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Pleasanton School Board Planning on Adding New Debt to Offer Golden Handshake Packages

Original post made by long time parent, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2012

The Pleasanton school board tonight, item 14.4 (Web Link) will be voting to authorize an early retirement plan to employees. This includes paying them a percentage of salary for 5 years (equal to 75% of their salary), retiree health and dental insurance for free until the hit medicare, and paying an administrator 5% of the total cost to administer the program. You can do this if you are 55 years old and have been with the district for only 5 years.

Another waste of taxpayer funds to pay people to not work. We will be locked into these payments so it is another liability of the district that will need to be paid, probably causing more layoffs in the future. It also demonstrates that the district feels the salary we offer experienced teachers is too much and instead of adjusting the salary schedule, we are getting rid of some good experienced teachers (the same teachers the district keeps saying they want to keep).

The report states that this will be funded through post-employment contributions into a 403(b) plan. Is this the same plan that we currently have for free retirement medical insurance that the audited financials say is ZERO PERCENT (0%) funded? Meaning we offer a post-employment benefit but do not pay for it now and instead add more liabilities to the district?

This must be stopped. It occurs just about every year. This is insane.


Comments (22)

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don't find this report very clear at the same time the board will approve a policy update on communications with the public.

The example given is a $60,000 salary--yet those at the top make $90,000-$98,000. The example also uses 41 (which is not enough employees to break even according to PARS) rather than the 59 needed. Am I understanding this correctly? If 59 employees retiring in the real salary range (I spread them fairly evenly at 90, 91, etc.) would be $5,526,000 x .75 / 5 = $828,900 a year (a better guesstimate?)--nearly double the example of $427,000. Anyway, it just seems the $3,500 is incentive enough without costs that may cause future cuts. Happy to be corrected if I'm not getting this.

Back to communications--you still can't download just the single report from the packet in which you might be interested and meetings are still not available by topic (like the city).


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Posted by interesting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I saw this. Just skimmed it, so my takeaways were that they authorised someone to do research re. early retirement packages. The recommendation was not to do it as there would be too little take up for it to work financially. But they're going to try to do it anyhow and get the participation numbers up.

I would love to retire at 55 with all this covered!!! Can you imagine how great that would be? Plus if you don't have insurance covered by a spouse, this is definitely the way ahead - you get the money, health insurance, security and could do whatever you wanted with your life at a young age.


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Posted by sarcastic
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

RIGHT ON! I'm 50 now with a lousy retirement plan.
I'll work for PUSD for 5 years and be set to retire at 55!
Thanks for tip.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I've heard of two year "golden handshakes", which I don't agrree with but this is the first time I've heard of "five year golden handshakes".

The district is claiming this is a cost saving plan but I doubt they can prove it. I would bet money they can't prove this is anything other than short term savings that lead to increased long-term debt. In the longterm this plan is very shortsighted. It is difficult to imagine tax payers are paying good money to people that are making such poor decissions.

When decissions don't make sense we need to ask why that is? The only explanation I can fathom is that the school district is being run by the teachers unions. If you follow the money trail this board action ONLY benefits those employees by providing substantial benefits for not working, for five years. It doesn't make sense.


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Posted by Horace
a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Decissions, decissions, decissions. All I can faththom is that the sschool disstrict is a ssock puppppet for the ssmelly unionss. Home sschooling anyone?


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Part of the issue is the "me too" provisions in management's contracts. Staff will make it look like it is only for teachers but I would bet it will affect management also so they did what is in their own best interest.

If you read the board packet from their website, there is no supporting data at all, either way, on the costs/savings of such a plan. The administration is pretty much saying "trust us" and are not giving the board or the public enough information. I guess you can get away with that when you have three rubber stampers on the board. I went through the report in detail and could not find anything in it that would show a savings of any money to the district. The company running the retirement program will make a lot of money, however, as they receive fees equal to 5% of all the money that is put in the fund. I would imagine that the district did not put this retirement plan out to bid. A 5% plan administrative fee seems quite high. Wonder how many teachers we could keep for the cost of the administrative fee?


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Posted by To long time parent
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Your information is wrong. This type of package does not happen "just about every year". The last time the district offered this package was 5 years ago. I question all of your other "facts".


