PUSD may restore programs and positions Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Jun 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm
The Pleasanton school district is looking to undo some of the cuts it made earlier this year after better-than-expected budget numbers from Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision. The district hopes to restore much of what parents asked for at the last school board meeting, although administrators at that time said money wasn't available.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 2, 2011, 5:09 PM
Posted by another parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm
Wonderful news for the children and teachers in our district!!! It's great that the revised state budget has made this possible and that the district was able to respond before the end of the school year.
Posted by AVHS parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 3, 2011 at 7:47 am
Does anyone else think it's disappointing that once again they are mainly restoring elementary items? No CSR in high school, no collaboration restored, 7th period remains an option only for special cases. We need our good high school teachers to stay in place just as much if not more than the elementary schools. High School students are at high risk because of stress and high student to adult ratios. Where is the committment by the School Board for the high school students and staff?
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 7:51 am
The sky is falling, the sky is falling...... Oh wait...it's not... but it still might so can you give more money to the schools becasue I'm positive the next time it's really gonna fall. In fact, I see the sky is moving right now.
The above was brought to you all of those who were for Prop E.
Posted by Agree, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:20 am
"Does anyone else think it's disappointing that once again they are mainly restoring elementary items? No CSR in high school, no collaboration restored, 7th period remains an option only for special cases. We need our good high school teachers to stay in place just as much if not more than the elementary schools. High School students are at high risk because of stress and high student to adult ratios. Where is the committment by the School Board for the high school students and staff?"
I agree, once again we see elementary parents get their way at the expense of high school students.
There will be a time when elementary parents need help raising money for CSR, and the rest of the community will not support it - we saw that this time around: they did not even raise a fourth of the money needed.
I am disappointed in Arkin. I am not surprised about the rest of the board since I had no expectations of them, but Arkin did not even try.
Posted by Agree, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:22 am
"The above was brought to you all of those who were for Prop E. "
I agree Mike. I feel dumb for having voted for measure E. Luckily, the news comes before I wrote the check for CORE.
I assume the district does not need my 150 dollars since they have 2.3 million to restore programs. If they chose not to restore what CORE would have supported, that is their choice but I am almost positive that there is another "secret stash of cash" somewhere to finance CORE should the effort failed. (the CSR fundraising was failing miserably and suddenly the board found the cash....same will happen for CORE)
Posted by For our Schools!, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 10:00 am
You all must be kidding.... this is terrific news and thank you to PUSD and our Board Trustees for continuing to work at this and save jobs and educational opportunies for our students. The district had NO control over the May revise. This is NEW information. They do have control over what to do with this information....continue to educate themselves, crunch the numbers, consider the impact, make responsible, well thought out recommendations, and call a special board meeting to discuss and take possible action. Other than slinging mud....what are you doing with your Friday night? Perhaps you should attend and stop hiding behind these blogs! And as for CORE which addresses technology, library, and some of the student support programs (including those highschool programs you mention), these were cut last year and brought back due to the great work of PPIE, our parent community and your donations. These programs aren't on the cut list as they were cut last year. It's important to still donate to the CORE effort, otherwise these programs will not be funded! Yes....it takes the wonderful families of Pleasanton to make things happen!
Posted by concerned parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 10:55 am
Thank you "For our Schools".
That is exactly right. PUSD had no control over this money, and nobody was "fooled". It is great news.
On top of that I would fully support a parcel tax today (Measure F or whatever they call it) and PPIE to bring back seventh period and CSR for HS, restore CSR below 25 for K-3, and support the other programs that we have lost in the previous years. We have excellent schools here in Pleasanton and I will continue to support them as my children leave HS because I think they are so important to our community.
Posted by Wait a minute....., a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm
Yes the elementary students are getting what they need at the expense of high school. But lets talk about the middle school. Programs have been cut and there are not support classes. It's a shame because the middle school years are vital and set a child up for success or failure in high school.
I really wish middle school parents would step up to the plate and ask for better services for their children. Instead, we worry about elementary because those are the formative years and high school because we worry about college. Middle school gets nothing.
Posted by @ AVHS parent, a resident of the Walnut Hills neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Instead of being angry at the elementary parents, why don't you start a grassroots effort of your own?
