Measure G information at www.savepleasantonschools.org Schools & Kids, posted by Tony E., a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm Tony E. is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I'm Tony, a member of the Committee to Save Pleasanton Schools.
We, in the group, have been greatly impressed with the many
dialogues going on here at the PW blog and would like to contribute
what we perceive to be facts involved with the Measure G initiative.
It's not my or our intention to debate but we feel it is important
to use whatever means available to get relevant information out to
our citizens so they may make a decision based on clarity. My
intention is to also stick with what we know (not what we think
or guess) about the financial situation as any given moment as
this landscape is changing, quite literally, day-to-day.
Posted by NO ON G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm
Tony is the webmaster for SPS and PLEASANTON PTA COUNCIL.
Must admit, after the three page ad in the PW, the flyers distributed at schools and city sites, the campaign buttons, etc. am surprised anyone from SPS has decided to post on the blogs, particularly in light of Joan Laursen's comments at the recent PPIE luncheon.
But of course, we will respectfully discuss any facts SPS presents!
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:51 pm
Can you please comment on why freezing salary increases (S&C) for PUSD employees for the four years was not included in the ballot language? Additionally, can you please comment on why paying out these increases is ethically, socially, and fiscally responsible when tax payers are being told there is no money for our children's programs? Thank you.
Posted by do it now..., a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 26, 2009 at 11:03 pm
S&C is in the contract. Teachers signed up for their job with the expectation that they'll get their S&C, regardless of the state of the economy. So deal with it. Pay up or lose those academic services.
Posted by Ann Martin, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Apr 27, 2009 at 12:54 am
Everyone take a deep breath.
I agree that the teachers will be needing some R & R, but in about 7 weeks, they will get the chance to do that!
I also agree that it is reasonable to broach the topic of opening negotiations with APT about salaries because there is concern about how PUSD will be able to pay out $15 million in S & C increases over the next four years ...and whether these additive salary increases are sustainable given the low reserves on hand.
In a budget crisis, it's necessary to look at all expenses and discuss them. This is something that is not only being done in private industry, (including those with unions) but government agencies as well.
The times, they are a-changing much as none of us want them to!
Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 27, 2009 at 1:06 am
Didn't I just hear that BART workers (also unionized and under a contract) agreed to a pay freeze for the next several years?
Most everyone signs up for a job with an expectation of a certain salary. But more than just "some" have taken reductions. The sense of entitlement expressed by a few posters does nothing to help your arguments.
Posted by Parents for the Parcel, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm
The teachers that are secure in their jobs are willing to sacrifice the newer teachers.....so sad .....so greedy!"
Funny, I was thinking the same thing about this website...posting incorrect information....so sad, so greedy....what $233 a year could do for this community. The no on Measure G people are willing to sacrifice programs and their schools by hiding behind propaganda....how sad.
Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:24 pm
Regarding the above post,
It's not just parents who think the teachers secure in their jobs are willing to sacrifice the newer teachers.
Many of the classified employees feel just as negatively about the Teachers Union. They realize that if the teachers' union would agree to a wage freeze, not only will the teachers' jobs be saved, so will the jobs of the classified employees. (and they know the teachers union couldn't care less about the classified employees' plight!)
The teachers' union demonstrates it has selective compassion.
The www.pleasantonpaceltaxinfo.com website provides facts - check out the SPS one and see how it doesn't.
"When addressing the public, parcel tax backers are frequently encouraged to put the annual cost in simple, friendly sounding terms that usually begin with "it's only." "It's only a few cents a day," or "it's only a few dollars per month." Officials try to make it sound like the coming property tax increase is trivial and that anyone who is opposed must be a cheapskate."
Measure G is over $18M in four years. Step and column increases are over $15M in four years. These are not trivial numbers.
Posted by True Character, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:28 pm
Community of Character -
I see no character qualities in your posts, perhaps your member name was literary irony?
I see others finally fed up with your bating tactics. Maybe you should pay closer attention to character traits worth having that you clearly do not display. Condescending comments and pure vitriol are traits we are not teaching our children in this community and they have no value in these important discussions.
