Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm Sandy is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Thanks for the article, Emily.
I was amazed at this piece of information about the whopper of a state blooper...
"The district was set to receive $5.6 million through State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, but Cazares said the dollar amounts are now less certain. The first reason was that an error by the state in the application for federal funding was off by about $2 billion."
Two billion dollars off!!!!! An error made at the state level when applying for ARRA funds.
Posted by parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm
Continuation of rhetoric from the school district. Funny how the bad information the school district is talking about does not appear on the LAO or California Department of Education website.
If things were really that bad, our district would have been making cuts on this fiscal year with management pay/perks, but they are doing nothing now. If you look at the non-government workplace, they have been doing cuts of pay and benefits already and not waiting till next year. They must feel real confident that there is enough federal money coming in to "save the district".
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of the Walnut Hills neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm
@ parent: "Continuation of rhetoric from the school district. Funny how the bad information the school district is talking about does not appear on the LAO or California Department of Education website."
You just have to look at the stuff that came out on May 27th (today). According to slide 14 of the PPT titled "The State Budget Situation":
Governor grew problem by $3 billion.
Now a total of $24 billion.
Also dropped RAW proposal ($5.5 billion).
Combined, administration needs almost $9 billion in new solutions.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm
You know, although I have felt strongly that this was the wrong tax at the wrong time, I would have to say that I have still been willing to dialogue with others for the tax, to see if I could understand what reasons they felt compelled to vote for it. If I had been given a very good reason to vote for it, perhaps I could have been persuades. I'm a parent, not a stone wall. I have not been convinced to vote yes on this measure. We are in a hole. We are probably in one for a while and even in light of that, I still hope this parcel tax does not pass.
My rationale is the same: The district takes no responsibility for spending like a lottery winner.
I don't want my kids to suffer, as some have claimed will happen if G does not pass, but I believe it is imperative for my vote to send a message that the spending spree is over.
You can criticize the suggestions of some as too little or insignificant, like cutting cell phones or car allowances, a pay freeze, returning suspect administrative salary raises from a year ago etc, but the point was who was going to be at the "table" as the Unions like to refer to it. Who was willing to step up and be willing to acknowledge a screw up, admit it, take the blame and then work together to solve it? If the district had done ANY of the previoulsy said suggestions throughout this forum, I would have bent over backwards to support this parcel tax.
The administration has offered nothing unless the parcel tax passes, the Unions have not either. But we are expected to "show our cards" as a community before they do when WE DID NOT CREAT THIS MESS. I know the state had something to do with this current year's shortfall, but this does not negate the inappropriate use of the public's funds beforehand.
I think Dr. Casey should resign and so should the Board when this parcel tax does not pass. We're looking for leadership for our children, not someone skimming from the top of our tax dollars looking out for themselves or thier retirement. I thought our motto was "Kids come first!" Exactly how has this been happening when the district is broke?
"The cuts came atop other severe spending reductions in a separate $16-billion plan that the governor unveiled two weeks ago. His aides said he would propose another $3 billion in cuts by the end of the week to address a projected $24.3-billion budget shortfall."
Here's one from yesterday's Sacramento Bee: Web Link
"Will schools cut workers' pay, or their jobs?"
Folks, the answer is -- both. The question is really, which jobs.
From the article:
"With the failure of the May 19 ballot initiatives, the Republican governor has proposed slashing $4.7 billion from education spending over the next 13 months. He says federal stimulus money will reimburse schools for most of the cuts, but many districts had planned to use that money to fill gaps left from the budget Schwarzenegger signed in September."
Districts all over the state have depleted reserves because the governor and the state legislature didn't sign a budget till well after school had started last fall. And then in February, they retroactively revised the state budget downward, after schools had been in session for months.
Acting as if the problem is not that bad, or it's the result of a greedy few, or it's getting blown out of proportion by a biased media, is not going to solve the problem.
