Town Square

Post a New Topic

Save Pleasanton Schools - campaigning with fiction?

Original post made by tax revolt 2 on May 11, 2009

Save Pleasanton Schools posted a video of a KPIX news clip at the top of their home page. And on Sunday e-mailed a link to that clip to all of their supporters.

This news clip made several claims about the Pleasanton real estate market. The reporter, Robert Lyles, spoke with a real estate agent, Farida Chapman of Keller Williams, and with a home buyer. The claims made about the real estate market being a 'hotbed of activity' with bids 20% over the asking price, have no basis in fact. The reporter then made the claim that this 'hotbed of activity' is due to high quality schools, and that schools in the South Bay are declining in quality prompting buyers to come to Pleasanton.

Are there any real estate firms or agents (including supporters of Measure G) who will vouch for the claims made in this news video?

If not, then why is Save Pleasanton Schools campaigning with fiction? What other dubious claims are being made by the Parcel Tax supporters to get Measure G passed?

After first playing the emotional card, then attacking No on G supporters, and now with PUSD receiving $6.7M in state/federal funds with more on the way, is resorting to fiction all that is left in the campaign strategy with three weeks to go?

Please, Save Pleasanton Schools, tell us again why we need to have this tax today? There is now a whole year for PUSD to negotiate new contracts, constrain expenses, develop new alternatives, have a *real* Budget (emphasis on the word 'budget') Advisory Committee, pull back from the emotional hype and develop a long-term sustainable plan.

Comments (65)

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Hills
on May 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Save Pleasanton Schools just forwarded a story that was on the local news. If you think the piece didn't have journalistic integrity, contact the station that aired it.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Are you suggesting that SPS just forwards anything that comes their way without a lot of thought put into it?


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Hills
on May 11, 2009 at 7:16 pm

LOL nice try, Stacey, but I won't take the bait. I think I was very clear in my previous post. No need to twist my words into something they weren't.


Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 7:17 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

Jennifer - KPIX has been contacted. There has been no reply to date.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Jennifer,

It is simple to make excuses for SPS. If SPS is forwarding something, the implication is that they're taking responsibility for the content, unless they're attaching a warning that says "we make no warranty as to the accuracy of this". Somehow I doubt they're giving warning.


Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

Maybe Save Pleasanton Schools can 'just forward' a link to PleasantonParcelTaxInfo.com (Web Link).


Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

It is also my understanding that Keller Williams knew about the interview / tv newscast as well.


Posted by David, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 11, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I have no idea why everyone keeps talking about measure G as I believe it is a dead bill and stands no chance of passing. What is the next step?


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Hills
on May 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Again, Stacey, please do not fill in the blanks with statements I did not make. I did not make any "excuses" for SPS. I was simply suggesting that tax revolt contact the news station if said news station is running segments with false information. The "reasonable man" would expect a campaign to forward a news clip that substantiates the claims their side has been making about property values. The reasonable man would not expect a reputable news source to publish false information. The latter is the bigger offense in my humble opinion (if the story was giving misinformation, that is)


Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm

tax revolt 2 is a registered user.

Jennifer - Why would Joan and Tanya, the leaders of Save Pleasanton Schools, who have Doug Buenz, the Bay East Association of REALTORS, and other real estate professionals listed as supporters on their website, think that this news clip substantiates their claims?

Will any of those organizations, individuals or professionals verify the claims made in the news video clip?

What matters for the June 2 vote is whether Save Pleasanton Schools is campaigning with fiction.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Me think there are to many woman talking about the measure G and using emotion not logic and seeing small picture rather than big picture.


Posted by Reasonable Man, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

As a reasonable man, I learned years ago that most of the time you cannot rely on what the news stations or the media tell you and or report. Where have you been? Obviously your head has been in the sand to make that statement. One must always verify before passing on what may be bogus material (as this was). Almost everything that gets aired is edited. The editing often will slant the story to fit a specific agenda. Save Pleasanton Schools erred when they posted the link. I am certain they knew what they were doing! Beware!! My understanding is that the interviewed realtor specifically had refered to houses in the $900,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 range. The reporter edited that part.


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Walnut Hills
on May 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Ummm, I don't think I said anything remotely emotional or illogical, but thanks for the randomly inserted sexist comment, cholo.

