School Employee who will vote NO on Measure G Schools & Kids, posted by Concerned, a member of the Foothill High School community, on May 24, 2009 at 9:26 am
I too will be voting no on Measure G for a variety of reasons. The Union of school employees is actually failing our teachers, our employees and our kids. When you have a system that rewards mediocrity and spends valuable productivity on the nonsense that has occurred with these anticipated budget cuts (not to mention all the extra money spent on a separate election and advertising for every political campaign that comes along) it's time to say fix the real problem. I will be voting NO just out of principle that something needs to change drastically with the structure of education. I'm not trying to penalize good teachers or good employees. I'm saying that the system is broken and needs a major overhaul and as long as the money keeps flowing - nothing will change. My mom taught school for 30 years at the first/fourth grade. She often had 25 to 32 kids in her class with no aide and no prep period. Those were the days when teachers stayed on school property until 4:30 or 5:00 because they loved what they were doing. You didn't hear them say, "It's not in my Union contract - so I don't have to do it". I know it's very sad to be in this predicament but it's no different than what's occuring in the auto industry. We need to have flexibility in the system and we currently have none. We need a way to retain great and employees and we can't. There needs to be some concessions during this economic period and there are none! There needs to be transparency and it's only half truths that are surfacing. Does the community know that many of the G supporters that show up in several pages of the Pleasanton Weekly are actually teachers who do NOT even live in Pleasanton. Do people realize that there's another salary increase already in the works for teachers per their contract that will need to be honored? Do people know that an independent financial committee that was formed in the beginning of this debate recommended that a 4% salary decrease across the board would fix this problem in total. Most people I know in private industry are taking 10, 15 and even 20% cuts right now - that is if they haven't been laid off already. There are also many things that absolutely COULD be cut before teachers and class size reduction but if that's the worse case scenario - so be it. Schools have succesfully produced strong students with far more kids in the class. It just requires that a teacher be WELL MANAGED, innovative, no-nonsense, and consistent. You're not the student's friend - you are their teacher. I'm sorry to say that this house is voting NO on Measure G.
Posted by Agree with School Employee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 11:49 am
Most of the people I know work in Silicone Valley, and most of them have taken salary cuts ranging from 10%-20%.
I also think that Pleasanton teachers have been doing a good job, and whether G passes or not, will continue to do a good job because they are dedicated professionals. I will continue to support them by volunteering in their classrooms, driving for field trips, and donating classroom supplies. I will continue to not only pay for my own child's extracurricular activities, but give a little extra to help pay for a child whose family cannot afford to pay for extra curricular activities. I will continue to support fundraisers.
But I do not think the PUSD has been doing a good job.
Reserves have been spent down when their purpose was to be there for times such as these.
They've chosen the most expensive option possible to put a ballot measure to the voters.
Administrators have spent taxpayers money to provide themselves with car allowances, go out to lunch, and have unlimited person use of cell phones purchased with taxpayers money.
There is no question in my mind about what the teachers contribute. They are awesome.
But PUSD administration - no way. They did not even begin to cut any extras until they started getting pressure from the public. Before they even began talking about laying off teachers, they should have cut back on their own perks - perks most of us didn't even know about until people started digging into the budget.
I don't think teachers are selfish or greedy, but I can't say the same for some of the PUSD administrators.
Dr. Casey makes over $200K per year, gets a $10K bonus each year, and gets $12K more each year as a car allowance. What has he agreed to sacrifice? He's going to decrease his car allowance by $250 a month, but only if the parcel tax passes. If it doesn't, he keeps his $1,000 a month car allowance. Did he even make sure that during the four years of the parcel tax neither he nor any other administrator (who all make substantially more than many teachers) would get raises? No.
My NO on G vote is a No to administrators wasting my money and not supporting teachers by giving up their perks.
Posted by Right Wing Extremist, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm
I agree with "Agree with School Employee",
A true leader, leads by sacrifice - I think all of us know that when things go wrong, it squarely lies at the feet of the one at the wheel - fair or not. You do the right thing as a leader, because that is the position you are in. You lead by example.
Dr. Casey is a good man, I am sure. Unfortunately, we need more than a good person running this district. We need someone who places children's interests before their own. Dr. Casey's insulance towards those of us in this community at public meetings is telling. His "annoyance" with facts and people unearthing factual mispending at the district seem to give him heartburn and visable irritation. And yet, I have seen/heard nothing at the school board meetings that demonstrate his concern over the community and thier intersts.
A school administrator is given the charge to oversee the well being of it's responsibility: the educatation of children. It is not the administration's duty to care for the teachers or how to get more money from the public. It is his job to live within the means the community has afforded him. The protection of teachers is the duty of the Union, who have also demonstrated assurance that they are looking out for number one - themselves.
Who is truly looking out for the kids? Who would ever be willing to put the educational programs that are touted as vital for kids, over the proverbial barrel? It is just not right to do this by putting the needs for the kids at odds with teacher raises.
I urge this community to make the tough choice and get control back into the hands of those of us who provides each and every staff member with thier livlihood - we the tax payers in this community.
When we send a firm message to this district office that we intend to see responsible oversight of our funds implemented, that the next election will have reprecussions for the board of trustees, and that we intend to get our voice back over how we prioritize the educational programs of OUR children funded by our hard-earned money, things will improve. They will not if we hand over more money because we live in fear of the reprecussions. That is not a value I was taught by my parents.
