Parcel Tax Election 2010 Schools & Kids, posted by Four Eyes, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm
Something to think about for those still deciding on how to vote on Measure G, and seeking opinions of those not adamantly against taxes in general.
Let's make the assumption that Measure G does not pass in next week's election. However, due to one-time federal funds, and additional district budget cuts, CSR and a few other programs are retained for next year.
In the coming year, the district will be forced to make additional cuts, freeze salaries at the district office, and possibly renegotiate with the certified and classified unions leaving reserves still at an all time low. Budget for 2009-2010 is created and adopted.
Fast forward a year from now. The national economy is only just coming up from the bottom, but unemployment is still high and the State budget mess continues. With nothing left to trim from the budget, PUSD once again goes to the electorate for a parcel tax.
I am wondering since the parcel tax failed in 2009, what will lead it to pass in 2010? The support of Kay Ayala and Steve Brozosky? The support of the people on this forum? The resignation of the Board and Dr. Casey?
If the parcel tax fails in 2009, then what could lead to it's passage in 2010?
Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm tax revolt 2 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Many writers have pointed out the $15M in accumulated (4 years) automatic salary increases in the district/union negotiated contracts. Or the flexibility in CSR ratios. These and other solutions are currently off the table.
These same writers have suggested that freezing step (not column) increases would win their support. Others have said that a 5 or 10% salary reduction would win their support.
Others have suggested a more thorough and transparent community dialogue that prioritizes programs/services, and allows the Budget Advisory Committee to really advise on the budget.
Others have suggested instituting teacher/staff performance management and removing tenure/seniority union rules.
Others have suggested merit pay to reward the best teachers.
Are these enough to encourage voters to hit the pause button on this version of a parcel tax and allow for a better solution in a year's time? I certainly hope so.
Posted by NO ON G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 10:06 pm
Your question has been asked and answered a number of times.
Many who oppose the tax oppose it because the ballot language is not specific about what it will provide and what it will not provide and the district has not eliminated all the waste in the budget.
There are some who oppose the idea of a tax if it frees up funds that will then be used to support PUSD raises.
Many have said they would support a parcel tax if it were clearly defined as to what it will provide and not provide, or the district cuts wasteful spending or no raises are given during the duration of the tax, or any combination of these factors.
There are some posters who appear to be against any new taxes.
There are also some unfortunate people who have said they cannot afford the tax.
Different posters have different reasons for not supporting Measure G.
But you are not really asking a legitimate question are you? You're just posting an opinion but trying to frame it as a question.
Posted by Peter, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm
I believe the original post for this question sums up this whole parcel tax mess. This is not the time for a stop-gap measure, at the cost to the community. Yes are schools are important, but do you really think that the district has done enough to solve this problem. What happens if the state cuts class size programs, will the parcel tax be enough to save that program? It is rumoured that Dr. Casey is retiring at the end of next year. Let's see what new leadership can do first, before the tax payers take on the burden of poor management.
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 8:46 am
I don't support measure G because I haven't seen a responsible, long-range strategy that addresses the many issues raised by citizens before and during this debate. The measure feels like a shoot-aim-ready scheme in which we, the taxpayers, are asked to provide money before a spending plan has been developed. Times have changed. We are all feeling the crunch. PUSD is being asked to step up to the plate and provide strategic leadership for the benefit of our community. They are not being asked to find ways to maintain the status quo. I don't and can't support measure G for these reasons and urge others to hold PUSD accountable for a thoughtfully conceived strategy for our community schools without dropping millions of dollars in their slippery hands.
Posted by Tanner, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 9:20 am
I'm voting No on G for several reasons similar to what's been mentioned above. Its also upsetting to know in these harsh economic times that the teachers unions had this election placed on a seperate ballot at the cost of a whopping $300,000 to the Pleasanton residents. sneaking it on a seperate Jue 2nd ballot hoping to get low voter turn out to pass with the 55 percent vote...anyone with any common sence left for this city will vote NO on G!!! G=GREED. Vote NO on G, For the truth about G visit www.pleasantonparceltaxinfo.com.
Posted by erryja, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on May 29, 2009 at 10:59 am
Well said by Tanner and Ken. The system needs to be restructured and new leadership.
Don't worry about the class sizes, if you really look into this you will find it is not a real threat.
Students in our Pleasanton system will tell you there are some good teachers but the % of "BAD" teachers need to be addresed .
Too mant times I have heard that students go to these teachers for help and the sarcastic response intimidates the students. Our students have a lot to do with thier own learning accomplishments as a result of Community ( parent- driven) motivation for the students to do well.