Good night! :)


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Nighty night Jenny, now let's hear from the men and hear some rational thought......he he he he...........yesssssssss! :)


Posted by Enough Already, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Jennifer, I completely heard what you were trying to say, the posters here are simply waiting to get you fired up so they can claim the Yes on G people (not that you even stated your stance) are desperate and emotional. It is a fun game for them, they do it repeatedly on this site and then say they are just giving the facts. Many of us reading this know better and see through their bullying tactics. That's why more of us aren't posting. It is just a trap- wait and see the response to this!


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm

bully bully oh those big bad trap and wait people ta de da de da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Many reading this also know better than to see everything as "bullying". Whenever someone says "bullying", I picture a little kid that always goes crying to mommy. I believe the phrase that's popular today is, "Man up."

Jennifer intended to merely suggest that tax revolt 2 contact the tv station if he thought there was something amiss with the report. She thinks she was clear. I thought her mention of SPS muddled her message, like somehow it isn't their fault. Pointing this out helps Jennifer clarify her message.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on May 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm

David - Measure G is not 'dead' until the voters vote 'NO'. The next step is to get as many informed voters to the polls on June 2.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Jenny got mad and went beddy bye. :O)


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I posted this to another thread. It looks like housing prices here are holding up better than surrounding areas.

You can use Web Link

to check home prices normalized to square foot, and then look at the year over year change. It is far from perfect, if you take a running average of several consecutive months, you get a better picture. The results for the latest snapshot are below. First number is price decline (year over year per square foot). The second number is foreclosure rate. It is aggregated by zip code.

Pleasanton

-8.6%, 3 per 1000 for 94588
-11.2%, 2 per 1000 for 94566

Dublin

-18.7%, 11 per 1000 for 94568

Livermore

-16.9%, 10 per 1000 for 94550
-22.6%, 20 per 1000 for 94551

Just for grins, here's Antioch

-50.7%, 64 per 1000 for 94509
-40.5%, 75 per 1000 for 94531

These are MDA DataQuick numbers. You can dig in to and do averages for consecutive months, and Pleasanton looks even better.

There are plenty of other sites out there with this kind of information.


Posted by Community of Character, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Shouldn't you people be happy that our home prices are holding up better than others and that Ptown homes are selling like hot cakes? Our great schools are attracting a lot of home buyers to Ptown and the news coverage will only bring more potential buyers. Two of my new neighbors moved here from the South Bay because of our schools and our wonderful community. Need I say more?

Support our children, our schools, and our community.

Vote YES on G!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 6:21 am

We will be supporting our schools with the federal tax dollars, $6.7 million (and the likelihood of more) coming already. This allows time to thoroughly assess the district's budget without the loss of programs like CSR. There is no need for the parcel tax this year, if ever.


Posted by Drop the homes claim, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 6:34 am

C of C; although I want homes to be selling like hotcakes and values climbing back, I have seen no evidence that they are. This claim is based on a KPIX news report which seems to be disputed. Selling like hotcakes relative to the past 12 months? Perhaps. But let's see the numbers. The homes that I see every day have been on the market for many months and their prices have been reduced but still no sale.

Linking any current home sales activity to Measure G is also quite a stretch. Good schools attract buyers and help keep values up but G passing or failing is likely to have negligble impact.

Thanks to the 6.7MM federal aid money it is now an easy choice to vote NO on G.


Posted by Patricia, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on May 12, 2009 at 6:54 am

Kathleen, the federal dollars of 6.7 is actually taxpayers dollars most of which is coming from the other states and is a bandaid. How long are we going to do this and live beyond our means before we start looking to cut costs? This is a losing cycle and how long are states with a surplus who have done the right thing (like Texas) are going to want to continue to support us?

We must start living within our means. The governor just announced that even if all of these taxes increases pass and they won't he is going to going and borrow another 20 billion just to pay expenses.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 7:42 am

Patricia, First, I understand the $6.7 million isn't free--we will all be paying this money back. I said I wanted the time this affords the community to get the district's budget back in line. I'm not a fan of big government at the state or federal level either (and no party seems capable of making it smaller so far).

I'm just a bit more cautious when talking about cutting costs. In the case of the district, it means letting the BAC do the job of going through the entire budget and recommending where to cut and making it very transparent and open to the community. I also think it means surveying the community, but you've likely read that already.