Our kids need us to send a real message to our district managment and teacher's unions that we will hold this district to their mission statement: Kids first.
This is our chance to make a statement and stand behind it firmly. If we back down this time, during this continued downward cycle of the general economy, I can assure all of you that we will see yet another parcel tax measure in 4 more years.
No to wasteful spending.
No to manipulation of ourselves with our own children.
No to adults that are selfish and lack wisdom to make tough choices.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm
I don't know who started this thread; however, I like to think those posting in any capacity do so sincerely, for or against Measure G. Calling people out on possible blunders is part of the dialog.
The students, their parents, and the teachers ARE doing well. Those in charge of tax dollars, not so much. As this is about money, the budget mess needs to be corrected while there is time to do it. The $8 million from the federal government buys us that time--before we hand $18 million to the district (over the life of the parcel tax), all but $3 million of which they already need to cover salary commitments made in 2005-2008 (confirmed by the district).
Posted by uh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm
Why do the No On G people keep screaming "FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MONEY!" while omitting the new state cuts to the tune of an additional $6.5 million for a total PUSD deficit of $16.5 million? Last I checked, $16.5 total deficit - $8 federal = $8.5 million in the red.
Posted by Agree with School Employee, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm
You're ignoring one big fact and that is that many anti-G posters have said many times that they do not oppose parcel taxes, but they oppose this one because PUSD has not taken the time to go through the budget, item by item, and eliminate spending not directly related to education. What PUSD has done is place a parcel tax onto the ballot without having all the information needed to make sound financial decisions that will prevent PUSD from going further into debt.
What PUSD has done is put a parcel tax to the voters that is so vague, it doesn't guarantee that the things parents value will be kept if G passes.
The reason why opponents to G point to federal monies is because the federal funding buys PUSD the time it needs, and should take, to make informed decisions. They will have the time and the motivation when G fails to go through their budget and eliminate wasteful spending. They will have the time to determine if they need to negotiate with the union about step and column raises. They will have the time to really discuss, without the emotional drama of the past few months, what the community prioritizes as the most important needs for our children's education.
Our children's education is too important to slap the band aid of a parcel tax on a bleeding wound and say all is well. We have the time to do things right and we should use it.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm
To uh? I'm on the blogs as me and no other name. I will hope that is true for you and anyone else . . . one name, anonymous or real.
$8 million is nearly double the $4.5 million the parcel tax would cover in the first year . . . the district is money ahead, particularly when you consider the $4.5 million will be reduced by the exemptions filed by seniors, etc. and any fees deducted at the county level.
As to the state figures, who knows what the real numbers are or will be and what solutions legislators will seek? Seems to me they now know the voters aren't buying their business as usual or their spend and tax approach. Same for the district.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Posted by More attacks on Teachers -
"What an exaggeration. What kind of people are you been hanging around? 88% of Californians are gainfully employed, and more than half of them got raises last year. Check your facts."
Really? My company had two rounds of layoffs, cut salaries, forced time off, cut benefits, and put a freeze on all merit / salary increases. My personal sacrafice amounted to 15% of my total compensation. Make no mistake about it, there is no exaggerating how bad the economic climate is. Asking teachers to forfeit S&C increases for the duration of a parcel tax is being generous.
Posted by Go check out the unemployment line, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm
To More Attacks on Teachers,
I am shocked by flippant response about how Californians are doing. Apparently, the reality of this economy has yet to set foot on your doorstep, otherwise I cannot understand how you could justify your post. Is it possible that you are a government employee?
One thing is for sure...I would love for you to see your neighbors here in town who are down at the unemployment line. Worse yet are those that are trying desperately to save-face and are logging on to get thier unemployment benefits. And you want to heap another tax on them? SHAME ON YOU!
My friend's husband lost his job, is unlikely to find work again for himself, and she is now discreetly cleaning people's homes. It is not that there is anything wrong with cleaning for others - it is that she has health issues and doesn't want her family to know what she is having to do for them. She is doing all she can to save the family home while her husband is desperately looking for work at age 64.
Whether or not it has come to your house, YET, this economy has come to your neighbors and your flip statements should be more carefully considered next time you choose to share your opinions.
Posted by More attacks on Teachers, a member of the Foothill High School community, on May 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm
@Go check out the unemployment line
Look, I'm not saying there isn't pain out there, like in any other economic correction, but this constant doom and gloom talk doesn't do anybody any good. And yes, my company has had layoffs and have cut back bonuses. It was just the "most people I know ..." comment. It is not representative of the population at large. Just check the statistics. A decline in per capita income on the order of 20% would be a great depression. It would be far worse than what we are seeing now.
I've been on unemployment insurance myself about 7 years ago when the start-up I was working for declared bankruptcy. I wasn't ashamed of that either. We sold our home and my family rented an apartment for three years. There was no shame in that either.
I wish your friend's husband the best of luck. What is his specialty? If he works in Information Technology, I can forward his resume.
Please, let's stop all this negativity and doom and gloom talk. It causing us to lose customers. It is starting to sound like the main-stream news media on this blog, always negative. There are already signs that we may be out of this recession by the end of this year or early next year.
