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Support Our Children Now!

Original post made by Jerry Shelly on May 1, 2009

From reading the negative press on Measure G it is very obvious to me that these negative individuals have not taught in the classroom, were once involved in the system and had a bad experience or are just unhappy and not to fond of children. It is a simple problem to address. The state level has cut funding to all schools, not just the Pleasanton District. If you stop being negative and follow the news or drive around other communities you will find that the poor state budget has hindered all districts and forcing them to make drastic decisions to make deep cuts. During my thirty-four tenure in this district I have seen these threatening times come and go, but never in a time when the country is suffering as a whole. The times have made many upset, stressed and angry, but many of the individuals who are against Measure G have had children in this fine school system and had their say and way for years. Most of the people against the measure do not feel the fear or pain of the 300 employees plus who have received layoff notices. These notices are changing life styles and causing undo stress in the lives of good teachers who deserve more. Important programs will be cut and many children will suffer. How can any of the opposition dare to say that putting thirty plus young children in one room will not have a negative impact on learning. Teachers will not get raises or more money, only jobs will be saved. Surrounding districts have passed measures like G and some have passed numerous such funding programs. Brentwood has passed six such measures adding to over four hundred dollars to tax bills, yet no one complains. No one complains because they all pull together to make children come first. No need to throw stones, our politicians are doing that for us. Vote on Measure G to help our schools or not, but stop making up things to destroy it. You community figure heads who make up things to make public gains need to find something else to do to pass the time. Lets all grow up and keep the great system we have worked so long to build.

Comments (35)

Posted by John, a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on May 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

When I went to school, there were 40 children in each class. I don't like the tone of the pro-Measure G folks saying those opposed are anti-children. I believe that character attacks against those that have a long-standing years of community service helping the seniors and youth of the community is appalling. Denouncing people rather than sticking with the issues is a sign that the Measure G campaign is desperate. Juanita Haugen would have denounced those antics. I'll be voting no on the parcel tax.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I know the people who are against Measure G don't like to be characterized as anti-children. It must cause cognitive dissonance because no one wants to think of themselves that way.

The reality of the situation, though, is that if we don't chip in to help the district through this recession/depression, KIDS WILL BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED. Rationalize it any way you want, but it's definitely NOT in the best interest of kids to vote "no".


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Jerry, quit denigrating everyone who takes a position against Measure G. You can't know who each of us are and what each of our exact experiences have been. Your post paints everyone against Measure G with a black brush. In our various posts we have presented our arguments, which you have chosen to ignore by accusing us of a list of things which includes not being fond of children.

Nobody has made anything up, and that you think so means you are not someone who can actually gather facts and analyze them, or to do the research to rebut arguments. I hope you are not a teacher.

On the 300 teacher layoff notices: you are disingenuous to think this number passes the smell test. Out of 780 teachers in Pleasanton the budget is SO BAD that 300 teachers are really really really going to be laid off! (38 percent of the teaching staff.) This notice giving is SOP mandated by union rules and the PUSD puts out excessive notices to both cover themselves and make press to pass things like parcel taxes.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hrm, so what Resident of Birdland is saying is that anyone who is pro Measure G is anti-taxpayer, anti-fiscal responsibility, anti-homeowner, and selfish because it's all about OUR children and everyone else can take a flying leap.

Cognitive dissonance is caused by being presented with facts which contradict a belief. Characterizations are not facts.


Posted by resident, a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm

No, Stacey. I was not saying that. Do not put words in my mouth.

I was simply saying that actions have consequences. The action of voting no has negative consequences on kids. It's pretty hard to say one is "pro kid" when one consciously makes a choice that negatively impacts kids.

So, back to cognitive dissonance: the belief is "I am not a person who acts against kids" but the fact that contradicts that belief is that many are trying to obstruct the passage of a resolution that would keep kids from being negatively impacted. I didn't misuse the word, and you misconstrued my point.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Jerry -

Step and Column increases sure sound like pay raises to me. To say those against measure G don't feel your pain......I have to agree.

