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Pleasanton teachers agree to a 2-day layoff if parcel tax passes

Original post made on Apr 3, 2009

The Association of Pleasanton Teachers--the teachers' union--has announced that its members have voted by a two-thirds majority to ratify a tentative agreement negotiated with the Pleasanton Unified School District on a Memorandum of Understanding that would reduce the teacher work year by two days next year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (12)

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Posted by YES on Measure G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I commend Pleasanton Unified for all of their efforts to continue the quality of education we have grown accustomed to. When the community demanded concessions be made from the administration and faculty, you answered. Many of you may be paying parcel taxes in your own communities or here in Pleasanton, plus sacrificing amounts equal to and over the cost Pleasanton residents are asked to pay over four years.

I disagree that people working in public service (including police and firefighters) should be paying for the services they provide for a community out of their own salaries. If we want a quality school system, we also have to be willing to support one when our state funding threatens to dismantle all that PUSD has worked years to build.

This issue is not unique to Pleasanton. It is happening to districts all over California, yet the outcry for teachers to "share the pain" has only been here. The arguments of poor budgeting have not only been misrepresentations of how schools are funded, but diversions from the real issue. PUSD has practiced effective budgeting, demonstrated in the fact that they have kept the State budget cuts away from the classrooms and the taxpayers for the last two years, as neighboring districts were voting yes to parcel taxes. Expecting PUSD to have enough reserves to stave off the effect of $9 million in cuts to education is unrealistic.

This cut from Sacramento will hit our schools hard, I applaud you for your professionalism and commitment to sustaining programs that would be cut even if the parcel tax passes. It is easy to take your services for granted and now that you are asking for support, I believe it is our turn to show our commitment to you.

YES on Measure G!!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anonymous and unregistered YES on Measure G poster above wrote:

"It is happening to districts all over California, yet the outcry for teachers to "share the pain" has only been here."

To clarify, the "shared sacrifice" meme came from PUSD. I also question the claim that this outcry has only been here.

"PUSD has practiced effective budgeting, demonstrated in the fact that they have kept the State budget cuts away from the classrooms and the taxpayers for the last two years"

That's hardly evidence. If there were so many cuts, why did they give raises in the last two years?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Apr 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Oh my gosh, quick, mister policeman, close this post to only registered users before the uncivility begins....


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Posted by Kathleen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Kathleen is a registered user.

Yes: This could be shut as redundant, but here is something to think about.

I had asked the Board (posted in another thread) what had happened to the plan to have a 7% reserve. The response was "I have not heard that as a goal of the board for many, many years." I thought maybe I pulled up really old data on the district web site. Here is what I found went I went back.

Web Link Click on "Goals 06-07" or 0708 or 0809

2006-07
Major Goals of a General Nature
2. Manage the District budget process to ensure financial stability by balancing income with expenditures, providing financial resources for the many competing priorities of the District, and implementing a long-range plan to reestablish reserves to a 7% level.

2007-08
Major Goals of a General Nature
6. Establish a policy to address fiscal accountability and appropriate reserve levels.

2008-09
Other Major Goals
3. Establish a policy to address fiscal accountability and appropriate reserve levels.

We went from a goal of implementing a long-range plan to reestablish reserves to a goal of establishing a policy . . . in one school year. I will mention that the rest of the response spoke of adding counselors and reading and science specialists—good things to be sure—and that a 7% reserve would have added $3.5 million, which represents less than 10% of the anticipated shortfall over the next 4 years—no reason to disbelieve that figure. But as noted on the blogs, there were also three years of large raises leading up to the current school year (roughly $14.5 million). That's a total of $18 million. And if the federal funds arrive next month as predicted, we're up to a possible $20.1 million. The parcel tax is $18.5 million.

I realize that district employees could not reasonably be expected to have zero percent raises for multiple years in a row, even with the annual step and column increases many receive, but there clearly was room to add services, give raises, and still have a healthier reserve that could be carrying the district through the problems created this year at the state level. It would also have bought the community precious time, particularly in this economy and with so many families acting responsibly to find ways to reduce their expenditures as they face salary cuts and layoffs. Ask those in the district who received pink slips if they would trade smaller raises then for a job next year. I think even those who will have jobs next year would make that trade for their colleagues and friends.

