Posted by Go Parents!, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:31 am
I have been following this debate but have found the discussion confusing. The website for parcel tax information was clear and informative. As a parent It felt good to read what I have always intuitively known, that parents in this community deserve the credit for student performance that then leads to strong property values. Check it out!
There is no direct correlation between school funding and property values. Higher test scores influence property values, but higher school funding does not equal higher test scores. Research has shown that the greatest influences on test scores are parental involvement and peer effect.
The budget shortfall is estimated to be 3-7% of the entire PUSD budget. Pleasanton property values have fallen 16.5% in the last year alone. The suggestion that our property values are dependent upon school funding is ridiculous.
What really affects student performance?
Pleasanton parents deserve recognition for their role in producing excellent students.
In Strategies to Help Solve Our School Dropout Problem by Schargel and Smirk (2001), the authors found that family support of education is the most accurate predictor of student performance. The high performing students are so because their families have created a home environment conducive to learning, communicated high expectations for their children, and are involved in their children's schools.
Other studies have found that peer effect has another large impact on student performance.
The peer effect is a particularly strong influence in academic achievement, especially for fourth graders.
The peer effect is independent of other factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, income, and other background variables.
Family background factors such as household environment and parental education also play an important role in explaining achievement in both the fourth and eighth grades.
Posted by Finally!, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:15 am
Finally someone recognizes that parents play a major role in their kids' education.
How many of us have sat alongside our kids for hours helping them to make sense of x = y, or review spelling lists, or just discuss a book our child is reading in class?
How many of us have taken our children to museums, art shows and other exhibitions to enrich our child's world and knowledge?
There are many wonderful Pleasanton teachers, but let's not forget, parents are their children's first teachers. Pleasanton is a community of wonderful parents who did the groundwork so that their kids were ready to enter school and prepared to take on the responsibility of learning.
"Eight members of the public, including former school board member and City Councilman Steve Brozosky and former City Councilwoman Kay Ayala, have signed ballot arguments against Measure G with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. The web home of the group can be found at www.pleasantonparceltaxinfo.com, which the group hopes to have up and running sometime next week.
Doug Miller, another who signed the ballot argument, said it's the "wrong tax at the wrong time," adding that the school board and district were irresponsible and hardly looked for ways to cut the budget.
He also added that the core group of "intensely involved" people in their group is about a dozen, plus another 20 who contribute on a regular basis."
Posted by Finally!, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:31 am
The folks who have a website in favor of G are asking for your money, **$80 thousand dollars** to fund their campaign so they can distribute campaign buttons and flyers, create videos, cover volunteer expenses....since they're asking for your money, they have to provide contact information.
The folks who put up a website against Measure G aren't asking anyone for money. They're asking for the community to be informed voters and providing the information which I couldn't find on the PUSD website or on the pro parcel tax website.
I googled their studies, and they do exist, and they say what the website says they say.
Oh, small correction...the no on measure G people are suggesting that if you want to help our schools, donate directly to the schools or school support groups rather than to a political campaign.
Posted by nocalgal, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 10:50 am
To Finally: Whether or not our superintendent gets a car allowance is not the issue. If you would do research, you would discover that the car allowance amounts to a minute fraction of the overall budget. Rest assured, due to the lack of funds given to PUSD from the state of California, our children will be the ones suffering. There's just no way to maintain the same degree of quality and quantity with such drastic cuts. Why do you say "and not providing a service to our kids?" And to that car allowance point, there are many who say, "PUSD needs to be run like a business, by God!" But do you realize that Casey's car allowance is less than most of the executives in the private sector that I know?
Posted by Reform now, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 11:45 am
It may surprise you to know that many of the folks who moved to Pleasanton from outside California have found the schools here in P-town to be somewhat mediocre. We came from a district with terrific programs, after school tutoring, vast libraries and school buses.
Yes, we came because the schools were supposed to be great, but we stayed because Pleasanton is a very nice place to live. There have been many sacrifices on our parts so the kids got what they needed to get into great universities.
We, like so many helped with homework and projects (including paid tutoring), took them to the library, paid for private music lessons, voluteered and donated money endlessly, participated in all the science fairs, visited museums and National Parks and DROVE them to school in carpools for 11 years! Yes, parents should take a bow in Pleasanton, they make awesome things happen.
While those things were realtively easy-although sometimes expensive to do, the thing that was not easy to overcome was a year with a "bad" teacher. Every one of my kids had this experience at least once, and it's not easy to undo.
