Posted by Charlie Brown, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 8:48 am
I suspect, given the history of promises on fees and taxation (remember that when the Bay Bridge was to paid for the toll would no longer be 25 cents each way but would be free), that the 4 year time limit will be like Lucy holding the football and it will be moved at the last minute.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 9:24 am
Well, "Charlie" and "Don", if either of you had bothered to read the text of Measure E, you would have learned that the tax is for a fixed term of four years. That limit is hard-wired into the Measure. If either of you can come up with a theory for how the limit could be possibly extended without voter approval, I would like to hear it.
Posted by Don, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 9:45 am
Parcel tax funds become entwined in the fabric of the district budget. If it passes the first time it makes it almost a lock to pass again and again at a progressively higher amount each time. There are scores of examples of this. Piedmont started at less than two hundred dollars and is now in the thousands.
The pro tax people argue that PUSD is running well because our test scores are high.
The no tax people recognize that student test scores are not a measure of fiscal responsibility. The two donít really have anything to do with each other.
The raises and excessive unfunded pensions continue. I personally donít believe that those not working for the government must pay more to keep those that are working in the public sector in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. Teachers retire with full pensions in their mid fifties. Administrators retire with six figure pensions and COLA increases. At some point a line in the sand must be drawn. You have to make your own choice. Iíve already made mine.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 9:57 am
@Don:"Parcel tax funds become entwined in the fabric of the district budget. If it passes the first time it makes it almost a lock to pass again and again at a progressively higher amount each time."
Well, "Don", any new parcel tax can only be passed with the overwhelming approval (over 66%) of registered voters. Rest assured that there's no way that any shady "politician" or "administrator" is going to sneak one by you. Also, there's no "lock" on passing a new parcel tax. There are only the votes of your fellow citizens.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 10:05 am
Measure E had nothing to do with pension policies for teachers. Decisions about teacher pensions can only be made at the state level, not at PUSD. You are trying to tie Measure E to an issue that is unrelated to it. Funds from PUSD stay with our district.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm
I don't understand why you would vote no on measure E unless you rent and don't have kids.
If you're a home owner and don't have kids, you should still vote yes unless you enjoy loosing a few hundred thousand dollars in home value over the new few years as the schools quality goes down hill.
I understand you feel Pleasanton teachers are overpaid, but is knocking a few thousand off from their pay really worth loosing $100,000 in your home value? Personally, I'd prefer to invest $98/yr and get an effective return on investment of well over 1000% in maintained home value. Plus, the money is going for a good cause... our children.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Where is the evidence that a $2 million per year parcel tax will prevent each home from losing a 'few hundred thousand dollars in home value'?
Where is the evidence that 'knocking a few thousand off' teachers' pay will cause each home to lose $100,000. In the last two years as the furlough days were used, Pleasanton home sales increased and the median sales prices have stayed constant.
Where is the evidence for your claims?
Or are you using the Trustee Grant and ex-Trustee Ott method of scaring home owners into voting yes based on outlandish, unfounded, and sky-will-fall claims?
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm
Brain said: "I understand you feel Pleasanton teachers are overpaid, but is knocking a few thousand off from their pay really worth loosing $100,000 in your home value? Personally, I'd prefer to invest $98/yr and get an effective return on investment of well over 1000% in maintained home value. "
As a new Pleasanton homeowner, I can attest to the fact that school quality has an overwhelming effect on home values. Home buyers are always thinking about school quality when they consider various communities for a house purchase. Take a look on Redfin or Realtor.com at the listing prices for comparable homes in Pleasanton versus Dublin or Livermore. You're talking about a listing price difference of about 200 thousand dollars or so for a median priced Pleasanton house versus a Dublin or Livermore house of the same size. Thank the quality of Pleasanton schools for that. Supporting Pleasanton schools is by far the best investment you can make in your house.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Start A Fresh
Exactly how much value will be lost in each home will depend on a number of factors including the present value of your home, but I can guarantee that if the schools go down hill, so will home values. Ask any new home buyer here why they paid top dollar to get into Pleasanton. More likely than not it's because of the schools.
