PUSD board backs parcel tax legislation Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on May 13, 2011 at 7:44 am
In the wake of last week's defeat of the parcel tax, Measure E, the Pleasanton school board is endorsing legislation that would eliminate the two-thirds majority needed to pass parcel tax measures. The legislation was recently proposed by state Sen. Joseph Simitian (D-11), who wants the supermajority of 67% to be changed to 55% to approve a parcel tax.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 12, 2011, 2:51 PM
Posted by Al Cohen, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 8:10 am
What people will start to see is the "Brain Drain" from the deteriorating situation in the PUSD. For example, a very bright, energetic and dedicated administrator at Amador HS is leaving to go to a district where the community respects what Teachers and Administrators contribute to the community. In addition, the AV teacher who is in charge of the Civics program that finished 2nd nationally is extremely vulnerable to being laid off. These are issues that folks haven't faced up to. There are consequences to action, or in this case inaction of passing the Parcel Tax.
Posted by Lisa, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 8:26 am
The people of Pleasanton have voted against the Parcel Tax on two separate occasions. Their voice should have been heard and abided. Unfortunately, the answer was not what some folks wanted to hear so they wish to change the law to force the parcel tax through. What happened to Democracy? What happened to "the people have spoken"? What laws will be changed next and what other rights will be taken away?
Posted by Gill, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 8:43 am
"What happened to Democracy? What happened to "the people have spoken"? What laws will be changed next and what other rights will be taken away? "
A solid majority voted for the parcel tax. In most other states in the United States, like Texas for instance, that would have been sufficient to pass the tax. I agree with you. The voice of the community should be heard. The community wanted the parcel tax.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 8:54 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Al Cohen wrote: "In addition, the AV teacher who is in charge of the Civics program that finished 2nd nationally is extremely vulnerable to being laid off."
That's the consequence unfortunately when people sign on to and endorse a system where layoffs are decided by such objective means other than an employee's value to the organization. A friend of mine told me about a coworker who got a layoff notice due to the flip of a coin (both employees were hired the same day). Coin flips; real objective!
Posted by School Board, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 8:59 am
We will do anything to get your money. We lost the first two times and played by the rules so now instead of moving on to something else which might work we will attempt to change the rules to our viewpoints. Unfortunately, it is the law in the state of California that any tax increase requires 2/3's vote so to overturn this for a parcel tax would require overturning everything. Amazing in that we already have the highest taxes in the nation and the unions want more. We want your money and will do anything to get it.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:01 am
Decisions like that happen all the time in large organizations in private industry (where I've worked all my life). That is inevitable. Sometimes to make the budget work, you have to lay off one of two fairly equally qualified workers.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:06 am
"Typical Progressives trying to change the rules in order to get the outcome they want."
So when Howard Jarvis got the rules changed to require a 2/3 vote back in 1978, was he acting like a a "typical progressive", changing the rules to get the outcome he wanted? Are you saying we should overturn that?
Posted by School Board, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:15 am
Prop 13 was a statwide initiative and passed overwhelmingly and is now the law of the state covering all tax increases. I do not believe you can pull out schools and such from the law and say 55% without it going back to the voters statewide.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:30 am
Sure would be nice if the PUSD spent their time educating the students using the millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of tax dollars that they already receive each year. Instead, they want to change the tax laws so that they can add a few more Assistants to the Assistant Director of Assisting.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:32 am
"Prop 13 was a statwide initiative and passed overwhelmingly and is now the law of the state covering all tax increases."
PROPOSITION 13 PASSED BY 64.8%, A SMALLER MARGIN SUPPORTED IT THAN MEASURE E!
" I do not believe you can pull out schools and such from the law and say 55% without it going back to the voters statewide."
I don't think anyone is saying it won't go back to voters state wide. That doesn't mean it will be "overturning everything". It will only be changed for "school districts, community college districts and county offices of education."
Posted by mooseturd, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:34 am mooseturd is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
[Removed] I volunteer in the schools. I've voted for every school funding measure that's ever been voted on. I worked to pass Measure E. BUT damn it school board, a rule is a rule. Play by the rules. This stupid endorsement of bad legislation just lost 15% of the vote in the next go around.
Posted by Rita, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:36 am
Aside from this school district thing is anyone looking at the bigger picture? Property values dropping significantly (check zillow), 26 billion dollar state deficit, already the highest taxes in the nation, wealth leaving the state, major industry has left the state, and now the federal government will no longer insure large loans which will further reduce the value of homes in the state.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:37 am
"Sure would be nice if the PUSD spent their time educating the students using the millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of tax dollars that they already receive each year."
