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Pleasanton Has Some of the Best Schools in the State

Original post made by Russell, Vintage Hills Elementary School, on May 1, 2009

We are seeing a lot of posts on these forums attacking the teachers and schools. They say that by defeating Measure G we can improve the quality of our schools by forcing change. Not every opponent of measure G says this, but many do.

Are Pleasanton schools any good? I think they are good. I have some personal experience with very bad public schools.

Is Measure G a referendum on the quality of education in the Pleasanton Unified School District?

Comments (26)

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Posted by John Adams
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Get a grip, Russell, nobody is attacking teachers or schools. Some people are dismayed by specific behaviors, and most of us agree those behaviors are either illegal or lacking in character. It's true, teachers are held to a higher standard, and why shouldn't they be? They are examples to our children.

Pleasanton schools are ok. They are not top schools though, even in CA, where schools rank among the worst in the US (I'm looking at average SATs and such standardized measures). That's another discussion entirely.

No Russell, Measure G is not a referendum on school quality or whether we like teachers or even kids. It is another tax on already overtaxed citizens, being floated at a very bad time.


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Posted by John
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Russell, John Adams is right as our schools are ok as compared to others not great but ok as long as you do not look outside our state and look at how much we pay for our teachers as compared to other areas. Heck our teachers even get preferential housing terms.

That aside at the end of the day the vote will happen and without a doubt "G" will fail and then most important is what next? How can we learn to do as well with far less in terms of revenue and as much as no one wants to hear it that is the way it is going to be.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Within the state, there is no question that Pleasanton schools are above average. The 2007 API press release from the State Superintendent notes that only 36% of elementary schools, 24% of middle schools, and 14% of high schools have API scores above 800.

Web Link

All schools in the Pleasanton school district are above that threshold.

When comparing high schools across the nation, both Amador Valley and Foothill were awarded silver medals by US News in their rankings.

Web Link

That puts our two high schools in the top 126 out of 2000 high schools in the state, and the top 604 schools out of 21,000 in the country.

Web Link

So, yes, Russell... Pleasanton schools are very good.


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Posted by Not Covinced
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm

John Adams...AMEN!

Although I will split hairs with you on one very minor point... While I do not think this is a referendum on the teachers either as Russell inferred, I DO however feel that my NO vote IS to send a message to the the Union leaders AND to the district, Board, and even to the City as a whole.

My neighbors and I have spoken together, and some ever spoke louder than others, that this Measure is a ridiculous request. You just don't watch a performing district continue horrid spending practices and let them get away with it by giving them more. The schools are successful, just like our property values, in large part because of the vibrant parent involvment that stay involved with our children and help the classroooms each and every year by raisin funds and monies not only for teachers to purchase equipment they can't get with their budgets alone, but to pay for the excessive list of supplies, activities, school functions, etc, etc. Time alone is a commodity that we have generously and willingly given.

If you disagree with me, that is fine, but then it is based on only your uneducated opinion. Ask any inner city school teacher what would make a difference in their classroom and students the most (can anyone deny how commited to education a teacher would have to be to work there??) and their answer is always: Parents that care and are more involved. Look at Washington D.C. where more money is spent per pupil than anywhere else in the nation and our own President wouldn't send his children there. Neither would I.

We, parents, don't believe it is "us" against "them" the teachers. In fact, we love our teachers! We wouldn't give our typical support during the school year if we didn't - and this will not change just because we defeat this parcel tax. I am just as committed, even now more than ever, to be more involved. And I am very sorry if the teachers will get caught up in this, just like our children are threatened to be, but the district needs to be held accountable for actions that are symptomatic at this point of a larger problem of fiscal irresponsibility. We just can't send the message that it was alright again this time to be irresponsible by enabling their actions and giving yet more money: we have to stop the problem that started this now or it will only get worse.

For those of you "still on the fence", please come down on the "No" side where we want to really work together to solve the problems at PUSD, not just throw a little money to stop the bleeding. We can certainly pass a tax at a later date if every avenue has been exhausted. It is just too premature to do this yet and this district requires some surgery and rehabilitation first.

I am voting No! And I mean NO MORE!


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Posted by John
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

So Not Convinced what is your point? Parents make the school system work and therefore you are voting no but are more committed than every to volunteer your time? Who will force the school district to reduce cost? Maybe the school board needs to be remade afterall how long have some of them been on there and are they a solution or part of the problem?


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Russell -

Asking teachers to forfeit S&C increases is not an attack on them.

