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how step and column salaries work for Pleasanton teachers

Original post made by Sandy, Mohr Park, on May 7, 2009

I want to summarize some basic facts about step and column salaries for teachers. Since teachers do not receive bonuses, their salaries are raised in one of two ways. The first is cost-of-living increases. The second is step-and-column raises. However, many teachers each year are not eligible for a step or a column increase.

One way that teachers earn a salary increase is by "moving over a column". This occurs when teachers earn more education credits. It is not as simple as taking one course a summer, though -- 30 credits is equivalent to a full year as a full-time student in a master's program, at most universities.

So, for a teacher taking courses part-time in the evenings, or over the summer, it would take a few years to shift one column to the right.

The other way that teachers earn a salary increase is by "moving down a step." Step increases are awarded to teachers based on their years of service in the district.

However, each year of service does not automatically mean salary goes up. It depends on where a teacher is in the salary schedule.

For a teacher's first three years in Pleasanton, the step salary does not increase at all, unless the teacher has already earned more than 45 credits of advanced education. In that case, the salary increases by a total of $2,287 -- or a 3.8% increase at the end of the third year.

Teachers between 3 and 10 years of experience receive salary increases of the same percentage or less per year.

"Maxing out" on step increases occurs in the 11th year of teaching for teachers with a bachelor's degree plus 30 credits of additional education, in the 12th year for teachers with 31-74 credits of additional education, and in the 20th year for teachers with 75 credits or more of additional education.

Even for those teachers in the highest education column, salary is fixed between years 12 and 15, and between years 16 and 19. So they get no step increase for four years.

The district estimates that 15% of teachers in the Pleasanton system are no longer eligible for step and column increases. They are at the maximum level of salary for their level of education.

You can download the current salary yourself if you want more information:

Web Link

Comments (66)

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Posted by jay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 9:38 am

Sandy, what I would add is that the step and column raises do cost the district $1.5 million per year. So while not everybody gets the increase on a particular year, that raise in income does cost the district. If you look at the private sector, you will find that people are not getting bonuses or pay increases right now; even if they get additional education for your field. Many people are receiving a reduction in pay for the privilege of continuing to work at a company.

Another thing that I have not seen mentioned is while the teachers work only 185 days a year (my calculations show this as the equivalent of 15 weeks of vacation per year (52 weeks times 5 days per week is 260 weekdays in a year, teachers work 185 days, the difference is 75 weekdays days off, divide that by 5 days per week and you get 15 weeks)) we do have summer school where teachers now receive $25 per hour. We do not have enough teachers in our district that want to work at summer school so we hire teachers from other districts. Our district's teachers have first priority in summer school.

We also offer additional pay for teachers who want to become department heads or help with a club, music, and athletics.

So teachers who wish to make more money and not take all 15 weeks of vacation, there are opportunities there. Our management team also receives about 12 weeks off per year. Not shabby consider everybody in our management team makes over $100,000 per year.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 10:14 am

I have mentioned this before and it is appropriate on this thread. Back in the "boom" years, teachers were plodding along with their step and column, while private industry workers were getting lots of perks (trips, bonuses, stock options, you name it). Teachers were just staying with their consistent, regular increases. That is a perk of the industry in the downtimes.

We should NOT be balancing this budget on the backs of the teachers.

Find a way to balance the budget without it. There have been NO suggestion that I can find in these blogs that offer solutions without a parcel tax and without asking teachers to forfeit their step and column raises.




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Posted by Paul
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

There is no intelligent reason to give raises to teachers during these economic times. They need to sacrafice just like everyone else and in their case they need to be thankful they will have jobs and their rate of pay is not reduced like many in the private sector who taxes pay their salaries. Shared sacrifice is what our President is asking for us to do.


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on May 7, 2009 at 10:41 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

To Parent (response #2):

You're making an assumption here (and an incorrect one). You said "There have been NO suggestion that I can find in these blogs that offer solutions without a parcel tax and without asking teachers to forfeit their step and column raises."

Why do we need to protect S+C raises for teachers? Most of us in the private sector are (a) losing our jobs, (b) getting our pay cut, (c) getting our benefits cut, or (d) not getting any raises for a year.

Why are you assuming the teachers/administrators must be exempt from this belt-tightening, cost-cutting wave sweeping the country?