Although I'm surely spitting in the wind to think things may change, I'm hoping that this catastrophic budget meltdown will spur the district and even the state to make real changes in the union's ability to retain these folks who should be doing something else.
Passing the parcel tax and maintaining the stauts quo-although that doesn't look feasible if it pays for nothing else but Step and Column teacher raises for 4 years-it not where we should be headed right now. We should be looking for ways to retain the young and enthusiastic teachers who have so much to give. This tax plan does NOT accomplish this.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 11:54 am
CA is 47 in spending per pupil. Other states have unions too. Other states have lower class sizes, and reading specialists. In New Jersey for example the elementary reading specialists generally have a PhD in the subject matter.
For example, In the sixties and early seventies in this state, kids went to school longer. They had a period of reading and writing in junior high, not just a period of English or English mixed with Social Science. They had science in both seventh and eighth grade. These things were cut with prop 13 and the lower number of minutes taught were instead of a salary increase. (That certainly wasn't a union request. The union kept the state from cutting further.)
This is not a union issue it is a state funding issue. Clearly education is not a top priority in this state. There are 37 million people in CA. Reform, that would be good. What's to happen to the kids currently in school?
Posted by Finally!, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Executives who believe one should lead by example are foregoing car allowances, bonuses, and even taking significant pay cuts. And how many of them also have an interest free $200K loan that they don't have to pay back until 18 months AFTER they leave their current employment?
There's a lot of fat in the PUSD budget and that fat will never be cut away if taxpayers give PUSD more money. The only reason any of the fat is being identified is because taxpayers are looking at how the money they've already given to the district has been spent.
How fair is it to the PUSD employees who have been told their hours are cut, or their jobs will be gone - something that passing the parcel tax isn't going to change at all - when administrators continue to hold on to the kinds of perks that those in the private sector have already recognized need to be given up to keep their companies viable.
How our PUSD leadership behaves is a big issue! There's no justification in PUSD calling itself a community of character when the kind of integrity and compassion expected of them is not the behavior they're exhibiting.
Posted by Russell, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm
All these posts that say test scores have nothing to do with school or teacher quality don't make a bit of sense. If test scores, or college placement rates, or reputation don't measure a school's quality, what does?
Some posters say that school quality doesn't matter. It is all about parents and demographics. Isn't it obvious that a child's academic success is the result of both his home environment and schooling (and talent)? If the quality of schools doesn't make any difference, why bother? Why not close the schools. Why not "unschool" every child. Why spend any tax dollars on public schools at all?
As I've said before, Pleasanton schools are very good generally, and some are excellent. The need for measure G came about because of a totally unexpected drop in state funding resulting from a national economic crisis. It is not a symptom of bad management, bad teachers, or bad schools.
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm
Why does everybody say it is our responsibility to pay for the programs and teachers and administrators. We paid property taxes to pay for all these items. The money was sent to Sacramento, and used to buy votes instead of being returned to the school districts.
Until it has been proven to me that we ars getting what we paid for, I say no to any tax increase. California will pay for education and health care for illegal aliens before it pays to educate its own children. They should be ashamed at what a lousy job they are doing in Sacramento. How about a tax on every member of Assembly to pay for all the money they have stolen from us.
Most criminals go to jail for the type of grand theft that has been committed with our tax dollars in Sacramento.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm
As usual some great posts here. Parents do deserve a lot of the credit for their kids' performance or lack there of. More than anything we need to vote this parcel tax down to show that we tax-payers have a back bone. That is the only way we will get the public sector unions to share in the sacrifices. We are just starting. The city of Pleasanton is in deep trouble with the pension and retiree medical programs.There was a $140 million unfunded liability which has probably increased substantially now. Some one has to bell the cat. The state has another $20 billion plus in deficits. The whole model is broken and the public sector pay and fringes have to be cut substantially. This parcel tax is a tiny first step. If we cannot even defeat this there is no hope for us.
I suggested a Pleasanton Tea-Party a couple of months ago. I am glad it has taken off and people still have some backbones. SEE YOU ALL THERE.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm
It is implied in this:
"Research has shown that the greatest influences on test scores are parental involvement and peer effect."
The implication of that is that test scores are not a good measure of school quality.
My question is what is a good measure of school quality, and by that measure are Pleasanton schools any good?
