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Will we need Measure G if state Props 1A - 1C pass?

Original post made by Tony E. on May 5, 2009

The programs Measure G funds in relation to the PUSD budget passed last March assumes state propositions 1A - 1C succeed. Matters for public education, PUSD and other institutions will get worse if these state initiatives fail.

For more information please visit www.savepleasantonschools.org at

Web Link

Have a good evening all.

Tony

Comments (24)

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2009 at 7:16 pm


Measure G isn't going to pass.. so don't worry.

Prop's 1-A, B, C, D, and E are thinly disguised attempts to hide the fact of money grabbing and shifting... same old political tricks.

Don't fall for it!

NO on G and 1-A,B,C,D,E.

NOT ONE PENNY MORE!!!!

unclehomerr..


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Ah, Tony, hang a question like a side of beef in a locker and walk away. Whatever will become of us?

First, why would a district, any district, be counting those chicks? And let's not forget the district's stance on the federal money has been, "we don't think we'll see that money so we aren't including it in the budget." Which is it to be? We won't actually know the budget until the end of June, when the Board must legally adopt it . . . after we would vote to put a possible tax in place not knowing if it is needed.

Next, there are suggestions to balance the budget that will buy us one year to do this right. It's a year when the teacher's contract will be open to negotiation, a year to see if the economy comes out of a slump, a year to see what the state decides to do, a year when a superintendent could announce retirement, a year when the entire community can come together to determine what it values and is willing to pay for (see that suggestion on the other thread). We have to wait to November 2010 to hold at least two of the three board members accountable, but they also would have a year to get this right.

Could be a very good year to put this district's fiscal house in order.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

"Could be a very good year to put this district's fiscal house in order." – Kathleen

I assume she means by forcing the district to work with the funds at hand and I agree.

Have you noticed that the attempts to find justification for this measure appear to be getting more disingenuous and desperate by the day?


Posted by Another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Question Posted by resident:
Have you noticed that the attempts to find justification for this measure appear to be getting more disingenuous and desperate by the day?

Answer: YES


Posted by Tony E., a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Tony E. is a registered user.

Attending the board meetings while this budget crisis unfolded was an eye opener for me. Seeing how the PUSD team and Board kept trying to make sense of an ever changing state budget picture was educational - listening to these meetings, my understanding is that the district can only craft its budget based upon the state's budget. If the state doesn't have an enacted budget, as was the case for the first two months of this year, the district's only touchstone is the Governor's proposed budget. As of late Feb, there is a state budget that balances a $40 billion deficit assuming the May 19 state propositions 1a - 1c succeed. Again, listening to the open school board meetings, a school district crafts its budget based upon the financial facts given to it by the state - this makes sense to me as the state funds public education. My suggestion: start attending these board meetings and get schooled - man what an eye opener!

Hope this helps clarify.

Tony


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Tony, I understand the process. Imagine what that 7% reserve--the district's goal, abandoned in favor or raises over a three year period (2005-2008)--could be doing for us right now. I can't think of more economic uncertainty than right now, yet the line item in the budget that says "designated for economic uncertainty" has a zero next to it. Then there are the thoughts offered Ms. Arkin suggesting ways to cut the budget and save jobs. Or the BAC members who were asked to prioritize cuts, but not allowed to review the budget and make suggestions (and there are some). That was the eye opener at our house!


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Valerie Arkin's proposal included a parcel tax. And it counted on federal funds, some of which have still not been confirmed.


Posted by resident, a resident of Birdland
on May 5, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I keep seeing people harping on the "if only we had that 7% reserve" point. We don't have that reserve, so let's deal with reality.

One other thing I keep seeing is that the state is to blame, not PUSD or the teachers. Isn't it really irresponsible home buyers and the banks that lent them money that are to blame for the loss of tax revenue at the federal, state, and local levels? Of course, the government could've and should've done more to regulate it during the Bush Era, but let's not forget that it was greed in the private sector that rotted our economy from the inside out.

I've seen everyone from the state to Obama to Casey blamed for our economic disaster, but I think people are forgetting the root cause.


Posted by Linda, a resident of Hart Middle School
on May 5, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Sandy,

Arkin's proposal DID NOT include a parcel tax. It cut non-essential non-emotional programs, keeping reading specialists and class size reduction. She felt the community could live with the cuts but then felt if the community wanted to bring back the cuts such as coaches stipends (instead of pay to play) then the community could consider a parcel tax but it would be honest about what it would be for.

The parcel tax should soon be irrelevant since the ARRA money will replace everything that the state cut.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Resident - I'm responding to what others say. Even though it seems like old news, the lack of a reserve is important because it speaks to how funds were improperly handled over a longer period of time. If you are asking the community to pay, you need to prove you made a sincere effort. I'm not falling for, "the dog ate my homework."


Posted by Another parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Sandy had it right- Arkin was quoted in the paper (and not the PW) saying that a parcel tax was needed for next year. It was not because of just coaches stipends, it was reading specialists, tech specialists, elementary band etc. There is also the fact that she voted for the parcel tax proposal and endorsed it.