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Posted by Life for the private sector employee's family
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

Yes, those employed in the private sector, particularly in the boom years had the opportunity to make more money than teachers.
But that opportunity came with:
-12-15 hour workdays not including commute time
-working weekends
-if a vacation was taken, it often meant the employee's laptop and cell phone went on "vacation" too...in the private sector, being available 24/7 is not unusual for company management
-business travel that kept employees away from home and family for weeks and sometimes months at a time
-incredible stress for employees to keep up with the latest technology and come up with new ideas to help their companies be more profitable
-no job security...if a company could maximize its profits by laying off the older more expensive employees and replacing them with younger, less expensive employees, they did. Many Silicone Valley workers have experienced long periods of unemployment as companies came and went, often with very little notice or severance given to the employees. They were not only unemployed, but loss of insurance benefits went with that unemployment resulting in employees paying for basic medical insurance when they weren't getting a paycheck.

In the current economy, all the same "opportunities" exist for those in the private sector who haven't been laid off - with a few extra "opportunities." They get to work harder and even more hours because they need even more to prove their value to their companies so they can survive the next round of layoffs. They get to keep their jobs as long as they take mandatory pay cuts. They get to pay more for any benefits because that's just one more way for their companies to conserve money. They get to live each workday with the stress of worrying that today's their day to get the pink slip. When they do get that pink slip, they are on their own when it comes to finding another job and negotiating salary.

There may be some people in Pleasanton who made it big during the boom times and never need to work again. But for most of us, that's not the case. When times were good, we were trying to put away money for retirement because we don't get pensions AND we were sharing our wealth by contributing our time and money to the schools and community.

I'm not putting down teachers. I just want to clear up this misconception that those of us who worked in the private sector didn't have it so good in the boom times, and have it much worse now.




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Posted by Francis
a resident of Del Prado
on May 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

Life for private sector;

well said........no risk and not reward. Remember the old saying those who can do and those who can't teach?


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Posted by Life for the private sector employee's family
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

about the last line of previous post. Should read
I'm not putting down teachers. I just want to clear up the misconception people have about those who work in the private sector. We didn't have it so good in the boom times, and we have it much worse now.


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Posted by Lighten up, Francis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

>Remember the old saying those who can do and those who can't teach?

Yes, I do remember that saying. It's idiotic, unhelpful, and flat-out wrong.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Once again, nobody wants to offer up any suggestions.

Here is a fact: Step and Column is not going away here. Like it or now.

So, if we truly care about education here, we need to start finding solutions (especially if we don't want the parcel tax.)


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on May 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

You want suggestions? How about these?

- Vote NO on all new taxes until the board shows that they've exhaustively explored all cost cutting options. Handing them more money is like letting kids eat dessert without eating their vegetables. Eventually, they'll want ten pieces of cake and will never eat vegetables again.

- NEGOTIATE with the Teachers. Give them the option of keeping their Step-and-Column and having layoffs, or dropping Step-and-Column and saving jobs. Make them make some of the tough choices the rest of us have had to make.

- Apply for every state and federal educational funding program. Hell, apply for every state and federal funding program regardless of whether it's educational. If we get one, we'll move budgetary funds out of that program and into the schools.

- Make a list of "droppable" programs. Drop them. Yeah, it hurts, but we all have had to drop some discretionary things lately.

- Cut administration perks. I don't know about you, but I'd rather dump some administrators' phones and cars than dump a teacher.

- If we're STILL short of funds, then and only then do you propose a new tax on homeowners. Increased taxes during economic duress should be the LAST resort, not the first option.

There. All done.



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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

parent wrote: "Back in the "boom" years, teachers were plodding along with their step and column"

Not true! They received COLA raises in addition to step and column. How about the 2005-2006 school year where the COLA raise that all staff received EXCEEDED the percentage COLA gotten from the State? Get the facts straight.

As Jay pointed out above, the problem is the District's total costs. Focusing upon individual employee situations is a fruitless exercise. The District still expects to pay out $15MM over four years given the current S&C schedule, etc.

There's another big detail that Sandy forgot to explain. Employees get credit of up to 6 steps from teaching in other districts. It's a footnote in the salary schedule Sandy linked to. According to Ed-Data, the average number of years Pleasanton teachers have taught is something like 9 years. Sandy's example of a teacher working with no increase for the first three years is highly misleading. That's only for beginner teachers. She doesn't provide us a clue as to how many 1-3 year teachers are teaching in PUSD.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"- Make a list of "droppable" programs. Drop them. Yeah, it hurts, but we all have had to drop some discretionary things lately."

Just in case someone hasn't noticed... The counselors are not going to be dropped if Measure G doesn't pass. It's only for providing a lower student-counselor ratio that got added only two years ago. They'll go back to the same student-counselor ratio they had two years ago.