I saw the news about the state raiding city coffers; the governor has nothing to lose in doing it. Maybe that's the curse of term limits and the lame ducks they create.

Maybe we put control of negotiating with unions in the hands of people who will not benefit from the end result. Possibly COLAs are not awarded without some split that also builds the reserves up to a certain percent and keeps them there (7%? 10%?). We could also consider making those COLAs "off the schedule" until such time as the reserves hit a certain level.

Maybe parent/teacher organizations raise funds for resources specialists--that could, however, set up inequities across schools. Maybe PPIE raises funds specifically for certain valued positions (counselors at 400:1?). It can work, but it would be unknown if you could find and keep the best and brightest on a year to year basis if they can find a more stable position in another district.

There are many pros and cons that need to be sorted through to find the most effective way to get what we want for our children. It will take time to do that and educate the community, and I'll repeat this, IF saving what the community values requires additional sources of funding.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 8:36 am

Kathleen and Patricia,

At the federal level, until last year the problem with spending was mainly confined to Medicare, Social Security, and other retirement programs. If we had those under control, we could easily balance the budget. Starting with last year, the "other" (read bailouts for financial services companies) is now the main problem. I hope that ends soon!

Web Link

I don't think the answer is to cut every kind of spending. Some kinds should increase. Basic scientific research funding at the federal level has been shrinking for years, as a portion of the federal budget at the same time other nations are increasing it. It is only about 1% of the entire federal budget at the same that "Social Security, Medicare, and other retirement" are 38%.

Web Link

I do think we need to sort out our priorities. Some programs should get increased funding while others get less.

I think there is a danger to want to cut everything when budgets are tight. I think that is a mistake. In the case of Pleasanton schools, I just don't want to tinker with a good thing. I'm willing to pay $18 million for measure G as insurance on that.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 8:41 am

I don't understand the posts claiming that Realtors have a biased opinion regarding Measure G. What is the logic? If Measure G has a negligible impact on housing values, as opponents claim, what does a realtor have to gain by supporting it?


Posted by Patricia, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on May 12, 2009 at 8:44 am

Kathleen and Russell,

I understand what you both are saying and yes we should be cautious but on the other than social security, medicare, healthcare, retirement programs, defense spending, social welfare programs, unemployment benefits, etc are all out of control and becoming more out of control each day. Yesterday the CBO announced that for every dollar we spend with these new programs in place we will be borrowing 50 cents to do it. This means we are broke and have no source of revenue. This is not a projection or a guess but fact. Knowing this in order to take care of ourselves going forward we need to sit back as a community and reflect on desired services versus revenue and cut where we can to protect what we need.


Posted by mindy, a resident of Country Fair
on May 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

It's a shame that controversy continues.... It only shows that we need to continue to better educate our children so they do not grow up ignorant and one sided about supporting their future children... no support for education at any juncture is just wrong... this town may be a hot ticket for the housing market, but oh what a dissappoint it is in integrity to itself....


Posted by Community of Character, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 9:05 am

I hate to state the obvious but Dr. Casey has already been running our district as efficiently as humanly possible. PUSD had never asked for a parcel tax until now. So for those of you who still argues that PUSD should live within their means, get a clue. PUSD has indeed been living within their means for many years. Our tax dollars are in good hands as long as PUSD continues to do what they have been doing.

The federal stimulus money is only a one-time funding and will not take us through this recession. We need a funding source that will continue to fund the essential programs for the next few years until the recession is over. Don't punish our children and our teachers!!!

Support our children, our schools, and our community.

Vote YES on G!


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:15 am

There is a good editorial in the Sacramento Bee today on the public employees who are making more than $100,000 per year in pensions. You can find it at: Web Link . They reference a website www.californiapensionreform.com where you can do a search by agency to see those making more than $100,000 in pensions. For Pleasanton, there are currently 22 retired Pleasanton personal making over $100,000 per year in pensions.