Posted by Top Heavy, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 25, 2009 at 7:04 am
Get rid of excessive Administrative positions, salaries and perks. Administration is not a coveted promotion out of the field and into the Ivory Tower. Administrators should be paid at an entry level teacher position. Now let's see the budget unravel.
Posted by Check-in, a member of the Foothill High School community, on May 25, 2009 at 9:13 am
To More attacks on Teachers:
Just so that your statement doesn't go un-corrected, I am a first time poster that has been following the discussion for weeks.
I will also vote No on Measure G for most of the reasons that have already been discussed here.
I'm pro-teachers, and certainly pro-kids. BUT until I see PUSD implement "World Class"levels of fiscal responsiblity, accountability, and transparency with what they currently have, they will not see an increase in what I am already paying in a PUSD parcel tax.
And when their unions, individuals, the state, or the Federal government try to inject fear in what will be lost (as they always try to eliminate the visible programs that will hurt the taxpayers the most), then I immediatley "turn-off" to any of their arguments. As has been said many times, show me that the PUSD has already cut to the bone on administrative expenses (i.e. cell phones, cars, variable expenses, redundant overhead, "niche" programs, etc.) before you come to me asking for more money.
Most of us here live with day-to-day fiscal responsiblity and the reflexive actions taken by our businesses and employers to respond to revenue shortfalls in a responsible and non injurious fashion.
Posted by Stop Entitlements, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:33 am
One issue that nobody talks about is the number of employees who are dedicated to a limited number of students (or sometimes only one student). Litigious parents who demand special accommodations are draining resources from the community. In some cases the District is required to send a student elsewhere, at District expense, if they can't meet the accommodation. I know that this post will be attacked as mean spirited, misguided, etc. but people should be aware that the masses are getting dragged down to support the demands of a few. With or without measure G this has to get addressed.
Posted by John, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:58 am
Can you elaborate a little more regarding litigious parents who demand special treatment and are accomodated at the districts expense? Can you give me some examples? Anything above and beyond the offerings of the status quo in my opinion should be paid for by the parents and not the taxpayers.
Posted by Think about this, a resident of the Foxborough Estates neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:17 am
Ok since we have, again, turned to attacking the professionals in education think about this for a moment. Teachers are some of the most highly educated persons who work for the government (as a mass). They are also some of the very few who can "milk the system" as many others do. I have family that is government employees they work for a police department, CalTrans, the franchise tax board, and the DMV. Each of these persons has less training than a typical teacher and makes much more money by misusing overtime policies. A couple of these people even brag regularly about how they love to "work from home" because all they have to do is be sure they check their email and they can do that from anywhere with their government paid for Blackberries. Teachers can not earn any extra money besides their base salary and from that they must deduct massive amounts of money to pay for benefits. Teachers can not work from home during the set school days and hours. Not all teachers work overtime but the ones that I know certainly do. Now I am not saying that they should not concede some more to save the jobs of their peers and to help keep PUSD schools top performing. I do think that we should maybe temper what we say about these individuals and channel our anger about this situation into looking into other government funded agencies. There is not nearly the transparency in the other agencies that we have here in our school district. We would probably be horrified at what we find elsewhere. Try to keep the tone of this discussion positive. Our kids matter, out community matters and our teachers are hard working individuals. Most of us would not want those jobs and our teachers are really great.
Posted by Stop Entitlements, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:42 am
I'm not going to name the law school, to avoid sending more people their way, but there is one that does work pro bono and has come after the District many times. Examples of accommodations include dedicated aides (one employee supporting one student) for autistic students and students with other learning disabilities who attend mainstream classes (but can't do so on their own). Another example is a parent who wants PUSD to fund sending their child to a private summer camp. I know that I'm fortunate to not be in the position that these families are facing, but like you said offerings beyond the status quo (i.e. I demand that my child be mainstreamed with an aide - not sent to special ed) should be paid by the individual. The financial burden is a huge issue for PUSD.
Posted by Frustrated, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:02 am
Thank you "Think about This" and thank you to those of you that are focusing on the administration and not the teachers. Thank you also to the incredible families out there that support our kids, teachers, and schools. I am always blown away at the PTA support and overall community support for schools. Before coming to Pleasanton, I taught in a district that had virtually no parental support and coming here was a whole new world for me.
I am a PUSD teacher, have been teaching for 7 years here and know that there are some highly talented, highly motivated, amazing teachers here in this district. People that spend thousands of their own money on their kids and classroom... People that stay late and come on weekends... and put their heart and soul into this job. People who did not get into this because of the summers off (summers that I spend going to school to better myself and my craft so I can be better for your kids.)
Someone once said that try taking a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, putting 33 patients in his office at one time, all with different needs, all demanding to be treated with excellence, and all at the same time and you might have an idea of what a teacher's typical day is like. It's difficult yes, but the most rewarding job/career I could have chosen for myself. When those little light bulbs go off and you have helped that process happen- there is nothing like it!
So many of these comments on these threads are so anti-teacher and it seems like everyone is starting to point the finger in anger because we are facing some really tough times. Most of these angry fingers are pointed at teachers and it saddens me very much.