With some of the highest API test scores in the state, and excellent college placement, AP results, and SAT scores, it seems like they are putting that money to excellent use to get results. Sounds like you should be spending more or your time finding out what you are talking about. PUSD is an excellent school district. People move here for the schools.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:41 am
By calling it a parcel tax, progressives have finally found a successfull method of overturning Proposition 13.
Be honest, isn't it REALLY a property tax increase?
As a side note, just because the YES votes increased by 2% in a non-presidential, mid year, mail-in ballot initiative does not mean YES's have gained any ground. My guess is that many people weren't plugged in, and seniors and apartment dwellers either didn't vote, or voted YES because they won't have to pay.
On the subject of apartments, isn't it wonderful that an entire apartment complex would have been levied a single $98 annual payment?
Tax increase initiatives need to have a 2/3 threshold because otherwise it would be too easy to force a smaller group to pay more of the taxes.
Perhaps it would be interesting to see if an apartment tax initiative would pass. Since they're more transient than home owners, and they likely use parks and city services more, they should pay more, right? I'm wondering if apartment dwellers make up less than 33% of the vote...
Then, of course we have childless families. You know they don't care about the community as much. They need to help more with a tax (they can't amount to more than 33%, right?).
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:45 am
"By calling it a parcel tax, progressives have finally found a successfull method of overturning Proposition 13."
Have you read Proposition 13? PARCEL TAXES ARE DEFINED IN PROPOSITION 13. They are not "overturning Proposition 13." The rules governing parcel taxes are in the original text of proposition 13 itself. Do some research before you post.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 9:50 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Steve wrote: "isn't it wonderful that an entire apartment complex would have been levied a single $98 annual payment?"
Tax the rich. Write a progressive parcel tax. It is possible under Prop. 13.
Gil wrote: "Was there something in the law that required a coin flip or some other random source to be used to make the decision?"
The law requires seniority-based layoffs and two people were hired on the same day. There might have been something in the contract dictating such a method in that case or there might not have been. That I can't say. I'd have to ask my friend about it.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:21 am
"I challenge everyone that voted YES to contribute $98 to the CORE campaign."
I have already given a good bit more than that and will continue to volunteer and give more even as my children leave the system. There is also a separate effort to prevent class sizes from increasing in K-3 to which people can contribute.
Posted by Sunshine, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:26 am
When measure G failed, I personally donated more than twice what that parcel tax would have been. This time, I am being asked to donate 3 times what measure E was asking. If all of you naysayers wish to live in state that does not provide public education and does not believe that education is a service for society as whole, not just people with kids, why don't you move to Afghanistan? The schools have been asking for parents to make set donations at registration time for many years already. It's not enough.
Posted by Brian, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:32 am
Thank you Christina Hicks. The majority has spoken and are in favor of supporting our schools.
I would be more than happy to pledge $100 or more to keep class sizes from increasing and would also like to volunteer to go door to door requesting pledges from my neighbors. I believe the majority of my neighbors understand the consequences of declining school quality and it would be a good opportunity to give information to the ones that don't.
I seems most people understand that school quality not only affects our children, it affects our property value. So even if you don't have kids in school, you have incentive to support the school.
I know the detractors would argue that teachers are overpaid and we just can't afford to continue to throw good money into a broken system. Unfortunately, cutting funding to the schools is not going to fix the system. However, it will make things much worse. The newer, lower paid teachers will get laid off leaving the older, higher paid teachers behind, effectively causing a net increase in the average salary of teachers.
This just scratches the surface of the consequences of cutting funding. I believe that if more of the detractors were aware of these facts and the other direct and indirect consequences of cutting funding to our schools, they would come to understand that this is not the way to fix the system.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:46 am
I think it would be great if far more than $1.2 million was contributed to CORE. It would be a valuable lesson in charity for our kids and it would be a demonstration to the NO voters that the YES voters really meant what they campaigned for.
I also think it might start something that parcel tax towns don't have: A town that can get together and support our schools without the government forcing us to do it.
I was somewhat surprised we didn't get past $600K the last time. I wish we could do it this time. (It might help if the money was being used for something more than assistant librarians and tech specialists :) )
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:58 am
It might also help if some bloggers (I'm not accusing you), who don't know much about of our schools, portray our district as low quality or poor performing, when it is anything but. Parents like me moved to this district because the schools were good. Our schools are an important part of what makes Pleasanton a great place to live.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 11:09 am
I may have issues with particular teachers, but I am overwhelmingly happy with our schools. I also moved here 8 years ago partly because of the schools, but also for the small town atmosphere. I think a large pool of donations would help build our community, while ever increasing parcel taxes would drag us down.
