Pleasanton school board votes to place $233 parcel tax on June 2 ballot Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm
The Pleasanton school board agreed tonight to ask voters to approve a $233 a year parcel tax in a special election June 2. If approved by at least two-thirds of the voters who cast ballots in the election, the tax would take effect July 1.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 5, 2009, 8:28 PM
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm
Even though I do not own a house in Pleasanton, I am against the parcel tax. Let the school administrators take a pay cut before they start shifting payments to us. PUSD should clean up their own backyard before they poke into others'.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm
Many administrators have taken a cut, the District Office has seen cuts of over two million in the past year to help get through last year's budget (a mid-year problem caused by Sacramento, not PUSD), and the parcel tax is specifically written to NOT give administrative pay raises during the length of the tax. What more do you want?
Posted by Pass the Blame, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm
Sure, it's not PUSD that the state is giving them less funds.
It's also not the car salesperson's fault that people aren't buying new cars.
It's also not the small business owner's fault that people are watching their pennies and not spending.
It's also not Realtor's fault there are less home sales at lower prices (lower commissions).
The reality is there is less money to spend. I can't go to my bank and ask them to pass a tax to make up for my household shortfall. My household has to make some tough decision on what stays and what goes. I don't like giving up some of these things, but we'll manage.
What are you giving up PUSD?
What are your tough decisions?
We are in this together. Let me know what you are willing to do to get my vote.
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm
yeah, Tim said it.
Throwing money at the system isn't necessarily going to improve things. People in the community would do better to get involved and be a direct help to the kids.
I know many people who do not give handouts to homeless people who ask for change. Instead, they offer to take the person to a local store/bagel shop to get them a meal or snack. That way they insure that the money is used appropriately. I look at PUSD in much the same way. I will volunteer my time to help improve the educational system because the value added is far greater than the parcel tax AND I will see the direct results of my contribution instead of wondering what they did with the money.
Posted by Kiko, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:42 pm
A Parcel Tax by any other name would still be a property tax. When did it become the propery owner's responsibility to fund the schools? A fair tax that would include everyone, including the students, would be a special sales tax. Then all citizens can be proud at the same time. Or better...maybe you could turn off the lights and the big scoreboard and play games in the sunshine, or quit the trips to DC, or Pasadena. Ah, no matter because it aint gonna pass anyway because we're in a DEPRESSION.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:45 pm
Pass the blame,
Are you negotiating with all of the service providers in your life the way you would like to negotiate with PUSD? You want the same level of service then help solve the problem. Sure, we can give up a few things like make the school day shorter? That would shore up that budget in no time. It would also ensure that your kids could not get into college as we would no longer be an accredited school. But, if that works for all of you nay-sayers then propose it?!
You cannot compare PUSD with a car dealership. We can't sell the kids. They are our "products" and they all have such varying needs when we first get them.
Go tell your doctor you want the same level of service for 1/2 the price because the economy is bad.
Call Comcast and tell them to stop raising their rates!
Schools are a service, not a commodity. PUSD is excellent and needs funds to remain that way. PUSD is not PROFITING, EVER. The only profits gained are by our students, your kids.
Posted by Paul & Peter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm
"A fair tax that would include everyone, including the students, would be a special sales tax"
The district and the board have turned their backs on all alternatives that doesn't carry the name "Parcel Tax". If they had gone and explore other options, they won't need to ask for a parcel tax today.
Kids are adaptive and should be given the opportunity to witness economic ups and downs. They'll benefit from learning to live within their means and that good times don't last forever.
Posted by teacher, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm
I posted this on the other parcel tax topic, but I think it fits better here.
(see the other post for the rest, here's the part that relates to the posts on this thread)
I think there have been a lot of assumptions made about the teachers being unwilling to make concessions. I think the majority of us are, but they need to be reasonable ones. It's just not reasonable to ask teachers to cut their pay by $1500 each to fund programs when the community that benefits from those programs, directly or indirectly, isn't willing to ante up $233 dollars per household to support them. Also, the cuts that some people are asking for from teachers are permanent, whereas the tax will expire in 3-5 years.
We absolutely are willing to make concessions and work with the community to save our schools! However, those of you who are making union concessions the deciding factor on whether or not you will vote for the tax need to consider whether the level of concessions you're expecting are reasonable and equitable.
Posted by Pass the Blame, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm
Our schools were able to raise their payrolls along with their services in the good years. The good years are gone for a while.
My votes are waiting to see what PUSD is willing to cut in exchange for that tax. I'm not saying anything different than others who are skeptical about funneling more money into an entity that is using more threatening and scare tactics to support this tax rather than clearly defined solutions.
To answer your question: I'm not negotiating with any providers. I'm NOT spending money at their businesses in order to balance my household budget. I'm making tough decisions and saying "no" to alot of extras.
My childrens' education comes from many, many sources, not just PUSD. I measure success beyond test scores and top tier college acceptances. My childrens' happiness is not totally dependent upon PUSD not adjusting to the times.
We are all adjusting. No one and no entity should be immuned to adjustments.
How is PUSD adjusting? Tell me clearly, with the numbers. Tell me why I should vote for a parcel tax?
Posted by Kiko, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm
I have come up with the perfect solution that will please both sides of the debate. PUSD needs to convert from a school district to a bank, or maybe even an auto maker, and go to DC where the money seems to be flowing. Oh, wait that money isn't doing any good anyway. Ah, forget it.
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm
One of the problems is that California got drunk on the tax revenues from the "Dot Coms"from a while ago, but did not curtail spending when those same "Dot Coms" went under. Now we are all suffering because of it.
Posted by Fan, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 6:33 am
Vote NO!!!!!! - our schools have enough money in this ecomony. Our families can hardly affford food and shelter - Don't GUILT them into forking our more money to pay for 'special services' at our schools that a minority of kids use. Yes - I do have school age kids.
Posted by sad but agreed, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:52 am
Sadly I do agree that the services the parcel tax will maintain are not ones the majority of our students will benefit from. The mainstream kids who don't need special services will be hurt very much with the cutbacks, however i will still support the parcel tax.
Posted by Julie, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:10 am
For the record, I am negotiating with all of my service providers, or adjusting my use of their services. This includes my dentist office. They recently reduced their charge for a bridge replacement by 25%, in exchange for cash payment. I would have preferred not to have to ask, but times are tough. And no business or service contractor should be immune to the condition of the economy. My household will be voting NO.
Posted by Mama, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:29 am
"A Parcel Tax by any other name would still be a property tax. When did it become the propery owner's responsibility to fund the schools? A fair tax that would include everyone, including the students, would be a special sales tax. Then all citizens can be proud at the same time. Or better...maybe you could turn off the lights and the big scoreboard and play games in the sunshine, or quit the trips to DC, or Pasadena. Ah, no matter because it aint gonna pass anyway because we're in a DEPRESSION."
THIS. This is what I keep wondering: Why are property owners expected to shoulder the cost here? Not fair. We already pay a mint in property tax to own here, so adding another hundred bucks to the mix IS a big deal. Not everyone who owns a home in P-town is rich.
Posted by Yes for schools!, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:38 am
Congratulations to the board. They have worked many long hours and held many meetings and listened to our public input. I was initially uncertain about this tax, but after taking some time to really study the pros and cons and the budget proposals, I fully support this level of parcel tax.
The $233 annual tax (less than $20 per month for a homeowner) will restore less than half of the $10 million in cuts the district has made for 2009-2010. The remaining shortfall comes largely from cuts to distict administrators and other areas away from the classroom.
If we want to preserve our quality of life and our property values, we need to ensure a stable source of funding for our Pleasanton schools by voting yes on this tax on June 2. Be sure to get yourself educated about this. Learn more and sign up at www.savepleasantonschools.org.
Posted by John Adams, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:55 am
Property taxes fund CA schools, and not all of our taxes stay in our community. That's the way it works in most places. Renters pay their share, indirectly, to their landlord, who pays taxes. I don't have a problem with that.
I do have a problem with the teachers union and the tenure system which makes sure that great first-year teachers are in danger of losing their jobs while horrible teachers with seniority are ensured lifetime employment. I support merit pay for excellent teaching.
Nor do I have a problem with trips to DC or Pasadena, which, Mama, are paid for by individual parents. Even chaperones pay for the privilege of babysitting on such trips.
I agree with you Mama, that we are at the beginning an economic crisis which may well eclipse the "Great Depression" in the history books. This is a bad time to raise taxes, but that's the way the state and feds are going, so PUSD figures why not?
PUSD's plan is to place the tax on a special ballot in June (and pay $150K for doing it then). This will confuse the public and reduce the voter turnout, thus increasing the chance that the tax will pass. Believe me, the teachers union will turn out in force. Will you make the extra effort to vote?
Posted by Rodger, a resident of the Stoneridge Park neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:02 am
I am a homeowner, and have 2 kids, neither is old enough to attend school yet. I want the schools to be up to the same standards they were when we moved here. That is one of the reasons why we moved here in the first place.
It is easy to say "Let teachers and administrators take pay cuts" but those that are in unions have their hands tied and can not speak for themselves. The unions in this case from what I understand are not willing to negotiate, and they are the real problem here. They will not budge 1 inch. Maybe someone should have a long talk with them instead of raising taxes. I am all for paying a parcel tax, but I think there is some "wiggle" room the unions can provide that no one has been talking about.
I will be voting a BIG YES and doing all I can to support the parcel tax, and SUPPORTING THE CHILDREN. After all the children are the real losers if this doesn't pass.
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:14 am
People, get a clue! The PROJECTED $41 billion shortfall was before the latest job losses and Corporate layoffs. I'm willing to bet that the real number is closer to $80 billion. The one % sales tax increase will raise the rate but not the collections as everyone is spending far less. The 5% surtax on the rich will hardly raise a nickel as the rich will pay themselves less. And with a lot fewer people working what happens to that projection. They will come back and say we need to raise more taxes and then all the employers that provide jobs and pay taxes will leave the state. Then the school district will need another much larger parcel tax to provide even less of an education.
Would even one legislator have the guts to stand up and say how many of our tax dollars are providing free educations and health care to the illegal aliens in the state? Not one. I say when we have a surplus, those programs are fine, but in a depression, you don't cut education spending, you increase it!
Make the cuts to the State defined benefit pension plan, after all , our 401k's are now worth half, cut their State retirement by the same amount. Why should they retire with close to 100% of compensation when we have to work to age 70 or 75 to be able to afford it to retire on much less than 100%.
Stand up to the legislature and say no more, we can't afford it.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:19 am
“It is easy to say "Let teachers and administrators take pay cuts" but those that are in unions have their hands tied and can not speak for themselves. The unions in this case from what I understand are not willing to negotiate, and they are the real problem here. They will not budge 1 inch. Maybe someone should have a long talk with them instead of raising taxes. I am all for paying a parcel tax, but I think there is some "wiggle" room the unions can provide that no one has been talking about.”
Why would they bother to negotiate when they have you bullied into thinking you have to solve the problem by passing a tax? Unions negotiate for a living. They are professionals. They know how to apply pressure to bargain from a position of perceived strength and get what they want for their members. And they can hide behind our kids and use them as emotional playing cards. The members of our board are not professional negotiators, and it is in the interest of the PUSD administration to support the unions. There will be no significant concessions unless we say no to this tax.
Be part of the solution by saying NO TO THE PARCEL TAX!
Posted by John Adams, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:22 am
Rodger, you are absolutely right about the unions.
Bottom line, though, is that more money does not mean better education. Neighboring districts do better on standardized tests while spending 20% less (because they receive 20% less from the state). Other districts have managed for years to provide quality education on less, while Pleasanton has come to expect the bottomless cash register of a caring community.
As written, this parcel tax proposal will maintain the status quo, including $1.5M in annual PAY RAISES, with little, if any public oversight. Meantime the community as a whole will be paying higher taxes to every government entity. Pay cuts and job losses are a fact of life for the foreseeable future.
Posted by Teacher and coach, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:25 am
My parents moved here for the schools 22 years ago and are willing to give back to the schools today. Other school districts are passing parcel taxes to preserve what keeps their community a wonderful place to live... why can't we?
I ask that you think about the community and the students who will not have the same opportunities that I was offered in the district. Vote yes to keep our schools and community great!
Posted by John Adams, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:34 am
PUSD is the only local district where administrators took a raise last year. Management teams in every other industry are cutting back dramatically.
Times are VERY different than they were 22 years ago, or 5 years ago. Opportunities for everyone will be more limited whether or not we pass ANOTHER parcel tax (yes, folks, we are already paying the bill for one, MUCH LARGER parcel tax, and will be for 20 more years).
Posted by Qwerty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:43 am
I plan to vote NO on the parcel tax. I would prefer to donate my time to the schools instead. If they need help with an afterschool program that normally would be eliminated because of budget cuts, then I and many others could step in to do such volunteer work.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:57 am Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The list of cuts approved last week totals over $9 million. A $200 parcel tax is estimated by the school district to yield only $4.4 million per year, so by my estimate, $233 would only yield about $5 million.
There will still be cuts, even beyond the administration layoffs, regardless of the outcome of the parcel tax vote, to the tune of about $4 million. If the state's May revision to the budget includes additional cuts to school funding statewide, some cuts will need to remain in place even if the parcel tax passes.
The unions are in negotiations. I wish people would wait and see what comes out of them, before assuming that no one in the school district is willing to give up anything. Last year, the APT asked the district to use half a million dollars to ensure that every elementary school would have a science specialist, rather than taking that money in cost of living adjustments. I am sure that the teachers will do something concrete again to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to students' welfare.
Posted by Another PUSD Teacher, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:00 am
FYI- what exactly is your point? Get this fact straight - high dollars spent does not equal quality education. Can you honestly believe that the kids in DC are getting a quality education? Until you get parents that really care, you can spend $15k/$20k/$30k per child and you won't have quality education for the masses.
I'm a PUSD teacher and I have two kids in the PUSD.
Like Cost Cutter said yesterday - cut administration cost 50%, cut certified (teacher) costs $25%, cut classified (janitors, etc) costs 25%, cut all vendor/3rd party cost 25%.
Then come to The People and ask them to pay for ANOTHER parcel tax.
To the teacher (above) who won't give back even 2% of your salary -- you are part of this problem.
Posted by Rick, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:02 am
To Pass the Blame…and others against the tax
I agree no one wants to pay out any more money - for anything - especially in this economy. However, our school district is a MAJOR reason why people live in Pleasanton. That is a fact - ask any realtor, ask your neighbors. This school district is not perfect, but this school district is head and shoulders above the vast majority in our state.
Kids come out of our PUSD system ready to attend college. The majority of students strive for higher learning. That is exactly the outcome I want to see in a school district - that the vast majority of students are prepared to attend college - and that they want to attend college.
This desire on the part of students comes from many things - notably, parent involvement and the staff teaching our students. That staff is invaluable to this community. In any profession, there are always those that are the best thing going…and some that are not. But, the staff of PUSD is top notch - and that means the Teachers (first and foremost), as well as the administrators and classified staff.
