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Pleasanton school board votes to cut 70 jobs

Original post made on Mar 8, 2012

A week after the Pleasanton school board voted to slash more than $5.3 million in spending in anticipation of state cuts, the board made it real Tuesday by eliminating 70 jobs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 8, 2012, 7:16 AM

Comments (80)

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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 7:37 am

""It's really unfortunate that we have to go through this," said Board Member Jeff Bowser. "This is not a scare tactic ... it's merely a process that we have to go through to maintain fiscal solvency.""

How can he say this with a straight face? ... does he think we are dumb?

Why is the new PIO who came from Fremont (aka Coordinator/Management, Technology) still on board while at the same time you are cutting services that directly affect the students?

...

And why does he think that the superintendent needs 400 per month for car allowance? Is he giving her a car payment? The lady does not travel that much for school and district related business!

...

(This post has been edited to remove comments/words deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:05 am

I have to agree with the comment above: Why is the new PIO who came from Fremont (aka Coordinator/Management, Technology) still on board while at the same time you are cutting services that directly affect the students? DO WE EVEN NEED THIS PIO? AND WHO THE HECK APPROVED THE SALARY? (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

How does one keep a straight face and cut 70.8 FTE and justify $400 a month for a car allowances and the Management Assistant (PIO) position?

Yes, $400 a month won't save much, but it is a sacrifice these administrators should step up and take without being asked. I want to be there when those "leaders" visit a classroom.

The Management Assistant is more important than Art, English, Health, Home Ec, Math, Music, PE, Science, French, and/or Spanish.

Here's what I think comes next, concessions by the union to take up to 15 furlough days--days that kids won't be in their seats learning.

Bravo for keeping the cuts away from Pleasanton's children.


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Posted by Union Death Grip
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:33 am

If the school board had any guts (or business sense) they would negotiate a 3 to 5% pay cut for all district employees and this would all go away. This is what the private sector does when there is a downturn in revenue. The problem is we don't have business people on the board of education we have people that have conflicts of interest and career bureacrats. Given the demographics of this community (non-union) it is amazing there isn't more of a uprising. Unfortunately people are too busy trying to make a living to bother with this noise.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

I agree with both of the above comments. It is mind boggling that they are cutting very important programs and paying car allowances to ANYONE.
seriously.... that is more than my car payment ... why not just pay mileage like most other places.

And ..' the district has stopped paying for graduation ceremonies. They have left it up to the high schools (I assume that means parent donations) to cover the cost of graduations.

This board is really pathetic. Someone else brought this up before.. can we recall them?? Seriously?? who knows about how that works?


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Posted by Nomad
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

'union death grip' is spot on. An across the board pay reduction for every PUSD employee would stop this round of student-hurting cuts.


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Posted by In Disbelieff
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

"That job, with a 217-day work year, will range in pay from $158,310 to $181,664."

Where do I sign up?


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

'Union death grip' ... seems like an issue but not the whole story.

Top heavy management seems like just as much of a problem.
Personally, evetytime there are cuts, they need to be outlined clearly.
We need cuts in Management expenses that are to be equal to or greater than the cuts have a direct impact on the students (ie., loss of teachers and loss of programs)



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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Recall - Web Link OR
Web Link


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Posted by Vanessa
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

In this financial situation, why the hell is anyone receiving a car allowance???? Give me a break! That money should be going to the STUDENTS. Additionally, thank you to Disbelief for pointing out the 217 work day, $150K+ salary for the the open job. Seriously??? And people wonder why the school district and our state in general are so friggin' broke? Not to mention lord knows what other pay and benefits that job is getting. This is disgusting. Absolutely disgusting!!!!!!!!!


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Posted by Gloria
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

I see NO Administors cut from this budget. Private schools seem to function just fine if not better without Administors. We need to keep good teachers and get rid of all the other garbage. Please take another look.


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Posted by annoyed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

"Other programs and positions could be restored in the middle of the school year if a tax increase proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is approved in a November referendum."

But the most important ones can't be restored, like 7th period classes in high school and CSR for elementary. When they're gone, they're gone. Enjoy your money being spent on car allowances, management assistants and facilities studies everyone. Your kids are obviously benefiting from all this . . .


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Posted by annoyed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

car allowances and management = similar to the $1,000,000 lottery winner in Michigan with two houses and new car who can't see how she can possibly survive without still accepting food stamps . . . which the state is still giving her!