Posted by Melinda, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 11:25 am
When I got a 25% salary cut, I knew it was a business decision. To keep the company open and avoid more layoffs during a historic economic crisis. I didnt turn it into an issue about respect or make my contribution to society more important than others. Most teachers do a great job and its an honorable profession. But we have to do more with less money or less fringe benefits. My husband works in a lab on cancer research and makes $45K with a graduate degree. Does that make him less deserving of a salary cut than a teacher?
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 11:40 am
"I may have issues with particular teachers, but I am overwhelmingly happy with our schools. I also moved here 8 years ago partly because of the schools, but also for the small town atmosphere. I think a large pool of donations would help build our community"
"while ever increasing parcel taxes would drag us down."
But we haven't got a parcel tax at all. We are the only community with good schools in the Bay Area that doesn't have a parcel tax and I think it hurting us.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm
Melinda:"Most teachers do a great job and its an honorable profession. But we have to do more with less money or less fringe benefits. My husband works in a lab on cancer research and makes $45K with a graduate degree. Does that make him less deserving of a salary cut than a teacher?"
I know people with graduate degrees who do cancer research at Oakland Children's Hospital and elsewhere, and they make comfortably above $100K. I think that there's something you're not telling us. Many people graduating with just a bachelor's degree start at over $45K in California.
Posted by lessismore, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm
I am a republican and proud of it.
I do feel that the spending in CA & the US is out of control and we will pay a very dear price if it’s not corrected. Continuing to raise taxes and the current leaderships is not the answer.
But I also feel that people did speak and that Measure E should have passed. I also have an issue with the minority having more power then the majority. I would strongly support a parcel tax to create a strong education system in Pleasanton as I have voted for the taxes the last 2 times.
Our child will need a great education not a good education to lead and be successful in our changing world.
We have some great teachers in Pleasanton and I would hate to see them leave. My one disappointment with the teachers is there unwillingness to stand up to there union and demand change. Is your union truly looking out for you or the old-guard and them self? If they were looking out for you they would create a state wide health insurance plan and lower your cost of benefits. Why a poor performing teacher can keep there job I will never understand. Maybe it’s because the union leadership are some of the poor performing teachers of the past.
Posted by Nomo Taxes, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Now this really ticks me off. I voted for both parcel tax measures. But when we have yet another attempt by the unions, and the left wing-nut politicians they bankroll into office, to end the 2/3 requirement to raise taxes, that's it. The teachers and pigs-at-the-slop-trough administrators have now lost my support.
California is broke. It is hemmoraging money to unionized workers, state bureaucrats, political hacks, runaway welfare and illegal immigrantion. And the left wing-nut politicians and unions want more taxes, and then more taxes, and then still more taxes. You'd think they would get the message that all their taxation has run multitudes of companies out of California, and along with them the jobs that provide revenues to the state. You'd think they would get the message that Californians are moving out of the state in droves. The only reason the population doesn't decrease dramatically is because of runaway immigration.
The left wing-nuts have killed the golden goose and we now have to learn to subsist on crumbs.
Posted by Basic Math, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm
I'm sorry to interrupt this fascinating conversation with actual facts, but if you multiply the 13 sum odd thousand voters that voted in favor of the parcel tax TIMES $130.00, you get $2,000, 000.00 (although you wouldn't have needed each voter in favor of Measure E to pay that much IF we still had the $500,000.00 the district wasted, er, paid the consulting firm it hired twice with the community's money to try and pass a parcel tax). Just sayin'
The Board can keep diggin' the hole as deep as they want in poor decisions, promoting ill-fated agendas, and spending money wish they they had but don't...they'll never convince the community or the state to change a thing with that attitude.
California is the worst place to do business Web Link , according to a new poll from business executive. Congratulations!! Keep taxing the "rich" and they'll keep going to places that are better for their businesses (read: out of state).
To keep it simple for some of you out there that means that TAX MONEY goes with them. Change the 2/3 requirement, sure, go for it! You'll just end up with less money overall anyway when everyone bails from the state because quality of life sucks here. Then, you'll be stuck with the same options you have now...cut here or cut there.
Progressive motto: Why make a good decision for tomorrow when we can make someone else pay for my bad decisions today?! It's just genius! Keep it up...you have to pay the piper sometime. Oh, that's right, "sometime" is today.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm
I was responding to your comment "So when Howard Jarvis got the rules changed to require a 2/3 vote back in 1978, was he acting like a a "typical progressive", changing the rules to get the outcome he wanted? Are you saying we should overturn that?"
