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Measure G debate heats up

Original post made on Apr 10, 2009

Until voters decide the fate of Measure G, a $233 per year parcel tax that would bring in just over $4.5 million to fund specific education programs, the hot topic is not likely to cool off before the June 2 special election.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 10, 2009, 5:58 AM

Comments (89)

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:29 am

It's a shame that Brozosky and Ayala feel the need to be opposed to this vital parcel tax to save our schools. Ever notice this is always their approach to civic issues? Must they always be opposed to good ideas, just to show how clever they are? Thank goodness Brozoksy wasn't elected mayor. His lack of leadership is more apparent now than ever.

Clearly, the shortfalls at our schools are not due to district mismanagement, but to the shortage of tax revenues at the state. And the district and board HAVE adopted many cost-cutting measures. Remember, the parcel tax will only raise $4.5 million, compared to the $9.7 million that has to be cut. It's inaccurate to say the district hasn't considered cuts. In fact, those cuts have already been identified and will be made, including laying off 50% of the district administrators, even IF the tax passes.

Vote yes June 2 on Measure G. It's the right tax at the right time.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

I'm not surprised those who don't support our schools would suggest donating $80,000 to the schools instead of to the campaign, since they don't want the tax to pass. The idea is penny-wise and pound foolish. Common sense says it is the right thing to do to spend that $80,000 to educate voters to ensure passage of this tax, which will generate $4.5 million per year for four years. It's the cost of democracy.

Vote yes to save essential programs on June 2. Vote yes on Measure G.


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Posted by Ray
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:57 am

What a shocker! Steve Brozosky, Kay Ayala, Doug Miller and the rest of our sour grapes, Tea Party-loving Republicans can't stomach paying a tax to help our school district. How typical. I love how these Republican election losers simply can't deal with the fact that they're out of power, so they feel they have to jump on any divisive issue they can to advance their cause, whether it be a housing development or a parcel tax. I really hope the people of Pleasanton can see through their partisan games.

Also, does anyone know if Steve Brozosky get his buddy Dan Carl "Rove" in on this too?


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Posted by Scooter
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:05 am

TV worth watching: At the recent school board meeting, Brozosky stood up and urged the board to be "good role models" for our students by NOT speaking in favor of the parcel tax. Isn't this why we elected them? To study issues, propose ideas, and then be leaders?

Yet when Brozosky was on the city council, he had no problem speaking up in favor of any measure or initiative he supported.

Steve is not the good community leader he thinks he is. He's a bright guy, but he's so politically motivated to showcase himself that he will even turn on our teachers and schools to try to gain limelight.

Remember this next time he runs for whatever office comes along.

Wake up, Steve. The tax is needed. Without it, we will lose more than 330 teachers and educators, and our property values and children's educations WILL suffer.

Vote yes on Measure G on June 2.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:07 am

Well, I'll be curious to see the website when it goes live. Perhaps it'll include some concrete suggestions about how to improve the schools.


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:13 am

I just paid my property tax and $494 went to pay school bonds. That's almost $1,000 a year that I am paying to the school district. You want to add another $233???? Forget it. The schools will just have to make do like the rest of us. State tax went up 1%, income tax is going up and now the schools want more too?? My husband lost his job 3 years ago and is now severly underemployed, making less than half of what he used to make. These are tough times and we all need to cut back. It's time to say NO MORE Taxes.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I tend to be a little left of center (like most centrists), but even I can see this tax isn't needed. I believe in taxation and I also believe in making sure my tax money is being used wisely. Government has a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers. While you're all gung-ho to pay for a parcel tax, the district will be paying out over $6MM in raises during the life of the tax.

Ray, congratulations, you're doing a much better job at framing this as a partisan issue.

Mary, the district has survived state shortfalls in the past by maintaining a very healthy 7% reserve. If they still had it they would be in a much better position than they are now. What happened to that reserve? How do we go from a goal of having a 7% reserve to needing to establish a policy?

Robert, common sense would also dictate that the district not double their election costs to something like $300,000 when they supposedly are short on money and instead put the election on the State ballot in May.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:19 am

Mary and Robert, There are a lot more of us than just Kay and Steve. It is the consistent tactic of the pro side to say we are against schools or teachers or kids. The majority of us have children or grandchildren in the schools now or children about to enter. They too would be impacted by the outcome of this issue. We are not acting without care for the youngsters, yours or ours, in this community.

I'm am one of those not willing to be taken in by the anxiety the district administration is wielding on behalf of its cause. There is a proposal to keep CSR next year from one Board member, it's been ignored. The BAC has ideas, but has not been allowed to voice them.
The current administration has been shown on these blogs time and time again to have gone on a spending spree and to have mismanaged other funds without care to the future.

Schools could be affected if the parcel tax fails, but it isn't clear that CSR will be lost. Many of us in the community have wonderful children who have grown to be wonderful and productive adults that "survived the dark days" when there was no CSR.

Back then, teachers were just as wonderful and dedicated, parents volunteered, PTAs (or similar organizations) held fundraisers, PPIE was started, there was a group who worked on state legislation and met and lobbied directly at the state level, and that same group worked on helping to pass unification in 1988. At the time, some of us were known as the "Walnut Grove queens." There was a core group of about 30 and our school (now torn down and brand new thanks to a bond we helped to pass) housed over 1,000 elementary (K-6) students. (Drive by that campus today and try to imagine 1,000 five to eleven year olds. All three of our children were visibly upset when they tore the school down. Their memories of how great a school it was were still that strong, despite its size.) Three of us from that group became board members (with apologies to Pat Kernan, but the reference to queens wasn't mine).

I was on the board when busing was cut; in fact, if I recall, all we did the three years I served was cut to keep the district fiscally sound. That fiscally sound district was passed on to the next administration and passed on yet again to the current one. There was no reason for that to stop being the case today.

Children are held accountable, teachers are held accountable, principals are held accountable, the district administration and the board need to be held accountable. These are bright people who cheated; now they need to do the work. It should begin now; there is still time. In the absence of a parcel tax and real solutions, I sincerely believe the children will adapt and parents and site staff will rise to the occasion as they always have.

Those of us opposed to this tax are doing our homework, asking for records, doing the research, stating the facts, asking the hard questions--just as we did all the other times when we actually supported the district on issues the children since benefited from, and for many of us, even when our own did not.

Please, show me facts and not emotion for your side of this issue.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I challenge those of you who fear that CSR is going to be cut if this parcel tax doesn't pass to email the Board and ask them what they plan to do with CSR if the tax fails.


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Posted by Fred Hempy
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

Measure G is a no-brainer. As a real estate broker here for 25 years I can tell you that 99% of all home buyers came here for our excellent schools-----probably, you did too. If you look at Alameda County cities that had the opportunity to pass school parcel taxes and did not, you'll discover they have lagged far behind in what folks are willing to pay for a home in a given city. San Leandro and Alameda, for example, were over 30% higher for similar homes in Pleasanton just 20 years ago. Check out the values today. For us NOT to pass a parcel tax is short-sighted and small-minded. I'll go so far as to say that if Measure G squeeks by, it will still effect us. Today's buyers are very well informed. Potential future home buyers in Pleasanton will view the results as the towns committment to the future of our schools: If nothing else but future home appreciation, I hope it's a landslide.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Fred, what you're basically saying by comparing San Leandro and Alameda housing prices is that Pleasanton schools 20 years ago were not known for their quality. My folks moved to Pleasanton nearly 30 years ago because of both Pleasanton's atmosphere and school quality.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

Fred, We actually moved here twice (1985 and 1997), with three children, because of it being in close proximity to many features of the bay area (and despite my husband's commute), it's relative affordability for us, and its being a good community to raise children. In 1985, we were horrified by the schools having come here from the midwest. And we dug in to make sure our children's experience (as explained above) and those of others were improved.

The 99% seems off the cuff; no one uses San Leandro and Alameda for comparative data to Pleasanton; and people have been moving here for years without a parcel tax. Those looking to buy here because of the schools will look at the education level of the community's adults and test scores and other measurements of its children's success--they will not choose to leave Pleasanton off the list because there is no parcel tax.


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Posted by Rob
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:53 am

The District has re-directed funds in the General Fund that should have been spent on educating children to law firms for the District's series of legal fiascos. Rather than try to eliminate non-essential and extravagant expenses like private sector companies do when times are tough, the District has refused to look at its wasteful spending. It is ridiculous that taxpayers are paying for cell phones, car allowances, and an army of consultants and lawyers.
Now taxpayers are being asked to make up for this, and some of our best teachers, those with enthusiasm and drive that that teach K-3, are being cut.

Like the city's so-called 'citizens committees' where in fact they are formed and put in place to rubber stamp city staffers' recommendations, the budget advisory committee was not asked to look at the financial picture of the District as a whole and recommend cuts. Instead they were given a list of pre-selected areas for reduction recommended by the Casey Cabinet and asked to simply rank order them.

