Doom and Gloom Schools & Kids, posted by YES ON G, a member of the Foothill High School community, on May 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm
What is it about the opponents of measure G on these boards that makes them so negative. All we ever here from them is doom and gloom. They sound like some of the grouchiest people in the world. It'll never work. The teachers are greedy. PUSD is going all to hell. The system is a mess...
Have any of you ever ran a successful business? If you've done it with that attitude, then my hat's off to you, because I don't see how. My tendency when dealing with an employee whose sour attitude is ruining moral, is to either get the attitude fixed or to show him the door.
Let's here something positive from you guys for a change.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 10:25 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Odd, I thought it was the proponents that were all "doom and gloom" with the threats that PUSD's quality will be ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED if we don't pass Measure G. If I could use bold and a larger font size on ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED, I would.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm
Yes on G...
I'm still waiting with my sample ballot here for you to tell me where I am going wrong...
To quote myself from my question to you earlier on another thread, "Where exactly is the language in Measure G that states we will keep class size at 20 in K-3? I've read the measure repeatedly and I see it no where.
I also haven't read where it is legal for a district to state that if a parcel tax is not passed they will remove CSR.
Forgive my ignorance on these matters, you seem to have been a better researcher than myself -
Would you please reply with the specific reference that refutes this point?
Otherwise, without guarantees, I am voting no on G.
Why don't you take a swing at my questions then, since you are a defender of Measure G. As a proponent, you ought to be able to answer these questions. I mean, you researched your own vote...didn't you?
Then these should be easy questions for you.
I have my sample ballot right here and I'm ready to read your justification of the guaranteed CSR and the legality of threatenting to remove it.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm
Yes on G
You've been mighty busy on all the threads telling everyone not to be so emotional and to back up thier statements with facts (even when they do...you must just like the way it sounds to keep repeating it).
I'm STILL waiting to hear your facts - and it was you I asked. I'm just riveted by what you might know that will instantly change my mind to vote for Measure G!
Is "Yes on G" just a mindless mantra for you, or do you actually have a perspecitive to intelligently articulate and contribute to this discussion?
You aren't doing your "side" ANY favors with your posts if you can't.
I hope you can rectify your allegations in time for your side...
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 8:22 am
Yes on G, make no mistake about it, Measure G is failing, as it should. It is a shame that those in favor of G have to stoop to fear mongering. That alone speaks volumes to the character of those trying to push this measure as well as the merits of the measure. I'm proud to say I live in a community that is educated enough to see through the rhetoric and made an educated decision.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:28 am Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I'm not sure either side is feeling blissful and gay, and we shouldn't be. The state and our community face serious economic challenges whether or not measure G passes.
It has been difficult to maintain a civil tone here. I'm trying my best, and I trust that others are doing so as well. I'm particularly thankful for Stacey and Kathleen's efforts. Even if we are different sides about the measure, they are quoting numbers and asking intelligent questions. I'm presenting facts as I understand them, and I will concede a mistake if I have gotten a number wrong. I'm presenting my conclusions based on the facts and my values. Others draw different conclusions, and that's a normal part of civil debate.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:31 am
Yes on G -
The "like it or not" was not the worst part in the post you are referencing. I think the "idiot" part is pretty telling of anyone on your side - you or not.
Assuming you did not write the other posts, I still would like for you to respond to my questions:
"Where exactly is the language in Measure G that states we will keep class size at 20 in K-3?
Or where it the Measure states they will remove CSR if the parcel tax is not removed.
The complete text of Measure G is one full page + a small paragraph on the second page. It shouldn't take long for you to point to the paragraph, sentence, to identify for me exactly where it states thea answers to my question.
Yes on G (whichever of you...) can one of you please answer my questions.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:37 am Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I'll try to answer these two questions.
1) "Where exactly is the language in Measure G that states we will keep class size at 20 in K-3? "
It isn't there. The board cannot make that guarantee.
2) "How is it legal for a district to state that if a parcel tax is not passed they will remove CSR?"
It is legal for any district to remove CSR according to the state's ed code. CSR is an optional program created by the state to give districts an incentive to hire more teachers so that students can be in smaller classes. The state contributes 2/3 of the money, and the district pays the remaining 1/3. The district is not required to participate in this program.