They are:










Search by First, Last or Full Name Search by Employer






CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO TOP 10 LIST






Name Monthly Annual Employer Name






TIMOTHY NEAL $14,035.34 $168,424.08 PLEASANTON






STEWART GARY $13,168.05 $158,016.60 PLEASANTON






SUSAN ROSSI $12,499.04 $149,988.48 PLEASANTON






GARY TOLLEFSON $11,854.06 $142,248.72 PLEASANTON






JOHN GOODWIN $11,482.71 $137,792.52 PLEASANTON






BRIAN SWIFT $10,523.83 $126,285.96 PLEASANTON






DAVID RADFORD $10,451.79 $125,421.48 PLEASANTON






THOMAS BRAMELL $10,361.76 $124,341.12 PLEASANTON






ERIC CARLSON $10,271.48 $123,257.76 PLEASANTON






WILLIAM EASTMAN $9,770.95 $117,251.40 PLEASANTON






JOSEPH BUCKOVIC $9,407.05 $112,884.60 PLEASANTON






MICHAEL STJOHN $9,275.80 $111,309.60 PLEASANTON






CHRISTOPHE DICKINSON $9,092.33 $109,107.96 PLEASANTON






SEAN CHAPMAN $8,856.90 $106,282.80 PLEASANTON






CARL COUSINEAU $8,821.74 $105,860.88 PLEASANTON






MAUREEN LAURENCE $8,780.15 $105,361.80 PLEASANTON






PAUL HELMS $8,691.66 $104,299.92 PLEASANTON






GREGORY WIXOM $8,593.63 $103,123.56 PLEASANTON






STEVEN ROSS $8,583.76 $103,005.12 PLEASANTON






PAUL MOLKENBUHR $8,555.76 $102,669.12 PLEASANTON






DONALD SAULSBURY $8,408.28 $100,899.36 PLEASANTON






WILLIAM HALVORSEN $8,382.22 $100,586.64 PLEASANTON










My guess is Roush will be near the top of this list once he retires, especially since the Council is voting to give him a raise JUST BEFORE RETIREMENT and MAKING IT RETROACTIVE so he can get an even higher pension. I think this would be a great article for the weekly. Hope they pick this up and be trule informative to our residents on our pensions. On top of this we also have a mostly unfunded liability on retiree medical to the tune of over $100 million! That is just Pleasanton. The Pleasanton School District has a completely unfunded liability of over $11 million in retiree medical. Now with the losses in the pension fund, the taxpayers are on the hook since these retirees have guaranteed income (defined benefit). The retiree medical will also eat us alive since insurance rates keep going up. While the city has a little control at the high end for payout in the end of the next contract, the school district has no cap, and we as taxpayers are on the hook for the medical insurance, no matter what the cost is.


Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:34 am

There are very few news reporters left in this world. Since the age of political correctness and the fight for Nielsen ratings, true reporters have simply faded away. Today's TV personalities should be referred to as "news repeaters" because they generally lack the journalistic integrity to take the time required to find true news. Similarly, those who take a snippet of 'news' and indiscriminately forward it, regarless of which side they are on, are equally to blame for the general lack of interest and lack of trust our population has in the 'news'. My personal research and experiences have convinced me that all measures on the state and local ballots should be defeated. Businesses, jobs, and families have been driven from California by the poor leadership in Sacramento. Personal income in California decreased last year for the first time since 1938 and our legislators are surprised! They, of all people, should have seen this coming. New taxes is NOT the answer. VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS LEGAL IN THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS AND SEND A MESSAGE THAT WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH! The measures are not defeated until you get out on Tuesday and VOTE NO!


Posted by ???, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 9:34 am

Why doesn't Deborah McKeehan show up?


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 9:41 am

???

McKeehan does not show up because she worked the majority of her time I believe in Palo Alto or someplace like that so even though she gets big bucks we probably only pay a portion of it and the balance is paid by them.


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 10:04 am

COC,
Actually PUSD has asked for a parcel tax before and been denied.
Please see PW article titled "Schools Ponder Shortfall Tactics" dated Feb 22, 2002
Following excerpted from the article:

Parcel tax possibility

Haugen has also floated the idea of a parcel tax to support school programs she believes could be threatened by operating Neal and by future state cutbacks. While she said she is neither for nor against such a tax at this point, she believes the idea is worth exploring to see if the community would support it.
A previous attempt at a parcel tax failed in 1995, but Haugen said that it was hastily put together and that organizers failed to get adequate input from the community. In contrast, the 1997 Measure B bond measure passed by more than 70 percent.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on May 12, 2009 at 10:20 am


So many comments...and so many 'repeats'. I come to the site often and it appears that each day, a new Thread is started - and similar comments re-appear, links are re-listed....and tension (for some) seems to rise.