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Posted by donald66
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

What a scam. 21M in bond obligations. Lets just borrow our way out of debt to protect the unions and school management and have your kids suffer today with poor education and suffer tomorrow when they have to pay the deferred cost of bloated education managements retirements and unfunded liabilities. The same in going on at City Hall. 130M in unfunded liabilities. Keep spending until it hurts, if you don't, no fire department, police or teachers. Try firing the two admins for every manager.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

In 2009, a school board was recalled (all of the members):

"More than 70 percent voted to oust the five board members of the Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District."

Full article:

Web Link

The reason for the recall in the article was not financial, but if a school board was recalled for dismissing a popular teacher, I am sure a school board can be recalled for mismanaging funds, hiring administrators while cancelling reading programs, giving management car allowances that are outrageous and not justified, etc.

I'd like to at least see Bowser, Laursen and Grant gone.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

A more recent school board recall (2010) in California, this one due to spending issues:

'A dispute over school spending turned a wine country school district upside down on Wednesday. Voters in St. Helena recalled four out of five school board members in a special election. "

"Supporters of the recall accused the board of voting to spend more on administrative fees and less and less in the classroom."

Full article:

Web Link


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

And here is the Oakland school board recall (2012), it explains briefly what is needed (in Oakland, but I assume is not that much different in other districts):

Web Link

As a parent, I would vote for the recall and quietly campaign for it, but I would not take the lead since I still have kids in PUSD schools.


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Posted by annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

This list of cuts is totally different from the one proposed.

Our community's contribution to PPIE was supposed to save a reading specialist and it didn't. There were no science teachers on the cut list and now there are 2.6 being cut? What is going on?

Reading specialists from the previously approved list were 4.5 cut and there were 4 more being cut from the possible reduction list = 8.5. But we saved one of these positions via PPIE. So why are 8.5 reading specialists being cut - it should be 7.5?

PE and CSR cuts are more than listed previously also. In total there are a lot more APT jobs being cut than listed on the district website. CSEA aren't noted here - but if you include these proposed cuts of about 20 jobs, they have just cut 90 jobs in total rather than the 75 proposed and publically discussed.

Service Fulltime Equivalent
Art 0.8
Barton 1.0
Counseling 7.6
English 3.6
Health 0.8
Home Ec 0.17
Home Schooling 1.5
Math 2.0
Music 1.2
PE 6.2
Program Specialists 1.0
Psychologists 1.0
Reading Specialists 8.5
Science, Earth 0.2
Science, Life 1.0
Science, Physical 0.4
Science Specialist 1.0
Social Studies 2.5
Special Education 1.0
French 0.2
Spanish 0.2
Class Size Reduction K-3 27.0
CSR Dual Immersion K-3 2.0

TOTAL 70.9


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Posted by sknywench
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

sknywench is a registered user.

Wait a minute. I agree that cuts are needed and no doubt there was a glut of administrative positions added over the years plus continuing teacher concessions that need to be made given the economic times and change of demograhics/enrollment projections. I for one do not support a parcel tax. But I think people should NOT banter the RECALL and accusations against the school board. These are elected people from our community who do spend alot of time to volunteer for this. This is NOT a picnic of community involvement. In fact, if more parents got involved and volunteered time and efforts, we'd frankly be better off. Its appalling how few people get their hands dirty but are willing to throw rocks and stones.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

"Private schools seem to function just fine if not better without Administrators"

Gloria, are you so sure about that? Carden West is going out of business because it lacked administrators (was run by volunteer parents). And I know some other private schools in the Bay Area that are also in trouble of going out.

The big challenge is that revenue went up with the housing/economic boom which raised salaries and costs. But now revenue is way down, and the costs have not come down to keep pace. Some of that is tough to swallow to be sure, but it's necessary, and should be at the administration level as pointed out here. The only way for the school to raise revenue is to get more tax money (which seems hard to do around here) or to get parents to make more donations (which most will refuse to do too).

Otherwise, what's left (assuming all of the free-loaders still want to reap the housing value benefits of having good schools)?


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Posted by annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

I made a donation. I was told it saved a reading specialist . . .

There are costs that can be cut that are not at the expense of the students - those should be done first and clearly will not cover everything. But then you'll get the tax and donation revenue.


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

There are 7.6 counseling jobs on the list above. But there were 17.1 on the proposed and possible cut list approved by the board. So counselers saved (and at which level) without any prior discussion and the other cuts ramped up? So confused. Glenn - is this list of cuts right?


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Posted by Glenn Wohltmann
Pleasanton Weekly reporter
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

Glenn Wohltmann is a registered user.