They weren't given access to the entire set of financial information the District has. I believe this was on purpose.

Taxpayers must demand that the District come up with a plan to curb their wasteful spending.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

Kathleen:

You want facts? Let's look at history. In 1978, prop 13 was passed. A small minority saw the real outcome if this was passed, and it was cuts everywhere (but all agreed that property taxes were spinning out of control). Soon enough, everyone was complaining about the cuts, but they couldn't take back what they already did at the ballot box.

Ten years later, in 1988, Prop 98 came along to provide a minimum amount of spending on education. That has helped ease the damage of 13, and many great strides have been made in education in California since then.

Now, legislators are claiming a state of emergency, and not fully funding 98. And fast forward to May and June, where most everyone predicts the May revise of the state budget (which will probably happen in June, following the May election), will be even worse than currently calculated for. This means our 9.7 million shortfall will be more.

So let's keep our eye on the facts, as you suggest. The state has caused this problem, not the district. Look at the facts, the distict is not top heavy, compare them to other districts and you will find this out. We have less administrators per student here than in most districts. Two-million in cuts were made in the Spring last year to get us through the year. More cuts have already been made this year. And parcel tax or not, there will be 5+ million in cuts, at least.

Please stop blaming the administration, they are not the ones at fault. You may not like them or their salaries or perks, but they did not cause this mess. You can ask them for solutions, but do not blame them for the problem.

One last fact, is that board member (Valerie Arkin) who proposed a way to save CSR without a parcel tax ("There is a proposal to keep CSR next year from one Board member, it's been ignored."), but she also voted in FAVOR of the parcel tax! We can commend her for her thinking and work, but she can see the need for the PT now and in the future.

So there are some facts, but please don't cloud this as something that is the fault of the administration. I'm not an administrator, I am no big fan of the administration, but it simply isn't their fault. Just some "facts and not emotion" from me, just as you asked for.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:06 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Having no parcel tax is also a plus when looking at where to buy. From my own experience, we looked for a place where there's no HOB because we didn't want that expense. I hear people try to avoid Windemere's Mello-Roos in San Ramon too.


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Posted by Diane
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:06 am

Yes Ray, let's turn this into a partisan debate. I can almost guarantee that Measure G won't get the required 2/3 if you do. Local elections are non-partisan. I don't know or care what party most of our local officials are (except an obvious few), as long as they make the best decisions for our community. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean you have to start talking like MoveOn.org.

In the spirit of partisanship, let's talk about how the teachers' union (a.k.a. the Democratic party) keeps our administrators from laying off the worst teachers instead of those with lowest seniority. Or how it keeps them from paying teachers based on merit. My kids have had a whole bunch of teachers in the PUSD. Some have been incredible. Most have been very good. A few have been pretty bad. Some of the very best have been the ones to get pink slips, and none of the bad ones have. I would without a doubt prefer to have my child in a class of 33 students and an outstanding teacher rather than a class of 20 students and a mediocre or worse teacher. But the union does not give administrators that option.

The more you talk about D vs. R, the more likely I am to realize I don't want our city to start taxing and spending like the state and the feds, so we better just nip this trend in the bud!

(For the record, I'm undecided on G, but leaning yes.)


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Posted by Get the facts:
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:26 am

Diane:

Let's be clear on one fact: bad teachers can be removed. It takes time and documentation, but it can happen. (Tenure only means that you can't be removed without due process.) But most administrators are not up to the task, and will not take the time to do the proper documentation to make this happen.

So please do not say "But the union does not give administrators that option." This is simply false, they have that option, but I have never seen an administrator do it, but I know it can and has happened. If you don't think a teacher is good, then talk to the administrator and demand action.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:30 am

I must be a victim of the texting phenomenon. What the heck do CSR, BAC (I thought this was Bank America's stock quote symbol) and PPIE stand for?


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Posted by Ray
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:33 am

Sorry Diane, I forgot that Steve Brozosky and Kay Ayala have never done anything partisan, petty, or divisive; it's only my posts on Pleasanton weekly. Yeah, sure.

If you are too blind to see that Steve Brozosky, Kay Ayala, Doug Miller are policy motivated Republicans, you're simply ignorant. Look at the 2006 mayoral election, and tell me Brozosky and Dan Carl "Rove" didn't act in a partisan manner. If you want to pretend like their motives, in opposing the parcel tax, aren't political and partisan, you are either dishonest or don't know the history of Steve Brozosky and Kay Ayala.


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Posted by Same thread
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:34 am


There are two threads running on this story...I've moved the comments from the second thread to this one...can we try to keep all the comments on this story on the same thread please?


Posted by Carl, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, 4 hours ago

How many people (not including speakers/panelists) attended the 4/8 town hall meeting?

Report Objectionable Content

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by Emily West, Pleasanton Weekly reporter, 21 minutes ago
Emily West is a member (registered user) of Pleasanton Weekly

I would say about 20.

Report Objectionable Content


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Posted by Diane
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:39 am

Get the Facts:

Yes, I am aware that bad teachers can be removed. I have participated in that process. It is very time consuming and very EXPENSIVE for the district. And it only happens for the very worst, not the merely the bad, especially if they have even a few years tenure.

I was referring to the layoff process, which is based on seniority rather than merit.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:44 am

Tim:

CSR: Class Size Reduction, an incentive program from the state to lower teacher-to-student ratios in K-3 and 9th grades from 33-1 to 20-1.

BAC: Budget Advisory Committee, made up of parents, students, teachers, etc. I don't know the exact Breakdown of how many from each group was represented, I wasn't on it.

PPIE: Pleasanton Partners in Education, a fundraising group of people in Pleasanton, though I'm sure they do much more than that.

SCUBA: Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

POTUS: President Of The United States.

I hope this helps.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:48 am

Diane:

That's fine, I understand, and don't really have a problem with that. But until someone comes up with a merit system that is not highly subjective, or based on test scores (please don't go there, I will never be okay with that for many reasons), then seniority is the only way, in my opinion, that prevents discrimination.


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Posted by Diane
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

Ray, petty and divisive are not the same as partisan. Republicans don't have a lock on that, and if you don't see that, you are the blind one. But my point was that we should keep partisanship out of this discussion. There are very valid points on both sides of the argument. Lets keep it civil and avoid the personal attacks.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

Get the facts: I wasn't here in '78, but Prop 13 was the wrong solution to a real problem. That would be the same for Measure G. The "small minority" in our case is pointing out Measure G also is the wrong solution.

Prop 98 also locked up 40% of the state budget and that in turn is causing other problems. We could start a much lengthier conversation about how to fix that.

Nobody can say for certain what will happen in May and what the impact will be to PUSD.

The state merely, and only, compounded the problems the district caused for itself. There is still a debate on how much needs to be cut and how to accomplish a systemic correction (a parcel tax is not long term or systemic).

This administration is at fault; it did not hold the line on raises nor did they set aside funds for economic uncertainty. They abandoned a goal of a 7% reserve.

I've spoken with Valerie; I understand her dilemma, particularly because she has been on the board only four months. She offered solutions (and the BAC has asked for a chance to offer others) and was ignored. She, too, must have felt she had no alternative. The recommendation is a one drum solo and rather than suggest real solutions the drum just gets beaten harder and the mic gets turned up.

Even I would work for a parcel tax after (emphasize)
• An in-depth look at the budget by a new auditor
• A survey of the all stakeholders about what it values and is willing to pay for or some other method of input by all PUSD employees, parents, and anyone else living in P'twon
• All possible cuts are made
• The parcel tax lists specific purchases (X counselors, reading specialists, etc.)
• The parcel tax includes no COLAs/raises for the life of the tax (and I would suggest three years maximum). I personally would leave step and column alone, if it is possible.

Pleasanton will continue to attract great teachers because it is a great community with children (as much as kids ever like going to school) and parents who value education. It makes the job more rewarding. Great pay to make it financially rewarding as well is another discussion I hope we can get to some day soon.

(To respond to a subsequent posting of yours: tenured teachers are very costly to remove even when an administrator does the work. It's easier to move the teacher around. It's done. We all know it.)


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

To "Get the facts"
Thx, INT (I needed that)


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

As I read the posts, it does seem that those with an ax to grand are opposing Measure G. Brozosky and Ayala are still reeling from the defeats in their unsuccessful runs for mayor. Ruegsegger has joined the group. She, too, has an ax to grind. I have heard her complaints about leaving the district as the administrative assistant to the superintendent, management, shortly after Casey took over as superintendent, "not a good match." Is this now her opportunity for payback? This community has, obviously, gone against Brozosky and Ayala before and the district has gone against Ruegsegger. We have said no to these people before and are the better for it. I hope we say no to them again and support our community by supporting students by voting yes on G.


