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School district to receive $8M from federal government

Original post made on May 14, 2009

The Pleasanton Unified School District is slated to receive about $8 million from the federal government, but it may not be enough to tackle a $9.7-million shortfall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 14, 2009, 12:40 PM

Comments (48)

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund restores cuts that were made to PUSD's revenue limit and categorical funding. The rest of the $9.7MM shortfall is from raises and other increasing costs. In light of the possibility of additional cuts by the State, why has there been no public discussion by PUSD of wage freezes? PUSD should not use the funds from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to restore jobs until real concessions are on the table.


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Posted by pass the popcorn, here we go
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Web Link


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Posted by Helpful Friend
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Stacey, seriously, you should get outside and enjoy this wonderful weather!


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Posted by optimistic
a resident of Golden Eagle
on May 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Amen Helpful Friend!!!!!!!!!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Going outside without my computer and this message board? Not a chance!

My life is here!


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Posted by barry morse
a resident of California Somerset
on May 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)




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Posted by Mary
a resident of Birdland
on May 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm

The "yeah, but"s must be doing back flips to try to figure out how to negitivly spin this one. What a waste of 300K.

By the way, feel free to toss your lawn signs in the trash now.


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Posted by Max
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Well I agree with Stacey! The concessions offered to date have been tokens at best and all linked to the passing of the parcel tax. They come no where near the cuts that most others in the community have already experienced, my own family included.
This federal money should be sufficient to keep from teacher layoffs this next year. The union contracts will be up for negotiation in a year and assuming we are still in a financial crunch I expect our administrators and trustees to play hard ball!


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Posted by Parent who is voting NO ON G
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Mary,
The lawn signs were handed out FREE by the political group, SPS. So people might not think anything of throwing them in the trash. But why not cover up the wording with your own sign NO ON G! A parcel tax isn't necessary.
$6.7 MILLION DOLLARS can keep PUSD from laying off teachers and cutting programs. It will give PUSD time to look at the way they've been spending money and really trim the budget to only the necessary things.
It even gives them time to think about how to handle step and column increases.
Stacey, you can take your laptop outside, enjoy the nice day and still keep providing all the great facts and reports you have been giving us.



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Posted by Practical Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Not long ago the district was telling us that they expected to receive $2.1M in federal money. Now it is up to $8M !! Wow, that is a big difference.
So why would we now trust Casey's estimate that another $5.22M will be lost if the propositions fail?
Seems to me that if they can make the scenario look bad they do, but if it involves positive news like this $8M influx they downplay it by saying "it may not be enough to bring back jobs." Give me a break. As has been pointed out on other blogs, the district has been looking for a reason to get a parcel tax passed for years. The state's economic recession is just too good to waste.


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Posted by Harry Houdini
a resident of Las Positas
on May 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm

There is just never enough money, is there? At least the kids in Pleasanton have food on the table and a roof over their heads.


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Posted by Ptown resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

The ballot language for Measure G states funds will be used to "keep class sizes small." It does NOT guarantee CSR.
Ask PUSD if they will guarantee that next year's kindergarten classes will have no more than 20 students per class if Measure G passes?
Ask PUSD if they will guarantee that next years 1-3 grade classes will have no more than 25 students per class if Measure G passes?
Ask PUSD if they will guarantee that next year's 9th grade classes will have no more than 25 students per class if Measure G passes?

The answer will always be NO.

Joan Laursen said there's no indication that the State will cut CSR funding.
There's also no indication, no guarantee that the State won't.

In the Governor's speech on Thursday, he stated that even if the propositions on the May 19th ballot pass, education funding will still need to be reduced and one of the items he said would result is "Larger class sizes."

So if the State removes the financial incentive it gives school districts to keep CSR, what incentive does PUSD have to keep it?

NONE.

As parents, we should be very concerned that Measure G does not guarantee something we have told PUSD we value - smaller classes for our kindergarten, grades 1-3 and 9th grade students.

All Measure G provides is a vague promise to "keep class sizes small."

A promise is not a guarantee.
The ballot language is deliberately vague to provide PUSD with a loophole to take away what parents value.

Please, vote NO on G.