Instead of receiving layoff notices we are getting laid off. Instead of S&C increases we're taking pay cuts. Instead of agreeing to taking two days off if we get our way on something we want, we're being forced to take of weeks off. Instead of knowing we have a pension plan we're watching our 401ks deteriorate.

Jerry, excuse the language, but give me a (edited) break. I'm tired of being told I'm not for our children because I don't support measure G. Its the exact opposite, I'm for our children. What I'm not for is taxing a community that is already feeling a far more devestating effect as a result of the economy. All I ask is that you forfeit whatever step and column increases you may be "entitlted" to so long as you are asking me for additional funds - I'm not asking you to take a pay cut, I'm just asking you not to take an increase. The fact you're not willing to agree to this given what your asking just tells me you're putting your interests over those of my kids - so whose really got our children's best interest in mind?


Posted by Sue, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm

WELL SAID, Pleasanton Parent!!!!!!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Jerry, We know each other well. I have nothing but respect for you as the principal at Walnut Grove when there were 1,100 students and a very old facility. You were amazing at Harvest Park as well. All in years when there were students at 30:1 K-3 and 36:1 4-6. I also remember how you fought for kids in the face of opposing positions at the district level, and, I believe, went back to teaching because of it before you retired.

My kids' experience, much of it with you and stellar teachers who have since retired, was amazing despite what now would be considered inconceivable conditions. Our children wanted to come back to Pleasanton after our time in Texas because of their experiences with educators like you. There are no bad experiences and plenty of battles like unification that we fought together with other amazing parents.

I wonder why you would think I don't like children with three of my own and a grandchild I couldn't adore more--and I'm the oldest of eleven and have many, many nieces and nephews, and a sister in education and a great deal of friends who teach or serve in other capacities.

There truly are communities facing many genuine problems and I hope their communities are working for the best solutions for their student populations . . . there are districts like Poway that have given up five days to save jobs. These, however, are not Pleasanton, and people we both know and respect agree that this once fiscally sound district has been run into the ground.

Precisely because you have seen this before, you know that without a strong reserve to plan for times like this the district gambled and lost. You also know that pink slips were sent out to create another layer of disquiet in the community as some of the newest teachers are threatened. And you know that I still work in K-12 education, so I very much care about all of it and the friends we share in common and what is happening to them and their children who are now young teachers.

As a community member, taxpayer, and voter, I am still allowed to have my say. Then, I spoke for our schools and our children . . . today I speak for my grandchild. I have nothing to gain by being publicly against this tax. It was a difficult choice.

Jerry, I will stand by your side to fight for the right parcel tax once we know where district funding has gone, what can be cut without loss of CSR (and it can be done), and time to discern what the community values and will pay for. This isn't that time or that tax.




Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Resident of Birdland,

I have yet to see you present any fact that links voting no on Measure G to negative impacts on children or even linking Measure G itself to negative impacts on children. Anything short of that is nothing more than opinion which is attempting to equate a no position with being anti-children, which entitles me to make fanciful statements too about what a yes position means.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 1, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Jerry I believe you are in the district office now and I resent you saying we are against it and make us think that 300 will lose their jobs...........just a scare tactic. Keep in mind that many of have lost our jobs as well and it is time for you guys to pay your fair share by possibly taking significant paycuts or early retirements to show the way.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on May 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm

"just unhappy and not to(o) fond of children." ARE YOU SERIOUS !


Posted by Smarter than Jerry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Don't let a good recession goto waste! What a great opportunity to "steal" more money from the taxpayers. Nice try but I'm not buying.