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm
I was responding to you. Both sides want to change the rules. Jarvis didn't like the rules so he got them changed. If Simitian gets the rules changed he'll do it because he didn't like the rules. As far as I can tell, you don't mind changing the rules, as long as the change suits you.
My comment about the parcel tax revenue being local was in response to your statement: "...being raised to match the State's ever increasing appetite for our money."
Posted by Unions & Dems, a resident of another community, on May 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm
"T quote from the above article, "Sandy Piderit pointed out that most states don't require a supermajority to pass a tax increase."
I believe there is a perfectly logical reason for that and the reason is that most states don't have a bunch of iressponsible loons in their legislatures."
Most states aren't cpmpletely controlled by the unions. Or is it most states democrats aren't completely controlled by the unions. Look at the states with the most union influence and you will find the states with the worst balance sheets. What did the teachers unions spend in CA last year alone on lobbyists and campaign financing. The answer is about 20 million dollars. They outspent even the largest corporations by 4X, and they expect a return on their investment.
Posted by I Read Books, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on May 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm
Yeah, let's follow Common Sense's suggestion. Let's convert public schools into for-profit privates, just like is occurring at the college level. The for-profit schools can aggressively recruit, and in conjunction with banks offer "really reasonable" loans, and then when terms of the loans are switched, they can aggressively pursue those who fail to pay and hound them for the remainder of their adult lives. After all, that's the capitalist way, isn't it?
I mean, who wouldn't want that as opposed to society coming together on the recognition that public education is a collective responsibility, the results of which redound upon all of society in rather powerful way? (Yes, I very much mean to be sarcastic here.)
But "common sense" apparently hasn't thought through that one. Maybe it's beyond the grasp of common sense.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 6:41 am
"Why not make all public schools private schools and charge parents to send their kids to school. The more kids they have the more they pay."
Fine with me. I will pay for my kids' schooling but in return I want:
- No more money taken off my paycheck for seniors' medicare
- No more money taken off my paycheck for social security (after all, by the time I retire, the fund will be bankrupt so why pay for the older folks when they refuse to pay their share to educate the future of the country)
- Prop 13 undone, so that I pay the same taxes as the older people who bought a long time ago. After all, we all use the roads and police and services financed by taxes, right? Most states adjust property taxes on an annual basis, based on the property's CURRENT market value
Posted by I Read Books, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 6:54 am
Collective responsibility involves individual responsibility. It involves individuals coming together on the recognition that good things for the community and its individuals can best be achieved through concerted collective action. This means acting for the benefit of all, which includes acting in a way that includes and benefits even the village idiot.
Posted by Fairness, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm
My cousin teaches in Virginia.
Her salary schedule looks similar to Pleasanton's
She has step and column
Her fourth grade students are in classes of 20, have reading specialists, actually two per school, P.E., art, science, technology and music specialists. Her community isn't calling her lazy or greedy. Those Virginian students clearly have an advantage over our Californian students. It's no wonder so many highly educated east coast residents move to California and fill our top wage earning jobs. They are highly educated from a very young age and clearly value education. Stop the fighting and bashing. We should all be concerned that our state is no longer a desirable place to move, raise children, or retire. Many, many people and corporations aren't paying their fair share of taxes and too many non-tax payers are getting tax credits. Everyone should pay something to live in the state.
Posted by really?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm
Read books: So do you apply your "Collective responsibility" equally to the "benefit of all" things within the "community" including the "village idiot" or are you selective in it's application and get to pick and choose what issues it apples?
Your argument is invalid if its selective application.
Posted by A teacher, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm
One poster said "the teachers is there unwillingness to stand up to there union and demand change". I just have to correct the grammar it should say their not there. Those errors make me crazy.
Now you do make an excellent point. The hard part is that the union rules make it such that the union is composed of the old guard. These people do not want change. Those of us that do are always shot down. Want to help? The community needs to push the district to get rid of the union somehow. We are forced to join and pay.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm
To 'A teacher' - Those in the union that want to change their leadership, need to organize, get a name, adopt a platform, get peer and community support, and sway your fellow members to join in throwing out the 'old guard'. There's enough militant union members who attack their fellow teachers when they want to do the right thing for the students, that need to be stood up against. Nothing wrong with taking names, and using the same tactics against them. Go! What help do you need?
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm
The Sacramento Bee had a good opinion piece on the teacher's union today: Web Link
I thought the summary of the piece was good:
"In education terms, there is a lesson for California. The teachers union is a union first and foremost that represents employees working in California's education system. Make no mistake, when the interests of students conflict with the agenda of the union, the kids will always lose. That is not to disparage the union, but rather to acknowledge reality. With that in mind, politicians, parents and taxpayers can make up their own minds with regard to what is best for California. After all, that's what quality education is all about, right?"