Of course I cannot guarantee that a few million in additional funding will prevent schools from going down hill, but common sense tells you that you can only cut so much before it starts to affect quality.
So, like I said in my previous post, if you are a home owner, from a strickly finacial viewpoint, voting yes is a very selfish thing to do. Voting no is very stupid.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm
As a homebuyer, the first thing I check is class sizes. A parcel tax is not relevant to me unless it saves class sizes.
Looking at CA, you can see many places that have parcel taxes and are still looking at raising their class sizes.
I would have no desire to move somewhere that had a parcel tax that people could vote higher and higher and extend longer and longer because they felt that salaries needed to go higher and higher in a recession. If class sizes were ringfenced and guaranteed, that is an entirely different matter.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm
Arroyo, I think a lot of people have indicated that they'd like to raise more money than we're asking for asap. It clearly isn't enough. So I would think the vote for the double down will happen within the four years.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm
From what I heard, the teachers contract is already a done deal. So voting no will not force the school board the cut salaries or reduce pensions. It will only deepen the impact that state budget cuts have already had on the quality of Pleasanton schools.
I think someone already addressed the fact that cuts do not have an immediate impact on house values. The reason is because it takes a few years before the cuts affect test scores, which is how most home buyers determine the quality of the schools. Rest assured that when those test scores start dropping, so will home values. I just hope we're not too late.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
If the contract is a done deal, why hasn't the community been informed about the details already?
Since homeowners seem to have such an interest in keeping test scores high, then shouldn't Measure E revenue go directly towards teaching to the test? You probably know, as do I, that that's not such a great idea if the end result of education is supposed to be an educated person. Yet property values will continue to be used as a reason with little understanding of which measurements of school quality they are tied in to.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm
There is a 3 year contract in place. However, in February the teacher's unions agreed to re-open negotiations. I guess they did because they understand the predicament the school district faces. I believe these negotiation are ongoing. However, I don't believe that the teacher's union is under any obligation to make any changes to their present contract.
As being this parcel tax only covers roughly 1/2 the budget shortfall, I think it's a good way for the community to tell the teachers that we support them, but times are tough and we would like them to help us with some concessions that won't further errode the quality of our schools.
If this measure does not pass, the teachers may take this as indication that the community does not value the excellent job they are doing both directly for the children and indirectly towards the value of our property. In any case, if negotiations are still ongoing, failure to pass measure E may make getting concessions from the teachers union harder.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Those are very good points Brian.
I've been wondering if the unions would be more or less likely to do anything after a successful parcel tax - would they feel like concessions were still needed or not? Your comments make sense though and if it worked out the way you suggest, it could make us whole for a while regardless of the state budget and that would be a real win win.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Now that everyone has examined the local effect of the state budget cuts on PUSD schools and predicted dramatically falling home prices in Pleasanton, let's examine what is happening to all the Bay Area school districts. They are all having the same relative reduction in their income as well, which means that they, too, will have dramatically falling home prices.
Or will they?
If all school districts decline in the same relative way, and assuming the same level of demand for homes in the Bay Area, then there should be NO effect on home prices at all. Pleasanton schools will maintain it's relative quality compared to all bay area schools. And Pleasanton home prices will fluctuate like they always do. Due to factors that have nothing to do with school quality.
The Pleasanton school quality factor is already built into the home price premium here. A $2M parcel tax will have no effect if it passes, and no effect if it does not.
Posted by Carolyn R., a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm
I'd just like to thank the kindly woman and her two sons who tore down and defaced my No on E sign in front of our home last night. I know you were probably just giddy with excitement after coming back from dinner with your ice cream, walking your two little dogs and just making merry on your way home (up the street, down at the end of the block, corner house with blue trim) If it's OK with you I'm just going to put my mangled sign on your doorstep later tonight when I'm out walking my dog and perhaps a little "gift" from my dog to yours.
The nerve of some people who assume that they can use bullying, intimidation, theft & destruction of private property & trespassing to make their point. And to the mother who encouraged this behaviour from your two lovely children I hope you enjoy your future dealings with various law enforcement & juvenile agencies.
