Grassroot Effort to Save Class Size in Pleasanton Schools & Kids, posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on May 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm
There is a grassroot effort to keep the Class Size to a 25 students to 1 teacher ratio for K-3. No money is due now. Only your pledge is required today (before June 10) and money is collected by June 24. Money will be collected when we confirm that class sizes will be saved.
The goal is to reach $1.3 million. It may be a big number but together we can achieve our goal. With over 4,000 students in K-3, we need $325 per student. Plus we have a very supportive community to help as well. Any kind of contribution is appreciated.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 8:45 am
I have spent $325.00 and more on my 2 daughters this year on projects. Instead of writing reports I have had to make a suit case out of cardboard with stickers and 6 things to put in a suitcase. Instead of just writing a report on making a speech I have spent money on props. Just last week I had to donate $20.00 for teacher appreciation week. ALmost monthly I am spending money on silly things that have nothing to do with learning. So that is where my money went this year..... Not donating $650.00. Instead I will use this money to buy my children shoes and clothes for school next year.
Posted by Save class size team, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 9:41 am
Hi Julie, you don't need to donate $650. $325 is the suggested amount per child who will be in these grades because that is what it will actually cost to keep class sizes at 25:1, but there are people other than parents donating to help the kids - community members, grandparents, teachers etc. So anything that makes sense for you is wonderful. We've had donations ranging from $20 - $2000.
This is our chance to keep class sizes low for all of our children - but it's only going to happen if we get a good level of participation from the community.
Posted by Really! Really!, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 10:26 am
This post is not going to make me popular.
Please research CSR before you decide this is where we need to use our decreasing education dollars. There is little to no evidence that CSR increases learning at all, and those studies which do show a positive effect are in classes of 13-17 students. Start educating yourself on this very expensive educational trend, which has been the cause of many of Pleasanton's financial woes, as well as leading to the hiring of many teachers who are not up to the usual stellar quality Pleasanton demands.
Here is an article from last month which presents some evidence of the folly of CSR. PUSD needs our financial and community support, but this is a waste of huge amounts of money. Let's put our money where it will provide proven benefits. Personally, I am donating to the Barton Reading Program.
Posted by Jake, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 10:55 am
I didn't see any evidence that Barton Reading Program was more effective than smaller classes in what you posted. My older kid previously went to private school in another state, and class sizes were always around 20. In fact all of the top quality private schools I'm familiar with have class sizes around that size. I'm willing to apply some common sense here and support smaller classes for my younger child. If you don't that is your choice. No one is being forced.
Also, you say "Personally, I am donating to the Barton Reading Program." I didn't know you could do that. How can someone donate to the Barton Reading program? I would be happy to do that too. Do you have a link that you could provide?
Posted by keep class sizes low team, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 11:42 am
Hi really, really, you're not alone in thinking this. But there is a huge group of very committed and active parents who believe small class sizes in the early years are very important for early education and early literacy.
Many of us have worked in the classrooms in Pleasanton and know how things have already changed in going from 20:1 to 25:1. We're fundraising to stay at 25:1 and not go to 30:1 and the money pledged for this campaign will be used only for this purpose if we gain enough pledges to move forward. We raised 75k in our first day and a half, so off to a good start.
Posted by Really! Really!, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 11:45 am
Please support exactly what you believe to be best for the community, and I will do the same. I am simply suggesting people research where their money goes before they write a check. The decision should be made on facts, not emotion.
CSR will need at least $1.3 million to continue. I do not see enough "bang for the buck" to support that. By contrast, Barton exists on about $120,000 a year through the utilization of tens of community volunteers and provides measurable improvement for the many students it helps and for whom smaller class size apparently did not help. Below is a link on its effectiveness in PUSD and other districts.
My argument is that we should put money where it does the most good, particularly while it is in short supply.
A check to PUSD-Barton Reading Program taken to the district will do the trick, and Jake, I do respect your opinion and your contributing to your beliefs.
Posted by David, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm
I have already made my csr pledge- I think it is a great idea!
Of course, people are welcome to donate where they please (see above comments re: Barton) but I would rather contribute toward things I cannot buy on my own for my kids.
I can privately fund reading specialists, music, speech, counselors and computers but cannot buy csr privately for my child. So that us where the majority of our contributions will go this year. In past years we have heavily funded other areas, but 30 kids in a classroom is unacceptable.
Thank you to the parents who got the csr ball rolling!
Posted by do the math folks, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm
Measure E could have never funded class size reduction.
For 9 elementary schools in Pleasanton,for K-3 that is 5 teachers per elementary school (2 for K, 1 each for 1-3) which is 45 teachers (9 times 5 where the avg FTE costs $100,000) which costs over $4.5 million per year.