Posted by Luvg8tr, a resident of the Beratlis Place neighborhood, on May 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm
"Make no mistake, when the interests of students conflict with the agenda of the union, the kids will always lose. That is not to disparage the union,"
Isn't that exactly what you wish to do is disparage the union? you assume the kids lose if the teachers are happy? This is the oddest sentiment I have ever heard. So if the students are happy the teachers lose? is that what you are saying?
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 8:21 am
Diane- you make us lunches, and buy us gifts, then call us entitled and "worst thing that has ever happened for our kids" ?
You do not love our teachers and support the classrooms, really, don't kid yourself.
The union is the teachers. The teachers are the union. Here in Pleasanton, our union has voluntarily given back over $5 million dollars to save YOUR children's education in two years.
Seems to me the unions are not the problem here, only the mentality you portray representing our community members. How many years are you going to "make lunch and give gifts" then bully the teachers into paying for the services you receive?
Posted by Diana, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 15, 2011 at 8:52 am
The teachers union gave nothing when balance with the continued raises. Raises given at a time when there is no money for them continues to bring ruin to the district. The attitude of entitlement promoted by the MOB mentality blinds otherwise rational people to understand that. The teachers union is the biggest bully on the campus and in the state.
Pleasanton teachers are well compensated.
The teachers union IS the worst thing that has ever happened to our kids!!!
It would make me sad if unions are our teachers and frightened for our children if I believed you represent our teachers.
I hope I have never given you a gift and I have made my last sandwich.
Posted by Fred, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 10:15 am
The state is still a wonderful place and not a "complete disaster".
For example, California still has a university system that is the envy of the world. There is nothing in the rest of the country or the world that equals it anywhere.
As to the fiscal problems we're having, Democrats, Republicans, and unions all share the blame. It is the same at the national level. People want services but don't want to pay for them. Democrats have done a lot of harm. Republicans have done a lot of harm.
Posted by Diana, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 10:29 am
I think with 5 democratic senators no longer running in 2012 you will see the conservatives take control of the senate as well as more in the house and make the changes necessary to get this country moving again. I just hope we can do something in this state but I fear it is already to late.
Posted by Diana, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 15, 2011 at 10:36 am
All PUSD employees are paid. PUSD administrators are over compensated. PUSD teachers are well compensated. I and many other tax burdened, financially struggling, parents have worked hundreds of hours in the classroom for FREE to support our teachers.
The teachers union is the biggest bully on the campus and in the state. The union creates a mob mentality that promotes an unrealistic expectation of entitlement, and YOU, hurt the teaching profession.
The most recent teachers union contract has guaranteed that the next attempt at a parcel tax will fail!
The teachers union is the worst thing that has ever happened to our kids!!!
Funny I could swear that I hear a British accent when I read your post.
Posted by I'm with Diana, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 10:45 am
I'm with Diana. The Britishist Communists are going. Unions are bad. I say so. California is a dissaster. I say so. Republicans will win and get us back to the good times we had with George W, I say so.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 10:55 am
Diana said:"I think with 5 democratic senators no longer running in 2012 you will see the conservatives take control of the senate as well as more in the house and make the changes necessary to get this country moving again."
Just like the last time the conservatives were in control of the Senate, House, and the White House all at the same time just a few years ago? How did that turn out?
Posted by some good points, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 11:09 am
Debt the Teachers’ Unions Cause Us
The California Teachers Association is a major contributor to the Golden State’s fiscal woes.
"California’s chronic fiscal crisis should prompt a substantive debate about the limits of government and the folly of an expansive welfare state. Instead, leaders of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association are using the struggle to close the Golden State’s $15.4 billion budget deficit as an opportunity for some political street theater. The powerful National Education Association state affiliate is spending this week highlighting California’s “state of emergency,” with large rallies planned in Sacramento and around the state Friday to agitate for billions of dollars in higher taxes....
For the teachers’ union, kids are the best props. Already we’re hearing the familiar nostrums: “Cuts hurt children,” “What’s good for the teachers is good for the students,” and “Don’t sacrifice our kids’ futures.” What the CTA really means is, “Tax the rich,” “Give us more money,” and, above all, “Save our jobs.”...
Yet legislators and the governor could embrace several reforms to restore money to education and save teaching jobs—without raising taxes. Here are a few:
Kill the archaic seniority system. The current system disregards teaching quality in favor of longevity when it comes to making staffing decisions. If we must lose some teachers, why not let the poorest performers go first? Hoover Institution senior fellow and economist Eric Hanushek says that eliminating just 7 percent of bottom-performing teachers would dramatically improve education outcomes, while saving millions of dollars on salaries. Yes, class sizes would increase somewhat, but children would get better teachers. Not a bad trade. At the same time, we might debunk the small-class-size-is-always-better myth.
