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Schwarzenegger's budget cuts could bring major cuts in school jobs, programs

Original post made on Jan 31, 2008

Pleasanton School Supt. John Casey warned this week that Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts for the coming fiscal year could cause a "drastic" reduction in school programs as well as possible layoffs.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 31, 2008, 10:14 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I hope Superintendent Casey starts making cuts at the top level first, since our kids need teachers and other support staff, but perhaps we can do without some admin for a few years (ie, assistant superintendents, directors, etc that while necessary perhaps, are not as crucial to our children's education as are the teachers, aides, etc). Also, I would rather see admin cuts than cuts to programs.

Maybe an analysis of current spending (how much on admin vs. teachers/programs) should be sent to all the parents and community. I recently watched on channel 29 a show where Pleasanton had its Public Information Officer speak...do we really need a Public Information Officer? How many other positions like this are nice to have but could be cut for a few years until the budget situation improves?


Posted by A Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm

"Casey also sent email messages to teachers and staff employees throughout the district detailing some of the cuts that would have to be enacted if the state budget is approved as proposed."

Where can we get a copy of these potential cuts? (without having to call the district) - is it on the website somewhere? Will it be published in the Pleasanton Weekly?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Where would one obtain an organizational flow chart that shows all the staff positions in PUSD(from supt. to costodian). Not interested in names attached to the positions, just the positions themselves. I've been to the PUSD website. It doesn't seem to be there but I may have overlooked it. Would be interesting to see.


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Actually, a Public Information Officer is vital to an organization and to the people the organization works with, in this case, parents. If one would want to obtain an organizational chart, one might want to ask the Public Information Officer for it. Ironic... Web Link


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

"Where can we get a copy of these potential cuts? (without having to call the district) - is it on the website somewhere? Will it be published in the Pleasanton Weekly?"
You might want to ask a librarian at the public library!


Posted by Anonymous Again, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:53 pm

"Actually, a Public Information Officer is vital to an organization and to the people the organization works with, in this case, parents. If one would want to obtain an organizational chart, one might want to ask the Public Information Officer for it. Ironic..."

No doubt, but someone else could take over these duties, or the district could do without for a while, until the budget is back on track. The organizational chart should already be in place, and anyone (secretary, etc) could just print it and hand it out to interested individuals (after all, PUSD does have an HR department, with many employees)

When companies downsize, they first get rid of the departments whose absence would impact the company the least.... Public Information Officers, Directors, etc, are all very important, but not as important as the teachers and the programs. The district is speaking of cutting 47 positions (per the Independent newspaper), 28 of those being teachers.... sorry, but I cannot justify having an Information Officer while laying off 28 teachers.

The teachers educate my child, the officer only tells me how well or bad the district is doing as far as educating my child. I prefer to keep the teachers.

Would you move into a school district because it has a Public Information Officer OR would you prefer a district without one of them but with music, sports, and other valuable programs?

I would personally pick the district with the programs that lacks the other admin like Information Officers.

And no, a library is not the place to go to obtain a copy of the potential cuts. This should be available at school sites or the district's website.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I was under the impression that the PIO is a City employee and not an employee of PUSD. Or does PUSD also have a PIO?


Posted by Friend, a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Here is how the PIO is listed you decide who she receives her paycheck from!

Myla Y. Grasso
Public Information Officer
Pleasanton Unified School District
4665 Bernal Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Phone: 925.426-4304
FAX: 925.484-3591
Cell: 925.260-2252


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm

So PUSD has its own PIO. The original poster wrote, "I recently watched on channel 29 a show where Pleasanton had its Public Information Officer speak" so it was unclear. Pleasanton's PIO is not Myla Grasso, but Joanne Hall according to the titles listed at Web Link


Posted by Friend, a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 1, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Myla is who the emails come from that our sent to parents if signed up to receive them via email I cut and paste who it was from / looks like she is a school employee!