Claiming a "No" vote on measure G is a vote against our children however is an attack on those that oppose G. You may want to rethink who is really attacking who.


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Posted by Not Convinced
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Hi John,
Yes, that is my point. I realize there are many people in Pleasanton that are not voting for measure G, because frankly, they not only do not have children in the district and do not want another parcel tax, but may or may not believe this tax is a good idea.

I'm saying, as a parent of children in PUSD, I am not in favor of this measure (which is not popular). I am trying to point out that just because I don't want to support the tax, doesn't mean I won't continue my support of the schools.

Often you hear people talk about how good our schools are and how important it is that we maintain them (which is almost code for - they need more money). I just for one, do not believe that it is just the teachers and money that make a winning combination for good schools. if that were the case, then indeed not giving more money to the district and having staff cuts would be disastrous. But they are not the only components to good schools or a good community. Involved individuals at all levels of community is what counts, and in this instance, parents are the key to a successful school district.

I am not one to send my child off to school, write a parcel tax check, send a nice gift for teacher appreciation day (next Wedesday, by the way!!), and think my child will get a terrific education because I live in the PUSD area. I'm not saying anyone does, I'm just saying I don't believe we have high property values or a good school distric simply from the money invested in the district or the great teachers we have.

I hope I have clarified my point.


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Posted by John
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Not Convinced, yes I got your point and I suspect your kids do well in school and in large part to your involvement. My 4 kids went to the Pleasanton schools and my wife was very involved as well with good results. Most teachers now say that behavior is the only reason why they need 20 in the class rather than the 30 or so because the kids are out of control and the parents either do not want to get involved or are to tired to get involved. I went to Mission San Jose High School and there were over 30 kids in my classes and whatever problems we had were resolved by being sent to the deans office and we had to stay until the parents came down to the school to hear what had happened. Only took one time for mom or dad to leave work before the problem was solved.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Behavior" is not an argument against larger class sizes. It's an argument against the practice of mainstreaming children who require extra attention. This is a problem that isn't alleviated by smaller classes either.

Here's an anecdote: A friend of mine attended a field trip of a class with 20 children. One of the children had ADD. Despite the teacher and naturalist having specialized training to deal with it, my friend witnessed that roughly 80% of the attention time was devoted to this one child. Even the other 19 children were trying to help.


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Posted by John
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Behavior is a great argument but one of many. Go down to any school or sit in a class and observe behavior and how kids act up. Very few instances are because of some affliction but rather poor behavior. Everybody has an excuse and it always has to do with something someone else has done to them or something out of their control. I am not saying this does not happen but is in the minority and not the rule. I agree that some children require special attention and extra work but you do not slow the rest of the class down to accomodate that one child but rather you would harder and longer with that one child to bring them up the to class level rather than dumbing down all the other kids. Remember "tribes" and how that impacted kids?


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Posted by just wondering
a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm

I get your points, maybe the parcel tax is just a band-aid. But really people, is 200 and some odd dollars a year really that much money to get worked up about. I spend that much a week in groceries for my family. Even if you disagree with the details of the tax or district policy or yadayada... Don't you realize how good it will sound to prospective families who are considering buying a home in Pleasanton that the community passed this parcel tax to help the schools. It sounds fantastic, and that is why people buy homes in Pleasanton. Even if you are totally selfish- your home will very likely be worth tens of thousands of dollars more if this tax passes. I have been here for 2 years and literallly almost every other person with children I have met moved here for the perceived good schools. If that perception is distorted by a community that votes against a 200 dollar a year tax, people just won't come. Seriously folks, Pleasanton is okay, but really it's quite boring. There are more interesting places around here with much better culture and architecture, but the schools kind of suck.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 8:34 pm

People who don't need a reason will accept any reason.

There actually are families in Pleasanton who cannot afford $233 this year, or for four years. And I don't know about you, but I'm not in the habit of throwing money at a problem without understanding the problem completely.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

just wondering,

Did you know that if you can't pay all of your property tax bill you could lose your house?

Also, I dunno about you, but we looked around Pleasanton at the neighborhoods that didn't have HOAs. I'm just not getting what everyon seems to think is supposed to be desirable about having a parcel tax when looking for houses to buy. Don't many families steer clear of Windemere in San Ramon because of the Mello-Roos tax?


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

233 a year for more than 4 years, state tax moving to 10.3%, sales tax at 9.75%, car registration fees going up, water bill rates going up, PG and E going up, cap and trade in the future, garbage rates going up. Most are the highest in the nation and you add them up and it gets a bit unworkable.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 9:27 pm

@Stacey

I have friends who bought in Windemere rather than other San Ramon neighborhoods because of some elementary school there (I don't know which one).