Our city is known for good schools - and that knowledge is a main reason for families moving to Pleasanton. Your home is more valuable sitting in Pleasanton than it would be sitting in other cities nearby. Why is that? One main reason is the school system. If you want one reason why you should support the parcel tax, you have no further to look than your own front yard.
Schools can't raise rates to cover costs like a private business may do. They are dependent upon the government to provide the funds. And the state has failed in providing the necessary funding required to maintain schools…let alone the funding to continue to help improve them as well. Who ultimately gets 'hurt' with a school system that is understaffed with programs cut? Who are we saying "NO" too? It certainly would not be to just some staff at PUSD….Who gets hurt by any reduction in pupil services? Looks around at neighboring cities that are under funded and under staffed in their school districts…..no thanks.
My children are long past the school age, but were a product of the Pleasanton school system. Both of them excelled with the instruction they received from teachers and staff that went out of their way to support us as parents, resulting in an education second to none. Our kids excelled in college because they had the chance to be taught by some of the finest teachers around.
Isn't that what we want? The finest teachers available - to teach the children in our community - and to help them succeed and be prepared for the next level. Do you realize how many teachers will be fired as a result of this budget? It is staggering. The kids will still be there, so now what? The education of these kids will suffer…period. Is that what you want? How is that going to serve this community? Will Pleasanton be a city where families want to move too if the schools are not supported by the citizens, and are left with overcrowding in each classroom?
No one wants to part with one extra dollar, especially in this economy. I understand that. Can the district tighten the belt even more - without negatively affecting the children's education? Perhaps there are items left to cut…. BUT, there is NO WAY this district or teachers or anyone involved in PUSD can cut enough programs or staff, or make policy changes, that will result in balancing the budget and not affect the education we provide to students in Pleasanton.
Think long and hard about saying no to $233 a year. Think long and hard about who is involved and who stands to loose or gain with that $233. If your answered is that the teachers or staff of PUSD are the only ones that gain, then you have not thought long and hard enough about the subject. Cuts are still being made regardless of the result for the parcel tax vote. But, cuts can only go so far, before they are more than a 'cut', and end up hurting all of us in the long run.
Ask to sit in at a classroom in town - go ahead - you can do it. I have. Watch and see what teachers go though day in and day out. Watch and you will see staff working as hard any anyone can to support the education of the kids in this town. It is not an easy job. I couldn’t do it…but I am sure happy as I can be that there are good, hard working teachers that do.
The personnel loss in teaching staff will result in the newest and brightest teachers being laid off. Many of these young teachers grew up in town - went to these same schools - and they CAME BACK to teach here. They have a love for the community and these kids…and they will get my support 100% in a parcel tax vote. And they have my unqualified thanks for the job they do.
You say - "I'm Listening"……and I hope you look at your own property value, and the value of the education the kids in Pleasanton receive now…and contrast that with all the teachers lost, programs lost - and look at that vision for our future. If you do, as I have - I am certain that $233 a year for a limited time, is an investment you will want to make. An investment for yourself, as well as this community we all love so much.
Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:07 am
Schools aren't asking for MORE money; they're asking to have LESS than they've had in recent years. This parcel tax will make up for money schools aren't getting, not give them more to "waste." Schools aren't wasting money--the state is. Schools are asking to be able to keep the same programs and service they've had that keep this community great.
I understand that some people disagree with the union/tenure system--I'm not so sure I like it myself. But denying the parcel tax isn't going to change any of that.
It's unfortunate that the community has to make up for the shortfalls of the state...but are you really willing to cut off your nose to spite your face?
Posted by Brad, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:17 am
Sorry, we all need to tighten our belts in this economy.
On a related note, it's funny how no government agency wants to reduce or give back in the good times, but they are all quick to want more in bad times. IMHO, this is one of the reasons we are in this mess.
We ramp up spending in the good times and then find it is not sustainable in the bad times.
Posted by MA, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:18 am
Rick, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood,
You are an exceptional writer, very persuasive, very eloquent. However, you sow fear in the hearts of many. Our school district will not overnight become some hellhole like Oakland or Richmond USD. We have a great many fine people in Pleasanton losing jobs, losing homes and losing confidence in our American way of life. What many of us are asking for is up-front concessions from administrators, teachers and support staff. Up-front means right now, not after the June vote. They need to put serious skin in the game now!
As for the young teachers who might get pink slips, this is too bad. The bright side is this: they are young and have everything in front of them. They should be mobile and ready to relocate, if need be. There are 50 states and additional U.S territories to teach in.
Posted by Not buying sap, a resident of the Ponderosa neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:30 am
Rick, please spare us the sad stories of young teachers who went through PUSD and just want to give back. Don't you think many of us would to have lived the American Dream - Grow up in Mayberry, marry our hometown sweetheart, work in town, give back to our home town, retire and see our children and grand children have the option of doing the same. At the end of the day, this version of the American Dream rarely happens, and that's OK. Most of us get over it and get on with life.
Real concessions are needed from all district employees, then we should consider voting (yes) for this additional parcel tax.
Parents that care make schools great - not the amount of money poured into schools and administrations.
Posted by MRSV6410, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:32 am
Whether or not you have kids in the school system, you should care about the quality of Pleasanton schools from a pure real estate investment standpoint.
The reason that Pleasanton home values are as high as they are is due, in large part, to the quality of the school district.
If not offset by other revenue, the school budget cuts will increase class sizes and decrease programs -- that surrounding area districts like San Ramon Unified, etc. have maintained because they have passed a parcel tax.
Why would families buy a home here when 10 minutes away, they can get into a better school system?
All of our home values have taken a hit due to the bad economy -- do we want it to slide further than other districts in this area because our schools are no longer up to par? With the median Pleasanton home value in the $500,000 - $600,000 range is $233 a year too much to ask to protect what is probably our largest personal investment?
VOTE YES ON THE PARCEL TAX -- Protect Pleasanton Home Values.
Posted by Understanding?, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:33 am
I don't understand the math - $233,000,000 divided by 4 years = $58,250,000 of anticipated parcel tax revenues per year. I thought the deficit was $9,000,000+ over the next 2 years, or approximately $4,500,000 per year. Where's the money going? They really need that much to stock the coffers? Plus at least an equal amount that we're already paying for in school bonds. Depending on your house value - bond assessed at .0777 percent (guess from memory, someone can correct). If most people have moved to Pleasanton in the last 5 - 7 years their assessed value will have them paying for capital improvements bonds at a higher rate than this parcel tax.
Will this be a one-time need or expectation of always receiving this level, or next increase in parcel tax because everyone got used to it? If schools continue to tilt to more and more non-property owner kids as enrollment, maybe a different approach could be found. Do schools teach accounting and balancing a checking account anymore?
The information coming out will be interesting! How many apartments are there in town with children attending schools? Hacienda Business Park sends how many kids to school?
Posted by Home Values, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:38 am
Home values & schools do not go together! Look at Marin County, a lot of schools are closed and with small enrollments, their home values have skyrocked over the last 20 years since they went to slow growth.
Posted by Our Change, a resident of the Verona neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:44 am
MRSV6410, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood,
Clever fear tactics. A dollar here, a dollar there, pretty soon you're dealing with some serious money.
Guess what? - We're already paying a parcel tax for capital improvements.
Guess what? -The city, county, state and feds will come after every single person in this country looking for additional taxes and fees.
Guess what? -Raising taxes and fees in a shrinking economy simply does not work.
Guess what? -You and your friends that tell the rest of us hard working Americans to just give up our coffee are missing the bigger point, because it's not about $233 or a latte, it's about the massive increase in taxes and fees that are coming.
Hold your wallets, insist on concessions and major structural changes in how governments operate. Now is the perfect time to get rid of tenure for all government run schools - K-12 + public universities. Now is the perfect time to restructure public pensions.
How about change some of the rest of us can believe in?!
Posted by Rick, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:58 am
Fear? Maybe a bit too strong a word….. ;-)
However, the definition of 'fear' includes "concern or anxiety". So, yes, guilty as charged for being concerned and anxious.
Concerned that we are to loose some of the brightest teachers available to teach the children of Pleasanton.
Anxious, because I have an uneasy feeling about the future for Pleasanton with classrooms, overcrowded with children, any many that will slip through the cracks because the support they need individually, is lost, and how will that affect Pleasanton as a whole?
Hold the district accountable for every dollar they spend. Insist the money be spent on classroom learning before all else. Agreed.
But, you can not, through district cuts alone, maintain the education that students currently receive without some additional funds. No way.
I argue that $233 a year is a price we all should pay - because we all have "skin in this game" - whether you have children in class now or not.
P.S. Those young teachers….they love Pleasanton - they love teaching. Many excelled in Pleasanton classrooms and now have an opportunity to teach locally. Just as you and I want to live and/or work in Pleasanton, so do they.
They did not create the budget mess - and they certainly know that budgets all across CA and the country are being affected….so just 'picking up and moving' to another state is not going to solve anything.
It is not easy to be selected as a PUSD teacher. We get amazing young people that work their tails off to be a part of our community. I'm sure you must know some of them. I want the best and brightest here - not in another city, or state.
Yes, I want the district to be accountable for cost reduction…but cuts at the district level won't 'cut it'…IMO.
However, those teachers deserve my support - and they will get it.
Posted by John, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:59 am
Once a tax is put into place, how often do you see the tax go away or decrease? It's a lot more likely that if this parcel tax passes, it will forever be a part of our tax bill, and PUSD will be back again next year asking for an increase.
Maybe the people who bought their Pleasanton homes 10 or more years ago and are paying property taxes based on the purchase price, and who support the parcel tax, would voluntarily contribute a few hundred more so that they are in essence paying as much towards the schools that those of us who bought homes in the last 5 years are paying.
I'm already paying a lot more in property taxes than people who live in homes valued at $2 million or more.
A few hundred more on the $1K of my property tax bill going to education is not something I can afford, especially when I expect it will be a few hundred the first year, more in future years, and a tax that despite PUSD promises, will never go away.
I understand the need to help fund education, but if there are really so many people who are for the parcel tax, why didn't PUSD first start a pledge drive? Oh, right, because the majority of the people who show up at the meetings are teachers and administrators, and while most of them are happy to support a parcel tax, they aren't willing to write a check.
And before you trashers start, I didn't move to Pleasanton for the schools, but for the weather and the shorter job commute.
Sue, I'm with you....No on the parcel tax, and we don't drink lattes either.
Posted by June, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:12 am
The fact that the district has been able to cut as much $$$ makes me realize how much excess spending occurred during the glory days and wonder where was the contigency planning for reserve. The development fees paid to the district is more than any other location in the State that I know of and alot of money in the millions was unfortunately spent and lost on a big lawsuit. A $233/yr parcel tax is going to be tough for our family who is already struggling given one job lost, salary reduction for the other and the incredible amount of the property taxes we pay for an 8 year old home which is triple what we previously paid for our 1992 P-Town purchased home. Im just not swayed at the moment to support it.
Posted by MA, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:12 am
Rick, I will consider voting yes for the parcel tax, but I, along with many other hard working tax payers in this city, want to see up-front concessions. I didn't mention this, but what I'm talking about are short-term concessions. We all have to feel some pain. When we turn the corner on this economy - and we will - we can then look at compensation, just like what's happening in the private sector. We both love this city and want to attract the best and brightest to work and live here. All stake holders need to give something up, now.
Posted by Not buying sap, a resident of the Ponderosa neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:27 am
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be harsh. I just never got special breaks growing up. I was born and raise in a great town on the peninsula. Even back then, I knew I wouldn't be able to buy a home in that town. My wife and I rented for several years, scrimped and saved and bought and old, tired, fixer-upper in Pleasanton. We move to a larger home several years later. We now have two kids in PUSD schools - middle and high school. We are close friends we several PUSD teachers. To a person, they are fearful of ever speaking against the union, on any issue. They have expressed an interest in serious short term concessions, to show the people of Pleasanton that they are willing to give back. However, they fear speaking out, as I mentioned above. What a mess! $233 will not break my personal bank, but it all adds up. We already pay almost $5k per year in property taxes. We both know many people who pay double and triple that amount. $233 will not break the bank of any homeowner in this town but it comes to the principal of the matter. There is not a person on this board who can tell me that my tax and fee burdon will not increase exponentially over the next four years - I'm talking at all levels, federal, state, county and local.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm
Here’s where I think this parcel tax missed from what I’ve seen. (a) The parcel tax language has to be specific to setting the fund aside from the general fund (this can be done). (b) I think three years was enough for the experiment. (c) It should neither supplant nor encroach on the general fund. Districts often have to dip into the GF to cover the commitments once they give exemptions. (d) It has to include a list of exactly where and how the money will be spent. (e) It cannot be used for raises (an ongoing cost from a time-limited, one time fund) (f) No raises should be given during the life of the parcel tax. (g) Donations can be made directly to the fund.
If concessions by the union have to be repaid, then don’t ask for them. That’s counter to what others are saying here, but the onus to repay later could present unintended consequences at a time where there still are insufficient funds to meet that kind of commitment.
I would not give exemptions to seniors or the disabled. There are seniors and disabled people who are quite capable of paying a parcel tax, just as there are able-bodied people in this economy who cannot. So I think some kind of a means test needed to be in place to receive an exemption. As was included, those exemptions can be applied for each year of the parcel tax.
The budget for spending the parcel tax has to include some percentage of exemptions. Assuming all senior citizens will qualify and apply might provide a basis. Again, this is to avoid encroachment on the general fund.
I clearly have stated I do not support the proposed parcel tax. Something in the range of $13 million in raises were given leading up to this year and now there’s a $10 million hole; there’s a correlation regardless of the state budget complication.
I do, however, believe we have the capacity to do more as a community if we are treated equally as constituents when approaching Board members; given sufficient, credible data from the district on which to base our decision; and time to determine what it is we are willing to support, or not. None of that has occurred.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm
A lot of very good posts by Bruce and others. California is still bankrupt as are a lot of the cities when you figure the costs of their pensions and retiree medical benefits. The state deficit is probably double the $40 billions due to the points raised by Bruce. The private sector just cannot support the salaries, pensions and retiree medical benefits of the public sector, a lot of whom are double dippers after retiring in their 50s. We all know several cases right in Pleasanton.
This parcel tax is not large but it is the principle. Administrators need to take big pay cuts and the rest of the employees smaller ones. We also need cuts in the pensions and retiree medical benefits. The city and the state need the same thing. The Federal budget is the biggest joke of all. We will get failures in the TBill and TBond auctions when the rest of the world quits buying our worthless pieces of paper. The Fed will start buying them and the dollar will take a big drop.
Let us make a start in the tax payer revolt. This is mini Boston tea party. Turn this down and then let us move on to bigger things in the revolution.