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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 8:31 am

Some of these arguments against G are just completely insane. I see even MORE reason to support this measure now. The Governor is threatening to take away EVEN MORE money from education (if) when these 1A-1F measures fail. This is not the district's fault. This is Sacramento's fault. They (our GREAT Governor) ALWAYS takes from education first. Now he's talking about taking even more, even saying that if these measures fail "they won't affect me..." Of course not. Sacramento is not concerned with our community (as stated earlier that they're taking money from the city itself), or our children. WE need to take care of our community & children.

This bickering and blame-game on this blog needs to stop.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Foothill High School
on May 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

I don't know about you but I am tired of the garbage coming from Sacramento politicians. Education is the whipsaw of our elected officials whom can't seem to take a position on anything. Our state is run by a long list of voter referendums. Elected officials do what you were elected to do – make decisions and cast your vote. Get the politicians out of Pleasanton schools and let's have some local control.

On Tuesday Prop 1a-f are likely to fail. Remember the $40B+ deficit last year. It's back...with all of the cuts and the declining economy our state deficit is back to another $21B. Let's take a look at the numbers…

40% of budget is education = another $8.4B in cuts for schools. 6.3M students = $1333 additional cuts per student. Pleasanton's share of the additional cuts is $20M ($21B x 40% / 6.3M = $1333 x 15k Pleasanton students).

What the district gets from the Fed the state will take away in other places. There is no other way to fill a $21B hole. I am no fan of taxes but I do buy insurance to protect my family. If you could have bought insurance to protect your 401k retirement plan for $233 a year would you? Measure G is cheap insurance to protect what we value...the next generation of leaders, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, mechanics, technicians and garbage collectors. Let's not short change them because of Sacramento.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on May 15, 2009 at 8:43 am

Michelle,

Explain something to me. In you message you say "this is Sacramento's fault" and "They (our great Governor) always takes from education first" and then you close by saying "this bickering and blame-game on this blog needs to stop............don't you find this a bit inconsistent?


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Posted by Nice Post Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

Jeff, Nice post. I agree

Yes on G


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Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

Token's at best? How absurd! Your houshold stands to lose $230 a year for five years. Mine $230 + 500 plus -- the Parcel tax is is a token at best by your definition.


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Posted by No on G
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

Well... Interesting discussion! My wife and I supported Measure G until today... It's clear that we continue to operate like drunken sailors! We are getting Fed $'s and we want to get back to our spending habits. Let's buckle down and figure this out. We have grown our organizations based on anticipated revenues (just like an organization or company). What happens to a company that has reduction in revenue? Cutbacks happens! Wage freeze and even a salary cut to keep people's jobs... reduced hours... no O/T... etc.. What measures are being investigated and implemented by PUSD? $233 is not big $'s but it's the principle!!! Let's examine what we are doing... we are using our kids like pawns on the chessboard or Chinese foot soldiers in the Korean war... Let's not kid ourselves.. we are adults and we must re-examine our priorities. We need to cut... We are no long 9M short... only 1 M... do we really need to have Measure G now?

Let's have a win-win situation. A lot of you are digging in so you can win. We lose in the long run. Let's be team players. Game is changing... let's change!!!

Does Measure G still make sense????


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Posted by BBQd
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on May 15, 2009 at 9:38 am

>All of you who vote for tax and spend politicians - you get what you vote for.

>The Governor proposes cutting 5,000 state jobs. The truth is, many more than 5,000 state jobs need to be eliminated.

>Up-front salary/benefit obligations for state/county/local workers are just the tip of the iceberg. The real ticking time bombs are long term defined benefits: retirement and medical.

>Many will move away to other state. I hope unproductive people make this their choice. I fear the most productive will pack up and leave -- can you say Texas!?!


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Posted by Michelle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

Mary - No, it's not inconsistent. I see where you're trying to go with that. I'm referring to some of the posts on these blogs - citizens blaming PUSD for mismanagement, the teachers for making too much money, etc. The mismanagement needs to be directed towards Sacramento & those we elected in our State & Local governments. Not PUSD, who has (unlike surrounding districts) made it this far without forcing parents & residents to go into their pockets, and not to the teachers who ARE doing their jobs.

That is my point.


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Posted by Laurie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

OK, I've been reading these forums for quite some time, but this is my first post and I just could not help myself so here goes (and I apologize in advance for the rant)......