Annoyed and confused:

This is the list provided by the district.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

Fully agree on the need for cuts of things like the car allowances. Can't people take tax deductions for non-reimbursed work expenses or something like that?

Besides, for $400/month, the PUSD could do better just to lease some basic cars for like $250/month and have several employees share them (like a small pool of vehicles available as needed, since it's not like people are driving all day). If one $250 lease cuts out say three $400 car allowances, then it's net $950/month saved right there alone. If there are say 12 people getting the $400/month allowance, this approach saves $45,600/year!


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

From the PPIE website:
Web Link

imo, the district is playing games. They know parents will donate for CSR, reading specialists, etc but not for the salary or car stipends of administrators, so they cut services that affect the students hoping to later on raise funds for them.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

". But I think people should NOT banter the RECALL and accusations against the school board."

I think if people want to recall the board, they should do it. But imo, the teachers who are also residents and who endorsed and promoted Bowser should take the lead.

" These are elected people from our community who do spend alot of time to volunteer for this. "

It does not look like they spend a lot of time. If they did, they would not have allowed the hiring of the new PIO (Coordinator, Technology), and they would certainly not allow car allowances to continue.


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Posted by annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

The PPIE donation drive is done for this year and the whole point of the deadline was to save jobs before the pink slips went out. And a reading specialist job was saved. So why the pink slip?

Glenn - thanks for the clarification. I would like to know why this list is so different from the one approved by the board last week. Why are counselers saved (and at which level were they saved) and K-3 teachers being cut? I don't remember this conversation.


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

We need to get rid of the three board members who refuse to ask questions of staff and just rubber stamp. From what I can see, there are only two members of the school board who are doing any research and work. The staff knows they have three rubber stampers so they have the 3 votes they need to pass anything they want.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

"The staff knows they have three rubber stampers so they have the 3 votes they need to pass anything they want."

And they have the teachers' union to thank for that:

"The Pleasanton schools teachers' union has endorsed Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen for election to the school board on Nov. 2."

Full article:

Web Link

What we as voters need to do this November is make sure that if we have more people running for the board, that we make sure we do NOT vote for Grant. That way only two yes people will be left on the board and the admin won't have enough votes to continue doing what they want (like hiring their friends and negotiating car payments for themselves at the expense of the students of PUSD)


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:15 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don't know that a recall will grow legs. Grant is up this November if he runs so it is not likely an effective use of time, money, and energy to run a recall. All we need is a third board member who will ask the tough questions and will have the interests of students in mind. We have two that try (and will hopefully run again) and are thwarted all the time. Would be nice to put Laursen and Bowser on the other end of that stick.

All the management contracts should be suspended (they are currently perpetual three year contracts). There are only 4 getting the $400 (once $600) car allowance.

My feeling is parents are going to have to put the pressure on the board, with the help of the larger community. Teachers have similar interests until you ask for 5% of their pay and the same number of days of work (which is what I would ask).

There are good people at the DO, but really you could run the district with a superintendent, a few directors, and classified staff. I would have no problem telling Mr. Brown's DOE to take a flying leap if it wants testing and reports ad nauseum. Extreme, but there is no money, no will for change, and only increased taxes proposed as a solution. Hunker down with the best teachers and protect the kids.


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Posted by Glenn Wohltmann
Pleasanton Weekly reporter
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

Glenn Wohltmann is a registered user.

Annoyed and confused:

I just did the math from the two cut lists on the district's website, which are the same lists it's been using since January and the one the board approved Feb. 28.

See the budget information on the first page of the district's site:

Web Link

The cuts total 7.6 FTEs, which is the number of counseling positions listed in the cuts approved Tuesday. I have not seen a list that included cutting 17.1 counseling FTEs.


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Posted by annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Glenn, sorry, you are right. I was looking at the wrong numbers. All, please ignore points about counselors! Still wondering about the rest . . .


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Posted by Colleen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

I don't object to social studies and English teachers being cut. They only indoctrinate the children with socialist propaganda anyway. But how can he have a straight face when he plays Russian Roulette like this? First they're going to demand additional furlough days, which is okay by me -- how about 120 days for starters? But just wait, some idiot is going to recommend a raise in taxes, and some other chump is going to try and squeeze a Parcel Tax out of me. I pity these people. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) They don't need that many teachers.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

Colleen, this thread so far has been relatively productive and mature. Please help keep that up or cease posting on it. Thanks.


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Posted by Colleen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

I can bash the School Board and administration and corrupt union teachers as well as you, Parent. Keep it productive and mature, indeed! Only bashers permitted on this site, says me and Parent.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Colleen is just baiting.


