OPINION: 'Vote No on Measure G' Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Jun 1, 2009 at 7:32 am
Proponents of Measure G cite Class Size Reduction (CSR) as the most significant argument for implementation of a parcel tax. What they downplay, however, is that Pleasanton schools will receive $8.1 million in federal stimulus money to directly offset state cuts to education, prevent layoffs and save CSR.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 1, 2009, 5:42 AM
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Valley Trails neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:21 am
On May 19th, voters rejected a proposal to stabilize education funding at the state level.
The federal stimulus package is a one-time contribution and a short-term solution.
Our community needs to take funding for our schools into our own hands. Measure G provides an extremely reasonable, consistent funding solution for the next four years for our schools. Measure G will help soften inevitable cuts to education at the state level. It will take some time for the state to work it's way out of this economic situation. Through the combination of "givebacks" at the administrative and teaching levels, funding by Measure G, and unfortunately, some cuts in employees and services, Pleasanton schools will be better able to weather this economic storm.
Please take some time to review the API scores from our district to see the fantastic results of the efforts of our schools and students. It is an investment well worth making.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:30 am
If you have issues with administration numbers or salary, teacher salarries, or any other spending issues, voting No on G won't change that. If you really want change, run for school board, defeat the current members and set the salaries and the numbers of administrators.
Posted by tax revolt 2, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:43 am tax revolt 2 is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Bob - PSUD Board of Trustees are empowered to set "administration numbers or salary, teachers salaries, or any other spending issues". That is their job, that is what they were elected to do. They have proposed a solution that some say is not sufficient. Voting NO on G will let them know that they are to come up with a better solution. Many solution components have been offered in various forums over the last few months.
Just like the CA voters sent a message to CA leaders to do the job right, so, Pleasantonians can send that same message to the PUSD Board. Send that message NOW and send it HARD. The Board will be forced to make those hard decisions NOW. We won't have to wait for another election cycle (or two) to vote them out.
Posted by Tim, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:57 am
All Pleasanton Residents - those for and against Measure G have benefited from their home values being worth on ave $150,000 more than for the exact same home in Livermore and Dublin.
The primary reson for this real estate "value" advantage over Livremore and Dublin is because we have had the better school district.
The Pleasanton School District has been considered one of the stronger school districts in Northern Calif for the last 20 years.
The Number 1 reason a community has a higher Real Estate Value than a neigboring community is because of a strong / well run school district. Every Real Estate study backs this Fact.
"The community's with well run strong school districts support HIGHER Real Estate Values VS the community's who do not have well run / strong school districts."
If measure G fails the Pleasanton School district will begin to detoriate. Many excellent young teachers will be laid off. Additional programs will be cut. K-3 will go from 20-1 to potentially 25-1 or 30-1.
If Livermore and Dublin school districts are able to "even the score" or close the gap on the Pleasanton School District in terms of quality programs, qualtiy teachers, and maintaining their 20-1 ratio's in the K-3 programs.
Young families looking to move to the Tri Valley will begin to look to Livremore and Dublin 1st and save the $150,000 on home price for the first time in the last 20 years.
If I had young kids and was deciding on where to move - I would not buy my home in Pleasanton - if Livermore and Dublin had 20-1 ratio's in the k-3 programs and Pleasanton did not. I would take the $150,000 savings in my home and put my young kids in a better teaching environment of 20-1.
A child's for four years of school set the tone many times of how well they do over time with school. K-3 years are critical for children.
Pleasanton Home Values will lose a greater percentage of value - Livremore and Dublin will close the Real Estate Gap - they will close the quality of School district gap.
If Measure G Fails - there are two losers - First and Foremost - THE CHILDREND OF PLEASANTON.
Second, The HOME Owners of Pleasanton. Over the next 5 to 10 years our home values will not have the increase they could have had with a floundering school district that will badly need money. Money to keep the high quality young teachers that have been hired in the last 5 years. Money to keep the high quality programs. ETC.
I am against tax's like most people. But, in my opinion this is not a TAX. This is an investment in the Children of Pleasanton. It is an investment in the VALUE of MY HOME.
The $233 for four years will be a lot less than the Real Estate Value that I lose over the nest 5 to 10 years because our School district cannot maintain Qualtiy School programs and Quality young teachers.
VOTE Yes on G - Save my Real Estate Value. Give the the Children of Plesanton the right to a quality education.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:05 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I'm sorry, Tim, but I have a real hard time buying your example of comparing Dublin and Livermore to Pleasanton. When you're trying to compare school district quality as a factor in home values between two communities, EVERYTHING ELSE MUST BE EQUAL. That's called "controlling for variables". The demographics between Pleasanton and those two other cities are far from equal.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:28 am
I am voting No on G, because I already pay enough for property taxes. I am tired of when there is a money shortfall that is goes to the taxpayers to pay more. ENOUGH ALREADY! What's going to happen in the 4 years when Measure G expires, then they'll be another measure on the bill and they'll want more money. Housing values are already down in Pleasanton due to the ecomony. One reason Livermore and Dublin housing values are down is due to the large amounts of foreclosures, which luckily Pleasanton has escaped.