Posted by Barb, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm
They talked about age 60, age not income, it is not automatic you must apply each year to get the exemption. The disability would be based on SSI so there is an income threshold built in to that.
They are of course buying the votes of a block of consistent voters that could offset the teachers voting block.
This was a good post.
"I understand the need to help fund education, but if there are really so many people who are for the parcel tax, why didn't PUSD first start a pledge drive? Oh, right, because the majority of the people who show up at the meetings are teachers and administrators, and while most of them are happy to support a parcel tax, they aren't willing to write a check. "
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm
I think the usual age is 65, but don't quote me. It depends upon how the parcel tax is written on the ballot. You'll probably have to apply for the exemption directly with PUSD, who will then send the County their authorization. See for example the Livermore parcel tax exemption form: Web Link
Posted by evil and greedy teacher, a resident of Livermore, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm
I know the fact that I'm a teacher will make many of you who read this disregard my remarks, but look at the facts.
Citizens of Pleasanton will pay $233 per year for 4 years to provide a service for your community, but instead, you expect teachers (many of whom live outside the district and pay parcel taxes in their own communities) to give up anywhere between $500 and $1000 per year FOR THE REST OF THEIR CAREERS to pay for this budget shortfall? (Any potential raises in the future are not going to bring this money back, don't try and argue that with me.) I don't see the logic in that.
Teachers who live in this community will be paying the parcel tax also--it's not like we're exempt.
Frankly, I don't know what the answer is, but voting down the parcel tax out of anger and bitterness isn't the answer. If you vote it down because you can't afford it, I understand that. But if you vote it down because you think it really isn't going to affect this community, the property values, and most importantly, the children, you're a moron.
Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of the Civic Square neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm
We pay your salary. We don't appreciate you calling us morons. Everyone is hurting. All government employees, at every level - local, county, state and federal, need to give back recent salary, retirement and medical gains. For however long this recession lasts, you all need to have real skin in this game. You chose to work in the public sector, nobody forced you to do it.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm
Please do not refer to teachers as "evil and greedy." If that was the case I would not have chosen this profession. We work hard and love the jobs that we do.
This has nothing to do with scare tactics! This may be a reality sooner than we think.
I am proud to have been a student and be a current teacher in Pleasanton. If you vote no because you can't afford it, I understand. If you choose to vote no because you think we are "evil and greedy" then you should probably think it over because that is obviously not the case.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm
"...are teachers and administrators, and while most of them are happy to support a parcel tax, they aren't willing to write a check."
Ok, I can read all the ridiculous statements here, but when you say the teachers aren't willing to "write a check" you must be clueless. Do you have any idea how much personal money I spend on making the classroom a better place? Its a whole lot more than $233 dollars a year. As a teacher. I am very grateful for the generosity of many parents in the community and I would like to thank them all.
Vote for the parcel tax or don't, that's your right. But don't go making stupid accusations about what teachers are and aren't willing to do.
Posted by teacher, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm
I'm sitting here reading this in my classroom... on a computer that I bought with my own money... that uses a printer that I bought with my own money.... that uses $40 print cartridges that I buy with my own money... all of which my students use. And today we did an activity in class that involved markers. Guess who paid for those? And the speakers and DVD player that I hook up to a projector when I show a news clip? Yep! I paid for that too. I'm not a victim. I do it willingly, and so do many, many of my colleagues. I just think the people who are portraying us as greedy are clueless, and I can only shake my head.
Also, THE UNION HAS NEVER SAID IT WON'T NEGOTIATE. Please stop saying that, as it is not true.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the West of Foothill neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm
well, well, look what has happened since the election of our new president. A Change we can all believe in..hope for all. I guess the wonderful tingly feeling is over now. We are in our little towns fighting and calling each other names and that is because we are all in a panic. Forget the Parcel tax..we have much bigger problems like just trying to keep our jobs and homes.
Posted by Ann, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Reposting due to two threads of the same topic/title. Thanks.
As a parent of children in PUSD schools, I wholeheartedly support the parcel tax. Economy is bad, and budget is tight. Some of us don't agree on certain school district issues and personnel perks. But in the bigger scheme of things, these are our children's schools that we are talking about here. These are our schools staffed with wonderfully nurturing and outstanding teachers who competetively and competently beat out hundreds of other teacher candidates to get into this sought-after district.
Everywhere I go, I am told by friends, co-workers and relatives how lucky I am that my children are in PUSD schools. Let us keep our schools the way they are - outstanding, highly-regarded and a source of pride. This is a very crucial time when our students, our children need us, folks. In the end, if we don't support our schools, our very own children and our very own community will eventually suffer. Let us not turn our backs on them.
I, along with my husband and all of our friends, will willfully and enthusiastically vote to pass the parcel tax in June.
Posted by Grant money available, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm
To teachers who use their own money to purchase classroom supplies. Your school PTA provides grant money for classroom needs...you just need to be a PTA member, and fill out a grant request. Most requests, if they are supported by your department chair, are granted.
Amazingly, thousands of dollars budgeted by PTA for teacher grants go unclaimed because teachers don't apply for them.
As just as an aside, I have a lot of respect for the fine teachers we have in Pleasanton, and I think there are very few who might be evil and greedy, but when I read posts by teachers who engage in name calling, it makes me wonder how you treat the students in your classroom.
While I understand that you feel very emotional about this issue, please try to understand that responding the way you do is not productive.
Posted by Maria, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm
I was one who opposed the parcel tax. I went to the 2 meetings held in Amador and read the draft resolution. I think PUSD made it clear enough in this document that none of the parcel tax funds will go to any administrator's (management) salaries and benefits. And that an oversight committee (about 7 members) will do a quarterly audit. I now have changed my mind in will vote for parcel tax. PUSD will still cuts even with passing parcel tax. Let's hope that they'll manage it well.
On another note, I think our teachers deserve to be respected. What these people do for our kids in class are truly outstanding. It takes a lot of dedication and passion, both for kids and education to do what they do. I'm a parent who had volunteered in class since my daughter is in K, and I've seen what they do for the kids. I couldn't do that job.
Regardless, voting 'yes' or 'no' on the parcel tax, no point in disrespecting anyone.
Posted by mappy, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Did I read this right, (the article in the Pleasanton Weekly) that the parcel tax of $233.00, if voted on, would be collected twice a year. So if I am reading & understanding it correctly, that would be $466.00 a year, not $233.00 a year. Did anyone else pick up on that?
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm
"...but when I read posts by teachers who engage in name calling, it makes me wonder how you treat the students in your classroom."
First off, if you were talking about me, I did not call anyone names, I called the accusation stupid because it was unfounded and not supported by any evidence.
Of course your backhanded insult regarding how I (or whoever you directed the comment at) treat children was completely degrading and disrespectful.
I guess this is why I stayed away from these posts in the past and I must never read again, because I have to beleive that most people support the teachers and only a small "vocal" number on here hate teachers.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm
To the teachers who have been posting, I don't think this is anger directed at teachers or people who don't see the value in public education. It's about the mismanagement (repeated over and over in all the previous threads) of the public funds already entrusted to the district.
If concessions by the union have to be repaid at some date in the future, it doesn't make sense to move ahead with them. There'd only have to be some other way to pay it back (more parcel taxes? hope that state finances rebound higher than ever?). But if the parcel tax fails, the district will have to get honest with the community and themselves.
I'm as sorry as anyone that it means some will lose 100% of their income, but I don't see any other way to make the point about living within their means.
Posted by Soon To Be Former Teacher, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:21 pm
To Grant Money available:
Yes, its true that there is money available, but as you say the teachers need to apply for it. That of course means finding an application, filling it out (writing justifications, cost comparisons, etc), submitting the form then waiting for approval and then the funds and the making the purchase. This process doesn't always work when you need $20 worth of supplies in a week or so and you can't just write a request for $150 for general class supplies.
Don't get me wrong, the grants are great (thanks to all who donate and support their local schools), but they are generally better served for buying larger dollar items, then the smaller cost things that may be needed in a more short term basis that teachers tend to spend money on and not get reimbursed.
Posted by Grant Money Available, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm
I was referring to the poster who referred to parents who oppose the parcel tax as morons (wasn't you). While you may not do this, there are teachers in the district who call students stupid, lazy and even in one case, referred to them as retarded. They get away with this behavior for a couple reasons. One, the students don't want their parents contacting administration about this type of teacher behavior because teachers who behave this way behave even worse if a student dares to complain about the behavior. Two, it comes down to a student or students' word against the teacher, and while administration may know the teacher is verbally abusive, they also know that any efforts to rid themselves of such a teacher means an expensive legal battle with the teachers' union.
You are right about one thing though. You probably should stay away from these posts because you are incredibly defensive. You might want to ask yourself why you immediately assumed I was referring to you.
Oh, and while you're staying away from these posts, you might want to get closer to a dictionary. It's "i" before "e" except after "c."
Posted by rather not say, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm
Teachers I am not asking for you to take a cut in pay. The administrators need to take a cut in pay. Yes you all work hard and yes you are under paid. But at least you are getting a check, I have not had one since Dec and still go to my job everyday so that I can keep my health benefits for myself and my daughter who is uninsurable because of a heart condition. And no I am NOT collecting unemployment. I can NOT afford the parcel tax.
Posted by Newbie, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:43 pm
Voting for or against the parcel tax is not voting for or against teachers. Ultimately the vote is affecting the students. Many teachers and administrators will be layed off whether the tax passes and those folks will move on (sadly, as some are probably great teachers and administrators). Of course if it doesn't pass the numbers will just be bigger (as far as layed off teachers).
So what's the bottom line? Basically there will be more students in many of the classrooms (35 - 40 students) will not be uncommon and many programs will be cut. Are our schools going to become like Eastside High (in Lean on Me) next year. Of course not. The parents (for the most part) still strongly support the schools. Will there be "less" of everything. Of course. Less teachers to support student clubs, so those will probably be reduced. Less time for the teachers with the students. Less administrators to deal with school issues.
Its understood that some people have the opinion that $233 is not that much money, to some it is and others just don't want all the taxes to keep piling on and adding up. But just as with everything else, there is a price to pay. The state has screwed up with our money and now we are all paying the price and it looks like the students will be paying the highest price.
One side note...how much are we paying to have all these students take all of these standardized test every year.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm
This is the way I see it. One person posts a fringe opinion. It tends to be inflammatory, so instead of being ignored it suddenly becomes associated with the entire site. This is occurring on both sides of the argument. A single teacher posts something just as inflammatory and the effect gets multiplied. Suddenly all teachers are accused as holding this same opinion. Time to start cutting each other some slack.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm
Grant Money Available - First off I am not "incredibly defensive." I assumed you were directing your comment towards me as I had used the term stupid and your post appears just a few minutes after my original post. Henceforth, there was a strong likelihood in my mind that you misinterpreted my remarks, so you did not specifically address who your were speaking about. It appears that you have many issues though that you seem to be trying to work out on this message board. There are professionals that can help you thought.
In addition, I do apologize that my typing skills my not be up to your level. Yes, there is the occasion that I transpose two letters, perhaps even place punctuation inappropriately!!;,.
Posted by MOM2, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:14 pm
To those of you who say everyone has taken a pay cut, so why shouldn't teachers? Well, actually, prison guards received the big rise of all and are not rolling it back. A prison guard nurse made over $300,000 last year with overtime benefits. Our gov added positions at the state level, even at the Department of Education while underfunding our K-12 schools. The federal government is willing to supplement and reimburse the community college fees, but our state leaders still didn't raise community college fees which was like throwing federal money away. So, we have the least expense community college fees, but the lowest per pupil spending in our K-12 system. Tell me how that makes sense!
Have any of you really looked at the pay cuts the district office is making? I think you blog and complain, but don't really want to look at the facts. The district office staff will be a skeleton crew even if the parcel tax passes, there will be no vice principals even if the parcel tax passes. This money is to maintain class size reduction in K-3, English/Math 9th grade, librarians, technology specialist, band and string teachers, reading specialists including Barton. None of the parcel money goes to restore district office staff. I know some of these professional who will be without jobs and nowhere to go. They are dedicated, educated, hard working, and have been instrumental in helping PUSD achieve its status as one of the top ten school districts in the state. Also, San Ramon asks their parents to supplement the school year by the tune of at least $400.00 per child, not family. The collection of this "donation" is high pressure. Ask anyone whose children attend San Ramon schools. PUSD elementary schools ask for a $35.00 donation. Please get your facts straight!
Things are tough, but do you really want little children to learn how to suffer as a blogger implied. I don't think kindergardeners need that lesson just yet. Wow! I think the negativity, anger, and resentment on the blogs is so disappointing.
I have real estate friends who agree that property value will go down. Parents will look towards Livermore and Dublin which will keep class size reduction next year. However, they are "afraid" to speak publicly because bloggers like some of you may "boycott" their businesses or slander them as you have teachers. Talk about generating fear. I don't fear the teachers, I fear some of you!!!
Posted by Randy, a resident of the Mission Park neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:20 pm
No one wants to pay more for anything, but this is our kids we are talking about. I have never put a price on my kids and my god this is a small price to pay to keep them in a great school district. PUSD has been there for my kids and continues to provide above standard education, thats why I moved here 13 years ago.
The teachers here work hard for the little money they get. I think its great that they get paid a little more here than other districts. Just remember folks you get what you pay for in life! You want to shortcut your kids education? Then move to another community that has already done that, I think Conta Costa County has room for you.
Gee I wonder how many parents have spent this much on a couple of pairs of shoes for their kids? Its sure is a lot cheaper than sending them to private school and the education is as good or better.
PUSD you have my vote, this little bit of money and any help you need!
Posted by Fed Up, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm
There are obviously alot of emotions tied to this latest event. The board members who voted for this measure to be put on the ballot have basically voted themselves out of office. Mr. Casey has become Pleasanton's public enemy number one. I once again state that I have for years seen administrative employees by the numbers sit in those offices and do little to nothing. How many administrative staff does it require to screw in a light bulb or take attendance? Come on. Let's be realistic. I am willing to volunteer my time as I have done for the past 11 years, but I will not pay another tax, especially in light of the pay raise they snuck in just before the crisis became an apparent problem. NO to the parcel tax. And yes we parents and citizens will form a commitee to make sure this tax does not pass. It is not encumbent upon us to fix the board or state's financial mismanagement. And we will not cave the the bully tactics of the Union.
Posted by savePUSD, a resident of another community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm
For those of you out there who do not believe your property values are directly tied to school district performance, I strongly encourage you to do your research. If you were to find the top 50 school districts in CA and then pull up the property value data within those school district boundaries you would find that the homes with the highest value and best chance of retaining that value are situated within the best performing school districts in this state. Coincidence? I think not. The proof is out there! Why some of you do not realize this is beyond me. This is a simple task and I urge you to look into this. I challenge you: Find me a CA school district in which the home values are high, but the API scores of the schools are low. YOU WON'T FIND THIS!!!! It doesn't exist. Your high property values in Pleasanton can be attributed to a few things, most notably the success of PUSD.