My favorite quote from Pat Kernan about counselors:
"I've heard throughout the community people saying, 'The Excellence Committee is great, but you're just going to add a parcel tax and make us pay.' But that is not the case," Kernan said." From Web Link

Hey, was 2000 considered a "boom year"? Web Link
"Teachers, school staff get 9.45 percent raise"


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Posted by AJ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm

So the poor three year teacher who has paid there dues - living on low wages should forgo there wage increase? The point that was being made above was simple - teachers and other professionals all make choices about profession based on thier risk and reward profiles. It is not senselss to discuss this even if it blows Stacey argument out of the water. The teachers have agreed to to forgo thier COLA - plus two days pay. Five years from now when they attemp to recover thier lost Cola -- I'm sure the same people will be pointing out thier COLA was higher than the State's


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm

It is more appropriate to consider the pattern of COLA increases than to point to an unusual number like 2000.

The history of teachers' COLA increases is available on the district website:

Web Link

(Teachers are the "certificated" column.)

2008 -- zero
2007 -- 3.4%
2006 -- 5.7%
2005 -- 4.6%
2004 -- 1.0%
2003 -- zero
2002 -- 0.8%


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"2005 -- 4.6%"

The COLA from the State that year was 4.2%. Source LAO: Web Link It makes one wonder why the District gave out such a high COLA raise.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Perhaps because of the three previous years of COLA, none of which was over 1 percent?


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Posted by Average Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm

No profession should be protected based on the service they provide or who they provide it to in the community.

I don't believe the police man who is putting his life on the line each and every day, not knowing if the traffic stop is going to be as dangerous as a high-speed chase, is being paid enough. What is his life worth?

I don't believe that the social worker who is dealing with a limited amount of resources and an unlimited pool of need gets paid what they desire. What is their contribution to society worth?

But it's all about the marketplace. Risk and rewards. Pros and cons. Nonfinancial benefits. A calling.

Let me add a few things to the non-teacher professions out there:

-My employer does not pay for my additional education nor directly reward me for more classes or skills. That's my personal investment to take advantage of possible opportunities in the future. Teachers have the rewards system laid out for them.

-I have no access to a pension system. It's my savings and IRAs.

-My spouse's employer said "Move 1,000 miles to our location in XX if you want to keep your job" and we did. A teacher may hear they need to change campuses to keep a job, but they will never be required to sell their home, leave their extended family and friends, and move to an much-less desirable area of the country.

-I have to ask permission for 10 days off a year. One of the rewards of teaching is having more personal time in the summer and over breaks. Teachers may elect to use that time for educational expansion, or they can also use that time for family, travel, hobbies, caring for elderly parents, etc.

-I am not protected in my job based on the number of years I have been employed. My boss can lay me off at anytime regardless of who else works in our company and for how long.

If the idea of a freeze on payroll benefits and cuts in paid days off is not appealing, teachers have the option of changing jobs just like I have that option.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of Downtown
on May 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

average joe:

or....you can become a teacher and reap all these benefits you think they have.

go for it...i am sure you will enjoy working with the kids. but, the parents are another story.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy,

The answer should be buried in board meeting minutes and/or televised archives. In 2003, the District was facing a similar situation because of the dot com bust. In 2000, they gave a whopping 9.75% raise (I think that's when the benefits got put "on the schedule") so it makes sense for smaller raises in following years. If you look at one of the charts on the LAO link (Web Link) it shows how the State's use of the GDPSL results in too-high COLAs from the State in good times and too low COLA's from the State in bad times. No clue what kind of index the District would be using to determine COLA raises for teachers, but it seems rather unplanned.


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Posted by Doreen
a resident of California Somerset
on May 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I have been working in high tech for the last twenty years, and I know for a fact that many of us have done well for ourselves during that time. Though I have been laid off several times over the past ten years (including last summer), I was able to get a new job at good pay. Bonuses were good, options were nice, and loved the perks. How else we were able to afford Pleasanton homes? Some of you may say that with high raises/bonuses came harder work, but I remember companies paying big bucks during the good times to most of us.

Granted, times are tough now and many friends have lost their jobs, and have had to cut back on personal expenses. However, pretty soon, the next boom will come.

Teachers on the other hand, have more job stability/security, but over the last twenty years, I don't remember them getting bonuses or stock options. I know that there is the feeling that we should be sharing the sacrifice, but how about sharing the rewards? With teachers, that doesn't happen. In my opinion, leave the step and column issue out. The cost may be $1.5M per year, but I consider it an investment, not an expense.

As for teachers working only 185 days a year. Talk to most teachers and you will find them working more than eight hours a day, on the weekends and during the summer. Saying they only work 185 days of the year is ignorant.