Everybody needs to tighten their belts, people are losing their jobs across the board, police and fire are good examples. Why should the schools be any different. Maybe the parents of the students should start coughing up the money for the extra curricular activity.
If I had my way I think the school should go year round. SEems like every other week there is a teacher work day. I think the teachers earn good money for only working 9 mos a year, they have 2 weeks vacation during the Christmas holidays, plus spring break. Not a bad gig.
Posted by Tim, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:34 am
It is a Real Estate Fact - Every Real Estate Study states that a community with a strong / well run school district supports "higher" real estate values than a cumminty that does not have a strong school district.
The number 1 reason a family with kids chooses a town to live in is -the qualtiy of school district. It is not main street. It is not a mall. Etc.
If Pleasanton school district begins to detoriate because it does not have the proper funding to maintain a quality school district. And Dublin and Livermore are able to maintain proper funding over Pleasanton. Livermore and Dublin will begin to surpass Pleasanton in terms of quality school districts.
You will begin to see for the first time in a long time - young families with kids looking to buy their Homes in Dublin and Livermore first, before Pleasanton.
If you had young kids and could save $150,000 for the exact same home in Dublin and Livermore. And could put your 5 year old kindergartener in a class with 20 students instead of a class with 30 students in Pleasanon. Where would you buy your home ? Most people based on Real Estate facts would choose Dublin or Livermore.
The gap on Real Estate values between the three cities will begin to close for the first time in 20 years.
Posted by Agree with Stacey, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:56 am
I agree with Stacey. There are too many other variables involved to objectively compare Pleasanton to Dublin or Livermore.
If quality of schools was the deciding factor, I would not have chosen Pleasanton over other communities. Commuting distance, crime rates, proximity of shopping, medical facilities, the charming downtown, great parks, bicycle lanes, the Senior Center - and of course housing prices made me choose Pleasanton.
I plan on living here long after my kids are out of school so I looked for a community that would work for my family when that family was just me and my spouse.
Posted by Rick, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:02 am
Some facts can't be dismissed:
1. The May ballot initiatives went down and, whether you wanted them to pass or not, the fact is that more cuts are coming.
2. If G does not pass - the same thing will occur here locally for our schools. More cuts will be required as the source of funding (the state) will not be sending more money…but less.
Schools are not a business - they can't raise more revenues (i.e.: price increase on their product), and they can't refuse 'service' to the kids that show up, or just close their doors or adjust business hours ……The kids are still here.
This state is impacted, and the kids in Pleasanton will be hurt even more, if G does not pass.
If you are upset with the way things have been handled to date, then please take that up at board meetings and have your voices heard and require accountability from those in charge.
But, to vote no to G at this time - there is no question in my mind that education will take a 'hit'…..and our children - here in Pleasanton - will be the target of that hit.
Posted by Big Poppa, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:45 am
For those who are for G will you send a check directly to the school system after it goes down in flames or are you going to be hypocrites? Don't forget that "its for the children" and "It's only 64 cents a day." And don't forget about Hope, Change, and Yes we can.
Posted by Bruce, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 11:46 am
When comparing Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore schools, don't forget to factor in that those schools are having the same cutbacks from Sacramento that we are. Take off your blinders and look at the whole picture. Sacrmento is so busy stealing money from the schools to pay off the special interests, that it is only going to get worse. Make Sacramento fund schools first and then if anything is left, then let them buy a vote or two.
Also every election we pass several bond issues to keep the environmentalists and other do gooders happy without thinking that those general obligation bonds are paid out of the general fund that also pays for schools. What percentage of the general fund is now being used to pay these bonds?
It is time to make the voters pass a test before they are granted the right to vote. Nobody knows exactly what they are voting for, and then complain that there is no money for schools. Please educate yourselves.
Posted by spend according to means, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm
If the board did its job, there would be no measure G.
The company I work for instituted an across the board 5% pay cut along with other programs to cut expenses. This has averted significant layoffs. No-one like taking a pay cut, but it much more palatable than a pink slip!
Why should PUSD employees enjoy protected incomes at our expense?
Stop saying "Think of the children" when what you really mean is "Think of the teachers pay raises".
Posted by KGM, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:39 pm
The other districts have already passed a parcel tax, so they have that stable source of funding they can rely on. And if you'll remember, the measures to stabilize funding for education at the state level failed last month.
Supporters of Measure G don't want our district to be at the whim of the problems occuring at the state level. That's the whole point.
Posted by Max, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm
Tim, I think you missed the news article a while back that announced Dublin (yes, even with their parcel tax) IS increasing class sizes!