Posted by Shelley, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm

"When companies downsize, they first get rid of the departments whose absence would impact the company the least.... Public Information Officers, Directors, etc, are all very important, but not as important as the teachers and the programs."
Unfortunately, this is the same attitude many have towards librarians, who are essentially just information officers. While the district's information officer may not be important in the grand scheme of things, my problem is with this question: "do we really need a Public Information Officer?" It's like asking, "do we really need someone to help organize and disseminate information that's pertinent to our society? Because we all know that Google is so helpful in finding reliable sources of information."


Posted by Anonymous Again, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2008 at 7:25 am

"So PUSD has its own PIO. The original poster wrote, "I recently watched on channel 29 a show where Pleasanton had its Public Information Officer speak" so it was unclear. Pleasanton's PIO is not Myla Grasso, but Joanne Hall according to the titles listed at Web Link"

Sorry for not being clear. The show I watched had the Pleasanton Unified School District Public Information Officer.

Web Link

I believe this department is important, but again, when I read on the paper that laying off 28 teacher was on the table, I could not help but wonder why the cuts do not start with less essential personnel.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:22 pm



Perhaps the Pleasanton Superintendent should share the burden of the budget crisis. Follow San Ramon's lead and put a hold on all administrative salary increases. Roll back the administrative salary increase that slid through just before the cuts were announced.


Posted by Pamm Ambrose, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 12, 2008 at 4:02 pm

The governor's proposed budget cuts will really hurt schools across the state. His suggested cuts do not prioritize, they are simply cuts across the board. While I understand that the state cannot run a budget in the red, the governor and our elected officials must understand that schools and our children are not just a cost, but an investment in the future. The parent-teacher groups in the district are mounting a campaign to let our elected officials know that such severe budget cuts to education are unacceptable. Please go to the schools' web sites for information on how to contact your representative. We are hoping to AT LEAST get the governor to allow us to have the same amount of money as we did this year (his proposal sets us $2.5 million back from THIS school year--add to that cost of living increases, etc. it puts Pleasanton School District down $4.5 million next school year).

The district is looking at potential ways to trim expenses. The school board will be discussing the budget at their meeting tonight and on 2/26. Hopefully there will be ways which do not impact the students directly. To me, it is simply unacceptable to take away sevices to the students--especially those needing a bit extra to be successful.

One last note. Myla is the PIO for the district. As president of the parent group at our school, I depend on her for all the latest updates--which I can then pass out to all members of our group. I don't know if her position is "necessary" in the strictest sense, but she provides a great service to me and our parent teacher group.


Posted by A parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2008 at 10:24 am

I agree with Mike. The superintendent must lead by example. He and other admin employees should do without a pay increase this year. I have worked for companies that freeze employees' salaries during a fiscal crisis, PUSD must do the same. And Pam, it is nice that you rely on Myla for your information updates. However, I'd rather see my child NOT losing valuable programs than have you and your parent group continue to get information from Myla. I am sure someone as resourceful as you can find a way to get the information on your own without relying on a highly paid district employee whose position is a luxury during a fiscal crisis.

Finally: if the district is getting ready to ask our kids to do without and go back to the bare minimum, they should do the same. No need for so much staff, and those who do stay must put on multiple hats and do without so many helpers.

The teachers and the programs must be protected first, and the admin should be trimmed to what is absolutely necessary to run the district.




Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 13, 2008 at 5:08 pm

The superintendent is using scare tactics saying they will cut teachers and programs. He has threatened that our children will suffer from the cuts.
Every few years there is a new budget crisis. There is alway a panic and campaign to make the taxpayers feel the pain for it. We don't know what the true amount will be yet, historically the cuts have been much less than first threatened.
PUSD wants taxpayers to give them more money in the form of a parcel tax to cover the cuts. The district has been working on a strategy to get a parcel tax passed for more than two years. They are now exploiting this latest " budget crisis" as their latest excuse.
The purpose of reserves is to get us through lean years but the district should be looking at belt tightening and all ways that do not touch our kids first. The roll back of administrative salaries should be the first cut. The unions should share the burden with pay freezes to preserve jobs.
A parcel tax is a thinly veiled excuse to have access to a new pot of discretionary funds. Unlike a bond where the funds must be used for capital, a parcel tax is used for salary. Program is code for salary to support program.
It would be like paying a parcel tax to pay those administrative salary increases.
It is foolish to talk about a parcel tax for a short term budget tightening.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I am looking at information from PUSD, and all the proposed cuts are to personnel/programs that directly affect our children.