AVHS PTA does NO fundraising for core educational programs. The Purple and Gold Gala is for sports and I know the band does a lot of fundraising, but no one is fundraising for the classroom. Meanwhile, each elementary school has some sort of major fundraising effort to pay for technology, school supplies, field trips, etc. (i.e. Big City Nights at Hearst raised $95k and the Fun Run at Walnut Grove raised over $50k)
I went to several school board meetings and saw numerous vocal elementary school parents advocating for their children. The last meeting the room was almost filled with parents wearing "Save CSR - I'm in!" stickers. They also took turns speaking about the value of our PE specialists and Barton. I did not see any high school parents.
Look at the numbers for the CORE campaign and compare how much elementary parents have raised vs how much the high schools have raised. At Hearst Elementary, the PTA is out front every Thursday selling Jamba Juice for CORE and parents were out front everyday last week doing a "stop and drop" conation campaign. Is that happening at Amador?
Finally, a group of concerned parents started the "Save CSR" grassroots movement to preserve 25:1. They got over 500 families to pledge money, which was tangible support that school board members could clearly see.
My point: don't get mad at the elementary parents because they're vocal and active in advocating for their kids. Instead, get involved at the high school level to do the same! If parents showed that they actually supported 25:1 in Freshmen English and Math, maybe it would've been a higher priority for the Board when it came time to allocate scarce funds. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm
CSR for High School is not a priority because these students should understand the necessity of a good education and shouldn't require as much attention and "control" as younger students.
If High School students need CSR to provide additional support, then perhaps we need to reconsider whether they need to be in Special Ed instead of the regular High School. If discipline issues are requiring CSR, perhaps those students should be released from school and allowed to enter their chosen trade (until they understand the value of a High School education!).
When college bound students finally get to that first college English or Physics class with 150 other students, I hope we've given them the tools to deal with it.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm
Clearly there are some of you who have not been paying attention to the issues in Middle and High Schools in our town and one in particular who knows nothing about Special Education. AVHS PTSA gives a lot of money to support the teachers and students every year, no need for selling jamba juice and cookie dough because of the generous parents who are worn out from selling stuff. Ask Mr. Hansen what the PTSA does for the school.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm
AVHS Parent - Are you actually inferring that I know nothing about Special Education because I said that students that can't learn in large High School classrooms might need Special Education?
Do you realize that Special Education provides services for students with learning disabilities?
If a High School student needs a class size of 20-22 students to learn, I consider that a disability. When I attended High School, all of my classes had more than 30 students, and most kids did fine. Those that needed special attention probably would have done better with Special Education.
To provide ALL students in High School with classroom sizes of 20-22 students is overkill, and is costing us too much.
In my opinion, CSR is a myth developed by the teacher's unions to guarantee employment of large numbers of teachers. It's the equivalent of the Nurse Union's minimum nurse to patient ratios.
Note that CSR is the first thing "saved" with the additional funds, rather than technical specialists, librarians, music, etc. Once people can see that CSR isn't needed, it might just fade away, and the unions won't allow that.
I don't fault the union for advocating on the part of teachers and their jobs, but parents and the government need to be realistic when spending our money too.
If Special Education isn't the answer, perhaps a single class in each grade that has lower class sizes would help. But like I've already said, CSR for all students is not required and is a waste.
Posted by Agree, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm
"To provide ALL students in High School with classroom sizes of 20-22 students is overkill, and is costing us too much. "
I agree. Students already have 30+ students in 4-8 grades, and they do just fine. Why get CSR in 9th grade? It does not make sense. By the time students get to 9th grade, they have been in large class sizes for 5 years, so they are used to it.
Those who need special attention should be placed in special classes to meet their needs.
Posted by CORE not as relevant in HS, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm
"Look at the numbers for the CORE campaign and compare how much elementary parents have raised vs how much the high schools have raised. "
That is because elementary parents do not spend as much as high school parents. Between sports, etc, it all adds up and it is not cheap. I have kids both in elementary and HS and spend more for my HS child. Elementary parents have all major stuff financed by the district, they do not do major fundraisers for music, sports, etc.
Plus now that HS students have to seek the programs they lost outside of school, it is money spent. Sorry ,but our wallets are closed to CORE since at this point we have to look for ways to make up for lost classes. Just last year, many had to look for outside of school orchestras and such, thanks to the elimination of the 7 period.
Plus HS kids have the ability to use other libraries outside of school, etc.
Posted by Not enough, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm
"Finally, a group of concerned parents started the "Save CSR" grassroots movement to preserve 25:1. They got over 500 families to pledge money, which was tangible support that school board members could clearly see."