Don't get me wrong. I could be convinced to vote against this. I consider myself a conservative.
The only arguments against the measure that I have heard are:
1. We're taxed enough already and I'm fed up with all the taxes, enough is enough.
2. Pleasanton Unified School District is mediocre and we don't want to reward mediocrity by throwing money good money after bad.
3. Pleasanton Unified School District should have planned for the budget shortfall. They should have seen it coming. Now they want my tax dollars.
4. Pleasanton Unified School District uses its money unwisely such as spending too much on Solar Panels.
The first three don't make any sense to me.
1 is anger, not reason.
2 is wrong, the schools are good.
3 doesn't make sense to me. Who could have anticipated what many call the worse downturn since the great depression?
Regarding 4, it may be true, and others may know more about this than me, but the way to address that for me would be to replace them at election time. The cliche would be "you go to war with the army you have."
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Ah, I get you now. If test scores are influenced by parental involvement then they are a measure of the parents and not the schools, right? Personally, I think test scores are a measure of the individual students and not really of schools either and that the whole housing market loving test scores thing is like speculation. It's some form of self-selection.
Posted by to anonymous, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm
I need to respond to a comment by anonymous above who states that "CA is 47 in spending per pupil." That is a stat that the California teachers unions keep throwing out but is completely untrue. If you go to the State Superintendent's Jack O'Connell website you will see that he provides the information from the National Education Association that puts California's spending per pupil right in the middle of the pack.
There is a good report on the NEA at Web Link . It says:
California ranks #1 in teacher salaries
California ranks #3 in Student-Teacher Ratio (#1 is best)
California ranks #26 in expenditures per student (#1 is Washington DC and that shows that spending does not correlate with success).
Posted by Too Smart to Buy the Hype, a resident of the Happy Valley neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm
A poster says "Like it or not vote yes on G" because it will mean teachers and programs will be saved. How much do you want to bet that when Measure G fails, PUSD will keep CSR, teachers, reading specialists? PUSD put those items at the top of the cut list for one reason and one reason only - to scare parents. The term for that is emotional blackmail. They can find the money to prevent these cuts - but they won't start looking for it if they can get more money out of the community. They don't need the money, they want it. Don't give it to blackmail.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm
"Like it or not, vote yes on G"....What kind of convulted logic is that? Like him or not, vote for Obama or like him or not, vote for McCain. That statement makes so little sense that all I can do is laugh and I do mean LOL.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm
1. I would say that taxing without input from taxpayers (or even from the committee set up to provide advice—Budget Advisory Committee) and not presenting more than one option to the community is the problem.
2. I don’t think the schools are mediocre—this is another Lake Wobegon, where all the kids are above average (good parenting and good teachers play into that being possible).
3. The district needed to have a responsible reserve. Seven percent was a goal the district set and abandoned in a wave of salary increases. There was a $2 million cut the previous school year, which should have been an indication that trouble was ahead.
4. It was one example (the solar panels). There are many more involving lawsuits, spending down reserves, etc. that are more damaging.
The opportunity to “un-elect” will come long after the tax will have passed or failed. There isn’t any reason the army shouldn’t do its job in the meantime.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm
Thank you Stacey. But why then did those people who signed their names on the ballot argument wish to remain anonymous on the website?
They lose credibility. Everyone who posts anonymous comments does so and it's fine, but once you have a website and are promoting an idea whether for or against something, you really should put your name down.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm
Resident, you are promoting an idea but not putting your name down, either. You lose credibility, according to your logic. Having a website promoting an idea is not something so different than you posting in this blog and promoting your idea. Yet, you want to hold a different standard for those opposed to your position.
Posted by another resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm
I really don’t think that endorsement names are necessary. Information from a verifiable quality source speaks for itself.
This is a highly charged, emotional issue. There are plenty of PUSD employees and angry succor moms in the community that are not interested in rational discussion. They are not interested in your economic problems. There are five district employees living on my short street (two active, three retired). Consequently I will not be posting a No on G sign on my lawn, as the consequence of this action would cause discomfort within my immediate neighborhood. But my family will not vote for this tax.
I commend Kay, Steve, and Kathleen for stepping forward. There are many in this community that fear being ostracized for their position or that their children will be forced to deal with aspects of retribution for their choices. And even the Editor of the Pleasanton Weekly has played a part in forwarding that concern. I too have children in the district, but I still feel that the proposition is an unfair burden on the community at this time.