Check the Valley Times. Sorry don't have time to do it myself. I think Livermore was planning the same because the state has reduced the penalties for increased numbers.
Sure 24 1st graders in a class isn't as desirable a 20 but it isn't that big of a difference in my mind. And yes, I have worked in those elementary classrooms so don't go there.
ALL districts across the state will be affected by cuts and Pleasanton already receives much more per student than most of our neighbors. PUSD is using this latest round of cuts as the "excuse du jour" to get a pot of additional monies. district leaders have been looking for a way to pass a parcel tax for years. But I am still saying NO. NO on G!
Posted by Sandy, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm
state grab -- There is a provision in the measure that makes it so that if collecting the measure ever puts the district in a "worse off" situation because collecting measure G funds would cause the district to become ineligible for state funds, or lose funds in some way, the measure would no longer be in effect.
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm
You asked, "How does it (the 8.1MM) cover the majority of the estimated shortfall?
The answer is it doesn't.
The point is that this parcel tax is not timed correctly. We need to "go through the books" (read: audit) at the distict and get an itemized list of costs and then make cuts. THIS will then allow for a solid picture of what the district really has.
THAT is why this is the wrong tax at the wrong time. What if things worsen and we actually need more money? What then? Return to up the need from the residents again?
This is too soon and this isn't about a position of funding a school district or not. We all want this district to thrive, but if we don't get this right, right now, we are really going to be in deep.
The one thing we have on our side is a a little more time - one year in fact to get our fiscal house in order.
That is why I am voting No on G and I hope you will consider that at the ballot box, no matter how you have lobbied for the measure. Let's not divide this community into those that are frustrated that we did nothing to really make things right. Let's vote down this measure this time and see what we can do to get it right!
Posted by No on G, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm
You said, "It is a Real Estate Fact - Every Real Estate Study states that a community with a strong / well run school district supports "higher" real estate values than a cumminty that does not have a strong school district."
PLEASE PROVIDE ANY LINK OF PROOOF OF YOUR 'FACT'.
You said, "Fact: The number 1 reason a family with kids chooses a town to live in is -the qualtiy of school district. It is not main street. It is not a mall. Etc.
Fact: If Pleasanton school district begins to detoriate because it does not have the proper funding to maintain a quality school district. And Dublin and Livermore are able to maintain proper funding over Pleasanton. Livermore and Dublin will begin to surpass Pleasanton in terms of quality school districts.
Fact: You will begin to see for the first time in a long time - young families with kids looking to buy their Homes in Dublin and Livermore first, before Pleasanton."
Tim, you presented "Facts", however speculation about the future is not a fact. It just isn't, even if you write the word "Fact" preceeding the statement.
I understand you strongly believe this, but there is no basis for these statements. You have no data, therefore you have no fact. A fact is based on verifyable evidence. You have none. You do have a strong opinion, but then identify it at that and stop trying to "convince" everyone of your opinion. It isn't working.
Those of us who have looked at the evidence and see by verifyable facts that this district has misspent our tax funds have had enough. We want reform before we want to pay more of our hard-earned money.
This is not difficult. If you are for Measure G, you strongly believe that more money makes a difference in a school district. If you are against Measure G, you strongly believe in responsible spending and not giving more until existing problems are rectified. Most citizens are for funding the district. Unfortuneatley, we are simply divided on the timing.
Posted by Vote No, a resident of the Pheasant Ridge neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm
I am going to vote No and agree with Tom; it's time to stop the insane over spending in California. Again, the teacher's unions are hard at work here trying to make us all feel guilty. I don't buy the arguments that education in Pleasnton will suffer by a major cut in staff. If it does; then will send my kids to a private school or home school them...it's not the amount anymore, its the principal. Great $8M from the Fed's...what exactly to they expect in return??
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm
I just love all the comments about how poorly the district is run and people can't believe what is happening. But you voted for the people that run these schools. There are very few people actually willing to step up and be on the school board, yet when difficult times come its seems there are thousands of people who could have done a better job.
I just hope that the next election for an open school board seat there are at least 20 names on the ballot if not 50 or 100 (instead of the usually default election where 2 people are running for 2 open seats - i think last election there was one more person running than open seats).
The school board meetings are public and held monthly, the budget and everything else is public. If the school has been operating so poorly in the past why didn't anyone step up and stop it?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Tim wrote: "It is a Real Estate Fact - Every Real Estate Study states that a community with a strong / well run school district supports "higher" real estate values than a cumminty that does not have a strong school district."
Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing against this idea. I think you've completely misunderstood my point. In all those studies that you mention, they control for all the other variables otherwise they wouldn't be worth their salt. EVERYTHING ELSE MUST BE EQUAL before you compare school quality as a housing price factor.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm
"they control for all the other variables otherwise they wouldn't be worth their salt. EVERYTHING ELSE MUST BE EQUAL before you compare school quality as a housing price factor."
