Guest Opinion Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Apr 24, 2009 at 8:47 am
During the 17 years my daughters have attended Pleasanton schools, I have volunteered over 1,000 hours in classrooms, computer labs, sports, dances and senior activities. I spent 18 months on the school board and four years on the city/school district liaison committee. I believe this demonstrates my commitment to the Pleasanton school system.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 24, 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted by Ryan T., a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 8:47 am
We can always count on election losers, like Steve Brososky and Kay Alaya, to jump on any divisive issue they can to advance their cause, whether it is a housing development or a parcel tax. They simply canít deal with the fact that theyĎre out of power, so they have to play their partisan games. I really hope the people of Pleasanton can see through their agenda. They donít aim to help Pleasanton schools, they aim to get their names back in the spotlight even though they have been thoroughly rejected by Pleasanton voters.
Posted by %^&*, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:51 am
S B writes:
" I have spent a lot of time looking at the school parcel tax on the June 2 ballot and I regret to say that I cannot support this tax at this time."
-Have you ever supported a tax? ANY tax? It is not in the "No Tax" ideology it support ANY tax.
"I find it disturbing that the district is holding a special election in June instead of the already scheduled election in May. This special, single-item election will cost the taxpayers around $300,000, enough to pay the salary of five teachers."
-The cost of a teacher AND a classroom is a lot more than $60 k. As a former board member I would think that you know that and that you would not like that kind of misleading information.
"We will be receiving $2.1 million from the federal stimulus package, and we are also eligible for additional federal money intended to prevent layoffs caused by state cuts."
-The Federal stimulus package is 1 time money. This is not the reliable funding that the school district needs. 1 year will not do it.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:54 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Hehe, another case of attacking the messenger instead of the message above, something I'm highly familiar with in my past posts here while I've attacked Brozosky's views on local issues myself. But thankfully I'm not like the above posters who just dismiss what someone says because of who they are.
No one dares address the issues Brozosky brings up. Management raises pushed through right before the State notifies districts not to give out raises?! The LAO was predicting tough times as far back as 2007 when these raises occurred and anyone who thinks this budget shortfall problem just popped up at the beginning of this year is acting naive. I'm sure PUSD is not naive.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:56 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Measure G is also one-time funding. The federal stimulus dollars are available for a total of three years apparently. I'll ask again as I did on another thread, what's the cutoff for one-time funding? Three years? Or is Measure G really not a four year tax?
Posted by Rayn T., a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 11:08 am
Stacey and Ptown,
I'm sorry, I forgot that Steve Brososky and Kay Alaya never jump on any divisive issue for political gain. How dare I question their motives! Theyíre beyond reproach!
Who are you people kidding? While Iím not trying to avoid the parcel tax issue, I canít help but notice who is always driving these divisive issues in Pleasanton: Steve Brososky and Kay Alaya, aka bitter election losers. Am I the only one here that notices this? Is it really so bad that I point out the truth?
Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm
If it's such a divisive issue, WHO PUT IT ON THE BALLOT?!?
Calling parcel tax opponents "bitter election losers" exposes YOU as the divisive force. If the tax-happy board members and administrators had thought through the various possibilities PRIOR to launching a tax over the wall, we might not be having such a "divisive" discussion about a tax that didn't need to be proposed.
Posted by Buford, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm
Like I said before, I ain't payin' no yellow belly taxes for these kids!! These kids need to leave sissy California, go to a real American state like Texas, and take a course in Bootstrap Pulling 101. Just like my daddy said, "Taxes are the devil!"
Posted by Ptown resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:31 pm
The City Council loaning money to PUSD so PUSD can make interest payments on a debt is also a divisive issue. Shall we now start bashing Mayor Hosterman and the City Council Members?
PUSD choosing to engage in lengthy litigation with Signature Properties? Shall we now start bashing Dr. Casey and those community members who served on the School Board at the time because that has certainly been a divisive issue in this community.
It's easy to take potshots at people who are willing to speak publicly on an issue.