If the parcel tax does not pass we will lose class-size reduction. For the past 10 years or more class-size reduction has become a standard in CA. I don't know of many, if any, schools that aren't benefitting from this program currently. Teachers unanimously agree keeping class sizes small is critical for student success and it isn't a coincidence that PUSD's API scores have risen consistently over the years (most significantly since the implementation of 20:1). There are others who disagree with me. Fine.
Let's do this-- remove the whole "Is class-size reduction REALLY beneficial?" argument from the table. Rather, consider PUSD next year WITHOUT class-size reduction. PUSD will be one of the FEW districts in CA without it. When families tour the East Bay Area looking for homes they will CERTAINLY take note that PUSD got rid of class-size reduction. Because of this, these families will likely choose to buy a home in Dublin, Livermore, or the SRVUSD area, all of which chose to do what they could to keep this valuable program. You can argue all day long that class-size reduction doesn't matter, but to young families (HOME BUYERS) it MATTERS. PUSD will not look enticing to home buyers because these individuals can easily head 10 mins. in either direction to find a home in a city that values education and did what they could to keep class sizes small. I don't think I need to explain how this will, in turn, affect your property values.
I ask that you leave the teachers, administrators and the district out of this for just one moment. We are in this MESS because of forces beyond our control. The superintendent did not cause this, your principal did not cause this, your child's teacher did not cause this. And yet all of these individuals are trying desperately to solve this problem. No one WANTS to pay a parcel tax, but PUSD needs to slash $9 million from their budget. If they don't come up with some or all of this money then PUSD will NOT look the same next year by any stretch. And when PUSD starts to take a turn for the worse (which it will if all of the programs at-risk get cut), so will the value of your home.
$233 a year for four years is NOT a lot of money. There, I said it. Losing 20% of your home's value? THAT is a lot of money. There are districts in the Bay Area (not far from Pleasanton) whose residents pay over $1000 a year in taxes for their local schools. Guess what? Those districts are not only top performers in the state, but the homes in those areas have remarkably retained their value amidst this terrible housing crisis. It is not a coincidence!!! Pour a little money into your local schools and I guarantee you will reap the benefits for years and years to come.
The choice is yours Pleasanton. You may not have a child in the school system, but you all own a home here. Decide if you want to retain what you have or lose much of it just because you want to dig your heels in and say "no" based on 'principle.'
Seems like a no-brainer to me. YES ON THE PARCEL TAX.
Posted by Kerry, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm
The ones who are greedy here are the children. All they do is consume our resources and cry. I for one am sick and tired of it. They complain that nothing is ever good enough and they want more and more. We should send them to an island and let natural selection take over. We could also send that know it all and I have an opinion about everyting because I cut and paste from the Internet STACY. She's a rabble rouser and needs to crawl back I to the hole where she came from.
Posted by Concerned Taxpayer, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm
Are you all aware of a lawsuit in Alameda Co. Superior Court over a parcel tax in Alameda? It was passed last year and a significant hearing is set for March 18 where that tax could be thrown out because it does not comply with state law. Can somebody find the School Board resolution so an attorney can take a look to see if it complies with State law on special parcel taxes for schools.
Posted by BTDT, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm
TEACHERS: MOST OF YOU ARE AWESOME AND DON'T DESERVE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING.....FROM THE DISTRICT OR THE IDIOT BLOGGERS WHO DON'T KNOW THEIR FACE FROM THEIR A..... YOU DESERVE FULL RECOGNITION FOR WHAT YOU GIVE TO THE CHILDREN OF THESE SACRED, HOLIER THAN THOU, PEOPLE AND WHAT YOU GIVE OF YOUR FINANCES. I KNOW TOO WELL..... BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. AS A TAXPAYER, $233 A YEAR IS NOTHING; CERTAINLY NOT FROM PLEASANTONIANS. I WOULD GLADLY GIVE UP MY LATTES FOR AWHILE (1/WK = 3.50 AVERAGE, X 52 = $182.00 + TAX.) COME ON YOU NEIGH SAYERS ON THE PARCEL TAX....GET A CLUE. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELVES MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE..IF YOU HAVE KIDS OR OWN REAL ESTATE IN THIS TOWN.
TEACHERS: ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS: "CONSIDER THE SOURCE"; THE NEIGH-SAYERS ARE CLUELESS CYBERBULLIES.
YOU ARE TOO VALUABLE TO GIVE UP.. IF YOU GO, PLEASANTON WILL BE THE LOSERS...AND THEY WILL DESERVE IT.
Posted by Lisa, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 9:41 pm
If the County Counsel considers the parcel tax an 'ad valorem' tax, it could be disqualified and the District would have to resubmit its resolution. If it doesn't need to resubmit, then if it passes it could be challenged. Usually challenges involve the tax not being uniform or not really being a 'qualified special tax.' Section 2 of Article XIII C of the California Constitution in part states:
(a) All taxes imposed by any local government shall be deemed to
be either general taxes or special taxes. Special purpose districts
or agencies, including school districts, shall have no power to levy
Ad valorem taxes are those based on the value of real estate or property values. If the resolution were worded to lead one to believe it is a general tax to improve all facets of education and that then equates to property values, it could be challenged. School districts only have the power to put qualified special taxes on the ballot fpr voter approval.
Posted by Sonya, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:14 pm
Teacher wrote: "Also, the cuts that some people are asking for from teachers are permanent, whereas the tax will expire in 3-5 years."
Dear "teacher"? I am one of many physicians in internal medicine who serves the people of Pleasanton and surrounding communities who is being asked to reduce hours per week which means "cuts" in pay. Others less fortunate than you and me are getting "cuts" to the tune of NO jobs. And regarding the parcel tax that will "expire". You don't really believe that do you? If so you live in the land of Oz. Only tax CUTS expire. Its the parcel tax that will be permanent. No to the parcel tax
Posted by Brent, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 10:20 pm
Great schools = equal great kids, happy families and a great community. There is a reason why property values are higher in Pleasanton, as compared to Dublin and Livermore. Our schools are the foundation for what we have in Pleasanton. I will be voting for the tax. My kids and my community deserve this affirmative vote.
Posted by Liz, a member of the Fairlands Elementary School community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm
Why the CAPS BTDT? Makes your post hard to read. I guess I am one of those "CLUELESS CYBERBULLIES" (your words and caps). I'm a mom of 2 (school age)and my husband just got laid off. We own a modest home in the Fairlands area, and I am a home day care provider. Unfortunately I lost one of my little guys whose mother was a manager for Mervyns so now I have just two children I watch. I don't drink lattes,get my nails done(I'm sure you think most in Pleasanton do), belong to a gym,and even do my own house work (surprised?). While you may consider "$233 A YEAR IS NOTHING" this "IDIOT BLOGGER" values that "nothing" and will be voting NO on the parcel tax. By the way, even if I could afford it,after reading your post I would still vote NO. People like you give Plesanton a bad name. Your attitude makes this town a "loser" far more than any class size reduction ever could. And to those who can afford it. I hope you vote NO too. Just because you have the money does not give the PUSD the authority to take it from you without your permission even if it does have 2/3 majority.
Posted by Mother of a teacher, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm
Wow, they are asking for less than $1.00 a day. And I think it was " Our Change", well I sure hope your happy with the change you were looking. Unless it was your pocket change you were referring to. I can proudly say I DID NOT vote for "the change". And I bet you did. So you just got what you asked for.
The person who made the observation that many families with kids live in apartments made a good point. Somehow, maybe they can be billed the $233.00 to make it a more approbriate taxing.
Also, yes, the schools do absolutley make a difference in home prices. Many people who moved here did so just for the schools. And for a while we all cashed in on it.
I have an issue also with the teachers union that may be protecting some teachers that really should'nt be teaching anymore. They get paid the most, care the least, get away with the most, and do the minimumn. The young new teachers come in with energy and drive, more education, higher educational credentials, and cost alot less. You get way more teacher for the money in many cases.
But it is the same in any union shop, it is the same with nurses, grocery store clerks, the auto companies.
You could say I have already paid my parcel tax, by paying for the education and tests, and credential program, and student teaching housing by supporting my child through six years of schooling so she could come back to Pleasanton and give back to this community.
The way she got to go on to school was because of the best education California has to offer which is here in Pleasanton.
Aren't there grandparents out there that want to see the next generation get the best there is? They will need all the help and support they can get once we get done with the generational theft that will be afflicting them the rest of their lives.
Also, I agree with the person that said, they would rather volunteer their time, so they can see what they are giving be effective. I wrote that in a letter to the school board just this week. We must have a wealth of knowledge and support out there with our retired community.
If a four day school week doesn't work, how about limiting some vacation days for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why do you need a full week for Thanksgiving, and depending on the date of the holidays, there are almost 3 weeks off for Christmas. I doubt that any new teacher would care giving up anything so they could keep a job that they just started.
There is way to much negativity flowing out every where we look, listen, and read. We all buy in to the fear. Don't let fear rule over every thing in your life. It is a sad thing when our elected officals can't find any positive rays of hope to shine on us. Especially when they are the ones that deem they know what is best for this country.
We owe the next generation to give them the best education and outlook on life, because the reality is they are our future. They are the ones that we will be looking to for strenght and leadership in the not to distant future.
I apologize for any spelling and or grammer infractions.
Posted by Teacher, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 7, 2009 at 12:06 am
Dear "teacher"? I am one of many physicians in internal medicine who serves the people of Pleasanton and surrounding communities who is being asked to reduce hours per week which means "cuts" in pay. Others less fortunate than you and me are getting "cuts" to the tune of NO jobs.
You took my comment out of context. Please re-read it. I was not saying the teachers should not take pay cuts. Actually, it was to the contrary. What I was saying was that the cuts should be reasonable and equitable. Tax payers refusing to pay $233 X 4 years to support programs that the community benefits from while demanding teachers fund them with thousands of dollars of permanent cuts is not reasonable, nor is it equitable.
And regarding the parcel tax that will "expire". You don't really believe that do you? If so you live in the land of Oz. Only tax CUTS expire. Its the parcel tax that will be permanent. No to the parcel tax
Yes, Sonya, I do think it will expire. Want to know why? Because IT SAYS IT EXPRESSLY IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE RESOLUTION:
"Section 5. Subject to voter approval as set forth below, the education parcel tax
shall be levied commencing with the 2009-2010 fiscal year of the District"
If you want to read the entire resolution yourself, here it is right on PUSDs website:
Posted by Think people, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 12:09 am
Think people! Why does the Board get to put anything on the ballet and we don't? If the district can't manage the situation itself and has to come to the homeowners and parents of the district for MORE money, why can't we have a say about what they have to give up? How about we will give more money, but we want more say in the union practices? Ooooh...I know...pure evil! I mean, really, the reason our property taxes are so HIGH in Pleasanton is because of the bond measure that was passed for the school district back in the 90's. The teachers here make at least $10K more a year than other districts plus they have what is known in other school districts as the "Pleasanton Plan" for health care...which is the teaching staff gets there benefit money up front and can choose to take part in the health plans or keep the money if, say, they are married and receive benefits through their spouse, etc. I'm tired of the admin/teachers acting like they are "above reproach" when it comes to the bottom line. Here is the scoop...YOU WORK FOR US and we are running this ship. Take a pay cut, or go to ANOTHER district to work. We should demand that we get to open up the district's tenure process and finally get rid of this monopoly by some horrible faculty that shouldn't get held to the same standards the first and second year (pre-tenure) staff are...STANDARDS, that's right. How many other fields do you know of that you get a pay increase just if you take a few classes or hang on long enough at a job you are terrible at. I say we should think as a community about what we want for the $150,000.00 to place this on the ballot (of OUR money) as well as for the proposed 10 million. COME ON, LET'S THINK PEOPLE!
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 12:40 am
So much negativity, Moriarity. I don't see how this thing can possibly pass, but if it does then I will spend as little money in the city of Pleasanton as possible and deny the city their share of my sales tax contributions. You can have my sales tax money or raise my property taxes, but you can't have both. This ATM is shutting down.
Posted by Mother of a teacher, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 8:18 am
Regarding "think people"
You claim that Pleasanton teachers make 10K more a year than other districts. On paper it may look like it, BUT the teachers in Pleasanton have to buy their own health coverage. If they are married and have a spouse that has good benefits, then it is different. Have YOU priced individual health care plans?
Do you have beneifts at your job? Do you pay union dues? Teachers pay $250 a month for union dues.
Bottom line, you get what you pay for, and if you don't value education for this next generation we will be worse off than we already are. Don't you get it?
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 8:23 am
Let's get something straight. Tenure does not protect a bad teacher. Teachers can be removed, but it takes some work on the part of a principal in the form of documentation, which many are not wiling to do. What tenure does do is protect against ageism, and other discriminations and biases the administration may have.
To "Mother of a Teacher": The "young teachers that come in with energy and drive" in a matter of time turn into the older teachers with less energy. (Do you have the energy and enthusiasm you did 10 years ago? 20 years ago?) But one of the oldest teachers I know is one of the bext, I hope she is still teaching when my child gets to that grade. And it's the older teachers that have "more education and higher education credentials". They have had the time to go back to school and get what they need, rarely does a starting teacher have anything more than a degree and a credential.
In your reference to grandparents, I am guessing you are refering to the senior exemption. I know my parents will not be applying for that, I know many others who will not apply for that.
A four-day work week will not fly, as it will cost this community WAY more that 233 bucks in increased day-care cost. There are ed-code requirements too, we would be under the minimum minutes required by the state.
To "Think people", We do not make more than other districts around us. Of three other districts with similar health-care plans, for a new teacher we rank second. For a veteran teacher, we rank third. Hardly "10 K more a year than other districts". Also, we do not have a choice in the benefits, it depends on what your spouse does for a living. I'd opt out if I could, but I can't.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 9:19 am
To Bill: This is right off the FAQ at the PUSD website. I am not talented enough at computer stuff to attach the link or copy it here. But from the PUSD web page go to "Budget FAQ's", then "Posted February 18, 2009", and it is the second question.
I do not know the other three districts, can't help you there (wish I could, I'd like to know). But I do beleive this to be true, one reason being that the FAQ section has been corrected numerous times when facts have been wrong.
"It has been the Board’s goal to have the highest paid salaries of districts in the region with a schedule combining salary and benefits like ours. This enables our District to compete well for teachers, classified employees, and managers. The last time a salary comparison was done, our teachers were number one with comparative districts while administrative and classified salaries were mixed. Web Link
PUSD’s Human Resource department compared the salaries of Pleasanton teachers with those in three surrounding districts who also have benefits “on the schedule” (no benefits paid over and above salary). The comparison was done with both starting salaries and those at the highest end of the schedule and accounted for the difference in days worked. For beginning teachers, Pleasanton was the second highest (2nd out of 4). For the high end of the schedule, Pleasanton was second lowest (3rd out of 4).