So don't be intimidated by the fact that student/teacher ratios will change.
Posted by Brad, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 11:09 am
Yes on G
You no on G people are all cutting off your nose to spite your face. The simple fact of the matter is that we all enjoy home values that are on average $150k to $200k higher for the exact same home in Livermore or Dublin. The main reason for this home value advantage over our two neighboring cities is that we have had the perceived and real (up till now) stronger/better school district over the last 25 years.
Simply google "home values and strong school districts" and every article / study relating to community's with real or percieved strong school districts all support "higher" home values.
This $233 tax is not a tax in my opinion - it is an investment in the value of my home - which I selfishly would like to maintain as best I can in this current economic environment. The last thing I want is for our school district to go into the crapper because no on g people are stubborn and bullheaded and shortsighted.
You are not going to change the way the Teachers Union does things by voting no - if you want change to the Teachers Union you need to go after the people in Sacramento that run / decide things on the Teacher's union.
The fact of the matter is that our current School Trustees and Mgmt have done a pretty good job in managing our school district. There is a reason why we are currently considered one of the top school districts in No. Calif. If we had incompetent people running the distrtict we would not be a top performing school district and our home values would not be $150k to $200 higher for the same home in Dublin and Livermore.
I guarantee you this - If G fails and Pleasanton School district has to make even further cuts and has to go to 25 or even 30 kids to 1 in the K-3 program and our niegbors in Dublin and Livermore are able to maintain k-3 programs that have ratio's of 20-1. I guarantee you that New homeowners with young families looking to buy a new home in the Tri-Valley will look to Livermore and Dublin first before Pleasanton. And take the $150k to $200k savings and place their kids in a better teaching environment. I know I would if my kids were entering school.
The number one selling point for family's with kids coming to Pleasanton is our school district. It is not main street. It is not the mall - which with the new BART Station is going to attract more rift-raft.
My last point - some of you No on G people are also whining about the PTown Teachers earning too much money - Well I do not know exactly all the facts here, but I think they are paid slightly more than teachers in Livermore and Dublin, but I also know that they have to pay for their own benefits - which if they do not have a spouse who works that has a "paid for" benefits program - then they get killed on benefits cost.
I actually would like PTown to have higher paid teachers - the higher paid teachers you have the better teachers you are able to higher - Which in turn helps you have a better school district.
I know for a fact (My niece applied for a teachers job in Ptown 7 years ago) There were 97 applicants for her job in Ptown. She also applied in Livermore - there were only 30 something applicants - roughly 2/3's less applicants for the Livermore job. Well guess what district got the best / most qualifed candidate for that teaching position - Pleasanton.
The fact of the matter is that Pleasanton has been able to hire the cream of the crop over the last 15 to 20 years - over Livermore and Dublin. Every Pleasnaton school is stacked with a fair number of excellent teachers.
No on G is going to wipe out a lot of excellent teachers in Pleasanton.
I am a part owner of company that employs 300 people in the Bay
Area - I'm the first one to agree with all the No on G people that things have to be run efficiently. People should be held accountable.
The best employee's we have are our highest paid.
Well I pose this question to No of G peole - especially Ayala and Brozonky - If no on G fails and our Pleasanton School Districts has too make further drastic cuts and we lose much needed program. We lose some great young teachers. We lose the 20-1 ratio in K-3.
And Livermore and Dublin school districts going forward start to become a better more viable option - And new young home owners begin looking to buy there first instead of Pleasanton - And our $150k to $200k edge we have in home values begings to evaporate over time over Livermore and Dublin.
Will Aylala and Brozoky and the other No on G people pay me the $$$ money I lose on my home value over the next 5 to 10 years ?
It will be a heck of lot more than $233 per year for 4 years.
$233 per year for 4 years is not a tax - it is an invesment in my real estate home value - plain and simple.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm
Good schools are important, but not just because of property values. Families (including mine) move here for the schools. We looked at several places before making the decision to buy here in Pleasanton. We were attracted mostly to the schools, and yes, it is nice to also have the community, the parks, the downtown, the whole package, but being people who work in Silicon Valley, the main attraction for us were the schools. We are willing to put up with the commute because the schools are excellent.
We ruled out Livermore and Dublin because of their schools - they are not schools we would want to send our kids to.
We would not have bought a house here had the schools not been as great as they are now.
We have kids in school and yes, not everything is perfect. I was in the beginning, skeptical about a parcel tax, but after doing some research, I fully support Measure G. This is an excellent school district, and I hope people support Measure G.
