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Dozens protest reading cuts at Pleasanton school board meeting

Original post made on Feb 16, 2012

A reading program on the chopping block drew an overflow crowd to the Pleasanton school board meeting Tuesday night, spilling out from the boardroom and into the hall and entryway.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 16, 2012, 7:33 AM

Comments (33)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

How much does the PIO make? How much does Barton cost?

Eliminate the position of the PIO, eliminate car allowances and I believe that would pay for the Barton program.

Listen to Arkin and Hintzke and find other cuts. Make cuts at the admin level. Will the PIO help a child to learn how to read? NO! But Barton tutors will.

Keep cuts away from the classroom and away from programs that directly benefit the students.


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

Cancel those ridiculous unfunded consulting contracts the administration just signed for facility, building and demography 'studies' and other wasteful spending.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

"Hintzke and Arkin wanted to be appointed, but Laursen and Bowser wanted Laursen to be one of those appointed. "

NO! Laursen should NOT be appointed. She does not seem to have, imo, the best interest of the kids in mind. It is all about her (again imo).

Laursen, according to the article, wanted to approve the cuts, no questions, no alternatives. And Bowser is just a yes man, imo, so anything he has to say or anyone he recommends should be ignored (again, imo)

Appoint someone who cares, someone with a brain, someone who is willing to ask questions: appoint Arkin or Hintzke.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

"The policy is expected to be approved at the Feb. 28 board meeting."

Bad idea. This is not a good policy. Arkin is right: what is at a student's desk may not belong to that student. Even if Johnson says a student can present his/her case, the damage to the reputation is already done.

I see lawsuits.


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Posted by Reading Priorities
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

The parents & students at the board meeting were rallying for the Barton Reading Program only. No word said about Reading Specialists. Barton is offered at just 6 of our schools. NOT EVERY STUDENT OR SCHOOL HAS ACCESS TO THE PROGRAM!!!! We don't have funds to support district-wide programs and they feel they have the right to their program touching only 6 of 15 schools???? Talk about "all about me!" What about rallying for more reading specialists? They impact all schools! They assess the students and work with them in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. They're a big help to the classroom teacher (especially when we go to 30:1). I believe Barton is a great program and has helped many kids. However.....we don't have the funds to support a "limited" program at the sake of other effective programs offered to all students.


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

Barton is worth the cost because most of the staff is made up of volunteers. From the Patch- "Clark said that it would take about $106,000 to save the program, which provides 10,000 hours of one-on-one tutoring per year — three hours per student, per week — using about 100 volunteer tutors."

Dyslexia is very common.

Reading Specialists are union employees. Barton is mainly comprised of trained parent volunteers. Reading Specialists work in a group setting. Barton is one-on-one, individualized tutoring.

If Barton was dropped, Reading Specialists would have to take on the students that are now tutored by parent volunteers so the District would have to spend over a million dollars more for extra unionized staff.

Barton needs to be implemented at all school sites. Parent volunteers should be embraced by the teachers and administration rather than being in a pitched battle of unionized labor vs. volunteer tutors.

This program should definitely be saved.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

"reading specialists? They impact all schools! "

Reading specialists are used only in elementary schools. So if you have issues because Barton is not a program used in all schools... reading specialists (to the best of my knowledge) are not used in the upper grades.

My kids have never used reading specialists or Barton tutors, but I know many kids benefit from both.

Barton happens to be a very inexpensive program, run mostly by volunteers, so why cut it when eliminating one district position would take care of funding for Barton? Reading specialists are important too but more expensive, but even then, cuts to admin can save at least some reading specialists

Cuts to admin must come BEFORE cust to Barton (or reading specialists)


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

The current Barton program (10,000 volunteer hours) cost the District $106,000 which is $10.60 per hour. In order to have the work of that program done by District staff, it would cost a million dollars more.

Here is the math:

Given there are 180 instructional days per year and roughly 6 hours per day of instruction time, there are approximately 1080 instructional hours per school year.

If the school district had to hire unionized employees to do the Barton reading program, if Barton were dropped, they would have to hire 10,000 / 1080 = approximately 10 additional FTEs. This would cost roughly with Salary and Benefits 10 FTE * $100,000 = $1,000,000.

So the Barton program is now saving the District $900,000 per year.

If it was dropped, it would cost the District > than $1,000,000 to provide a near equivalent program from unionized staff, but it would not be as good because it would be in groups vs individualized tutoring.


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Posted by union calls shots
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

"Barton happens to be a very inexpensive program, run mostly by volunteers, so why cut it when eliminating one district position would take care of funding for Barton?"

Isn't it obvious by now?