I did get my pink slip and as of right now, will not be "needed" in our district due to class size increases. I'm not sure what will happen next year because now I will be scrounging for a job somewhere and competing with the other 70,000 other laid off teachers. Sure I have anger, sure I am frustrated- but I don't think that my fellow colleagues should sacrifice even more than they already do for me, especially if they are the only ones doing it. They have families and will have to retire someday and over the long run, a pay cut compounds over the years to an incredible amount of money. Imagine if it is a couple in the district AND they live in Pleasanton. They will be taking a pay cut AND paying a parcel tax. I do not believe that the teachers should be the ones to pay for the horrible economy and lack of funding. Those of you in the private sector sound so bitter and angry- the "if I'm suffering, then you should too" mentality. It's just not right and it's really taking a negative toll on this community.
Posted by another voice, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:22 am
If PSUD wanted to be fiscally responsible, why are we having another "special election" just after the state's failed effort. I have not seen anything from Dr. Casey or his office except extra expenses which are not related to teacher's salaries nor student programs. More money is on "public affairs", lawyers and the perks for Casey. Perhaps he sees this position as a stepping stone into politics. He certainly hasn't seem to support the teachers or the students of Pleasanton.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:27 am
"So many of these comments on these threads are so anti-teacher and it seems like everyone is starting to point the finger in anger because we are facing some really tough times. Most of these angry fingers are pointed at teachers and it saddens me very much."
I am truly sorry you feel so sad about this. However, no one on either side has said teachers are bad people. If they were, this community would not have supported them all these years here in town.
"I did get my pink slip and as of right now, will not be "needed" in our district due to class size increases."
If that is what you were told by your district, then they lied to you. The district, per the CA Ed Code, has to guesstimate how much money they will have in the Fall, prior to the State Budget in July, and per the Ed Code must pink slip teachers by March 15th every year. The district just received 8MM in federal funding. Teachers will get notified if they will be taken back. There is no decision yet as to your future. This is one of the perils of the job - one you have to consider as temporary or tenured.
"Sure I have anger, sure I am frustrated- but I don't think that my fellow colleagues should sacrifice even more than they already do..."
Well that sounds very "compassionate" of you, but you are making decisions with my money. You don't get to do that. And how far will your compassion go when you can't pay your own bills. We need a little more over sight and a little less compassion.
"Over long run, a pay cut compounds over the years to an incredible amount of money."
You are right, these legacy costs/pensions, etc are ridiculous and if they weren't, we could afford to keep more teachers and possibly higher salaries.
"Those of you in the private sector sound so bitter and angry- the "if I'm suffering, then you should too" mentality."
You are correct, we are angry that we have balanced our family budgets, and the district did not, but instead gave you and your colleagues a huge salary increase over the past few years that couldn't be sustained, and now we are asked to come to the rescue. Why should you get a raise for four more years when we are losing jobs left and right at our expense?
"It's just not right and it's really taking a negative toll on this community."
You are absolutely correct in this assertion. If the district had done their job, the community wouldn't be so upset. If the teachers were more reasonable about a salary freeze so we could get this mess under control, perhaps a more civil tone would dominate.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 4:35 pm
To No on G:
You are quick to blame the district. Pleasanton has less administrators per students than most districts. This means less is spent at the top.
This budget crisis was created at the state level, not at the district level. Failed promises from Sacramento have caused this. If you want to say that the administration has contributed to this problem, fine, I respect that opinion and it does have some merit. But make no mistake, the problem was caused at the state level, not the district level. The district, by law, is required to have a budget in place. The state, obviously, does not.
The district may not be perfectly run, and there can be some fat trimming, but don't blame the district for the original problem. keep your eye on the ball, the problem was caused at the state level.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm
Get the facts: I'll say this again, as I have many time to your posts in the past: three years of unsustainable raises (14.5%) and too small a reserve (a goal the board voted for was 7%) have placed the district in this position long before the state woes. Look at Livermore . . . they are managing because they took a conservative approach. Do blame the district administration and the board, it's where it should be placed. Not on individual teachers and not on the backs of this community.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 5:32 pm
Yes Kathleen, I heard you the first time. You have become redundant. I have never said that I don't disagree with you, but that is not the cause of the problem. Sacramento has caused this problem, there shouldn't be any doubt about that (now I am the one being redundant). You can blame the administration and board if you want, but they didn't cause this.
And Francis, if you did get rid of 50% of the DO, you would save about 3-4 million, hardly saving the 9 mil shortfall (assuming you cut exactly 1/2 of the salaries, which might be more or less than 50% of the D.O. staff). But I hope you realize these people do work. Who will do their work when they are gone? I am not one who likes to defend them, but they all work at LEAST 50 hours a week. Who will do this work?
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 6:21 pm
Oh, Get the facts, you are so...misguided.
You are so used to living off the IV of other people's money you can't see that they have a right to say, "No!"
The unions across this state have pushed the system to collapse. The percentage of wealthy that have left this state because of the greed of the special interest groups cannot be sustained.
The "broken promises" of the State are not broken promises. Prop 98 and 111 guaranteed a PERCENTAGE of the budget. Just because the local needs went up does not mean the state broke it's promise. You will get the guaranteed percentage of this budget - the problem is, in large part to the state, and in direct relation to the unions demands, the overall revenue is down.