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Posted by Agreew/Kathleen
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

Regarding the following from Kathleen R. post.
It seems like a reasonble proposal.
Get the facts, your comments lead me to believe you are connected with education and have a relationship with PUSD administration.
Please take KR's comments to PUSD, particularly regarding having the financial records reviewed - by an accounting firm that will go through the budget carefully and identify all areas where cuts can be made that aren't directly linked to student learning.
It seems like the message those who are against the tax are giving is that they believe there are areas where PUSD hasn't made the cuts that should be made in this economy, and that there are things that need to be done to prevent future financial problems.
It also seems that the no on the parcel tax people are saying that if after these things are done, PUSD can show that a parcel tax is needed, they would suppport it.
So why not work with them? There's still nearly two months before the special election.




Even I would work for a parcel tax after (emphasize)


• An in-depth look at the budget by a new auditor


• A survey of the all stakeholders about what it values and is willing to pay for or some other method of input by all PUSD employees, parents, and anyone else living in P'twon


• All possible cuts are made


• The parcel tax lists specific purchases (X counselors, reading specialists, etc.)


• The parcel tax includes no COLAs/raises for the life of the tax (and I would suggest three years maximum). I personally would leave step and column alone, if it is possible.




Pleasanton will continue to attract great teachers because it is a great community with children (as much as kids ever like going to school) and parents who value education. It makes the job more rewarding. Great pay to make it financially rewarding as well is another discussion I hope we can get to some day soon.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

Joan, Can you explain further about me? There must be things I don't know about why I left. Nobody said no to me--I left the board to follow my husband in a move to Texas for 3 1/2 years (a fact Jeb got wrong and apologized for); I left the district as an employee because of what was occurring inside the DO. If you want me to tell that truth, it won't be about me at all. I have no ax to grind with the district. I don't like Casey; it's mutual.

I am happy where I am and have seen what excellence is, in a district and in bond and parcel tax campaigns. I have 14 years experience in K-12 education. It happens in this case that I am of a like opinion with others I have not agreed with in the past on other topics. We agree this parcel tax is the wrong answer.

I take a position on an issue based on what I know or learn based on research. I do not take a position for or against based on who else is involved on either side of the issue. I vote democrat, and republican, and other parties too. I write to our various representatives, the Governor, the White House (regardless of who occupies), and the Vatican.

I don't personalize and I'd appreciate that you refrain as well. Or step forward with your full identity so I can address you and your vague accusations.


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Posted by Tim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Are our priorities screwed up or what? We are fighting over a parcel tax that would bring in $4.5 million while spending $5.5 million to take a few telephone and power poles in order to beautify the road. I think I can find a better use for that $5.5 million, OUR SCHOOLS!


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Posted by Who's Joan
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Isn't Joan the first name of one of the people running the pro parcel tax campaign?
To Joan: Kathleen's right that you are personalizing the issue.
Why don't you post your whole name? If you're going to take unwarranted potshots at anyone who has posted a full name on this blog, then give Kathleen and everyone else who reads these blogs the same opportunity to do so to you.
This isn't about whether anyone's for or against the parcel tax - I'm not even going to state my position - it's about your despicable behavior.
And no, I'm not going to post my name.....what will you do then...look up my employment history, where I live, who my kids are, who my friends are...and then make untruthful statements about them.
There are people on these blogs who are trying to have intelligent and civilized discussions - you're not one of them.


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Posted by Seeing Double
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Don't worry Joan,

We are seeing through the double standard here. Those opposing Measure G constantly find it reasonable for themselves to write defamatory remarks about specific district employees. (They even have you pegged you as the head of SOS because your name is Joan)

When they are called on their statements, the issue becomes a cry of "you're attacking me." This is only because the it is easier to divert from the real issues you bring up, which they have only false information to rebut with. Joan had a point, after reading through many of Kathleen's postings, I think Joan hit the nail on the head.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Seeing Double, No diversion here. I asked for clarification of vague accusations.

Again, tell me what you want to know about me or my position on this tax. I have and will continue to respond.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Kathleen:

"Get the facts: I wasn't here in '78, but Prop 13 was the wrong solution to a real problem."
- I agree completely, solved one problem but created another.

"That would be the same for Measure G. The "small minority" in our case is pointing out Measure G also is the wrong solution."
- I disagree. This solution puts matters into our own hands, providing a small piece of stable funding. We cannot count on stable funding from Sacramento, this has been proven over and over again.

"Prop 98 also locked up 40% of the state budget and that in turn is causing other problems."
- Isn't locking up funding a good thing? If we had locked up funding, we wouldn't be talking about a pracel tax.

"Nobody can say for certain what will happen in May and what the impact will be to PUSD."
-True.

"The state merely, and only, compounded the problems the district caused for itself."
- The district is well run, has never before needed a parcel tax (despite virtually all local communities asking for one), and is willing to look for solutions. But make no mistake, this is a Sacramento caused problem, not a district problem.

"There is still a debate on how much needs to be cut and how to accomplish a systemic correction (a parcel tax is not long term or systemic)."
- There is no debate, we are short 9.7 million, so we need to cut 9.7 mil, or 5.2 with a passed parcel tax.

"This administration is at fault; it did not hold the line on raises nor did they set aside funds for economic uncertainty. They abandoned a goal of a 7% reserve."
- Teachers got a 0% raise this past year. How is that not holding the line? 7% was a goal, it was up to 4.5% (I believe) at one point, but then the econimic skies started falling, and 7% became unrealistic.

"I've spoken with Valerie; I understand her dilemma, particularly because she has been on the board only four months. She offered solutions (and the BAC has asked for a chance to offer others) and was ignored. She, too, must have felt she had no alternative. The recommendation is a one drum solo and rather than suggest real solutions the drum just gets beaten harder and the mic gets turned up."
- She had an alternative, and it was to say no. But she voted yes. She was quoted in the weekly as saying that a PT is still a good thing in that the econimic forcast is no better in the next few years, and that stable funding is a good solution (I paraphrase from memory.)

"Even I would work for a parcel tax after (emphasize)
• An in-depth look at the budget by a new auditor
• A survey of the all stakeholders about what it values and is willing to pay for or some other method of input by all PUSD employees, parents, and anyone else living in P'twon
• All possible cuts are made"
-Let's talk about "all possible cuts". The ed. code requires a district to have a superintendant, a principal for every school, and a teacher for every 33 kids, nothing more. So, we could say goodbye to counselors, music, sports, librarians, CSR, custodians, and everything else. We would save a ton of money and have a 25% reserve! That's not what I want, and I'm guessing it's not what you or most anyone else wants.

"• The parcel tax lists specific purchases (X counselors, reading specialists, etc.)"
- It DOES list specific purchases!

"• The parcel tax includes no COLAs/raises for the life of the tax (and I would suggest three years maximum). I personally would leave step and column alone, if it is possible."
- The parcel tax DOES include a provision for no administrative raises, and they have already taken a cut in pay. The teachers I can guarantee you are expecting no raise in the next 5-10 years, and have taken a pay cut for next year. The classified staff is also considering a pay cut for next year, and they have already been cut back.

"Pleasanton will continue to attract great teachers because it is a great community with children (as much as kids ever like going to school) and parents who value education. It makes the job more rewarding. Great pay to make it financially rewarding as well is another discussion I hope we can get to some day soon."
- It may continue to attract good teachers, but we are forced into laying off good teachers now! And many teachers cannot afford to live here, hence the large number (58%) of teachers that live outside of Pleasanton.

"(To respond to a subsequent posting of yours: tenured teachers are very costly to remove even when an administrator does the work. It's easier to move the teacher around. It's done. We all know it.)"
-I know it's done, but that doesn't make it right. Do the paperwork and get rid of the bad teacher, you will save money in the long run by hiring a less-expensive 1st year teacher. Please don't complain to the teachers about getting rid of the bad teachers, we don't like them either, but we can't remove them.

To Agree w/Kathleen:
I am a proud teacher in this district, I have never hid that fact. I have issues with the administration on many levels, but not on finances. We have always been known as a well run district, I feel lucky to work here. Let's please stop bashing the district for the problems we have, it's not their fault, look to Sacramento.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I've disagreed publicly on this website with Brozosky and Ayala on many issues, but this is not one of them. Joan didn't bring up any real issues. She's equally diversionary on the issue of the school budget.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Measure G is nothing more than a salary tax. It allows money to get shuffled around to continue funding raises. If the District were sincere about spending reduction, they'd freeze raises during the life of the parcel tax.


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Posted by Knows better than to get info from an unmoderated blog
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

>Those opposing Measure G constantly find it reasonable for themselves to write defamatory remarks about specific district employees.

