once the budget has solidified. It is not impossible that many (maybe not APs) will have a job.

Pleasanton has proven to be a generous community, hence the bonds support for facilities (yet another disappointment given it's oversight committee doesn't meet). So what has set off the negative reaction?

Had the community at large been allowed to be involved in this discussion (more than 60% of the community no longer/does not have a child in the system), without the rancor that teed it up, there may have been support to keep APs or any of the other positions--particularly if they were specifically called out in the ballot language (shall the district keep X APs at the elementary level). At least we'd know that what we mail in our money for will actually be the position purchased.

Of course this affects the entire community, and I happen to have a vested interest in the success of the district. But not at any cost and not without looking at all the possibilities.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Carl,
Yes, all districts are facing reduced revenues from the state. However, some districts who have passed parcel taxes can still rely on that as an supplemental source of funding. Pleasanton has not yet passed the parcel tax. If a neighboring district does not have to cut as many programs due to their greater revenue from parcel tax, then that does put Pleasanton in a worse position relative to other districts.

Parent,
You may believe the failure is a foregone conclusion, but your belief does not mean the efforts and intentions of advocates of the parcel tax should just be disregarded. The push for the parcel tax is being driven by your fellow community members who have a right to place it on the ballot to go through a fair voting process. The election is not being held for the sake of appearances. This increased self-righteous tone of the anti-tax arguments is becoming extremely annoying.

Yes on Measure G!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Laura
a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Carl,

Thanks for the info. I had already checked the Alameda County Voter site and was planning to call them on Monday. Hopefully they can assist me!

I appreciate your suggestion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

KGM, I'd like to suggest that the districts that passed a parcel tax must have done a far better job with their communities to get them passed. This is the second attempt for Pleasanton; the first never made it to the ballot because they knew from the survey that it lacked support. It's facing the same opposition this time because the only change in the approach was to decide against a survey that would have told them they still don't have the support.

Those who are for the parcel tax and posting their reasons here or for supporting the ballot vote have every right to do so. Those who are against have the same rights in opposing it. As to tone, there have been less than eloquent posts on both sides. It's not easy to be emotionless in any debate, and less so when children are at the core of it.


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Posted by Erin
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Carl,

The previous argument you mentioned (related to the fact that other districts will face similar cuts) is actually an example of a type of logic I learned in my sophomore history class at Amador in 1997 - and that was without any parcel tax or class size reduction.

Did I mention that I graduated college with a cumulative 3.9 GPA and have my master's degree? And that was thanks to my 13 years of Pleasanton education, also without any parcel tax, class size reduction, or the advantage of many programs that have since been added in the past 10 years. I also went through high school at a time when they did have some AP courses, but not nearly the selection they have today. I still did fine in college and succeeded at a competitive university (UCLA).

I remember when they stopped providing school bus service and that was a huge deal and parents thought it was the end of the world. Turns out they made the cuts anyways and we all survived, and people have continued to bring their children to Pleasanton schools. (I realize that cutting one thing like buses is not equivalent to the situation currently faced, but the point is that many small cumulative cuts could contribute to a budget solution, and those small cuts although upsetting for now will not turn out to be the end of the world.)


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Disagree w/B,
Let's find out on June 2nd whether or not there is enought support for the parcel tax. PW is the only place I have seen opposition (that's why I spend so much time here!).
I agree that those against the measure have the same rights to oppose it. I take umbrage with a prior poster's idea that the district is "forging forward and holding the election for the sake of appearances," and that is what I was referring to. There have been multiple postings implying same.
Children are indeed at the core of the debate. That is why I am so passionate in my support for Measure G!


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Several people including me have been posting that the State Budget is Dead on Arrival. You probably saw that the Independent Analyst is estimating a $10 billion deficit. The final number will be several times that due to sales falling, incomes dropping etc. So next year we are looking at much more massive cuts. The union better face up to reductions as salaries, pensions and other benefits are way out of line. The city is going to be in deep trouble too. Face up to facts. Don't live in the bubble. The private sector has burst. The public sector will burst too. Vote NO and get on with solving the problem with zero-based budgeting living within our means.