That's what CONTROL means - you don't just ignore the other factors, you eliminate other influences (as much as possible) on price by adjusting the real price up or down based on those other factors until you can compare apples to apples. To say "everything else must be equal before you can compare" would basically eliminate 90% (yes, that's an estimated swag) of the scientific studies done in the world. For example - we wouldn't be able to say that smoking increases a persons risk of cancer because no two people (or animals) are are equal so that study would not apply to me or you.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm
Stacey - I may be misreading your post as I go back and read it again - to clarify, are you saying these studies are invalid in a comparison of say Dublin and Pleasanton because these towns are not "equal"?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
No, I'm saying that Tim can't offhandedly make some comparison between housing prices in Dublin and Livermore with Pleasanton and then say that's because of schools. Read what Tim wrote again, "their home values being worth on ave $150,000 more than for the exact same home in Livermore and Dublin. The primary reson for this real estate "value" advantage over Livremore and Dublin is because we have had the better school district."
Now, the first statement may be fact. But then he goes to say what the primary reason is with absolutely no data to back that up. That's not fact. That's his opinion. Unless he can show us he's controlled for the other variables and lets us know the ACTUAL home price premium due to school quality (it's probably not $150,000), his entire argument is based on opinion.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
If you can't afford an increase in property taxes (and maybe have difficulty affording your current property taxes), it doesn't matter if the premium is $150,000 or less than half of that if you lose your home.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm
Sandy, First, let’s keep in mind I wrote the piece over a week ago to meet the paper’s deadline, but even so, the federal funds are about half of current predicted shortfalls. Regardless, the federal funds are more than would have been provided by the first year of the parcel tax. And that buys us time to do this right, with systemic change.
As to looking at the books, I used information from the district and showed past issues that cripple the district today. And, yes, I called and emailed the board members—some of those responses quite heated—and my favorite response was, “we know it won’t pass.” Yet forward they marched without a thought as to why it won’t pass and what could be done to change that scenario.
LATER is what you get when you don’t think it all the way through the first time. That’s not this community’s fault; it rests with the board and the administration.
Posted by Rick, a resident of another community, on Jun 1, 2009 at 7:17 pm
As a real estate investor in Pleasanton (I live in Danville) - I agree with Tim.
Any real estate person worth his salt knows that financially sound and well run school districts have a direct correlation to better home real estate values.
My residential real estate investments over time in Pleasanton have done better than my Livermore real estate investments.
This is primarily due to the fact that over the years Pleasanton has had the better school district. More families in the past have been willing to pay more for their home in Pleasanton than Livermore.
I am a republican and dislike taxes, but I see this as an investment for my real estate in Pleasanton and hope that measure G passes.
I would think the "No" people would like to have their home values have a better chance of improving with a well funded school district.
One other point of contention for the people in Pleasanton is why Kathleen Ruesgeger is allowed to write an opinion on supporting "No" in the local Pleasanton paper. She has a personal axe to grind / personal vendetta against your superintendent Dr. John Casey.
She used to work for the PUSD and when Casey came on board she was either asked to either leave or politely inferred that she was no longer needed.
Unfortunately, she does not have your school district's best interest at heart.
Good luck Pleasanton. Your town is at a crossroads and the sad thing is that the ones most affected will be your current and future school children if measure G does not pass.
San Ramon rose to the challenge - it will be interesting to see if Pleasanton can do the same.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm
Hee hee, Come on already . . . take the community's children out, including my grandchild for some perceived notion you have about why I left seven years ago? Grow up and ask a real question. I'll answer it if I can.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:21 pm
"Guess you have not been around long enough to remember when Kathy Ruegsegger was on the school board. So she knows her subject."
Yes, in Palo Alto, where she currently works, there is a large parcel tax which is in fact specifically to pay for teachers salaries, CSR, etc. Not that Kathy had anything to do with the tax, but she comments about "I have seen what good school districts can be" and implies that PUSD is run poorly, but yet we must assume that she is talking about PAUSD with a $493 parcel tax.
"On June 7, 2005, voters approved a Measure A Parcel Tax assessment of $493 per parcel for six years. Parcel Tax funds allow Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) to pay higher salaries and to maintain current programs and targeted class size reduction."
I'm wondering what Kathy's school board tenure was like...does anyone have voting history or anything like that? What did she do so PUSD could avoid a situation like this that everyone else must have ignored?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm
Rick, No personal issue or vendetta--it's been seven years and I have a grandchild in the district. I still work in education and I do have the best interest of education at heart, including here--the 14.5% in unsustainable raises, not so much.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm
The biggest was CSR--K-5, read that correctly K-5. Not incorrect that salary improvement was part of it (again, before I got there, but I benefit). And yet, they are not keeping up with other districts on that side of the bay.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm
"The biggest was CSR--K-5, read that correctly K-5. Not incorrect that salary improvement was part of it (again, before I got there, but I benefit). And yet, they are not keeping up with other districts on that side of the bay."