My favorite was when they "outed" a district employee as the spouse of the editor (a point that could have easily been made without naming the specific person), then claimed to be victimized when the editor responded in kind.

The editor was wrong, but our anti-parcel tax neighbors don't have the moral high ground.

It boils down to this: if you believe in results, look at how PUSD schools are run, from test scores to the quality of the facilities to the dedication of the employees. By any objective measure PUSD is a super star school district on just about every level.

PUSD administration quite reasonably constructed a budget based on revenues they expected from the state - the state didn't come through. Bottom line: if you want to sustain the results of organization as close as possible to previous years, consider voting for the parcel tax.

If you're against taxes in general, or think that PUSD's budget crisis was totally self-inflicted, think that staff are expecting too much, believe that there is some well of undetected 'fat' that can be unilaterally cut, or simply think that schools don't need the resources, vote no.

Expect consequences either way; decide where you want your pain. Personally, I thinkt hat without adequate funding, we as a community will witness a long, slow decline from a totally stellar public school district into mediocrity.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Pleasanton parents should give themselves more credit where it's due. High test scores (measure of student achievement) have much more to do with parental involvement than schools themselves.

Measure G is a salary tax. If this is, as Casey says, the worst he's seen it in 17 years, then he and the Board need to stop treating this as business as usual.


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Posted by Abby
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Jeb was repeatedly asked to disclose if he had family members in the district he refused to do so, even though he frequently attaches similar identifiers and disclosures when he writes about other people. He made it necessary to identify his biased reporting. There was no malice to doing so.

At Tuesdays board meeting they said they will "curtail" future personal use of district cell phones and reduce the number of employees that have district cell phones to 100 employees. That will bring the annual cost down to $98 thousand dollars.
My family share plan with unlimited minutes, free long distance and unlimited text costs less than 25% of what they will be paying after their reduction.
I would never spend my money the way they are spending my money. This is one small obvious example, they don't deserve more of my money.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Seeing Double wrote: When they are called on their statements, the issue becomes a cry of "you're attacking me." This is only because the it is easier to divert from the real issues you bring up, which they have only false information to rebut with.

Here's just one issue which has been brought up but never addressed that has always made me wonder what's going on:
PUSD School Board voted to spend $100K to re-locate solar panels at Foothill High School. This was voted on during a School Board meeting, and during the meeting, PUSD acknowledged that PUSD should have discussed the solar panel placement with the neighbors of Foothill High School. If you look at the PUSD Budget FAQs, there's no mention of this cost. There's also no mention that PUSD could have opted to not relocate the panels - relocating them was not required by law. What's on the website gives the impression that PUSD is saving the taxpayers' money, when it will be years before the solar panels' installation will recover the $100K. First PUSD didn't follow its good neighbor policy, then PUSD chose to spend $100K at the same time they were talking about cutting school programs.

That's a fact that's been brought up repeatedly on the blogs, but it seems only one group is concerned about this waste of taxpayers' money when everyone should be concerned. It bothers me that $100K that could have been used towards children's educational needs is gone. It bothers me that PUSD has not given any indication that they've done what's necessary to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

One group brings up issues that should worry all taxpayers. But people like Joan whoever she is aren't responding to the issues, but attacking the person. That gets no one anywhere.

As for defamatory remarks against PUSD administrators, their contracts are public record, and their salaries and other extras are paid for with taxpayers' money.

Taxpayers have a right to question why $120K each year was spent in car allowances and to expect that to change when teachers are receiving lay off notices. They believe it's more important to keep teachers than to provide administrators with extras.

There appears to be room for improvement in the way the District is using taxpayers' money, but don't shoot the messenger for pointing out facts that make the District's financial decisions look bad - recognize that the District has done that on their own.

I think it's a good thing that there are people out there asking questions about how money was spent, and being concerned that it's not being spent in the best way possible.

Whether or not the parcel tax passes, it's still a good idea for PUSD to cut all unnecessary expenses. The economy isn't going to turn around anytime soon.









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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

They're only considering curbing the cell phones AFTER pressure by those of us against the parcel tax! This should have been done BEFORE.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I believe a parcel tax is needed to maintain the high level of excellence our schools have achieved. I have no problem supporting such a tax even though I have taken a pay cut from my own company. I lost 13% of my annual salary due to the poor economy. On top of that salary reduction I will not receive a raise (cost of living or merit), no bonuses will be paid, and I am being forced to take additional days off (vacation burn down and/or non-paid days off). My support for the parcel tax however, will only come if step and column increases are frozen. Asking the community for money while paying out salary increases is insulting. Do the right thing, forfeit step and column increases - its the ethical and responsible thing to do.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Kathleen wrote:

"...There was a core group of about 30 and our school (now torn down and brand new thanks to a bond we helped to pass) housed over 1,000 elementary (K-6) students. (Drive by that campus today and try to imagine 1,000 five to eleven year olds. All three of our children were visibly upset when they tore the school down. Their memories of how great a school it was were still that strong, despite its size.) Three of us from that group became board members.."











Wasn't Walnut Grove identified as having a mold problem?...and that rebuilding the school was a good thing?

And, isn't it nice to know that the Bond that you, my family and MANY others worked so hard to get passed, actually ended up improving the facilities our students use to receive their education in Pleasanton?

Money for Pleasanton, Managed by Pleasanton, and Benefitted Pleasanton.

Sounded good to me then…….and still does.

YES on G.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

GTF:
We agree.

We disagree. It isn't stable if it ends in four years.

Not necessarily. It also limited a district's ability to control funding and spending. A parcel tax is just one method districts use to get around Prop 98.

We agree.

We differ on one word—The district WAS well run. The district wanted and contemplated a parcel tax and couldn't find support (long before Sacramento issue). Why is it they couldn't get support when other communities did?

I still don't believe the $9.7 million figure. I'm still digging into that.

Zero percent for one year is not long range planning, and I'll argue it's closing the barn door after the horse got out. The economic skies that fell were from the load of three years of unsustainable COLAs/raises, $14 millionish plus S&C, and no money in the bank.

Again, my empathy to Ms. Arkin; I don't think she saw this train coming when she ran for office.

I have posted about what we survived in the dark days. CSR has a value, but not necessarily academic. I support it, but we can and have lived without. Music and art have a greater value, as do science, PE, and counselors. In fact, I'd give up CSR for a trade off in stronger programs in those areas.

I meant the ballot language. "Should the district raise a tax of $X to employ X counselors, X reading specialists, X teachers for art, music, . . . "

It needs to be in the language, no raises. It's why I suggest a short life on the tax. It's a long time without a raise for staff so it should be limited, and it's a guarantee to voters that a renewal won't be requested so blithely.

This only supports the argument for being able to give pink slips to teachers who underperform, regardless of years on the job. Your statistic also points to the fact that the majority of teachers won't be hit by the double whammy others speak of (furlough and tax).

I agree that teachers know who the bad teachers are. Peer review? I certainly favor a process where parents and teachers have a voice . . . critique or praise. A system where parents have a voice in whose classes their kids are placed in? It's a vote with your feet approach and could be telling. Merit pay for excellence or leadership or mentoring (other options should be considered)? I agree it can't be based on test scores.

It's a good debate. We are presenting two sides of the issues from our personal perspectives. I don't think we are changing each other's minds, but it's a good thing to walk the road to the voter's booth in conversation if not in perfect sync.


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Posted by West Side Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm

NO PARCEL TAX. The district can give a valuable lesson to parents and students alike. We must all live within our means and doing so means we must all make sacrifices. Thank goodness Steve Brozosky came forward on this issue. Someone now needs to organize the opposition. You can see from this discussion, they will do and say anything for another trip to the taxpayer's trough.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Seriously, of all the people that could've chosen to put their signatures beneath the anti-parcel tax statement, it's Kay Ayala and Steve Brozosky? That should serve as a red flag to anyone who knows about Pleasanton politics. The anti-parcel tax side would've had more credibility with me if they chose two random people off the street to endorse their statement. Those two are so politically motivated that they can't see the forest for the trees!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Rick,
Yes there was mold in one classroom, not the entire school.

The bond was wonderful and easily supported because of the solid information presented. (The fact that bond committee meetings stopped five years ago and money continued to be spent without oversight says something about how finances are currently being handled.)

The bond was tangible; this measure is amorphous. A vote for one does not equate to a yes vote now.


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Posted by West Side Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Steve Brozosky knows budgeting—he owns his own business (meets a payroll) and has served on both the City Council and the PUSD board. He is the one person whose opinion I would seek when it comes to the school district. Mr. Bowser spearheading yes contributions is not political? Get a grip.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Kathleen wrote:

"The bond was tangible; this measure is amorphous. A vote for one does not equate to a yes vote now."