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Posted by Colleen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

And the rest of the posters aren't baiting? That's a comfort.... Just how is one to make the determination? My heartfelt apologies to all the bashers/recallers/cutters/moaners here who are not intending to bait but rather are indeed serious bashers.


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Posted by Seriously
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

What happened to the reading specialist job saved by PPIE donations?


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Posted by fedupinsider
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Counselors at one particular middle school do NOTHING. Many teachers feel they do nothing; often not there, always have an excuse for not following through, etc. The one who was there a few years ago, left for another middle school, and she is sorely missed. These two - not so much! People need to know the truth of what really goes on.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

"What happened to the reading specialist job saved by PPIE donations?"

Ask any of the various people affiliated with PPIE (that includes Laursen as well as the superintendent):

Web Link

As long as people continue giving money to these organizations and not hold them and the district accountable, bad decisions will continue


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Ok this is probably my bad math, but I don't understand. I've gone through the two cut lists and can find about 54 APT jobs on the cut list. The rest are CSEA - oh and ONE management. These are the cuts I thought were approved. So why are there an additional 14 APT jobs cut? When were these proposed and approved?


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I meant an additional 16 APT jobs . . .


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

It's not really a surprise that the board votes to whack a large chunk of teachers, but leaves the administrators largely unharmed. They KNOW the parents will pay extra "lab fees" and "classroom donations" to keep programs going in the schools, so they threaten those areas knowing that parents will cough up the money eventually.

If they cut administrative costs ($400/month car allowance? Really?), nobody will pay extra fees to keep some bureaucrat in the Lexus vs. a Hyundai.

And this is the same SCARE TACTIC they use every single year. Pink slips go out to most of the teachers because of the rule that mandates notification in advance before a layoff. Bowser can spin it any way he wants, but it's the very definition of a "scare tactic". They're hoping that people will rally behind certain teachers and pay to keep all the programs/teachers going. (Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.) As someone else mentioned above, teacher pay cuts would protect most of the jobs, but the union power brokers would never go for that. Instead, they'll just cut instructional days.

It's almost gotten to be an annual thing to expect, like Daylight Savings time.


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Posted by Viny
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

For those advocating a 3 to 5 % pay cut to save jobs.

The teachers have a collective bargaining process.
You can't just take things back without giving something in return.

So look for more "furlough" days on the horizon.
Pretty soon, they will be off 5 months a year.
I should have been a teacher.
My golf game would be awesome.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I'm still asking myself what are districts like San Ramon and Danville doing right? They have all the same union issues as any other district, yet they haven't cut their summer school programs or many of the other things that we have, and we've lost some of our best teachers to districts like that. What's going on?


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Is anyone really surprised when we elect one Board member with a vested interest in teachers'pay and another one who thought the parcel tax was about preserving and increasing employee compensation? It's the community's fault for electing these idiots. I didn't vote for either Bowser or Grant.

Regarding San Ramon and Danville don't they have parcel taxes? Both spending cuts and increased revenue are needed. I understand, however, why some folks oppose the parcel tax when there is still so much that can be cut.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Jason, It's more about the lack of properly balanced priorities of the proposed cuts--there is little attempt to keep them as far from the classroom as possible. The previous administration also made bad financial decisions that undermined any trust the community used to have for their children's education. San Ramon school district also covers Danville. It is one district.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I agree with you Jason, both spending cuts and taxes are needed. I'll vote for a parcel tax again if one is on the ballot. I hope this new superintendent can get Morale turned around.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

I doubt a parcel tax would pass. After seeing new PIOs hired while reading staff is given pink slips, after seeing how the superintendent continues to get 400/month for car allowance (aka payment), etc, the community will not support a parcel tax. They already rejected measures E and G, and now that Laursen is on the board and has shown poor leadership, I doubt a parcel tax would succeed (we all remember Laursen's role in promoting the failed parcel tax in the past)

No one will speak at the board meetings about this, and the board, no doubt, will again pat themselves in the back claiming there is so much support for the parcel tax, blah blah... just to see it fail once again.

Most districts managed to pass a parcel tax by a mail in ballot, but not Pleasanton. Even with this method which ensures the passing of a parcel tax, PUSD was not able to pass one. Why? Because the administration's games do not fool the residents of Pleasanton. And people like Laursen and Bowser will be the best "anti-parcel tax" reasons.


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Posted by Kelly French
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

I am a member of the PPIE school advisory board and I serve on the PPIE Exec Board.