It is an unsustainable system. You can dislike it, you can be frustrated and you can continue to embarrass yourself throughout these posts with your claims of what is unfair, but you aren't getting any more money.
You said, "You are quick to blame the district."
Well, that is who caved to your unions ridiculous demands over the years of unsustainable raises. I guess if you prefer, I can blame each of you teachers and the union you "collectively" stand behind...
Let me know which...I am happy to lay it wherever you'd like.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 6:58 pm
To No on G:
Don't we all "live off of other people's money"? A salesman lives off of his clients, a taxi driver lives off his fares, and government workers live off of taxes, both mine and yours. I beleive this is the 'circle of life', or maybe the 'circle of capitalism'. What do you do for a living, I bet somewhere there are clients who in turn pay your salary.
The broken promises of the state are just that, broken promises. They are not funding the percentage promised in Prop 98.
I never said it was a sustainable system, I realize it has its problems. I never said I "disliked it", I am not "frustrated", I never said it was "unfair", and I might or might not be "getting more money", time will tell. But I said none of these things, please don't make up quotes for me. If I wanted to spread fiction, I would do it myself. Please do not do it for me.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm
I have been trying to stay out of this particular thread. I know how bad the economy is. I know there are people without work. Even in better economic times, almost a third of Americans had no health insurance... and I respect people's right to vote their conscience.
I do have just one small item I want to contribute to the conversation.
Francis wrote "Would be willing to bet if you got rid of 50% of the people at the district office we would continue to function and be just fine."
For the record, they are laying off almost one third of the management and administrative staff.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:15 pm
Get the facts,
I don't need a phone bank to pay my salary. I had to reduce my fees for my clients. Have you? I don't get to vote in a levy on someone's home and if I raise my rates and my clients don't like it, they can cut me loose. I don't see that as an option other than to vote no.
You never answered my question, would you like me to blame the Union or the district? I'm happy to do either or both! The state is the revolving door of cash flow...they send out what they get in. Or would you now like to ammend your position and directly blame the people that lost thier jobs and can't continue to pay taxes for a reduced revenue base. Would you like us to cash in our 401-K's even at what little value they are now just so you can have more?
Exactly where are you in relations with your union? Are you calling them, like the union is lobbying us parents and residents to "do the right thing" and asking them to back off this 15MM in raises over the next four years? Or are you gonna grab what you can regardless of who it hurts in this community? As long as you've got yours, right?
Posted by Francis, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm
Sorry to get back to this thread so late but was laughing at the bumper sticker blog. My point is this. 50% may be draconian but I find it hard to believe that the district is as lean as they can be if Casey is making over $200,000 per year, gets an interest free loan of either $200,000 or $400,000 (seen both cited here) $1,000 car allowance (he lives in Pleasanton). Next let's talk about the district. Kiernan does not even live here anymore and yet he is on the school board? He got his two daughters a job at the district? I believe a lot more waste can be rung out of this sock before we should take a look at tax increases to give the teachers a raise.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm
"I don't need a phone bank to pay my salary." Huh?
Congrats on finding a way to make your business survive by cutting your rates to your clients on whatever you do. But please do not compare the school system to any typical business, because it is far from typical. There are no "rates" that we charge the students, school is free. I cannot raise my rates and risk losing students/clients, I cannot cut my rates either. School is free. This country was built on many things, including the right to a free education. You can cut my salary in half, but come tomorrow morning, 33 students will march in my door, just like they did last week, and just like they will next week. I cannot change the rates.
Again I think it is great that you found a way to keep your clients, but anything I pay for has not gone down in cost. I pay the same or more for gas, food, utilities, health benefits, etc, and I am not asking any of these employees to take a pay cut to help subsidize my driving costs, eating habits, heat/cooling/gas/electricity/garbage service, or my health. I will be doing the same work, yet making less, and you think that is the way it should be. I think I get it now. I don't understand why you think this is okay, but fair enough, you had to take a cut, so I should too. Golden Rule, I guess. (By the way, social security, one of the things you and I have both paid into: you will see it, but I never will. Nice negative loophole we have tried in vain to fix.)
Oh, yea, to answer your question: blame the state. Look what Kathleen says, the state cannot afford to fulfill their promise to Prop 98.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:41 pm
Get the facts,
What is it you do not get? People are hurting, unemployed, taxed to death and are drawing the line at giving you a raise when they cannot even put food on their own table. School is free as long as there is money (taxpayer) to pay for it.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm
What is it that YOU're not getting??? I have voted to take a two day pay decrease next year, even though the same amount of kids will be marching through the door each day. My pay decrease will amount to MORE than what a Pleasanton resident will pay in the parcel tax over the life of the tax. And, I live in Pleasanton and will pay the parcel tax as well. A double-whammy.