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Posted by KGB
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Disagree w/B: Would do consider doing us the honor in spearheading the opposition against this senseless parcel tax and perhaps get your arguments onto the ballot?

I've been out talking to neighbors and most people in my neighborhood are against this tax. I think we'll have enough support to defeat it but we would benefit from your leadership.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I think we all might learn from the San Francicso Chronicle and California Media Workers Guild where today the union members voted 10-1 to help the Chronicle survive. The union gave up seniority rights among other changes.

Will the PUSD, APT and CESA bring some new ideas to the table?

Web Link

As with most breaking news stories, there is likely more behind this than is being said. Let's see if enough of the details can come out to give our situation guidance.


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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm

" Pleasanton didn't refrain from a parcel tax, their survey last time (which they chose not to do this time) told them there was no support. Makes me think it's because EVEN back then they weren't able to make a case because of current practices."

It is definitely the spin Disagree w/B gives his responses. Yes he states many facts, in many cases it seems to be what he is not saying that makes all the difference.


Here is what was left out of the postings- the tax had nothing to do with budget shortfalls- it had to do with further enhancing the schools. PUSD has always had a balanced budget with the state required reserves of 2 million.(Actually, over that amount until last year)

Being such proponents of school reform and improvement, I'm sure many of you were involved with the excellence committe? A group of community members, educators and administrators who worked to further improve the schools in Pleasanton. Which committee did you serve on?

You state that people are upset about this time around because of the way they were notified. This issue has been in the papers for over a year! If you were so inclined to get involved, there have been numerous opportunities. What about last year's 2 million dollar state cut to education- when the district and the teacher's concessions covered it thanks to smart budgeting. I didn't see any comments when teachers took the cut then.

Simply stating that people should not vote for a parcel tax now because of how they were approached is one of the worse spins yet. How many people were even commenting on the subject of school improvement before this on the blogs, at board meetings, at PTA meetings?

Yes you are entitled to state your own spin, but we are entitled to share the truth of what you are not saying over and over again....no wonder you think your name should be broken record, your record never gets to the rest of the story, and you never acknowledge that anyone else's statements are correct except your own.

I fully expect to see you involved in education reform as a result of all this spinning.


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Posted by sc_2007
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:54 am

Good editorial on this tax subject in another paper's column here:

Web Link


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:08 am

I thought I would disagree with Tim Hunt as I usually do but he surprised me.
His wife is a teacher in the district that is immune to a lay off. It is good the see his support for real administrative and union concessions.

"The challenge for school districts is to approach tough times like Fed-Ex.
Fed-Ex leadership took 10 percent salary cuts, while the rank and file took 5 percent. All shared the pain to keep the company strong.

In Pleasanton, a 1 percent salary reduction across the board saves $1 million. The numbers are similar in other districts. How refreshing it would be to see the education community rally together in that way — sharing the burden — and what a message it would send to voters being asked to dig into their shrinking checkbooks."


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Posted by Mom2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

Just ask the many people who have relocated from Fremont! I lived in Fremont too. For years, FUSD stripped away at their quality programs, such as reading specialists who they lost over 12 years ago. Having interventions in place allows struggling students to succeed and keeps the pace of the instruction at an appropriate level for ALL students. PUSD has not only held on to reading specialists even after the state took away the matching funds, but added Barton, Language! and math and reading intervention at the middle and high schools. PUSD has a reputation for not giving up on children who struggle. These additional interventions have been put in place over the past 5-10 years because the English Learner and struggling learner population has grown just like other parts of California. It's true that we no long live in a bubble. Besides, Livermore and Dublin aren't losing class size reduction because they already have parcel taxes in place. Dublin is going up to 21-1 or 25-1, but PUSD will most likely go up to 33-1 in K-3 and 9th grade English and Math without the parcel tax. PUSD made huge cuts over the past 2 years already. PUSD could have cut reading specialists last year, but the didn't. This year they wil be forced to cut these programs.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:11 am

Jeb, you could better support the good of the community with that kind of thinking.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

"This year they wil be forced to cut these programs."
Mom2,
You are wrong!