Stop over-hiring teachers. When economic times are good and school districts’ treasuries are flush, unions urge them to hire more teachers. Of course, when the economic cycle slows and the extra revenue disappears, many who benefited from the boom receive pink slips.
Support the growth of charter schools. They get the same or better results than traditional public schools at about two-thirds of the cost.
Reform the retirement system. Change the California State Teachers Retirement System from its current defined-benefit structure to a defined-contribution plan. A 401(k)-type plan for retirement would shift the responsibility for teachers’ retirement from the taxpayer to the individual teacher. As Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, recently wrote: “California taxpayers would save billions of dollars that would flow to public schools, community colleges and universities if state and local public employees retired with benefits comparable to those provided to employees of Silicon Valley’s top companies. Teachers’ jobs would be saved and school programs spared.”
The CTA, of course, rejects all of those proposals. The union’s continued political dominance depends on maintaining the status quo. The same folks who declare a “state of emergency” refuse to give an inch on any real reform that would improve education while saving taxpayer dollars. Keep that in mind when the union trots out students as political human shields and demands that beleaguered Californians pay, and keep paying, until it hurts."
Posted by DJohns, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 15, 2011 at 11:22 am DJohns is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I am not responsible for the post below. Any future nonregistered posts identified as Diana on this thread are not mine.
Posted by Diana, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, 42 minutes ago
I think with 5 democratic senators no longer running in 2012 you will see the conservatives take control of the senate as well as more in the house and make the changes necessary to get this country moving again. I just hope we can do something in this state but I fear it is already to late.
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Diana is just one of many that the teachers have to deal with and value their union representation for. Somehow, as a citizen of this town, this type of parent feels more entitled to state her opinion than a public servant is allowed to.
The teachers of this town took pay cuts and were ridiculed for them, now they are ridiculed for not cutting more again. How many years is this community going to come back asking for more? How is it that we are expected to volunteer our time for the services you receive year after year? You continue to call our salaries raises, I haven't moved on the schedule for years, and have not received a raise in 3 years (COLA) I have never complained about my salary, just listened to all of you lie and complain about it.
Your tax dollars are not coming back to fund our local education needs, they haven't since 1995 Web Link
Thank you Diana for making sandwiches and volunteering your time, you of all people must see first hand what cutting $20 million to our local schools has done.
Posted by just saying, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm
1) perhaps your "beef" should be with the state and how they choose to use tax payer dollars. It does not seem to me that we have any control how tax dollars collected are spent. Would not your energies be better spent there?
2) " How many years is this community going to come back asking for more?" Probably as many times as Measure D, E and (now F??) show up on the ballots.
3)" Diana is just one of many that the teachers have to deal with and value their union representation for." Really??? you pay union dues and "value" representation based on her and people that might make comments like her????? Rally??? Rally??
4) you could always offer your "public service" as a life-guard. The thugs who represent them (I mean unions) seem to be getting tax dollars perhaps the schools should get.????just saying.....
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm
More nasty comments from the community- no surprise!
You agree that the "beef" should be with the State, yet you continue to bully teachers for their union representation and their efforts to fund the schools where this community has bailed out.
The teachers have taken cuts, personally and professionally. To continue bashing those who state their opinions in support of our schools is really just a scapegoat avoiding the reality of our schools from here on out.
Posted by Linda, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm
I voted for President Bush and then for President Obama the last time and I must say I was much happier with the job President Bush did. President Obama has turned the country into a full blown disaster.
Posted by just saying, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Be positive....I agree w/ you: "More nasty comments from the community- no surprise! " evidenced by most of the comments I have read under the guise of a "be positive" and others. Do you ever go back and read what you write??
Disagreement is not pretty. But words like "bully, rude, bashing" have been SO SO overused by those of you who have an opposing opinion. Look where you have applied them? Really?? Really?
Many do NOT support Teacher Unions and believe the unions are a very BIG part of the problem. Many believe Teachers can do more to help.
Those positions do not mean one is against schools, kids learning, or teachers although I am "positive" you would like to characterize it otherwise.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm
To "just saying",
Would you say that you have a deep passion for learning? Do you consider yourself well read? Do you consider yourself a scholar? Do have a curiosity about mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, philosophy, literature, and the arts? Does these pursuits consume a great deal of your time and energy?