Not sure what this means...are you saying that PAUSD even with a $493 parcel tax is not keeping up with other schools? And if that is what you are saying then PAUSD would seem to be a district that is not run well, correct?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm
Me Too, Let me try to get to all your questions.
We don't know the priorities because the district decided against a survey about support for a parcel tax (previous survey said the community would not support it), let alone a survey (Survey Monkey?) that asks specific questions (listed these before, but by example--do you support Counselors at 400:1 at a cost of $xxxxxxxx).
District web site: 2005-2008 raises of roughly and not in order 4, 5 and 6%. Sustainable with continued COLAs from the state and/or enrollment growth, neither of which happened.
No, I'm saying even with $493 per parcel, salaries in PAUSD are not the highest in the area. Could be the most recent API data changed the standing (haven't look at it myself yet), but I believe PAUSD has been the top K-12 district in the state by that measure.
Posted by Bottom Line, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm
The bottom line is the the top districts are better funded. PUSD is managed just fine (nobody was complaining prior to the financial meltdown). There just is not enough money to sustain the performance we have been enjoying in the years past. This is the beginning of the end of PUSD.
Please look at some real data. Piedmont outspends PUSD by a great deal, and does not perform that much better. You can see though as our demographics change (look at Livermore) and our funding decreases we will be in an uphill battle.
Oakland spends just as much as Piedmont with a very different outcome likely as a result of much higher need. Since public schools are here to educate the masses we will need to spend more money to maintain our level of service.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm
"We don't know the priorities"
So you don't know the priorities, but you are sure what the district listed as priorities are not what the community wants????
"District web site: 2005-2008 raises of roughly and not in order 4, 5 and 6%."
Could you post the link to the district website on this info? I am having troubles finding this information.
"No, I'm saying even with $493 per parcel, salaries in PAUSD are not the highest in the area. Could be the most recent API data changed the standing (haven't look at it myself yet), but I believe PAUSD has been the top K-12 district in the state by that measure."
So what you are saying is that PAUSD needs a $493 parcel tax to score about 3-4% higher on than Pleasanton, yet Plesanton has been doing an extremely poor job of running the district.
I'm sorry, but your messages are a bit confusing, so forgive me if I am misinterpreting them.
For clarification, is Palo Alto a district your refer to when you say "I have seen what good school districts can be"? If not what district are you referring to?
Spend some time comparing districts. When you find districts of our size in California you will see that less money and different student demographics (ours are changing, wake up people!) equals educational disaster.
If we want to remain a top rated district it is not going to be free.
Posted by Harsh Reality, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:13 pm
The schools are doomed to suffer either way because of both the voters' and the teachers' unwillingness to pay for the deep pile of manure the state has landed in. And believe it or not, once the schools' API scores fall, your home prices WILL be affected. But of course, many of you have been in this city too long to even care since the price will always be higher than what you originally got it for. And so, in the end, it will be the students that truly pay for it. When Foothill and Amador cut out their extra period options, it becomes instantly harder for students to make up classes they have failed, and then the juvenile delinquents have to stay in this city longer. They will have to take classes at Las Positas or Ohlone once their time in high school is up, because somewhere in them, many have a tiny hope that they can at least get a high school diploma and get through life with a little dignity. They are human, after all. But that hope isn't enough to stop them from doing drugs in your neighborhoods' parks and playgrounds at night. This is the crisis of these specific teens today- they do want something in life. You are making it harder for them to reform by getting into a college and getting a job and living a proper life. Consequently, it will be our properties that will end up vandalized.
Or you can hope they will sign up for the military and die in combat. Maybe you can then support recruitment programs in our schools?
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm
"District web site: 2005-2008 raises of roughly and not in order 4, 5 and 6%."
The link you just sent me shows 5.7, 3.4 and 0% for the past 3 years note exactly 4, 5, 6 that you mentioned. (I'm sorry that I have not seen the link many many many times and still have misinformation)
"I'm sorry, don't see your web site for the 3-4% difference figure."
I'm sorry, I stand correct, its a 2.2% difference (895 vs 915)
"PAUSD engaged the community in setting priorities. PUSD did not."
First, that doesn't answer the question - the question was how do you know that the priorities of the community are not what the district has proposed (at PUSD) which you stated as fact earlier? Second - you said that the parcel tax was in place before you got to PAUSD, so how do you know exactly what took place - perhaps your hearing information from the office in which you work (administration).
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm
Kathleen - I must apologize - you did not say that the raises were in order nor did you say they included last year, so I guess you were correct, but then again I am correct in saying that the teachers did average a 2.2% cost of living increase each year over the past 7 years while inflation averaged 2.8%. Web Link
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm
Me too, The first parcel tax in PAUSD was before I got there. Stated that already. I was there for the re-up. PUSD ran a survey a few years ago and failed to garner the support for a parcel tax. They opted not to have a survey this time. Afraid of the same result?