Posted by sonya, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:12 am
Teacher says: Yes, Sonya, I do think it will expire. Want to know why? Because IT SAYS IT EXPRESSLY IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE RESOLUTION:"
Now I know you live in Oz. You actually believe what it says.
Let me give you an example. Just like the new fed tax cuts "say" some people are going to get an additional $13.00/wk w/ tax cuts, I bet you actually believed those very people were going to get to keep the money. Yes those people will get additional $13.00/wk because it "says" so but then they have to turn around and pay taxes on that $13, putting some in a higher tax bracket. Gee, but it "says" I am going to get a tax cut.
Voters beware. No to any Parcel tax. Look beyond what it "says" and look @ what the "gov" does. When have you ever known "them" to do what they "say" and "say" what they do. The PUSD is no different.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:14 am
A few comments to the thread:
If you prove your spouse has adequate benefits that cover you, you can opt out. That is $10,000 in your pocket (or 403b).
There are great tenured and probationary teachers. However, removing tenured teachers is not easy at all and is very expensive if undertaken. The union is not protecting teachers from ageism or other arbitrary attempts to remove them. In fact, despite real evidence of true failure, the last thing on union leaderships’ minds is the students (and to be fair, much of it is driven by the CTA). It’s why you’ll see the same bad teachers moved from one grade to another or from school to school rather than being terminated.
K-12 districts with high performing students also have a community with high educations levels, high per capita incomes, and usually have proximity to great universities. Just throwing more money at Pleasanton schools will not mean higher performing students and therefore higher property values.
This isn’t about “just $233” per parcel, it’s about giving $4.6 million to a district that blew through $13 million in raises it could not afford. That’s where the forces beyond our control would come home to roost—giving the same administration more money in the hope they’ll do a better job this time. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?
For the exemptions, is the district really budgeting around them? If they commit to $4.6 million in “saves” and the 7.6-9.3% of the population that makes up the seniors all take the exemption, that’s a hole of $350-$430,000. That would mean another encroachment on the general fund. (Demographics were taken from Pleasanton’s 2000 census and 2007 estimates.)
To the person who wants us to think, it is of course the exact opposite of what the district wants us to do. They have got all of us, for or against this proposal, reacting. They have not allowed for time or a process for any real analytical effort in the community. I posted five questions on another thread about how this might have been approached. Instead we’re seeing a hair on fire rush to the voting booth that I hope will be rewarded with a resounding no. Then maybe staff and the board will be forced to engage the community in finding a solution.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the West of Foothill neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:21 am
Here's something we can teach our children...If we don't have enough money, we don't spend more. It's time our children learned this valuable lesson. I would rather give my extra money to the elderly and people who are in need of housing and food. Are we all still living in the "Pleasanton Bubble"? PUSD..make it work with the budget you have and the wonderful volunteer parents who will work together to continue to make our schools the best. My kids went through the system and to be honest, it wasn't the best all the time, but we all pitched in and taught PE, and ART classes and MUSIC. We chipped in for supplies for the classrooms, carpooling and putting on plays. How about those wonderful yearly fundraisers we all worked so hard on and raised so much money for the schools? Stop asking taxpayers for more and more money that sorry to say, some of us don't have anymore!
Posted by JC Student, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:25 am
Vote No on the parcel tax. In our dying economy, we can't just force people to pay a tax to help out schools, that won't improve much. Sure, we do need people to start putting money back in the economy, and we should encourage some spending, but this is not the right source to funnel money into.
Posted by property owner/parent/teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:50 am
This is the first time I've ever read the Pleasanton Weekly Blog at length, and it makes me very regretful that I convinced my family to invest so heavily in this community and district. I feel like one of those workers for Enron who worked for the company and invested in the company. I see my property values dropping, my job becoming unstable and undervalued (not just monetarily), and my child's education at risk. I know, someone's going to respond with a snarky or condescending message that sounds something like: "It's happening all over! Suck it up!", which is an additional reason I'm heartsick about all of this. I drank the Kool Aid and bought into the belief that Pleasanton was a community where people supported and cared for each other. The ugliness and finger pointing here prove otherwise.
Posted by enough already, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:56 am
Count me in on the Boston-Pleasanton Tea Party. Enough is enough.
No on the parcel tax! My money is earmarked to pay the higher taxes Obama is planning to impose on me. I have no discretionary money left to support your kids' education. That's the reality of change and hope!
Posted by Mom2, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 11:04 am
These blogging arguments are somewhat ridiculous because these cuts are about CHILDREN and what they will lose because of the greed and mismanagement of the BABY BOOMER generation who at all costs, including faulty loans based upon lies (stated income), is causing the real estate crash all over California. Some of you are angry that we are going to help our school district, but did you even think how much of your property tax/state sales tax/income tax is going to bail out the central valley communities in California? If you have friends in the Central Valley they will tell you that every other home is in foreclosure! I watched real estate agents give out these loans to people that statistically where bound to fault on their loans when the mortgage rates adjusted. Did the banks and the loan agents care? No, the reaped the rewards of a healthy income. We are all paying for that greed at the city, county, state, and federal level. However, as a mom in Pleasanton and even if I didn't have children, I don't want these kids to lose out on a great education and possibly a better, more honest future. The children who are presently in school did not cause this mess nor should their educational opportunities be shortchanged for it. The blogger who called Dr. Casey the #1 enemy or something to that affect is very close to slander. Dr. Casey walked into the Neal School mess and under pressure from the COMMUNITY tried to get the school built based on the faulty agreement written before he became superintendent.
I read recently that a resident in Marin County pays about $6500.00 in taxes and receives about $600.00 in state services; whereas, a Kern County resident pays and receives the opposite.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 11:20 am
I value teachers and I am not saying they are overpaid. I am saying they are well compensated in Pleasanton, so be honest about it. I am also saying we can show that Pleasanton has 20% more revenue than other districts. The salaries are where the windfall of money has gone. We can be proud of that but it follows that this is where trimming must be done to balance the budget in this time of economic crisis.
Pleasanton has 20% more revenue than other districts.
PUSD spends more per student on teacher’s salaries than neighboring districts.
PUSD spends more per student on administration than neighboring districts.
I would like PUSD to show their DATA and what districts they used to compare.
Teacher Salary Schedule - Annual Salary
Lowest Offered $55,646
BA + 60 (Step 10) Offered $80,752
Highest Offered $98,045
Average Paid $81,446
Pleasanton Unified has indicated that health and welfare benefit dollars ARE INCLUDED in the salary schedule.
Even if ED-Data is wrong and the benefits are not included, every District I looked at indicated teacher health and welfare Benefit Schedule - Maximum Annual Per-Employee Contribution was approx $10,000. I find it hard to believe that PUSD would pay significantly more.
Posted by me, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 11:31 am
To "property owner/parent/teacher": Not supporting a parcel tax doesn't mean we don't support our community, our teachers, our schools, and our children. It simply means that we believe there are alternate (perhaps better) solutions to the budget problems than imposing a parcel tax that our community cannot afford in this economic depression.
Dumping more money into a broken system will not fix it. We need a long term fix to the uncontrollable spending at PUSD on salaries and perks. PUSD has been bleeding money in the past few years on lawsuits and frivolous projects, money that should be used in the classrooms. Let's start there before we jump onto the parcel tax bandwagon just because we're told there's no time...
It's time we start thinking about real solutions instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, as the PUSD administrators and the board have been doing from the get-go. All alternatives that didn't say parcel tax were rejected by Casey and school administrators. I witnessed first hand in multiple meetings, even at the PTA level.
It's time to come up with some real solutions are sustainable and do not carry the name parcel tax.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 11:45 am
Maybe I should quit being anonymous. Having started the Boston-Pleasanton tea party I am tempted to lead it. But I don't want to fight directly the public employees that are driving us to ruin. We just need more people to read this blog. Getting a 1/3rd vote to overturn this should be a piece of cake. After that we can move on to bigger things like pensions, retiree medical etc. and make them comparable to the private sector. Then we have to move to the city, state and federal employees that are feeding at the trough. As the state cannot float more bonds and the treasury auctions start failing all these things will be inevitable. I have been the Cassandra saying these things for a couple of years and the Trojan horse is finally in our midst. Boy, I am getting carried away with these allegories.
Posted by Diagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm
Regarding the superintendent and Neal, don’t paint him a hero. He didn’t want to build that school; the district could neither afford to run it (particularly when they were busy giving raises) nor is it needed based on enrollment. The lawsuits were an expensive diversion. (There is a great example of greed; demanding $5 million more than was originally agreed and then threatening to sue Signature to their faces—Signature just beat them to court. How dumb was that?) You don’t have to point further than the district office if you want to talk about squandering taxpayer dollars.
A more creative effort years ago might have been working WITH Signature to get the school built; working with the community for the operating costs (a two-strand school is something like 12 teachers @ $100,000, 1 principal @ $120,000, office staff @ $100,000 . . . $1.5 million?). Other ideas would have been to build the school to add CSR at 4th and/or 5th grades across the district. It might have been something the community supported. We’ll likely never know now.
What we are saying is that voting no on the parcel tax will force the district to the table with the entire community. With the district administration’s and board member’s feet to the fire, instead of ours, this will be a much different discussion. And trust me, voting the parcel tax down will not impact students for long, if at all.
To the Pleasanton Tea Party, I have an alias email at parceltax.com. If you want to bounce around ideas about a committee against, please feel free to set up an alias too and we can see where it goes and move ahead when there's a comfort level. I'm happy to let someone else lead. Maybe with real opposition, the district will save itself $150,000+ and drop the idea.
Posted by sc_2007, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm
I am the parent of 2 beautiful middle-school aged kids enrolled in the PUSD since kindergarten. I absolutely appreciate the quality of Pleasanton's public schools - which is one of the main reasons my husband and I moved here.
That said, we donate money, time, and goods every year to our children's teachers, their classrooms, the PTA, and the school in general. I am absolutely against giving more money to PUSD than most, if not all, parents already do! There has got to be other avenues to explore for cost-savings besides continually putting your hand out in the name of our children's benefit. While it is obvious PUSD continues to provide a nationally-ranked, top quality public education for our children, I firmly believe $ is not the sole reason why - it is the dedication of staff, parents, and the kids.
Just as many households, companies, and local governments are having to do during this time, PUSD must reevaluate its budget on a reasonable, realistic level and think outside of the box in terms of spending. There's got to be better ways of cutting the fat instead of asking citizens to pony up an additional $200+/year for 4 years (conservatively $16M gross) when the citizens are feeling the hurt, too.
Posted by Mother of a teacher, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm
Ok "get the facts".Iknow 12 new teachers in the last 2 years that have come into this district with Masters degrees. My child being one of them, so get that fact straight. They already have had to take additional credits just like the tenured teachers.
If you are in a job you love and believe in you do have the same energy and drive to continue giving your all and caring. But maybe it is a persons persecptive, how they view life, and sadly the majority of people on this blog seem to be very negitive and unwilling to better anything that doesn't affect them directly.
Maybe because so much is being shoved down our throats right now by this new administration. None of which will have any thing to do with bettering my life or future. But this parcel tax does.
Again, it is OUR future also that is at stake if we let our high standing slip away. Why would you want to allow this to happen and just become ordinary?
Why would you want to see that happen? I have an investment in this town, in my home values, in the people that surround my family here, in my daughter who if many of you have your way will be out of her job. I know it isn't your concern for yet another person to be a statistic, but you know what, it is more than that, it is the fact that you would rather see your children reduced to a ordinary
standard. That isn't fair to them or us. Are you all really just willing to settle?
I honestly didn't see that coming.
Also "get the facts" you were assuming I was
refering to older teachers. There are bad teachers in all age groups that should be looked at, maybe even some of the new teachers. The point is to help save the almighty dollar, and if you can get a good teacher for less money, wouldn't that be the place to start?
Posted by Bob, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm
Theresa: Read disagree w/ B comments: "To the Pleasanton Tea Party, I have an alias email at parceltax.com. If you want to bounce around ideas about a committee against, please feel free to set up an alias too and we can see where it goes and move ahead when there's a comfort level. I'm happy to let someone else lead. Maybe with real opposition, the district will save itself $150,000+ and drop the idea."
Disagree w/ B; Looks like we need a table @ Farmers Mkt to get the word out; some good letters to the editors(although not sure how many even get the paper anymore), a call in to Barbara Simpson Show for radio coverage, and a consistent fact based message why we oppose the parcel tax. People are listening.
Posted by RN Lisa, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm
To Mother of teacher: I am an RN (yes their is a shortage of"us" as you may have heard) and also hold a masters in Public Health. I have been sent home 3 times in the last pay period (thus no income) and as a result, the patients I care for have been "reduced to "ordinary". Is that "fair" to them??? I too own a home in this area. You may not have voted for change and what "this new administration is shoving down our throats" but elections have consequences. This is one of them. As far as the parcel tax impacting your life.....sorry, I think reducing RN: patient ratios impacts that more. But I don't see any blog here addressing that concern. NO NO NO NO to Parcel tax.
Posted by Kiko, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.
What this city has needed for the 35 yrs. that I have lived here is a good Catholic High School (and at least 1 grammar school too). The people of Pleasanton are not afraid to spend money on education, but they are afraid to throw money into a pit with vipers at the bottom sucking the blood money. If there was a Catholic High School here, the people would support it and they would have a waiting list to get in. PUSD would have competition and they would have to improve.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm
I am flattered by all the support. However I am not a political leader type and have my hands full managing my affairs to survive in this terrible depression. I will be glad to give ideas. There seems to be plenty of support to get a 1/3rd vote to beat this. We may not even have to set up a committee. All we need to do is to advertise this blog so that people can check in and leave their messages. The proponents need to a lot of organising. I don't hink we need to.
Posted by Theresa, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Mar 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm
Although I respect and understand why Concerned cannot lead this campaign, i don't think advertising this blog alone will touch as many people w/ all the good voices to date that have spoken re: No to the Parcel tax. Perhaps more visibility would be gained @ Farmer's Mkt.
In re: to a Catholic school, I totally agree but I am afraid Livermore beat Pleasanton to that idea. A John Paul II High School has already been dedicated and will house 1200 students. Pre-construction is slated to begin at any time.
Our surrounding areas have elementary-8th grade Cathholic Education (Livermore/Dublin/Danville). Looks like Pleasanton missed the boat completely on this one.
Posted by raven, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm
I have an alias email at parceltax.com. If you want to bounce around ideas about a committee against, please feel free to set up an alias too and we can see where it goes and move ahead when there's a comfort level. I'm happy to let someone else lead. Maybe with real opposition, the district will save itself $150,000+ and drop the idea."