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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

We already have individualized help at every elementary school in the form of a reading specialist. Barton is exclusive to only 6 schools yet somehow is deemed more valuable than saving programs that have existed before it even started. It is unbelievable that some will vie for only what affects them personally- whereas the school district and board must make decisions that affect all of the students in the district. Some are expressing opinions without having any experiences in these programs. Im wondering why the teachers and those involved directly with the services are disregarded, and union issues are brought up?! when they share their expertise.

Are you now advising your doctor on how to perform your next surgery? Seems like a lot of expression of personal opinion rather than turning to the experts in the field who have years of experience. For a profession that is so critically compared to private sector work, going with the opinion of those with little to no experience is not something that is practiced in business now is it? Yet good enough for education? Simply putting out blanket statements about unions is no longer an acceptable and really seen as just avoidance for what the schools are really trying to tell you.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

If my doctor tells me to just trust him that I should get that surgery because he's the expert rather than laying out a case for it, that's when I go find another doctor.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Perhaps the Barton program lady is better able to lay out a case than the reading specialists?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Neat, there's even a book on the subject: Web Link


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Really?, Come on. Telling the board what is valued for students is not at all comparable to telling a surgeon where to cut. Administration is good at sacrificing everyone and everything before themselves, for example: PIO and Director (should have been demoted after previous person's retirement) of Purchasing. As for Barton (more bang for the buck) and reading specialists, overloaded teachers will suffer without them because they will either have to find ways to help struggling students or let them fall behind.

There is also the very real concern, and not just in Pleasanton, when the administrators who negotiate with the unions have "me too" clauses. In skinny years, not such a big deal, but in fat years (like the previous superintendent's tenure), you let the union twist your arm for big raises because you get the same raise. And in the case of many superintendents/assistant superintendents, that negotiated raise is in addition to an annual increase of 3% or more for a satisfactory appraisal.


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Who are these so-called 'experts in the field who have years of experience' that you are referring to?

I'm also wondering what this doctor analogy refers to as well from Really?'s post.

People on the internet all over the world posted hundreds of messages worldwide saying that you could get fake Masters and Ph.D. degrees and F-1 immigration visas by flying over to Pleasanton and going to a building on the Admin offices there. Are the experts you are referring to at the Admin office and part of the people that had the fake college work there?

[If I had a doctor who had approved in his medical office to have a bunch of people selling fake MD diplomas over the internet that > than hundreds of Federal agents had to ultimately shut down, that doctor would certainly be no expert.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

"Barton is exclusive to only 6 schools yet somehow is deemed more valuable"

Barton is very inexpensive. Fire the PIO (or the former PIO), and you get enough money to pay for Barton. A NO BRAINER!!!!!

Will a child suffer because we no longer have a PIO? NO!

Will a child's struggle with reading be fixed by keeping the PIO? NO!

Will a child benefit from keeping the Barton program? YES!!!!

Again, it is a no brainer! Fire the PIO (do not just move that person to purchasing) and KEEP Barton.

btw, my kids have never used Barton, so people whose kids benefit from the program are not the only advocates for this inexpensive yet very useful program


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Unions doctors? Union teachers? They're all the same. They're all bad, really. They'll not wrest a single dime from me until they specify exactly where every dime is going. I donated many years ago for chalk and the teachers used it for staples instead. Let's put the power back into the hands of the people. We know better than the union thugs and sock puppets, we really do.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Mittens, No one said teachers are bad, so I'll keep pointing that out when you try, as usual, to turn this into what it is not. Plenty of education occurred during the last two parcel tax attempts. You can't put that back into the "sock."


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Hi Genius (Sharon/mitten/phil/unions/sr. gator),

You are pathetically transparent. I actually feel sorry for you.

Uh, no, I don't. :-)

Dan


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not a Barton supporter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

As many have said Barton is not used at all the schools, it may do good for a few kids but not enough to make it a priority districtwide. If the parents want it they should fund raise to keep their private tutoring!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

NaBS: Worth repeating: overloaded teachers will suffer without (Barton and reading specialists) because they will either have to find ways to help struggling students or let them fall behind.

It is a service that costs little to cover students at six schools. Where would you spend the $100,000 that could do as much?


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Posted by Not a Barton Supporter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

@ Ms Ruegsegger- let them raise their own money for private tutoring and lets see if the volunteers still show up. A school counsellor does way more for more students. Not all the schools buy into their little program so the district should not be paying one penny for it. I'm all for reading specialists just not Barton.


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Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I did speak up for reading specialists at the meeting, and not just for the Barton program. Both are key supports for students who are not reading at grade level. Barton is not an appropriate program for every child.

We know that there are students who need reading support and intervention now and are not getting it... so reducing the support available is really unwise.