Posted by Comment on website, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm
Perhaps the website isn't set up by the people who signed the ballot. There aren't just a few people against Measure G - there are thousands and included in the thousands are not just parents, but teachers and other PUSD employees, and plenty of people who have volunteered for PUSD.
Posted by Daria, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm
Someone wrote that we should maintain the 'young and enthusiastic' teachers. I agree with enthusiastic, but 'young' is irrelevant. I know a teacher in her early twenties in a Pleasanton school who is awful. She is less emotionally mature than the children she teaches. 'Young' means nothing in terms of the quality of the teacher.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm
Thank you Daria! I am constantly insulted by the "young and enthusiastic" teachers comments that are posted. Do you know what young and enthusiastic teachers become in ten years? Middle-aged and enthusiastic. And ten years later, they are old and enthusiastic. Good teachers usually remain good teachers their entire career. Every time someone says something like "let's save all the good young teachers", it's a slap in the face to good, older teachers.
Posted by Love the good teachers, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm
Totally agree with Daria and Get the Facts - the best teachers are the best teachers based on how well they teach, not their age.
It would be just a slice of heaven if the best teachers were the ones whose jobs were secure. The teachers who don't do their jobs well are probably just as frustrating to the good teachers as they are to the students and parents. The bad teachers make more work for the good teachers, and it's not easy to convince the bad teachers they've chosen the wrong career! Luckily in Pleasanton, the majority of teachers are good.
Posted by Debra, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 8:39 am
The information on the Parcel tax info site makes sense.
"The budget can be balanced without a parcel tax.
Concrete suggestions for solutions have been offered by members of the Budget Advisory Committee, School Board, and the community at large, but PUSD prefers to rush the community into a parcel tax before laying the proper groundwork including:
Writing a parcel tax which specifies no raises for the life of the tax"
Posted by Compassionate Conservative, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:24 am
I think we're all forgetting some important facts here.
First: the District did not "spend down" their reserves--they were eaten up by a state budget "take back" last year.
Second: There WERE meetings discussing possible solutions and soliciting budget input. If people didn't go, fine. That's democracy, folks. It's both tragic and comical to listen to people who weren't paying attention or didn't care enough to go to complain about the decision-making process that they chose not to partake in.
Third: "Waiting" to put the measure on the ballot did occur--this is the last possible moment they could get the ballot going. When SHOULD they have put it on? Halfway through next year, when class sizes already exceed 35:1? How short-sighted is that?
Fourth: You're probably going to vote NO anyways. You know you want to, because it's not about doing what's right or responsible, it's about not paying $233. Plus, no one really likes teachers, do they? Not as much as they like corporate lawyers, or oil company execs, or hedge fund managers, right? So let's kick 'em around a bit. It'll feel good. Besides, the state/U.S./world recession was probably started by them anyway. And they feel ENTITLED to help our children--the nerve! Vote NO!
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 11:52 am
Is Compassionate Conservative trying to say something? Maybe trying to be funny? Or maybe just a troll.
CC has proven what the point the No on G people have made - they are interested in determining facts, they provide facts, but some of the posters like CC chose to ignore the facts instead of evaluating them. People like CC directly and indirectly call those who oppose the tax names. That's all they have in their pocket.
All the "issues" brought up by CC have been addressed with facts by previous posters.
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Apr 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm
I do not believe that tea bagging is going to do anything to help our schools, teachers or students.
What is being asked of you is minimal. Maybe only those men/women who did not serve their country in the military should be the ones that pay the parcel tax for everybody. You brag about your country but cling to a few bucks? It's not like your lives were put in harms way during the Korean War or Vietnam. Now you want a break? Get over yourselves, selfish citizens and silly fools!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm
CC: “I think we're all forgetting some important facts here.” Exactly:
(1) The District says it made $2 million in cuts for the state budget shortfall, not that reserves were used. The district also agreed to a large wage increases the last three years (about 14%), all of which are posted on their web site at: Web Link
(2) The BAC was given a list by district staff to sanction; they were not allowed to make suggestions. Others made suggestions that were disregarded. More info can be found at www.pleasantonparceltaxinfo.com
(3) Short-sightedness happened on many levels, not the least of which was giving unsustainable raises. CSR is the emotional hammer; if the district moves forward with cutting it, parents and students will survive, but the backlash to the district will be enormous. (I do support CSR.)