Posted by Agree with Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

Congratulations to Jerry Shelly for making sweeping assumptions about people who oppose the parcel tax. You've only proven what so many posters have said - no facts, all emotion, negatively portraying those who oppose the tax from many of the pro parcel tax people. (exceptions include Sandy and others who discuss the issue civilly)
Jerry, don't see you wasting any sympathy for the Pleasanton residents who are also living under incredible stress because they have actually LOST jobs, not been told they might, are actually living on less money this year rather than being guaranteed more money next year.
When a person gets more pay one year than they did the previous year it's a RAISE. Whether that RAISE comes from step & column or because that person has done a superior job, A RAISE IS A RAISE.
Be sure to not apply for the senior citizen exemption Jerry! Not that you will have to worry because G will fail - giving the district more money from our already smaller paychecks to provide PUSD with the money it needs to give raises - not gonna happen.
Kathleen, nice response - much nicer than Jerry's post deserved.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Pete -- do you know whether Jerry still has a job in July?

I don't know him personally, so I don't know.

He could be one of the seventeen management staff being laid off.

If he's not, then he's probably one of the staff who will remain in their jobs, doing the same work as this past year, but with one third fewer coworkers.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Sandy, Yours is the second post that says Jerry is working at the DO. I thought he retired in the last couple years out of Amador as a teacher. Anyone know what job he is holding and when he came back?


Posted by Theresa, a resident of Castlewood
on May 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm

"All I ask is that you forfeit whatever step and column increases you may be "entitlted" to so long as you are asking me for additional funds - I'm not asking you to take a pay cut, I'm just asking you not to take an increase."

If Jerry has been teaching 33 years he is at the top of the pay scale and has been for 13 years, no yearly increase in pay after 20 years unless a pay raise is negotiated for all teachers.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Downtown
on May 2, 2009 at 6:52 pm

"Most of the people against the measure do not feel the fear or pain of the 300 employees plus who have received layoff notices. These notices are changing life styles and causing undo (undue) stress in the lives of good teachers who deserve more." Again, ARE YOU SERIOUS.
Since your Union gets rid of the least senior first then I can assume that these teachers are YOUNG-they can get other jobs unlike most of the middle-aged workers I know who have lost jobs, had hours reduced, wages cut or frozen.
"changing life styles"- try getting a draft notice in 1966 at the age of 23...thats a life-syle change.


Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 7:36 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

I'm not quite as informed on this topic as other posters are, but why doesn't PUSD try the whole "force senior teachers out and give them their retirement?" Some of the teachers in this school district have been here far to long and I have heard many parents voice their concern over "needing fresh teachers in the classroom."

As for Mr. Shelly, I'm somewhat taken aback to his words. I had him as a principal at Walnut Grove and some of those words are attacks to certain community members- I never expected that from a well known educational figure. We all are at a loss with this economy and the 300 plus employees who received layoff notices haven't even begun to feel the real pain of the people who already have been laid off. What about those citizens? Don't they have a right to voice their concerns as well? Or what about the parents who work two or more jobs, may have been transferred within one job and now has an hour commute, but keeps all the jobs just to be able to survive- adding on more taxes to their lives isn't helping.

I will be voting no on this measure as I agree with Ms.Ruegsegger's words: "...[we will] fight for the right parcel tax once we know where district funding has gone, what can be cut without loss of CSR (and it can be done), and time to discern what the community values and will pay for. This isn't that time or that tax." Where has our money gone? One last thing- I know a large handful of PUSD teacher's who grew up in this community. If they loose their job I have a strong feeling that it wouldn't be difficult to get some financial help from the parents and wouldn't be difficult to go to surrounding districts to find a job. I'm all for keeping class sizes down, keeping certain school programs in tact etc, but there has to be other routes this district can take. As a future teacher myself, I'm curious as to if any other routes have even been researched...


Posted by Reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Joe-I agree. To a young person a pink slip is more of a bump in the road or a detour rather than a life style change.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

PToWN94566,

If you're working to become a teacher, I want to inform you that the pink slip thing is normal so be prepared. I have a friend who works in education down on SoCal and she was telling me about a lady who got a pink slip every year for 25 years and was never laid off. California creates this drama with its poor planning and unions helped create the laws requiring the March pink slip notifications. They want to show off during the school year and it disrupts the learning process. I think if you try to find out the actual statistics on the number of pink slips handed out each year compared with those that turn into actual layoffs, the numbers will prove the drama. That's not to suggest that this year will be more of the same. I think we can expect a larger percentage to be actual layoffs, only that the pink slipping is part of the job.


