Save Pleasanton Schools' Three Page Ad in Today's Weekly Schools & Kids, posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 10:03 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
What can I say but "wow". I don't mind "community members" (some apparently aren't even Pleasanton residents and it is questionable about the age of some) endorsing Measure G, but I find it highly offensive that Assemblymembers are endorsing Measure G. These are the people responsible for the State's budget. They're the ones who helped cut funding to education. And now they're endorsing a local tax measure that covers their poor performance. I don't know about anyone else here, but that really gets my goat.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 10:44 am
Only 34% of the voters have to vote No for this measure to fail. I'm surprised they don't have a ten page ad with Obama's endorsement. If they have been using this forum as any kind of a guage to measure voter sentiment, then they know that even 50% is out of reach. Oh, I don't think they paid for the ad either.
Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm
Any sane person wouldn't tell 2% of Pleasanton that 50% of the population will pass this measure. Any sane person would realize that more than 34% of Pleasanton do not have kids in the district and don't need to pay for this. We are a community of only approximately 40% families with children under 18 years old and in the public school system (privately schooled, non-public charter, and the ever-popular home schoolers thanks to the wonderful liberal agenda's in our public school system).
Oh, and here is the link to verify the Pleasanton Demographics, since any "sane person" would think to do that before sharing their opinions as fact. Web Link
Exactly where is the link that proves that only 2% of Pleasanton posts here and also that 50% are "easily" voting for this? Waiting...
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 25, 2009 at 7:45 am
To quote John Mayer: "Is there anyone who ever remembers changing their mind from the paint on a sign?"
I find who endorses a campaign is of interest, but it isn't pertinent to the actual issue. It's the printed version of who raised her/his hand in class (you don't know the motive for raising the hand; you don't know what the person will really do, in this case, in the privacy of a voter's booth).
I realize this cuts both ways; so let me add that I believe the community will vote based on the facts presented by each side and not because they saw someone's name listed.
My personal feeling is if they paid for the ad, it would appear they are taking lessons from the district on money management. If they didn't pay for the ad or got it at a reduced price, the PW should be noting this as a political contribution to that campaign.
Additionally, I wonder why the campaign thought this extreme (three pages vs any other size ad) was necessary?
Posted by Gets my goat too, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:09 am
It's a bit insulting for the SPS people to think that any voter will be swayed to vote a particular way based on how other people are claiming they will vote.
As for why the SPS leaders felt this ad was necessary? I think that speaks to their approach on this campaign. They need to sway voters and they attempt to do so with emotional rhetoric and the old advertising ploy of getting people to jump on a bandwagon.
The approach the No on G people are taking is based on providing facts supporting why this tax is not the right tax right now.
The facts that are coming out are demonstrating that PUSD hasn't managed its finances well and the SPS people can't challenge that.
All they can do is try to paper the community with campaign materials - it's all they have.
Posted by Jill, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:25 am
To the ??? poster, did you ever think...that maybe only 2% of the people read the PW? I didn't get my paper until this morning and I usually don't read it, but I had to look over the list because of this post. I know many of those people (2% ?) and they are teachers and their children, some of which cannot even vote.
Clear thinking voters do not pay attention to endorsements, but always look to the facts, and since Yes-G is lacking or skewing the facts I will still vote NO.
Posted by Get out of the wagon, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2009 at 9:26 am
Well stated, "Gets my goat too"
I am so glad to have thoughful, logical, and fact-based arguments on the No on G side. It is just a pleasure to read non-emotive and soundly reasoned perspectives as opposed to what I read on the other side. Although, I know I too have been frustrated and at times have lost that in my posts. This was a great reminder for recomposure. Thank you Gets my goat, too. And Kathleen - You're are right, lots of people are reading these posts and agreeing with them.
In an earlier post, I cited that the Pleasanton Demographics only state approximately 40% of the city has children under the age of 18 who would comprise all educational settings, but not all of those parents are homeowners. We have lots of renters and the home owners will most likely discount their votes.
I think that those of us that are not in favor of a parcel tax, are in the large majority based on city demographics, because I for one have younger children am not voting for this. We need to keep stating the facts.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm
Though I don't usually find myself on the same side of the political fence as the original poster...Stacey...I wholeheartedly agree with her on this Measure G issue.
Poor performance should not be rewarded. And in general you cannot fix major public school problems by throwing more money at them. Look at Wash DC schools which are funded at nearly the highest in the US on a per pupil basis. This DC system is also one of the poorest performing systems in the US.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm
"Poor performance should not be rewarded"
Here we go again. What poor performance are you talking about? Pleasanton schools are very good. They rank among the best in the state. US News and World Report survey of the nations best high schools ranks both Pleasanton high schools among the best high schools in the country (they both even get the silver medal rank!).
"you cannot fix major public school problems by throwing more money at them."
What problems are you talking about? All I've seen so far is nit picking about solar panels, cell phones, and car allowances. I would much rather spend our money on these schools than bailing out rich executives at AIG.
Posted by Penny Pincher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:05 am
"What problems are you talking about? All I've seen so far is nit picking about solar panels, cell phones, and car allowances. I would much rather spend our money on these schools than bailing out rich executives at AIG"
Must be nice to have so much income that you can call a $100K error with the solar panels, $150K per year in cell phone costs and $120K per year in car allowances nit picking. Must be nice to make so much money that you're not troubled by PUSD wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
I would much rather spend our money on education for our children than providing perks.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:23 am
To respond to Russell:
"What problems are you talking about? All I've seen so far is nit picking about solar panels, cell phones, and car allowances. I would much rather spend our money on these schools than bailing out rich executives at AIG."