Posted by Randy, a resident of the Laguna Vista neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Honestly I do not for a minute believe any of this doom and gloom is going to happn. I believe the same thing will happen to California which happened to AIG, the banking industry, GM, and Chrysler. Obama is not going to let the most democratic and unionized state in the nation fail. He will just loan us or print more money to give to us. I really do not think we need to do a thing.
Posted by randy, a resident of the Laguna Vista neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm
No on G,
we do not need to do a thing other than start going down for the count and he will save us. Nothing to worry about at all. He will not flush away our I guess 57 electoral votes, union vote, black vote, and if he can swing it the legalization of illegal voters which will give him the hispanic vote. No problem at all.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 9:14 pm
I couldn’t pass up posting this, from the LAO for the 2005-2006 through 2010-2011 Fiscal Outlook. It was one paragraph that I split to emphasize the second. Here’s the link: Web Link
“. . .But State Still Not Out of the Woods
While the improved fiscal outlook is clearly very good news, the state still faces major challenges in achieving an ongoing balance between revenues and expenditures and getting its fiscal house in order. Even assuming continued steady economic growth, we project that multibillion dollar operating deficits (that is, annual shortfalls between revenues and expenditures) will persist throughout most of the forecast period. Eliminating these shortfalls will require significant actions.
Beyond this, an economic downturn or even sharp slowdown sometime in the next several years would add several billions of dollars to the projected shortfalls, and while this is not our baseline forecast, it could always occur.
For these reasons, it will be important for the Legislature to continue to take actions to minimize operating shortfalls, match any new or increased program funding with offsetting savings or revenues, avoid using the remaining deficit-financing bonds in 2006-07, and build up budgetary reserves.”
With this information available, the district began three years of raises (not that the legislature paid much attention either).
From Reuters on structural deficits (in this case for the country, but it applies to California and PUSD): "The portion of a country's budget deficit that is not the result of changes in the economic cycle. The structural deficit will exist even when the economy is at the peak of the cycle."
The parcel tax is not the answer until the district budget is under control.
Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 9:15 pm tax revolt 2 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Sandy - thank you for the links to other news reports. I encourage everyone to read the SacBee Web Link story.
I like the quote of the California Teachers Association (union) President David Sanchez "No one should be out of a job at this time."
How honest of David to reveal the entitlement attitude of the CTA and it's member organization Association of Pleasanton Teachers. The entitlement of automatic salary increases that are off the table in solving the PUSD budget mess, is what leads many in this community to be voting NO on the parcel tax
And NO it shall be for this and all future parcel taxes as long the arrogant entitlement exists.
Posted by VV parent, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 12:23 am
To PUSD Board and Admin: I will gladly pay $500+ to the school my child attends (rather than the $233 parcel tax you are proposing) to put money directly into the classroom. Much negativity has come from discussion about admin perks and admin/teacher raises that it only makes sense to me that my dollars go directly into our school. If more parents felt this way (and I think many do) the issue of budget shortfalls can and should be addressed at YOUR level and include big ticket items like raises, auto allowances and other perks the rest of us in the private sector are doing without.
Posted by Individual, a member of the Foothill High School community, on May 28, 2009 at 1:12 am
I agree with VV. I have no problem donating to the school/program of choice....I've done so before and will continue to do it in the future - especially if the parcel tax does not pass. It is not the cost of the parcel tax that bothers me -it's the principle. I, like many, have a problem paying a parcel tax into a system that I philosophically differ with. We need to reward performance and lessen the union stronghold. We need to get back to the basics of educating our youth and doing it well. We need to take a very hard look at "entitlement" programs. We need parents to help in the development and education of their children. This does not mean "DOING EVERYTHING FOR THEM". It means supporting the efforts of the educational system by turning off the video games & television and holding their children accountable for homework and respectable behavior. We have a good foundation in the PUSD - we just need to take a step back and look with fresh eyes at what we are doing. Parents - if you do not vote for the tax and it fails - look for other ways to get involved. Volunteer. Consider a donation to the school or program of your choice. Don't assume that your neighbor will do it for you. It is going to take everyone's support to get through these hard times and to get things back on track. So even though I am not in favor of the tax - I will continue to do my part towards finding a solution. If no one gets involved - things will remain the same.