I believe just the opposite regarding Measure G. I am also happy that voters in the Palo Alto Unified School District approved a $378 million bond issue last year to help the district where you work.

Good things can happen ;-)


Oh well….not the first time I did not agree with someone. Sure it won't be the last either.


YES on G...and Happy Easter too. Time to go play with the grandkids


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Posted by Knows the Real Story
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

To Knows Better:
The person who "outed" Jeb Bing's wife as a district employee who was pink slipped was not the same person Jeb Bing "outed" on the PW Blog. Outing Jan Bing wasn't "outing" her but pointing out information that was already published in a school directory and school website.

As a journalist, Jeb Bing should have disclosed this information when he began writing stories on the parcel tax. That's a point in which the PW president and the PW publisher agree.

Outing an anonymous poster on the PW blogs was a violation of the PW privacy policy. The PW president and the PW publisher agree on this too. You apparently also agree this was wrong, but seem to think it was deserved. Do you still think that now that you know that the person Jeb Bing "outed" didn't "out" Jeb's wife?

The reason why so many posters, from both sides of the parcel tax issue, post anonymously is because of a real, not imagined, fear of retribution, not so much for themselves, but for their children. Also, maybe they are wise enough to realize that it's best not to create public rifts.

In some ways, the parcel tax issue is like the Civil War because it sets neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, even teacher against teacher.

The PW forums allow all to share opinions and ideas in a safe environment, and while many disagree with one another, and often strongly, I think everyone realizes that after June 2nd, we have to go back to being a community and it's easier to do so if disagreements aren't voiced aloud.

I've certainly noticed that regardless of how posters feel about an issue, there's a surge when someone posts personal attacks where many posters point out that the person who posted a personal attack crossed a line. That's the kind of self-policing that should occur.
I've also noticed that a number of those who disagree on the parcel tax issue have lively exchanges about the points where they disagree, and they stick to the points, and sometimes thank one another for doing so.

You do realize that you chose to post anonymously, don't you?


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Posted by Knows the Real Story
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Look at the posts between Kathleen and Rick....they don't agree, but they're talking...and Rick even wished Kathleen a Happy Easter.
They may not be able to change each others minds, but in the meantime, we all benefit by the information they share.


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Posted by Yes on G
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I will be glad to pay this tax because I know the money will stay in Pleasanton and benefit our schools. The ballot language is clear about where this money will be spent and the oversight that will take place. Please review the ballot language chart for details: Small class sizes get 42.9%, technology instruction 4.8%, school site custodial services 9.7%, Elementary strings/band 2.6%, reading and math support programs 11.5%, counseling services 20.7%, library hours 6.2% and county assessment fee 1.7%.
Passing this funding measure will at least give the district some type of stable funding since the state is unable to provide this. I know not everyone agrees with this, but it would be nice to have productive comments, rather than the bickering I have observed on this and other posts.

Vote Yes on Measure G!!! Save Pleasanton Schools


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Yes on G, There is no guarantee the money will be spent as you indicate. The district could decide it has different priorities and not have to come back to the voters to change them. It isn't stable funding, it's temporary funding that ignores underlying causes created by a lack of planning that occurred well before the state budget mess. I'm hoping you acknowledge that difference, even though you will surely vote for the measure.

Rick, I could be misreading your statement, so I will clarify for my own sake that a bond is for facilities (new or modernization). A parcel tax is for what I'll call soft costs (operational)--not buildings.

Palo Alto's second bond, like Pleasanton's, is fixing very old facilities and preparing for enrollment growth. Both bonds, the initial parcel tax, the failed reup of that tax, and the eventual passage of a new parcel tax (fewer years and about $30 less per parcel) were carefully presented to the community. The district had then and continues to hold a high value on its integrity. They have a proven track record for a conservative approach to their budget and large reserves. It is a pleasure to work there. Perhaps, then, you can understand my concern for what I see happening where I live.

Grandkids are the best, aren't they? Happy Easter to your family as well.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

hi Kathleen,

me again. I do hope these blogs and comments will settle down a bit over the holiday weekend!

Just wanted to follow up on some of your recent comments.

"my empathy to Ms. Arkin; I don't think she saw this train coming when she ran for office."

I agree -- it's got to be a really difficult time to be a board member. I have to ask, though, if she didn't see this coming, how could any of the previous board members seen it? Your argument about the district's irresponsibility assumes that someone wiser would have insisted on a larger reserve fund. And yet wasn't the reserve fund over $4 million two years ago? The board was headed toward the 7% reserve goal, but the economy tanked.

You also mentioned something about the bond oversight committee. "The fact that bond committee meetings stopped five years ago and money continued to be spent without oversight says something about how finances are currently being handled."

Was an oversight committee required based on the bond's ballot language? That's quite unusual. Who served? I wish I could hear directly from the committee members about why they are no longer meeting.



My bigger concern is with your statements about what contributes to academic excellence.

"CSR has a value, but not necessarily academic. I support it, but we can and have lived without. Music and art have a greater value, as do science, PE, and counselors."

I have not seen any research that compares the academic impact of music, art, or science with the impact of class size reduction. I have reviewed research on class size reduction, and that research does demonstrate a positive academic impact.

Here's a report from the Department of Education, synthesizing the research on the academic benefits of class size reduction: Web Link

It states "A consensus of research indicates that class size reduction in the early grades leads to higher student achievement. Researchers are more cautious about the question of the positive effects of class size reduction in 4th through 12th grades."

The second bullet point in the summary research conclusions also quantifies the effect: "The research data from the relevant studies indicate that if class size is reduced from substantially more than 20 students per class to below 20 students, the related increase in student achievement moves the average student from the 50th percentile up to somewhere above the 60th percentile. For disadvantaged and minority students the effects are somewhat larger."

The positive academic impacts of CSR have been established through decades of research. The research suggests that if class sizes increase, academic performance will fall. We can "live without" CSR, if we are willing to live with that.




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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Kathleen,

WE AGREE 100%
..........................................................................................................................................

(wait for it, wait for it…)
.......................................................................................................................................



That Grandkids are the best! :-)








My reason for bringing up the bond is that citizens in Palo Alto realized their was a need - in that case, for facilities. Hopefully, Palo Alto knows that they do not need to worry about facilities right now...so funding can be used for other ('soft') uses.

We don't share the same view about PUSD. I believe everyone can do better, but have witnessed wonderful results here locally.

I'll continue my support of Measure G....and assume you will continue your opposition. Guess that what makes the world go 'round.
Appreciate the Easter wishes.

YES on G!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy asked: "Was an oversight committee required based on the bond's ballot language? That's quite unusual. Who served? I wish I could hear directly from the committee members about why they are no longer meeting."

Yes. No, it's not unusual. It's the law. As I understand the leader of SPS is supposed to be on the committee so you could ask her what the deal is.

Web Link
EDUCATION CODE SECTION 15278-15282
15278. (a) If a bond measure authorized pursuant to paragraph (3)
of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIIIA of the California
Constitution and subdivision (b) of Section 18 of Article XVI of the
California Constitution is approved, the governing board of the
school district or community college shall establish and appoint
members to an independent citizens' oversight committee, pursuant to
Section 15282, within 60 days of the date that the governing board
enters the election results on its minutes pursuant to Section 15274.

(b) All committee proceedings shall be open to the public and
notice to the public shall be provided in the same manner as the
proceedings of the governing board. The citizens' oversight
committee shall issue regular reports on the results of its
activities. A report shall be issued at least once a year. Minutes
of the proceedings of the citizens' oversight committee and all
documents received and reports issued shall be a matter of public
record and be made available on an Internet website maintained by the
governing board.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 10, 2009 at 8:26 pm

"My reason for bringing up the bond is that citizens in Palo Alto realized their was a need - in that case, for facilities. Hopefully, Palo Alto knows that they do not need to worry about facilities right now...so funding can be used for other ('soft') uses."

And if they do, it is highly illegal!!!!!! No way can you divert bond money for infrastructure toward expenses! Only "taxes" can be used unrestrictedly. Please understand the LAW before you write things like this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Frank....

I am not a lawyer, and unfortunately, you read much more into it.

Let's say that Palo Alto did not pass a bond to pay for 'facilities'. Is it not conceivable that at some point, PAUSD would need to repair those facilities...or put a "band aid" fix on a building to keep it safe for kids?

If so, and if there is no Bond money - what are they to do? The state has no money to give...the citizens would have said 'no' I will not fund a bond.

Where does the district get the money? I would think that safety would need to be number 1 and so it is possible that school district funds might be needed to deal with such issues....leaving less money for 'soft' programs.

Hope that makes sense.


BTW - Happy Easter.

Gotta go - time to help with Grandkids bedtime story. Much more pressing right now.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Rick, Prop 47 "Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002" Web Link


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Stacey,

thanks, but sometimes I wonder why I even post.......back and forth on a forum is not ideal, is it?