FEW CUTS are proposed to admin personnel. (3 management positions are in the proposed cuts, for a total of 403K) So are we keeping folks like PIO and other non-essential personnel but eliminating MUCH NEEDED Elementary Raading Specialists for a savings of 440K?

Consider PUSD a business.....why is this business here? For the children! So everything works around THEM. Admin must be trimmed FIRST!

Yes, I will write to my senators and governor, but I will NOT accept cuts to personnel like reading specialists while knowing that non-essential positions are being spared. Come on, one of the highly paid admin positions CAN PAY for a few reading specialists.



Posted by Concerned Parent Again, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm

I just read a post by Mike, and I agree 100%


Posted by tex, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:19 am

whenever school districts are threatened, the statement is always 'cut programs and teachers', because that is what riles up the electorate. Mr. Casey and all superintendents are good at that. Maybe they need to look at how athletics and other non-core programs are funded. I think athletics and music and drama are important, but if the district wants it, and can't pay for it, then they have to be creative (e.g., business sponsorship, private fundraising) in how to finance it.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Once read somewhere there's a school district in Texas that funds football in all it's schools by corporate sponsorship. But that's Texas, where other sports are just a break between football seasons...


Posted by maricela, a resident of Downtown
on May 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

it is clear that we have a careless governor that does not care about the educationa system


Posted by Announce To The World..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Perhaps the Amador Boosters should be more concerned about buying books than a new sound system for the sports field.

Gee, what possibly could carry more weight -- A blaring new PA system or things that are truly educational? While I realize the Boosters are sports focused, one would think books might take a priority when allocating support.

Until the Boosters get their priorities straight, there will be no vote cast by me in favor of a parcel tax.


Posted by Announce To The World..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2008 at 7:44 am

Bump


Posted by birdland resident, a resident of Golden Eagle
on May 20, 2008 at 7:53 pm

We've not seen the last of the PUSD manipulation of school budgeting to suit their needs. There has been an awful lot posted on the weekly Town Square commentary about the high paid position of PIO, Myla Grasso. Rumor now has it that the School Board will very soon elliminate this unnecessary role and that they will "take care of their own" in Myla by appointing her to a very key role in another department that she's not prepared for nor is the best candidate for. She'd be light years behind the curve, not even to the speed of those she'd be in charge of managing. What ever happened to caring for students first? This kind of greasy politics, this who you know vs. what you know isn't fair to our children.


Posted by Kim, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on May 20, 2008 at 10:03 pm


After all of the manipulation and scare tactics, telling the community that the sky is falling, it looks like there may be no or very little shortfall.

Can't wait to se the next excuse for passing a parcel tax.




Posted by concerned PUSD employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2008 at 8:37 am

The aboloishment of the PIO position makes sense and will save the school district $, but I'm concerned about the posted comments relative to the board "taking care of their own"... any idea what department the PIO ends up heading up?


Posted by Rusty, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on May 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

"The aboloishment of the PIO position makes sense and will save the school district $, but I'm concerned about the posted comments relative to the board "taking care of their own"... any idea what department the PIO ends up heading up? "
I completely agree with this statement. The school district will save a TON of money by taking someone in a useless position and putting them into a department head position, a position she has no training or qualifications for. I mean, after all, once the department she's put in charge of starts falling apart due to a leader that knows less about her department than her subordinates, and everyone in the department starts jumping ship, it'll only be a matter of time until one of our districts departments is shut down! Think of all the money we'll save by not having to pay salaries for everyone in an entire department!
...Of course, then there's always the huge clean up cost we'll have to pay to rebuild the department, to convince all the employees who left to come back, but hey, we're only trying to find a short term solution to a long term problem, right?
I've seen alot of finger pointing on this board aimed at Casey, but isn't he governed by the school board? I don't know what our "elected" officials are thinking, but I hope they would think twice about putting the fate of whatever this department is below School District politics. I don't think my child cares to much if some public official saves face, but I think he'd notice if one of his school's favorite programs gets shut down due to its department falling apart.