(4) I personally would pay $233 (BTW, many cannot afford that “mere” amount, and it’s actually $18.4 million we’re talking about.) and a lot more for the right tax and one that is clearly defined (x counselors; x resource specialists, etc.). I love teachers; have them as family and friends, and accusing the no side of being anti-teacher is a tactic used by bullies, people without a better argument, and only serves to continue to be hurtful to teachers . . . all staff really. This has everything to do with what’s right and responsible, and that should have started with those in control of how our tax dollars are spent.
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm
It looks like I missed all the fun. Not being in an iron lung, or pretending to be in one, I do have other things to do like work that keep me from spending all my time at the computer.
It seems that CC has been given responses to his comments, but I will add a few things.
I don't understand why anyone is against community members wanting to know how their tax dollars are being used. It's our money, and wanting to be sure it's being used responsibly is not a crime. It's not anti-teacher or anti-kids, it's anti irresponsible spending.
PUSD hasn't been forthcoming about true costs.
One example is the cost to put the parcel tax on the ballot. At first, PUSD said the cost would run $100-$150K and would be paid for by private sources. I was at a meeting where this statement was made. PUSD later amended that statement by stating the ballot measure could run up to $230K and would be paid for out of reserves. But people who called the Registrar of Voters which I did after reading a blog that gave the contact information, got a different story. The Registrar of Voters' office said the parcel tax ballot could cost up to $300K. Also, that PUSD was given the option of placing the parcel tax measure on the May 19th ballot which would have reduced the cost by 20-30%, but PUSD refused. PUSD also had the option of doing the ballot as a mail only ballot, another less expensive option. They chose not to do that. They chose the most expensive way to put the parcel tax to the voters. Why?
I read the comments on the blogs, but I reserved judgment until I independently verified the information, and when I did, the bloggers were the ones providing accurate information. Since then, I've begun checking out more of the statements made on the blogs, and then checking PUSD's website.
Another example is the solar panels. I checked PUSD's website, and it sounded as if the solar panel costs would be offset in a few years by utility cost savings - seemed like a good choice for the environment and the budget. But I read about the $100K that PUSD had to pay to relocate the solar panels at Foothill. I verified that information by going back and watching School Board meetings. The trustees discussed it, they agreed that PUSD made an error and that the right thing to do was to fix the error even though it would cost $100K. But nowhere on PUSD's website is there anything written about this $100K.
Once I stopped assuming that PUSD was providing accurate or complete information, I started asking questions and some of the first people I talked with were members of the BAC. Since they were the ones who were revieiwing the budget and making recommendations, I thought they would be the best people to answer my questions.
The BAC members I spoke with said they were given a list of pre-selected (by PUSD) budget cuts and asked to prioritize the cuts. That was it.
If there aren't any expenses in the budget that anyone could object to, then why not make the budget, with all the details, available to the BAC? If there really is no way to balance the budget without a parcel tax, then why not let the BAC have all the financial information and let them reach that conclusion and present it to the community.
I have a lot of respect, admiration and liking for many of the teachers in this district. Accusing me or anyone else who finds PUSD not to be credible is as the poster Kathleen said - a tactic used by bullies.
PUSD's actions have made me question why they aren't be more forthcoming. If there's nothing wrong with the truth, why not present the entire truth?
So far, the truths that have come out aren't pretty...the car allowances, the cell phone bills...who knew about those costs ($270K a year) until people concerned about how our money is being spent started asking questions. Once the questions started being asked, spending in these areas started being cut dramatically.
Some have said that even cutting these extras won't be enough to offset the state budget cuts. But we don't know that because we don't know what other expenses are yet to be questioned, and once questioned, cut back.
Ultimately, it's not up to me to prove that a parcel tax is unnecessary - it's up to PUSD to prove that it is.
Posted by Compassionate Conservative, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:15 pm
Okay, this is the problem and why I get silly:
I'm hearing some interesting info, but nothing documented or verifiable. I ask "1," "2," "3," and I get "Z," "sigma," "eggplant" as a response.
I do believe, Kathleen and Huh?, that you are sincere in your objections, but instead of responding to the state take-back question, I get budget _rollover_, and instead of responding to how we could float a parcel tax later, I get solar panels and "CSR is an emotional hammer." I believe you mean well, but could you guys give me a focused response to my questions?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
CC wrote: "First: the District did not "spend down" their reserves--they were eaten up by a state budget "take back" last year."
