Town Square

Post a New Topic

Pleasanton Schools Receiving $2.5 million extra for Special Education

Original post made by jay, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 9, 2009

I heard at this weeks budget advisory committee meeting that not only did Pleasanton receive the $2.1 million in federal stimulus package money for special education, we actually received $2.5 million. Why is the district not telling the public this great news? It seems the district wants this parcel tax so badly that they do not want to share any good news in the finance arena because more people might realize we do not need the parcel tax.

Comments (36)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Adams
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 9, 2009 at 7:30 am

Measure G has never been about NEED, it's about WANT. It would be so NICE for PUSD to have an extra $4.6M to use (as described in this week's $1300 SPS ad).

The problem is that Measure G does not guarantee parcel tax funds must be spent on those emotionally pleasing programs.

Most of us have been forced to cut out all our WANTS and only have money left for NEEDS.

Vote NO on G.
For information visit Web Link www.ParcelTaxInfo.com


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 7:55 am

There is a full page ad (page 9) in the PW entitled "Why our schools and community need Measure G." Three glaring omissions are: (1) the hydraulics of receiving the $2.5 million noted in this thread relieves pressure on the general fund; (2) additional federal funding applied for, amount yet unknown (additional relief to the general fund); (3) and most important, the language does not guarantee that what is listed as "programs saved" is what will actually be saved.

Voters are being asked to make this commitment of $18 million before the district has to finalize it's budget. If they decide to change their priorities after the election, they can use those funds for anything (except management raises, the only thing in the language).

It is good they used green, though, because this is about our taxpayer dollars.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

Seeing that full page ad in the PW reminded me that from mid October to the beginning of December in 1961, over 100,000 people visited the New York Museum of Modern Art before somebody finally noticed that "Le Bateau" by Matisse was hanging UPSIDE DOWN. Some people only look, but others SEE. I'm betting that the voters of Pleasanton will SEE like Kathleen Ruegsegger.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 9:07 am

Kathleen,

Have you considered running for a position on the Pleasanton school board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 9:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

As Kathleen points out, the full page ad in this week's PW isn't a full list. They didn't list the other possible reductions that the District can make, but hasn't been willing to discuss, like the S&C freeze. I found it funny to that they listed reductions in perks that the Board didn't look at until the No on G group shone a light on them, like the cell phone usage.

Probably the biggest glaring omission in the full page ad is that it implies that Measure G guarantees those dollar amounts for each program listed in the Measure G column. IT DOES NOT!

Take for example the amount of money listed for those counselors. That amount doesn't take into account any step and column raises in future years. So while $960,000 is the cost for those counselors *now*, how much is is going to cost later after raises and where is that money going to come from?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 9:19 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Russell,

Did you know that Kathleen is a former school board member?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tired of the same
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 9:46 am

LOL - keep high-five'ing each other. Honestly, this is tired from the same few of you. Special education funds per American Recovery and Reinvestment Act needs to go to, well, special education. This list in yesterday's weekly is reflective of what the school board has voted to cut. That's a done deal. If there were ideas you wanted to share, the time for this was in all the open community forums which took place between start of Jan - end of Feb this year. You guys have been screaming "step and column". Who cares? My understanding is that the teachers get this to get better at their jobs as measured by advanced credentials and degrees and sticking around with this district. I'm personally, happy to pay for that - this is a good thing. It's also in their contract which, my understanding, was approved by the board (including Steve B) when economic times were good. My belief is that once state props 1a - 1c fail, PUSD is looking at even more cuts - it wouldn't surprise me if step and column were a point of negotiation at that time. But assuming step and column goes away after this crisis takes on even bigger proportions - then what? Hey, why not ask teachers to pay us for the privilege of teaching here? C'mon. PLEASE - come up with something - ANYTHING - to lend credibility to this non-stop assault on an excellent school system that has served this city well as far as I can tell being a resident here for 15 years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

"Did you know that Kathleen is a former school board member?"

Yes, why not run again?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get educated!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

So many complain that they don't understand where the money will be going for Measure G. Then when they are shown the specifics, they still complain. This is a concrete representation of exactly where measure G funds will go. You're right, there will be more cuts made. A parcel tax will fund about half of what needs to be reduced from the budget. Teachers, classified, and Administration concessions will help to fund items not covered by the parcel tax, but this is an ad for the parcel tax. Plain, clear language.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Who's complaining about not understanding where the money will be going? District expects to take in $18MM from Measure G. District expects to pay out $15MM in raises during those four years.