There are school districts in the state where K-3 class are at 30 students each, and that is legal.
It is also legal for a district to state that they do not anticipate having funds available for a program if they cannot secure additional revenue. (Or to anticipate that they do expect to have funds available to maintain a program if they do secure additional funding.) That's not campaigning -- that is stating the trustees' understanding of the most likely decision they expect to have to make.
Posted by Wishing, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 10:47 am
I just wish people like Ayala and Reugseggar would've chosen to be a part of the solution rather than an obstruction to it after the fact. I went to several school board meetings where the Trustees were asking for input on the ballot language. It was very clear that CSR is the most important priority for the board and the community. If these ladies didn't think the language stated that expressly enough, they could've and should've said so when the board was soliciting input.
I don't know enough about Kathy to say, but those of us who have interacted with Kay in Pleasanton politics know she's a political opportunist. I'm sure she will be running for some office in the future.
Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:23 am Pleasanton Parent is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I think they are being part of the solution. I wish those that wrote the ballot language didn't do so as irresponsibly as they did. Opposition to the language was voiced long ago and the district did nothing to try and change it. Furthermore, it wasn't until people began pointing out the flaws in Measure G that minimal efforts on the districts part began to take form (i.e. teachers agreeing to take two days non-paid if the measure passes). Unfortunately the concessions are too little in comparison to those being asked of the community. This is a one sided solution that does nothing to solve the real problem.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 11:49 am
Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate your willingness to have a real dialogue and not just call me an "idiot", as another poster did, when I ask questions of the Yes on G side.
As far as CSR, you said, "It isn't there. The board cannot make that guarantee."
The board absolutely could have outlined the specific monies that would go toward each program from the 18.5 MM in Measure G. That is not difficult. They know the costs - they know what it cost them this year, past years. If they do not know the costs, then how exactly did Dr. Casey and the Board come up with the 18.5MM they needed? Did they do a budget review and look at the cost of programs/staff over the next four years, look at the projected shortfall and come up with the deficit? Or did they throw a dart at a bunch of numbers on the wall and hit 18.5MM?
The point is they were purposely evasive in the measure language so that the "general fund" could be bloated and they could be the ones to choose how the money gets spent...at their "discretion".
I still don't believe, but would like to see a web link, etc, that a district can specifically state that CSR will be specifically eliminated if the parcel tax does not pass.
The measure states, "To preserve educational quality...keep class sizes small..."
What is "small" quantified as? And what is it relative to? Is small 30 children because another district in the state has 32? Is small 25? Is small 20? They didn't specify. They could have easily done so.
If they had said that they would maintain the current levels of CSR (20:1) as a first priority at a projected cost of..., and then continued down the priority list, then it would be specific and measurable.
The district is pussy-footing around and decided to jump the gun for a parcel tax without first going crazy to get their budget under control and make it nimble enough to adjust for federal monies, etc. They could have done any number of things but the one choice they went with was the lazy, knee jerk, habituated behavior of sticking their hand out and asking for more. They are like the fat little kid with Cheetos and Ding-Dongs smeared all over their face, throwing a tantrum in the cookie aisle of the grocery wanting more.
They've never known what it means to want and they've never been asked to have discipline in the recent years. Dr. Casey's lack of oversight is appalling, but it is even worse that he expects the citizens of this community to trust him with more.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"The board absolutely could have outlined the specific monies that would go toward each program from the 18.5 MM in Measure G. That is not difficult."
I actually have seen a pie chart from the district that identifies the costs of each of the programs that would be paid for by measure G if the parcel tax passes. I can't find it on the district website, although I know it was distributed at a district meeting. It only goes by year (so the total on the pie chart is $4.5 million, instead of 4.5x4=$18 million) but it's pretty easy to project it out.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Oh, and thanks for not calling me any names. Eeven though you seem to be confident in throwing around "lazy, knee-jerk" and "fat kid" when speaking of the district, I'm glad to know that citizens like me are not the same as the district.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm
The pie chart is great, but why didn't they include that in the measure language? Without it in the measure, it cannot be held to account. This is the crux of why I am voting no on G.