Posted by Marie, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm
I am so tired of PUSD screaming that the sky is falling and every time they find some money some where. The only way I will vote yes on G is if Mr Casey takes a pay cut and the teachers get no raise as long as we are paying for measure G. Mr Casey you only have 3 days to make this offer.
Posted by Measure G - Phone-Banker, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm
Thank you Brad! I have been too busy phone-banking for Measure G to post. If Dublin, Livermore, and San Ramon keep their class sizes small and Pleasanton class sizes go up to 30:1 in K-3, then young families will look for housing outside of Pleasanton. Pleasanton's great API scores and small class sizes attract many young families to Pleasanton, keeping the demand for housing high in Pleasanton.
Vote Yes on G, because "It is the Right thing to Do!"
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm
From a former certificated (read: teacher salaried employee) professional, please take it from me folks, that the teachers only have their interests at the heart of this measure passing.
Just because they are a teacher, does not mean they are a reputable source for information.
In my personal experience during a presedential campaign as an employee, we were asked to phone bank also. At a phone bank traing, the union leadership was asked how parents feel afer talking to a teacher. The union president stepped up and commented, "Parents trust teachers. They'll more often than not trust what you say over any commerical or mailing."
Heads-up people, the Unions do not respect you as a human. They just want your money. Why else would they be so invested in polical action committees. Feel free to Google how much the CTA/NEA contributed to the Obama election. Do you research and make informed decisions - I for one believe you are more than capable and you don't need a teacher to tell you that!
Posted by Brad, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 1:31 pm
My comment about the "The best employee's we have are our highest paid employee's" - was refering to my company that I am a part owner of. We pay our top people well.
This comment was in reference to the fact that I like the fact that Pleasanton as whole has higher paid teachers. And to the fact that over the last 15 to 20 years because of higher teachers pay - Pleasatnon receives double and sometimes triple the number of applicants for teaching positions than Dublin or Livermore - which directly correlates with being able to higher better / more qualified teachers - the cream of the crop.
What I stated in my earlier response was based on "common sense" - I help run a successful (thank god) business in the Bay Area which employs 300 people. We base all are decisions on good "common sense" and try not to get bogged down on the "nitpicking" items that effect all business's.
You no G people are "nitpicking" on where the money is going, etc. - Let me tell you something - it's going to save jobs, it's going to save programs - most importantly it will keep our school district strong.
If you are worried and concerned about the mgmt of the school district making good decisions and allocating the money properly - As I stated earlier - there is a reason we currently have one of the top ranked school districts in No Cal - it did not happen with having incompent people running the show.
Quit nitpicking and help our school district - the Pleasanton School district has more than helped you with your current home value. And if you had kids in the district then your kids most likely got a great education as well.
My whole selfish argument has been about helping my own home value - at the end of the day - the most important thing about measure G - is helping the current and future kids in our school district.
Posted by be accurate and truthful, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 29, 2009 at 5:40 pm
I don't think it's nit-picking by anyone to want specific information about how taxpayer money is being spent.
If you go to your local gym to hire a personal trainer, and the gym management tells you the cost is $100 per session, don't you ask how long each session is?
If you go to a restaurant and you're told dinner is a set price of $25 per person, don't you ask what the dinner includes and how big the portions are?
If the guy you hired to take care of your yard comes to you and says you now need him to pay $300 a month, and he gives you a new contract, but it doesn't say what he's going to do for that $300, just that he provides gardening services, don't you think that if he's asking you for more money, he should give you some guarantee that you will not be getting any less services than you had before?
It's not nit-picking to expect the school board and administration to provide specific details about what the parcel tax will provide.
There is no vagueness in the ballot language when it comes to how much money the district wants and for how long. When it comes to the taxpayers' responsibility on Measure G, the district is able to be quite specific. When it comes to their responsibility, they chose to be vague.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on May 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm
Let me count the ways. 10% cut 4 Administrators/Superintendent. Serious talk about seniority & tenure cut, use merit pay, less non-education politics & union activity. Stop using the kids as protestors & political campaigners to parents....like union kids or kids of divorced parents caught in middle. Help us lobby to cut all the much too generous programs for illegals. Teachers could help us but refuse, & choose the illegals. That means speaking up to CTA & union meetings..they just want to increase their own headcount for MORE DUES !! GREEDY ACTIVISTS ! ...has NOTHING to do with EDUCation of our children.,
Everybody was fat & sassy last year. In most of our homes, the ones left with jobs, have been reduced with pay cuts. If we earn less, we have less to spend. That's the way it is.