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Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Freezing Step and Column increases would provide sufficient funding to preserve CSR---and therefore save 75 or more jobs!!

It's as simple as that. Is it fair to all teachers equally? No. BUT as I have to tell my kids on occasion, LIFE ISN"T FAIR!! Deal with it.

While I don't care for the description on another blog that "Unions eat their young," if the unions are not willing to do this or something along these lines, then that is exactly what they are doing to the newer, less senior teachers.

I am only talking freezes right now, not cuts as everyone else is experiencing. I don't think that is too much to ask of our teachers in order to save 75 of their own.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of California Reflections
on May 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Teachers don't just show up in the morning and teach. They have to PLAN, and formulate their lessons. When can they do that? After work, on their own time. Does anyone seriously believe that teachers only work during the school day?


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Posted by Life for the private sector employee's family
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Doreen,
It would probably be more accurate to say that teachers are only required to work 185 days and only required to work 7 hours a day. Many can and do work longer hours and more days, but they are not required to do so...in the private sector, salaried employees are required to work, as one boss put it "however long it takes to get the job done." (this comment made after project team had already put in 60 hours during the week and wanted to take the weekend off!) No one dares to complain about wanting to be able to spend time with family - just get reminded that "you're lucky to have a job."
Any job openings where you're working now????


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Posted by Jenny
a resident of California Reflections
on May 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Teaching in Pleasanton is a well paid part time position with a pension. Spin it any way you like.


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Posted by Frank
a resident of Birdland
on May 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm

My next door neighbor is a pleasanton teacher and he leave for work after I do and is home when I get home at 4. He is home in his pool all summer so I do not know when he is doing all of this preparing and working unless it is by the pool.


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Posted by Still Waiting
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Any Pleasanton teacher that wants to vacate their position should know that I am waiting in line and have been for the last three years. I'll be prepared and ready because working in Pleasanton cannot even compare to what I went through in Richmond.


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Posted by Just my two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm

You cannot compare the perks of teachers and those of the private sector. My spouse works in the private sector and along with perks, bonuses, stock options, etc, come endless work days. We barely see my spouse - teachers on the other hand, get done at 3 with their classes and are probably home by 5 (ever tried calling the school district past 4:30 pm? you will get voice mail as most have gone home!), and get summers off along with many days off throughout the year (spring break, thanksgiving week, etc). Elementary teachers especially get many days off, many half days, you name it.

You cannot compare. The private sector demands many hours of work, along with competent performance. The teachers do not even work a full year, and some are quite incompetent but cannot get fired because of tenure.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Walnut Hills
on May 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I'm just wondering what people in the private sector hope to gain by denigrating teachers work, and what teachers hope to gain by denigrating those in the private sector. I understand why Sandy initially posted the info she did, but then the conversation devolved into an "I work way harder than you do" or "my job situation sucks more than your does" competition.

This conversation IS NOT HELPFUL in solving the budget problem in our district. It only fuels animosity and blame. Our failure as a community to come up with CONSTRUCTIVE solutions will ultimately hurt the educational opportunities of children. Let's move on....


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on May 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

And there are 27,000 other pink-slipped teachers in CA who just might want to work in Pleasanton as well.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Seems the argument some are making is that the private sector makes more money than teachers, so they should give more money to teachers.

As just my two cents and others have pointed out, the private sector doesn't make more money, they EARN it.

It's insulting to be told that teachers work so hard, they deserve to be paid more - like the rest of us don't work hard?


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I don't think the question is really whether or not teachers' pay is fair. The question is whether or not we are paying competitively. Are we paying enough so that we can retain the high quality of education we have today, and continue to improve the schools so that we clearly exceed the quality of the schools in other districts such as San Ramon. To me it is a question of supply and demand, and are we paying enough to get the best.

On a different subject, does anyone know what was going on in the district during the 2001 - 2003 financial downturn? Some of the other districts had parcel taxes. PUSD seems to have avoided one. Does anyone know if something changed from that time. This isn't a rhetorical question, I just want to know. I was living in Fremont at the time, so I wasn't following what was going on with the Pleasanton district.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on May 7, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Sandy - According to:
Web Link
which PUSD sends it's salary data to, the increase in 2002 was 1.5%

Going back a few more years to put these numbers in perspective:

2002 1.5%
2001 3.9%
2000 11.1%
1999 3.3%
1998 4.5%

Here's the reality. Take the S&C and the COLA increases together and show what a real teacher would experience. Since the average teacher at PUSD has been teaching for 10 years, they would have started in 1998.