If reasonable cuts and concessions are made we do not need a parcel tax to keep teachers jobs and maintain valued programs.

The community has not seen the administration demonstrating cutbacks, more vacation days don't count. The district should be working on immediate negotiations with the union to work on cutting back. They should be doing something immediately and not waiting until the next budget. In fact, administration raises could be rolled back today. Every dollar cut this year gives more money available for next year.



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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:00 am

Tim Hunt brings up the idea of salary reductions again in his column. I don't agree with salary reductions. For one, I think it is unfair. For another, such wage deflation means less money people have to spend and they will be less likely to contribute to an economic recovery. What _is_ fair is temporarily stopping all salary increases and saving the $2MM + ($500K * num of years) it costs the district each year to support those increases.

Mom2 wrote: "Dublin is going up to 21-1 or 25-1, but PUSD will most likely go up to 33-1 in K-3 and 9th grade English and Math without the parcel tax."

This decision is entirely within PUSD's court. And the parcel tax would absolutely not guarantee that PUSD would stay at 20:1 in K-3 and 9th.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:31 am

Actions: What else is it you would like me to comment on or provide facts about? Ask me. If I don't know or can't get to the answer, I'll tell you. If you have other facts, please share. I have a strong opposition to this tax for factual reasons; you can't imagine how pro public education I actually am. I'd have to go through the blogs again, but I don't think I've seen a pro tax stance I could support.

Yes, the district is REQUIRED to have a balanced budget, there's no reward there. Yes, I saw the $2 million in cuts and the many more millions given in raises leading up to it, including a $400,000 raid on the reserves to give administrators a raise (ongoing costs from a one time fund).

I've posted multiple ideas for improving schools, including NOT suing Signature and building Neal to allow space for improving schools—operating costs of $500,000-$1 million, give or take. I make no supposition it is a great idea or even doable, but I've offered that and other ideas. And no I do not live in Ruby Hill.

There is finesse to passing parcel taxes (any tax really) and I've seen it done well, very well. That is just my opinion, to which you note I'm entitled, that has been preceded by a lot of facts.

I'm sorry, but I think there is an underlying arrogance that fuels a belief that parents will do anything for schools. I don't like the position parents and staff have been put in here anymore than where the other 60% of the community is in that approach.

So if I use facts you don't like, it's just one-side facts, and if I express an opinion, it's spin? And you expect me to be involved in the reform. Wow. Suffice it to say, this is not the only place I voice my concerns; it's just the only place I have to do it without using my name. Yes, there are reasons for it, like many of the others who post anonymously, as you have.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:32 am

Stacey,

I agree S&C must be suspended. Superintendent Casey has mislead the community by saying it is a legislated mandate. S&C is a union/district negotiated item that is creating the projected budget shortfall.

I disagree with you on a reduction in salary. As repeatedly pointed out by Disagree W/B the raises over the past several years have been excessive and has contributed to our districts inability to weather the states cut even though we have a far higher total funding level than ANY of our Neighbors.

Both union and Administrative personnel must bring salaries inline, that together with the pure salary freeze and nonessential cuts we can put the money back into reserves to insulate PUSD for the next few years.

Pro-kids!

Pro=teacher!

Pro-community!

NO-parcel tax!


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Liz, what cuts would you make? which services that the district currently provides now do you consider nonessential?

I would find it helpful to hear your observations about what the schools do now, that they should stop doing.


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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Typical Disagree w/B statement- you want to know what the district is willing to do or has done, yet when it is quoted, you disregard the truth because it deflates your argument against school reform.

The parcel tax is not about school reform. I am not against school reform, but these are two different issues.

I am fine with the tax not passing actually, it will really show the posters on this site what they have taken for granted. It will give you ALL a chance to really dig in and get involved in reform since many of the programs we have built to increase student achievement will have to end. Lack of funds, and teachers to run the programs will have an effect. And to think of how crucial fundraising and donations will be next year without this.....it will cost us in many ways.