Help me... I can't find it. Parceltax.com doesn't work. Thanks.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 8:57 am
I have been doing some heavy reading this weekend. Quite a few smart thinkers expect the DOW to go to 5000 down 65% from the peak. We could be in a long depression. It is absolutely crazy to pass this Parcel tax. We have to be in a survival scenario. PUSD has to go back to 2000 levels and adjust for inflation and no. of students. I bet we are 20 to 30% above those levels. Cut spending. Live within your means as we are all doing.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:03 am
RE: setting up at the farmer's market. Under the laws of free speech Pleasanton allows any respectful group to set up a table on the sidewalk (outside Studio 7 or Doodlebug's) as long as it does not impede foot traffic. Pleasanton does not control the farmer's market and cannot control whether they would allow space (not likely) for a booth. Just set up a table, talk to some people, like they do at election time. In fact Hosterman was there this week but left after about an hour when no one wanted to talk to her.
Personally I think this is a slam dunk to fail, as it should. Casey said he would give up 5 days of pay -- talk about a slap in the face to the rest of us. No meaningful effort has been made to get pay and benefits reductions from the whole group so there is no reason on earth that I would vote for a parcel tax.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:18 am
Lisa -- the taxes that have been challenged legally are those that levy more revenue from larger properties. The district has a legal consultant to ensure that the proposal here is written so that it is consistent with other community's taxes which have not faced a legal challenge.
Nancy -- the parcel tax will fund much more than special education. As the Pleasanton Weekly article at the beginning of this thread states, the wording on the ballot is as follows:
"To preserve educational quality and protect Pleasanton schools from severe state budget cuts,
keep class sizes small,
maintain essential reading and math support programs,
with no proceeds used for administrators' compensation, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual $233 parcel tax for four years, with guaranteed audits, senior and disabled exemptions, an independent citizens' oversight committee and all funds benefiting our Pleasanton students?"
To all --
the state reduced funding to the district by $8.7 million between January 2008 and June 2010. There will be cuts to the district funding. Those include cuts to the size of administration (more than 25 percent of current staff). Those who remain will be doing much more work per person.
Even if the parcel tax passes, cuts of at least $4 million will be made. If the state's May revision to the budget includes additional cuts to school funding statewide, even more cuts will need to be made in the schools. Many more of the school services listed in the ballot language would need to be cut.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:44 am
I agree it is a slam dunk to fail. The bigger issues are the pensions and retiree medical benefits of the public sector employees. They are going to bankrupt more cities and states. Several cities have already gone into bankruptcy. Public sector unions are the biggest problem. They have to learn to live with the realities of life as the rest of us are doing. Maybe cities and states will have to go thru bankruptcy like GM is now doing.
Posted by Jan, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:12 am
"with no proceeds used for administrators' compensation, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual $233 parcel tax for four years, with guaranteed audits, senior and disabled exemptions, an independent citizens' oversight committee and all funds benefiting our Pleasanton students?"
The community will be informed that there is no credibility in this language.
Without language boldly prohibiting salary increases, during the entire term of the tax, money will just be moved to free up general funds money for raises.
There is no credibility of an oversight committee given the districts disregard of the same language on the measure B ballot statement.
How can you promote this knowing what I am saying is true?
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:37 am
The vague parcel tax language:
Keep class sizes small – which ones (K-3, 9th and 10th grade English and math, others)? Essential reading and math programs – should one assume other than 9th and 10th? Libraries . . . technology instruction . . . safe, clean schools – why not just say jobs? No proceeds used for administrators’ compensation – shouldn’t this be no raises for anyone for four years? Guaranteed audits – when? Exemptions – I think they all should be income tested. All funds benefiting students – unnecessary words.
Why doesn’t it read:
To supplement $2,000,000 for class size reduction, X employees for reading, X for math, X for libraries, X for music, X for technology instruction, and X for custodians, with no staff raises for the life of the parcel tax, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual $233 parcel tax for four years, with guaranteed yearly audits, income tested exemptions, and an independent citizens' oversight committee?
This, of course, cuts out the district’s flexibility to move money around under the guise of supporting a named area in some obtuse way. I can’t say I would support this language either, but at least it’s more definitive.
Those arguing for the parcel tax have not addressed the fact that some $13 million in raises made it impossible for the district to be prepared for the cuts from the state level. It seems if the raises were 0-2% over the last three school years, the community would be more willing to listen now and maybe even help. And there would have been plenty of time for the community at large to prioritize before cuts would have been necessary.
Posted by Dorothy, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm
If the parents that are supporting the parcel tax demanded the accountability that has been asked for in these forums the district could not get away with misleading the community. Dan and Al have been supportive of the parcel tax in a responsible way. They have fearlessly called for accountability and concessions. The women that are whining that it is "for the children" look like foolish Stepford Wives. I know this is a mean post but we all care about the kids and our community. The parcel tax proponents say anyone that does not support the districts irresponsible and deceptive practices is heartless. That would make me the Tinman and them the Scarecrow............I hope they find their brains.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm
To Grant Money Avalaible,
You sound like an evil, bitter, and unhappy person. Leave the teacher alone, and get a life. Instead of complaining, try doing something positive, such as workng in the community or volunteering. After reading your comments, I'm honestly surprised you have any friends. If you copied your postings and sent them to your teacher friends, I'm sure they'd be sick to their stomachs. Good luck to you and your anonymous postings!
Posted by Carrie, a resident of Dublin, on Mar 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm
You people are hilarious. Ranting and raving and you can't even put a face behind your comments! Alias names and websites?!?! You get real brave when you don't have to show your identity. You are a joke!
Posted by me, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm
"Get a Clue People": if news weren't dramatic, who would read them? Quit being a drama queen and take a look around. You'll see that people are still spending and living large. I still see a lot of brand new $60,000 SUVs and $80,000 Mercedes roaming my neighborhood. 1 in 10 people are still employed so it's not all gloom and doom.
Even our public employees will be shielded from this economic downturn. If the economy turns for the worse, we'll pass more parcel tax to support the same ole same ole. Then everything will be OK.
The money will never stop coming even if half of the people in this state are unemployed, otherwise "what about the children?"
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm
Carrie, Putting your first name (which doesn't mean it's your real name anyway) and Dublin is as anonymous as anyone else. Read the blogs. It's a genuine discussion, with a few asides, of whether the parcel tax has merit.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm
Does anyone besides me think it's hilarious that people on here are trying to start anti-parcel tax campaign using fake names and telling each other to contact each other on their alias e-mail addresses? haha I've got some suggestions for your titles. They can be "Grand Imperial Wizard" and "Grand Cyclops". Oh, wait! Those were already used by another conservative organization.
Posted by Carrie, a resident of Dublin, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm
I had a feeling you would comment. You've practically commented on every blog on every article about this issue, multiple times . But hey, we all have different ways of spending our time. "Genuine" discussion, hmm, I don't think I'd call it that... Definitely a lot of name calling and finger pointing though. 20% genuine 80% finger pointing and name calling.
Posted by Jim, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm
I agree, its hilarious that people are trying to spark change... with fake names and alias emails. Haha! People get pretty courageous when they don't have to show they're face. I like to believe the people commenting so negatively do not accurately represent the Pleasanton community. I also find it hilarious that families with 2,3,4 or more kids, won't support a $233 per family parcel tax. Sad.
Another alias name someone could use is "Bitter Betty" LOL
Posted by Burn Baby Burn, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 9:29 pm
Aw, let's just burn the schools down and salt the earth so nothing will ever grow there again. That'll solve all this feudin' and fussin'.
What about the kids? Eh, screw 'em...we can bring back the workhouses of Dickensian London. Child labor laws? Just more big guvmint bureaucracy!
$233 is clearly too high a price for the homeowners of Pleasanton to keep their property values high. Pleasanton is--let's face it--just a two-bit hick town with an overpriced mall that got lucky by having some first-rate schools for awhile.
And now its residents seem determined to destroy the one thing that gives their homes value. Ok, fine by me! Burn, baby, burn! $233 is too much for the homeowners of Pleasanton to pay to keep their homes from losing $40,000-$60,000 in value? These are the same people who look down on anybody who doesn't drive a planet-killing $60,000 SUV or luxury import car?
To hell with Pleasanton and to hell with its short-sighted, greedy homeowners.
I think all teachers' salaries should be capped at $30,000 a year. No teacher or administrator in PUSD should earn more than $30,000 annually, no matter what their field of expertise nor their length of service.
That will guarantee that Pleasanton gets exactly the schools it deserves.
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm
It is amazing to me that posters like Disagree w/B can claim to be an authority on this subject since he/she claims to "work in the schools" and everyone is taking the postings as fact.
If you work in Pleasanton schools then why don't you have the information you claim is being kept from you.
"Then maybe staff and the board will be forced to engage the community in finding a solution."
Where have you been?
Information is available. Pleasanton Unified has held multiple board meetings, public hearings, and budget workshops. The Administrators have spoken with PTA groups in order to speak directly with the residents of Pleasanton. Anyone can attend these meetings. Where were you? Did you get the handouts?
The spreading of propaganda and fear is so apparent by the comments you are posting. When did your distrust for education begin?
We haven't heard from you when the district started ranking in the top 10% in the state.
We didn't hear from you last year (Jan.2008 Pleasanton Weekly) When millions were cut from the district budget, yet due to conservative financing and teacher concessions the budget remained balanced.
You claim to work in the schools, yet you don't understand step and column pay and you continue to call it a raise. You claim that most kids start school a year later, so CSR is a wash. I guess you're not in the schools to see record numbers of 4 year olds in the Kindergarten classes.
This bandwagon of fear and distrust is showing clearly in many of the statements that people are claiming as fact. I suggest you think for yourselves. Do the research by coming to the schools to put fact behind the ridiculous claims you make.
Don't be deceived by people who are getting their facts from websites and spending hours posting propaganda on this site.
Don't act from fear and distrust, learn from the source, not the rumor.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 10:50 pm
The CTA seems to have a lot of money since they spent over 100 million dollars in the last election. They should cover the shortfall since they're all about the children and protecting the teachers. Teachers are "strong armed" into paying $250 a month so let them(CTA) help those in need. Until the CTA puts their money where their mouth is I will vote Nyet
Posted by have some sense, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:37 pm
Livermore and Dublin have already instituted a parcel tax to support their schools in these tough economic times....but no, all you idiot Pleasanton residents are WAY too smart and WAY too progressive for that...let's just fall behind because you are too stupid to see the forest for the trees.
Posted by Be Positive, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:22 am
Learn what it is before you are calling people deceptive.
Make an appointment with payroll. PUSD is the second largest employer in the city. Why the distrust? At least read the district website to learn their policies. Or read the newspaper to see where this budget shortfall is coming from.
Stop hiding behind the jargon of "fear the tax" and personally find out about the programs that will be affected whether it passes or not.
Posted by huh?, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:48 am
"have some sense": you can definitely use your own advice. Dublin and Livermore have had parcel tax for many years but those taxes did very little, if anything, to improve the quality of their schools.
But you're probably too busy bashing on other people who don't share your views to see that. Pumping more money into the district will not make the schools better. Get the facts straight before you come out barking and make a fool out of yourself.
Posted by Patrick, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:53 am
I don't have a child enrolled in the PUSD but have lived in Pleasanton for the past 12 years. Maintaining a top notch school system has benefited everyone in this city and continues to make Pleasanton one of those places people want to raise a family. We have the highest median household income in the country for a community our size ($113,345!) and I'm quite sure most of us who have a home are making even more than that! It saddens and disgusts me that we have neighbors who would balk at a measly $233 parcel tax to maintain a critical element of what makes our town so great. Think of that relative to all the other things you spend money on during the year. Think what Wall Street greed has done to our retirement savings! This tax is a pittance! I'm sure no one will feel guilty that they shaved two bottles of Opus One off their standing wine order so that the kids in this town can learn in reasonably sized classes from talented and credentialed educators. Yes, teachers need living wages too and if anyone deserves a raise, it's them. Schools are probably the only safe investment we can collectively make right now, so let's wise up and get it done.
Posted by huh?, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:01 am
"Stop hiding behind the jargon of "fear the tax" and personally find out about the programs that will be affected whether it passes or not."
I can't speak for everyone but I'm not in favor of the tax simply because I don't see any efforts from PUSD to make the district and the schools run more efficiently.
If they don't take this opportunity to streamline their operations, they'll be back next year asking for yet another parcel tax. I want to see more concessions and better money management before any talk of a parcel tax. I don't fear taxes. I only want to see that my money is used responsibly.
Our economy probably wouldn't be where it is today if everyone demanded responsible spending at all public and private sectors. Scare tactics will not cloud up my common sense.
Posted by Patrick, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:21 am
In response to huh?, I totally agree about wanting to be sure that the funds are used responsibly. I certainly don't advocate an unlimited blank check either. While the parcel tax is a short term tactical solution, knowing what the long term strategy is would be good to know as well.
Does anyone know who will be on this "oversight committee" and will it only monitor spending of the proceeds or will they also be part of long term planning that could, for example, allow for the tax to expire w/o critically impacting the budget?
Posted by me, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:27 am
To "Patrick, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood",
$113,345 median income means half of those who live in ptown make less than that. For a household in ptown, that is barely enough to make the mortgage payments. Keep in mind that those statistics were taken before the recent layoffs and salary reductions for many in town. I'm truly sadden and disgusted that you have no empathy for those who cannot afford to pay $233 more. You may not be in a situation where you'll even feel a pinch, but for many, that will be the straw that break the camel's back.
I agree that teachers deserve raises, as do a lot of people who either got laid off or had their salary reduced. The economy is taking a toll on all of us. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not an acceptable solution.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:32 am
I'm well aware of what step and column is because after I attended one of the budget information meetings and heard Casey mention it, I went and did the research. I found this informative article that lays out the jargon in terms the non-education industry person can understand: Web Link Step and column is an automatic salary increase laid out on a union-negotiated salary "schedule" meant to attract teachers. By any other name that's called a raise, which makes "step and column" jargon.
"Teacher pay can rise three ways each year; negotiated raises, step raises and column raises. In addition to new and existing raises negotiated through collective bargaining, most teachers get automatic annual increases for longevity (step) and education (column.)"
But this is how the union laughably spins it: "There's an increase in salary, but it's not a raise," Bowen said. "It's for your experience and education ---- which we pay for."
Most people understand from their own experience that getting paid more for experience and education is a raise. But using different terms for it allows Casey to stand up in a room full of parents and say "Teachers received no raise last year." What's not deceptive about that? It leaves the rest of us scratching our heads wondering why, if there were no raises, it costs the district $2MM a year increasing by $500K annually for personnel costs?
Posted by Liz, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:54 am
The PUSD budget deficit is made up from ongoing salary increase. The State has mandated a freeze on salary increase and will not continue to fund it, hence the budget shortfall. The message from the state is clear, everyone must be a part of the burden of this economy.
In PUSD’s greed and arrogance they pulled a bait and switch, cutting reading specialist and CRS instead of salary increases. This is intended to panic parents into funding a parcel tax to make up the shortfall…in effect paying for their continued salary increases.