I said 2005-08 for raises are 14.5%. Ongoing impact of those acts eats up all but $3 million of the parcel tax proposal because it compounds year over year (confirmed by district staff). It's on other threads for you to view.
My guess is, like me, most people on the blogs already voted. If not, please do so tomorrow. We all live by the decision--yes or no, even me--and I knew that coming into the debate. And if I can give myself just a bit of credit, I did it without sniping behind a pseudonym.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2009 at 10:55 pm
It appears you like to skew data and not answer questions - so I guess there is not much more to say. You stick with your one line about 14.5%, but will not address the fact that teachers salaries have not even kept up with inflation. You state that "I have seen what good school districts can be" yet, you will not confirm nor deny that you are speaking of Palo Alto which has a $493 parcel tax with minimally higher API scores. You say the current parcel tax does not address the communities priorities, but you admit that you do not know what those priorities are.
We could run around the barn a few more times, but it appears that you are going to spew forth rhetoric at least for one more day.
Just in case you are wondering, I'm not trying to sell measure G, I have not voted and am still debating the issues (one of the reasons why I came to this site). I'm not sure a parcel tax is the best answer, but we need facts, not opinions that do not include all the data.
Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 12:05 am
To Me Too,
You seem to be coming into things quite late. Kathleen has posted a lot of data and sites to back up her remarks for weeks and weeks. You should not expect her to sit here answering each of your questions and then get snippy about it.
If you are truly here looking for information then go back to look at some of the older threads on these blogs for her posts. I found her to be extremely informative and knowledgeable. I don't care if she works for another district or what circumstances she left this district. Her information was verifiable and after doing the reading for myself, I have come to mny of the same conclusions.
The bottom line here is the issue. Stop going after the messenger!
And I don't think she was taking credit for the outcome of the vote--just simply stating that she had been posting under her real name without sniping at others. I admire her for that because I am one of the parents in the community who feel I cannot openly voice my opinions.
Posted by VOTE NO ON G!, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 12:36 am
4 No votes will be cast first thing tomorrow morning from this household. I want to see some REAL concessions from the union before coming to us for more money. It's BS to think you can ask for more in this economy.
Posted by Grow up, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 8:00 am
In these last few days before the election, the personal attacks have escalated.
I have made my decision on Measure G based on facts provided by posters on both sides of the issue and other information from government sources.
Those of you who have used this forum to attack others should realize that not everyone makes their decisions based on facts and your behavior may have influenced voters, but not the way you would have wanted to influence them.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 8:06 am
Practical Parent - Yes, I am am late and I was jsut addressing the letter that was written. If Kathy has all of this great info from previous post why did she waste time posting comments that did not answer any of the direct questions that were asked or at least provide a link to where she posted the responses before (or some idea on where to start looking)
I'm not after the messenger (Kathy may be a wonderful person), I am after the message and wanted to clarify exactly what that message was. Of course it does not matter where she works, but when she says she has seen how a good district can be run, yet seems to refer to a district that has a very large parcel tax, the message gets confusing. When she states she knows that the priorities of the people are yet can not answer what those are, it gets confusing. When she says there were 3 years of raises totaling 14.5% yet causually ignores the fact that in 4 out of the last 7 years there were raises of 0% or less than 1% for the teachers, including 0% this school year (also ignores that teachers gave up part of their state provided raise to pay for science specialists in elementary schools), I just don't know what her message is other than she is voting no on measure G because she mad the district didn't do a survey.
Anyway, the issue/discussion is over as the vote is now.
Posted by another boomer, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:05 am
like everyone else - don't know what the future income will be in our family & can't approve yet another tax. Smaller class sizes have not significantly improved test scores. I grew up with 30+ kids in each class, no pre-school, & no english as a second language - We (family of 5 kids)did fine and went on to earn college degrees.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:09 am
Any one who thinks that voting no is going to mean that our problems are going to be magically solved at district and state level is wrong. Are there additional things that could be done, probably, but the time to take action for our district, our schools and our kids is now! The no voters are part of the problem- how they see themselves as part of the solution is just ridiculous!!!!
Posted by Good grief, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:24 am
It really bothers me that there's this notion among yes-voters that this additional $233 a year is no big deal. I'm here to tell you that it IS a big deal for some of us. Some of us who won't qualify for an exemption.
As others have said, before I give up buying new clothes for my kids - because that's what it may well come down to - I want to see REAL concessions from the school district. We didn't get a raise this year; in fact, we took a cut like many others. It's infuriating to think that teachers feel that they're entitled to raises when no one else gets them.
Before I'm attacked, I should point out that I was raised by a single mother who was a public school teacher, so I 'get' it.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:48 am
Anyone who thinks that voting yes on g is going to magically guarantee that K-3 classes will only have 20 students, no counselors will be laid off and reading and math specialists and their programs will remain unchanged is wrong.