Posted by DL, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:20 am
Most don't know or realize that California spends 40 billion a year to help out all the illegal immigrants in this state alone. But you'll never hear that on the news. One major reason California is going to continue to be depleted of all our resources and revenue. When are we "legal citizens" all going to stop letting this be a blinded and ignored issue?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:21 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
1) In order to not put ARRA funds in jeopardy, the State must commit to a minimum funding level not less than 2006's level.
2) The new _possible_ amount of cuts to the District's revenue limit looks to be that the District will receive roughly the same amount in revenue limit per ADA that it received back in 2006.
I guess I'm just trying to understand how the District's budget has grown in only three short years in a way that is now made out like they're unable to operate with the same amount of funding from only three short years ago. I suspect the answer lies somewhere with regards to raises and other increased costs, but I'd like to also point out that during those three years, the District hired more counselors without regard to how they would be funded. In what other ways did the budget increase during that time and how come we can't go back to how we were three years ago?
Posted by The district has plenty of money, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:24 am
Vote NO on Measure G. I just received a large shiny postcard ($$$$$) from the savepleasantonschools organization. In addition to having the money to spend on a special election(what was wrong with putting it on last weeks ballot?)they have the money for signs, ads and expensive mailings. I already pay over $900 a year to the school district. Let them live within their means like the rest of the world. My kids had more than 20 kids in a class, went to college, graduated and have great jobs. It doesn't take more money to have a good education, it takes accountability. Stop the ridiculous taxation. Make the administrators accountable. Our kids will survive and learn real life lessons.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:34 am
Voting "No" sends a message to the board. It may be an effective way to get the message through. It may not.
The cost of sending that message will be paid by the kids in school. Unlike a pay freeze which can be recovered later on, there is no recovery for a year lost by the kids. And that is just too expensive.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:42 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Sandy posted a link above to a Sacramento Bee item that summarize the choice facing everyone everywhere, "Cut pay or cut jobs".
Bob above writes "choose wisely". Now the choice to cut pay or cut jobs isn't really the voter's choice. That decision can only be made by the Board and the Unions. So it is disheartening that the decision is made out to be a voter decision when it really isn't. It doesn't matter if Measure G passes or not, the Board and the Unions have to still decide: cut pay or cut jobs?
Posted by Sunolian, a resident of another community, on May 28, 2009 at 9:10 am
Sunol Glen has 70% transfers from other districts (some from Pleasanton). The residents of Sunol are paying off a bond via a property tax for improvements to the school that we made several years ago. The transfer student's families do not pay for this. Sunol Glen has its own budget problems, and we are not looking to put a property tax on all families that our transfer students come from - Fremont, Livermore, Pleasanton and Union City.
Why should all Sunol residents pay a Pleasanton assessment? We are not able to vote on Measure G.
Posted by (the other) NO ON G, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 10:03 am
Either way we look at it...
We are sooooooooo screwed!
A big thanks to PUSD, the board (Val, Jimmy, Pat, Jamie & Chris) the teachers union, Cal. NEA, the Governator & all you gullible taxpayers who just can't wait to throw more gasoline (er..money) on this fire!
Posted by Pleasantonian, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 11:07 am
Look at the parcel tax as being insurance for everyone in our community: to keep property values at or near their current level and to keep our neighborhood crime rate low.
Typically as drop out rates increase, communities see an increase in crime rate. If students aren't in school, where do they go and what will they be doing?
Families without kids, and those with kids in private schools or who are homeschooled also should realize their propery values are affected.
The state legislators screwed up- but making the future of the kids in our community bear the results is immoral. All students deserve a good education and a safe learning environment. Don't take that away from them.
What does our community deserve? Vote Yes on G -insure a positive future for all in our community!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 11:20 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
And where does it say that the programs funded by Measure G cause property values to stay high? Property values are related with test scores.