The problem is, you demand that the district do something and when it is done, or has been done in the past, such as last year's cuts- it doesn't count, or it's not good enough, or better yet, you scapegoat to another issue that you are spinning. Never do you address solutions that deflate your argument. Never do you concede that there has been smart budgeting by our district to save the tax payers from paying up until now.

Hiding behind your blog and stating because you want to remain anonymous is case and point. You are all talk and no action. And to think, I have liked many of your ideas.



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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

" The community has not seen the administration demonstrating cutbacks, more vacation days don't count."

Liz, I have heard this over and over and I am convinced that no matter what concessions are made, the anti tax folks will stay that way. Nothing is good enough, especially when you say a 25% reduction in administration staff and cuts in their pay due to forced days off doesn't count. Tell me now, how will the reduction of this administration affect the schools? I'm sure you can't even begin to imagine the effects since you can't believe that their jobs are of any value to begin with.

You will find out soon enough, those cuts were made, and it affects the schools deeply- whether it counts for you or not.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Actions: What? You said you EXPECTED me to be involved in the reform. I responded. Then you turn it around and say it isn't about reform. Then you go back to ALL of "us" having to work on reform if the tax loses. I repeat, what is it you want, specifically, and I'll respond.

My "spin" is about whether I'm willing to give more money to people who have mismanaged, made bad decisions, whatever, with what they have. Just presenting a list of draconian, emotional cuts is not talking about all the options (what about a sliding scale of CSR, what if employees are willing to roll back salary to maintain jobs, what about the possible merits of proposals by Ms. Arkin--to be clear, I don't know her).

I have pointed out facts showing the district has acted irresponsibly with the budget (just balancing it is not evidence of good stewardship). I've given facts about the CPI and how decent raises could have been provided and there still could be money in the bank. I have indicated that with money in the bank and language that is specific (to maintain X APs at the elementary level, X counselors at the high schools), I could be on the other side of this. I've asked that the parcel tax be dropped and the process begun over--and I've done that via email and directly with board members. I've posted a list of questions (at someone's request) that I thought could frame the discussion and take it in a more positive direction.

Please, give me a clear idea of how to respond to you.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Action Speaks Louder,

THANK YOU! So many of my thoughts exactly! Especially "...there has been smart budgeting from our district to prevent the taxpayers from having to pay until now." And "I am fine with the tax not passing actually, it will really show the posters on this site what they have taken for granted. It will give you ALL a chance to really dig in and get involved in reform since many of the programs we have built to increase student achievement will have to end. Lack of funds, and teachers to run the programs will have an effect. And to think of how crucial fundraising and donations will be next year without this.....it will cost us in many ways."

Perfect after spending my morning cutting Box Tops!

People are not going to vote for this because they are just plain anti-tax or they feel they can't afford it, but the attacks on the district are ugly tactics that should be stopped. No one is going to agree with everything any district does. The fundamental point is that this district has done very well by our kids - but will be unable to do as well without this additional source of funding. I am absolutely thrilled with the education my kids are receiving through PUSD, and I am more than willing to pay $233 per year to help some of the important standards and services provided in this district to survive.

I would encourage people looking for more information to visit the District's Budget FAQ site:
Web Link

We are parcel owners voting Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

KGM: You can't even get this year's budget out there: Web Link


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Disagree: Thank you for checking out the link! I posted the FAQ page because it does answer many of the questions that have been posted on this board. While the 08/09 budget is not posted online (it is available through the district office), here is another link with additional information: Web Link


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Actions,
Not one administrator has had a reduction in pay. One has offered to take five more days of vacation.


KGM,
"smart budgeting from our district to prevent the taxpayers from having to pay until now" this one makes me laugh each time. PUSD has far greater total revenue than our neighboring districts. We have been paying PUSD a property tax (averaging $866/year) for 15 years and we will be paying it for the next 15 years. It is capital money but it is real money that we are already paying.