This is the list of positions/services that will be re-instated as a result of this community's generous donations to the PPIE Giving Fund 2012/13:

Elementary - 2 hrs/day of Tech Support + 1 Reading Specialist
Middle - 3 hrs/day of Tech Support + 0.5 hrs/day additional Library Support
High - $43,906 will be divided according to student enrollment per school site to be used for site specific needs such as Tech, Counseling, and/or Additional Sections

Thank you to all of you who supported this effort. The PPIE Giving Fund's objective is to raise funds to support valued programs at risk of being cut each school year. PPIE has and will continue to fund district wide programs that have been eliminated due to state budget shortfalls.

Our next event is the Pleasanton Half Marathon and 5K – The "Fund Run" benefitting the PPIE Giving Fund for all Pleasanton schools - on April 29, 2012. Starting and finishing in Pleasanton's Sport Park, this scenic Tri Valley area course will be your stomping ground for the certified 13.1 mile and 5K runs. Both runs end with a family festival in the Sports Park including live music, food, and fun! This spring race will be the first of its kind in Pleasanton. For more information and to register for the half marathon, the 5K, or to volunteer; please visit www.pleasantonhalf.com


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Posted by Disheartened Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:08 am

Thank you Mr.Wohltmann for insight on PUSD's financial status and how clearly it shows priorities have gone awry! My heart is saddened that energies are being spent on administrative positions as oppposed to the teaching positions that directly enrich our childrens' minds and beings. Praying for our community and school leaders to wake up, be courageous, and remember Students FIRST!


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:13 am

San Ramon did a much better job in managing finances when times were good. When they received increases in income from the State, they did not give it all to the employees that year. That allowed them some cushion and not increasing programs too much in good years, knowing well that downward adjustments could happen in subsequent years. Pleasanton instead gave all of the state increases in income to the employees in raises. That took away an cushion and crushes us when income is down.

On more income,, if you go to ed-data, you will see the total revenue per student in Pleasanton is $9,842 while the total revenue per student in San Ramon is $7,809. Pleasanton already receives more revenue per student than San Ramon.

It is not how much money you receive. It is how you use it.


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Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

Interesting that the majority of cuts seem to be coming from the classroom, "down in the trenches" area. What I woud like to see if a Housecleaning in the School District Office, a pay cut to the Superintendant and her throng of Assistants who really carry out the "plan". Let's have a trickle down effect and see if you really need to cut at the "street" level. The "plan" might become clearer and if it was determined that teachers, counselors, reading specialists really needed to go then so be it. To Disbelief, you have no idea what goes on in the classroom and I doubt you could handle the job, let alone stomach the misbehavior of the little "darlings" in the Pleasanton schools. I have no comment on the amount of money they make or don't make. Schools are expected to be their parents babysitters instead of doing what they are supposed to do---Educate!


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

To Kelly,

If a reading specialist has been saved by PPIE then why has this position been pink slipped by the district? We were told the donations were timed to avoid pink slips. Thanks for your work and fundraising efforts.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

To Kelly,

If a reading specialist has been saved by PPIE then why has this position been pink slipped by the district? We were told the donations were timed to avoid pink slips. Thanks for your work and fundraising efforts.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

To Kelly,

If a reading specialist has been saved by PPIE then why has this position been pink slipped by the district? We were told the donations were timed to avoid pink slips. Thanks for your work and fundraising efforts.


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Posted by Cher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

Such a sad state of affairs...


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Posted by Really??
a resident of Ponderosa
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

Are all you folks for real??? I'm amazed at the energy you put forth bashing people personally for a job they have volunteered for! Instead of a recall....why don't you pick up the phone and arrange a cup of coffee with these school board members you disagree with. Learn what their thought processes are and share with them your opinions. Believe it or not...they are attempting to be part of the solution. What are you doing? Spreading such hate and venum will not produce a positive outcome. Not to mention the message and lessons you're teaching your kids! I would suggest you do the same with administrators. Educate yourselves about the real challenges and become part of the solution. Share your ideas and opinions with them. I realize this may be tall order as you will no longer be able to hide behind blogs and you will have to stand up on your own two feet. If you're that passionate about the issues....DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE ABOUT IT! Talk to these folks..... educate yourselves.... don't ask questions of these other bloggers. They're in the same boat you are. Go to the source for the CORRECT answers. Come on P-town..... be bigger than this!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

Really??, Been there. Done that. Three current board members and the superintendent. Emailed and met with the previous board members as well.

Your assumption is that if someone uses an anonymous name that they know nothing? Have you talked to any of them? Are you one of them? I ask both questions to see if you have (a) done what you preach, (b) have any insights that could/would change how posters here feel.