When you add in Dual Immersion and Discovery, it costs over $ 5 million per year.
Posted by Jake, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm
"CSR will need at least $1.3 million to continue."
This is a common misconception. Even if a smaller amount is raised, it can go to lowering classes sizes. It may be 26 or 27 per class, rather than 30. That, to me would be well worth the money, though I hope we can keep class sizes at 25.
Further, I agree with what David says. I can't buy CSR for my children without using private schools, and they cost a lot more than $325 a year.
Posted by Donate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm
"Ihave spent $325.00 and more on my 2 daughters this year on projects. Instead of writing reports I have had to make a suit case out of cardboard with stickers and 6 things to put in a suitcase. Instead of just writing a report on making a speech I have spent money on props. Just last week I had to donate $20.00 for teacher appreciation week. "
This is nothing compared to the expenses in high school. It is the price of raising and educating kids, and it is worthwhile.
I no longer have kids in k-3 so my donations are going to CORE and my kids' schools' PTAs, not to CSR. But I strongly encourage every elementary k-3 parent to donate to save CSR in k-3, even if that means not giving to CORE this year. If all of you give, you can keep class size from going up.
Posted by do the math folks, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm
$1.3 million will not retain class sizes at 25. The district will just take your money and put it into the high schools, like they normally do.
Your web page says there are 4000 children in K-3.
At 25 kids in each classroom, that is 160 teachers.
At 30 kids in each classroom, that is 133 teachers.
$1.3 million will not fund 27 teachers. That would only fund 27 teachers if they are making around $45,000 per year and that has not happened for a long time. They make double that so it $1.3 million would only fund 13-14 teachers.
Posted by save class size team, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm
The cost savings to the district of raising class sizes from 25:1 to 30:1 (which means 26 teacher jobs will be lost) is $1.3 million - ask anyone you like at the district. The reason it is cost effective is because the state pays towards this program as well as the district.
The money is being raised in pledges, the pledges will convert when we are sure that we can save class sizes at some level. Free feel to email us at: email@example.com if you have any questions!
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm
@ Do the Math:
CSR is subsidized by the state. If the district can come up with the $1.3, the state pays the difference. That's why the numbers don't add up for paying 27 teachers. It's a good value for us because we (people fundraising) don't have to come up with the full amount in order to achieve the result.
Further, if we raise less than the $1.3 it could still lower class sizes, just not by 5 students.
Posted by Property Perspective, a resident of the Ironwood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm
Not sure if a lot of folks remember that our previous superintendent Dr Casey said that there was no research evidence to say that class size reduction improves grades. With scarce resources, I'd be pumping donated money into interventions that work like getting our counsellors back and the specialists back especially for reading help. I'd like to see PE and music too but that's going to be a stretch. Our specialists move kids forwards with permanent skills that they can carry into upper grades. That's the way not to waste the money and to reassure donors that we're being responsible. If we spend on class size reduction, it's just temporary and like pouring water into desert sand. All gone and nothing to show for it.
Posted by save class size team, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm
The donors for this campaign are putting their money down specifically for CSR. The way we will reassure donors we are being responsible is to use their money in the way is has been intended - for CSR. Lots of parents and community members can see the value of this.
Posted by Henry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 9:54 pm
To people posting the politically motivated stuff here, please do that on some other thread. "Really! Really!" posting links to right-wing sites with a bunch of stuff about unions, or someone naming himself "Property Perspective", please post somewhere else.
Posted by DB, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on May 18, 2011 at 11:12 pm
Instead, why don't you force the school board to cut the superintendents $600 a month car allowance. That'll mean you need 23 fewer contributions. After that maybe they'll have the guts to cut more of the needless administration costs...
Posted by sherry, a member of the Valley View Elementary School community, on May 19, 2011 at 12:54 am sherry is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I don't know about csr research, but I do know that when I taught 32 kdg. students I taught kdg. curriculum until the end of the year when I introduced first grade curriculum. When I went to 20 students I introduced first grade curriculum in January. Csr made that much difference! Our current curriculum standards were based on the progress we were able to make with 20 students.
Posted by Really! Really!, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on May 19, 2011 at 8:19 am
I will take your suggestion of starting another thread, but I take exception to your "politically motivated" comment. I chose the one article to post because it was a right-wing newspaper actually supporting an article in a left-wing newspaper because both agreed that there is little evidence to support CSR, showing that the facts go beyond political affiliation. Believe me, there were hundreds of articles to choose from.
If individuals choose to financially support CSR for their children, I think that is wonderful. In fact, that is where the money for it should be coming from because I cannot see using PUSD's limited funds for it at this time.
Please allow me to voice my opinion without being told to go away, and feel free to post on the new thread regarding the the community's opinion on cost-effective, beneficial PUSD educational programs.