The video came from a news channel. If the video had said that there was no correlation of home buyers considering schools in their buying decision, there is no question in my mind that someone from the Anti G side would have posted it up and linked to that video every chance they could.

The Yes on G side saw a video that reported buyers had told them a school district, and it's scores, do have an impact.

I honestly can't understand all the 'noise'.

Those that are against G - Can you honestly tell me that you don't know ANYONE that used school district reputation as ONE PART of their buying decision? Perhaps those without children would not. But, I know many who have said it was ONE item they considered.

I don't know why that is so hard to understand? Maybe it was not in your top 5 reasons for buying here or where you live. But, it was a consideration for many.


Now, if you want to argue that there is no correlation to home 'values' as it relates to school scores - that is different. However, I believe that if people do use schools as ONE reason for buying in an area…and that district has a good reputation compared to other locations…then it is logical to me that home values may be higher, or at least help maintain their values better than other locations.



So, if you want to beat this into the ground further…go ahead. But, news video or not - many do consider school districts in their buying decision…and having schools with good reputations does matter to many. Schools are a valuable piece of the puzzle for many (including me) and I'm glad my children were educated here.


Posted by Pleasanton Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:41 am

Back in 2003, a year of "unprecedented level of budget deficit for the state," which Dr. Casey said could go on for 2 or 3 more years, PUSD realized the value of maintaining reserves to weather future financial storms.

But as former Business Services Director Sandra Lemmons noted - the reserves are like a savings account - once you spend it it's gone.

See the following Pleasanton Weekly article.

Publication Date: Friday, January 24, 2003

District wrestles with 'drastic' funding shortfall

State deficit hits Pleasanton schools

by Jeb Bing

Already nearly seven months into the school year, the Pleasanton school board Tuesday took the first steps toward covering an estimated $2.2 million shortfall in its current budget year and considered ways to handle a $3 million shortfall looming next year.

The shortfalls, which Superintendent John Casey called "drastic," result from state funding cutbacks for education as Gov. Davis and the Legislature deal with a $34.6 billion state budget deficit.

And there could be more financial problems ahead.

"This is an unprecedented level of budget deficit for the state," Casey said. "This thing could be going on for two or three more years after the current fiscal year."

In a special 2-1/2 hour workshop to discuss potential budget adjustments, the board heard proposals by Assistant Superintendent Sandra Lemmons and others that would cover the shortfalls, but possibly at a cost to programs, services and school district staff. Although no votes or actions were taken, there appeared to be consensus among board members to accept Lemmon's plan to tap into a reserve fund for $1 million to meet shortfalls in both the current budget year and again in 2003-04.

There was also agreement to consider using $600,000 set aside to pay for the planned Neal Elementary School startup, at least for the current year. School Board President Kris Weaver said she would object to using this budget set-aside next year, which could be needed if Neal is built and opened before 2005. The $10 million school, which is planned for property the school district owns in the Vineyard Corridor, would serve elementary age children from nearby Ruby Hill and other eastside neighborhoods.

Although the "L" word - for layoffs - wasn't used as part of Lemmon's initial adjustments, cutbacks in the school district's management, clerical and teaching staff have been the talk on school campuses for weeks. As part of the collective bargaining process, teachers must receive notification by March 15 if their jobs could be on the line for the next school year.

"To make these adjustments without paying attention to the March 15 deadline would be unrealistic," Casey said.

Pleasanton may be in better shape to meet one or two years of state cutbacks than other districts because the school district here has maintained a reserve fund of about 6 percent of its near-$100-million budget. The state mandates a 3 percent reserve for school districts.

"But these reserves are like your own savings account," she explained. "You can keep drawing it down, but if you can't replenish it, eventually it's gone."

Unlike other districts, including some that don't have even the 3 percent in their reserves, Pleasanton is fortunate to have kept its reserve level high at about 5.7 percent, Lemmons said.

Besides using Neal startup funds and tapping into the reserve, Lemmons said the district could realize $279,000 from a mandated school improvement fund that the state may allow districts to use, and another $150,000 in reductions in staff development hours.

Casey said that more than 100 e-mails, phone calls and letters from school district staff, teachers and the community have been submitted as suggestions for coping with budget shortfalls this year and next. They included proposals to stop approving new courses to save on textbooks and materials, reducing the number of counselors in the elementary and middle schools, a custodian hiring freeze and to review the need for reading specialists at elementary schools.