If a teacher started at the entry level (BS/Credentialed) in 1998 and earned 3 continuing education credits a year for 10 years, then by the end of this year, their salary would have gone up 71%.

If a teacher started at entry level in 1998 (BS/Credentialed) and earned 6 continuing education credits a year for 10 years, then by the end of this year, their salary would have gone up 87%.

If a teacher in 1998 had already been working 10 years with 60 units, and in 10 years earned 15 more units, then by the end of this year, their salary would have gone up 68%.


We can look at the individual percentage increases, or we can look at the overall effect of the combined S&C and COLA together to get the true picture of why PUSD salary expenses increase by $1.5M a year.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 7, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Let's look at some absolute numbers.

Pleasanton teachers average salary is $81K, 12th highest in California of all school districts.

Load this salary with PBE (payroll based expenses) and their total compensation on average is over $90K. Do the math with the PUSD budget and prove this for yourself.

They really do put time in only for 9 months! We in the private sector work 12 months to get our annual compensation. We also ALL work overtime in the private sector, and are not paid for it despite some posters who think only teachers work hard and put in uncompensated time. They only do uncompensated overtime for 9 months but we do it ALL YEAR LONG.... In fact this dedication of the private sector worker enables teachers to enjoy their union won high compensation through the taxes we pay, and the taxes we are asked to add to the pot like this parcel tax.

Nobody, when discussing teacher annual compensation, seems to bother to adjust teacher's total compensation to the annual rate of $120K, which it actually is. Sure, they don't draw the extra $30K compensation from PUSD during the three month's off, but the rate is still an actual number and they can go do part time work during this hiatus to add to their income.

The private sector is the golden goose laying golden eggs for teachers and their union and in return the teachers in these threads treat the rest of us like we are rich uncles and they are long suffering heirs.

So, let's look at the big picture. Earlier, consider when there was no parcel tax proposal. Few in Pleasanton, myself included, really understood the economics of PUSD budgeting and teacher salaries. Little did we realize how richly the teachers union was drinking at the taxpayer trough. But, SPS and all you bloggers in support of this parcel tax proposal on the ballot have helped incite many of us to do the research and to critically think through the issues.

Thank you for that. Whether Measure G wins or loses, it does not matter. The money we may have to pay for this tax is worth the education to realize that school system economics are also a big part of the problem of excessive government consumption of the unfair tax windfalls that are showered upon government because of disfunctional laws and management by our elected representatives. This is occurring at all levels of government throughout California. We read about egregious examples everyday. The windfall bubble has burst and government needs to live within the means we in the private sector can afford to allow them. School districts included.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 7, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Russell,

Just in straight numbers (not considering "on the schedule" benefits), PUSD is 2nd highest in teacher salary amongst CA Unified districts and 12th highest overall. Ed-Data is a great website. I encourage you to get absorbed in it yourself.

As for 2001-2003, I've wondered this myself on the side. Here's PW articles I had found:
Web Link
Web Link "Pleasanton may be in better shape to meet one or two years of state cutbacks than other districts because the school district here has maintained a reserve fund of about 6 percent of its near-$100-million budget."
Web Link "So why is Pleasanton in better financial shape? Say thanks to a succession of fiscally conservative school boards and a former school district financial guru, Retired Assistant Superintendent Buster McCurtain. McCurtain put any extra funds into a reserve lockbox and then held onto the key. Where other districts kept only the state-required minimum of 3 percent of total budget revenue on hand each year, McCurtain insisted on 6 percent. With the board's approval, he created a special Sycamore Site fund, hoping that this now-$8 million would grow like an endowment to cover the ongoing annual high costs of school computers and technology upgrades. These funds and others from financially savvy district teams that now include Casey and McCurtain's successor Sandra Lemmons mean Pleasanton can move forward while others who let revenue slip away during the short-lived New Economy days now pay the price. "


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Posted by Teacher's Friend
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Why don't all of you post your salary and exactly the amount of hours you put in each year, so the community at large can judge whether you are really worth the amount of pay you make.

Maybe, if you who are in finance or banking received a raise, a bonus, or stock options anytime during the past 5-6 years ago, my fees to receive a loan wouldn't be so high. Maybe, those of you who are nurses or doctors who received benefits or raises anytime over the last decade have caused my health benefits to go up. Maybe those of you who work in technology and made great salaries caused everything from house to concert tickets to go up over the past decade to the point that I can't attend concerts, especially those held at Wente. Doesn't that sound ridiculous and petty?