I really don't need a web link about CSR, would love to see it with interest however, because it is not legal for a district to threaten to remove anything for the lack of a parcel tax being passed. This has been by far the largest argument that the proponents have used. It is flat out wrong. The district can't threaten to do it, but they can certainly create enough uncertainty to cause parents to feel threatened. This is the perfect marriage of fear and doubt.
The "esteemed" (so I am told) Janet Napolitano, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, was recently quoted as saying, "Never waste a good crisis..." This district has apparently decided this argument perfectly describes their viewpoint.
I think we have great teachers, I think we have a super kids, and I think we have an amazing community that I feel so blessed to have me and my family be a part of.
I would actually be willing to pay for refinement of programs, support more through volunteerism, and continue to my support of classroom funding via the PTA, etc.
I absolutely am against this parcel tax because the district has proven itself to be fiscally derelict. It is unconscionable to have them screw up and then expect us to fix it without any specific accountability. They don't want their hands tied because they haven't learned their lesson yet.
I refuse to see this continue with my measly 64 cents a day for the principle.
Whereas some have made this a "right" and "left" issue by characterizing themselves as "Democrat voting No" or "Republican voting Yes", is not the point. This is right and wrong issue as far as I see it.
Where is the emergency? Just because the district jumped to put this tax on the ballot before they thoroughly examined all other alternatives, does not mean I need to feel the same sense of urgency.
We're all familiar with the phrase, "A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily create an emergency on mine." I believe the teachers who write college letters of recommendation, etc would relate to this. Those same teachers should look to the district for this debacle and not point the fingers to the community for being "selfish".
If my children's teachers individually approached me when my family is struggling financially and said they wanted me to vote for this parcel tax so that they would get raises over the next four years, I would laugh in their faces. Just because they get to hide behind Trevor Knaggs (who both he and his wife are employed by the district and have a major interest in this passing), doesn't make it right. They are asking individual families to fix a problem the district created and are not willing to give any real concessions up front, whether or not the tax passes.
If the Union of teachers aren't willing to come to the table and offer to help, why should I? I didn't have anything to do with the screw up either.
Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 2:11 pm
No on G!!
This caught my eye and needs to be corrected. Napolitano isn't that smart... It was Rahm Emanuel...:
"The "esteemed" (so I am told) Janet Napolitano, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, was recently quoted as saying, "Never waste a good crisis..."
Rahm Israel Emanuel(born November 29, 1959) is an American politician currently serving as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama.
He once said, “Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things.
Emanuel is known for his "take-no-prisoners attitude" that has earned him the nickname "Rahm-bo." Emanuel is said to have "mailed a rotten fish to a former coworker after the two parted ways."
Perhaps this explains his anger.. :
Emanuel was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons as a boy and is a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet. He won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet but turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981. [Sarah Lawrence? Isn't that one of the Seven Sisters??]
Note: interesting that the spell check on this forum indicates misspelled words for "Napolitano; Rahm; Barack; and Obama"! You'd think they'd be acceptable by now!
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm
"I just wish people like (Kay) Ayala and (Kathleen) Reugseggar would've chosen to be a part of the solution rather than an obstruction to it after the fact...If these ladies didn't think the language stated (CSR, etc) expressly enough, they could've and should've said so when the board was soliciting input."
Isn't the point that you should stand up and say something is wrong if it is, regardless of the timing? I think the snipe about Kay Ayala's political agenda is not worthy of a reply.
Two citizens have chosen to enter the debate following a terrible decision in the community, and you think they should have to stay quiet while the very thing they are opposed to goes forth? At least they are on the right side of this issue.
The blame lies with those who are trying to cover one poor decision with another - isn't the old addage correct that two wrongs don't make a right? Don't blame those that point it out - or when they choose to do so.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 3:06 pm
I didn't know about the word limits in the language. Thank you for pointing that out to me and thank you for your willingness to discuss a matter we don't agree on...yet...I like thoughtful people on my side and I'm hoping to win you over! :)
So, in the interest of maintaining current class ratios (20:1) and keeping to the ballot requirements, instead of what they did print, "keep class sizes small", Couldn't they have written "Maintain current class sizes."? It's the same number of words...only it is a measured statement.