Lemmons said that the state's allocation of $300,000 for class size reductions also has been cut, but board members indicated they would vote to continue the program. Lemmons said that the state could help districts continue these programs by allowing more flexibility so that schools could exceed the 20.4 absolute limit set by the state on a temporary basis. The state now strips schools of state funding for any school that exceeds that limit, even for a day.

Arick Little, a mathematics teacher at Amador Valley High School, urged the board to keep Class Size Reduction (CSR) programs in the ninth grades.

"As a teacher of 13 years, the CSR program helps students overcome obstacles they are facing in math," he said. "Don't pull this program out from under the kids. They need it."

Other teachers, including Amador Valley's Vivian Straight and Kelly Ching, joined Little in urging that the board continue funding CSR programs.

"The high number of kids who are passing the high school exit exams in Pleasanton can be attributed to the emphasis we are giving these kids in smaller writing classes," said Ching, a teacher of freshman English. "We are seeing the difference that these 20-1 class sizes have on just the first essay that they write."

Alisal Elementary School reading specialist Candace Cease and PE specialist Laurence Cohn of Fairlands Elementary told the board that specialists are needed at the elementary levels.

"We read every day about our young people who are overweight and in dire risk to their health," Cohn said. "We're seeing juvenile diabetes at younger ages and other problems due to obesity. Pleasanton is five times above the current state level set for PE standards. We want to continue that."

Board members also asked staff help in looking at possible revenue generators that could help reduce program costs and add money for more. Suggestions included charging fees for staff development courses, which are now paid by the district, charging for summer school and raising fees for school lunches.

Board President Weaver said the district should also consider a parcel tax for Pleasanton.

"Many people I have talked to who have moved to Pleasanton from other districts have suggested that we should consider a parcel tax," she said. "We should consider it in time for a vote on the issue in November if it would make a difference."

Casey said he will have firm recommendations on covering the 2002-03 budget shortfall ready for the board's consideration and approval at its meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m. At its Feb. 11 meeting, he will make similar recommendations for handling the anticipated budget shortfall for the 2003-04 school year.


Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Okay. I'll cave and agree with the totally lucid argument presented by Rick from Parkside that quality of schools could be one of many reasons to buy a home in Pleasanton. I also believe that excessive taxation spent by incompetent administrators without improving school conditions is one of few reasons to NOT buy a home in Pleasanton. VOTE NO ON G. Those who want our tax money haven't shown the ability to manage it effectively. If you really want change, vote all of them out during the next election and give a new group a chance to demonstrate their abilities. Couldn't be any worse than what we have now.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I am with Ken we need to sweep the house clean. We need to vote out every member of the city council and also our fine mayor do nothing and get some fresh blood in there who can get something done other than to go to Washington and have their pics taken. In addition, all the members of our school board need to be replaced and Casey should be FIRED with no golden parachute nor any type of rich retirement program.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 5:05 pm

@Ken

"improving school conditions "

School conditions here are good.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Russell: And maybe they could have been even better without the mismanagement of taxpayer funds. Or they will remain good for the many factors previously noted in other threads (parent involvement, parent education) and a parcel tax isn't needed (one of those reasons is the money the feds will send that will maintain CSR). Why are you unwilling to acknowledge we now have a year to put the fiscal house in order without damage to the schools?


Posted by Cholo is Estupido, a resident of Castlewood
on May 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Hey Cholo how are your property values in Livermore? Your schools suck. Why do you post on a Ptown discussion if you are from Ltown? Lame


Posted by moolinyan, a resident of Livermore
on May 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Vi ha mancato una scritte perche' PW si e' riferito a dizionario e ho scopeto che il verbo "vaffxxxxxx" e' una parola male.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Kathleen

As I understand it, they have already made some cuts. I hope they can avoid cutting any programs that have an impact on education, or that prevents Pleasanton from retaining the best teachers.

I posted more of an answer on that other thread.

Growing up, I lived in a school district with involved parents and good demographics that went all to hell. There were plenty of MS, Phd, and MDs with their children in the schools. There was a demoralizing struggle for control in the school district there and good teachers started leaving and parents who could afford it starting pulling their kids out and sending them to private schools. This isn't something I read about in a book, I lived it.