Come on, the money they raised was not significant. They did not raise even a fourth of what was needed. That is how much they value CSR. No, it is a small group that is for CSR in k-3. The fact that only 500 families pledged says it all. We have 9 elementaries, that is a lot of families, and only 500 pledged, and they did not pledge enough because the amount pledged was small.
It had nothing to do with these parents being vocal or anything. It had to do with the UNION and teachers wanting to have it easy by keeping class sizes small. Remove the union/teacher support for CSR and no amount of noise would make the board keep CSR
Posted by Winston S, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm
I am concerned that we have one set of parents pitted against another over CSR. It's important for us to maintain unity. Let's not make the disunity mistake again like how we got led down the path to throw away more than quarter of a million dollars thanks to the chumps on the board who drank the "pick their pockets" parcel tax koolaid. The No-on-E team took a lot of public abuse but they have now been vindicated. They warned the district's senior administrators of failure and to spend the election funds on reading, counsellors, and specialists instead. The board is now doing exactly what these folks said could be done with proper money management.
So, what to do with CSR in such circumstances? I think we get a community workshop where we demand that CSR gets managed to a plan. We start with elementary. We next get middle and high school CSR into the next budget with no more excuses. If CSR is at risk, something else gets cut like step and column and pensions and furlough days. We're all tired of being fed fear and threats, and people are angry at being duped. Now is the time to tell our board to quit being wimps and start getting the administrators to make it happen. We know the money is there. We've proven that.
Posted by concerned parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 9:54 am
"The No-on-E team took a lot of public abuse but they have now been vindicated. "
They have not been vindicated in any way. We need a parcel tax now and many of us will work hard to get one on a ballot. We need to restore programs to the level of support we had in 2007 and then work from there.
We need to get K-3 and ninth grade CSR down to 20 students per class to start with. There is very strong evidence showing that class sizes in the range of 15 students achieve better results than larger classes. We need to look at that as a possibility. We also need to restore the other programs that were cut previously.
"We're all tired of being fed fear and threats, and people are angry at being duped."
Nobody was duped. Quit lying. An angry minority defeated a parcel tax that most of us supported and would have been very beneficial to our schools and to our children.
"We've proven that."
You've proven nothing. What are you babbling about? You are the problem. You distort facts and lie. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Posted by Just the facts, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jun 4, 2011 at 10:26 am
To Winston and all others who feel they have been duped -
It seems to me that you do not know much about how the funding for our schools works. If you did, then you would know that the state gave us one set of numbers in January and the district HAD to budget to those numbers - it is called being conservative and responsible.
Now here we are in May and the state comes to us with a revised budget. Because of lots factors the state was able to tell the district that the cuts to k-14 are not as bad as they thought in January. You must realize that programs and staff are still being cut just not as bad as thought in January!
How can we avoid this topsy-turvy budget cycle in the future? We can find stable, local funding sources for our schools that the state can't control. That's what a parcel tax is. It gives PUSD control over some of our finances that the state can't take away.
If any of you feel duped it should be by the state and how this state manages its budget. If you have lived in other states where the schools are funded solely by the local municipality you would have a better grasp of how crazy prop. 98 and prop.13 are!
Posted by jill, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 11:24 am
Just the Facts, you keep drinking the cool-aid. The parcel tax is NOT a stable funding source. It was only $2M per year. This last adjustment in the budget was more than that amount. When you have a budget of around $120 million. Having $2 million of it stable does not make a stable budget. The parcel tax would not have even paid for CSR.
Prop 98 and 13 are there because we have had, and still have, a legislature that is out of control and loves to spend money. Like the saying "giving more money to a politician is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenager."
Concerned parent, if you want the programs that we had in 2007, then we can accomplish that with reverting the salary increases in the district since 2007. We will actually have much more money. I am not an advocate of that but that would satisfy what you want. When the district spends 100% of the money received each year when the economy is going way, way up, and not putting money into reserves, when the economy right-sizes, and goes down, you cannot keep all the programs you started int the good times. Not just a problem at the school district but all over the state. If you were making a lot of money in the stock market last decade and increased your standard of living during that time, you would probably be in bankruptcy now because expense amounts were set in good times.
If you want to see how much the community wants to give extra money to the school district, don't blame those who voted against the tax, ask the community for donations. If you do not get the money then most likely those who voted for the tax were duped and are just recognizing it now.
Oh, and there seems to be conflicting data on whether CSR is the best way to spend educational dollars. We know the CTA and the unions love it because it brings them more members. But is it really the best use of money?