Sandy,
I will work on my response to your question but it will take a while.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm

KGM,

"smart budgeting from our district to prevent the taxpayers from having to pay until now"

This one makes me laugh each time. PUSD has far greater total revenue than our neighboring districts. We have been paying PUSD a property tax (averaging $866/year) for 15 years and we will be paying it for the next 15 years. It is capital money but it is real money that we are already paying.
And if they had gotten the parcel tax that they have been trying for for the last five years, it would already be spent and they would be clamoring for more!


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

KGM: I've been all over the district web site, just in case you think I haven't checked out what is provided or that I'm pulling information out of thin air. It's where I got the list of COLAs/raises I've been opposed to and the fact that there is no money in the designated for economic uncertainties fund. Not only is the current year budget not posted, but neither was the Second Interim which should be due about now. And I believe the district is required to do a third interim (April?) because of the qualified first interim.


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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

KGM- I have been hearing what you are saying, those actively working in the schools can tell the truth from the spins we have been hearing from many here.

For example:
"Not one administrator has had a reduction in pay. One has offered to take five more days of vacation."

Now if that isn't false information, I give up. These are people who are basing information from what they find online, spinning it, then explaining it to further their goal of failing the tax.

You will notice that not one comment is made when a fact is presented that deflates their cause. The responses go back to- it was not presented to us early enough, it was not worded right, it was not open for any other ideas. These are such blatant scapegoats for the real issue. Any of these people could have been at the planning workshops and they chose not to.

In the meantime, thanks for being positive and reminding people here what the real issue is, whether they chose to hear it or not.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm


Liz: Happy to give you a laugh today. However, given the topic of this discussion, I thought it was pretty clear the poster was referring to a parcel tax. I guess we must be so very specific as to what we are talking about lest there be any confusion, though I suspect that most people paying property tax have a general idea where it goes.

It is interesting that you know that the district would be "clamoring" for more if they had gotten the parcel tax before. Given the fact that this parcel tax will not nearly cover the funding the district will be losing from the state, perhaps you are right. But we will never know, since this is the first time it has been on the ballot.

Yes on G!


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Action,
If you have information that shows that administrators have taken salary cuts or raise rollbacks, without just working less, please show me. I have not seen it.
You criticize others but never support what you say with facts.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Disagree: I am posting information for everyone reading this board. It has nothing to do with what I think of your research or efforts.


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Posted by Liz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm

KGM,
You deliberately miss the point of my response.
They have not done without and they spend it as fast as they get it. They have not spared us anything we are giving them a lot of money each year.


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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm

"If you have information that shows that administrators have taken salary cuts or raise rollbacks, without just working less, please show me. I have not seen it."

See what I mean KGM -again!, it is not enough for posters here to hear that is has happened, and now Liz has added "without just working less" No matter what this district does, it will never be enough. Let along the fact that they are cutting 2 million from their department, I guess Liz needs to see it first hand....call a principal, call down to the district office. Because you have not seen it does not make it false. Open your eyes Liz, and stop spinning the facts.


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

If Action Speaks Louder, can you give me one fact from your position? You have yet to post anything of substance.

I'll even clarify the statement quoted, because it isn't quite right. I believe three people in HR (not all administrators) have voluntarily reduced their time by quite a bit (30-40%), effectively eliminating what is referred to as one FTE (Full Time Equivalent) position. It would have been easy to miss that. If you count APs (who aren't district office administration), then the elementary APs have been given notice they won't be needed next year. The five days is the superintendent's offer of furlough.

So again, show me what facts you have that deflate "my cause." Because I've asked a few times in the last couple of posts and you are avoiding me. My cause is to put as much information on these blogs (all facts) so people can decide what they want to do when they hit the voting booth. You can grouse about it or present other facts. Your choice.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm


Liz: I hope by "deliberately" you are not implying that you made a valid point and that I am trying to ignore it, because that is not the case. You made an attempt to argue about property taxes in general when this discussion is specifically about the parcel tax.

The district has in fact done without - without a parcel tax, unlike many surrounding districts. Yes, they have spent the money they have been given - on creating a well-respected district with many exceptional programs for our students. Now the district is going to have to do without millions of dollars of funding from the state. The parcel tax will help reduce the cuts made to our schools.

Yes on G!