Oh yes, intimidation or not we are still voting NO on E & expect a new sign up any day now!
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm
So, "Start Afresh", you're saying that it's OK if Pleasanton schools decline in quality over a $98 parcel tax because schools of surrounding districts will also decline in quality? Yeah, well I guess that it will be a great comfort to all of us that even though the quality of our children's education will go down, those of kids in Dublin and Livermore will go down even more. Thanks for cheering us up. Also, thanks for your civic spirit.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm
Start A Fresh
Your arguement fails to take into consideration that several bay area cities that are known for their outstanding schools have already passed a parcel tax. Most notably, Palo Alto. Therefore, it stands to reason that their schools and others that support their schools in a similar fashion will not decline uniformly with the others.
Incidentally, Palo Alto has some of the highest house values in the bay area. It's not coincidence that they also have some of the highest ranked schools.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm
Carolyn R., if your story is true (and, if as I suspect, you didn't just make it up), then you should report the incident to the Pleasanton police.
However, I think that it's more likely that you're simply lying about the incident. Why else would you write a long post about the alleged incident to a bunch of anonymous strangers rather than confronting the offender directly or calling the police?
Posted by About CSR, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm
"I suspect that we'll first stsrt seeing the impact on test scores next year - that's when the K class that had the increase of 20-1 to 25-1 will hit 2nd grade for those tests. "
I plan to vote yes on E, but I need to clarify something. Much is said about CSR - I like it too, but there are districts with very expensive houses that do not have CSR. Saratoga got rid of CSR in k-3 back in 2003, and their scores remain high, their property values are much higher than in Pleasanton - I am talking about Saratoga proper (ie, Saratoga address with Saratoga school district).
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm
I know some people say CSR isn't important, but I think you need to be in a pretty unique place where that isn't true for K-3. I notice less individual attention for the smart kids here in elementary because the focus has to be on getting everyone up to standard.
They'd get it with smaller class sizes and they learn so much when they're little that it's unfortunate when they don't get challenged.
And of course you can teach the kids at home, I get that and do that. I'm just getting tired of it all to be honest, not the teaching, just the expectation that we have to do it all - volunteer, pay more, teach at home and those who care less get the benefit.
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm
By the way, I mean people who don't contribute to things like CORE etc. as caring less and actually those words aren't well chosen as I know sometimes it's financially impossible. I'm not refering to kids who need more help. If you need more help, you need more help and that of course is fine.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm
If helping your community and potentially saving thousands of dollars in your home's value is not reason enough to vote yes on E, consider this. Your out of pocket expense will probably only be $66 to $75 dollars, depending on your tax bracket and if you itemize deductions. As being this parcel tax is deductable from your federal and state income taxes, it will save you between $23 to $32 dollar in federal and state income taxes.
So this parcel tax would not only add money directly to the local community, it would divert money to the local community that would otherwise go to the federal and state government. Wouldn't you rather give that money to your local schools where it will benefit you and your neighbors than to the state and federal government?
Posted by curious, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 12:11 am
"I am talking about Saratoga proper (ie, Saratoga address with Saratoga school district)."
OK, I just googled Saratoga CA, so could have the wrong one, but do you mean the district in CA that only has 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and which has a 76% Asian population in the first elementary I clicked on? The reason CSR doesn't matter there speaks for itself. It makes sense, if most kids are at the same level, I agree, CSR is less important.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:05 am
Turns out Pleasanton schools have been just as good as other districts that have had parcel taxes. What makes you think that will change? All districts are facing the same cuts
The tax will be permanent and increase. All other parcel taxes started short term and have stayed forever!
Money will not fix our schools. Our teachers are generously paid for their 9 month a year job. Calculate their hourly rate (not including evening work - as everyone does some stuff for work after hours) plus their incredible benefits and retirement and see how well they do for having a BA or Masters.
Enough of the sob story. Many teachers in Pleasanton earn more per hour with benefits than doctors in Pleasanton
Parents being involved is what makes schools good - not taxes. I have kids in the district and am involved. I will given them all the time they want/need but NO TAXES!