As elected officials, it would be nice if they would hold coffees for the entire community to attend rather than the formal board meetings. They should be out marketing what they sow--preferably prior to votes like this. I could host a coffee if that's what it would take to get elected officials out from behind their chairs. You?


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Posted by Really??
a resident of Ponderosa
on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

Kathleen... Thrilled to hear that you have put the effort out and have talked with those that can make a difference. I believe you are better educated on the issues at hand because of this. You are the exception to the majority of those on this thread.

I would appreciate it, however, if you wouldn't make your own assumptions and make the statement that I assume that "if someone uses an anonymous name that they know nothing? Have you talked to any of them? Are you one of them? I ask both questions to see if you have (a) done what you preach, (b) have any insights that could/would change how posters here feel." I have not made that assumption or statement. I never stated that these bloggers "know nothing." They have a lot of questions and, in some cases, are misinformed. I simply encourage them to GO TO THE SOURCE for answers and to learn the facts. I, for one, spent my time and energy speaking with the correct people that hold the answers to my questions or can offer the information that I seek. I may not agree with them, but the information is not heresay and / or secondhand and subject to misinterpretation. So, yes.....I practice what I preach.

A hosted coffee sounds like a great idea! Be sure to post it for all to attend!

In the meantime.... let me ask this.... Do you feel that requesting information and answers from unknown bloggers is the best process to get accurate information? Do you agree with taking "personal shots" at community members is fair and reasonable? The majority of the participants on this thread have done this. This is my issue.....


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I concur with Kathleen. I have tried to talk with the board members. Two of them will respond and discuss items. The others will not respond or put themselves in a conversation. And when I show up to a board meeting, those three just glare at me for asking questions. It's a shame that they use intimidation. Not a good community of character trait.

Many posters like to remain anonymous because they have kids in the schools and they are afraid of retribution for their comments. It is one thing to make a comment on your own name if the result affects you but if what you are saying can affect your kids, you must communicate in different ways. It is unfortunate.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Really, The board members and staff can make a difference, but only two are trying, and they are consistently shut down by the other three board members and staff.

Fair comment about my assumption.

I'm not sure how those of us who DO have accurate information yet remain anonymous can sound more authoritative. I default to believing that people are speaking from knowledge; therefore, for example, I trust that you indeed are talking to the correct people. Where I can, and if I know otherwise, I will try to either post a link or comment about possible misconceptions. It's a discussion, and we can help each other learn.

As for going to the source; not as easy as one might think, nor as easy as it should be under the Public Records Act. I did make a recent request for staff contracts. With one misunderstanding, I did get a quick response. But my experience with other departments is not as good, and I know that is true for others who have made requests as well.

Again, would be glad to host something. Only two board members can attend without requiring a posted agenda. Preferences for whom? Day or night? I could probably get the side room at the Hopyard. Other thoughts as to where would be neutral and big enough for a crowd?

"Do you feel that requesting information and answers from unknown bloggers is the best process to get accurate information?" I think we'd be surprised who is out here commenting. And it's easy enough to verify what is being stated.

"Do you agree with taking "personal shots" at community members is fair and reasonable?" If you seen my posts with the person I usually end up referring to as Gollum, no I do not think personal shots are necessary—ever. And, don't get me wrong, there are days I would love to say what is really on my mind—but I do my best to refrain. I will ask questions though, and I don't mind if someone bites back because I've overstepped!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Yikes on the grammar: "If you've seen my posts . . . "


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Posted by Colleen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I think an anonymous criticism of all these communists on the school board and city council is exactly what is called for. I don't trust people who use their real name, like me, Colleen (everybody knows me around Bonde Ranch) because they might have an agenda or be looking for attention. One time, three of the board members just glared at me, and I didn't even say anything. I'm a watcher, and I can tell when some people have the Shine. None of the bored members do, but I can tell a communist at the bat of an eye.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Kathleen:

I personally do not think you will get many parents (with kids still in PUSD schools) to attend a coffee with the current board members (especially if the three yes people will be present). I have kids in schools and would not want them to suffer because I make comments that first of all will have no impact on what the board decides and that will be against what the board and admin are doing.

Do you remember when Julie Testa pursued the issue of one board member not being a resident of Pleasanton? She had a very valid point but in the end got nowhere. The district had its political answer. We all know that the board member was no longer a resident of Pleasanton but did the board care? After seeing the response (or lack of) towards Julie, many felt that coming forward was not a good idea and instead continued posting anonymously.