The Bond in PAUSD was not the bond you posted about. Obviously, PAUSD needed more funds for facilities and that is why almost 80% of their electorate passed that bond (Measure A)- for Palo Alto.

Web Link



Sleep well.....For thosee keeping track at home - the Grankids are tougher to get to sleep than they used to be. Now, it the 'ol 'I need some water Grandpa' trick.....

And, yes - I fall for it every time...

talk to you all another time.


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Posted by Really, Stacy?!
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 10, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Stacy, Since the parents are the reason for the high test scores in this town and because you obviously have a lot of time on your hands, why don't you start a parents driven/run Charter School? Smart parents and even smarter kids should only be run by someone so smart like you! This town is really going downhill fast...


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I hate taxes but I'll support this tax. I have 4 children in Ptown schools so paying $233 per year and get $4.5M of services is a bargain. Vote yes on this tax.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

To Really, Stacy,

Why should I need to do that? Look at statistics for home schooled children. They tend to be ahead of their grade levels so the parent-teachers must be doing something right academically.

I don't normally like to guess at the identity of posters, but perhaps you are connected with PUSD in some way and feel "dissed" at the idea that parents have a much greater influence in student achievement than schools. If schools were truly the end-all-be-all of student achievement, how come the US can't seem to catch up to all those foreign countries where they actually value education instead of popular culture? Haven't you noticed that the recent US advantages in science was all produced by foreigners?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:13 am

Rick, I'll respond to you first because responding to Sandy is going to take much longer.

Districts have multiple ways to pay for facilities, bonds, deferred maintenance funds, Mello-Roos . . . they cannot use those funds for soft costs. They have general funds, categorical funds, reserve funds, and parcel taxes for soft costs . . . they wouldn't/couldn't (depending on the mechanism) use them for buildings.

So PAUSD has had two bonds and two parcel taxes in recent history. As a side note, they actually refinanced their previous bond to reduce the cost to taxpayers when they finished the projects---a long history of responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Speaking of grandkids, mine is here for breakfast.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:55 am

Kathleeen,

enjoy breakfast with the grand kids.....


A question - I understand that the different type of bonds, parcel taxes etc are used for different things.

I guess my point was:

If a district did not have Bond money for facilties...and you needed to improve those facilties....and the state did not help - isn't it 'possible' that "general funds" (using the term loosly) could end up being used by a district for such facility work?

I think it could end up that way - not saying it did in PAUSD, because we know they did approve a Bond measure to take care of the facilties. But, if that funding was not available - I think it is possible that general funds would be used....thereby reducing funding available for 'soft' projects.



To Stacy -

You said: "Haven't you noticed that the recent US advantages in science was all produced by foreigners?"

Personnaly, I don't care who advances the sciences - and you are mistaken to think all advances have come from what you term, 'foreigners'. I think you will find many produced by US citizens....if that matters to you.

Web Link





As for me - I am DONE with this 'conversation'. Everyone is entitled to their opinion...and I know where I stand - and clearly know exactly where many on this forum stand. Hope to see you on a different topic someday.



YES on G





Seacrest.....out





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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

Rick, The answer is no (deferred maintenance funds are set aside, but they are for maintenance issues, not building, modernizing, etc.--just not enough money to accomplish those kinds of projects). You would appeal to the community to pass a bond, as the two districts in question have done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Board members have three major roles to fulfill—hiring and supervising the superintendent, setting policy, and stewardship of the budget. Valerie and Jamie cannot be held accountable for what is currently happening with only four months in office. If we absolve Chris, Jim, and Pat, (and other board members) it would point to bad recommendations by staff. The "major goal" was for a seven percent reserve. At some point, someone("s") wasn't thinking about economic uncertainty.

The tanking occurred not with the economy, but with three years of unsustainable raises. It was a heavy load on the general fund (over $10 million, less than $15 million) that rolls over from budget year to budget year and assumed continued COLA increases and/or enrollment growth. I don't advocate no raises of course, but there could have been decent raises, a smaller load on the GF, and money in the bank.

I think Stacey replied about the bond oversight committee already. Perhaps, if it was like the BAC where it was a presentation and not a discussion, those volunteering could have felt their time wasn't valued. Maybe someone will step forward to say. We know they did meet; we know they stopped; we know the money continued to be spent.

Here is what I'm saying: CSR at 20:1 has value in class management and lowering stress for teachers (I can list articles about its academic value not being achieved until you get to about 15:1—and your quote does say it has to be reduced to "to below 20 students"—let me know). If forced to trade between CSR and music or art enhancements (science is a more direct academic question), I'd personally choose the latter group.

Research is all over the place on whether music or art have a causal effect on learning as well. What does have value is in teaching the whole child, whether for lifelong appreciation or for realizing a talent or interest at a young age or for the value of keeping students in school—sports are often cited in the latter example. I have seen firsthand what "dedicated" schools can accomplish for students (one was science and math focused; another was arts). These were public schools and there was a lottery to get into them.

I don't believe there are decades of data on CSR for California, at least, and for PUSD in particular. It hasn't been around that long. As I pointed out, there are children who graduated in 2000 (my youngest included) who went through the entire K-12 system without CSR and are successful adults today.

Unfortunately, PUSD took a gamble when they decided they could afford much higher pay, not save, and spend down reserves. It was a risk that should not have been taken. In the meantime, if giving up CSR is what it will take to balance PUSD's budget, then that is what should be done. I am not convinced it is the only option available, and I don't think the community should settle for the offer being presented via a parcel tax (we cover the bet they lost).

I highly recommend "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell where he speaks about accident of birth, opportunity, and hard work (10,000 hours). If there is a way to have it all—CSR (less than 20 would be great), art (drama, drawing, dance), music, and science labs—I'm in.

This is where I wonder how we get the opportunity for the community to talk about what it values and might be willing to pay for. It's a conversation that should have begun long ago, but can still be talked about in the future. The perfect chance may be if Measure G fails (I can only guess). If the parcel tax succeeds, I don't think you'll see that opportunity again for at least another four years. There will be no incentive from PUSD to do so, and with an overloaded tax bill and many grappling with layoffs, salary freezes, and pay cuts—no incentive in the community to add to their burden. What a waste.


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm

To Kathleen:

I get so tired of the "unsustainable raises" theory. Let's say no raises or smaller raises were given. Let's say we got to the 7% reserve. Now the bad times have come, and we have extra reserve of 4% (let's call it 5 million to make the math simple). We are still in the hole another 4.7 million, so the reserve covers only about half. Still big cuts, still a potential need for a parcel tax.

As for CSR, you're probably right, there might not be the data to support it. I bet there's no data to support improved learning in 33-1 as well. Just go into a 20-1 classroom with a couple English learners, a few on behavior contracts, kids being pulled out for counseling, and then close your eyes and increase those numbers of kids by 65%. So now there are 3-4 English learners, 6 on behavior contracts, you get the idea. Tell me which is going to be better for the kids? You don't need data to answer that one.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Kathleen, we can certainly agree on this:

"What does have value is in teaching the whole child, whether for lifelong appreciation or for realizing a talent or interest at a young age or for the value of keeping students in school."

Well said.

On the other issues, at least for the next few days, I'll let my comments rest. Headed out of town to reconnect with family.


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Posted by *^%
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

KR,
"I don't believe there are decades of data on CSR for California, at least, and for PUSD in particular. It hasn't been around that long. As I pointed out, there are children who graduated in 2000 (my youngest included) who went through the entire K-12 system without CSR and are successful adults today."

Comparing students from 9 years ago to today is an unfair comparison. As you well know the standards are much more rigorous in California. Many states lowered their standards for NCLB. California raised its standards and has not funded its schools. We rank 47th in the nation in spending. Having a 7% reserve sounds great now. To attract the best teachers you need to offer a good wage. You know the studies about education and one of the major factors in a quality education is excellent teachers. How can you attract those excellent teachers with the low wages that would have come about from keeping a 7% reserve? The state does not require a 7% reserve. What does PAUSD have in its reserve?
We live in a place with great school and great teachers. We can all support the students and the important programs be taking responsibility for our schools. "Responsibility" is not just a word on a sign outside the library.


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Posted by Nona
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm

" There is a proposal to keep CSR next year from one Board member, it's been ignored."

When Valerie Arkin made her very well thought out proposal, it depended upon a few things:
1) That Federal Stimulus money would be coming our way, to the tune of $2.1 million a year. Actually, if we see any federal stimulus money for the schools, it will be tied to specific programs, and will be a one-time-only proposition.
2)That PUSD was facing a precise, $8.7 million shortfall. Actually, $8.7 million was best-case scenario, at that time. The majority of the trustees realized that the situation could deteriorate, and lo and behold, it has. The "balanced budget" that our California lawmakers signed in February soon proved to have not been balanced at all, leaving an additional minimum $8 Billion shortfall.