BTW No on E is not 'cool' so I do not have a sign...but have voted. It's easy to get the Yes signs out when they ask each family to donate money at the school to pay for the campaign and send the signs home with the kids. Yet another waste of money by the district
Posted by About CSR, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:18 am
"OK, I just googled Saratoga CA, so could have the wrong one, but do you mean the district in CA that only has 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and which has a 76% Asian population in the first elementary I clicked on? The reason CSR doesn't matter there speaks for itself. It makes sense, if most kids are at the same level, I agree, CSR is less important. "
Yes, that is the district (it merges with Los Gatos for high school). I have a friend who lives there (non-Asian), and she tells me that most kids have after-school tutoring - not that different from Pleasanton, where a lot of kids have some sort of after school help. I think that in certain PUSD schools, due to the demographics, the elimination of CSR in k-3 will not matter and the scores will not be hurt.
"I notice less individual attention for the smart kids here in elementary because the focus has to be on getting everyone up to standard. "
The lack of attention to the kids performing above grade level was not there even with CSR. Not sure that CSR helps that. Some teachers do not know how to handle above-grade-level kids - I know because my child is in that category and the challenge is done at home. The work at school is the same as for every child in the class, whether that child is above grade level, below grade level or at grade level, there is no differentiation. That is why some kids get bored, others are just fine and others struggle.
I plan to vote yes on E, but I do feel that CSR will not affect much, given that we have good demographics in most PUSD schools.
Posted by a neighbor, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:22 am
Salaries are a negotiated item. I find it convenient that people want to talk about how teachers salaries and pensions should be based on the economy, yet these same people would never think that teachers should get bonus' when the economy is good. Typically teachers get COLA. They pay the employee portion of their retirement constribution and for all of their own medical benefits.
In affluent areas like Pleasanton, realtors tout the schools as selling points and there is a connection between high values on homes and quality of schools. In some instances it may be the chicken and the egg question. In Pleasanton, however, one can see clearly school have had a positive impact on the value of homes. It is one of the reasons Pleasanton has grown so much over the years. In the early 80s it was cheaper to buy a house in Pleasanton than Fremont and you got more value here.
Stacey is correct. This should not be about the value of your property but how we educate our children. However, I hope that you find whatever motivation you can to make sure we are well educating our children in this community.
In my house there are 3 yes votes.
PS I didn't know we had a ghetto portion of Pleasanton.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm
Jack - Only 39% of teachers use the medical premiums (part of their higher salaries) to pay for health care. The other 61% pocket that money since they use health care from another source (like their spouse).
Posted by Maggie, a resident of the Valencia neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm
NO vote HERE! In reality I pay more taxes than families with children because I have no dependent deductions and you want me to pay more! Why don't we just take away the dependent tax deductions for families with children - that could bring a pretty penny into the schools.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:08 pm
"I wonder" said: "Sam, did you send in your donation yet? You said in another discussion that you would."
Can I at least wait until this ballot is counted?
I'm not sure what you're trying to suggest. As you may have seen in that other discussion, I've also said that I recently paid over $700K for a house in Pleasanton (a decision based largely on the school quality here). Do you think that I would be willing to blow over $700K on buying a house, and then suddenly become miserly about supporting the #1 reason that I bought a house here? Please think before you post.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm
Maggie - You suggested "Why don't we just take away the dependent tax deductions for families with children". The state already reduced the deduction by $210 (to approx. $98). So parents in Pleasanton have already been paying $210 more per child as part of the temporary tax increases to CA. The proposed tax extensions would continue this for another 5 years along with the sales tax increase, the income tax increase, and the vehicle license fee increase.
Posted by I wonder, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Sam said "Can I at least wait until this ballot is counted?"
But why wait? If providing additional mmoney to PUSD is so important why are you waiting to see if the measure passes? You and others claim you want to keep high quality education and that the $98 will achieve that goal and preserve our home values. Your tax bill is the MINIMUM that you need to pay; extra payments are always welcomed, any day of the year.
