Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2009 at 10:04 am
Instead of all those cuts reduce salaries and benefits by 10% with 20% for the higher ups. We are digging ourselves into bigger and bigger holes. This stop gap budget still means California is basically bankrupt as are most of the cities. We need to go back to 2000 levlels and adjust for inflation and population change, which means a cut of over 20%. Live within your means. We are in a new era.The whole nation is in deep trouble and California is by far the worst. Public sector needs big cuts much more than in the budget.
Posted by In Your Face!, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm
"People have criticized Casey's salary ($227,002) and management perks, and he said he makes no apologies for his earnings"
What are the terms of the Superintendent’s contract?
Superintendent Dr. John Casey is employed under a contract which ends June 30, 2010. His annual salary is $227,002, with a 12-month work calendar and 24 days of vacation. Medical and other health insurance may be purchased at his sole expense, and the District contributes $5,000 annually for life insurance premiums. At the completion of each year of the contract where he has worked at least 85% of the days, he receives a payment of $10,000 into a tax-sheltered annuity. He receives $1,000 per month as a transportation allowance and membership in professional organizations as appropriate and necessary. When Dr. Casey moved to Pleasanton, he received a $200,000 loan to help purchase a home in the community. This loan is interest free and must be repaid within 18 months of the termination of his employment. There is no provision or expectation that the loan would be “forgiven.” The current balance of this loan is $190,000.
"As part of the state's attempt to trim back expenditures, members of the Assembly have chosen to reduce their budget by 10 percent. The cost savings has been directed to the Employment Development Department.
Buchanan herself took it a step further, asking the State Controller's Office to reduce her salary by another 10 percent as well.
"I've always believed that people in leadership positions should lead by example. If we're willing to cut funds to programs around the state we should be willing to cut our own funding, too," she explained."
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm
Why? Well, if you read these blogs and you were a teacher, you would read comments about being greedy, on the gravy train, overpaid, underworked. Consider how you might feel if the public found it acceptable to judge and evaluate your job performance and worth without even knowing you. I am a teacher who has spent the last ten years or more earning the 10% you think I should forfeit. I, like most of you, have planned my budget around that income. Unlike the state of California, I have stayed within my means and didn't take out more in loans than I could pay back. The only area in 2008 tax year I overspent was the $2576.72 on my classroom and my students, other people's children. Each dollar I supplement my classroom takes away from my own children, so I am very offended my these mean-spirited, misinformed generalizations about educators. Some of you are cyber bullies!
Posted by Parent, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm
"Teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood",
Do you not understand that nationwide people are losing their jobs, the lucky ones are taking salary reductions. It is not a reflection on anyones value but a reality of this economy. We are all making lifestyle adjustments.
Of the 5 Pleasanton schools my kids have attended I don't believe any teacher has needed to pay out of pocket after the parent fees and fundraising. Pleasanton treats teachers well.
It does not mean I hate teachers when I say I can't/won't support a parcel tax.
Posted by Parent and Teacher, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm
If it is solely PUSD's fault that we're in the mess, due to mismanagement of funds, the lawsuits, etc., then why did other districts (San Ramon, Livermore...) already pass parcel taxes? Are those districts also mismanaging funds, spending money on lawsuits, etc.? No! So why then is PUSD the bad guy here? The state of California made this mess-not the district, not the teachers, not the teacher union, and not the kids-but who will suffer in the end....the kids! PUSD has done an excellent job of not needing monies from a parcel tax unlike other neighboring districts. Some bloggers are stating that the schools are not the main reason families come to PTown. I disagree. I stated this in a previous blogg, but I have 4 new families this year to my classroom. Their reason for being at my school.....the school district and the high-quality of education that their children will get from attending PTown schools. Losing school programs will have an affect on whether or not families choose to move to Pleasanton, remain in Pleasanton, or move elsewhere. Losing school programs will have an affect on your house values. Losing school programs will have an affect on test scores. All of this is pure common sense. If we want PUSD to still be one of the top performing school districts that it has been known as, then these programs must stay in place - especially CSR. APT has put out a very informative FAQs. I will try to see if I can forward it, or link the site. I think it will address a lot of the community's questions and concerns that have been raised in these different blogs. Please support the schools-the kids are the ones that will suffer in the long run.
Posted by Parent and Teacher, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm
"Of the 5 Pleasanton schools my kids have attended I don't believe any teacher has needed to pay out of pocket after the parent fees and fundraising."