Are there additional things that could be done - absolutely. Administrator perks could be eliminated, and real budget review could happen. The time to take action is now because the school district is not going to look at their own spending if they are given more money. The yes voters are the problem. They refuse to see that this tax not only doesn't provide any guarantees, but only enables the district to continue to avoid dealing with the real issue of fiscal responsibility.
Vote NO on G - respect your earnings and demand the school district do the same.
Posted by LL Dave, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 11:58 am
"think that teachers feel that they're entitled to raises when no one else gets them."
Where did you get your information that no one in all of Pleasanton received a raise this year? I'm finding it a bit difficult to beleive because I know several people personally that have received raises. (and yes, I know people how did not get raises and people out of work)
Yes, the economy is bad, yes, people are losing jobs and taking pay cuts. But if the measure passes, teachers are still going to lose jobs and teachers will be taking a pay cut (approx. 1%) plus over half of the teachers live in Pleasanton, so they will be paying the tax, which means most teachers will be paying close to $1000 a year.
I personally think the tax is a good idea, but don't see it passing, needing 2/3 vote.
The only thing I hope for is that all the energy that has gone into arguing this measure on both side also goes into helping solve the district issues that will continue for years to come.
Posted by Guessing, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm
I'm guessing that what Good Grief is saying is real concessions are not tied to whether G passes or not, but stand alone. For example, an agreement to reduce or eliminate car allowances with no conditions attached would be an acknowledgment from the district that in this economy, the first things that should be cut are the perks.
Posted by undecided, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jun 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm
I'm still undecided, but the question I'm struggling with is how much value will my house lose due to the degradation in our schools. My initial thought is that is would be more than $230/yr. How will all these 'extra and what some claim non-essential' things to be cut effect the overall reputation of Pleasanton Schools?
Posted by Seriously?, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm
I have 2 children who attended Walnut Grove. One before reduced class size and one after. Guess what? Not only did they both get a great education, but as a parent who was involved in the classroom, I saw little to no advantage to the reduced class size. The greatest advantage to reduced class size was to the additional teachers hired to teach the added classes. Stop the scare tactics.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm
Seriously - you make a good point in the beginning and then discredit yourself by saying other people's opinions are "scare tactics".
If class size doesn't matter, why don't they just put all of the kids from each grade into one class of 100 kids or so. Better yet, why not combine all of the elementary schools and put the kids in class of 1000 or so. The same with high school - many people have 1000 people in classes in college and they were "just fine", why not put all of the freshman english or chemistry kids in one class in high school? Just imagine the money we save.
Ok, I'm getting a bit carried away, but its obvious that somewhere along the way, class size does matter. Yes, many people had big classes in elementary and high school and turn out "just fine" - but there are many that would also greatly benefit from smaller classes. There are also MANY people who did not attend college and did just fin and even many that dropped out of high school and did just fine. By the numbers that ~98% of PUSD students go to college, shows that parents place value on a college education. Some people even look at class size at the colleges they are interested in when they make a decision.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm
"the first things that should be cut are the perks."
So besides the car allowance and a few other perks (housing load or something) of the Superintendent, I jsut don't see much or much of a financial impact to the district. Most of the expense comes from teachers salaries and I'm not aware of any perks the teachers get.
So for people wanting "real" concession - cutting perks is not a real concession, because it would have very littel real impact to the issue.
Posted by Pam, a member of the Lydiksen Elementary School community, on Jun 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm
I'd like to see Casey take a substantial pay cut for one - how does $50-75K/year less hit ya? And take away the car allowance.
I've looked at the numbers. P-town teachers do very, very well compared to most of the rest of Alameda Cty.
LL Dave, it's great that you know others who didn't suffer pay cuts. Woo hoo. But for anyone who doesn't make as much as he did last year, yet another tax is a painful thing.
GG, I'm also asking the question: What are real concessions for you?
When it all shakes down today, I'd like to know the percentage of actual property owners who voted in favor of G. After all, a vote from a renter or a senior who is exempt from the tax doesn't reveal much other than the fact that the pass-the-buck form of politics is still alive and kicking.
Posted by Guessing, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm
I think when people are saying real concessions they mean they are real if they are things actually given, not things that are traded for something else.
The two days given up by APT are only given if measure g passes, so they are not real concessions - they are trades. Same for car allowances and reductions in administrators' salaries.
CSR seems to be something people in Pleasanton want. I don't have an opinion on that because there does not seem to be definite proof that CSR makes a difference in student performance. My only opinion is that it appears to be something that matters greatly to parents.
It seems to matter a great deal to you, so I would wonder why you would support G, as it seems that you do, when G doesn't guarantee CSR.
Posted by Rick, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 3:32 pm
Many different opinions on value to homes because of a school district....so I understand your being 'undecided'.