That's how you all sound looking back at teacher's salaries for the past decade. Some of you are blogging so much, I have to wonder how much time you do spend at your jobs. Or maybe, you have a job that allows you to blog, facebook, make appointments, and complete other correspondence during the day, unlike teachers.

Some of you really need focus on something a bit more positive than bashing others. Maybe, go help a children learn to read or work for Open Heart Kitchen. And those of you who think teaching is so easy, have you tried it? Do you have a close relative who teaches?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 8, 2009 at 12:10 am

Teacher's Friend makes the mistake of underestimating the critics he/she complains about. It's not like some of us have been sitting around for 30 years raking in some kind of great private sector salary while we sit on our a....

How about making about the same $90K total compensation but working a full 12 month job, having an graduate degree in a hard science, working for a variety of technology companies over a 30+ year period while inventing new products which are then leveraged into creating new jobs for others, making innovations resulting in dozens of US patents, typical work week involving early morning Cisco meeting place teleconferences as well as late evening ones to accomodate East coast and China locations, travelling sometimes to OUS locations for two week stints, and travelling in the US typically for 3-4 day stints, having little to no pension except for the IRA and 401K accounts that we self-fund mostly? Oh, by the way, consider the large portion of time spent for some of us as a Schedule C independent contractor paying our own self-employment taxes and overpaying for a individual health insurance policy because it is considered adverse selection (not part of a company's group plan)?

Teacher's friend sounds to me like a sheltered person. There's hardly many of us making what teachers get and yet we are asked to pay for more. My company just announced a 3 percent cut in matching 401K contribution and has long ago frozen salaries as well as actually laid off people (none of these pink slips things which are for show and few if any teachers ever get laid off come September.)


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 8, 2009 at 7:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I think Jen above put it best: "I understand why Sandy initially posted the info she did, but then the conversation devolved into an "I work way harder than you do" or "my job situation sucks more than your does" competition."

I don't know what Teacher's Friend hopes to accomplish by asking for salary info and hours worked. It misses the whole point of the growth of total costs to the District in employee compensation. I think most taxpayers would prefer that their tax money go to bonuses for excellent teachers instead of step increases for those that do the bare minimum. The system as currently set up doesn't encourage excellence and rewards mediocrity.


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Posted by Teacher's Friend
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 7:30 am

Did you really think I was serious?
Only showing how ridiculous it is to analyze the worth of anyone's work, Frank. Yet, you are definitely showing the "I work harder than anyone else mentality." It's all about choices.
Stacey, I was not serious. Get a grip, people! I have friends that are mortgage brokers who in good years make 4X my salary, but I am not jealous because I didn't make the choice to go into that field and make that type of money in good times. Just as none of you decided to go into the teaching profession and until you "walk in someone else's shoes".....well, you know how the saying goes!


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Posted by Lynn Gatehouse
a resident of Jensen Tract
on May 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

I have been a club advisor for many years as a volunteer. Club advisors at my school are not paid. Though I cannot speak for every school or club advisor in our district, I do know that most advisors for clubs and enrichment activities in our district facilitate these programs for our students as volunteers. We do so because we want to provide opportunities for students to discover and develop their gifts and talents, to meet other students who share their interests, and to share our love of particular topics with them. I have had the pleasure of working together with many parent volunteers to provide enrichment opportunities for our students.

Department chairpersons and liaisons do receive stipends, but this amount is a token sum that does not begin to cover the amount of additional hours that they spend attending site and district meetings on our behalf.

I promised myself that I would stop reading these comments because some are hurtful and many are based on misconceptions and assumptions rather than facts. However, when I read the post that stated that club advisors are paid, I had to break my promise to myself and set the record straight.

I am not afraid to post my real name, either.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 8, 2009 at 9:21 am

One thing that I've noticed that no one has mentioned (that I have seen) is health insurance/benefits.

Pleasanton Unified does not contribute to a benefits package for teachers, instead the salaries are "inflated" to cover the cost of insurance. This goes for Dublin school district as well. However, the higher salaries are not nearly enough to cover the cost of the benefit packages that are offered to the teachers.

Sure, the private sector has some companies where the employees pay into their benefits, but not nearly the same amounts the teachers have to pay in. For example Kaiser coverage for a teacher/family is $1400 a month. If PPO coverage is desired by the teacher/family it is $3100 a month. The general range for a family is $1100 to $3100 depending on the type of coverage needed. These are the monthly insurance premium rates. Do the teachers really have it that good?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 8, 2009 at 9:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

teacher,

That has indeed been discussed on numerous other threads on this site. That's a feature of teacher compensation that was negotiated with and approved by the union. Only 37% of certificated employees are purchasing benefits through the District.