And as for specifics, there's absolutely nothing in writing in Measure G that guarantees that those amounts must fund those programs. There's no "$X amount for CSR" in the ballot language. If there were, then you'd have concrete.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 10:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I wonder when we'll know how much PUSD will get from the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds. That will be bigger news than $2.5MM.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tina
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 10:23 am

I care about the many deceptions that PUSD and the SPS group is perpetrating on the community. I care that 15 million of the 18 million that would be collected from measure G goes to raises in an economy that can not afford raises. I know from talking to my neighbors they care too.
I support kids, teachers and education.
I will vote no on G.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

I read on another post that SPS callers are offering seniors exemption paperwork in exchange for their vote. Is this an ugly rumor or can somebody verify it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 10:32 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't know about the callers, but I do know that my parents received a senior exemption form in the mail with an SPS flyer encouraging a yes vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cindy
a resident of Birdland
on May 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

We were called and told we could vote on G and if one of both of us were unemployed we would be exempt from the $233 until such time as we gained employment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Huh? The exemptions are for 65-and-older and those on SSI disability. There's no exemptions if you're unemployed or qualify for low-income programs...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not Right Now
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 10:54 am

My parent's also recieved the flier with an elderly woman on the front with a young girl. This flier was to inform seniors that they could file an exemption...I wonder if SPS are telling seniors that they have to apply EVERY YEAR, it's not a 1-time filing for exclusion from all 4-years.

We love our children. We love our teachers. We love our schools.

2-no votes in this house.
2-no votes in my parents house.
MANY no votes in my neighborhood from speaking with the neighbors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Will pay to watch
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on May 9, 2009 at 11:01 am

Get educated!
Hello dear, we lost how many court cases and nearly $5 million to Signature Properties because a JUDGE determined that the who-pays-for-what details of their agreement WERE NOT in writing?

Perhaps PUSD has learned something from that debacle after all....

With $15 million in currently unfunded certificated S&C obligations and nothing SPECIFIC in writing on the Measure G list where do you think the $18 million Measure G dollars will have to go?

If they want it badly enough the PTA moms backing the Measure G goodies will need to get in a serious smackdown with the APT (Association of Pleasanton Teachers)for the $$$$. Who is likely to prevail?
Perhaps PUSD can fund CSR by hawking tickets for the pay-per-view.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by federal money
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

Cindy, there are no exemptions for the unemployed. If somebody told you that, they were just plain lying, or the person who trained that person was lying.

For Tired of the same, yes the money is for special education but this is reimbursement money to help pay for the mandated services. We already offer the services but there is a $5 million encroachment into the general fund. The $2.5 million reduces our cuts by $2.5 million.

FLASH: THIS JUST IN
The California Department of Education just released how much each district gets for ARRA fund (released on Saturday). Pleasanton will receive $4,244,533! So this in on top of the $2.5 million for special ed so so far we have $6,744,533 of federal money coming to our district. And there is more! The CDE website said this $4.25 million is for general purpose. They will release the numbers of how much more we will receive for categorical programs in June!

NO NEED FOR A PARCEL TAX THIS YEAR! The federal money more than pays for all the cuts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

OK, so the SPS people are doing this. It seems to me that this tactic belongs in the "dirty tricks" category. Offering an exemption form either by mail or door to door makes it seem like THEY are offering you and exemption when it is the LAW that you be offered an exemption. Ya, this is a dirty trick, I'm sure that they're counting on the "old folks" to be so uninformed that they are grateful for something that is legally theirs. A desperate and unethical move..."vote yes and help us, you don't have to pay the tax anyway".