I'm asking because you talk a lot about schools, but you don't seem to say much about education or learning. Is it important to you? Do you think people in general need to be better educated? I'd really like to know. Do you think the most gifted among us need or deserve special programs to fully realize their potential? What about those who have difficulty learning? I'm trying to understand the people who post here on both sides better. It does seem that people who support this legislation and Measure E talk more about the importance of education than those who oppose it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you support any of these things. I'm just trying to understand you better.
Posted by Common Sense, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on May 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm
Teacher's union are not the perfect answer, but they are the best answer. Compensation based on experience and personal eduvational improvement seem fair.
Compensation increases based upon test scores or the principal's personal basis for evaluation would lead to a much poorer educational system.
Currently collaboration between teacher's is key in advancing a child's education.
Evaluations based upon test scores would lead to the following, 1.) teacher's not wanting certain students in their classroom, 2.) teacher's not helping other teachers, because they are in competition with each other, 3.)teaching even more to standardized testing, 4.) potential cheating on standardized testing, 5.) principals eliminating teachers that they are not in agreement with.
Yes, teacher's unions are necessary. Just review this blog and see the mean spirited comments against teachers and their union.
If it were not for the union, the educational system in this country would much far worse, believe it or not.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 8:33 am
Unions protect the members and have little or nothing to do with protecting the customers--they are, after all, collective bargaining units. In the case of teacher union leadership then, the influence they wield as a group isn't about benefitting students (I do believe individual teachers work hard, support their students, want professional development opportunities, and often feel they have little influence with leadership either, particularly in the case of tenure).
Also, many school board members need local union endorsements to win elections, which means the parents/taxpayers have no real voice. Public employees have only had this right since 1978--some 30 years later, the state and local cities and school districts are in fiscal crisis (and I would agree there are other large contributing factors like Prop 13 and the downturn in the economy).
I don't think we need to get rid of unions, including teacher unions, but there is a need for change in compensation, tenure, and evaluation. There is no apparent will for change from union leadership. It seems the only influence taxpayers have is to slam their wallets shut until the point is made with the unions and elected officials at all levels.
Posted by Sirena, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 9:02 am
The people have spoken. NO... What is happening to democracy in this country. How many times are we going to vote on this issue and other isssues that don't pass. I have spent over $300 on projects for my kids this year at school. That is where my money went.
Posted by Gil, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 9:08 am
First, I'm not a union advocate. I just needed to point out when I read pure opinion masquerading as fact or false conclusions.
"Also, many school board members need local union endorsements to win elections, which means the parents/taxpayers have no real voice."
Nonsense. Show me the law anywhere that says a candidate needs local union endorsements to win elections. "Parents/taxpayers" can elect whomever they please.
" but there is a need for change in compensation, tenure, and evaluation"
OK, if you think so, please explain what is wrong with "compensation, tenure, and evaluation".
"slam their wallets shut until the point is made with the unions and elected officials at all levels. "
And what makes you think that will have any influence on "unions and elected officials"? What it will do is save you a little money and will have real consequences for our schools and the education of our children, like Al Cohen said.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 9:13 am
Unions outlived their usefulness and relevance long ago. All of the issues 'union strong' included in his bulleted rant are part of California labor law. Unions exist now, to further the Democrat agenda and to suck at the teat of the taxpayers of California. The last thing they are interested in is improving the educational system, whose demise they presdided over for more than 4 decades in Calif.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 9:33 am
Gil, Show me the list of board members in Pleasanton who weren't endorsed by the unions. Short list. Endorsements are sought because they influence the electorate--newspapers, other elected officials, etc. do as well. If it didn't matter, why would anyone seek them?
Longer discussion on change . . . I've commented about, I'm sure for most, ad nauseam. I'm in favor of merit or bonus pay and believe an evaluation system can be put in place that doesn't only use test scores and/or principals' observations--all negotiable items. Tenure, also discussed at length throughout these parcel tax elections and subject to negotiation, ensures that the longest serving stay in their jobs, not necessarily the best of the best--as Al Cohen points out in the potential loss of Amador's Civic's teacher.
Personally, this isn't saving me any money. I believe in public education and still donate here.
Posted by Mr. Geeneeyus, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 10:01 am
Fine, go ahead & do away with your 2/3 majority but there's got to be some concessions if it happens.
For starters only HOMEOWNERS living within the district that use it as their primary residence will be allowed to vote. NO renters, NO senior citizens, or absentee property owners. If you are going to be the ones supporting and responsible for a tax, then it's your responsibility for it's eminent success or failure. If you are just going to use your vote to play with my money to support your little scheme, sorry but you don't get to play unless you are a property owning, tax paying resident of Pleasanton.