If I want my tax money as insurance for my property value, I want it to be spent on something that makes test scores high. Where's the study that shows that more counselors, more librarians, more music, smaller class sizes increase test scores?
Posted by ...Really?, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 11:22 am
1) Increased global warming
2) Food shortages
3) Bee hive depletion
4) Civil unrest
5) Bad hair days
6) Middle class neo-con yuppie riots
7) Cat's & dog's living together
$20 says $233 a family or $20,000 a family will not make a lick of difference. They will come to us again in 3-5 years asking for more money for the slightly different reason & you all will gladly open your wallets & give whatever they want.
It's not for the children, it's for the administration. "For the children" just makes it easier to sell
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 11:26 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Back in the 80s, Pleasanton was known for quality schools. Without knowing the test scores from that time, we can at least assume that the test scores were relatively high if people bought homes in Pleasanton because of the schools back then too. We didn't have CSR. So CSR is probably not a program that increases test scores.
Posted by DaveM, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm
Stacey - the current testing format (and therfore test scoreswere not in place back in the 80s. The current mandated (by the feds) tests are part of NCLB instituted in 2001 (and are under funded as originally promised). There were other various tests given.
CSR has been shown in several studies to be effective. How much is certainly debateable and is it really worth the money would be the biggest question.
Posted by DaveM, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm
"$20 says $233 a family or $20,000 a family will not make a lick of difference. They will come to us again in 3-5 years asking for more money for the slightly different reason & you all will gladly open your wallets & give whatever they want."
I'm confused, how much was the parcel tax you were paying 3-5 years ago? You imply that the district just keeps asking for more money, yet this district is the only one in the area that currently does NOT have a parcel tax.
Posted by DaveM, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm
"Where's the study that shows that more counselors, more librarians, more music, smaller class sizes increase test scores?"
Have you checked the Tennessee and California studies? Simple fact in the studies is that after class size reduction scores went up. Yes, there are issues and some will say the data is inclusive (which you can read for yourself).
Again, does this mean CSR at all costs? Where is the most benefit for what we can afford? That is the big question.
Of course test scores themselves are questionable, but the fact is that when compaing schools its the only tool that many people use.
Posted by DaveM, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm
"I think those of us that are voting No and still planning on "contributing" to the classroom directly, should do so and stop discussing it...I think lots of us are.
All we need is the Board to get a heads-up and pass some rule that teachers are compelled to hand over any funds they receive from parents to the money-hungry administration. Let's just zip it."
GOOD ADVICE! There is already rumors of this - money donated to a classroom needs to stay in the classroom. Also, one way around this (if the school or district tries to take the money) is with gift cards - much harder for the district to put into their "pool".
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm
I believe there's no choice. We will see more layoffs, and pay cuts, in the next month.
Even if measure G passes, it only yields $4.58 million per year. The budget cuts are $16.5 million. Minus $8.1 million in federal stimulus. Still $8.4 million in the hole. Measure G only closes half the gap.
We need layoffs, other cuts (like those that have already been made), and pay cuts. AND measure G.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Hey DaveM -
You're asking some good questions, and I like the idea of gift cards.
As far as the "I'm confused, how much was the parcel tax you were paying 3-5 years ago? You imply that the district just keeps asking for more money, yet this district is the only one in the area that currently does NOT have a parcel tax."
You are correct, partly. We passed Bond "Measures" A and B for salary increases and building/structural improvments, in the 90's (1997?) that racheted up our property taxes to fund the school district. It is a permanent fixture and does not expire as far as I understand (realtor explained when we moved to the area in 99). The average current parcel tax is approx $833, or so I've been informed.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 2:30 pm
The "choice" is to vote no and restructure things. We need to freeze salaries (I don't think a cut is necessary - I'm open to hearing if they are...)
But the first year of the tax alone, the kids will only see 4.58MM LESS 1.5MM (actual revenue in 3MM)
The second year the district will only see 4.58MM LESS 3.0MM (actual revenue in 1.58MM)
The third year the district will only see 4.58MM LESS 4.5MM (actual revenue in .03MM)
And the fourth year, the district will be in the hole for 4.55 MM.