So I too will be "hurting", I too feel "taxed to death", and I will not be taking a pay raise, but instead taking a pay cut.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Get the facts,
I was merely responding to your apples to oranges comparison of jobs in the public sector with jobs in the private sector and how they're supposedly part of some sort of great cosmic circle of business.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm
Get the facts,
Well I can tell you that I get this much. My pay has been reduced by 42% this year, I have not been able to make a house payment in 7 months, I have not been able to pay my property taxes, and the teachers want to charge me $233.00 more so they can get a raise. That much I get I am not the only one in my shoes. I have 3 children in the Pleasanton schools and I resent how the teachers and their greedy union have been acting. That is what I get.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 25, 2009 at 9:09 pm
"doesn't generate wealth itself"
That depends on your definition of wealth. CERN and the NCSA produced inventions of great value. The perl programming language was written by a civil servant working for a government agency, and plenty of business found that to be a profitable invention. There are, of course many other examples like these. Our national labs don't operate like businesses, and for good reason. I think one of the biggest problems we need to fight at the federal level is combating government stinginess with regard to science. I think we are too tightfisted with research dollars, and that society would benefit if we spent more. We could raise the money either by taxing more, borrowing more, or both. I think we would all benefit.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:14 pm
I "resent" that you want me to take a pay cut (which I have agreed to do) to subsidize the education of your three kids. I "resent" that you think we will be getting a raise with the 233, when we are actually taking a cut.
I am sorry that you have lost 42% of your pay, I really am. This year my health care costs at Kaiser will be going up, but I am not asking a guy I know who works at Kaiser to take a pay cut to subsidize my health care.
I am sorry that you "resent" me when the teacher's union has agreed to a pay cut. Please name me any other school district in the area that has teachers that have agreed to do this? I beleive there is one or two in SoCal, but none here (that I have heard of to this point).
Posted by Michael, a resident of Livermore, on May 25, 2009 at 9:15 pm
So tell me who would you tax more? We already have the second highest tax rate behind Japan in the world, California has the highest state income tax rate and the highest sales tax rate to the point where most large tax revenue generating companies have left the state and now most upper middle class folks are leaving also.
So tell me who would you borrow from? China already has 2 trillion of our debt and they said they want no more. Europe wants no part of our debt either. So tell me Russell what is the plan.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:17 pm
Hi Get the facts,
Even with the facts right in front of you, what good are they if you evade, deny and flat out ignore them? I cannot help you, and Kathleen in her wisdom, knowlegde, and experience, cannot help you. You don't see the problem for what it is, so you choose not to see the solution.
I find your arguments in your post lacking in merit. For one, education is not free. Shift your paradiagm...it is a system of taxation that holds us by the throat. You pay a large sum to fund the school system - whether you like them or not - and you have nothing left over to make another choice. A teacher's salary comes from my pocket. Do you not see that? Tenure locks out "customer service" or any recourse for parents of children with terrible teachers. Citizens in this community pay taxes for your so-called "free" system of the government.
"I don't need a phone bank to pay my salary." Huh?
I'm sorry if I didn't connect the dots for you...If I don't get paid well enough, I don't have a group of people to call homes of the clients I have to give me more money. In what other industry other than union business does that occur and sound sane? Only a union can try that. As the union leaders I used to work with said, "People trust teachers. If we call them and tell them what we think, they'll vote that way..." Wow.
How do you correlate me reducing my rates to maintain my clients to you paying more for your services? Based on the evidenced variables here, I am getting paid less and will have to give you more for your raises these next four years, if this measure passes. I will get hit from both sides. You? Nope.
I know full-well about why you cannot collect social security. You may have worked a job in the private sector at some point in your life that put money into the SS system, but STRS is your SS. You do not pay into SS as a teacher, doing so is referred to as "double dipping". I know, I also have a STRS retirement account.
I'm moving on from your posts because you just want to tell me how I, I mean the "state", owes you - how it isn't the district's or anyone elses - somehow it is the state's and they owe you a raise. Until you realize the revenue from the state comes from me and all the other residents of Pleasanton, there is simply nothing more to say to you.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Bonde Ranch neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm
Get the facts,
well I am not going to debate with a kid and I wish you well and glad you have insurance as I have none. I guess regardless of the outcome you can now count me in as one of the teacher dislikers and union haters.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 25, 2009 at 9:30 pm
I agree that raises of 14% are unsustainable, but the school district didn't sustain them. They were a given during a brief period when revenues were increasing dramatically. I remember Intel Corp doing an average raise of about 17.5% in 1997. Plenty of other SV companies were doing that to. They had no intention of keeping those kinds yearly increases going long term. They thought they had to do it to retain their employees when competitors were flush and could higher away their best performers. I'm not saying the district made wise decisions, just that they may have been thinking along similar lines (or they may have just been lining their wallets).
As to the 7% reserve, I'm still trying to figure out if they went through reserve while revenues were good, or did they spend that money after things turned bad, and are only now asking for tax money after the fact. I would give it to them either way, as I've explained before. But I will pay a lot more attention to whose running PUSD. At this point, I don't know any of them personally. I know a few teachers and a principal. This blog and the PUSD website don't give me enough to go on.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 9:37 pm
No on G:
"For one, education is not free." How can you say that? You do not pay one dime for your kids to go to public school. Neither do I. Yes, we pay for these schools in our taxes, but our taxes would not change if we didn't have kids in school. Public school is FREE! How can you say it isn't? (And I am not talking about the donations the schools ask for, which I am sure you have given generously to, as have I. Those are optional, and many people do NOT pay those.)
As far as the phone calling, I am called every night asking for donations for this or that. Save Pleasanton Schools, who did the phone banking (and some teachers participated, I did not; it was NOT a union phone banking) was aking for votes, not for money.