Posted by Yet Another Teacher, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Jun 4, 2011 at 11:27 am
I'm not a fan of the current PUSD administration, but "Just the facts" is 100% right: there is no way PUSD could have budgeted for this increase in funds. The Board has to approve a budget based on *known* revenues, not "maybe money", and that's what it did. This money can also go away tomorrow if the California economy takes another downturn.
A parcel tax does give a stable source of revenue. However, I strongly disagree with those who keep pushing for one: a mere $98 parcel tax has failed in Pleasanton, the wealthiest city of its size in the United States. The voters of Pleasanton aren't going to approve a parcel tax until the undemocratic requirement of a two-thirds vote for approval of new taxes is repealed. Until that happens, shelve the parcel tax measures--it's a waste of time, money, and each failure becomes increasingly demoralizing and embarrassing.
Posted by Start Afresh, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 11:59 am
To 'Just the facts' - PUSD cabinet had funds and options (including furlough days) to cover the $7.7M budget challenge amount as presented in January. No layoffs or program cuts were necessary. And $400,000 in PUSD funds did not have to be spent on an election, along with $100,000 in community funds and thousands of community hours.
'Local Control' does not have to only mean 'taxes'. PUSD could have exercised 'Local Control' by utilizing ALL means of expense control to easily avoid the Sturm und Drang evoked by the budgeting process and parcel tax. This would have been 'conservative and responsible'.
Now the PUSD budget challenge ranges from $800K to $4.5M. Those who asked PUSD to be fiscally responsible and exercise true 'local control' have every reason to feel 'vindicated'.
I agree with you that Prop 98 is crazy. Having lived in states where property taxes can take double digit % increases annually, I prefer Prop 13 where everyone can plan on 2% increases a year. There are ways to adjust Prop 13 to fix commercial and transfer abuses.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm
Yup Steve, you need to educate yourself about the laws regarding Special Education, just because you think a kid who needs CSR to function in class needs special education does not make it the law nor what is funded. Take a walk in the shoes of those kids who can't sit still before you decide if they are eligible for special education. The news is everywhere that teens need competent understanding adults involved in their lives, here's a surprize for you Steve, that is not necessarily their parents. Sometimes the parents are part of the problems. Increasing good counsellors not just maintaining and decreasing class size in middle and high schools, will get our students a lot more bang for our bucks.
Posted by concerned parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm
"However, I strongly disagree with those who keep pushing for one: a mere $98 parcel tax has failed in Pleasanton, the wealthiest city of its size in the United States"
The coming change in Pleasanton demographics will be sufficient to change that.
"I prefer Prop 13 where everyone can plan on 2% increases a year. "
In the 17 years I've lived here, I haven't had the full 2% in many years. The result is that I pay way less than my neighbors in property tax (check zillow if you don't believe me). Proposition 13 was the wrong solution to a real problem. 2% is an unrealistically low cap, and its implementation isn't equitable or fair. I'm saying that as someone who has benefited from it.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm
I believe the community would vote for a higher parcel tax if they had confidence in the PUSD administration. The 2/3 vote is not the problem. Even those who have been strongly against this and the previous parcel tax have said they thought there were some fixes that could be done to the budgeting. They they would support a tax. The district worked backwards in this parcel tax. Instead of seeing what it really takes to do specific programs, and have a tax to go directly to those programs, they instead did a poll to see how much money they can extract from the voters. I feel insulted that the district wanted to take more money but without real measurables. I would pay a higher tax myself if I could see real measurables. But since the district has already spend over 1/2 million dollars in special elections, it is time to work with what we have and start some plans in place for the future. I believe the district blew it in this election. They could have learned form the last parcel tax election, spoke with the community some more, and had some discussions on budgeting, and then come up with a plan. It seems the real budgeting plans are between the district and the unions. Not the district and the taxpayers. If the district wants more money from the taxpayers, they need to form a better partnership with the taxpayers.
Posted by Sick of hearing it, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm
Just because you post it, doesnt make any of what you say accurate about the last election. How you could have missed the multitudes of meetings, forums, and opportunities for community input is beyond me. To turn the change in the state budgeting into a new conspiracy that PUSD is committing is just another way to dodge the truth about school funding in this state. Our schools continue to suffer from cuts that this barely begins to cover and yet we are still spending ridiculous amounts of time convincing people to believe us? What a complete shame that this community cant see the award winning schools they have and equate that success to the schools.