Posted by Mr. Wonderful, a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I am not buying the greed in the private sector explanation nor blaming bush for all of this. California has made plenty of mistakes of its own by driving business out of the state and eliminating most sources of tax revenue. I believe we are going to need to figure out how to get by with less as that is the way it is going to be. I mean our stated unemployment rate is over 11% and some sources say it will get as high as 20% before stabilizing at a normal rate of 14% because of migration of wealth out of the state to others.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I believe Ms. Arkin stated she felt there was no alternative when other board members indicated their amazement that she would take the time to look at the budget to find other cuts. At least she tried.

Boards have three major responsibilities--hiring/evaluating the superintendent, board policy, and the budget. The members should have the budget in front of them and a nit comb. But then, they are also schooled to work and vote together on major issues to show cohesiveness to the community.


Posted by Action speaks louder, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

" Even though it seems like old news, the lack of a reserve is important because it speaks to how funds were improperly handled over a longer period of time."

Exactly when was this "goal" of 7% enacted, adopted by the school board and worked on? Where can we find this documentation that proves it was abandoned? Whose goal was this? There has never been a question about the district keeping the required reserve. There has never been a question about the district presenting a balanced budget yearly, because it has always happened.

Your reasoning behind a 7% "goal" is an attempt to "prove" a mismanagement that never happened. It is meant to divert readers away from the reality of 9 million being cut from the district. Management did not cause this problem and your continual postings stating they are at fault are getting old.


Posted by Mr. Wonderful, a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Kathleen, Ms. Arkin is new to the board and as such maybe she has not been tainted to see things through the existing board members viewpoint which is good. I believe many on the board have lost the ability to manage and make good sound business decisions without having a steady stream of cash. Anyone can manage if there are no cost cutting requirements. True leadership is when circumstances call of making hard choices. A parcel tax without doing their due diligence just causes them to lose whatever credibility they had to begin with. If they truly went through the budget item by item and cut costs and still needed money at the end of the day then I would be ok with it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

1) The PUSD budget doesn't have to be "passed" until June.
2) Addressing what resident wrote about the State and possibly irresponsible home purchasers and banks being to blame, I'd generally agree, but the State's spending grew well beyond cost of living type increases and inflation during those years. One wonders if you've personally experienced any benefit proportional to that excessive growth or has it all been "same-old-same-old"? So while yes, those irresponsible lenders and borrowers gave government a windfall in taxes, it isn't their fault that government found a way to overspend.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Action: It's on the district web site. It was a stated goal of the board. Link to the search: Web Link It's a pdf, but here's the whole thing pasted below. #2 under major goals of a general nature.

A repeat, saying you get $X in and will have expenses of the exact same $X is only saying you'll spend everything you get. It isn't really balancing anything. Raises given in 2005-08 were sustainable only with continued COLA and/or enrollment growth. It was a bad bet.

Another repeat, this was a difficult decision to publicly be against this tax. This is no diversion, this is asking people to do their homework and see where it is your money has gone before you throw more of it in that hole. There are federal funds coming in the millions. There is time to get this right. I've done what I can to prove that.

Page 1
PLEASANTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
GOALS 2006-07
Major Goals Related to our Strategic Plan
STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
1. Pilot and evaluate software programs which incorporate artificial intelligence to give students timely feedback
on writing assignments.
2. Establish and implement a process to gather data regarding post secondary education and career endeavors
of our former students to determine effectiveness of services we provide.
3. Establish benchmarks and assessment vehicles to address student proficiency on the International Society
for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards.
4. Identify ways to integrate character education and service learning into academic coursework.
INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY
1. Implement strategies that ensure that all learning activities are engaging and relevant. These activities should
be real world based while incorporating teamwork oriented problem solving, reflection, and partnerships with the
business community.
INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
1. Instill across the organization a "team" approach to communication and problem solving by students, staff,
parents, and board.
2. Develop a web-based "portal" to facilitate communication with students and parents.
GLOBAL ORIENTATION
1. Provide a welcoming and supportive environment for our increasingly diverse population by implementing
inclusive activities that recognize and support diversity.
2. Address needs of English Language Learners to enable them to become proficient in English and to perform
well in academic subjects.
3. Based on parent survey results, identify and implement strategies to offer instruction in world languages at
each elementary school.
4. Offer training to all personnel to enhance our understanding of and sensitivity to the variety of cultures in our
community.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
1. Promote ethical behavior on a personal level to encourage students to be advocates for themselves and
others.
2. Students will create a personal plan, to be reviewed and modified annually, that includes goals related to
academics and behavior.
Page 2
3. Implement a mentorship program to support all students which will include a training program for mentors.
4. Communicate guidelines of etiquette so that students will be aware of and demonstrate proper behaviors in a
variety of situations.
5. Schools will incorporate the ideas promoted in the Civic Mission of Schools project into their school plans in
order to teach the students about their civic roles and responsibilities and create service learning
opportunities.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
1. Expand the "Go Green" Initiative at all sites and the District Office.
2. Organize an "exposition" event to present information and share best practices that support the
Environmental Awareness element of the Strategic Plan.
LIFETIME PLANNING
1. Provide students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and confidence needed to develop and maintain
excellent physical and mental health.
2. Identify and integrate financial literacy in relevant areas of the curriculum.
3. Develop Administrative regulations for the Wellness Policy and integrate wellness topics into relevant areas of
the curriculum.
Major Goals of a General Nature
1. Implement a full complement of strategies to attract, support, and retain the best and brightest professional
staff.
2. Manage the District budget process to ensure financial stability by balancing income with expenditures,
providing financial resources for the many competing priorities of the District, and implementing a long-range
plan to reestablish reserves to a 7% level.
3 Starting with the two comprehensive high schools, develop and implement programs and activities that foster
a positive connection between the student and his/her school.
4. Develop strategies to deal with the No Child Left Behind credentialing issues for specialized programs.
5. Improve technology services to students, staff, and community.
6. Support the implementation of the Excellence Committee recommendations by identifying viable funding
sources.
7. Explore the feasibility of creating a Community Day School to serve Pleasanton students.
8. Investigate high school alternatives and facility needs to meet social, psychological, and emotional needs of
the students.
Approved May 23, 2006