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Posted by PW
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Tim Hunt wrote: "The unintended consequence is that funding for kindergarten through 12th grade education was shifted from the local property tax base to the state general fund and its unreliable revenue streams. Thus, local residents have no say over how much money is spent on education — with the exception of parcel taxes.

The state doles out the rest and does so very unevenly. Baseline state funding here in the Tri-Valley ranges from a high of $6,456 per student in Dublin to $6,199 in Pleasanton to $5,665 in Livermore to $5,501 in the San Ramon Valley. Revenues in the affluent San Ramon Valley put it in the bottom five of the unified districts across the state."


Today, the SacBee wrote: "California spends about $14,000 per inmate annually for health services, more than double the cost in New York, Texas and Michigan. Those outlays, and plans to spend $8 billion more building or improving health centers, have drawn the ire of state leaders coping with the budget crisis."

Folks, that's just MEDICAL needs!!!! Idea: Subtract $233/yr from your state tax return and send a note with it explaining that you are applying it to your local school district to cover the losses incurred because of the state.

BTW, Disagree w/B: What does this signature of yours mean? Are you Julie Testa in disguise? I believe so...for mutliple reasons. Just a side question. tee hee. };-)

Double BTW: Steve of Livermore and Get Real. Good jobs!



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Posted by Action speaks louder
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Disagree w/B, this is Sunday, everyone knows I spend my day lesson planning, I have way to much work for school to rewrite the facts that have been provided to the public.

The point of my postings was not to layout the whole factual story....it can be located at Web Link News is changing daily and it takes time to disseminate information.

My point in posting is to rebut against the constant "broken record" reporting of your agenda with your spin. You want reform, we all hear you. I am not against that, I agree, but this parcel tax is not about reform, it is not about fixing a broken district. That is your spin.

You are avoiding the points that deflate your argument, reread what I said earlier so I don't have to be a broken record. I am simply telling readers of this blog- beware of your spin.

Now off to work.


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Posted by Cindy
a resident of California Reflections
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Action speaks louder,

If you are a teacher....oh my!


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Posted by Disagree w/B
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm

PW, I am honoring the request to keep the same name on posts. I began as Disagree with Beth who wrote a guest column in favor of the parcel tax. I shortened it to its current form (oooh, too bad it isn't Measure B). Maybe I can dial it down to DWB (it's just too close to dweeb). :o) In fairness to Julie Testa so she doesn't get tagged for what I am saying, I am not she. I mentioned I don't live in Ruby Hill and I believe Julie does.

Action, you've been on the blog all day and now you're too busy. And the best you can give me is a link to all the information I've already read and used in my argument against. You're a teacher;
I've done my homework. Now you do yours. Tell me exactly what deflates my argument, and I will respond point for point, including if I have made an error in my judgment.

Maybe it's time to post these again:

1. Are we happy with the service we're receiving?
2. Are we willing to pay more to solve any problems with the existing service? How much more are we willing to pay?
3. Are there additional services we want?
4. Are we willing to pay more for those services? How much more are we willing to pay?
5. Should we do both? Should we do it at all?


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm

"but this parcel tax is not about reform, it is not about fixing a broken district."

Action speaks louder, I agree with that statement but that's it. The parcel tax is not about reform, it's about making sure that there is enough money to pay the step and column raises and the district administrators' perks.

If the parcel tax doesn't pass, the district will take money from the programs and lay off teachers in-order to keep funding the step and column raises and district administrators' perks.

I would be pretty damn stupid to vote for this parcel tax.

No on Measure G. No on Parcel Tax.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Disagree w/ B:
1. Yes
2. The parcel tax is not about paying more to solve perceived or real problems w/ existing services. It is to stabilize funding for existing services.
3. Not in the face of the cuts that will have to be made even with passage of the tax.
4. See above (or $233/year, if you are referring to maintenance of some existing services).
5. Do both of what? I don't understand what this is in reference to.

Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by Michelle Flanagin
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm


Listen up people and Gary, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, it is not that the district is broken it is that the STATE GOVERNMENT is taking 8.7 Million dollars out of our education budget that we earned with our hard earned taxes to balance THEIR BROKEN ways.