Posted by clarification, a resident of Parkside
on May 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

"To a young person a pink slip is more of a bump in the road or a detour rather than a life style change."

I see the assumption here that the people facing layoffs in the district are all young and can move in with mom and dad. I don't know if that is really accurate. I know 3 teachers who will not have jobs next year almost for sure (as opposed to the ones who got pink slips as a precautionary measure just in case). 2 of those 3 are teachers who worked in other districts for several years and then gave up seniority elsewhere for the opportunity to teach in Pleasanton. Both have kids and a mortgage. Neither can go back to the district they came from because there are no positions available there anymore. I think low seniority in the district and new to the profession/young may not be positively correlated as much as people think.



Posted by Alee, a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 3, 2009 at 11:02 pm

I think the people who are for Measure G are so seriously living in a bubble.

"Most of the people against the measure do not feel the fear or pain of the 300 employees plus who have received layoff notices. These notices are changing life styles and causing undo (undue) stress in the lives of good teachers who deserve more."

Doesn't EVERYONE deserve more. My husband works for a fortune 100 company. He is having to lay off people. He (or an anyone else in the company) will not get a raise this year. Unlike the school district, they do not have the taxpayers to fall back on.

What is with this day and age of bailouts. Measure G is just this- another bailout. SAD!


Posted by Raises, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

" He (or an anyone else in the company) will not get a raise this year."

Not all companies are freezing salaries or canceling bonuses. There are layoffs, but companies like Kaiser and Chevron are still giving raises and bonuses, albeit somewhat smaller.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

I am not sure if Jerry Shelley will be retiring this summer but I am sure he is quite eligible to take advantage of the 3 point system and will be set for life. If he has 34 years and is over age 50 then he is entitled to 100% of his salary and benefits for the rest of his life only reduced by medicare at age 62. Not a bad deal at all.


Posted by Don't get it, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

Kaiser does layoffs - frees funds for raises?
PUSD does layoffs - frees funds towards S & C increases?
Kaiser is a health care provider, and health care is a rapidly growing business because of an aging baby boomer population. They can raise their rates to cover raises and bonuses.
Chevron raises - would seem that raising gas prices throughout the nation by even a penny would be the funding source of raises and bonuses.
Don't think employees who were laid off at either of these companies would rejoice that Kaiser and Chevron are giving out any raises or bonuses.
Not seeing the connection between Kaiser & Chevron giving raises and bonuses to the discussion unless it's that a school board member works for Kaiser?


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Mohr Park
on May 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Kathleen, as I said, I don't know Jerry. I assumed that the previous poster was correct about where he was employed... but did not verify. I just wanted to make the point that one third of management staff are having their jobs eliminated.


Posted by Susie, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Pete wrote:
I am not sure if Jerry Shelley will be retiring this summer but I am sure he is quite eligible to take advantage of the 3 point system and will be set for life. If he has 34 years and is over age 50 then he is entitled to 100% of his salary and benefits for the rest of his life only reduced by medicare at age 62. Not a bad deal at all.



Posted by Susie, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm


I am not sure if Jerry Shelley will be retiring this summer but I am sure he is quite eligible to take advantage of the 3 point system and will be set for life. If he has 34 years and is over age 50 then he is entitled to 100% of his salary and benefits for the rest of his life only reduced by medicare at age 62. Not a bad deal at all.

Where did you get this information?? I think you have teachers confused with policemen and firemen. There is no teacher in Pleasanton who gets this type of retirement.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2009 at 7:04 am

There are certain positions where a retired certificated person can come back into a district at full pay and not lose any of their retirement money. If you had enough service years (I think it's more like 40) and you retire for one full year, a district can declare a need and bring you back to serve in that capacity. I know this is especially true for CBOs/Business Service (Sandra Lepley's position is an example--if she qualified after a year of retirement, she can work again at full retirement and full pay on the new assignment). This is supposed to expire in 2010.