You certainly cannot be serious: No one in this community hates children, hates schools, or hates our public employeess or this community. We are all strapped in these difficult times and are asking for some simple transparency and fiscal responsibility from those hired to properly manage the money we all contribute.
We could all use some character lessons it appears, including yourself.
Posted by Right wing Granny, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm
I think this would be useful here...
"Community of Character -
You are right! We are on the brink of our children losing their education outright if this parcel tax does not pass!!
I'm SOOOOOOOOO scared for "the children"!! How soon can we vote to make sure this doesn't happen??? We should even consider building bunkers! Fear is always the emotion to base decisions on! Why didn't I see that??
Money is the answer! More, More, MORE! It doesn't matter that the district mismanages the money we give them and that ONLY 3.5 MM of the 18.5 MM that is generated by this tax will ACTUALLY go to the programs of the kids and then 15MM balance to the teacher's salaries. That is beside the point! Logic is over rated!! They DESERVE the money! And you are right to get us back on the right track!!
Who cares if they don't get it right this time and we'll need an additional tax to generate MORE revenues in the future?? The point is, we are selfish adults not in touch with reality like you are! You have won me over with your logic-lacking arguments and emotional manipulation about my own children and the poor helpless children of my neighbors like yours.
Thank you for setting me straight! I'm sure you are right and that this parcel tax will pass, because that would mean the majority of Pleasantonians are ignorant and emotionally led by the snout clowns. Thanks for letting us know what you think of the "majority" of your neighbors!
Actually, I believe, unlike yourself, that sound judgment and reasoning of this educated community will prevail and THAT, my friend, points to the fact that they will not be supporting this measure. Pleasantonians are just not that easily pressured or mislead."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm
I posted this awhile back that you could take the AIG bailout money, divide it by all the tax payers in the US, spread the payback over four years and it would only be 74 cents a day . . . hardly makes anyone feel better about spending that $150 billion.
Posted by Tony E., a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm Tony E. is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I wanted to address several posts I've noticed regarding yours truly :)
1) Yes, I am a member of the Committee to Save Pleasanton Schools and serve as web master of www.savepleasantonschools.org. I volunteered (all our members are volunteers) for this role as I could see the magnitude of the this financial crisis at state and local levels and felt compelled to try try to salvage some aspects of our school system that has made it so special. Not only for selfish reasons (yes, I'm a parent) but because I'm convinced that a great school system is a key-indicator of the total success of a community.
2) I am not the web master of the Pleasanton PTA web site - my only involvement to date with PTA is a typical "pay my membership at the start of the school year for what again?" kind of guy.
3) No, I'm not the kind of person who just "follows orders" from the CSPS - LOL - in terms of my informational posts. But, as I stated in my original post to this topic, it's not my intention to debate with the obvious core group of posters at PW's blog whose minds are already decided on Measure G and who have used this forum to voice their perspective for some time. I respect their opinions. Rather my and the rest of the Committee's hope is to present relevant information to our citizens so they may make an informed decision on Measure G.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2009 at 6:23 am Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Tony, welcome to the fray. I hope you can keep your head above the unpleasanton tone of some of the debaters here, and stay focused on your intention.... "to present relevant information to our citizens so they may make an informed decision on Measure G."
I agree that the Save Pleasanton Schools Web Link presents useful information that voters can assess when making their personal decisions about measure G.
I keep coming back to the arguments made in favor of the measure:
"Measure G will:
* Keep class sizes small in the critical early years and in ninth grade English and math classes;
* Provide effective reading and math support programs;
* Ensure our libraries continue to support student achievement;
* Keep counselors in our schools to support students;
* Maintain the effective technology instruction our students need to compete in a global economy;
* Retain our highly valued elementary music programs;
* Keep our schools clean and safe."
I know that the concerns about the school district's past spending need to be addressed, but I believe that can be done at the same time as we preserve the key elements of PUSD's educational quality described above.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2009 at 7:10 am
Sandy: What is ignored in yours and Tony's posts is that we don't get to choose what we are willing to support with our money; there's no guarantee the money will be spent as you indicate (despite a nice list to go with the ballot language); the relief this tax would give to the general fund can be squandered because that behavior, already evident, has no reason to change; and, most importantly, ignores the steps that can be taken to maintain program through other suggested cuts without a parcel tax.