Posted by Tired of the Bickering, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm
"Yes, Pleasanton teacher salaries are public information. Here is the table, though it is a year out of date and now higher for some."
Higher for few, Much lower for most. Please remember our teachers voted to take a pay cut this year so this scale does not reflect this cut.
Also, the No on E signs are not the only ones being defaced and torn down. I've heard from 3 friends that they had Yes on E signs taken out of their yards. There are people on both sides making poor decisions, apparently.
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could voice their opinions civilly and let the voting process run its course without being nasty and disrespectful.
Posted by Scott, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm
I am going to vote "no" and will continue to vote "no" until we get some form of tenure reform. I don't want to keep throwing money at a very broken system. I would pay for a much larger parcel tax if the union would stop protecting bad teachers. There are plenty of them in this district. Kids, parents, teachers and administrators know who they are. We are asked to believe that not agreeing to the tax will do real harm to the schools and our kids, but it seems that protecting bad teachers is OK. There are over 700 teachers in the district. Does anyone know how many have been fired for poor performance?
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm
PUSD is one of the best school districts in California and has some of the highest test scores as well. It is no a "very broken system". Pleasanton schools are excellent. I moved here for the schools. I have not been disappointed. Now we have you saying things like "Kids, parents, teachers and administrators know who they are." I've been a parent in the schools for eight years now and I don't know what you are talking about. Sure some teachers are better than others, but I would say they have ranged from good to excellent. Maybe you're just assuming the schools must be "broken" because there is a teacher's union and anything with a union must be bad? I can only say I can't see PUSD as broken.
Posted by Scott, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Just to clarify -- it is the tenure system that I believe is very broken. I have lived here about the same amount of time that you have, and I too have found the schools and teachers (in general) to be very good. Where my experience differs from yours, is that my kids have had some incompetent teachers along the way. Not many, just a few.
No, I don't think that anything with a union must be bad. My hope is that the teachers union will at some point stop defending the tenure system and help create something to replace it. No professional certification program is perfect, and there has to be a fair but still manageable way to remove incompetent professionals. Yet, for teachers, we are to believe that the system screens 100% of the incompetent ones out prior to them reaching the tenure threshold. That's not realistic.
I hope your kids don't get stuck with one of the incompetent teachers, because it's really tough to explain to a child why the system makes it all but impossible to remove a bad teacher.
Posted by hmmm, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 6:01 am
So let me get this straight, you are not voting for the parcel tax because of a tenure system that has kept a few bad teachers. So all the other good things, no, excellent things in the district get thrown in with what is somewhat a philosophical argument. And outside the control of the issue at hand.
The other arguments, no because a few administrators have retired with a spiked salary, s and c "raises", teachers work part time, on and on really are code for "I wouldn't vote for any tax for the school district."
None of the above reasons hold water for me because it is about the students. I am voting yes because all the children deserve the very best education that we can provide.
Posted by Exaggerations, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 6:42 am
Where did the figure of $1.5 million come from that will be paid out in "raises" this year? By my calculations, given the 700 people employed by the district (as noted in an above post) that means each person is getting about a $2200 increase per year. On the salary scales provided that is only true if teachers skip from few units to the highest amount of creditable units (which is only possible after taking classes to improve their teaching at their own expense) and gain a year of teaching. It seems unlikely to me that 700 teachers are doing that this year. Could that $1.5 million possibly be exaggerated for the sake of these postings? Where did that figure come from?
Also, I've read in several postings throughout this blog that the $1.5 will be $10 million by the end of the four years. How in the world does that equate? Again, I think these numbers are all being exaggerated for the sake of trying to make a point.
Posted by checking, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:18 am
"Exaggerations", if you saw any of the school board meetings you would hear them repeatedly say that the step and column raises cost an additional $1.5 million per year. And has been brought up before the raises are additive so the raise given in year one is still a cost in all subsequent years, with an additional $1.5 million added in raises each year.
The first year of raises the cost is $1.5 million.