I'm all for replacing the board members at the next if they haven't been doing their job managing money. I'll be watching a lot more closely.

Is there a graph somewhere that shows the reserve funds that PUSD kept vs. time as a percentage of overall funding?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm shocked Russell that you'd start pulling out the anecdotal evidence. Now everyone is going to start writing about how they've survived and done well in large classes. You've opened the box.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 11:09 pm

@Stacey

It is a counter example, not evidence. I'm being asked to trust statistics (and I don't really think there are any good statistics that prove this) that the schools will automatically stay good regardless of funding levels, just because of the good demographics. I'm saying it isn't true. There is a counter example. I never said a person couldn't "do well" in large classes.


Posted by Come on, Pete, a resident of Del Prado
on May 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

I'm wondering what Pete's purpose is for posting the actual names of people making more than $100k in pensions. What possible positive outcome can come of that?!?! Shall we find their addresses on Google Earth and harass them?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Russell, You don't say who the struggle was between nor what made it demoralizing. Hard to know if it was the PhDs causing the problem or whether the PhDs should have pushed for a new board and administration.

You don't give $18 million to people you think you may be voting out of office in a year. We have federal money that gives us time to wait on both those issues.

As to a graph, the Public Records Act allows you to get that kind of information from the district business office. I'll be interested to see what you find out.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Mindy, "Ignorant and one sided" . . . This issue has at least two sides. I think that means you have to be on "one side" as well. My integrity is intact; have you misplaced yours?

CoC, I think you were corrected elsewhere about there never being a tax. About doing all that is humanly possible and living within their means: Rosemarie and Russell: From 2005-08, the district gave 14% in raises that required future COLA increases and enrollment growth to sustain them. Getting $x in and spending the same $x dollars is not balancing a budget; it's spending all you get. The district didn't put aside money for unfunded liabilities; it didn't put money in the budget line item "designated for economic uncertainty"; it's spending twice as much on this election than it had to.

Parcel taxes are ONE TIME money, just longer by definition, in this case four years.

Rick: I believe many of the no posters believe schools have a ranking in why people buy here. I don't think it is a 1:1 and trumps location (proximity to work), affordability, and relative safety as many others are trying to argue.


Posted by Brandon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 13, 2009 at 8:49 am

Got a visit from the pro-G teachers yesterday and I'm so glad to see they're walking the streets for our children. These teachers deserve a 200% of our support!

Let's vote yes on G!


Posted by Pete, a resident of Downtown
on May 13, 2009 at 9:11 am

Come on Pete,

The reason I mention it or show their names is that people need to know that some of these people only worked in Pleasanton for a few years, retired, and get over $150,000 per year plus cost of living increases, plus retirement, for the rest of their lives and guess what? A few of these folks no longer live here and some now live in Nevada or have at least established residency in Nevada because Nevada has no state income tax and they are continuing to work as consultants. We should not give out these lavish retirement programs to people who only work here for awhile and retire in their 50's when their life expectancy is about 80.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on May 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

My wife and I moved to Pleasanton 12 years ago for several reasons; affordability, neighborhoods, the downtown area, school test scores, demographics, and accessibility were all considerations.

I want to point out that no teachers are taking those tests, it's our kids that are getting the test scores. The test scores are just as high in elementary school (when PARENTS are the greatest influence on aptitude and knowledge), as they are through high school. Test scores are more a reflection of parental emphasis than teacher/administrator skill.

Put it this way, you could put the entire PUSD teaching roster in East Oakland, and their test scores would not improve significantly. You could trade the PUSD administrative staffs with Livermore and neither district's scores would change. It's the kids that matter. And the parents made the kids what they are.


Posted by Parent of Four, a resident of Birdland
on May 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm

@Parent of Two

So...I guess the only reason you don't Home school your kids is because the food is so great at school. And I'd hate to break the news to you, but your child's elementary teacher probably spends more time with your child than you do on a daily basis.


Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of Val Vista
on May 13, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Parent of Four,

Perhaps, but the behavior that my kids exhibit is learned at home. Both my kids could read BEFORE kindergarten, and that had NOTHING to do with the PUSD. Most of their world view was shaped at home, during family discussions.

And you're grossly mistaken about the time spent. Considering even the low end of 25/1 ratio of teacher/student, my kids get about 15 minutes of attention from the teacher, probably less because they're self-sufficient and (knock wood) not troublemakers.