So, now PUSD is looking at a $9.7 Billion shortfall at this point, but it doesn't stop there. Depending upon the May 19 special election, it might be more. Depending upon the "May Revise" of the California budget, it may be more. It certainly won't be less.

So, where does that leave PUSD? Well, if they'd gone with Valerie Arkin's proposal, cutting exactly $8.7 million dollars, (well, sort of, she was relying on a little bit of fairy dust there, really), WHAT will happen if she's wrong? All the teachers and staff and classified, et al in place, ready to tackle the new school year, and there's not enough money to pay them all?

Lay them off? -- Oops, can't happen, not if they did not receive lay-off notices in March. So, then what?

The PUSD Board of Trustees have taken the most prudent course possible with the budget. They have to balance the budget, no matter what. So, maybe the budget won't turn out to be so terrible.

But, there's a really good chance it will.

Say what you will about "scare tactics" and "Oh, they're just trying to manipulate the public into voting for the Parcel Tax." I don't buy it. I've seen the numbers. They ARE scary. I've met with the lawmakers who just seem completely aghast at what they've had to do to school funding.

Even if Measure G passes, it won't cover the shortfall even by half. Concessions by administration, teachers and classified will close a bit more, but there will still be cuts, no matter what.

When I close my eyes and picture what I want our school programs to look like, what I want our town to stand for, I know that voting "YES" on Measure G is my only option.


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Posted by Nona
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:36 pm

"So, now PUSD is looking at a $9.7 Billion shortfall at this point, but it doesn't stop there. Depending upon the May 19 special election, it might be more. Depending upon the "May Revise" of the California budget, it may be more. It certainly won't be less."


Oops, make that $9.7 Million.


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Posted by check the facts
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 11, 2009 at 9:49 pm

It is not a short fall in the traditional sense, that's part of the problem. It is money budgeted for programs already in place. The state wants the money back! It is money already spent. We are already almost done with the school year.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of California Reflections
on Apr 11, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Wrong, it is a guess of what the shortfall will be, and the guessed shortfall includes millions in future raises.
Until step&column is frozen it is like trying to fill a bucket with a big hole in it.


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Posted by Brandon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 1:01 am

This "guessing the budget" game has got to stop. It's silly for PUSD and the board to come ask for more money in the form of a parcel tax without even knowing what the budget looks like. This coming May 19th election is supposed to add millions of dollars to the school district and will likely fully fund all programs. Aren't we jumping to gun here asking for a parcel tax that's not needed or is this just a way to get a parcel tax regardless?


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 8:00 am

Brandon, you are right. This "guessing the budget" game should stop. But we have to "guess the budget" until the state gives the district hard numbers. We had to wait and wait for Sacramento to finalize the '08-09 budget, and until then, we had to guess. We are wondering if there will be federal money, but until then we can only guess. We are waiting on the May revise (which will probably happen in June, due to the May election), so until then we can only guess. We have no idea if G will pass, so until then, we can only guess.

So Brandon, you are right, but with no real numbers, how can we do anything but guess? It is the way it is done, and the district and board does the best it can with all the gray area. They can only guess, that is the choice Sacramento gives them.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:32 am

To the last several posts from Gtf, *^%, and Nona:

The swing on the raises was more like $10-14 million. (You have to use about 85% of the budget in 05-06, calculate the raise for that year; take the new figure, add step & column and the raise percentage for 06-07 . . . ). The point is that valuable time and resources were wasted, time and money that could keep teachers and classified staff safe and give the community time to discuss this issue to determine what it will support instead of the pink slips and anxiety and a random amount of $233.

Yes, standards increased and parents are holding their youngest children out an extra year. And teaching is teaching. The percentage of students who might need intervention is about the same. So if a kindergartener learns the deeper curriculum, first graders build on that, second graders build on that . . . just like before. And I've said I'm not against CSR for the more obvious reasons like those you state, but not necessarily at the expense of everything else. You can buy teaching assistants and resource aids for less than a veteran teacher, too, and have lower teacher:student ratios in the classes for key subject areas. The point being, there are other ways to look at the classroom and the learning process.

It isn't just good wages that attract teachers: support in the classroom (parents and staff), children who are prepared for learning (parents again), a safe environment, professional development, professional growth, etc. And job security for the newest in the ranks . . . something that may be lost because there isn't a big enough reserve to buy time. As to what is in the reserve, at a recent board meeting an ending reserve of $40,000 was indicated . . . I hope I heard that wrong. No, a 7% reserve isn't required, but it was a goal. Someone must have seen a need.

Responsibility: "Even when we know what is right, too often we fail to act. More often we grab greedily for the day, letting tomorrow bring what it will, putting off the unpleasant and unpopular. " ~Bernard M. Baruch

(1) The federal money is coming and it will offset pressure on the general fund. (2) The district's final budget will not be adopted until the end of June. All kinds of numbers are being thrown around in the meantime; $40,000 balance in the reserve? $15 million in TRANs? There's a saying about bad planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on my part, but that is what is being sold to us now.

Finding ways to cut for 2009-10 that doesn't eliminate CSR would be ideal. It keeps in place the program most valuable to parents given the current dialog. It then gives the community (perhaps via an empowered BAC) time to dig deep and thoroughly through the budget to seek permanent fixes (right now that means different things to different people). If that still means a parcel tax, in can be put before the community is a reasoned and non-threatening way before March 15, 2010p—but you need to start now, not sometime after June 3. It's exactly what's lacking in this parcel tax proposal, in depth information and time to determine what the community values enough to support with additional tax dollars.

I strongly disagree about anyone acting prudently leading up to this parcel tax for all the reasons I've already stated. There isn't enough space to get into the state mess, but it has exacerbated, not caused, the current local problems.

". . . Measure G is my only option." That would be my point, it was the only option presented, and without sufficient time to consider all alternatives.


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Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:39 pm

EXCELLENT points, Kathleen!

I, for one, have been impressed with your factual arguments on this matter. I appreciate the vast information you have presented.

On the other hand, I am upset with PUSD for telling us that raises have been frozen for the current year, only to learn that they have still been paying Step & Column increases. AND plan to continue doing so when everyone I know is experiencing cuts.

How can I vote for measure G under those circumstances? I won't.


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Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:57 am

After reading your post, I decided to look at the salary schedules for Palo Alto - your school district of employment. A quick look shows that all positions, teaching and management (including yours) are better paid that Pleasanton USD. Is your point that your distict is just better managed? What about the fact that your district has both a parcel tax and bond measure?


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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2009 at 8:14 am

Kathleen:

There you go with the 7% reserve thing again. As I said before, we were on the way, but bad times came. Besides this, that 4% would help us one-time, to only about half of the problem. I can't disagree with you that 7% was a good goal, but unlike one district which had a 17% reserve (this is a basic aid district, I'm guessing you know what that means), the extra 4% couldn't have carried us through this time. Do you propose that we spend the extra reserve all in one shot, or spread it out over a few years? Either way, not enough.

I'm also tired of the step and column arguement. If you would teach for 30 years, and had no other raises, you would receive a step and column increase in less than half of your years as a teacher. If you teach more than 30 years, then every year extra you would not receive a Step and column increase. Step and column is looked at differenty, more like a sales bonus structure. S & C basically says: if you work this many years, here is what you will get. So you and many others want to freeze one of the promises made when teachers go into the profession: the promise of this salary at this many years or this salary at this many units earned. Meanwhile, our health benefits go up every year.

Let me put it to you this way: I didn't get a raise last year, I won't get one for many years to come, I won't get a step increase for a couple of years (until I hit the next one), I am taking two unpaid days next year (which will cost me more than four years of the property tax, all in one year), and my health care will go up every year whether or not I get a raise. And you want to freeze my step and column too? I don't think so.

I didn't cause this problem, yet I am willing to go without raises, take a pay cut next year, and pay out more for health care, but I draw the line at S & C, which will most adversely affect those close to retirement.

Keep your eye on the ball: Sacramento caused this problem, we shouldn't have to solve it, yet we have already helped with the solution.


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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 13, 2009 at 11:23 am

"I'm also tired of the step and column arguement. If you would teach for 30 years, and had no other raises, you would receive a step and column increase in less than half of your years as a teacher. If you teach more than 30 years, then every year extra you would not receive a Step and column increase. Step and column is looked at differenty, more like a sales bonus structure. S & C basically says: if you work this many years, here is what you will get. So you and many others want to freeze one of the promises made when teachers go into the profession: the promise of this salary at this many years or this salary at this many units earned. Meanwhile, our health benefits go up every year.