Where is Community of Character ? Ya, some character !!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

Stacey and others,
The problem is that so many of the posters are reading what they want to read into the ballot language instead of what is actually there.
The ballot language states Measure G will "keep class sizes small." No specific numbers are given, so how PUSD defines small is up to them, and they can change that definition anytime they want to.
If you're buying a car, and the car salesman says there will be a small additional fee for processing the car loan, most consumers will want to know exactly what that small additional fee is.
If PUSD is guaranteeing CSR so that levels are 20:1 for kindergarten and no more than 25:1 for grades 1-3, why isn't that in the ballot language? Not only doesn't the ballot language define small, it doesn't guarantee that CSR will be applied to kindergarten or any other grade.
The ballot language states Measure G will "maintain essential reading and math support programs, libraries, counselors, technology instruction, music..."
So what's essential? There's no guarantee the Barton Reading program will be saved. There's no guarantee that libraries will continue to offer before and after school hours, or even continue being open every school day, there's no guarantee counseling staff levels will remain the same as they are today, and technology specialists will continue to be employed. There's no guarantee that all existing music programs will be kept.
As for the "no proceeds used for administrators' salaries," what the ballot language doesn't state is that there will be no increase in administrators' salaries during the life of the tax. There is nothing in the ballot language to prevent PUSD administration voting themselves a raise to be paid for from General Funds.
As for senior and disabled exemptions, not only do these exemptions have to be filed for each year, but the option of making these exemptions automatic after the first filing was not explored. Why not?

It does not matter what PUSD puts on their website, states in meetings, or provides SPS to publish.
What matters is the language on the ballot and that is all PUSD is legally required to follow.

If PUSD learned one thing from the entire Signature Properties debacle, it was that what counts is what is in writing and particularly what is in a legal document.

The biggest legal contract PUSD has is with the teachers' union. PUSD must abide by the contract.
So ask yourselves this. When PUSD needs funds to support $15 million in step and column increases over the next four years, what will be the priority? Fulfilling a legal contract to avoid a lawsuit, or increasing class sizes, decreasing counselors, cutting out music programs ...all those very vaguely defined items listed on the ballot?

There is nothing accidental about the vagueness of Measure G language.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stu Gazzo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 11:48 am

The "old folks" in Pleasanton are not that uninformed. My mother is 77 and they came to her door with a form and their propoganda and my mother smiled and took the form,but not the flyer, and closed the door. They left the flyer on the porch, but I think they got the message.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 11:51 am

Russell, Catching up on the thread. You may not know that I served on the PUSD Board from 1990-1993 and had to leave when my husband moved us to Texas for 3 1/2 years. Bill James was the superintendent at the time; when I returned he had a staff opening, and I worked for the district for five years. As a young(er) mom I worked for the parent organization, volunteered in the classroom, worked for unification and for the first bond measure. I say all this to point out that I am not anti-children, anti-teacher, anti-tax, anti-education . . .


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Russell, Don't think there is an election until 2010. Let's hope there will be many good candidates that will step forward to run for those three open seats. Could mean a sea change.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Stu,

Sometimes it's hard to pull the wool over the eyes of a senior. They've lived longer and have seen all the games that are played already.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

"Offering an exemption form either by mail or door to door makes it seem like THEY are offering you and exemption when it is the LAW that you be offered an exemption."

From what you're saying, it is the law to offer an exemption. But it is a "dirty trick" that they are offering it.

I guess the bashing works from the sound of posters here. The emotional "sky is falling if you vote for measure G" is the only tactic left?
It's sounding desperate to me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Bob,
How much more desperate do you think SPS will get now that PUSD is getting $4.25 million in ARRA funds?
Web Link
They're not interested in what's best for the community as a whole.
Even with the ARRA funds, they will probably continue to push for Measure G because they have to justify the thousands of dollars they have spent on PW ads, plus yard signs, flyers and buttons. They have to justify all the anxiety they brought to the community.
They will be looking to create some kind of spin because how else are they going to explain why they never bothered to look into options other than a parcel tax?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Parent,

did you miss the wording on that website? "Preliminary" funds, "estimate" of what your district "may receive"?

I am looking forward with hope to confirmation from the state about ARRA funds, because the parcel tax revenues only close about half of the deficit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm

What is sad is that rather than celebrating the good news about ARRA funds, there are some Yes on G people who probably hope the funding won't come through because they care more about "winning" the election than what is best for our children's education.

Funny how none of these people wanted to talk about teacher lay offs as preliminary or just estimates, but presented them as sure things, but now that federal funding is headed our way, grab onto those same words they criticized the No on G people using when discussing layoffs.