The government is not going to take care of us, only we can take care of us. It starts at home in our community. We need the stable source of revenue to keep our schools ranked high and our home values up. Look around us. Our housing prices are higher than any city around us... Why... because of our outstanding schools. You must know that it is linked together. Want to see it plummet… don't keep your schools ranked high.

A realtor who works in Fremont said that there was a school boundary line that moved and a number of houses that were in the better ranked school were moving to the lower ranked school and their home prices went down 80 to 100,000 dollars in a matter of days. I say keeping our home prices high for 233 dollars a year is worth it.

By the way Pleasanton School District is NATIONALLY known for the high rated schools and year after year receives award after award the best managed district. Take a look on the district web site before you thing our district is broken.

EVERY school in California is loosing millions of dollars. We need to stand up and fight for our schools, our home values, our children who will be paying our Medicare and social security in the near future. What comes around goes around.



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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Another Response to:Disagree w/B,


1. Are we happy with the service we're receiving?
YES- THE STUDENTS WHO NEED EXTRA READING HELP GET IT. THE CHILDREN WITH MATH DIFFICUTLTIES GET EXRTA HELP THE NEED. THE KIDS THAT HAVE LEARING DISABILITES CAN GET HELP. THE TEACHERS WORK DARN HARD AND TAKE EXTRA TIME TO GET TRAINING THAT OTHER CITIES AROUND HERE DON'T PROVIDE SO THEY CAN BE ABOVE AVERAGE FOR THEIR STUDENTS. THE TEACHERS GET AMAZING SUPPORT FROM THE DISTRICT TO TRAIN AND BECOME THE BEST TEACHERS THEY CAN BE.



2. Are we willing to pay more to solve any problems with the existing service? How much more are we willing to pay? THE EXISTING SERVICE IS GREAT. IT IS THE SERVICE THAT WILL WEAKEN DUE TO THE FACT WE HAVE TO CUT 8.7 MILLION DOLLARS FROM OUR BUDGET. WE CAN'T BE IRRESPONSIBLE LIKE THE STATE AND GO INTO DEBT. ALSO, DUBLIN, SAN RAMON, LIVERMORE AND MANY MORE CITIES ALL HAVE PARCEL TAXES TO PROVIDE NEEDED FUNDS TO THEIR SCHOOLS. THEY PASSED IT BEFORE PLEASANTON... WHY... BECAUSE PLEASANTON CUT INTERNALLY AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL THE LAST TWO YEARS SO NOT TO DISRUPT THE WELL RUN CLASSROOMS.

3. Are there additional services we want? WE HAVE A SOLID SERVICE BASED SCHOOL DISTRICT. TALK TO OTHERS WHO HAVE CHILDREN IN SCHOOL IN OTHER COMMUNITIES. MY FAMILY MEMBERS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR CHILD TO GET EXTRA READING HELP AFTER SCHOOL IN A PRIVATE FACILITY.


4. Are we willing to pay more for those services? How much more are we willing to pay? WE WILL PAY MORE IF WE DON'T FIND FUNDING. HOUSING WILL GO DOWN EVEN MORE.


5. Should we do both? Should we do it at all? NOT SURE WHAT THIS MEANS.



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Posted by Renter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Good - maybe if housing goes down even more, those of us who were educated in Pleasanton in the recent past can actually afford to buy a home here.

I graduated from AVHS in 2001 with a GPA over 4.0. I now have my master's degree and a well paying job but can't imagine ever being able to afford even an average home here.

A whole lot of good my Pleasanton education did me. And a parcel tax won't change that.