Posted by Kent and Annie, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on May 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm
Thank you, Brad, for your valid points.
Too bad many are blinded. They can't see the reality that an integral infrastructure of our society- our schools, are crumbling down due to the unfortunate economic tragedy that has befallen our nation. Schools, universities, state colleges, private and public ALL OVER are commonly undergoing hardships. And no, it's not because they were managed by Dr. Casey, or because they are part of the CTA, or because they have the Board that we do!
There are many other causes and advocacies my family and I can participate in. We choose to save our neighborhood schools because our schools need us now more than ever.
My friends and I, our whole block and our church group are all voting YES on Measure G.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on May 31, 2009 at 9:48 pm
Whether G passes or not, the war is lost. Cut, cut, cut, cut.... government sector including teachers will NOT continue to suck off of the private sector. The money is not there and is not coming back...
Posted by Stealth Pro-G, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:03 am
Here's a little secret that only now I feel I can say. We have a son & daughter in middle school, a "Yes on G" sign in our front yard, a yes on G soaped on our van & a neighborhood of families with like minded (or so we thought) attitudes.
At a weekend gathering it finally came out that well over 80% of our neighbors have their signs in their yards & cars just because they don't want to be seen as anti-child & anti-school & they will all be voting NO on G. Pretty sad if you ask me that for the past 2-3 months we've all been dancing around this issue at birthday parties, our kids sporting events & school functions & nobody has had the nerve to speak up on this. It truly was a cleansing of sorts when we all came to the realization that we were against this & didn't mind saying so.
Oh, btw...all the signs in our yards & cars were gone as of this morning. Way to go neighbors, now it's Pleasanton's turn to come out of the closet & vote NO on G!
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:21 am
Educating our population is far too important to rely on the largesse of the "well-off" to fund our schools. Additionally, our schools are already assisted by private industry through fundraisers and donations, and we already know how private industry is suffering financially in the current climate.
I'll say it again - this measure is proposed to offset cuts in funding from the state. Again - the state is cutting funding to the district. It is not because the district recklessly mismanaged funds. Surrounding communities have already passed parcel taxes, before this economic crisis even started. PUSD has managed to function at an extremely high level of excellence without the benefit of a voter-approved parcel tax, until now.
We have all benefitted from PUSD being and excellent district and now that the district (read: our students) needs some help trying to fill a gap in funding, they are labelled fiscally irresponsible and other, worse things.
P.S. West Side Observer - API scores won't go down in "retaliation." They are based on student perfomance supported by our excellent programs, teachers, and services. If they go down, it will be because 1/3+ of the voters in Pleasanton voted against supporting our schools through this funding measure.
Posted by Four Eyes, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:36 am
When I first posted this, I was thinking that if the parcel tax didn't pass this year, then it had less of a chance to pass next year, assuming that the amount is the same and the economy hasn't changed that much.
If changes at the district have been made to decrease expenditures, there are still a large number of people that will vote no regardless. They may be anti any tax measure, may not have the funds to support the tax, lost an income, etc.
I can't really imagine that next year voters will pass a tax that already failed once. And that will be with the support of those against the tax that may have had their goals (reduced costs) met.
My opinion is that we should take a leap of faith in voting yes for Measure G since the alternative could possibly be worse.
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm
How are Dublin and Livermore going to improve their schools compared to Pleasanton when they are not trying to pass parcel taxes and I assume they are receiving the same cutbacks from the state as we are. Quit trying to win an argument without presenting all the facts. The problem, besides having a terrible union negociator, is Sacramento taking the education portion of property taxes we pay and funding everything but schools. MAKE THEM DO THEIR JOB and DON'T RAISE MY TAXES. No on G.
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Dublin and Livermore residents have already passed parcel taxes, so they can already rely on the more stable funding source. As you stated, "Quit trying to win an argument without presenting all the facts."
West Side Observer,
Your response to my comment regarding API scores is really a shame. To take the example of a spelling bee and use it to illustrate our entire district's API scores the way you just did is utterly over the top in so very many ways.
Again, people don't "retaliate" with lowered API scores. That doesn't even make any sense.
Posted by Bill Lathlean, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm
People who say they have no children in school therefore there is nothing for them to gain by the parcel tax aren't thinking. Everyone in a society benefits either directly or indirectly from the education of its members.
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm
I'll be satisfied when our schools are consistently and sufficiently funded at a level to continue the educational excellence we currently see in the PUSD.