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Kathleen,

"People who don't need a reason will accept any reason."

Plenty of people I talk to say they think the economy alone is reason enough to do something. Like I've said before, no one could have anticipated a downturn of this magnitude. No one knew all those side bets had been placed on mortgage backed securities at financial companies, and with such risky amounts of leverage.

"There actually are families in Pleasanton who cannot afford $233 this year, or for four years."

I think that is especially true of people on fixed income or people who have had to take pay cuts. If you've already cut back to the point where $20/month might push you to the point where have to give up necessities, voting for any new tax is going to be out of the question.

Do you think schools will stay pretty good here, with or without Measure G? I'm determined not to send my kids to screwed up schools. They've got quite a few school years ahead of them, and I'd prefer to stay in Pleasanton (the place has a way of growing on a person). We moved here from Fremont because of all that stuff with re-drawing district lines. We could move again, but we really hope not to. I think you said on another thread that you thought the district would do fine if Measure G didn't pass.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Russell asks: Is Measure G a referendum on the quality of education in the Pleasanton Unified School District?

It shouldn't be. The district is asking for more money. It doesn't have anything to do with quality, it has everything to do with finances. No one could have anticipated this bad economy, but the district knew it should have anticipated a bad economy and put money aside . . . say 7%.

$20/month . . . is still--raise a pinky to the teeth--$18 million. Schools will remain excellent without Measure G. No reason to move.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm

To just wondering,
You must be in real estate because your entire post and your reason for supporting G revolves around property values. This should not be a reason for supporting a tax, it is and has always been a myth. Of course most of the people who are against G are unhappy and not too fond of children, that we know is true, so that should be your point of attack


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Russell,

I heard that George Sörös anticipated this downturn and that he's making money off of it. My husband and I anticipated this downturn too. Back in 2001-2003 when the dot.com bubble burst and jobs were hard to come by, I was almost certain that was the beginning of this recession, but then the housing bubble popped up as people found that they could use their homes as an ATM to fuel consumption spending. We remained conservative in our finances and just a few years later the housing bubble burst and voila! We're in a good position to ride it out. Like if the district had healthy reserves and didn't give out unsustainable raises during the good times...


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 8:31 am

@Stacey

Sure, anyone could have seen a recession coming, but I don't think the magnitude of the recession was predicted even be the pessimists. The whole unregulated derivatives market was what was being used as excuse for all these bailouts. Economists didn't know enough about them. Sub prime on its own was fairly small, and would have probably just resulted in a mild slow down.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

Stacey is a registered user.

You're making it sound as if the derivatives and the sub prime mortgages were not related. Without the sub prime mortgages, there would have been no derivatives.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

@Stacey

I'm saying without derivatives (CDS mainly) the sub-prime problem would have been small as a part of the overall economy. There would have been no TARP. Just leaving the regulation that had been in place since the twenties (before the great depression) would have largely contained the fallout. Phil Gramm pushed the legislation through congress and Bill Clinton signed it.


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Posted by Get it too
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 11:34 am

Russell,
Your original question, "Is Measure G a referendum on the quality of education in the Pleasanton Unified School District? is a good one, although I'm not sure where you were hoping to go with it.

While I am sure there are people voting against Measure G due to their past experience with the district-bad teacher, unwarranted disciplinary action, poor college acceptances (yes, I have talked to these people!)-or people who just don't want another tax of any kind, I truly believe a core group of folks posting like Kathleen R., Ann M, and even Stacey are truly sending a message that it's stupid to send good money after bad. Bad decisions that is.

Would most of us drop money into a cup held by an inebriated person standing in front of a liquor store? Probably not. While we might have compassion for the person, choosing to continue to support their unfortunate behavior would be unthinkable.
With all the research these gals have done on PUSD past (and present) practices, I think they get that. Steve Brozosky does too.

They've convinced me.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2009 at 11:34 am

Wow, there are teachers who get preferential housing terms. Please tell me how to sign up. I am missing out on that benefit.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 3, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Teacher, Districts get inundated with offers through STRS and other lenders. Here's what I found on a search of "mortgage deals for teachers": Web Link

I have no idea how good or possibly shady any of them are, but they exist.


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Posted by Vicky
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I have always heard that because our teachers are so well paid they do not qualify for any of the housing assistance or subsidies. They are too well paid to qualify for our local low income housing.


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