Posted by NO lazy or ignorant allowed, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 10:29 am
Rita, please don't mention 'Zillo'. Zillo is destroying home market, because it is not fair or accurate. It just values homes by sq footage, and neighborhood. Anybody involved with houses knows one might be totally updated, upgraded, well kept,beautiful landscape, the other, full of pets and kids, dirty, inside not even painted, dead backyard, junky house next door, broken air cond, and a foreclosure...all that pulls down the super sharp same model on the next street over, but zillow comps will use that comp. UNinformed buyer,just looks at Zillo and demands the same, never having seen the dump. It further drags down the overall housing market. LAZY appraisers would consider the false info too. As a seller, I would demand only appraisers who have actually seen the insides of each of the comps he uses for comparison. Only stupid and greedy would actually put any weight with zillo. It is screwing the the whole bank and foreclosure market process. Good worthy couples who had good equity 10 years ago, and solid loans become foreclosure risks. Some people who would like to sell, because of job LOSS..can't sell because other dummies have used zillo....
zillo devalued neighbors to below their loan amount....giving a long-term owner no hope because zillo false information. That's wrong. Ripple started by the ignorant, uninformed, and lazy would look at zillo. I hope anybody who would use it will get 'caught' and financially screwed, for placing any credibility in zillo
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 11:50 am
Maybe, but I doubt it. Perhaps you missed all the discussions about pensions, S&C, etc. So, while people may support unions of all varieties (or at least the individual members they know--like the teachers at their local school), the unsustainable cost to the taxpayer has been part of a nationwide debate and attempts for change--Wisconsin is one example. Ford also is a reasonable example of how unions and management have worked to save the company and jobs without a too big to fail approach.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm
"Geeneeyus" said: "Fine, go ahead & do away with your 2/3 majority but there's got to be some concessions if it happens. For starters only HOMEOWNERS living within the district that use it as their primary residence will be allowed to vote. NO renters, NO senior citizens, or absentee property owners. If you are going to be the ones supporting and responsible for a tax, then it's your responsibility for it's eminent success or failure."
Personally, I would be fine with that. The best option would be to let everyone in Pleasanton vote AND be taxed. I guess that wasn't done because of the difficulty of levying taxes on people living in just Pleasanton in any other way than a parcel tax? So if the only way to do this is through a parcel tax, then to me it seems fair to restrict both the voting and taxation to just homeowners.
Too bad we can't see a breakdown on how renters voted and how homeowners voted on the recent Measure. From a purely financial standpoint, renters have nothing to lose or gain regardless of which way they vote whereas - again from a purely financial standpoint - homeowners pay $98 AND potentially stand to gain or lose from any resulting rise or fall in their property values.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm
Renters DO have something to gain. They get more money in their own schools without having to pay for it. They let the homeowners pay the tax.
On the union endorsements, when the teacher's union endorses candidates, they also help the candidates by handing out brochures and buttons to all the union members and encourage the members to campaign for the candidates. Same thing happens in the City. The unions help the campaigns.The firefighters union has always put up campaign signs in people's yards and throughout the city for the candidates they endorse.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm
I can't imagine we can limit the vote to those who would actually have to pay. Renters can argue their rent reflects the cost, but it's a stretch when the whole complex pays as one parcel.
It seems to me it would be easier to find out what those who opposed the measures are looking for in return. There will be those who won't vote yes ever; there are those who will want big concessions (S&C freeze); there are those, like me, who want specific language--two counselors, five reading specialists, etc. Maybe there are enough "noes" who would switch and push the vote over 66.6%. I'm not in favor of lowering the threshold.
The reach out for the last campaign didn't attempt to bring in no voters; it felt more like finding out about how to pick apart the no arguments and then arguing against them with the yes campaign. Sad.
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Teachers and US education is constantly being compared to Finland and what they are doing to find the success they are currently experiencing. Web Link
In Finland- 95% of the teachers are a part of a union and it is not affecting the quality of schools. The level of trust and respect for the profession is one of the major differences between Finland and the US. "The U.S. has an industrial model where teachers are the means for conveying a prefabricated product. In Finland, the teachers are the standard."
To continue to repeat rhetoric from political perspectives that all unions are bad is once again turning the trust and respect away from the professionals in the industry who have been continually dictated on how to do the job from those outside the profession- "You don't buy a dog and bark for it," says Dan MacIsaac, a specialist in physics-teacher education at the State University of New York at Buffalo who visited Finland for two months. "In the U.S., they treat teachers like pizza delivery boys and then do efficiency studies on how well they deliver the pizza."
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm
Finland? You ever been to Finland? Finland is an iceberg with only 5,000,000 people in the whole country and they are all white! No language issues and their union actually fires teachers for poor performance. Give me a break!