I swear I will have a stroke if even one more person, in defense of Measure G, uses the arguement that PUSD has been so well managed that they have not needed a parcel tax until now while all the districts around us have had one for quite some time. HELLO! IS ANYONE HOME IN THERE! WAKE UP! The reason we have not had a parcel tax in PUSD is because....now pay attention......WE RECEIVE MORE DOLLARS PER STUDENT THAN THOSE SAME SURROUNDING DISTRICTS EVEN WITH THEIR PARCEL TAXES!!! Look it up, folks....god knows the weblink has been provided more times than I can count!! Quite honestly, if PUSD had managed to pass a parcel tax prior to this point, we should ALL have been screaming about mismanaged funds and excessive spending, not just the NO folks. Really, get a grip and at least present arguments that MAKE SENSE!!

OK, I am calming down now, but this argument is not valid AT ALL as proven by the FACTS and whenever it is used it makes the user sound uninformed AND makes the whole Pro-G argument less effective. If that is the goal, these uninformed folks are doing a bang up job!

I, personally, am a NO vote. I've done my research and listened to both sides of the issue. I buy the argument we need more time to assess the full budget. I would love to see a new Superintendent and a Board who is not a rubber stamp for the Superintendent and really, truly plan for the long term. If, after everything is on the table, a parcel tax is needed, it will have my full support!

For the record, yes, I do have a child in the district, love and respect the teachers in this district, volunteer often at the schools and am very involved in PTA. Further, I am very willing to "risk" the armagedon some believe will happen if Measure G fails in order for a longer term solution to be found.

Thanks for letting me vent!!


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on May 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Laurie,

Good one :O)


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Actually Laurie, thank you for venting. You are right.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Does anyone know if the dollars per student in San Ramon includes the mello roos taxes in some neighborhoods?


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Posted by No on G
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Laurie,

Right On! Thank you for putting it so nicely!

For those who are still for 'yes', think about what you are doing?

There is always one more program to fund and new ways to spend 'our' money. In the Measure statement, they would lower the parcel tax amount if the $'s are not needed. For those who are saying 'yes' still, please ask the district to state that they won't need that much money and state the new amount. I just might go for it, again. However, I won't support something that is just to get my money and spend it like a drunken sailor (sorry Veterans and Navy personnel, no insult intended here...).

I too support the school with lots of volunteer work these days. I like a lot of teachers (sorry, some must go... but can't move them because of tenure.. that's another issue) who are excellent and should be properly rewarded just like the industry reward high performers.

Let's make this a win-win situation!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Different money Russell: Web Link . . . facilities. I gotta ask Russell, why is it you never do your own homework? If you can get on the blogs, you can certainly google something like Mello Roos.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I didn't know there was homework. Anyway, the dog ate mine. ;-)

I didn't see anything in the wiki that said it couldn't be used for teachers' salaries. I was just asking. I'm not doubting that it can't.

And I really wish the save Pleasanton schools web site would take down KPIX video. It was an exercise in hyperbole. The claims just didn't add up.

People are weird about taxes. People are weirder about real estate.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Hi Russell: "Does anyone know . . . " is passive; dog eating homework still earns a zero. Can't say people are "weird" about taxes, but there are those who aren't so easily lead to believe they should agree to them without the research on their validity. Measure G has been found wanting and deserves a No vote.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm

In the spirit of getting back to the head article of this thread:

The Pleasanton Unified School District is slated to receive about $8 million from the federal government, but it may not be enough to tackle a $9.7-million shortfall.

Simple math says the net shortfall then is only $1.7 MM out of a budget of $120 MM. Therefore, the PUSD proxies for the teacher's union say they need a $4MM per year parcel tax to compensate and isn't this a rather lame argument given the size of the net shortfall!!!!

Let's go further:

At Tuesday night's school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Luz Cazares said these are "one-time dollars."

"Once they're spent, they're gone," she said. "They're not coming back per year."

Luz has a crystal ball that we don't have. Luz knows what the revenues allocated to PUSD from the state will be next year and he knows they will be down, but apparently no one else has this same crystal ball. Luz says his crystal ball says the state will continue to cut.