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Posted by Grass is greener
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

What is the point of discussing who works harder or who is more deserving? Why make deragatory comments about certain professions? We have all chosen our jobs. Your life doesn't just happen to you, you make it happen. If you are not happy with the hours, pay, vacation time etc. of your job, go get a new one. Most jobs have good and bad aspects to them. I believe the idea is to find something you enjoy doing and you feel you are good at. If you are unhappy with your job, figure out how to pursue something else. You should not judge others or their profession until you have walked in their shoes.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on May 8, 2009 at 10:43 am

Lynn - thanks for setting the facts straight. I appreciate you 'breaking promise' to do so. I hope you continue. For at the end of the day, having the voters informed (and voting) is the best situation to be in.


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Posted by spelling police
a resident of Downtown
on May 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Hey Paul, the word is spelled "sacrifice." I enjoy pointing out spelling errors, and I particularly enjoy it when the inability to spell a common word resides in a critic of our Pleasanton teachers.


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Posted by Skip
a resident of Bridle Creek
on May 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm

If measure G passes, teachers who live in Pleasanton will have to pay the parcel tax and take a 2-day salary cut. And I might be mistaken, but I believe other local communities already have a parcel tax, and teachers who live in those towns are already paying. So I don't think teachers are asking "us" to pay anything. We're in this together, people.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hey spelling police is it break time at school? :O))))))))


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Posted by spelling police
a resident of Downtown
on May 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Yes; it's lunch.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm

spelling police, almost time to go back to the kiddies.........can I have a bandaid for my boo boo? :O)))))))))


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Posted by CM
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm

If you want something of quality you have to pay for it whether it is a new stereo system or a teacher to educate your children. There are a lot of families that buy homes in Pleasanton so their children can attend Pleasanton schools. You need to pay a living wage in order to receive a quality teacher and a quality education or you could have your children attend schools similar to those in Oakland and Richmond

I just think that if it was such a great job those that are complaining the most would have been first in line to get a position. Either that or they a mad because they think someone got a better deal than they have and they can't stand it. There are a couple of people on this blog that need to get their facts straight before posting erroneous information with the intention of inciting outrage among the readers.


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Posted by Ann Martin
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm

To Lynn Gatehouse

Hello Lynn. I know you posted that you promised yourself you wouldn't read any more posts, but I hope you will take the time to read mine.

Although it's been several years since my child and I have been at Harvest Park, we both consider you one of the stars there.

The enthusiasm and energy you've brought to your classroom and to the Robotics Club were unfailing. I know your dedication to your students and education have led you to give many hours beyond those required to support your students' learning and interests.

You are one of those wonderful teachers who work with parents to help students achieve their goals.

You've consistenly demonstrated compassion and every other community of character trait. You've not only been an exceptional teacher, but a wonderful role model, not just for students, but for anyone looking for a real life example of a truly excellent teacher and person.

You took the time to clear up a misconception and I wanted to take the time to thank you for that.

But also, I wanted to take the time to tell you that whether one is for or against the parcel tax, one thing both sides have in common is respect and appreciation for teachers like you. I hope letting you know this takes away a bit of the hurt.

Give the big guy a hug from me!


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Posted by why
a resident of Birdland
on May 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Why does Stacy HATE so much???


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Why,

Stacy is not hateful at all but rather very armed with facts and that is a very hard thing to beat. She and Kathleen Rugsegger seem to be quite versed in the workings of the PUSD and surprisingly more so than the teachers who actually work for the district but then again maybe that is not all that surprising either.


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Posted by Whytheinsults
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Again,why the insults? Paul, do you know all teachers and have you questioned each one about how informed they are about the workings of the district?
Is it possible for people here to discuss things without insulting others. It seems to me that those who have to insult others do so because they themselves are insecure and need to feel better by putting someone else down.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Whytheinsults,

What is wrong with that and why is it an insult? Both Stacy and Kathleen do seem better informed than the teachers as I believe they have studied the situation more deeply. You seem to be the one who is insecure not me, them, or the teachers.


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Posted by YES on Measure G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Editorial from the Tri Valley Herald

THE PRINCIPLE of fairness has inspired some local citizens with this idea: simply cut school employees' salaries in equal percentage as the budget shortfall! Thus, closing a 10 percent budget gap is simple if the Pleasanton board of trustees cuts everyone's salaries by the same percentage.

And, why not? After all, many in the private sector have had their salaries cut by 5 percent or 10 percent. It's only fair. If Mr. and Mrs. Pleasanton Taxpayer must tighten their belts, then so should Mr. or Mrs. Pleasanton Schoolteacher. What common sense!