Look at the 4th to last slide that shows the 4mil shortfall is compensation increases!!!!!! See how the shortfall continues to increase, this will require a new parcel tax each year to keep up with the compensation increases!!!!!
Posted by me, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:56 am
"There WILL be cuts. The district WILL become more efficient. But they need SOME outside funding..."
Right! I'm supposed to take a leap of faith that the district will improve their efficiencies after they take our money. You keep telling yourself that but I'm not buying it!
Let me say it again because you clearly don't understand it. The district needs to start by cutting perks, salary, and dispensable staff (of which there are many) before they even think about touching children's programs. That's how you improve efficiencies. I'm not seeing any of that right now.
Posted by sc_2007, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:30 am
While I absolutely respect and revere the teaching profession, I would like to remind teachers that it isn't only their own money they're using to purchase items for the classrooms. Having 2 children in the PUSD since 2000, my husband and I have continued to support the teacher, classroom, and school by participation in numerous fund-raisers and donations of time, money, and goods on their 'wish list'. All of this is in addition to the 'voluntary' classroom fund request at the start of every school year, not to mention any PTA donations and teacher 'thank you' gifts.
I have worked for over 20 years in the public sector. Unlike what seems to be just about every other profession, I do not get tips or gifts. I also don't have the luxury of asking citizens to help pay for job neccessities which are not covered by my employer. I have to take the cost as a tax write-off at the end of the year, something teachers absolutely get to do also. Don't get me wrong - though I know the profession I chose is 'thankless' in nature, it is rewarding and I'm frankly just thankful I have a job right now.
Point is .. we're ALL in dire straits right now, not just the teachers and the school district of this community. I don't drink coffee and can count on one hand the number of times I've set foot in a Starbucks or similar establishment; I 'brown bag' lunches including my own; we eat out 4x/monthly on average; we own vehicles which are 8- and 10-years old, but paid for; I rarley purchase items from 'high end' stores and am not ashamed to admit I always seek out deals, use coupons, and have even shopped dollar stores for basic items. I also strongly encourage my own children to be responsible with and respect their own money. For a flippant comment(s) to be made that $233/year added to my already outrageous property tax bill is ridiculous, irresponsible, and frankly, insulting. Over the years, I have witnessed many household and corporate budgets fail mainly as a result of 'nickel and diming'. The mentality of 'it is only a couple of bucks' is exactly one of the main reasons our economy is in the tank right now.
To ask property owners - which, by the way, renters with children enrolled in PUSD are not impacted by this tax - pay more by way of an additional parcel tax is premature. Before I am remotely convinced to vote 'yes' to this tax, I would like to see hard numbers and actual proof of just how PUSD has tended to their budget before/up to today and what their budget changes are currently, now that EVERYONE is knee-deep in this economic muck.
Posted by Trish, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:59 am
Further example of PUSD's irresponsible spending practices is their decision to move the Parcel Tax from the May election date to a stand-alone special election two weeks later in June. The registrar of Voters office advised them that this would increase the cost of the election by 20-30% bringing the cost to near $300,000. The purpose of this decision is to manipulate the voters.
There is no cost too great for PUSD'S manipulation of our community.
Posted by Karen, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:03 am
Why should teachers, administrators, certified staff, etc. be expected to take a 10-15% pay cut, when Pleasanton families are not willing to pay $233 per household per year to support a parcel tax? Even a 1% paycut is significantly more than $233. Many of us are willing to negotiate some type of pay cut, but this will not fix all the problems. We need the support of the community. Yes on the Parcel Tax.
Posted by Liz, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:19 am
Because it is the 13mil in recent raises and the continued ongoing "compensation increases that cause the shortfall.
Look at this PUSD budget presentation, the 4th to last slide shows the 4mil shortfall is compensation increases!!!!!! See how the shortfall continues to increase, this will require a new parcel tax each year to keep up with the compensation increases!!!!!
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:24 am
Response to Be Positive:
I have access to the same information as you. Tell me where I’m wrong; what propaganda am I spreading?
I have no distrust for education. Love the community; love the schools; I have a great respect for teachers and principals and support staff; I greatly appreciate those at the district office who are doing their best under the circumstances. That does not extend to everyone blindly, however. Bad decisions were made, and they cannot be ignored in the face of asking for more tax dollars.
What was I supposed to say about the schools as they hit top rankings? I have supported the schools, teachers, and others throughout my time in this community.
The budget was not balanced because it did not include any planning for a crisis. They broke the piggy bank and gave the money away. There was no plan for the future except blissful assumptions life would stay rosy. Or worse, that the voters would cover that error in judgment without question.
I do understand step and column (I’m on that system of course) and have posted information from the district web site below. I have not seen a “record numbers of four year olds entering kindergarten.” Do you have facts to support that statement?
I have offered some thoughts about how this could have been handled better or differently or what the parcel tax language could say that might gain some credibility with the community. Again, they are just one person’s thoughts. I don’t claim to be an expert, just a person with inside knowledge about K-12 education.
Learn from the source? What is it you think the district will tell us that will argue against a parcel tax? It is, in fact, the only solution they’ve offered, so that all anyone can do is react. There is no time or interest in a thoughtful approach and a look for multiple solutions. The only scare tactics I’ve seen come from the district—it’s been “do this or else” from the beginning. As I said before, let’s put the leadership’s feet to the fire instead of the community’s and see if they have other ideas to offer.
“The following cost-of-living increases were added to the salary schedules for certificated, classified, and management employees. Note that in 2007/08, the certificated unit negotiated a 0.738 % lower COLA in order to help fund $500,000 towards elementary science prep periods.”
Year Certificated Classified Management
2008/09 0 % 0 % 0 %
2007/08 3.382% * 4.12 % 4.12 %
2006/07 5.73% 5.73 % 5.73 %
2005/06 4.60% 4.6 % 4.6 %
From First Interim Report . . . Major Assumptions: Web Link
Expenditures 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11
Step and Column Salary Increases $1.1M $1.1M $1.1M $1.1M
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 11:18 am
Bunch of no-it-alls on this site. Same people over and over with a lot of time on their hands. Try to create change in a positive way, rather than just pointing the finger. What do you people do all day, sit and comment on these postings?? No wonder you sound bitter, you're probably sitting at home with your fat butt in front of the computer.
Posted by 08 PUSD Graduate, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm
I don't know what all the talk is about. I wouldn't give another penny to Pleasanton teachers. Their so-called "teaching" is postively worthless. They are getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to sleep under their desks and assign busy work to students. This busy work is insulting and wholly useless. The teachers are completely unapproachable and do not have any desire to help students or provide flexibility.
They lie to you and scare you into thinking that if you do not get into a UC straight out of high school, then you are never going to amount to anything. Both of my brothers went to Las Positas and are now at great 4 year schools (UC Merced and Cal Maritime). I for one am at Las Positas and am doing great.
How can teachers even begin to talk about maintaining the quality of education? So if these teachers don't get paid even more, they're going to lower their quality of their teaching? How much lower can they go? It just goes to show that Pleasanton teachers would much sooner give up on the students than take a small pay cut.
I don't need any statistics. Go to Foothill and check out some of those teachers. You will find some good ones, but the majority are totally uninterested in the students well being. Next, go on ratemyprofessor.com, and find some high-rated professors at Las Positas. Go check their classes out. The difference is astounding.
Is it any wonder that any of these teachers in Pleasanton graduated from prestigious UC's but didn't get jobs at universities? Why would somebody who graduated from Berkeley teach high school. Why would a lawyer and a professional sports representative teach high school history.
None of it adds up. And now that I'm finally of voting age, my opinion matters: No more money until Pleasanton teachers shape up.
Posted by Down from the Clouds, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm
I agree with huh? After looking at all the info put out here by Liz, Trish, Stacy and dw/b, it's getting harder and harder to view this parcel tax through the clouded lens of "doing what's right for the kids."
This whole scenario looks absolutely unsustainable in the long run without firm mandates on salary increases. We are being told that salary negotiations may come only AFTER we pass the tax-a show of good faith on the voter's part. Huh?
Isn't that how we got into this economic mess in the first place? Greed threw common sense out the window when smart-and dumb-people started to believe that folks making 5 figure incomes could afford to live in 1 million+ dollar homes. Once again, when we really can least afford it, it seems that we are letting ourselves get talked into something that doesn't make any sense whatsoever because of the "caring about kids" line.
I will not let emotions cloud good sense.
I will not be supporting this tax without seeing salary increase concessions-period. This bail-out plan is NOT sustainable.
Posted by sc_2007, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm
While I absolutely respect and revere the teaching profession, I would like to remind teachers that it isn't only their own money they're using to purchase items for the classrooms. Having 2 children in the PUSD since 2000, my husband and I have continued to support the teacher, classroom, and school by participation in numerous fund-raisers and donations of time, money, and goods on their 'wish list'. All of this is in addition to the 'voluntary' classroom fund request at the start of every school year, not to mention any PTA donations and teacher 'thank you' gifts.
I have worked for over 20 years in the public sector. Unlike what seems to be just about every other profession, I do not get tips or gifts. I also don't have the luxury of asking citizens to help pay for job neccessities which are not covered by my employer. I have to take the cost as a tax write-off at the end of the year, something teachers absolutely get to do also. Don't get me wrong - though I know the profession I chose is 'thankless' in nature, it is rewarding and I'm frankly just thankful I have a job right now.
Point is .. we're ALL in dire straits right now (including large and small businesses and local/state/federal governments), not just the teachers and the school district of this community. I don't drink coffee and can count on one hand the number of times I've set foot in a Starbucks or similar establishment; I 'brown bag' lunches including my own; we eat out 4x/monthly on average; we own vehicles which are 8- and 10-years old, but paid for; I rarely purchase items from 'high end' stores and am not ashamed to admit I always seek out deals, use coupons, and have even shopped dollar stores for basic items. I also strongly encourage my own children to be responsible with and respect their own money. For a flippant comment(s) to be made that $233/year added to my already outrageous property tax bill is akin to the cost of purchasing lattes is ridiculous, irresponsible, and frankly, insulting. Over the years, I have witnessed many household and corporate budgets fail mainly as a result of 'nickel and diming'. The mentality of 'it is only a couple of bucks' is exactly one of the main reasons our economy is in the tank right now.
To ask property owners - which, by the way, renters with children enrolled in PUSD are not impacted by this tax - pay more by way of an additional parcel tax is premature. Why should property owners be penalized for the lack of reasonable budgeting and/or crisis planning on PUSD's part? What's to ensure our monies will be managed wisely when track history is cloudy at best? Before I am remotely convinced to vote 'yes' to this tax, I would like to see hard numbers and actual proof of just how PUSD has tended to their budget beforeand up to today, as well as what their budget changes are currently and proposed now that EVERYONE is knee-deep in this economic muck.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm
Bruce, You don't have to like me; you don't have to agree with me; and you most certainly don't have to be rude. I am employed. I've suggested plenty of positive changes without rancor, and I would be happy to hear/read what you have to contribute.
Posted by 06 Amador graduate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 6:11 pm
To the PUSD 08 graduate, THANK YOU for posting. I could have posted the exact same thing, but about Amador Valley. What is the common thread here? Maybe we should be the leaders in the NO PARCEL TAX movement! As voters, we have a stake in this outcome.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm
Interesting to get the feedback from recent graduates. I knew there some good teachers and also some poor ones. The key is to have motivated students and motivated families. This is where the catholic schools shine at half the overall cost of the public schools. The parcel tax is dead already.
Posted by RN LISA, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Down from Clouds rightly points out that this parcel tax is being sold as "doing what's right for the kids." I can clearly understand this through my own professional lens. It reminds me of when nurses strike, they carry signs " striking for better patient care". As an RN for 35 yrs (critical care) please beware of such tactics. Some nurses like some teachers always advocate under the banner of doing whats right for the "kids" or the patients, in my case. The reality (and again this really saddens, no,sickens me) is that it has nothing to do w/ the "kids" or the patients, but everything to do w/pay or benefits. This kind of marketing of ideas works, and the community gets behind them. Teachers, like nurses,are run by unions and unfortunately many(not all) get sucked into that union mentality simply because it easier than just being honest. That is not to say there are not wonderful, compassionate and hardworking teachers and nurses who indeed dedicate their lives to "kids" and patients. They do deserve to make an honest wage. But at least be honest when asking other hard working families for more money, especially now. Posters,don't try to convince others that a yes vote is because this community is "doing whats right for the kids". This serves only to make each family "feel" they are problem solving simply by saying yes to more taxes. Be a real "kid" advocate and listen to what the kids, like PUSD grad 08, are saying, demand accountability from the district, and for goodness sake, don't buy into these emotional arguments about "doing whats right". An informed decision always provides better outcomes.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm
08 PUSD graduate, you write "I don't need any statistics. ... Next, go on ratemyprofessor.com"
Did you miss the statistics class on the importance of stratified random sampling? Ratemyprofessor.com tells you nothing that allows you to objectively compare teachers. There's a bias built right in, that causes student with more extreme views of teaching quality to respond, while students with more typical experiences don't bother. That means that any estimate of a particular teacher's quality is unstable, with a big confidence interval. The data is not useful, because the raters are not typical.
I am not convinced that you learned enough statistics to decide whether you need them or not.
Posted by UCSD grad 2003, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:26 pm
Sandy: As a 99 grad of FHS and 2003 UCSD grad with a degree in bio. and an advance degree from UC Davis, I find your comments interesting. Ratemyprofessor.com may not allow you to objectively rate teachers but I can tell you that just about every student I knew in undergrad did utilize that source to select teachers as well as routinely comment on teachers they had. In the 4 yrs I was there, I knew very few (if any) bio students w/ "extreme views". Bias? Maybe, but i guess subjective opinions about your professors are bias.
Bottom line: we found the "data" on ratemyprofessor.com quite useful despite the importance of "stratified random sampling" . I think you underestimate how much the college student does use this source and draw conclusions despite your comments, as accurate as they may be.
08 PUSD Grad: Glad to see you are exercising your voting rights. Stay involved. We need people like to you to voice your opinion as you see them. And the reality is FHS seems no different then when I graduated there in 99!
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 9, 2009 at 10:38 pm
I see this over and over in various threads:
No parcel tax!"
If you vote no on parcel tax, I think it would be more appropriate for you to chant,
Think about it. Vote no on the parcel tax and see your schools and community crumble down before your very eyes. The fact of the matter is, $9M is being cut from our schools by our gov't. Our schools need the money. We need to support our schools. Stick to the facts and stop the complaints about teacher salaries, management benefits, etc.
Posted by Dad of 3, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:50 am
Dave and Dave: Vote yes because...."$9M is being cut from our schools by our gov't"????? Boy you know how to change my mind. So because "the gov't cut the money from schools that changes the whole argument why I need to support local govt with yet another tax. Don't tell me and others who will be voting NO what to chant, what to think and what we can or cannot "complain" about. Last time I checked it was my vote, my money and my voice. And while you are at it, difficult times shows us what we are really made of. If you do have kids, you both sound like you need to grow some.