If this is a fact, please provide your source. Are you getting this from District records on what the reserves were spent on? "Take backs" don't only happen to the General Fund. There isn't a direct line from the state budget to the reserves.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 7:29 am
1. In 2007-08, $5.5 million in salary increases were given (approximately and includes COLA and step and column); $2 million in services were cut. The reserves weren't used according to the district FAQs page (January 30 posting I think).
2. An agenda was presented at various meetings. The Budget Advisory Committee was presented a list to prioritize; they were not allowed to review the budget in detail nor to make suggestions. Valerie Arkin presented options that also were ignored.
3. See above. There are ideas and there are ways. Anything we do now, buys time to figure out what is valued enough by the community to write a check to keep it . . . if it is needed.
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:50 am
Thank you CC for recognizing that I am sincere in my concerns.
Let me try an analogy: Say you're a second year college student who has been receiving grant money to cover all your college expenses. The grant money dries up and you're wondering how you're going to continue your education. You approach your generous aunt, tell her the grant money is gone, and tell her how much you need to continue your education. She writes you a check, and commits to writing checks for the remainder of your college years.
You feel good about getting to continue your education and your aunt feels good about helping you. Everyone's happy, right? But then your aunt hears from other family members that you spent spring break in Florida, got a new paint job on your car, and bought a Blackberry. She's not happy. She gave you the money with the understanding it would be used for college expenses. You tell her that you are using her money for tuition, books and other school expenses. The money for those extras came from some leftover grant money from the previous year.
She thinks it's unfair that because you had her money, it freed up any other money you had to be used for things you wanted, but didn't need. She believes that since you came to her for money, you should be using any money you have, from her or other sources, for college expenses. She believes you should have cut back on your personal spending. While you've only asked for her to fund your undergraduate degree, she knows you want to attend grad school and realizes you might be coming back to her and asking for help with grad school costs.
So I'm like the aunt, except I don't want to wait until after I've handed over a check to find out that by taking my money, PUSD has freed up other funds to use in ways I don't approve of (e.g. car allowances, cell phones) and could increase the financial burden on the taxpayers. (e.g. giving raises to administrators)
I am not against a parcel tax if that is what is needed.
But like my old math teacher used to say, "Don't turn in homework with just the "answers." You need to show me how you came to those answers, so I can be sure you understand how to do the problems, and if you don't, I can see where you went wrong and help you."
If I were PUSD I would be anxious to show my work.
P.S. PUSD could have opted to put a very short term parcel tax on the May ballot (1-2 years) with the explanation that they didn't have all the answers yet about state and federal funding and that they needed the time to have their budget reviewed in detail by an accounting firm for objective suggestions on ways to reduce expenses. That's something I would have supported.
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 10:39 am
Who can I call at PUSD to confirm your post? I'm not arguing, but as I've said before, when statements are made on this blog, I verify the statements independently.
If step & column adds up to $15 million over four years, that's the majority of the proposed parcel tax money, and doesn't leave much over four years for CSR, reading specialists, and the other items listed on the ballot.
This is very important information, and I expect that others beside me will want to know who to contact at PUSD to verify this information.
Posted by Compassionate Conservative, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm
Huh? and Kathleen,
Thank you for your thoughtful, helpful and informative replies. Not too long ago I asked one of our high school's administrators about what had happened to the reserves and was told that they had been used to buffer last year's take-back. Based on what you've told me and what I've seen on the PUSD web site, I'm pretty sure now that I was not told the truth. The administrator has been accused elsewhere on this forum of lying, so maybe there's something to those accusations...
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm
Sorry, I still don't get it. The administrators said they weren't going to going to buy sell phones, grant car allowances, and give raises, but they did it any way? Is that what you're saying happened?
"Not too long ago I asked one of our high school's administrators about what had happened to the reserves and was told that they had been used to buffer last year's take-back."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:51 pm
Russell: I posted this earlier in this thread. Huh? posted other information apparently verified (I don't have any way of knowing). The District says it made $2 million in cuts for the state budget shortfall, not that reserves were used. The district also agreed to a large wage increases the last three years (about 14%), all of which are posted on their web site at: Web Link
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:34 am
In one of the pictures about the TEA party there is a banner shown that says No on Measure G Parcel Tax. Then below that is the beginning part of a web site. Does anyone know if this link Web Link is what was on the bottom line of that banner?