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Posted by long time parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

No they give out a Golden Handshake almost every year as it is in their policies. Not as extensive as a 5-year plan being suggested this year but somewhere around $37K plus 5-7 years of retirement medical insurance (or until they hit medicare).


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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

This retirement thing is crazy. It is open to everyone. We will pay staff on 90k about 70k + health to not work for 5 years. It's being sold to the board by an outside company yet again. Hopefully the board says NO.


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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Ha . . . and they were directed to assume no increased cost to healthcare each year - like that is going to happen!


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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Supt Ahmadi just said the retired teachers can travel and then come back to sub. Isn't that double dipping?

Now the union is talking asking them to say yes.


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Posted by Atlas
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Did I understand this deal to say that rather than eliminating 59 positions (and saving those funds), that the PUSD is going to offer 59 employees a very generous severance package? Another union bailout.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Interestingly, when I clicked on the web link in this article it took me to the agenda item where the board policies are being revised. I would suspect, since it says the district is doing this in conjunction with CSBA, that there is a cost associated with having CSBA revise the policies. Will need to inquire what that amount is. If it is more than $0, then this is another expense that the Board/supt feel is more important than the classroom. Previously board policies were revised by staff at no additional cost to the district.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:04 am

Interesting, there is a limit on what substitute teachers can make I believe.

Atlas, The premise is that it will save 59 at the bottom of the salary schedule. I know this is done, but I don't think it is a job for job swap--maybe lose 59 and save 40? If you are saving other top of the salary schedule counselors, psychologists, reading specialists, you can't possibly save 59 positions.

Marie, CSBA charges depending on the level of service. Last I recall it starts at about $3,000 a year and goes up from there.


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Posted by Shannon
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

I have worked for a Top 100 Employer for 30 years. My retirement package will NOT cover free healthcare until I reach Medicare. Nor will they pay me 75% of my salary. I have top respect for the teachers so don't get me wrong. However, to spend money on this and not fund the so needed reading program "Barton" is absolutely insane.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:56 am

Shannon, just want to be clear that it is 75% of the final year of salary paid out over five years. (If a teacher made $100,000 their last year, they would get $75,000 paid at $15,000 per year for five years.) Still a lot of money.


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Posted by Parent and Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

Let your wallets speak. Stop donating to PPIE and PTAs, and vote no on the taxes proposed by Brown.

If you keep giving money to the district, they will continue their bad financial practices.

The new superintendent gets an F in my book, can we fire her? I guess not until we replace Grant and we have a majority that will no longer say yes to everything the admin throws their way.

Replace Grant in November and hopefully we can fire these admin coming up with dumb ideas.

Stop supporting Laursent too. We all knew her from WG as the PTA type and back then she did good things for the schools but now she is making awful decisions and saying yes to everything without thinking!


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

"If you keep giving money to the district, they will continue their bad financial practices."

And if you don't give money to the district, they will continue their financial practices and the students will suffer even more. I'll continue to give, continue to support parcel tax initiatives, and I'll continue to vote for board members who will best manage the district. Unfortunately, my favorite candidate lost last time, and I hope she runs again. I will also make voice my concerns to the school board, whether or not they listen.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

John, what financial contributions you continue to 'give' will continue to go to the District-hired consultants and retirement 'handshakes' and to the bureaucratic machine there, not to the students or to the programs.

They'd rather spend a quarter million on consultants rather than on programs for children.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

John, I continue to volunteer and give directly to the classroom. It's one of the few ways to know that the money is used for students. You should really look into the financial practices of the district before you so willing throw money down that hole.

Here is the second interim financial report from PUSD (narrative is three pages): Web Link Without a thorough narrative, the hundred pages of data are a game of go fish.

Here is the second interim financial report from PAUSD (narrative is 14 pages): Web Link This is the presentation.
Web Link The report is number nine in the packet.


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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

School sites need to be careful that they keep the money donated to them for their school at their school. And not use it for political campaigns as that loses trust, which only the school sites have at this point.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I have one kid who is still in elementary school, and I believe that last year small class sizes were saved. I'm willing to believe that some of it will be spent to benefit students. I don't like it, but I'll do it.

Great links to those financial reports, Kathleen. Good contrast.


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