When I vote, can I say I will give money to the district or do they want a measureable amount that they can hold me to account?
I am certainly no ballot writer, but even this insignificant community member can figure out how to speak plainly and do so with the intention of accountability. Why can't the "professionals"?
Answer: It isn't their intention to be held to account, hence the careful and teflon word choices.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 3:30 pm
Regardless of who wrote it, it is what they wrote and that is why can't vote for it. Whether they purposefully want to mislead people or it was a whopper of an oversight, there is not enough specific lanugage to support the measure.
I will not vote for an increase in funds with no accountability, especially when the kids may only see approximately 17% of the total revenue collected (15.5/18MM) and the rest is going to teacher raises.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm
Wishing: First a technicality to clear up—it’s Kathleen and Ruegsegger.
I’ve posted solutions all over these threads—such as for the state, closing or regionalizing county offices of education; and for the district, changing the way negotiations are conducted.
The trustees, by the way, ignored one of their own member’s suggestions, and I don’t mean studied and rejected them, I mean said (paraphrased), “How nice, but we don’t have time for this.” And the Budget Advisory Committee (who should be reviewing the budget and making suggestions) was asked to review a list of options—offering alternatives fell on deaf ears. Why would any citizen believe they would be heeded? The board didn’t solicit input; they came to make a show of listening.
The ballot language is purposely vague on the advice of district consultants. Had I said, do a survey (X counselors cost X; X teachers cost X; X vice principals cost X—what do you value most?) and then said write specific language to match the results, they would have ignored me . . . and they did—-I wrote to and spoke with them.
So ask a question of me rather than assume, either in choosing a more familiar use of my name when I don’t know you or in what I have or have not done in regard to this tax.
As to 75 words of ballot language: "To provide K-3 class sizes of 20:1, high school counselors at 400:1, X reading specialists, $X for math, library, music, and technology support, and X support staff, with no raises allowed for the life of the tax, guaranteed quarterly audits, *****, and an independent citizens’ oversight committee, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District levy an annual $XXX parcel tax for X years.
Okay, it’s really 61 words with the ***** for possible exemptions, which I don’t believe in unless it’s means tested (and unfortunately, that’s not allowed but would certainly be more equitable given the current economy). With survey answers, it could be the community values 23:1 for classrooms, 500:1 for counselors, and only $XX for the tax, or some other combination of numbers. The community never got that opportunity, however. And if the 14 words left are needed to clarify that “no raises” means with any funding, that’s the best place to spend them. No raises provides two things: (1) no relief provided by parcel tax dollars on the general fund will allow for raises that then come “from the general fund” or a reserve fund or any fund; and (2) after X years of NO raises, there will be a long hard look at budgets and needs before another renewal of the parcel tax is attempted.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm
Thank you for the continued effort you are putting forth to getting the facts out to us all and for the effort you have put in to help this community.
Although I was fairly certain before, I now know for sure that the district purposefully avoided specific lanuage in the measure so as to guarantee enough uncertainty to cause a panic.
I do have a question for you...why is it acceptable for school employees and their family members who do not reside in this city to be on the Measure G "supporters" list? Isn't that unethical? I used to work for this district and see many, many, previous collegues who I personally know live in Danville, Alamo, San Ramon, Fremont, etc and their names, and their spouses names, are listed on the supporters list on the SPS page. This completely misleads the voters as to the actual number of people who have children in the district and are tax payers affected by this parcel tax.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
About 7 hours ago Sandy posted a link to a pie chart showing dollar amounts matched to Measure G programs. This pie chart is highly misleading. It leads one to assume that this is the dollar amount that Measure G guarantees for each program. Unfortunately, there's nothing in the actual Measure G ballot language that does this. That pie chart only represents the current expected cost to PUSD for each of those programs, nothing more. PUSD then used that information to calculate how much they need to tax per parcel. It would be interesting to know if PUSD came to those numbers by also including future costs for the four years like step and/or column for all those CSR-related jobs, counselor jobs, etc. My guess is not.