We should all be very glad that federal funding is going to allow PUSD the time to really examine their budget and make long term plans that will allow the district to be financially stable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Sandy, they always put preliminary because they might be off a tiny bit but it will be real darn close. They are not going to publish some wild numbers, set expectations, and then deal with hate mail. If they did not know the amount, or very close to the amount, they would not be publishing any numbers.

The other item from the CDE that was interesting is they said that 50% of the ARRA money will be used for general (that is what this amount is for) and the other 50% will be for categorical programs. So this amount is around half of what we will be receiving! So we have $4.25 million for general, $2.50 million for special education reimbursements, and possibly another $4.25 million for categorical. Potentially $11 million!

We all know that this federal money will have to be paid through taxes at some time. So I resent that we are receiving all this money from our federal tax dollars and then the district wants to tax us again for exactly the same thing. Double-dipping into the taxpayers pockets. Every branch of the government has their hands in my pocket (federal taxes to pay for all this stimulus, state income taxes going up, sales tax at 9.75% (incredible), car tax going up significantly, and now they want our property taxes to go up).

I feel this federal money minimally buys us time. We will have enough for this next school year. Now lets do the planning. If it turns out that after doing what it takes we cannot save everything we want, then a parcel tax at that point might make sense with concrete uses of the money; not this "it could be used for this and it could be used for that" stuff. I would want to know that this tax would only be used for classroom size reduction at specific levels, no money for raises (or an absolute limit on what kind of raises can be handed out, including step and column), or something like that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Country Fair
on May 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Jay - The federal mony buys time until June 30, 2010 when the current teachers contract expires and it can be negotiated to be more in line with current economic realities.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm

This also give us a year to fix our fiscal policies to make sure we have sufficient reserves and that we do not just pass the COLA increases from the State right to the employees since we need part of that to fund some type of step and column. This might also be a good time to have discussions on merit pay for the teachers so we can pay teachers according to their value and success and not just the number of years they work. We should also talk about eliminating the retiree medical benefit which is not sustainable and this year is costing us $1 million alone. I also heard there is a new accounting rule and the unfunded liability of the retiree medical starting this year will be listed as an actual liability on the district's books. If we cannot fund this liability, we should not be offering this benefit. People do not realize that our bond rating is dependent on our financial situation and this liability will make it more expensive to borrow money in the future.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fact checker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Anyone see the channel 5 CBS broadcast this weekend on home prices in Pleasanton. It stated that homes are being overbid because so many people from surrounding areas want to move to Pleasanton. It specifically stated the quality of schools as the most cited reason for moving here. It went on to say that, while other communities have seen their home values fall, Pleasanton has not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm

fact checker, give it a break. If you read before you wrote, you would see this is a blog subject on this. Posting on every blog makes me want to think you are part of the measure G campaign.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Accurate Info
a resident of Parkside
on May 10, 2009 at 9:33 pm

The $4.2M ARRA funds on the CDE website are for Tri-Valley SELPA (special ed consortium of 6 districts: Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, Sunol, Mt. House, Alameda County). Pleasanton is the lead fiscal agency and received the funds that are passed through to the other 5 districts.

Pleasanton will indeed receive $2.5M over two years or $1.25M per year. Only $650k per year may be used to offset the $10M it cost the district for special education. It must be spent on special education. The other half must be used for new programs for special education that will cost the district at least what they receive in payment. The cuts are almost $10M to balance the budget.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yes, be accurate, please. I think you're thinking of the $2.5MM from ARRA Education/Special Ed title... This is a whole different pot of ARRA money called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. The website (Web Link) says

" State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF)
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
Preliminary State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Entitlements

The search results will display the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund preliminary entitlements for education entities. Entitlement amounts include funding for locally funded charter schools. These amounts included the entitlements associated with general purpose (revenue limit) cuts only; amounts associated with categorical program cuts will be available in June 2009. A spreadsheet showing data for all local educational agencies is available at Preliminary State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Entitlements (General Purpose Reductions Only) (XLS; 412KB; 30pp.)."


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Not Endorsements
By Roz Rogoff | 9 comments | 1,211 views

A second half of life exceptionally well lived
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 633 views