But these kinds of personal attacks made by posters like Ryan T. expose him for the cowards he is.
So Ryan T....if you're so good at dishing it out, let's see how good you are at taking it.
Post your real name - or are you worried that once you reveal who you really are, people will realize that your reasons for taking potshots at Mr. Brozosky and Ms. Ayala don't, as I believe, have anything to do with the issues, but some personal problems...jealousy? envy?
As Facts Please said, your vitriol is unwelcome. Stick to the issues and stop the name calling.
Posted by Buford, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm
Sorry, but why should I pay some liberal parcel taxes for the spoiled, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, students of our district. What these kids need is an education in pulling up their bootstraps at the Richard Pombo Ranch. So what if they donít get into some fancy college, the Bible is the only book they need to learn about anyway. I didnít have no fancy programs at my school in Amarillo, Texas when I was growing up, but still learned to trust my gut and fight for the dream we call America. Look people, GW Bush came from a poor Texas family with little education and he became the greatest leader this land has ever seen, so maybe these tax loving students should follow his lead. I talkin' bout America!
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm
You are voting with emotion and not logic, but I can understand that because you are part of the Pro-G's target group. Your children are your main concern and you are not alone.
But this measure is not about the kids and the programs that they would lose. Its about renegotiating or postponing step/column raises with the teachers and their union. If the authors of this measure had used foresight and allowed for no raises for the duration of the tax, then there would be no argument. But since that wasn't part of the plan the debate will continue until the votes are counted in the special, stand-alone, $300,000.00 election. Consider that wasted money when you vote.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It sounds like some people are led to believe that if they don't pass Measure G then x, y, and z will definitely be cut. That's no different from extortion. Would you vote yes if the City put a parcel tax measure on the ballot to pay for fire services? Wouldn't you start asking questions about employee compensation and how the City manages these important services or is that "fire bashing"?
See, the District can't legally go so far as to say they'll cut x, y, and z if Measure G doesn't pass but it works to their advantage if people believe that. Moreover, it is the District's job to provide for a Plan B to save jobs and programs in the event Measure G doesn't pass. Notice for instance that they have identified $15MM in cuts for their estimated shortfall of $9.7MM. Subtract those two numbers and you end up with an amount that's larger than the annual $4.6MM the parcel tax will raise. So, if they're not doing their job to make a Plan B, then we've got the wrong people in charge.
Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm
WOW, Gary. You state that you agree with all the points made in the article but will vote yes because you feel you have no choice. Does it not anger you then that the district is putting you in that position?
For me, I do not buy into that line that there are no other options to consider. I believe that district administrators are working on more alternatives. And if they aren't because they are assuming that the tax will pass, then they are not doing their jobs!
And to the comments that key opposers are doing it for political GAIN, I do not get it. Kay Ayala has not held office nor run for office in nearly 5 years. So what does she have to GAIN politically speaking by opposing issues that she belives in??? These people have served our city for many years as has already been pointed out. Do you think they should go crawl under a rock and have no community involvement after their terms are finished? Are they not entitled to opinions? They are more knowledgable than most of us when it comes to city affairs and some people look to them for assistance.
Posted by Liberty's Child, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm
This ad hominum attack-oriented nonsense has to STOP. The purpose of this blog is to argue the POINTS of the parcel tax, not bash one another.
That being said, as a former teacher I have to say that Brozosky is spot on in his assessment of the situation. For starters, Pleasanton has the highest paid teachers in the area. When you extrapolate an $80K salary across a 12-month period, some of these teachers are making the equivalent of $144K a year. Those in industry are taking pay cuts, losing benefits and, in many cases, being laid off. I have to ask why teachers, as public servants, are exempted from what the rest of the public is facing. The poster who stated that this is "extortion" is correct. What PUSD is doing is holding your children hostage unless YOU pay up. How much more do any of you think we can afford to pay in taxes? Eventually people will move out of the town and it won't matter what kind of schools we have because no one will be able to support them.