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 26, 2009 at 6:06 am
As to 75 words of ballot language, you wrote:
"To provide K-3 class sizes of 20:1, high school counselors at 400:1, X reading specialists, $X for math, library, music, and technology support, and X support staff, with no raises allowed for the life of the tax, guaranteed quarterly audits, *****, and an independent citizens’ oversight committee, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District levy an annual $XXX parcel tax for X years.
And you said: "Okay, it’s really 61 words with the ***** for possible exemptions, which I don’t believe in unless it’s means tested (and unfortunately, that’s not allowed but would certainly be more equitable given the current economy).
And you continued: "With survey answers, it could be the community values 23:1 for classrooms, 500:1 for counselors, and only $XX for the tax, or some other combination of numbers. ... (1) no relief provided by parcel tax dollars on the general fund will allow for raises that then come “from the general fund” or a reserve fund or any fund; and (2) after X years of NO raises, there will be a long hard look at budgets and needs before another renewal of the parcel tax is attempted."
I'm impressed with how crisp your editing is! Did you send this version to the board members before March 15? Or is this just what you would have done if you could have been on the board, and convinced your fellow board members to conduct a survey rather than board hearings back in December and January?
Oh, and if you were on the board, last year when the district lost $2 million in funding in November, you would have known what to do. And when the last union contracts were negotiated, you would have insisted on no salaries then either, so that the goal of the 7% reserve would have been achieved as well.
I really wish you had run against Pat Kernan the last time he was up for reelection, since so many here seem to be convinced that he shouldn't be on the board. Too bad we can't turn back time.
Also, I'm concerned that "no raises" might also be construed as "no salary cuts" at least by some savvy union lawyer. I know you don't think that salary cuts are even possible, because historically they have not occurred -- but I still contend that they are possible, because I have seen them occur in other teachers' unions.
And since we're revising the language after the fact, we should probably have more words about the oversight committee. There was certainly discussion about it during one of the board meetings. How many members, what does independent mean... apparently it means parents, but not teachers or other district employees, if I remember correctly.
I hope we get a chance to meet at a board meeting someday soon. I would look forward to working with you as a fellow volunteer in the schools. I'm sure that you and I could run things all by ourselves, if we could ever get elected to the board.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on May 26, 2009 at 7:49 am
Sandy, My, my! You must not be the registered Sandy, because this post has a different tone than those of the one who is registered. And to get this out of the way, I have no interest in serving on the board.
I did also say I wrote to the board members--some very heated responses from one, a civil response from a second, and a thoughtful response from a third; I even talked to Pat Kernan (a friend and a neighbor for eight years). You'd be very surprised about what he said, and yes it was all before the Board voted to put the tax on the ballot.
I have said that reasonable raises that matched the CPI for the Bay Area could have been given and still have left money for growing the reserve. I have also said that just because the state provides a COLA, it doesn't mean you should spend it all. And that large raises are dependent on future COLAs and/or enrollment growth and that state funding has always ebbed and flowed and good administrations know and plan for it. (As an aside, even a zero COLA leaves the majority receiving raises through step and column movement.) I might add, that a 7% reserve may have seemed less important than raises then, but I bet there are a few pink slipped teachers that might like to have the jobs that reserve could have provided instead of the raises they received.
Seems those in favor of Measure G want facts and then want to berate the people providing them.
To the 75 words, someone asked, I responded. There were words enough to say more about the committee. I'm not against employees being on the committee, as long as they are not tied to union leadership. Problem is, the taxpayers send the money and then have no voice afterward, so the balance has to sway to the community in my opinion.
I do believe the survey was necessary and that more specific language would hold the current administration's feet to the fire in keeping to the letter of the language instead of intending to keep the intention. There is federal money coming that buys us time, so if a cut is needed across the board, it doesn't need to be part of the parcel tax language, it needs to come from the employees. There is a contract ending in June 2010, and that is the place to discuss rolling back the salary schedule or changing the salary schedule altogether.
Again, no interest in the board or in "running things." If you are someone who chooses to run, I wish you well.