Posted by Gene R, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:56 am
People .. people! We all sound like a bunch of squabbling kids ranting and whining about not getting our ways!
We all need to stop for a moment, take a step back, and rationally look at the big picture.
It is obvious the INTENTION of this parcel tax is to uphold the teaching standard of this community. Teaching is an extremely honorable profession. I also understand the calls for real accountability regarding previous district spending and clear unveiling by the district to the public of exactly why this is needed.
I think we can all agree no one is in favor of anything potentially detrimental for the kids of our community. However, it seems to be reasonable and fair for citizens to request - nay demand - that the district show, in detail, where their own budget planning has failed to a point of coming to the community for help. And please don't blame the state or their budget cuts. That's like me blaming my boss for not setting up my personal emergency fund.
Instead of citizens raging pro or con pointing fingers at each other over this, let's stop for a moment, turn around, and all look to the district for clear reasons and expectations of the use of our money. Responsibility and accountability where it is due.
Posted by Liz, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:09 am
If you have been reading the posts you have seen that many of us have supported our concerns about irresponsible spending practices with numbers and weblinks to reinforce what we are saying.
On the other hand I think your fact in incorrect PUSD is not getting a 9mil cut from the state. More than 4mil of the projected shortfall is continued compensation. That is not a cut it is a mandate from the state to freeze salary which PUSD is unwilling to do. PUSD is creating a greater shortfall to justify a parcel tax.
By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott, Associated Press Writer – 47 mins ago
President Barack Obama speaks about education at the 19th Annual Legislative AP – President Barack Obama speaks about education at the 19th Annual Legislative Conference of the United …
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama embraced merit pay for teachers Tuesday in spelling out a vision of education that will almost certainly alienate union backers.
Educators oppose charter schools because they divert tax dollars away from traditional public schools. Merit-based systems for teachers have for years been anathema to teachers' unions, a powerful force in the Democratic Party.
Obama acknowledged this in his talk to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
"Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom," he said, delivering the first major education speech of his presidency. "Too many in the Republican Party have opposed new investments in early education, despite compelling evidence of its importance."
But he argued that a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's education system is an economic imperative that can't wait, despite the urgency of the financial crisis and other pressing issues.
"Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us," Obama said. "The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable for our children. We cannot afford to let it continue. What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream."
The ideas the president promoted were nearly all elements of his campaign platform last year. He only barely mentioned the reauthorization of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which introduced sweeping reforms that schools are struggling to meet without the funding to match. Obama said his administration would "later this year" ensure that schools get the funding they need and that the money is conditioned on results.
Among the principles Obama laid out were:
_Challenging states to adopt world-class standards rather than a specific standard. Obama's economic stimulus plan includes a $5 billion incentive fund to reward states for, among other things, boosting the quality of standards and state tests, and the president said the Education Department would create a fund to invest in innovation.
_Improved pre-kindergarten programs, including $5 billion in the stimulus plan to grow Head Start, expand child care access and do more for children with special needs. He also said he would offer 55,000 first-time parents regular visits from trained nurses and said that states that develop cutting-edge plans to raise the quality of early learning programs would get an Early Learning Challenge Grant, if Congress approves the new program.
_Reducing student dropout rates. To students, Obama said: "Don't even think about dropping out of school." But he said that reducing the dropout rates also requires turning around the worst schools, something he asked lawmakers, parents and teachers to make "our collective responsibility as Americans."
_Repeating his call for everyone to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training, with the goal of highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the year 2020.
On charter schools, he said the caps instituted by some states on how many are allowed aren't "good for our children, our economy, or our country."
Obama also spoke at length about what he described his policy toward teachers, what he called an `unprecedented commitment to ensure that anyone entrusted with educating our children is doing the job as well as it can be done." In up to 150 more school districts, Obama said, teachers will get mentoring, more money for improved student achievement and new responsibilities.
Also, Obama said, "We need to make sure our students have the teacher they need to be successful. That means states and school districts taking steps to move bad teachers out of the classroom. Let me be clear: if a teacher is given a chance but still does not improve, there is no excuse for that person to continue teaching."
The president acknowledged that a rethinking of the traditional American school day may not be welcome — "not in my family, and probably not in yours" — but is critical.
"The challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom," Obama said. "If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America."
After the speech, Obama stopped at a hotel to drop in on another meeting, an already scheduled and ongoing round-table discussion between Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which involves the heads of education from every state and U.S. territory.
Posted by Janie, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:07 am
I just read these posts and quite honestly I don't see the ranting and raving of the "people people" that Gene R characterizes them. I do see each side trying to make their arguments. What concerns some seems that "people" do get the "big picture" and that worries those who are in favor of this tax. And it is OK to "demand" how my money is being used. I have that authority and I claim that as my right as a tax paying citizen despite how politically incorrect we have been led to believe. Although I will NOT support the parcel tax for reaasons already stated in many of these posts, just to be clear I will not be voting for "INTENTION of this parcel tax.
Posted by Gene R, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 10:53 am
Don't get me wrong .. at this point, I do not support this tax. Maybe I should have posted my comment under the other tax article in PW regarding the rally at the church. Under that article is substantial 'bickering' between commentators and unfortunately, some are nasty. I think for those in favor of the tax, please please please understand the stance of those who aren't - it's not that we're against the betterment of our children. Throwing in more money will not plug the leak if the hole still exists. If other posts' info is correct (I haven't fact-checked myself yet) regarding the district superintendent's plush $227K/year salary (before benefits?), that is certainly not helping the pros for the tax passage. In the end, is this a good use of taxpayer money and if so, prove it to me.
Posted by Liz, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Thank you for your counsel but I find it interesting that you think you are more connected and informed than many of the rest of us. I have used weblinks to support everything I have said. I have read the district information, I have read much more, I have talked to Board members.
Many of us have been involved at a deep level with PUSD for many years. It is the history of knowledge that causes concern.
Posted by don't get it, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm
From the BO story: "Educators oppose charter schools because they divert tax dollars away from traditional public schools. Merit-based systems for teachers have for years been anathema to teachers' unions, a powerful force in the Democratic Party."
It's about time. It's not lack of dollars creating the mess that we call the CA education system, it's the union that wants more and more, but doesn't want to give anything. How can a group that rewards on longevity and not quality of work teach our children the skills they need to succeed in school, work or life?
Posted by Remorse Voter, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm
BO may have VERBALLY kicked the unions today w/ his endorsement of merit pay (which i agree) but its what he DOES that matters not what he says. If anything is crystal clear to me now, (as a former BO supporter who now has big time remorse)I have learned that words are cheap. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. i wont be fooled again.
Posted by Worried Student, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm
My father is a teacher, who received his pink slip yesterday, and it is tearing him apart. Please think about all the teachers that will not have jobs next year, where can they go? What kind of a teaching job will they be able to get? We live in Pleasanton, one of the richest cities in the nation, why is there even a debate over paying the small fee? If you can afford memberships to expensive gyms, countless trips to the mall, and the extremely expensive cars that I see on the streets everyday, then surely you can pay this tax to ensure that honest working people can keep their job. I may not be able to go to college if he looses his job, and all he wants to do is see me succeed. Please, I implore you to see why this tax must be passed. These teachers are honest workers, and deserve to have a job.How many blue ribbon schools do we have in this district? The teachers that led the children to this success ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS! PLEASE PASS THE TAX!
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm
Worried Student, You might ask your father to gather all the teachers receiving pink slips. First they may want to go to their leadership and district leadership and ask why they traded big raises for the jobs now being lost because of those decisions.
Then they may want to consider speaking out against the parcel tax to help force leadership to account for their lapses in judgment and to work with the community to find solutions it can support. I hope that anyone who is getting pink slipped, having hours cut, or being bumped into lower paying positions will think about doing the same.
I understand one board member had some alternative ideas. Others in the community do as well. I'm pretty sure there are ideas that could have spared your father and the others.
Posted by Worried Student, a member of the Hart Middle School community, on Mar 10, 2009 at 8:40 pm
Don't you see that even if he asks why they got raises, it WILL NOT fix the current situation that he and all the other teachers are being forced to go through? I know that it was irresponsible for the district leadership to get those ridiculous raises, but what is that going to do for the teachers?? How can someone blame the teachers for what the district leadership did? What the hell does it have to do with the teachers who are taking pay cuts and aren't even getting paid for some of the hours they are working? HOW?
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm
WS, Everyone got the raises. Valuable time that could have been spent looking for multiple solutions has been wasted as only one proposal has been presented. That has everything to do with what is happening to teachers and the others losing their jobs.
It isn't their fault; it isn't my fault. Asking either side of that equation to pay is wrong. The only reasonable answer when an equation doesn't work is to start from the beginning and get the right answer.
Posted by Agree with Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:41 am
I enjoy and agree with your posts.
My gut reaction to the parcel tax was initially to choose to vote yes. But I've come to believe that it's a big mistake to rely so heavily on the parcel tax to resolve the budget issues in this school district. Passing it might give some teachers their jobs back ....this year...but it will start all over next year.
I'm not going to get into a long spiel about the parcel tax measure - just wanted Disagree w/B to know that your posts got me thinking, got me talking to school board members, doing some research, and looking at the long term picture....and ultimately deciding to vote no on the parcel tax.
Posted by derek, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm
WS, don't worry because things will be fine. There is an abundance of financial aid packages available to help you attend college. And your father will be back at work in no time, given that there is always a shortage of teachers in CA.
Posted by Jim, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Mar 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm
You honestly cannot say you support teachers and the community, but you will vote no on the parcel tax. You may try to trick yourselves into thinking you are, but bottom line is you're not. End of story.
Posted by derek, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm
Disagree w/B: I also want to express my thanks for your intelligently crafted postings. I was also a supporter of the parcel tax until I started reading the postings here on PW.
Both sides made some great arguments but the pro tax folks are frankly repeating what PUSD had already said. Your analysis and summary of facts convinced me that there are alternate solutions that PUSD failed to consider or chose to ignore. When I saw Casey's compensation package, that just reinforced my commitment to voting no. Since then, I've convinced 6 of my neighbors to vote no in this coming election. Thank you again!
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm
We have to accept that this parcel tax will fail and move beyond it to construct a budget we can all live with given the current economic constraints. Go back to zero-based budgeting based on 2000 levles adjusted for inflation and no. of students. Cut back on overhead and luxuries and emphasise the basics. This is the same approach that the cities and states have to take. We are in for a long recession/depression. Obama can't bail everyone out. Pretty soon the dollar will collapse.
Posted by 1776, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm
If I were the superintendant of the PUSD, here is what I would do, starting tomorrow, March 12, 2009.
Cut administration costs by 50%.
I would also demand that certified (teacher) costs be reduced at once by $25% and classified (janitors, etc) costs be reduced by 25%. Vendor and 3rd party costs would also be reduced by 25%.
Stop all capital improvement projects until further notice.
Be certain all district buildings are operating at peak efficiency: heat and A/C operating 25% above peak efficiency; landscape management: pay particular attention to wasteful spending and unnecessary overwatering. Monitor use of all electricity to reduce monthly costs by 35%. Reward community members (non-monetarily) for ideas on ways to creatively save energy and save on expenses.
Do all this first, then come to the people of Pleasanton and ask them to pay for this parcel tax. Many Pleasanton taxpayers want to see what the district will do now, not after the vote on June 2. The fact that the vote is now on June 2nd is also a point of concern – at an estimated cost of $300k - an outrage!
We must all pitch in to keep our schools strong. Thank you to all the people of Pleasanton for already supporting us – you pay high property taxes right now. And if you rent, your property tax is built into your monthly rent payment.
I support the Pleasanton Tea Party!
Also, thank you to Disagree w/B for this information (below). Your posts are logical and spot on target!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm
Concerned wrote: "Go back to zero-based budgeting based on 2000 levles adjusted for inflation and no. of students. Cut back on overhead and luxuries and emphasise the basics."
Someone else back in January suggested zero-based budgeting. :) Such practical views don't curry much favor, unfortunately.
About the raises Disagree w/B keeps bringing up, I just want to make sure I'm clear about this. Those raises were funded by the State's COLA contribution and from the reserve fund. The State isn't giving COLA this year. So that's why the raises were unsustainable. I saw some article in the OC Register about some OC school districts being on a "Basic Aide" funding model, which means they don't get funds from the State and how they are weathering this downturn pretty well because Basic Aide requires them to have larger reserves and plan their budgets for longer term sustainability.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Stacey, The COLA is to fund everything in a district budget; it's not meant to be just a pass through for raises. Even Basic Aid districts, who count on property tax growth, will give little or no raises if they don't feel they can carry the ongoing expense. There is a formula that makes you BA or RL (basic aid or revenue limit-my abbreviations) and districts can roll in or out of that status, so they keep much bigger reserves not just to weather downturns, but also against the eventuality they could become RL again. It's a cushion to hang on to programs in the schools. My argument against using reserves for raises--one time funding source for an ongoing cost. Short sighted.
Agree with Me: Thank you; flattered; spoken for. Mind if I use the post to convince my spousal unit? :o)
Posted by Agree with Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm
I just love a logical thinker - especially when s/he is a great wordsmith too! Also spoken for, but wanted to lighten up the mood a bit and just give you a big vote of appreciation. Tell your spousal unit s/he is lucky!
Posted by A Truly Disappointed Student, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm
The sad thing is im still a student and I can see how immature almost all of you hwho have posted on this website have acted. I understand the parcel tax fully, i know the benefits and drawbacks but I can still understand its a personal decision. This tax is slowly ripping apart the Pleasanton community. And no that is not an exaggeration. You can discredit me saying i have no idea what I am talking about, i do not care. But as much as you think the parcel tax should or shouldn't pass its not your position to push it onto other people. I am 17 years old and telling the majority of you to GROW UP.
If it passes it passes, if not oh well.
But I am asking that you parents, teachers, Pleasanton citizens in general to not fight, and argue and act like ignorant politians. You are part of a wonderful community, do not ruin it.
People always try and tear down on my generation, but maybe as adults you should look in the mirror and think about the fact your the one who raised us.
Posted by Disagree w/B, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2009 at 6:40 am
Disappointed Student: I've worked hard to frame my position without anger and have also expressed disappointment on other threads. I am against the parcel tax for many reasons and will continue to post on that topic, with respect to those who disagree. That is part of the political process. Thank you for posting your thoughts here. I hope you post them on some of the other threads as well.
Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Mar 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm Jeb Bing is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
We're intentionally giving topics pertaining to the June 2 parcel tax measure and teacher layoffs a rest because the postings have become repetitive and, in some instances, accusatory and hurtful to teachers and other employees of the school district who are unable to respond to postings, most of which are made under the cloak of anonymity. The postings online will remain, but future postings to these threads or new ones dealing with teacher layoffs and the parcel tax can be made only by registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly forum.