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Posted by mom
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

to'Not a Barton Supporter'
WOW is all I can say to you.
My kids have not needed Barton but I have friends whose students do. These parents have all become tutors themselves. So they have given back to the program. It's not all take, take.
This is what the schools are supposed to do.. help all kids in the way that they need.
It is mindboggling to me that anyone would deny reading help to any child. Reading is a critical life long skill. It adds to self confidence and academic success and life succcess.
It sounds like you are jealous that your kids aren't getting 'private tutoring' by volunteers. I pity you. Seriously....I hope you can find some compassion.

SHAME ON OUR SCHOOL BOARD for playing political games with a successful and critical program.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

Cutting reading support is short sighted. The unaddressed problems will follow the student through middle and high school as well, where it will be more costly and more difficult to address. For those who lcount on their schools having high testing scores, there will be an adverse impact.


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Posted by STILL NOT CONVINCED
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

I'M STILL NOT CONVINCED THAT BARTON IS THE ANSWER. AGAIN....IT IS ONLY OFFERed AT 6 SCHOOLS. AND....THOSE ARE NOT JUST 6 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS. SO...WHEN CONSIDERING WHERE TO CUT, IT MAKES SENSE TO ME TO CUT A PROGRAM THAT ISN'T AVAILABLE TO All STUDENTS. I'M SURE the COST TO EXPAND THE PROGRAM THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT WOULD COST DOUBLE, OR MORE, THAN THE PRICE TAG THE BARTON CAMP IS THROWING AROUND. AND THEN IT'S A MATTER OF FINDING AND TRAINING HUNDREDS OF ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEERS. MAYBE WHEN OUR BUDGET CAN AFFORD THE PROGRAM.....


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't know the details, but don't you think the reason Barton is not available at all the schools has more to do with whether the individual schools wanted it or not? The district has quite a lot of programs that are not available at all the schools actually.


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

The old tenets of the "HP Way" were -

"We have trust and respect for individuals.
We focus on a high level of achievement and contribution.
We conduct our business with uncompromising integrity.
We achieve our common objectives through teamwork.
We encourage flexibility and innovation."

Barton must expand to be available at all sites with students that need this program through the use of parent volunteers. Using volunteer labor does not double the cost.

The superintendent seems to not manage the customers/constituents or the employees of the District very well. Therefore, the shareholders (the general public) have a poor perception in the community. The mayor and now the board president have a poor reputation.

The Laursen 'president grab' came off about as well as the red-faced Hosterman throwing staff reports around and shouting her head off about a year ago in a city council meeting.

Also, PUSD must become a professional organization with professionalism and responsiveness and lose the arrogance.

Still Not Convinced-Posting in all caps looks foolish. It looks like you are having a tantrum.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I was surprised to learn that some Pleasanton Barton tutors even go so far as Oakley to help kids.


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Posted by Not a Barton Supporter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

And you all think cutting technology and health that impacts all the kids makes sense???? Give me a break, compassion is not the issue, it's using what money there is wisely to benefit the most. Can you please explain how dumping those make more sense than Barton?

Ya tantrums look pretty pathetic. Passion does not equal right and what is best for all the students.

Stacy- what programs besides Discovery are not openly available to all the district? The duel immersion program is a District program Discovery is not. Throwing that statement out is like trying to light a fire, give some more facts.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

NaBS,

Yes, dual-immersion is a district-wide program in that anyone can apply to enroll in it. Then the student goes to Valley View to attend it because it is only available at that school. Discovery also came to mind, but you mentioned that already. Some schools have Kids Club and some have Y-Kids. If I recall correctly, the laptop program was not available at all schools either, but it spread. High schools offer different classes, etc.

My point was only that not all schools offer the same things. Should Barton be cut simply because it is not available at all schools? That's what was being implied by other posters. I would tend not to agree. Effectiveness and cost pique my interest more.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Additionally, programs such as dual-immersion offer parents the ability to make choices related to what they believe to be best for their child. It would be unfortunate if all schools were the same.


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Posted by Libby
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Reading is a fundamental skill thus the Barton reading program should be offered at least at every elementary school site.

PUSD has spent millions of dollars attempting to have 'parity' in having the same exact programs and identical facilities and exact courses at both high schools. This is a waste of money. Also, not every UC in the State offers the exact same set of majors. Some specialize in some fields and some in others.

PUSD has spent millions of dollars in wasted legal fees and had to incur higher construction costs because every time a school is to built, a contingent of parents and union members protest it saying any new school to be built will take away money and resources from other schools.

Many programs are not open to all pupils at the District when they should. There are too many to list. For example, GATE should be open to all pupils who express an interest in participating in it and students should be able to pick the classes they want to take at the high school level, as long as they fulfill graduation requirements, even if it is a more challenging level than the guidance counselors recommend. The high school levels have a different set of academies there. The list could go on.

However, that is not the point. The point is that it is a very weak argument to suggest that a very cost effective program that has not been rolled out to all schools be cut because it has not been rolled out to all schools. Only bureaucrats come up with suggestions like those.




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