Please stop saying that we are getting raises out of this, we are not. For at least the third time tonight, I will repeat, I will be taking a pay CUT next year.
And I love how you asked me a question twice, but didn't answer mine:
"I am sorry that you "resent" me when the teacher's union has agreed to a pay cut. Please name me any other school district in the area that has teachers that have agreed to do this? I beleive there is one or two in SoCal, but none here (that I have heard of to this point)."
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm
"So tell me who would you tax more"
All taxpayers who pay tax in America (I was thinking Federal Income Tax) would pay. But I wouldn't be averse to borrowing all of the increase for the next several years, until the economy improves. Another good alternative, in my opinion, would be to cut medicare and social security benefits, but even cuts on the order of 0.1% (that's about the amount I'd want to increase the federal research budget) are politically difficult.
"So tell me who would you borrow from?"
Anyone buying any of the varieties of US Treasury bonds and notes.
"China already has 2 trillion of our debt and they said they want no more"
Are you sure about the "said they want no more" part. I don't think that is precisely what they said. They are still buying US debt like it is going out of style, as are governments, sovereign wealth funds, and other entities the world over. If I understand correctly, short term notes pay essentially no interest. Governments are so eager to give us cash that they aren't even asking for interest.
You do understand that scientific research accounts for less than one per cent (and until last year a shrinking portion) of overall federal spending while social security and medicare account for 38% (and growing). Seems like our priorities need adjusting.
Posted by Get the facts, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm
"I am sorry that you "resent" me when the teacher's union has agreed to a pay cut. Please name me any other school district in the area that has teachers that have agreed to do this? I beleive there is one or two in SoCal, but none here (that I have heard of to this point)."
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:29 pm
Hi Russell, Intel can raise or lower prices of widgets or provide raises based on their profits, appraise individual employees, and give raises or release underperformers, make reductions in staff, or cuts salaries across the board. Districts know they have to have continued enrollment growth and cost of living adjustments and they absolutely KNOW that enrollment and COLAs ebb and flow, so they need reserves (a minimum 3% mandated) to see them through the ebbs. So they give 14.5% and donít build up the reserves and end up canning teachers because they didnít think and they donít have the flexibility of the corporate world.
Russell, I truly cannot understand your thinking or that you are still trying to figure things out, the information is a phone call away and all over these blogs. The current spend and tax is worse than the usual tax and spend . . . at least in the latter case, they have the money in hand. In the former, they assume weíll cover for them. Whatís the old caution about assuming, because in this case it isnít going to be me. Handing money to people you are unsure of for four years while you wait a year to see if someone should be voted out of office is irresponsible.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm
I'm puzzling over this comment. "Most typical businesses in the private sector earn their money. Consumers have a choice. Government levies taxes. Consumers don't have a choice."
I think there's another was that businesses and public schools are fundamentally different. Don't businesses have a choice about which customers to serve? Once they sell their product or service, they don't have to make or provide more. "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." I know I have read that in numerous restaurants. If the cost of making another meal or paying the waiters to serve another table, and delivery begins to exceed their ability to recoup those costs, they can just stop making cars to repairing them or whatever.
Schools don't have a choice about which students to educate. They are required to serve all students who reside in the district. Some students cost more to educate than others. They cannot refuse service to some students.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:55 pm
So Paul wrote, "I resent how the teachers and their greedy union have been acting. That is what I get."
And you asked him and are now asking me, "I am sorry that you "resent" me when the teacher's union has agreed to a pay cut. Please name me any other school district in the area that has teachers that have agreed to do this? I beleive there is one or two in SoCal, but none here (that I have heard of to this point)."
The first portion of your question is false. If the union gets it's step and column increases next year, and you are employed, you will see a pay raise. This is separate from COLA.
You stated earlier that, "I have voted to take a two day pay decrease next year, even though the same amount of kids will be marching through the door each day.", then you said, "the teacher's union has agreed to a pay cut." Whether you voted or the union forced your hand, the only pay cut is contingent on the passage of Measure G only, and you will only lose 2 of 3 teacher development days, according to Mr. Knaggs - so if Measure G passes, you will not be stuck in a staff meeting all day (as I so "fondly" remember them...) or be required to work on site. You basically get two unpaid days off, you will not get paid for two days and you will not have to be there (verses my spouse who took a pay cut and still has to show up everyday...).
If the measure doesn't pass, you won't be held to this union decision.
I know you are adimant about "not getting a raise", but then to what do you attribute the Step and Column increase next year? Is that a "gift"?
Finally, for the other part of your question, I do not know of any other district that has done this locally, I only know of local districts that do not pay their teachers as high as we pay ours.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 26, 2009 at 12:26 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Russell wrote: "That depends on your definition of wealth."
Typically that's production, or "goods and services". We can go back even further and mention the ARPANET that lead to the modern-day Internet. What you're starting to discuss is how government can set policy and help develop wealth generation in the private sector. (Larry Wall could have sold his invention instead of using the GNU GPL license. Who cares that he worked in government? Teachers can sell their services in the private sector too.) I didn't want my example to get too complicated for Get the Facts, who was trying to imagine money going round and round in a great cosmic wheel of ownership transference.