Posted by yet another resident, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse - someone else posts about how uneducated and stupid we all are. Of course we should have all known that the impending disaster we were all told about - well, it was just a possibility. And how ignorant we all are. It's just appalling the complete lack of intelligence this community has. And lack of compassion, etc. We all need to just go along with whatever anyone tells us is needed. And if you aren't sure, well then spend multitudes of hours educating yourself about the issue (because you won't get the straight story from anyone else) - so that you will realize that it's less costly just to pay the darn parcel tax.
Posted by Lillian, a resident of the Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2011 at 2:39 am
All this could be remedied if it werent for the unsustainable unfunded liabilities that puts irresponsible and unaccountable people into control of our childs' lives. We're exhausted from the HUGE tax rate that we must be burdened by which prevents us from moving along a path of prosparity. We're broke -- well, not me, actually -- but a tsunami is coming and we nned to eliminate all value subtracted goverment policies and practices like medicare and public schools and public libaries before we all drown glub glub under Davey Jones's foot locker.
They do not have a strong short-term economic impact, but under a cost-benefit analysis, they come out smelling like roses; that is to say, public schools and public libraries help provide the foundation for long-term economic growth by investing in "human capital".
Couple of quotes from the linked study:
"Like school districts, community colleges and area universities, libraries are critically important to the long-term economic health of the regions they serve. Along with these other critical education and information institutions, libraries sustain the human capital that enriches a region in the long run.
Economic impact analysis is merely the wrong tool to measure and report this vital contribution. A different economic methodology, cost-benefit analysis, is a more appropriate tool for measuring the benefits of the services a library delivers in carrying out its mission. "
For public libraries:
"benefits just for services used by general users were estimated to be more than $10 to $1 of taxes received."
You get a 10:1 return on your tax dollars for public libraries, $10 back for every $1 in taxes.
There are other studies that show a 15:1 or even 20:1 return on tax dollars for public schools.
Yeah, I know this is a fact-free forum and I'm likely talking past you...but I had to try :)
Posted by Just the Facts, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jun 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm
To all of you that say a parcel tax is not a stable funding source:
Of course it is - it would not have fixed all the problems but it would have brought $2million to the budget every year without fail for four years. How much more stable do you want?
Also, some of you say the district had the funds and the means to balance the budget. You mention furlough days - you expect the teachers and the kids to take all the brunt of millions in cuts? This is a COMMUNITY - we are all supposed to care about the folks that we live with. Schools are what keep a community strong and thriving. We would not have moved here if the schools were lackluster.
Posted by jill, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm
2 million dollars in a 120 million dollar budget is not stable. Let me put this in a way that even "Just the Facts" should be able to understand.
If you have a job that pays $2,000 per year guaranteed/stable, and $118,000 variable, you would not consider yourself to have a stable income.
For the school district, just add some more zeros at the end of the number.
According to "Just the Facts", the Lottery is a good stable funding source. It brings in $1.7M per year to our district.
"you expect the teachers and the kids to take all the brunt of millions in cuts." If the teachers are receiving automatic increase in salaries of $1.5M per year, compounded, and they still want more money from me, who is not receiving increase in my salary at that rate, to pay for those increases; they want to put the brunt of the millions in salary increases on me.
Once again, everybody who voted for the parcel tax donating to the schools would give the district plenty of money. Before the election the district had enough money to send us all a glossy mailer on how the district needs more money. Perhaps another mailer with a reply envelope asking for a donation might work.
Posted by yet another resident, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm
The weblink seems to list analyses done for public libraries, not public schools, but perhaps analyses were done concurrently. However, this is a list compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction - not exactly an objective party. I am pretty sure an organization receiving tax dollars for education is not going to consider the cost to society of indoctrinating our children to think that the government owes them a job, nor is it going to likely consider the pension liabilities, and ever-increasing demands by teachers unions for higher pay, smaller class sizes (i.e. more teachers), etc. I don't think public schools are a waste - but I do think the cost:benefit ratio is rising dramatically due to the fact that the unions and public school districts are quite cozy, to the exclusion of the taxpayer.
Do I really think public schools indoctrinate our children to believe the government owes them a job? In some ways, yes. From these blogs, it is apparent that some teachers in this community have no respect for parents, who pay the taxes so that they have a job. The attitude seems to be that we owe them this job, and kindly get out of the way so they can do that job their way. Kids pick up on this stuff. For those teachers who are respectful and dedicated - I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU. That old saying keeps coming into my head though - "don't bite the hand that feeds you". Yet taxpayers keep getting bit - by bloated budgets, self-preservationist attitudes among public workers (and/or their unions), and just blatant disrespect.