The schools and teachers should not be considered as sacred cows. Starting teachers in this town are already making more in 9 months than other graduates are earning in 12. I say that it is time we tightened the belt, cut expenses at the administrative level which eats up over 50% of the budget, and put the teachers union on notice that the people will not be held hostage any longer.
Posted by Donna Adkins, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 1, 2009 at 10:36 pm
Teachers are not sacred cows - I think the cows you are referring to live in India, not Pleasanton. I have lots of students in my class from India - I'll check into it for you just to make sure.
Iím a little sensitive to the cow analogy because I havenít had time to go to my Weight Watchers meetings. Too busy writing lesson plans, grading papers and thinking of my students Ė who I care about, truly, as if they are my own. (I have a sense of humor Ė Iím sure you didnít mean to compare me to a cow, but at least Iím sacred!)
Maybe starting teachers make more than other college graduates because they have to have extra schooling - I know I did - an 18 month credential program in addition to my BA and 2 more years of schooling after the credential program (that was a bit of surprise) to "clear" my credential. Most of the teachers have at least 60 units or more of college level coursework in their subject area. Many teachers that have been in the profession for 30 years still take professional development courses, not to get a ďraiseĒ, but to ensure that they offer the community the best service they can. To move on the "step and column" "raise" schedule teachers have to earn more units-which they pay for - and they can't be just random units, they have to be preapproved to ensure that the classes will enrich the program offered to students in the classroom.
How do teacher salaries compare in PUSD to other areas -
Pleasanton attracts the best new teachers because we are a great town with amazing schools and we offer a competitive salary. When I interviewed here I felt like a hamburger patty on a hot grill, let me tell you! However, Pleasanton is no longer the highest paying district. Nearby cities now pay more. For beginning teachers, Pleasanton was the second highest (2nd out of 4). For the high end of the schedule, Pleasanton was the second lowest (3rd out of 4). You live here, right? It is not cheap! (especially if you have teenage girls!)
About 45% of Pleasanton teachers live in Pleasanton. Teacher have agreed to give back salary next year via a reduction in staff development days if measure G passes. For most teachers this is a reduction in pay of $750.00 to $1,000.00 dollars. In addition teachers living here will be paying the parcel tax. One could argue that other teachers won't be paying the tax, but alas, they will. They will be in Livermore, San Ramon and other surrounding communities in the Bay Area paying that school districts parcel tax, unless of course they donít own a home, which is quite probable, because in spite of the enormous salary new teachers make they canít afford to live in the community in which they are employed unless they live with their parents.
What is sad to me is that there is any question that our schools need this support. I have been a resident here for 20 years. Both of my children have attended Pleasanton Schools. I never counted my volunteer hours - but my Mom used to joke that "doesn't anyone else do anything besides you" and I assured her, that in my experience every parent that could partnered with teachers to ensure their children had the best education possible. Those parents that couldn't be in the classroom were doing the best they could every day, and I believe they still are. So, Steve, I appreciate all you have done, but you're not the only one, and the job is not done. I appreciate that your kids are done or almost done with their education here, but there are many more kids that need our support. I am not going to stop helping just because my family is almost done, even if Iím not teaching next year I will be present for kids ĖI thought you would be too.
Yes, support measure G to help our schools during this difficult time.
Let's stop slamming each other, or if we are going to do that can we at least do some kind of planned slam and sell tickets so we can raise money for schools. Maybe we won't need the parcel tax then! I especially want to meet Buford. I bet he has cool boots and listens to Nancy Sinatra on his 8 track tape deck. These boots are made for walkin'............
Posted by Bonnie, a member of the Donlon Elementary School community, on May 2, 2009 at 12:14 am
"I appreciate that your kids are done or almost done with their education here, but there are many more kids that need our support. I am not going to stop helping just because my family is almost done, even if Iím not teaching next year I will be present for kids ĖI thought you would be too."
"Let's stop slamming each other, " Donna do you know how to spell hypocrisy?
Your attempt to slam Steve with the same tired suggestion that, if you will not blindly give the district all of the money that they want it means you don't care about kids, is transparent.