Posted by parent, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 20, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I read the list of proposed budget cuts and I have one question - why is PUSD still in the child care business? Our surrounding communities (Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Castro Valley) have all left the child care business in order to focus on SCHOOLS. Child care in these communities is provided by outside vendors that pay rent every month - which means the District loses the expense but gains revenue!!! Makes sense to me!!!!


Posted by Tony, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:48 pm

PUSD wants taxpayers to give them more money in the form of a parcel tax to cover the cuts. The district has been working on a strategy to get a parcel tax passed for more than two years. They are now exploiting this latest " budget crisis" as their latest excuse.

Interesting... Have you seen the state budget lately? It is easy to hide behind finger pointing, but let's face it... when you point one finger there are three more fingers on your own hand pointing directly back at YOU! Why is Pleasanton the only community not willing to support their schools and their children? Why? Because up until now we have had one of the highest paid ADA's (Average Daily Attendance) funding per student in the entire Bay Area. Now the state funding is dropping at an unpresidented rate. While surrounding districts have already passed parcel taxes and bond measures to make up for the lack of funding by the state, Pleasanton residents have enjoyed NOT having to supplement their child's education. Instead, all of the fund raising done for our schools and district has augmented the excellent base program and added many extras. Those extras with the high level base-program that is offered has amounted to high performance, opportunities for ALL students and a reputation that is unmatched! That is WHY we moved here! Other communities are laughing at us as we squabble over issues they have already solved. San Ramon, Dublin, Livermore... even Oakland have passed a Parcel Tax to ensure their districts- their kids won't suffer. They are facing cuts, but not as severe as Pleasanton. So at the end of the day what is important? Who is right? What is right? What do we value? The district has cut administration to the bare bones. That happened last year. District administrators actually gave pay back and worked for free to help with the budget crisis last year and this year. Certificated staff was reduced by 6.8% (teachers) and Administrative staff was cut by 23.1% (This is on the district website). Who has taken care of those duties or jobs? It all tumbles down hill... principals and teachers at the school sites are doing the jobs! Pleasanton parents demand immeadiate customer service, yet it looks like we don't really understand how or who provides this service. Do you know how often the classrooms are cleaned? Talk to your school volunteers and see what they are saying about how things are getting done. You can't have it all for nothing! While you squabble over a PIO possibly consider what is most important... The district we were all so proud of is imploding! Write your legislature... congressman... demand that our students will not be sacraficed! The state has reduced our ADA by $743.00 per student yet the staffs at the school sites are busting their rears to provide the same level of service as they did last year. Wait until test scores come out next year. Will your child be one of those who falls below the line of poficient? Not to worry... you can always hire a private tutor to address the specific needs of your child. What is worth writing about? In the meantime, since we don't need district employees and for many bloggers who believe that teaching is such an easy task I ask you this... When was the last time you were in a classroom? Are you as smart as a fifth grader? I think not! Education is not what it was 5 years ago... 10 years ago... and so on. It has evolved. Most parents can't help their children with their homework in elementary school these days. Algebra begins in first grade and the expectation is that ALL students pass Algebra by eighth grade. Geometry is Freshman year and by Senior year students are on to Advanced Calculus. That is the norm, not the exception. I was smart and did well in school. I went to college and have a Master's Degree, but I took Geometry Junior year and that was consider very impressive! Maybe we could lower expectations and then it won't matter how many kids are in a class? Will your child still get into Stanford? Cal? Just wondering? While we cut our district down to the bare bones consider this... those districts with a parcel tax will not have to cut as deeply as we will. Their children will be competing against our children for those spots in college. Will your child be ready and be able to compete? That is the question!


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