I will tell you that from my own personal experience this is absolutely not true. I have spent thousands of dollars out of my own pocket since I became a teacher. So far this year (and the school year is not over), I have spent at least $400.00 for things in my classroom. I agree that many in this district do support the teachers and the schools. No doubt - I see this everyday with parents that help financially, or help out in classrooms or in the office. I truly appreciate the kindness and generosity that my parents have shown me over the years! But, I have noticed a big change in the amount of parent support in the last 4 or 5 years. We have a different parent community now days. Less parents are able/willing to donate their time and money to the schools. There are more 2 income families, working hard to make ends meet (and to afford living here in PTown). I get that-things change. But, please don't assume that you know that teachers are not paying out of their own pocket to support programs, purchase materials, make copies, purchase ink and toner cartridges, etc., etc.. The list goes on and on. Each year, I get less and less "donations" from parents (only 13 of my 20 students). I then must subsidize the rest. I want the best for my students and if I have to pay for things out of my own pocket...then so be it. It is something that we teachers just do. But, it does hurt my own family at times. Take a minute and ask your children's teachers their point of view on these troubling times. I think many of you will get a completely different image of what a teacher working in Pleasanton is like-it's very different than what many imply here on the bloggs!
Posted by Seriously, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm
Asking parents for donations is a tactic used to give parents the impression that the classrooms are underfunded. The countless fundraising activities carried out by the PTA is more than enough to cover all of the teachers' expenses. Spare us the lies, please.
Posted by Jerry, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm
Parent and Teacher - Amador Estates Neighborhood,
I agree you shouldn't be required to provide out of pocket expenses for your classroom and I have a question.
Please understand this is not questioning the validity of your statement concerning out of pocket expenses for your classroom, nor is it an invitation for someone to attack you. With that said, I have a question for my own education. What method do you use to solicit parents for needed funds. When my family had children in PUSD we would periodically ask "Our Teacher" if we could assist with classroom needs in some manner. I don't recall notes coming home asking for assistance, we simply ask via notes to her.
When our youngster was in 3rd grade I think the most amusing item we provided was a "Boom Box" that played tapes. Seems someone stole the one she used. "Our Teacher" explained she played soft music when the kids were being tested and for "fun time" at other times.
If you chose not to respond that's ok - I understand...
Posted by Mom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 4:14 am
Standard practice is every family gets a letter listing required classroom supplies. The list is extensive and includes things like computer paper, a box of tissues, colored pens and much more. Every student is told that they must contribute $35. Students that do not immediately pay are pressured to remind their parents, my sons name was written on the board and humiliated in front of the class each day.
It is true that many of the new immigrant families do not pay.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 9:12 am
When I was just a child in school, I never understood the "supplies" nonsense. Every year my parents dutifully purchased what was on the supply list and every year I ended up with more and more unused pencils, pens, binders, folders, etc. I only ever used about half of what was on these lists. There has got to be a better way.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 22, 2009 at 11:12 am
"...every year I ended up with more and more unused pencils, pens, binders, folders, etc."
When I was in school, those supplies were provided by the school, paid for with our tax dollars. Nowadays, our taxes end up lining the pockets of the administrators and teachers rather than being spent on essential school supplies.
To think they have the balls to come ask us for more money both in the classrooms and in new taxes...WOW!
Posted by Parent, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Feb 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm
For many years parents go through the lower grades with blissful ignorance. We believe the poor school district mantra. We pay, and pay, and pay, then we begin to understand that they just need us to pay for our kids supplies so they can suck all of our tax money into their pockets. I began to realize I was paying for my kids glue-stick so the superintendent could go out to lunch on the district expense account. When the principal suggested we should bring the toilet paper it was clear their goal was to get parents to cover all operational costs.
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm
I've also reached my limit. I pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to the county/state each year. The least I can expect is to enroll my children into a public school that is funded by my taxes without having to worry about teachers twisting my arm for a loudsy $35 donation.
Take away Casey's $1000/mo. in transportation expenses and put those savings back into the classrooms. That will cover the $35 donations for 343 students or more than 17 classrooms.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 6:55 pm Julie is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
When we first moved here I naively sent the $$ for the PTA compiled classroom supplies. After that I realized that I could get them more cheaply on my own, and that I didn't need to keep buying some of the same stuff every year (e.g. scissors!).