First, we didn't get to vote on supporting AIG or failed banks or failed auto companies . . . no matter who was in power. As to PUSD problems, the crux is to remember that the district had a stated goal to have a seven percent reserve. The goal was abandoned and large raises were awarded instead. Any long-time educator will tell you that the tide ebbs and flows in school funding. These cycles must be planned for because they will come. A seven percent reserve now would have bought time for the district and the community to determine what it values and is willing to pay for. I believe a more conservative approach was discarded at the district’s peril. In its rush to cover its backside, we are being harried to the voter’s booth. The crisis at the state level exacerbated the district’s woes; it didn’t create them. It didn’t have to happen this way. In fact, it shouldn’t have happened this way.
We actually don’t have a clear picture of the risk. There are two levels of federal funding available; one of those is providing $2.1 million to the district; the other amount the district qualifies for isn’t known at this time. Other economies have been suggested that will save jobs, including not spending $300,000 on this election (that would save roughly four beginning teachers). We are being asked to vote for a tax before the district has to finalize its budget. It is very likely we could put a tax in place that isn’t needed, and then we will have given $18.4 million with very vague goals of where it will be spent and with no guarantee that current fiscal behaviors will change.
“Here we go again. What poor performance are you talking about? Pleasanton schools are very good. They rank among the best in the state. US News and World Report survey of the nations best high schools ranks both Pleasanton high schools among the best high schools in the country (they both even get the silver medal rank!).”
As an aside to the US News and World Report rankings, it’s important to know the rankings methodology: Web Link
Also “What makes a best high school” for purposes of this ranking. From Brian Kelly, editor: “But I think the real value of rankings, if they're done well, is that they become useful instruments to help demystify institutions and even promote best practices.” Web Link
The district is the “victim” (your word on another thread) of its own bad planning. Many of us who oppose this tax at this time are saying over and over that we would support the right tax—after the district is held accountable, after we know all the funds they will receive, after they have finalized a budget, and after the community has the opportunity to determine what it values with its hard earned dollars. Once we know what we are willing to pay for, we would actively support a very specific list of how the right parcel tax would be spent (X counselors, X teachers, X whatever the community values), which actually could include those things that would put us in the Top 100, if that kind of ranking is what the community feels is important.
Posted by Penny Pincher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:45 am
Thank you for your informative posts and web links.
After reading the posts in this topic, I started reading all the other school & kids topics.
You and others have responded to Russell's comments with facts over and over again.
I think he's someone who's been asked to troll the blogs for the purpose of trying to put down those who are supporting the No on G measure.
Engineers are trained to think logically and to provide data. He does neither.
While I've appreciated the dialogue because it has led to more information being provided, at this point, I'd say it's time to ignore Russell. He doesn't appear interested in getting as much information as he can be before making a decision on the parcel tax. His purpose seems to be to waste your time.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm
"As to PUSD problems, the crux is to remember that the district had a stated goal to have a seven percent reserve. The goal was abandoned and large raises were awarded instead. "
That is a good summary. I get your point. If I understand you correctly, you're saying they would have been asking for money in a typical downturn -- just the normal business cycle would have caused a downturn sufficient to cause a shortfall. If that is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, the question for me is how to respond. It takes courage to say no to this measure and hope that the money to preserve the programs and classes sizes will come from other sources (perhaps pay freezes, perhaps a better measure at a later time). What happens if we defeat the measure and programs are cut? I think there are a lot of parents out there like me who share that concern. I also see the parallel with financial institutions holding tax payers hostage by threatening financial armageddon if they didn't get bailouts.
I keep feeling compelled to respond to other posts that run along the lines of "schools don't really matter, it is all about the parents", or posts that lump our schools and teachers together with those in the country as a whole. I don't know where all these posts were coming from. There are anti-tax groups who do use forums like these with boiler plate posts that don't really apply in specific cases. The people posting about school vouchers being a solution to "fix" PUSD is a good example.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Russell, If you think it is a risk to vote no, then it's blackmail, isn't it? I've said CSR is the biggest emotional hammer in the district's toolbox. It is a political strategy. We know the district will get $2.1 million in federal funds; we know they are eligible for more federal funding; we know much can be cut without loss of program (can't say we can save everything/one: APs, counselors).
The reality is WE have the power to be the change that is needed, not the district (though it sure seems to me they'd have you think otherwise). Just to cover for those who are anti-tax for any reason, don't you think that a failure of the parcel tax will bring out the majority in this community who want to work for that change? That parents and others who value education and our students will demand better explanations without a sword dangling over their heads?
After the district is held accountable, after we know all the funds they will receive and have finalized a budget, and after the community has the opportunity to determine what it values with its hard earned dollars . . . it's a three legged stool. It won't take that long for the schools to organize parents and the community at large to answer the questions of what is valued. The questions have to be framed correctly: does the community support counselors at the high school at a ratio of 400:1 ($x); does the community support APs at all elementary schools ($x); does the community support APs at elementary schools over XXX students ($x); does the community support staff time being spent to research merit pay ($x--It would cost staff time to determine how to do this and the money to provide it would be yet another consideration); is the community willing to pay $100 annually for X, Y, and Z; is the community willing to pay $200 . . . and so on. Those are just off the cuff. Focus groups could get down to many more specifics and I would wholeheartedly support principals and non-union leadership teachers, classified staff members, parents, and interested citizens like yourself being part of those discussions to determine a set of questions.
The district has robbed us of the time it takes to get to these answers. Not good enough at football to equate this to a blitz/pass(age). Let's just say we shouldn't get suckered; we can read this call.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm
"don't you think that a failure of the parcel tax will bring out the majority in this community who want to work for that change? "
I would hope so. A lot of us are already working 50+ hour weeks. (I'm typing this on a lunch break). It takes a lot more energy to for the average voter to get involved like you are suggesting. I'll be asking more questions to the pro on G side.