And even though many do not like some outspoken people (like a former board member Steve B.), I can certainly appreciate him speaking against the parcel tax. But people who speak against the district simply are perceived as "bad people," and parents like me cannot afford to have that reputation when our kids are still part of the PUSD schools.

Good luck with the coffee, and I hope it is productive, I just don't think many parents will show up even though our concerns are valid.

Have you considered running for the board? Arkin and Hintzke could sure use some help. I would rather vote for someone like you than say, Piderit. (although I would vote for Piderit if the only other option was Grant)


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Posted by Colleen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

It's about time someone asked! We need to sweep the communists out and replace them with libertarians with Tea Party credentials.


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

John- San Ramon is having the same financial issues that Pleasanton is having- They have had to reduce $30 million over a period of 2 yrs (this yr and last) , whereas we have done it every year for the past three years. Last year there were 136 layoffs, so none are needed this year, along with additional growth in the city that is bringing in new revenue. Web Link

Further factors include:
-A bond measure is hoping to be on the ballot by Nov - including a 1:1 tech program Web Link Interesting to see they have also hired a consultant for this process. This is also their 3rd bond measure in 15 yrs.
- their parcel tax Web Link which is very vague according to the standards placed by some in Pleasanton.
-Each parent is asked (and pays) $400 per student each year at registration as a "donation" -The teachers have taken furlough days
-class sizes have already been raised, last year. They have had to reduce $30 million over a period of 2 yrs (this yr and last) , whereas we have done it every year for the past three years. Web Link
- NOt sure of cuts to admin since it is not posted in many of their resources

There is no conspiracy, every district in CA is going through the same issues due to the state withholding guaranteed funding (Prop 98) Each district has implemented the cuts at different times, making it seem as if they are not feeling it some years and in others they take all the hits. PUSD has been cutting continuously for the past three years, over $26 million dollars- with amazing efforts to keep them away from the kids, thanks to PPIE, CORE, PSEE, APT, CSEA, and Admin. saving CSR and much more each year. I encourage many who don't feel there have been sacrifices to see what $26 million less in funding has done to our school system, since many don't even acknowledge it, seems logical that the loud cries would be coming now that it will directly affect many classrooms.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Judy:

The financial issues apply to all school districts, not just PUSD. We have several things to blame for that: outrageous salaries and allowances for administrators, collective bargaining for teachers and classified staff (instead of merit pay and retention). Wasteful spending applies to all districts as well as the counties and state of California. But that is no excuse for PUSD to mismanage funds. It does not matter how many districts are not acting in the best interest of their students: PUSD cannot just use that as an excuse to continue bad financial practices.

Or do you think it is OK for a new PIO to have been hired when we were already short of funds? Or that it is okay to continue car allowances of 400/month that are simply not needed? Or continue all the bad financial practices?

At some point, we will run out of money, in PUSD, at the county and state level... we have to start making smart decisions because the budget deficits have already started and they will only get worse each year because of the union contracts, retirement benefits for teachers and administrators alike, the hiring of unnecessary and highly paid staff...the list goes on.

I doubt the taxes Brown proposed will pass. I think most people realize that the unreasonable behavior (as far as salaries, pensions, benefits) of the public sector cannot continue, and that we need to reform a broken system that is making school districts, cities, counties and even the state face huge deficits..


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Kathleen:
I actually don't think I can even get the board members there—at least not Laursen, Bowser, or Grant, which would be the ones who probably should answer a few questions. I would only invite two to avoid posting requirements.

I think it is rare for children to pay the price for their parents' active participation. Those are the very parents who are watching for something to go awry. Teachers know that. And I actually don't think teachers are vindictive. I have a grandchild in the system. Everyone is very professional, and we have been lucky to have a majority of excellent teachers. That said, I understand remaining anonymous.

I think what I have learned from Julie, and others like Steve, is that you can find agreement and common ground where you never thought it possible. It turns out if you actually listen, you find out the squeaky wheels may have a point—it may be only part of a point, but a point nonetheless.

I served on the board already. I've learned a whole lot since then! There are good people in this community who are well qualified, including Sandy.

Judy, Yes all districts are having trouble. Pleasanton made quite a few bad decisions leading up to the bad economy, which only compounded their problems. Better planning, more transparency, and having financial foresight (everyone in education knows the lean years are just around the corner) would have maintained the trust and reserves built with previous administrations. The loud cries have been here for quite some time, it was just fewer people—the squeaky wheels people tended not to hear.