Where does a small town Superintendent travel that he needs $1000/month in transportation expenses? I'm not asking rhetorically, I really am curious. No matter what, I think he earns a good enough salary and benefits to cover any driving that he needs to do. I get paid A LOT less than he does and I get to work on my own dollar.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Again, some of you assume things that simply aren't true.
The district allots about $250.00 a year to run a classroom of 20 for the entire year. This amount is to cover copying, supplies, art materials, paper, pencils, and any other supplies needed. Can anyone of you truly believe that this is enough money to get through the entire year when a printer ink can $65.00 of that yearly budget? Then, yes, the P.T.A. allots about $30.00 per child, depending upon the school. This money, however, is for field trips, assemblies, or magazine subscriptions like Time for Kids or National Geographic. Parents do donate money and teachers really appreciate those donations because they simply cover the cost of graphics, ink, paper, art supplies and the all the other basics not covered by the $250.00. Most teachers supplement their classrooms each month. We have to because the bar has been set, so even as the economy and demographics change, the activities will remain and will cost teachers more out of their pockets. I am surprised anyone doesn't realize how much individual teachers supplement their programs with libraries of books, math manipulative, read alouds, music, art supplies, rewards, bookcases, binders, professional books.....I could go on, but I won't.
If you doubt this, just ask the spouse of any teacher.
Posted by Mom, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm
California has the worst per pupil spending in the nation. That is the reason parents are donating, volunteering, and supplementing education. Parents should be furious about the new state budget. We will all be paying more taxes, but K-12 education was still hit hard. Now the governor wants us to vote to change Proposition 98, the only guarantee that school funding has at least a guaranteed minimum. Communities will be supplementing quality education more and more until we write these letters to the right people...the ones that want your vote the next election. PUSD has provided children with band, strings, sports programs, Physical Education teachers, reading specialists, music teachers, art teachers, small classes, intervention classes, field trips, assemblies, and enrichment opportunities, particularly AP classes at the high school level. All of that may go away over the next few years because the economy will be bad for at least 18 months to 3 years according to most economists. It's clear that school employees will not betting getting COLA or raises for years to come. It's unbelievable that some of you really believe this is a "scare tactic". A $8.5 million cut is a huge loss for a small district. If you don't believe, look at the books or attend meetings. The district did not include class size reduction money in that $8.5 million, so they aren't getting $4 million more from the state. The district is still facing a $8.5 loss of revenue. Underfunding of public schools will not end until the state of California stops spending $48,000 a year to house prisoners, a large amount of them illegal. Prisoners have health care and education opportunities which are superior to what many children in the state of California receive. Do you know that many states ship back illegal immigrants when they commit a crime? California houses them for $48,000 a year at the expense of our children!!! That makes me angry, not school employees' salaries. I believe my children's teachers with college degrees, credentials, and often masters degrees should make more than prison guards, not less. We should all demand that our children and our neighbors' children are treated better than citizens and non citizens who have broken the law!!! Write your legislatures and tell them that you don't like the way your tax money is being allocated!!
Posted by Mad Mother, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2009 at 8:45 am
"The district allots about $250.00 a year to run a classroom of 20 for the entire year."
The same district allots $1000 a month, $12,000 a year, to run Casey's car (or make his car payments?). That's the equivalent of funding the supplies of 48 classrooms for an entire year!
Am I making some wrong assumptions here too?
The same district lends out $200,000 of the district's money to Casey at zero interest. At 5% interest, those funds could generate an annual return of $10,000 for the district, which is equivalent to funding the supplies for another 40 classrooms.
That's not to mention Casey's base salary and other perks (expensed lunches) but you get the picture.
How can the district do this, you ask? Because naive parents are donating money to buy the supplies in the classrooms. The administrators can then allot those funds elsewhere (hint: their pockets).
Posted by Mad Mother, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2009 at 8:57 am
This extract is from one of the other threads that I think is worthy of reposting:
"Mr. Casey's contract, including his salary and perks (i.e., allowances, housing subsidy, etc.) to be renegotiated by the school board. His salary alone, at $227,000 annually, should be reduced by $75,000, with all other perks, aside from insurance and pension (presumably CalPERS) benefits, including his special housing subsidy, eliminated."
"If he and his family can't live on $152,000, then I recommend he find employment elsewhere. The Pleasanton City Manager, Nelson Fialho, makes approx. $155,000 annually, and I would argue that Mr. Fialho has as much, if not more, responsibility and workload as does Mr. Casey. $75,000 saved by PUSD from paying Mr. Casey I think would fund at least 1 full-time teacher position, or 2 part-time ones."