I notice you didn't refute my assertion that Pleasanton teachers aren't markedly different from other districts. You instead tried to turn it into a sarcastic referendum on my parenting, and failed miserably. Hopefully, you use a more positive communication means with your kids.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm

"Pleasanton teachers aren't markedly different from other districts"

Just from my personal experience, I'd say they are better, at least subjectively. Looking at teachers qualifications on the high school web sites, Pleasanton teachers appear to have better credentials compared to those from lower performing districts. We have teachers who are more able to teach advanced placement biology and calculus, because they understand it themselves.

You say one of the reasons that you moved to Pleasanton at least partially for the school test scores. Was that mainly because the students were likely to come from good families who valued education?


Posted by Michael, a resident of Livermore
on May 13, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Hard to believe the teachers are better in one city than another a few miles away and I suspect that it has more to do with the parents but who knows for sure. I just heard that the districts teacher of the year teaches catering or something like that.


Posted by The Browser, a resident of Del Prado
on May 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Russell-you are a pip. Nothing can deter you from your appointed rounds of promoting the teachers and schools of Pleasanton. You say you're not a teacher, but nobody could be this rah-rah and not be connected to the school district in some way.


Posted by Russell, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm

My wife volunteers regularly in the classroom and I have done some after school activities, so yes, I'm connected in that way.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Country Fair
on May 14, 2009 at 4:33 am

Back to the original topic. Real estate professionals are not backing up the claims in the video. For good reason.....

The Bay East Association of REALTORS has published the April 09 real estate market statistics. See them here: Web Link

Not exactly a 'hotbed of activity' is it? All relevant indicators are down, including the sale to ask price ratio that the reporter was all ecstatic about.

Save Pleasanton Schools still has the misleading news clip on their website.


Posted by The Browser, a resident of Del Prado
on May 14, 2009 at 8:26 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Roberta Gonzalez wotk at KPIX and doesn't she also live in Pleasanton. I thought I once saw her on TV raving about Main St. Anyway, connect the dots...it is not impossible.


Posted by C. Gable, a resident of Parkside
on May 14, 2009 at 8:47 am

Are PUSD teachers better than teachers in surrounding districts?

Not so, according to the NEA (National Education Association) and CTA (California Teachers Association), the largest education unions in the country, for those of us who are acronym averse!

You see, according to union orthodoxy, all "rank-and-file" workers are equal, thus, equally deserving of the exact same pay scale throughout their careers, depending on the district they work in.


Posted by Sceptical of the claims made, a resident of Birdland
on May 14, 2009 at 11:29 am

Speaking of SPS campaigning with fiction..........

I just received a flyer from SPS with nice pictures of kids and two ladies drinking coffee at Tully's, (will Measure G pay for the soy lattes I've had to give up since I was laid off too?)and more than a few promises.

Boy are they sure about a lot of things.

One bulleted item has me stumped though. "Measure G will support the critical education programs our students need to compete in the global economy and keep our district ranked in the top ten in the state."
Here I'm thinking extra AP classes, International Baccalaureate program type stuff with that kind of assurance, but then I turn over the page to see what they are asking for.

Library support (the nice non-librarian who reads to the kids?)

Elementary music (singing and plastic song flutes?)

Counselors (after three kids I still can't figure out what they do besides fix scheduling problems-they have NEVER supported my children!)

"Maintian" Technology instruction (Three kids in and through PUSD and I've not seen much of this technology instruction happening)

CSR (which is nice but has never been proven to improve learning)

And finally, keeping schools clean and safe (huh? granted we need custodians and campus supervisors but purporting that it enhances my kids' ability to compete in the global marketplace is kind of silly I think)

Can someone explain how this global economy promise works?

Also, "Ranked in the top 10 in our state." Does this mean we are in the top 10 (there are 10 districts on this list) or top 10 % (there are many on this list?)? Big difference, not to mention identifying what the list is, top 10 cleanest schools, top 10 song flute students?

Joan, Tanya (on the flyer) fact or fiction?


Posted by Jim, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I came across an interesting take on the video in question at www.680homes.com/blog. Pretty fair I think.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

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

Tough new rules on water are necessary
By Tim Hunt | 9 comments | 1,016 views

Saving Water
By Roz Rogoff | 4 comments | 736 views