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Posted by annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

During your research, did you happen to find out why 70 teachers were pink slipped rather than the 54 on the published proposals on the district website that were voted on by the board members? I'm supportive of the schools - I have gone to meetings, voted for taxes, donated, asked questions, but am tired of the confusing messages. There is probably a simple answer out there and it would be great to hear it.


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm

All districts are going through the exact same thing- same unions, same pay schedules, same administration needs, and same cuts. The state is no longer funding public education as guaranteed by prop 98.

To spin this into a conspiracy against our successful schools is absurd. I wish more would spend efforts listening and participating in efforts to make real change like the community in Lafayette is doing at a state level instead of turning on our school board, attempting to ignite a recall effort.

There are real problems the schools are facing such as all falling into PI because of the failed NCLB policy that we still have to attain to, the type of education that PI is requiring, and the future of school funding in which Pleasanton will be hit in ways we never imagined. Will that new funding policy be the fault of past admin as well, or at what point do you really hear what is happening to public education in our country.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

annoyed and confused,

Districts are required by law to notify employees whose jobs are at risk by a certain date. Because districts can't legally sever the employment of an employee who hasn't been notified by that date, districts tend to err on the side of caution by sending many more pink slips than may actually be needed. It results in a lot of opportunity for drama. You'd have to look up the statistics yourself regarding how many pink slips on average turn into actual layoffs.


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Many of us are very aware of what is happening to public education in our country. And of the dangers of blind trust - see Stockton that is going bankrupt due to problems like giving lifetime healthcare to employees who served a minimum of time working in the city.

Which is why there is nothing wrong with asking questions and having dialogue. There are probably good answers to the questions posed here. And maybe you have them so speak up.

There are also hard issues like the car allowances where people ot the top of the pyramid keep $400 of their car allowance and everyone else's are cut entirely.

It's a tiny amount of money in the big picture, but it doesn't help gain community support.


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Stacey - It was already agreed how many APT jobs were on the line based on the worst case scenario - 54.


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Posted by what a hoot
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Judy/Really? and whoever else is spouting the same ol' mantra of PUSD is great...

It is well known that Pleasanton unified is one of the most dysfunctional school districts in the state. Other school districts are not simultaneously hiring PIOs and laying off dozens of classroom teachers.

The high achieving students are respected. The management though is a Saturday Night Live skit in the making.


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Posted by Annoyed and confused
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Sorry Stacey, maybe this is normal procedure to add a certain percentage. I'll check it out. It seemed odd after all the discussion about the other cuts but maybe normal practice.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2012 at 6:51 am

"and the future of school funding in which Pleasanton will be hit in ways we never imagined"

All the more reason for good financial practices, don't you think? With funding being affected so much, why on earth would any district hire unneeded and highly paid positions such as that of our new PIO (aka Coordinator, Technology) OR give some admin 400/month in car allowances OR announce they need to hire a replacement for Cindy Galbo (instead of getting one of the many highly paid people already on board to assume her duties)....?

You don't make sense, Judy. On one hand, you claim budget crisis and on the other you are perfectly fine with the bad financial practices of PUSD.

I suppose you are the type of person that will go out and buy a new and unnecessary expensive car on the day you find out that you will receive a paycut...go figure!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

I have been thinking about this for a while now. I don't know that it can be a rallying cry, but it is the intention.

If parents and teachers and other PUSD employees stay quiet because they think their children or their jobs will be in jeopardy, then aren't we leaving our fate to the few community members whose kids are grown (and willing to speak up), and worse yet, to the few administrators and board members who hold all the power? I don't suggest an Occupy PUSD approach--too much drama--but there must be some other way to register our concern and expectations for this district. Otherwise, it is business as usual.

I have friends who could probably set something up, but there must be others in the community with the knowledge to frame a survey or to find a way to register those concerns or to set up an online protest with digital signatures (so people can remain anonymous if they feel that is necessary and can only "vote" once) that then can be presented to the board.

I just think sitting on the sidelines expressing our legitimate outrage will accomplish little while our kids and the best of our teachers are left swinging in the breeze. Thoughts?


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Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

BTW, San Ramon cut reading specialists 10 years ago! And they have a PIO!!!

Instead of threatening a recall, we have school board elections this November. There are also numerous school district committees to join as well as PTA and PPIE etc. Step up and serve.

P.S. The teachers union endorsed Valerie Arkin also. I do believe the only person currently on the board they did not endorse was Jamie Hintzke because she had a problem with parent donations to the classroom.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Fact checker, Two wrongs don't make a right? Any coverage on how the community reacted back then? Is there something else in place?

I think you are right about the election and volunteering. I don't believe it is enough for reaching the board and administration to create change though.


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