Of course, his statement really only applies to the federal stimulus package, and he does not really know what next year's revenues will be, does he?

Oh, by the way, once any of the budgeted dollars are spent, they are not coming back. Have any of the billions of dollars spent by PUSD in the past "come back"? Luz is hired to focus on dollars coming in, but we the taxpayers should be focussed on how dollars are spent, as should PUSD management.

WELL THEN! Maybe PUSD must actually begin to cut costs rather than go through this sham of punishing taxpayers with threats to K through 3 and pretending that union step and column increases are not part of their budgeting, spending problem. Taxpayers deserve some completely honest responses to this spending from their hired management in the government sector, but they are not getting any.

As I write this post the news is filled with various governments and their union cohorts screaming disaster and threatening to cut off everything that you the taxpayer, has hired them to accomplish and to manage. Prisoners will be released on the streets. Little kids in school will be punished. Your house will burn down because the fire stations will not be staffed. Criminals will exploit you because police may have to take pay cuts. All because you don't keep their lucrative salaries and benefit programs funded.





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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Frank, Two quick things. Luz is a woman. Parcel tax money is also one time money too; it's just that it can be extended for some number of years, in our case four. The $8 million from the feds (we'll all be paying this back as well), whether one year or more in the future, buys us time to dig deeper into making sure the district lives within its means.


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Posted by Gary--DonlonDad
a resident of Val Vista
on May 16, 2009 at 6:27 pm

If we vote for G and it is approved there is local accountability and the parcal tax ends at some point. If the board allows the district to misuse the funds then ww as voters can decide to not re-relect those board members.

I hope that the "Against G" folks are as as acive in our state politics because we as Californians have really let this state become a mess.

I can understand the anger with the system or even the district but our schools in Pleasanton are doindg a great job. When all is said and done it should be about the kids. The system is screwed up and we as adults let it get this way. By not voting for G or the propositions you are not punishing the leaders you are punishing the kids.

I do not believe that any of the "no" votes on these comment pages have kids.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tammy
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm

I have three kids in PUSD and one graduated from Amador now in college.

This tax is not about the kids it is about PUSD continuing to give raises. PUSD is willing to cut programs in order to pay for raises.
The Feds are covering the state shortfall to preserve jobs, but will not be funding pay raises. Pay raises have been frozen by the state.

The district is asking the community to increase our property taxes to fund pay raises.

No on G!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Gary, I have a grandchild in the system and three children who went through the system. Regardless, we are all taxpayers--having a child in the schools doesn't entitle that vote to be weighted differently. I also write to the board, governor, legislators, the president, and the pope . . . no answers yet, but there are several black vans with dishes out front!

There is no more accountability with Measure G than there has been with the bonds or the general fund or this election for that matter (spending twice what was necessary "to give voters time"). There is $8 million coming from the feds that will give us that time to dig into the adult issues--no children will be hurt.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on May 16, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Agree that we are all tax payers. That is why I think we are responsible for this mess. My understanding is that the federal money has limitations (beyond salary). Do you all think that the state is lying about the fiscal crisis? Do you all believe that the state won't take the shortfall from education? Where was everybody during the good times? Why wasn't anybody speaking up then in board meetings about raises and district waste. The way I see it, is that we are on the titanic right now about to set sail and you are all saying we already have enough life bouts. We are going to lose teachers with or without the parcel tax--some of them are our best and brightest--how does that not hurt the kids?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 16, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The way I see it is that we're all on the Titanic. Some of us want engineering to fix the structural problems but no one is listening because they're too busy worrying about the life boats. So we'll have to wait until the boat sinks before anyone will believe us.


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Posted by Lifeboat
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 7:21 am

Stacey wrote:
"The way I see it is that we're all on the Titanic. Some of us want engineering to fix the structural problems but no one is listening because they're too busy worrying about the life boats. So we'll have to wait until the boat sinks before anyone will believe us."




I am not sure I like the example, but it would seem to me that:

If I am on the Titanic, I think my main concern at that point would be to locate a life raft - not start looking for a structural engineer to ask why there is a hole in the ship.

Priorities would dictate that all passengers would look for life rafts...and then - after the current emergency had passed, a thorough evaluation of the structural reasons would certainly follow.