The second year it is $3.0 million because you are paying the raise from year one in addition to a new raise in year two.
The third year it is $4.5 million because you are paying the raise from year one in addition to the raise from year two in addition to a new raise in year three.
The fourth year it is $6.0 million because you are paying the raise from year one in addition to the raise from year two in addition to the raise from year three in addition to a new raise in year four.
So over four years, the total costs of the step and column raises are $15 million. Adds up pretty quickly and makes for a very unsustainable system.
Posted by Jenk, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:36 am
" And has been brought up before the raises are additive so the raise given in year one is still a cost in all subsequent years, with an additional $1.5 million added in raises each year. "
But maybe the board accounted for that and are presenting the average annual cost over 4 years. I'm not saying that is what they did, but that is a valid way to present the numbers -- You add up the total costs over 4 years, and then present an average. I haven't looked at the math in this case.
At any rate, I am supporting Measure E because, as others have said, it will provide some help.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:52 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The $1.5MM number is the same as from two years ago when Measure G was proposed. Not sure how the district arrives at that number, but that's the number they give and the calculation of $15MM was confirmed by them at that time too.
Posted by Long Time Pleasanton Resident, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 9:04 am
I totally support keeping good teachers who actually teach and would go to bat for them. However, does everyone know that teacher's contract has guarantee pay increases built into their contract? Are their pay really frozen? Is there a shell game going around. I question the need for another parcel tax for funding 'teachers'. Yes, the money will NOT go to administration pay increases but will it go to teacher's pay increases? That's that clear. Can we have a merit based system instead of tenure? Not a very popular question but it's a question that needs to be addressed. We ALL know and realize (even the teachers) that tenure system has its plus's and minus's. This is should be open to debate. This is a democracy and we need to have the transparency as promised by the new administration. Our entire industry is based on merit based system, let's level the playing field.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:08 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Just to be clear, $6MM is the amount by which step and column makes the budget grow/increase in four years (A $100MM budget becomes a $106MM budget by year four). $15MM is the amount which will be paid out for step and column over four years.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 10:37 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
This is the article that helped me to understand what Casey meant when he said "step and column" after attending a budget forum two years ago. The explanation begins at the section entitled "How teacher pay grows": Web Link
I had also found another item somewhere about how wage differentials between the bottom and top pay scales have been decreasing over the decades. Need to find that again.
Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm
Just look at every parcel which doesn't have a 'Yes On D' sign, and imagine a 'NO ON D' sign. As insulting, venomous, and disagreeable as the yes crowd is here.. can you imagine what they'd be like if you lived down the street???
Looks like a 10-1 No vote to me!
[watch how they respond to this.. makes my point for me!]
Posted by Common Sense, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Step column is actually an extremely fair mechanism, it slightly increases teachers compensation for those people that do not abandon the profession. A teacher that has been in place for five years is a much smarter and wiser teacher. Perhaps Pleasanton would prefer a hoard of young whippersnappers teaching their children at reduced rates. Myself, I would much prefer experienced teachers.
It is not like teachers make much money to begin with anyway. Two combined teaching salaries couldn't even qualify for decent housing in Pleasanton,
How about giving teachers some respect for taking professional jobs, teaching your children, at low levels of compensation?
From the talk on this blog, it appears that no one realizes that their is actually a shortage of teachers in this state and country.
Posted by Support, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:43 am
For the Core Fundraising last year, I donated $150 at each level (elementary, middle and high school). I also gave $180 to Foothill and $180 to Hart toward the Dollar a Day campaign. I donated supplies to teachers (paper for accelerated math, dry erase markers, lab materials, paid donations to classes the request donations). All in all, I am in it for approximately $1400 for this school year.
I also work for the district part time...in a position that was recently cut. I effectively donated over one months worth of my gross salary toward this fine school district to help during these hard times.
My children will not be affected by the potential increase in class sizes, but they are affected in other ways.
I will continue to support the school district (whether I am reinstated for the next school year or not) with monetary donations and time. It is about the kids...the teachers do a wonderful job...a very difficult one. It is very sad to see so much teacher bashing on these forums.