I've already said this to Russell on another thread.
When you don't need a reason, any reason will do. Despite the facts showing this tax isn't needed at this time, that the community deserves an opportunity to determine what it values and will pay for, and that the district has managed currents funds extremely poorly, some still believe, with the district's threat to CSR, that voting against the tax will hurt kids.
To paraphrase the president from last night: the recklessness of a few jeopardizes us all.
Posted by wife of a teacher, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:31 am
What some (or most) people may not know is that ALL medical/dental/vision benefits also come out of teacher's salaries. Health insurance costs continue to rise, so while so many people are complaining that teachers make too much money or should not be entitled to raises think about this---the cost for a family for health insurance starting July 1st will now be $1,800.58 (Health Net) or $1,417.53 (Kaiser) add to that another $167.41 for dental and another $23.91 for vision plus insurance costs. So while teachers receive a raise in salaries, health benefits continue to rise too so it's really a wash and often times a pay decrease!!! Add to that the selfless way they agreed to 2 days no pay and we are very much in the red!!!!
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Wife of a teacher: People reading these blogs know about teachers paying health benefits. They will also know that the $10,000 cost was rolled onto the salary schedule as a way to boost salary as a consideration when their retirement allotment is calculated (higher pay equals higher retirement pay out). They will also know that the $10,000, added about ten years ago, has grown in value with every COLA given over that period. Just the COLAs in 2005-2008 make that $10,000 worth nearly $12,000 todayóI canít get to data on COLAs given prior to 2005. It is also my understanding that these benefits are deducted over ten months rather than twelve (heard this from teachers), but I canít confirm that being true for all. (I mention this possibility to clarify that itís then $18,000 annually not $22,000 and $14,000 not $17,000.)
There also have been questions raised: (1) who is negotiating (poorly) on the cost of those benefits, (2) what kind of plans are being purchased, and (3) why arenít alternate plans being explored/offered? Either better negotiators (they exist) are needed or very pricey plans are being purchased or additional plans should be made available to suit the needs of myriad employees or some combination of all three.
The two days are only to be given if the parcel tax is passed. Other districts already have given more and without strings attached to save the jobs of fellow employees.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:53 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I wonder if teachers would be satisfied if we reduced their gross salaries and offered benefits like they used to have prior to electing to put benefits "on the schedule". Since 67% of certificate staff at PUSD do not have to purchase their own benefits, I think it would be difficult to go back to the way it was.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 1, 2009 at 6:47 am
Russell: We think it is $18,000 a year (not any better really) because the deductions are taken out only ten months of the year, not twelve. If it is $21,600 . . . it's an even worse deal. I wonder if there is no incentive for the district to negotiate better deals on benefits because it technically doesn't cost them anything.
Stacey, you're right, because those who don't take benefits can opt to roll that into a 403b (government version of 401k--pretax dollars) or add it to their take home pay (taxable).
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 2, 2009 at 12:07 am
The ballot language does constrain how the money can be used. Measure G revenue will not go directly into the General Fund. The oversight committee that will review the spending will be looking for any inappropriate use of the measure G funds.
I have volunteered to serve on that oversight committee, and you can count on me to speak out publicly if I see any evidence that funds are being used for purposes not mentioned in the ballot language.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 2, 2009 at 12:18 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The oversight committee would have about as much power as the Budget Advisory Committee, who were asked just to prioritize cuts, had in this whole process.
The oversight committee has no real power for punishing the district for spending problems. All it can do is say "Please, don't do that".
The ballot language doesn't constrain anything (except in the case of administrator salaries). It only said "We may spend this money on this." Real constraint would be if the language said, "Money may ONLY be spent on...."
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 2, 2009 at 12:20 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Even if all the parcel tax funds were used on the programs listed in Measure G, it doesn't preclude monies from the General Fund to be spent upon increasing raises or make accommodations for re-inserting the Measure G programs into the General Fund after the parcel tax expiration date. That's how the shell game is played.