Question for Ms. Reugsegger Schools & Kids, posted by More Questions, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 11:50 am
You mention a bit about yourself - former board member. Are you not also listed as the Administrative Assistant to the superintendent in the Palo Alto School District? In your administrative job do you receive a car allowance? Research shows that Palo Alto has a parcel tax which, as an administrative employee, I am sure you support. Final question - how can you support a parcel tax for the school district where you are an administrative employee and be so obviously against for the community in which you live? Talk about a double standard.
Posted by Kathleen, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm Kathleen is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Clearly I don't reside where I work, so my support and opinion was never sought. I do not receive a car allowance.
I am not against a parcel tax for Pleasanton; I am against this parcel tax for all the issues I raised on the other thread. I would be happy to work for a parcel tax, no matter the amount, under the right circumstances.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 12:23 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I see that you are trying to cognitively deal with the idea that such a pro-education person can be against Measure G. Certainly it must be confusing since the anti-Measure G crowd is being characterized as anti-education, anti-teacher, and anti-kids. I wonder how you would respond to any PUSD teacher if they came out against Measure G.
If the anti-Measure G group is anti-education, could we say then that the pro-Measure G group is anti-taxpayers, anti-fiscal responsibility, anti-property owner? I better stop myself. That's starting to sound like the buffoons who got us into this economic mess.
Posted by June, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Didnt the district get into a big lawsuit over the Neal Elementary School that lost millions of taxpayer dollars? That makes the outrageous car allowances and token two-day per school year teacher furlough look pretty weak by comparison. Most private sector employees, if they are still lucky to have a job, have either had their salary cut between 10-20 percent or have a mandatory two day furlough every single month. I dont teach children, but I do have an advanced degree and work for a biotech company that makes drugs for cancer relief. Working 12 months a year, I still make less money than a teacher in Pleasanton.
Posted by Kathleen, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm Kathleen is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
To the Editors: I posted another thread earlier today. Not surprisingly, it is now blocked to input from the community unless you are registered with the Weekly. Oddly, this thread that was begun asking questions of a personal nature about me, by name, remains wide open. Does the Weekly really want to leave the impression it is willing to shut down a conversation about an upcoming election, but leave blogs open about a specific individual?
To be clear, I have no problem with this thread remaining open; I will respond as best as I can where warranted. However, I would like to understand why the first thread also cannot remain open. Why is this conversation being stifled? I have stepped forward on this topic because it is vital to the community discourse; please let others have the same opportunity to speak freely regardless of their position on Measure G.
Posted by never a parcel tax, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm
Kathleen, Jeb has blocked the other thread because you made a clear and compelling argument against an unjustified parcel tax. We know where he gets his marching orders and it is from such as the PUSD and the chamber to name only two. It is despicable that he would allow a thread to remain open to all when it specifically targets you and your ideas personally, while closing a thread that rationally discusses the tax that he clearly supports. Once again our Pleasanton Very Weakly is using less than honest measures to stifle an opinion they do not support.
Posted by John, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm
Here's the original posting by Ms. Reugsegger which has since been closed off for free discussion by the Pleasanton Weekly. Only registered users can now comment on the posting.
I am a former board member who has been watching the parcel tax issue. I decided to email the current board about the state of the district reserves. I was surprised by the response from one member. Here is my open response, with a cc to the community.
There is no direct reply to my original question of why the goal of a seven percent reserve was abandoned—a reserve that would buy the community time now to evaluate what really has been happening with the district’s budget and how best to find long-term solutions. While the issues at the state level compound the district’s problems, the response is an apparent abdication of responsibility for previous decisions that brought the district to this point.
Your question of why shouldn’t the community decide about restoring programs on the chopping block, though, leads to many of my own.
• Why have suggestions other than a parcel tax been ignored?
• Why were teachers and principals not surveyed for their ideas of what could be cut (not what they would personally give up)?
• Why was a survey not used to ask the community about what they support? Wouldn’t that be less expensive and less risky than an election to ask the same question?
• Why doesn’t the ballot language or the accompanying resolution specifically state what it will save (# teachers, # counselors, etc.)?
• Why doesn’t the ballot language indicate that no one will receive a raise during the life of the parcel tax? Couldn’t this be a better approach than asking for concessions from the unions? This would have made a smaller (less than $233) two- or three-year parcel tax easier to pass, allowing plenty of time to seek more permanent solutions without a heavier burden for tax payers in the current economy.
• Are board members and staff preparing more than one plan for what will happen if the tax does not pass?
• Why is the election in June and not May (nearly twice as expensive)?
• It has been suggested the one-item June election is an attempt to keep opposition voters out of the booth. If most Pleasanton voters use absentee ballots, wouldn’t this suggest that those who oppose the parcel tax will vote and that this additional cost is more money wasted?
• How does it make sense to consistently spend more money (taxpayer dollars) to ask the taxpayer to provide more funding?
To respond to your other points:
• Every one of the remaining days before June 2 is a just another campaign day—there has not been a sincere two-way conversation yet, only a drive from the position in favor of the tax.
• There was not much listening at the meetings. Those who spoke in opposition were admonished for their efforts to seek additional time and a different approach. The sacrifice by the union is appreciated, but may not have been necessary as noted above.
• Cutting class size reduction was the heaviest emotional hammer in the district’s toolbox, so I don’t agree the community/media endorsements have any real value to the voter.
Contrary to what seems to have been implied, I am very concerned for the 50% of my former co-workers losing their jobs, and I am equally upset for the dedicated teachers and classified staff members who find themselves in the same position. I’m also quite aware this tax isn’t for building reserves, which means the district still does not have a plan for ever achieving it’s stated goal.
The question remains—what happened to that goal for reserves? The answer points to money being spent with no regard for economic uncertainty and that this is the sole reason for the pink slips that were given throughout the district.
Saying it is “just 64 cents per day for four years” is how you don’t say it is $18.4 million dollars. Is the presumption you mention one about the voters not figuring that out?
I appreciate the dialog and look forward to your response.
Posted by Jeb Bing, editor of the Pleasanton Weekly, on Apr 3, 2009 at 7:47 am Jeb Bing is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Just a reminder that we are restricting all posts related to the June 2 parcel tax measure to registered users of the Pleasanton Weekly Town Square forum. We have found that this keeps the conversations more civil and focused without any restriction on what posters say or the opinions they express.