$98 seems so little to pay per year and it won't even totally fix the problem! It is frustrating to see people out for an expensive dinner that costs more than $98 - many times throughout the year - but complain contributing that same amount toward their community. Whatever.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 10:51 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Trevor Knaggs, in that other thread, claims that step and column provides a "lifeline" to new teachers who would otherwise leave the profession for another job in order to make ends meet. It would seem to be that he thinks that the current salary amount is great. Maybe he's right. The most bottom salary on the schedule, $54,152 is a pretty good starting salary.
Posted by comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:43 am
"The most bottom salary on the schedule, $54,152 is a pretty good starting salary."
Remember that's $54,152 without medical benefits, for someone with a college degree. A very large portion (probably 75%) won't be covered by a spouse's plan, so this will have to be payed by the teacher.
Posted by Another Teacher, a resident of another community, on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm
I am a teacher in a neighboring school distrist, not SRVUSD, making the same starting salary (a little less). I made the career change 4 years ago into teaching, but still I cannot afford the district provided medical coverage plan for my family, it is way too much money.
Posted by Another Teacher, a resident of another community, on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm
A teacher not only needs a four year college education, but specific educational coursework, student teaching experience were they are paid next to nothing, if at all, pass a subject competency test, and successfully pass a two year BTSA program with a mentor teacher before obtaining a cleared credential. It is not like you can roll out of bed one day with a four year college degree and become a teacher.
I would seriously suggest that you read more about the teacher shortage in this country.
Perhaps if salaries were higher, this country would be attracting the best and the brighest to the profession. Right now, it is the people with large hearts, that are willing to sacrafice financially that are teachers.
However, some Pleasanton parents are so opposed to investing in the future of our country and community, that they would rather waste time on blog figuring out how not to pay a $98 parcel tax. If you add up the hours Stacey has invested in her Vote No on E capaign, she could have probably paid the parcel tax for the next five years.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Stacey said: "The most bottom salary on the schedule, $54,152 is a pretty good starting salary."
A starting salary of $54K for a college grad is not that much, especially in the bay area. It's OK, but I don't see how anyone could claim that that's an excessive amount. I would be very disturbed if I found out that starting salaries were $40K, as pRes seems to want. Salaries that low would make me wonder about what kind of people we are trying to attract into becoming teachers. If we value teachers and what they do for our children and community, it seems only fair to compensate them at a level competitive with other career opportunities for college graduates.
Posted by another comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm
I'm thinking about doing the training myself. Several people in my family have been teachers so I'm hoping I have the right teaching genes.
I used to make more money in the private sector, but now that I have kids I really want the after school time and summer time to be with the kids. And I know that it takes more than just classroom time to get the job done right! It's worth it + you get the retirement benefits that are guaranteed rather than being dependent on the stock market.
Posted by another comment, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm
I know lots of teachers, you still get a lot more time than a leave home at 7am- get home at 7pm or later job gives you, which is what I had before and my husband has now. Plus some great quality time with the kids in the summer.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Who claimed it was an excessive amount? Observer suggested that the salaries are not so great so I pointed out that the starting salary is actually a pretty good starting salary, especially for a position where one is required to have extra credentials. Isn't that what Trevor Knaggs was trying to say about the salary schedule being a lifeline to young teachers? No need to rely on assumptions about pay. The data on starting salaries for college grads are available, such as from here: Web Link A college grad from UC Berkeley can expect a comparable starting salary for someone who isn't credentialed.
I agree that salary has a lot to do with the teacher shortage in that the rather low mid-career salaries make it difficult for schools to compete with the private sector. But the reasons for the shortage are many. It isn't enough to point at salary and say that's the single factor. As shown in the link above, starting salaries for college grads are comparable, but look at the mid-career salaries. What isn't acknowledged is that people are more career-mobile today than their parents or grandparents were. It used to be that you went to work for a single company and stayed with that company for 30+ years. Today's workforce just doesn't do that. They switch companies, even careers, in order to increase their salaries faster than if they just received annual merit raises.