Of course a salesman's clients pay his salary. But that salesman is also directly generating wealth by, get this, selling goods and/or services. The clients aren't just paying the salesman's salary. They're giving that company a profit. The government is taxing both that profit and the salesman's salary and there's still profit left over to spend. Government is selling what? Hopefully government is helping business by not creating hostile business environments so that the wealth generators leave, oh wait....
Hey, remember the groundbreaking PE curriculum that PUSD PE teachers apparently developed and how the Board of Trustees joked that they'd like to copyright it so they could sell it and lamented about how they can't? If that were developed in the private sector, they could sell it!
Posted by Sandy to CAESAR!, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 26, 2009 at 6:18 am
"They want their 15% raise come hell or high water.... Measure G will go down in flames.... When it does, THE ENTIRE BOARD SHOULD RESIGN"
OK, so you want the district to pay for a whole other special election to pay for new board members to be elected. Or if they're not required to do that, they could just APPOINT people to serve until the next regularly scheduled election. That would certainly ensure that the next board would be more to your liking. You could be Emporor Caesar. Right?
Posted by Russell, a resident of Livermore, on May 26, 2009 at 6:53 am
Would you be opposed to taxing everyone or just the ones currently making money and paying taxes or the top percents? If just the top percents it makes no sense and your thought process is either flawed or you are pulling our leg as it makes no sense at all. I think that most would agree that we are going to choke off our growth by taxing our wealthy people even more. By the way, keep in mind that they huge tax increases recently described by the CBO will impact the wealthy making over $100,000. On the other issue of people buying our debt well take a look at the US monetary fund website and you will see that we have been printing money non stop since all of these spending bills have started to pass as nobody wants our debt. HIllary Clinton even went to China to ask them to continue to buy our debt. Please give informed answers or I will just not talk with you.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 26, 2009 at 7:33 am
I don't see how you get the idea that nobody wants our debt. Yes, we're printing money like crazy and we could eventually get a lot of inflation out of that, but for the time being, US "debt" is about the best "debt" available. Look at the interest rates. We're not even paying interest on the short term stuff, and even the long term stuff is historically low. I could link to all kinds of articles attesting to this. They're really easy to find.
None of that was my point. My point was about funding scientific research. You wouldn't need to raise taxes or borrow at all to double the amount we spend, and you could get that just by decreasing Medicare and Social Security benefits by less than one per cent. But even if we got it all by borrowing, it would be minuscule. It is a tiny fraction of federal spending. Talented mathematicians and scientists have given up careers to chase fortunes on Wall Street. They wound up creating Structured Investment Vehicles, Collateralized Debt Obligations, and Credit Default Swaps. All in the name of "wealth creation" and "ownership society". It not only brought the world economy to its knees, it had some or our brightest and best people working on financial shenanigans.
I think government policy was largely to blame for this. We dismantled critical federal regulation that had been in place for many decades. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (legalizing CDS), reversal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, and reversal of the Uptick Rule were all irresponsible deregulation that should be reversed. Also, federal spending on science was cut at the same time. Can you imagine the kind of technical progress we may have seen if these scientists who left science to go to Wall Street had instead worked on science?
At the federal level, 38% of the money (up until the bailouts started) was going to social security and medicare. Less than 1% to science. Doubling our spending on science would be negligible. We need to do two things. Increase our spending on scientific research, and strengthen federal regulation of financial institutions.
Posted by top heavy, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 26, 2009 at 8:16 am
No matter what, this conversation has been enlightening. It will be an engaging and bombastic election. It's good that we live in America where conflicts are conducted with words and votes rather than guns and dictatorships. May the best person win. Let the games begin.
Posted by Bobby, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 26, 2009 at 10:17 am
In reading all of this, Kathleen's and well as John's comments it seems it is hard to have a dialogue with someone so lacking or seemingly so lacking in basic understanding of economics. In addition, related to the parcel tax you keep saying and asking the same questions over and over and it is exhausting.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 26, 2009 at 10:38 am
I can ask you the same question I asked Bobby, was there something specific you disagreed with concerning economics? If you doubt the US is having trouble selling bonds google "flight to safety" and "credit crisis" to read all about it. Do I have the fraction of money spent on medicare and social security wrong? You can look that up practically anywhere -- The IRS has the breakdown. I know I'm not giving the talking points of any side on these issues. Seems like when people stick to talking points, there is no discussion. What is it that I am not understanding about economics? Maybe you disagree with my opinion on federal regulation of derivatives, or short selling?
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm
@Bobby, Russell, John,
I'm sorry if I said something that may have touched a nerve, but if the first toward fixing things is identifying the problem. A lot of people don't like to look at things as they are, but as they wish them to be.
Posted by Me, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 11:53 am
"Most of the people I know work in Silicone Valley, and most of them have taken salary cuts ranging from 10%-20%."
Even if that's true, let's look at how much they were being paid before. How about stocks and bonuses, etc. Teachers are underpaid professionals, its that simple. High school teachers have degrees in history, physics, engineer, literature, many with master's and some with PhDs. So what is the average salary of the group of friends that took a pay cut (including benefits, bonuses, etc). I'll bet its substantially higher than teachers.
Then people say - "Well, teachers chose their profession!" - That's true as did everyone else. So don't complain about somebody else's profession not wanting a paycut, just because yours in struggling.