Steve is continuing to serve our community through citizen oversight and asking for accountability from PUSD.
Posted by Donna Adkins, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 2, 2009 at 9:00 am
When teachers are awarded their teaching credential they are issued a "preliminary" creditional. They then have a period of 5 years to prove that they are qualified. This qualification is usually proven by completing additional coursework and through frequent observation from administrators as well as mentor/peer teachers. The clearing of a teacher is the difference between being just "certificated" and really being qualified. Many teachers drop out of the profession during the first five years because the job is very demanding both in terms of time input and the amount of stress related to the position as well as the additional time required to become qualified.
Bonnie - Steve is a nice man and I do respect his belief that he is doing the right thing, but he isn't volunteering at the classroom level to my knowledge, and I could be wrong, I just don't see him at my school and his child used to attend there, so I personally feel he is misinformed. He is an outstanding parent and community leader, but like many leaders sometimes you need to revisit home base. I am an elementary school teacher. The cuts that are being made will affect elementary school students the most. My daughter is a junior at Amador. She does have a teacher affected by the cut, but primarily teachers at the high school that are affected are 9th grade English teachers due to class size reduction at that grade level. I believe Steve is personally, meaning his family isn't there any more, removed from elementary education at this time.
Unfortunately, I do believe that Steve is misinforming the public. In particular when he speaks of "raises". He also is not informed or if he is I have not seen it celebrated that administrators have voluntarily given back salary this year in spite of the fact that they were already taxed on that salary. Since I am not an administrator I can't tell you what that amount is. You can visit the Pleasanton Unified Web Site to find answers regarding salary, raise schedules and so forth. The amount teachers are giving back next year is about 1 million of the 9 million deficit.
I agree that our educational system needs an overhaul and like most change it needs to start at home. TIME magazine recently ran a very informative article about national standards and paying teachers on merit, but I don't want children in our community to suffer in the interim why we fix the problem with the system. Pass the parcel tax and use the 4 years the tax is in effect to solve the problem. We do need the time, but not at the expense of kids.
Thank you for caring for your kids, I infer you have some. Please continue to support your child's education at home and at school, your child and your child's teacher need you and others like you.
Finally. please, I am not a hypocrite, I am sarcastic.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 2, 2009 at 10:45 am
Donna, Not sure what you mean when you say "administrators were already taxed on that salary" (that they gave back). First is if they gave it back in 2009, their taxes will drop to match the new pay rate. Second, if they overpaid (no matter the year), it will even out when they file. This is not to diminish the voluntary cut, but when you are speaking of people misinforming the public, one should be sure about their own statements.
The information the no side is gathering and posting is fact, gathered through public records requests and the district's own postings. Large raises were awarded that could only be sustained with continuing COLA increases from the state and/or with enrollment growth. Those raises were given when there was a goal of a 7% reserve that could help the district now--abandoned in favor of the raises. That 14+% is now on the salary schedule and the impact is ongoing and will cost $6 to $15 million over the life of the proposed parcel tax depending on the seniority and movement of teachers on the schedule during that time. That means alternately that the parcel tax pays nearly entirely for the impact of those past raises or the district is asking for more than it needs.
In either case, the district is proposing this tax without listening to suggestions for cuts that save CSR and staff for the coming year (they can do it and not hurt anyone), allowing plenty of time for digging into the budget for permanent fixes, ending past bad fiscal practices, planning for a large reserve to carry us through any dark days in the future, and then and only then, providing time for the community to determine what it is willing to pay for and how much if a tax is needed.
Passing a tax now, without due diligence, puts in place a tax that will come back for renewal; they always do. Saying we should do this because we should do this is not compelling.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on May 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm
I have only personal experience from which to make the best judgment as to how to vote for the tax. Our kids went through elementary school in Cupertino, at a school that was ranked #1 at the time. There were 40 kids in each class, but the education they received was far superior to what was provided when we moved to Pleasanton. This school district has put a priority upon facilities, which are outstanding, but now it is time for the leadership to be creative and intelligently direct their efforts towards the classroom. They can do more with less.