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Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:47 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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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

STOP SHOUTING! (please)


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Who is preventing employees of the school district from responding to postings? That's not right.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:18 am

No more anonymous postings, eh? Well maybe this one will slide through.
Perhaps the Weekly did not get response to the Parcel Tax Endorsement article that they expected?
Look … here is the deal:
People are tired of feeling like they work for the Government. We grew up learning that government worked for the people. Yet that no longer seems to be the case. Our sales tax is quickly approaching ten percent, so that local businesses can no longer compete with on line purchases from neighboring states. We will soon pay the highest state income tax in the country. Our business taxes and fees are driving viable employers out of the state in droves.
And yet the machine is still hungry.
So do we work for the government? Or does the government work for the people? And regardless of your position on yet another new tax, I ask you, how much more load do you think we, the people can endure?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:40 am

I should add this note to my last post:

Teachers, we are not mad at you. I am confident that I represent most, if not all, of the anti-parcel tax posters here in saying that we respect you and your work.

We are however furious with all government funded entities that refuse to acknowledge or adapt to the ability of its "contributors" (the taxpayers) to throw additional funds into the pot.

Now you can justify this current attempt to force feed another tax on homeowners any way you like. You can start you rebuttals with statements like 'WAKE UP'. You can cajole and scare us with disaster scenarios. You can even post in all capital letters.

But it still won't make prying additional money out of the hands of the only group that you can figure out how to attack the right thing to do.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 16, 2009 at 6:39 am

Resident - amazing that you continue to characterize proponents of the tax in the manner posted above. Your attitude speaks for itself. When proponents post information about the potential effects of the budget decrease it is "cajoling and scaring with disaster scenarios."
Amazing.


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

All Hewlett-Packard employees took a 5% pay cut this year, with Directors and above taking a 10% cut. Employees accepted it because without such a concession, the ax would fall unpredictably, and might hit them.

Teachers have no such fear. They KNOW who's next in line to get whacked. Tenure protects the most-experienced, regardless of competence. Hopefully, there is internal pressure on the union leadership to make SOME concessions. As someone said above, a parcel tax is much more palatable if the union/administrators also bite the bullet in these tough times.


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Posted by Barry McKockener
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 17, 2009 at 2:06 am

Barry McKockener is a registered user.

Teachers are not the only ones who do work on their own time or are not reimbursed for work related business costs. I also spend my own money on work related items but I deduct the costs on my taxes. I'm a cop who goes into work (unpaid) an hour early so I can get things done that I can't get done during my normal work hours. I'm in supervision and have a lot of responsibilities, including training recruits, and It's not a time management issue. I could put in for overtime but I recgonize the ecenkmic times we are in. You don't become a police officer or a teacher for the money. I'm 42 and after 18 years my back and knees are always sore (pain) and I have a life expectancy of approximately 65 years. I knew what I was getting into when I got into the profession just like teachers. There will be layoffs, no one is immune nor should there be. Nothing in life is guaranteed. I know it sucks but life is not fair. California needs 200,000 nurses the pay is better, but you don't get the holliday's or the summer off. No on G. Yes I do have young kids in school.


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Posted by KGM
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm

KGM is a registered user.

The purpose of generating revenue through the parcel tax isn't to save teachers' jobs - it is to prevent cuts in school programs and services that are so important for our kids. That teachers keep their jobs running these programs and classes is an added plus (though even with the parcel tax, there will be layoffs).

We love our school and our community, and we are voting Yes on Measure G!


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Posted by TonyWhitworth
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

TonyWhitworth is a registered user.

I support the parcel tax because I think the school system is one of the biggest reasons why our community continues to thrive. The schools are ranked extremely high in the state which is a testament to the teachers.

Asking our teachers to "give up" work days doesn't do much except put an extra burden on them to do work at home or on weekends. Here's an example and I'm sure my numbers are not exact but fairly close: By taking away 2 days from each teacher and if there are 300 teachers in the district, then that is essentially 600 work days.... almost enough to cover costs to save 4 teachers' jobs. That is an insignificant amount for this problem.

PLUS, taking away 2 days also takes money out of the teachers wallets.... for their entire career! Probably costs the average teacher $20,000 over their career. Would the police department ask officers to give up pay in order to buy more patrol cars? Would the fire department ask the firefighters to give up pay in order to buy another fire engine? All three of these professionals serve the community.

The parcel tax will benefit students!

The parcel tax will benefit homeowners! If you're a homeowner... this is the best $233/year over the next four years that you could possibly invest into your home!


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