I was simply commenting on how odd it is that people would go to such lengths to pretend to support something they are actually opposed to. I've neither seen nor felt that kind of pressure from G supporters. I just think it's appropriate to give both perspectives on the perception of this pressure. I don't want G supporters to be characterized incorrectly.
Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:41 pm
Over the top is ďnegotiatingĒ unsustainable wage and benefits packages. Over the top is Educrats who think only money will solve our school problems. Over the top is test scores that do not measure up to like communities around the bay. Over the top is believing your own press.
Well, if you do not appreciate my spelling bee comment, Iím sure you will not like it that the We the People teams (at Foothill and Amador) are an interesting and, of course, diverse group. Read the names.
Tomorrow we should ask our teachers to present economics 101 to our students. ďDonít spend more than we take in.Ē
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm
You seem to have a whole set of issues that preclude you making a clear discussion of this measure.
Because I feel the need to give correct information,
1. Part of shoring up the funding gap includes concessions by district employees. Let us remember that the state is cutting funding for education.
2. Educrats is a loaded term, so let's refer to them as educational administrators. They clearly don't believe only money will solve our schools' problems. Show me an administrator who doesn't advocate for parent involvement, sufficient services, and innovative teaching methods. While some of that does actually cost money, a lot of it does not.
3. Our test scores do measure up to like communities around the bay.
4. It is perfectly reasonable for two people to look at the argument for Measure G and come up with differing opinions. That doesn't mean the yes voter is "believing his own press." The same could easily be said of the reverse.
Your Econ 101 lesson cannot be applied so directly when referring to spending cuts to education in a society that has elected to provide a public education system for its citizens.
I won't address your continued commentary regarding "diversity," as I feel it is inappropriate to the discussion.
Posted by West Side Observer, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm
In addition to fiscal irresponsibility, the school district has obfuscated and dissembled our educational success. We are only mediocre. We can do better. And now we must do better with fewer dollars.
School folks only want parent involvement in volunteering and funding situations. Otherwise, parents are a nuisance that must be side stepped. Teachers are arrogant street fighters who have all of the answers and a mighty union backing their every utterance.
What spending cuts? Teachers must expect to have salaries and benefits cutónot two days off, not a shorter school year. Teachers have the pink slip issue and class size reduction in their hands. They can take pay cuts and save their fellow teachers and continue with 20 to a classroom or say goodbye to some of their teachers and prepare to teach to 30 or so students in the fall.
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm
You offer no factual basis for your first point. I would encourage you to look at the most recent API scores, released late last month. They are readily available for your perusal on many different sites and offer unbiased comparisons with other districts.
Your second point is blatantly ridiculous. Quite a broad brush you're using there. You do yourself and your cause a disservice with your highly biased, negative, and unfounded comments.
As to your third point, two days off and a shorter school year is a reduction in pay, just as many people have pointed out the private sector is doing in this difficult economic climate. There are also additional concessions that have been offered by the district staff.
The population that PUSD serves is not being reduced. Its funding is. It's a basic math equation. Measure G helps offset that funding reduction.
Posted by G is for Great!, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:54 pm
You can all say what you want but the real reason you will vote no is because you are angry, hopeless and bitter people.
It's not the fault of the district that the state made a big fat mess. You want them to "live within their means" that's fine, just do not expect the same level of service. This is not a company, not an industry. There is NEVER enough money to educate all these kids in the best possible way.
Look at how much a real - non religious - private school costs. Waaay more than the state funds for these public school kiddies. So you get what you pay for. You want top notch professional people teaching your kids you gotta pay for it. Otherwise vote no on G. The world will go on just fine, Pleasanton will not cease to exist but it will be different. We will send a big fat message to the world and our kids that we do not want them to have the best!
My kids have been moved from Quarry Lane to PUSD and I feel they are getting a better education. Seems reasonable that we fund it a little better. I know we are asked for donations and we do a lot as a parent community to support PUSD but believe me at the private schools where you pay for everything plus gigantic tuition you are not guaranteed better results. My students are happier and learning so much more here at PUSD. I would hate to see that quality decline.
Posted by G is for Great!, a resident of the Carlton Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm
"It's not the State's fault that the District abandoned a goal of a 7% reserve nor is it the State's fault that the District hired more counselors without identifying sustainable funding for that."
Like I said, it's all needed plus some. You get what you pay for. We hire these people to help our kids or we don't just don't cry and complain when eventually the decrease in quality education translates into lower property values, crime and a decreased quality of life here in lovely Pleasanton.