The district did not act responsibly and should not be allowed to fall back on taxpayers for relief, particularly with no guarantee that the lesson is learned and the behavior will change.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 4, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Stacey,

are you sure that the shared sacrifice meme started within PUSD? The first time I heard it was from a guy named Al Cohen, I think. As fair as I know, he's just a member of the community. Did I miss something?

And Kathleen, please,

if you're going to post something, post it once. I think of it as the equivalent of driving around town with an air horn... when the blogs are more appropriately used for back-and-forth, debate. Posting the same thing on multiple different blogs means that the comments in response will be scattered, making it hard to follow the electronic conversation.

I'll respond to your comments on the blog that you initiated, not here.


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Posted by kathleen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2009 at 10:39 pm

kathleen is a registered user.

Sandy, I'm fine with you approach, but with everything shut down as soon as it is posted and new threads opened in response, I'm trying to make sure what I said has an audience. I'm more than happy to stay on one thread as long as it stays open long enough for anyone to respond, whether they agree with me or not.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy,

Yes, it came from Al Cohen, a member of PUSD's Budget Advisory Committee.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 5, 2009 at 1:06 am

Sandy is a registered user.

Stacey, that's a citizen's committee, right? Volunteers from the community. Unless Al works for the district, I think it's inappropriate to say that the meme came from PUSD.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 5, 2009 at 8:10 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy,

Is that like saying people on the Planning Commission aren't part of the City because they are members of the community who volunteer or otherwise apply for those positions?


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Posted by tax revolt 2
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

The 'shared sacrifice' phrase may have first been written by Al Cohen. But Trustee Kernan spoke it a few days later at a PUSD workshop. See:

Web Link

Taken from the above PW article:
*start*
Trustee Pat Kernan said there isn't enough information to go forward on a parcel tax at this time.
"Until we know [the final state] budget, we can't go to the public because we don't know what we're asking for," he said. "We do know it's going to be a shared sacrifice."
*end*

That was Feb 6.

Four weeks later on Mar 5, PUSD votes for a parcel tax, even though it still doesn't know what the final state budget is.

The evidence mounts that PUSD is unwilling to do the hard work necessary to put their fiscal house into order. Even the Pleasanton Chamber held their nose and voted to support Measure G, with a rarely issued qualifier "While the Chamber backs Measure G, Raty said the endorsement also challenges the school board to address the long-term stability issues of school funding.

Web Link

Sandy - in the future, go to the search bar at the top of the Weekly and type in any phrase (like 'shared sacrifice') you want to find, click on Weekly or Town Square button and click Search.


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Posted by Get educated!
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 5, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Get educated! is a registered user.

Stacey writes: Anonymous and unregistered YES on Measure G poster above wrote:

"It is happening to districts all over California, yet the outcry for teachers to "share the pain" has only been here."

To clarify, the "shared sacrifice" meme came from PUSD. I also question the claim that this outcry has only been here.


Since I am now registered, I would like to clarify my original posting. Stacey changed my words to say "shared sacrifice". That is not what I said or meant. I was referring to the lambasting PUSD teachers have taken here on the blogs. All you have to do is go back through the past threads to hear it over and over again. There was an outcry for teachers to "share the pain" as many outside of education are being hit hard during this economic downturn.

My point was that upon reading the blogs of neighboring districts who are in the same position due to the $9 million in cuts from the state, the responses are quite different.

Turning my original point around to place the blame on the district is exactly why I have trouble and am questioning the "transparency" of many posting points that divert from the real issue at hand.

$9 million in cuts is going to have a serious impact on our schools in Pleasanton, thankfully we have an opportunity to lessen the blow by voting yes on Measure G.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 7, 2009 at 5:59 am

Sandy is a registered user.

I wanted to belatedly thank the members of the teacher's union who voted to accept the reduction in their pay along with the elimination of two teacher professional development days.

I think that along with the prospect of increased class sizes for next year, the union really is sharing the pain of the state budget cuts. I know that other people believe differently.

I agree with Get Educated!

"$9 million in cuts is going to have a serious impact on our schools in Pleasanton, thankfully we have an opportunity to lessen the blow by voting yes on Measure G."


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