It is often said that the private sector employee takes on more job risk than the public sector employee. People who go into teaching take a big risk too because they are getting locked into a job where the compensation and benefits are still structured like the old 30+ year jobs. Non-portable pensions that require 5 year vesting periods (most new teachers don't last that long because of poor professional development support), SSI windfall elimination, small number of step credits on different district schedules, small wage differential between bottom and top pay scales, all make it difficult for people to switch employers or professions mid-career either into or out of teaching.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm
I agree with a lot of what you're saying Stacey- I was thrilled as a new teacher to be hired by Pleasanton- it was considered the best district to get a job at the time. That is because of pay AND attitude/support of the community.
What Trevor is saying is also true- the salary schedule is what keeps teachers committed to a district due to losing the years of experience if they move. High turnover is one of the worst things for a school/grade level. So much is built upon collaboration and "training" a new team member takes at least a full year as you progress through the curriculum. The time outside of the classroom for this is enormous.
Teachers are not looking to jump from district to district for higher pay which is the benefit of a schedule- the best teachers are those who are connected to the community and have a vested interest in seeing it constantly improve.
I could have gone to the private sector years ago in the tech industry- and watched my salary jump to over six figures in a matter of three years as my spouse has experienced- yet stayed committed to the children of this town. It has taken 20 years for my salary to match the starting rate of that tech job.
I wonder what the difference would have been if my entry salary 20 yrs ago would have matched the tech offer I was given- how much has the district saved by not paying me that entry amount, yet stringing me out 20 yrs to get there. Plus, my test scores have risen every year- how much would my merit pay bonuses be costing the district if we were run more like the private sector? I watch as my spouse has earned annual bonuses PLUS raises, not even comparing to my jumps on the schedule.
I'm not complaining about my salary at all, never have, what I am concerned about is those who call my form of salary something that its not intended to be. I voted and paid $4000 over last year and this year to save teaching positions- double what any move on a salary schedule would have been, although as I stated I haven't moved.
Posted by to Observer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm
comment, the amount of new teachers paying for their health insurance must have been a speculated amount. When I asked the district, they said they could not get the actual amount.
Probably a mute point anyway since we do not hire many new teachers. Since we have step and column raises and do not have an increase in income from the State, new teachers are typically laid off to pay for the step and column raises.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm
I believe what it comes down to, is that many opponents of Measure E who claim that they wont vote yes due to S&C don't believe teachers deserve the pay for what they do.
They feel justified to state what the job entails and what its worth is, whether they have the accurate information or not. They believe that education is still just opening the teachers guide and doing what it says to do that day.
This is where they are wrong- you wouldn't be seeing the increased test scores or student abilities if this is how we taught.
To be misjudged and misrepresented by community leaders that I read in todays Weekly is probably the low point of my career. How these "leaders" can claim to know so much about our schools, yet get it so wrong is a sad state for our community. I couldn't be more disappointed in them. I truly wish they would come to my classroom to see the truth.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The way I see it is that teachers deserve the pay, but the sentiment doesn't always translate into a district's ability to pay. Would a parcel tax specifically written for such a thing have passed? I think they tried that recently in Oakland and it fell just short. It is difficult to ask people to raise a new tax to give teachers the pay they deserve when the economy is down.
The factors that affect a district's ability to pay competitive wages and provide a step and column salary schedule really get into a whole other discussion. I wasn't going to write my last post because it gets off topic, but I needed to clarify. It is suffice to say that it isn't a system designed where each part complements and supports another part.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2011 at 10:28 am
Parents need to "spend some time with their kids to improve/keep good scores"? Wow! Really? I didn't know that! So that's what Pleasanton parents need to do. pRes, do you have anything to offer other than platitudes?
Posted by pRes, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2011 at 1:07 am
Sam, You bought $700k+ house in PLT and think that $98/parcel tax would save your home value. Wake up man! Get in to the reality. Get ready with tough economy ahead. PLT home value depends on school as well as it's location. LOCATION!! $98/parcel tax would not double your home value to $1.4MM if that is you are hoping for.