Why? Where is all the money going each year? To honor salary increases, AKA S&C.
There is no way.
We need to find the better way, and as others have said, until the DO gets honest and real and admits the real problem; it's tough.
I have a masters degree and I the only CSR I ever saw was after school at my house when my mom cracked a whip and said I couldn't go outside to play until all my homework was done...AND CHECKED BY HER.
The classroom situation is only half of the story. If a parent is too lazy to take care of their kids learning needs, and just wants to write a check to guarantee CSR, then go to the private schools in the area. The rest of us are going to dig in and get this right.
Rumor or not, I don't care in what capacity, retirement or resignation: Dr. Casey, either way...you need to move on. This community will not get past this until you are gone.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I did look at the Tennessee STAR study. It showed more children passing the standardized test, not test scores increasing. (The actual study I'm referring to is a follow-up to Tennessee STAR which tracked lingering effects of CSR in an 8th grade standardized test with students who had participated in STAR.) Which California study are you referring to?
Overall, your questions about CSR were exactly my questions back in January. I think there isn't the right data to make a decision. There doesn't seem to have been any cost-benefit analysis of it. I'm not convinced of CSR, but it _is_ a program many parents value regardless. The District has been given flexibility by the State to save some money with CSR without being kicked out of the funding program and if it comes down to it, they can exercise those options. They should have salary discussions first before doing that I think though. "Kids First", no?
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Willow West neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm
In 4 years the district will be so dependent on Measure G money that they will have to make some drastic cuts when the 4 years are over. Or we have to continue paying. Better to make the cuts now than to postpone them, as painful as it might be. Then when/if the economy turns around and more money comes from the State we will be in a good position.
Posted by parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on May 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm
Sorry, we throw these acronyms out too much. LAO is the California Legislative Analyst's Office. Here is the description of the LAO from their website (www.lao.ca.gov):
The Legislative Analyst's Office has been providing fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature for more than 65 years. It is known for its fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analyses of the state budget. The office serves as the "eyes and ears" for the Legislature to ensure that the executive branch is implementing legislative policy in a cost efficient and effective manner.
Posted by Maaaark, a resident of the Beratlis Place neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm
Yes, there are many valid reasons to vote No (or yes) on measure G, but to state that the district is just lying to everyone to try to get more money is ridiculous. The state of CA is in trouble and a large expense come from education. The budget is being cut by huge amounts in every district in the state. If you can identify any district that is not laying off teachers (and does not have a parcel tax) I'd like to know, but I have yet to find one.
Its ugly and its going to be for a long time. There are going to be many teacher layoffs and many more students in every classroom (outside of CSR affected rooms and measure G) - that's just the reality. Yes, we could ask for the teachers to take a pay cut, then what happens next year, when the state cuts more money? More teacher pay cuts? You can't cut the wages below minimum wage....then what?
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm
The reason the State is in the current situation is because the legislators spent every dime on new programs when the economy was going great. No different than a family buying lots of things on credit cards because their salary keeps going up and they can keep pulling money from their home equity line of credit. We all knew that the housing escalation of prices could not continue to go up at the same rate forever. Now that the economy has pulled back, the state is left holding the bag. I was personally in favor of the spending cap part of 1A but not the increased tax extensions. Since the legislators cannot control themselves from spending, I hope there is another initiative on the ballot that can actually put some real budget practices for our legislatures to follow. This can, and should, be done without increased taxes. We need to live within our means and control spending in good times. Actually, the best thing we could do is bring back the Gann Limit. That worked out good while it was there but it was removed without anybody really knowing about it as part of the fine print from another initiative for transportation.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on May 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm
I also have to agree with "No on G" above who said "In 4 years the district will be so dependent on Measure G money that they will have to make some drastic cuts when the 4 years are over. Or we have to continue paying. Better to make the cuts now than to postpone them, as painful as it might be."