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Superintendent arbitrarily eliminates month and a half of instruction time for primary grades 1, 2 and 3

Original post made by Kids Deserve Better, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 12, 2012

Pleasanton just sent out an email slashing instructional time for Grades 1 through 3. Pupils in primary grades 1-3 will attend class 45 minutes per day. That means over 7,000 minutes of instruction time will be lost. That is between one and two months of total instruction time.

Is this what is in store for Pleasanton? Cutting all instructional time to the bare minimum State class time.

This is worse than the ill-fated Lodi Unified Concept 6 staggered start plan which slashed instructional time by one month. This was such a disaster that it was reversed. See the attachments where Los Angeles Unified and Lodi Unified operated year round staggered start schools to decrease class size. Web Link
The ACLU had to sue to abolish this ridiculous set up by 2012 Web Link

Obviously, there are far better solutions to solve problems than cutting instruction time by a month and a half. Has the public had a chance to discuss the possibilities? No.

Why? Because this was done out of the public eye without the key stakeholders in the community, i.e., the parents and the children, having any input on the proposed solution.




Comments (11)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kids Deserve Better
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Typo: Pupils in primary grades 1-3 will attend class 45 minutes less per day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by An angry parent!
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

Don't worry, I'm sure they'll change their minds if we all get indignant and demand what we're entitled to. My parents have made sure that I never have had to face the negative consequences of any of my actions, and I'm certain that they'll somehow protect me from this disaster as well. Sadly, they've both passed on now, so it's less clear how they'll helicopter in and save me, but from my experiences, that's how the world works, so I'm positive it'll happen somehow soon. Be strong my entitled brethren! Our right to extra school minutes for our preciouses will be defended! And quickly, too, if we all get rude and nasty about it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don't get it
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 8:04 am

Why are you blaming the kids or parents for a decision that has no impact on the budget? I guess you are the type to follow leadership blindly. Thank goodness for independent thinkers!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Again the parcel tax
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

So again, it's the parcel tax. If it passed, we would have had class size reduction because we had the funding to hire teachers. Since it didn't pass, the district had to move teachers out of K - 3, which means more students per teacher. All of the research has shown that in order for a student to understand reading and writing, they need to be in groups of no more than 15. Because of this, the DO had to implement a staggered schedule for K - 3.

If the parcel tax was passed, this wouldn't have happened.

Pleasanton - you have been warned for 3 years that this was going to happen and you didn't listen. This is what you get. Don't act surprised.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kids Deserve Better
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

The wording of both parcel taxes never said the money would be used for class size reduction. I just looked at the wording of both measures and the words "class size reduction" never even appeared in the text. The text is here Web Link .

I think the district just wanted money for more administrators to be hired like they just hired from Lodi and for studies to be performed or to fund canine search dogs at the high schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It's been almost 4 years now since the economy tanked. Ask parents at schools with a parcel tax how well their parcel tax has helped to prevent the loss of smaller class sizes. Or did it just stave off the inevitable for longer, proving that vaguely-written parcel taxes don't really solve the problem, just strings along parents for another year? Due to the way California funds education, change has to happen at the state level, just like jake noted with pensions in another thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by well
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

A parcel tax would pass in Pleasanton if it said that xxx % of funds would go to xxx (research and insert parent's top priority) for each school level and if formal measures were taken to guarantee that costs would be contained for the duration of the parcel tax so that the funds would be spent on what is promised and not salary increases, new positions on the admin side during these difficult times.


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Posted by Kids Deserve Better
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Automatic Step and Column raises cost PUSD and taxpayers a cumulative increase of $15 million over 4 years.

Every year, because there are automatic raises, this increases payroll by $1.5 million. Not only has the Board and Superintendent refused to talk about pay cuts, they won't even require a FREEZE in pay.

Right now, they've sacrificed students' class sizes and learning times in favor of retaining automatic pay raises.

The PUSD Superintendent and her cronies make more that Jerry Brown, (including the newly hired Lodi administrator), the Governor of the State, as well as the State Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

All PUSD administrators make more than elected members of the Assembly and State Senate.

PUSD even refused to put that they would freeze salaries in both of their last parcel tax measures. Why? Because they want the money to go to continued automatic raises.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Piderit
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Here's the wording of measure E:

Web Link

Kids Deserve Better missed the line about "minimize class size increases". Also the line about "no money for administrators' salaries".

I agree with Well that past parcel tax proposals were not as clear as possible about which programs would be saved at each school. Because so many potential uses of the $2 million per year were identified, the district made it harder for voters to have confidence that the funds would be used for any one of those purposes. For example, they could have chosen to use funds to retain science specialists, and still cut class size reduction. I also think the clause about "attracting and retaining highly-qualified teachers" was too vague. The previous proposal, measure G, was even broader, and included libraries, counselors, technology instruction, and music.

I don't agree with the idea of freezing step and column during the duration of a parcel tax. The district has saved more money in the form of concessions, which all teachers, staff, and admin contributed to, than has been spent on step and column (which is paid to less senior teachers). If the state budget situation improves then the district should retain the option to avoid concessions and to continue paying step and column. Unfortunately Gov. Brown hasn't shown any signs of taking on the issue of managing what school districts have to contribute to CalSTRS each year, but that could be part of a budget solution. It's not something the district has the power to do on its own.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kids Deserve Better
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

Ahmadi has blindsided the community with no public process, including no public meeting, to discuss the potential issues surrounding staggered start and stop times for Grades 1 through 3.

The only time that staggered start and stop time for reading was ever discussed that I recall was with a comment by Jane Oh with comments regarding Foster City schools and a response by Cindy Galbo that occurred when John Casey was superintendent. See Cindy Galbo's response which refers to prep periods and indicates that Grades 1 through 3 instructional minutes could be at risk.

This was halfway through the meeting on February 2, 2010 which was nearly 2 and a half years ago. Here is the video and you can click it here Web Link and scroll halfway to the first community comment speaker.

Ahmadi's leadership is poor in comparison with John Casey's. If you look at this video, you will certainly see the difference.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kids Deserve Better
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

District issued Q&As when John Casey was superintendent indicated that having a reduced day and dismissing children in Grades 1-3 45 minutes earlier could only be done for 3 days a week.

Web Link

" 9. If there is a change to the elementary schedule with an early release on one or more days, when will parents know? Currently, grades 1-3 have more instructional minutes than required by the state. Grades 4-5 are closer to the requirement but still are over the minimum. One idea proposed to save money would be to shorten the school day by 45 minutes and provide a teacher prep period at the end of the day. To still meet the minutes requirement, we could do this for one day a week in grades 4-5 and up to 3 days a week in grades 1-3."

If Cindy Galbo and John Casey said this could only be done for 3 days a week in Grades 1-3, how is suddenly Ahmadi proposing reducing the school day 4 days a week? This makes no sense when 2 1/2 years ago, both of them (Cindy Galbo and John Casey) said this could only occur 3 days a week. See question and answer to Number 9.
Web Link


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