Hold the engineers responsible - no problem. But, I certainly would not place that priority above the need for life boats.

Doing both makes sense to me.


I am a yes vote for G.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 18, 2009 at 7:24 am

Stacey is a registered user.

"we are on the titanic right now about to set sail "


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Posted by Lifeboat
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

Then, I think you may have missed the boat....


this financial ship has already left the port.


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Posted by No on G
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I agree that this is a problem EVERYONE must own up to. As I said, I was for G before the 8M came in from the Fed. It's amazing how PUSD is spinning it the way they see fit. This is what I object to the most. Everyone in PUSD wants to keep their salary coming while those who are residents are losing their jobs. So, they keep on coming to the well for more... well, the well is running dry...

As for the State, the budget gurus totally mislead the public by not considering the fact that the revenue stream from the property tax, company income tax, etc are all going down. Even my high schoolers can do the math... where is their accountability.... If this was a company and the budget gurus in the state office were in the finance department, they will all be looking for jobs... instead... more finger pointing...

Let's fix the problem and get the real issues... As I said in my original comment, let's hold people accountable for their decisions and actions.. There is no free ride here...

PUSD is using the $1.7M shorfall as a scare tactic... Let's call their bluff... Also, let's re-examine the tenure system too... no guts.. no glory!


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Posted by In The End
a resident of Country Fair
on May 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm

In the end we will all be disappointed next year. I can promise you that next year (regardless of bonds, measures, etc) the secondary campuses will look remarkably different in terms of class sizes, elective offerings and flexibility of schedules. We will survive. Cant we all agree its a crap situation no matter how you turn it. Parents aren't bashing teachers, teachers aren't holding out for a pay raise. Everyone is panicking and nobody has any real clue what will happen. Its a blog full of people with magic 8-balls vigorously shaking them for some prophetic clue as to the district or the states true intentions with the stimulus money.

Whateves, Im Oves


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm

$8 million in federal lifeboats prevents layoffs and gives us plenty of time to get the engineers to save the ship.


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Posted by In the End
a resident of Country Fair
on May 18, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Shake that 8-Ball!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 18, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Shake the $8 million-ball!


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Posted by Former Student
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 18, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Not sure if this thread is still active. Can a pro-G supporter answer these questions?

Why does Sup. Casey still have a low or no interest loan outstanding from the district, as he couldn't sell his Santa Cruz home in a timely fashion.

Why does Sup. Casey receive a vehicle allowance of $1000/month we all have to drive to work and I'm sure he is not in sales.

Why do ALL school administrators need PUSD issued cell phones?

When the district really makes cuts then a tax may be needed, even for Pleasanton's high standards.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 18, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Einstein is a registered user.

Former Student,

the answer to your questions is it is not about the students but rather it is about money.


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Posted by Fomer Student
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 18, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Einstein-What a brilliant answer, so brilliant I don't get it. I imagine you're merely waxing sarcastic when writing, "...it is not about the students but rather it is about the money." Good one, thanks.




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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 5:47 am

Former Student: The superintendent received a $400,000 interest free loan of which half was paid down when he sold his other home. The balance is not due until 18 months after retirement or upon the sale of the home in Pleasanton.

The vehicle allowance is a nod to trips outside the district for conferences. What is not understood is why mileage has been reimbursed for those trips as well.

At one time, the phones were Nextel (still could be), a replacement for old walkie talkies used during emergencies by the central office to communicate with principals. The phones have been provided to others over time and used for personal calls as well. To be fair, I don't have the plans, so the personal calls may not be the problem. More likely it is the number of people with phones now.

These practices, while pricey and too widespread in Pleasanton, are not uncommon elsewhere. As to cuts, I would agree there are areas far from the classroom that should be cut first.


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Posted by Einstein
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on May 19, 2009 at 9:12 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Former Student,

Not being sarcastic at all and agree with you completely. I think it ridiculous that the "leaders" of our education system be rewarded so highly at a time when the private sector is suffering so terribly. I cannot understand why a public official should be rewarded at a higher level than one of like responsibilities in the private sector. It should be about educating the kids and not about padding the pockets of bureaucrats. I wonder what the total population of PUSD is and of that total how many are non-teachers?


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