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Mr. Wonderful (and here I thought that was my husband): We are in agreement, except for me the last sentence should begin: IF and carry the weight of what it would take to get to "I would be okay with it." :0)


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen forgot to copy and paste this from the 07-08 Goals PDF:

"6. Establish a policy to address fiscal accountability and appropriate reserve levels."

And this from the 08-09 Goals PDF:

"3. Establish a policy to address fiscal accountability and appropriate reserve levels."


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm

"...and banks being to blame"

When we say banks these days, it encompasses a huge swath of the economy. It was banks, bank holding companies, insurance companies, car companies (yes GM was in on this big time), hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and many more. Many of our IRAs and 401k were doing the "loaning" by buying structured investment vehicles and collateralized debt obligations. It was a lot bigger than just "banks".

"I am not buying the greed in the private sector explanation nor blaming bush for all of this"

Certainly not all of it, but the bigger part of it -- And I don't blame Bush as much as I blame Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan (Bill Clinton played a role too). Sure California overspent, but there was this worst recession since the great depression thing out there also.

@Stacey

"One wonders if you've personally experienced any benefit proportional to that excessive growth..."

Are there many people out there who've benefited substantially from the economy of this decade? A few people got really rich, but most of the rest of us?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Russell,

I was referring to benefits from government services. And I'm going to use the word "banks" as shorthand for any sort of lender because 1) that's the word the person who brought the subject up used and 2) there's practically no need to write out a whole list of different kinds of lenders. That'd be like writing out a list of different kinds of borrowers: flippers, families, speculators, immigrants, high risk borrowers, homeowners, etc.?


Posted by Another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm

RE: this post
Posted by Another parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Sandy had it right- Arkin was quoted in the paper (and not the PW) saying that a parcel tax was needed for next year. It was not because of just coaches stipends, it was reading specialists, tech specialists, elementary band etc. There is also the fact that she voted for the parcel tax proposal and endorsed it.


Valerie Arkin's proposal provided for budget cuts that would enable PUSD to not have a parcel tax during the 2009/2010 school year. In other words, would have bought PUSD the time to get all the information reqarding funding from state & federal as well as work on its own budget and fiscal policies before presenting a parcel tax to the community. It was a starting point for discussion, but her proposal wasn't discussed. It seemed sensible to hold off on making hasty decisions about something as important like how to plan funding for our children's education.

Will there really be enough money, even with a parcel tax, for PUSD to keep the programs parents want, and cover Step & Column increases over the next four years? It doesn't sound like that's possible unless the State provides a lot more funding. Does anyone know the answer?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 7, 2009 at 6:42 am

No, there will not be enough money to cover the gap in spending that is projected for 2009-2010. Cuts of approximately $9.7 million are needed, and the parcel tax is only projected to cover $4.6 million.

Undoubtedly, the cuts in administration (17 positions, almost 1/3 of the total management staff) will still occur.

No step and column increases can be assumed, after the end of the teachers' contract in June 2010. The district could begin bargaining for a new contract from the position that step and column increases are not reasonable, given the current economic climate.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2009 at 6:52 am

Sandy, There's $2.1 million coming from the federal government and another amount applied for and yet unknown, there's flexibility coming from the state on categorical fund spending, suggestions for other cuts exist as well . . . enough that CSR ($2 million) could easily be saved for the year this community needs to consider all the options, not just the one (parcel tax) being offered.

S&C can be assumed--the history is already there. With a parcel tax in place, the union would have little reason to negotiate that away.


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