Let me put it to you this way: I didn't get a raise last year, I won't get one for many years to come, I won't get a step increase for a couple of years (until I hit the next one), I am taking two unpaid days next year (which will cost me more than four years of the property tax, all in one year), and my health care will go up every year whether or not I get a raise. And you want to freeze my step and column too? I don't think so.

I didn't cause this problem, yet I am willing to go without raises, take a pay cut next year, and pay out more for health care, but I draw the line at S & C, which will most adversely affect those close to retirement."

Get the Facts -
Guess what. When companies aren't making money, they're not paying out sale's bonuses. Comparing your entitlement to step and column increases to that of sale's bonuses only further goes to the point that these should be frozen if the PUSD is going to ask the community for additional tax dollars.

Additionally, the cost of health benefits goes up for everyone, not just teachers. We're all in that same proverbial boat.

You didn't get a raise last year.....did you take a pay cut this year? Are you being forced to take several vacation days and/or paid time off each quarter? Have all raises/bonuses/salary increases/merit increases of all sorts been frozen? Have your pension contributions been frozen? Is your employer on the brink of closing their doors completely?

None of these things were "my fault" either, but guess what, they happened and they directly affected me. The fact is the economic climate does not support them at this time.

Even with all of this, I'm still happy to pay a parcel tax if it is needed. But the fact that the PUSD is planning on paying out these step and column increases just goes to show that all the options have not been thoroughly evaluated. Pair that with the fact you believe you're entitled to these increases regardless of what the economic climate is, and you've just reaffirmed my decision that measure G as currently written is unethical, irresponsible, and will only band-aid a much more systematic problem.

I support our schools, I want to save our schools, and that is why I will vote no on G.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm

PA: Whether it is better managed than Pleasanton is a judgment call. I can tell you PAUSD has a history of being very conservative (0, 1, and 2 percent raises in the same period PUSD gave 4-6 percent) and they have large reserves. This is their second bond and second parcel tax that I know about. The first parcel tax included, among other things (4-5 CSR), salary increases to attract and retain quality staff; the second renewed for essentially the same things for a larger amount.

Gtf: A series of unsustainable raises put an ongoing burden on the general fund. A reserve would have bought the community time to determine what it values and will support with their tax dollars in a non-threatening, unrushed manner. It would have also avoided pink slips being sent while solutions (multiple) were carefully considered and presented.

I don't believe I have spent much time on the S&C issue. What strikes me though is how you can state there won't be a raise for many years to come without questioning how the district ended up there. Also, the proposed parcel tax does not limit S&C or COLAs for the majority of staff (only management and only COLAs I believe—I don't think S&C are restricted for principals, for example). A few things I feel you don't state correctly: there was no raise this school year; there was one last school year. Unpaid days (staff development days) will not be lost if the parcel tax fails.

There are many questions about what is being negotiated with benefits that I won't get into here, but every year there is a COLA, it effectively increases the money rolled onto the salary schedule for benefits ($10,000 was rolled onto the schedule 10+ years ago, every COLA since has increased that amount.) I get that benefit costs may have risen more, but if you take only the three years I talk about with increases at 4-6%, it would be the equivalent of nearly $12,000 today. This leaves about nine years of raises (or not) that I don't have data for in which to calculate the value of the $10,000 today. And, this skips the whole discussion of the reason benefits were rolled onto the salary schedule in the first place, which was to increase the calculation used for retirement benefits (highest year(s) of pay).

My personal feeling is that if the community is being asked to pay more, the tax should have a shorter life (three years) and no salary increases should be given for the life of the tax. The bigger "but" is if long term solutions can be found that allow for fair wage increases without a loss of services to students (cannibalizing CSR, counselors, resource specialists, etc.) and includes the impact of S&C and proof the full impact is sustainable, okay, the option should be considered.

We disagree on which ball bears watching.


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Posted by Gail
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 13, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Simple math. Look at the last Special Board meeting agenda item 4.0, budget workshop. It clearly states that the State Budget Act reduced the district's revenue by 4.1 million. It further states that the District Board of Trustees made spending cuts by 9.9 million on Feb. 24th then more on March 5th by 1.2 million. Total cuts 11.1 million. Do the math 11.1 - 4.1 = 7 million shortfall. Why is PUSD 7 million in the whole, which is about 7% of the District budget. Mis-management? Unions? Luxury lifestyles? Great retirement bonuses for administrators? Seems to me this smells of someone not watching the bank account. Watch for the breaking news story that will reveal the corruption and errors in managing money in PUSD.


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Posted by Ask a PUSD classified employee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Ask a few PUSD classified employees how they feel about the parcel tax - they know it's not going to save their jobs even though they were willing to take cuts in pay and hours to save jobs.
They don't dare say so publicly, but they think a pay cut across the board would have saved the jobs of teachers and the classified employees - people who work extremely hard for a whole lot less.
They are in a very tough place. They work for administration, so they can't publicly complain about the perks administrators get - perks that translate into dollars that could retain classified employees' jobs. They can't publicly state that they think teachers should freeze raises and possibly take a pay cut. They have to work with teachers, and many have students in the schools.
But wait until they get into the privacy of the voting booth on June 2nd!
They know their jobs aren't going to be saved, parcel tax or not. They will give PUSD lip service, exactly what they've gotten from PUSD.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:07 am

Classified employees most often are the first people families interact with at a school or district office. They are the secretaries, the maintenance workers, custodial staff, and bus drivers. Behind the scenes, they contribute to the success of every classroom, for teachers and for children. They serve lunches, help with scrapes and bruises, find the right person to help anxious and upset parents, and clean up the messes left by all. When times are tough, they are the first to offer concessions to save others. They are often touted for being the backbone of a district and then are the first to face job cuts (and on short notice).

The value of teachers is more obvious because their work is the most visible part of the day of a student (and no small task it is), but the show doesn't go on without the work of classified staff. Just thought it was important to point that out.


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Posted by No debate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:45 am

There's really no debate about Measure G. There's just reality.
Reality is that we're in a depression.
Reality is that corporate executives and managers throughout the country are foregoing bonuses and taking pay cuts - those who don't are seen for what they are - all for themselves, not for their employers, not for their employees, not for their communities.
No different here in Pleasanton.
A NO vote sends the message to PUSD - cut the glut before cutting a classified employee's job, before eliminating a reading specialist or a teacher.
$120K a year in car allowances would save quite a few classified employees' jobs - and don't forget, they were the ones who offered to take cuts to save jobs. No one had to spend hours negotiating with them - no one had to suggest they do what's right. They figured that out on their own.
They deserve better than what they've been given - Vote NO on Measure G!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

There is a clear problem facing the nation not just Pleasanton. That is the recession plus inflation. There are so many people that are already burden by rising cost of essentials such as food and household goods. Why are the schools more important than the older people in the community living on fixed incomes? Do we have adequate health care for those who don't have adequate health insurance?

I lived in Hayward 17 years ago and they instituted a $12/quarter/household tax for Emergency Service for Police, Fire and Emergency Services. Did that make Hayward a more desirable place to live today?

I know as a parent that children learn their values, morals and ethics primarily from the household not the schools. If you want an intelligent child you work with the child as a parent to help them value education and make the most of it. Schools can never do that for a child.

Before this measure was brought to my attention, I had no reason to go to the polls. Vote YES on making the world a better place. Vote NO on Measure G.


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Posted by Say what?
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm

A realtor posted that 99% of the people who purchased homes in Pleasanton did so for the schools.
The majority of Pleasanton residents don't have school aged children.
Many of us bought homes here, and continue to live here because of
-low crime rate
-beauty of area
-proximity to Bart, freeways, parks, shopping, medical facilities,
cultural activities
- a wonderful downtown
-a great Senior Center
-and not being near areas of high crime rates, toxic waste and other negative factors

We've supported the schools with our tax dollars, attendance at school sponsored events, and even volunteering at the schools.

But enough already! We have to live within our means, and it's time the School District did the same.

No on G!


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Posted by Guillermo Martin
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

Having just posted to another related topic I feel I must voice here as well.

I will NOT be supporting Measure G anymore. I am simply disgusted by the district, the school administration, our supposed friends & neighbors all relying on the "it's all for the children" cry for help. You will make me feel less than a citizen of this town no more. While my wife & I are tutoring our children over the summer, making reading plans, taking educational trips you are texting your friends, going to the mall & buying your children iPods & every other new "toy" to make them feel better, if only for a short time. You seem to all expect somebody else to do the work that you will not take the time for your most prized of all toys, your children. SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE OF PLEASANTON!

I will not believe your sob stories anymore.

The school board has put themselves in this position with horrible mis-management of district funds, six figure salaries for top administration & an attitude of relying on the state or federal government to step in & save the day. It does not take a village to save our schools or our childrens future but it takes families, it takes time & sacrifice & most importantly it takes tough love.


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