Let's make sure that everything has been fair up to now: today, the median household income in Pleasanton is $125,000 (source: city of Pleasanton, demographics). In 2000, it was $91,000 (source: U.S. census). That's a 37 percent increase, so to be fair, school employees should have received a 37 percent increase between 2000 and 2009.

I detect a problem with this fairness idea. School employees don't earn anywhere near 37 percent more than they earned in 2000. Where were all the people demanding fairness when private-sector salaries were going up at this rate?

I can't recall any board meetings where community members spoke about their raises or bonuses and insisted that school employees' salaries increase commensurately.

When an idea is fair, it works both ways: ask school employees to share the burden only if you plan to share the wealth, too. School employees are expected to accept public-sector salaries in flush times and accept pay cuts in spare times. What's fair about this?

Sheri Scarborough


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Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 7:38 pm

What's fair about school employees being asked to share the wealth when they don't share the working hours, mandatory travel and job insecurity the private sector has?
You forgot to mention your husband is a PUSD teacher.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Who goes around comparing a median household income that is subject to changes in demographics with the salary of a single employee over time? I detect serious problems with the logic.


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Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on May 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm

To: Yes on Measure G

That's not an Editorial. That was a Letter to the Editor. At least call it what it is.

Now as for the content of the letter. If we want to use the writer's logic, then as noted earlier, in the 10 years between 1998 and 2008, teachers had 68% to 87% increases in salary, about twice the increase of the private sector.

But as Stacey points out, the premise and conclusion of the letter is faulty.


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Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if teachers were compensated based on performance?

I wonder what would happen then?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm

San Ramon just passed a parcel tax. I thought that was interesting since San Ramon is often sited an a comparable district.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Sheri Scarborough's letter to the editor is misleading. The median household income most likely includes dual incomes for the majority of families. Comparing that to the income of a sole teacher is not apples to apples.
Also the median income would be based on 240 work days for most people while Pleasanton teachers are paid for 185 days, or just slightly above 3/4 time employment. Again not a fair comparison.
I, for one, am not asking teachers to take a significant pay cut. But a freeze on all salary increases is warranted in these economic times. Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. That was a frequent expression of my mother's and I think it is apropo to address the attitude of some that teachers are entitled to their income and even raises even though the rest of us are experiencing a recession.


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Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm

But last year, Pleasanton received $622 more per child in funding from the state.
Web Link

Funding from the state is not equal between districts. Please remember that when looking at parcel taxes in other districts.


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Posted by anon reply
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 12:24 am

To anonymous, the reason San Ramon needs a parcel tax is just like Practical Parent posted, Pleasanton receives significantly more money per student than San Ramon. We received more income per student than San Ramon with their previous parcel tax and probably pretty equal with their new tax. In addition, San Ramon has significant reserves and they have funded part of the retiree medical liability which Pleasanton has not funded a single cent of this $11.4 million liability. San Ramon needs to be commended for the great job they have done managing their finances and still educating their students with comparable results as Pleasanton.

It is interesting to me that nobody is even asking the teachers to take a pay cut. The main item in the discussions is having them not receive a raise. It is amazing in this economy that there are people out there all up in arms about not receiving a pay raise for the teachers while the rest of workforce is not receiving a raise and is more often taking a pay decrease or loosing a job. There was even an article in the latest Money magazine telling people how to approach their boss about a pay decrease to prevent loosing their job completely.


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Posted by teacher
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 9, 2009 at 7:14 am

I am going to make about $800 less next year because of the two furlough days...plus pay the parcel tax. How is that a raise?!?!


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Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

Teacher,
Why not ask your union to freeze step & column for a year and oppose the parcel tax?
You won't make less money, you won't have to pay more taxes.
PUSD will then have more than enough time to figure out what funding they will be receiving from the State and time to go through their budget and cut out the wants so there's more money available for needs.
Or you could ask Dr. Casey for some help. He is still going to receive $750 A MONTH for his car allowance. He lives in Pleasanton so he shouldn't need $750 a month to cover any district related driving costs.


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Posted by anon reply
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 8:45 am

your furlough days will not be "given" if measure G does not pass. The union proposal was only for furlough days if measure g passes. So you should vote not on G to trade your furlough days for no increase in salary. I believe the suspension of raises benefits everybody. First you do not have to take you unpaid furlough days plus the kids do not loose any time.

If somebody wanted to be cynical, our school board members would say that $800 is no big deal. That is only one latte for each day a teach works during the year (185 days)


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