I thought Jerry retired, but I don't know that he fits all the requirements for this program or that he is actually back at the DO.

Teachers and administrators and even classified staff do retire and come back as consultants and subs--some have limits on what they can earn before they lose retirement benefits ($30,000?), but it does happen.


Posted by Mom2, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2009 at 7:07 am

Again, this is the problem with the blogs and Jeb not checking "facts" that bloggers post. Teachers do not receive retirement benefits like firefighters. Susie, you are completely wrong, please check your facts. Teachers are also not entitled social security, spouses or their own even if they ear 40 quarters. I know many widowed teachers who are having a very difficult time getting by after 30-35 years of serving their communities. It's very disrespectful to post misinformation!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Who can speak with facts on this subject? I don't know enough about it. California is one of those States that exempts its workers from Social Security and set up its own retirement system called CalPERS. But just a quick Google search pops up with some sites that suggest that workers are eligible to receive both Social Security and CalPERS. Anyone know the real deal?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Mom2 wrote: "Teachers are also not entitled social security, spouses or their own even if they ear 40 quarters."

So here's some information that points towards the real facts about Social Security and government pension systems... If you're a government employee who has or plans to earn enough credits in the private sector to obtain Social Security, you ARE entitled to some of it.

Web Link

"Ex-Teacher Finds Social Security a Maze

About two years before Adrienne Broadwater planned to retire from her teaching job and join private industry, she got a horrible shock...

Broadwater was about to shelve her post-retirement plans, which involved getting a job with a computer company, when she discovered both her friend and the Social Security representative were wrong.

If she works in private industry for 20 years, as she plans to, she will indeed qualify for and receive Social Security retirement benefits. She just won't receive quite as much as if she had never worked for a government entity.
....
What if Lee didn't have enough periods of work to qualify for Social Security on her own record? If she had a long-term marriage to a spouse who was covered by Social Security, she could apply for benefits on her spouse's record.

However, here she faces a bigger hurdle, called the government pension offset. Simply put, she can receive only the amount of monthly Social Security benefits that exceed two-thirds of her government pension. This can eliminate spouse and widow (or widower) benefits completely."


Posted by Susie, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Mom2, please reread my post, I was trying to say just what you said, teachers
do not have a retirement like firefighters and yes you are right teachers who have
paid into Social Security are not eligible for those benefits.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I think Susie means to say that teachers are not eligible for Social Security benefits for the time they worked in the public sector (because they don't pay into SS as a public employee). If a teacher has 40 SS credits from working in the private sector and paying into SS, they are eligible to receive SS, although the amount is less than what they would have received if they didn't work in the public sector because the Feds take into account their government-based pensions. Think about this. If their SS benefits weren't reduced and they got also their government-based retirement benefits, that's an unfair advantage over anyone else in the private sector.

If ANYBODY has paid into SS but doesn't have the 40 required credits, then no, they aren't eligible for SS. You don't have to be a government worker for that to happen.

Web Link

It doesn't matter anyway. The government retirement benefits are much better than SS.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Another view, this time from a teacher, on CA teacher retirement benefits and Social Security: Web Link

"I didn't start teaching until I was 32 years old. I paid into Social Security from the time I was 18 until I became a teacher, and with over 40 quarters of payments contributed I've earned a Social Security check when I retire. However, now that I have a state pension system, Social Security will only pay me a small fraction of what I've theoretically "earned". They don't want any double-dippers, you see."

Also thought this comment left on the above weblink was funny as it reflects what PUSD does...

"I just found another way some members of STRS are increasing their pensions. I know of a school district that has recently added the costs of their benefits into the salary schedule. For example, a teacher making $35,000 + also receiving $ 15,000 in benefits can add the cost of the benefits for that their salary is now $ 50,000 for the sake of retirement calculations. Is your District doing this? Do you know of any negatives?"


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