Your comment about believing the value lost could be more than the $233 a year is a good one.
Lots to argue, but ask yourself if a good school district would matter to YOU if you were to look for a home (especially if you have children). If the answer is Yes, then that is all you really need to know.
With the cuts coming from the state, no reduction in perks at the district will make the difference. Having well qualified teachers will..., in my opinion.
Less funding means many of the young, bright and energetic teachers we have recently hired in the past few years, will be gone. That will be tragic for this community.
Posted by Seriously?, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm
Me Too - Along your line of thought, why not 5 students per class or maybe a teacher for each student? The cost of having reduced class size must be weighed against the advantage it provides. My point is that I do not believe that class size reduction is cost effective. Parents who currently have children enrolled in elementary school need to know that a larger class size is not the evil it is portrayed.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm
Me Too (to one of your earlier posts today--9 hours ago at this point), I would have to do all the same searches to find links to the info in the multiple threads (search on Ruegsegger). I did answer your questions, and I’ll respond to this post although the outcome is all but set, whatever it turns out to be.
There is no confusion in a conservative, well-run district also having a large parcel tax. I have been clear that I am not against a tax, just this one and for specific reasons. I did not say I know the priorities; in fact, I don’t think anyone knows the priorities of the community because they have not been asked. And it’s so easy to do.
This isn’t about being angry either (surveys or anything else); it is about how poorly decisions were made about public funds. The key factors are: the raises have to be sustainable through continued cost of living adjustment adjustments from the state and/or enrollment growth, a bet the district placed and lost at a time it also abandoned a stated goal of having a 7% reserve, when they didn’t set aside money in the line item budget for “designated for economic uncertainty,” nor have they any funds set aside for their liability for retiree benefits, when they had a qualified first interim report, and currently state the reserves they do have will all but be gone. While one can point to years of no increase or small increases, it refers to the increases applied to permanently alter the salary schedule. Most receive some kind of annual increase via movement on the step and column rankings of that salary schedule (it’s the reason $15 million of the $18 million proposed tax will be needed to offset the impact of those raises—from 2005-2008—to the salary schedule). The problems are systemic and need to be fixed before any additional funding sources are provided.
Posted by For Me too, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm
Every time you ask Kathleen R. questions, she responds politely and responds with intelligence, facts and logic.
If you truly are undecided, you might want to consider that unlike the SPS people, she isn't asking you to vote out of emotion, but vote based on knowing all the facts and knowing there is an alternative to this particular tax - waiting for all the information and then making a decision. There is time (and money available) for the district to consider the best way to handle the budget problems.
That seems logical to me.
Thank you Kathleen - the information you have provided helped me make my decision. I voted no.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm
"When it all shakes down today, I'd like to know the percentage of actual property owners who voted in favor of G. After all, a vote from a renter or a senior who is exempt from the tax doesn't reveal much other than the fact that the pass-the-buck form of politics is still alive and kicking."
Wow, already arguing about the results even though the measure isn't going to pass - way to get an early start!
Its going to be pretty sticky if you start wanting to decide who gets to vote and who doesn't.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Canyon Creek neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:05 pm
"It seems to matter a great deal to you, so I would wonder why you would support G, as it seems that you do, when G doesn't guarantee CSR."
Honestly, it does not mean a great deal to me, but yes, I did vote yes. I have kids in the schools that will probably do just fine wihtout CSR. I do think that there will be consequences in real terms and in terms of API scores with the budget even if measure G passes, but lessened a bit with a passing of measure G. I just don't like people from either side of a debate manipulating data (or conveiently leaving some out) to support their side.
The issue is that with API scores in the elementary schools as high as they are, one or two students can move the scores down. Score of 900 and up mean there are only and handful of kids that are not proficient. And with the number of students who don't speak English increasing, the attention they need will be limited by the class size increase.
Now, will that have an impact on me - maybe my house price won't go up as much, who knows - but does it really matter if I am planning on staying in my house for the next 30 years? Probably not much - but maybe if this continues and other schools keep getting external funding. So right now, I don't think its a huge deal to me, but I know its a HUGE deal to a number of kids and their families out there and I felt that the benefit out weighed the cost. If you don't, that's fine, we all see things differently.
Posted by Concerned Pleasanton Attorney, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, you misled the community by your comments and hopefully you do not mislead Pleasanton any further by seeking elected office because I will be right there to confront such efforts. You did not indicate that the stimulus money was not a one time allocation as opposed to the four year benefit that a minor parcel tax would provide. The reason that you enjoy a higher value on your home is directly impacted on the quality of Pleasanton schools. However your short-sighted greed and misconceived opposition has now lowered Pleasanton's status and attractiveness. Now you can face numerous teachers who have lost their jobs and children who lost out on smaller classes when all it likely would have cost you was one month's purchase of make up for you. Great job.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm
Whoa, I did not mislead anyone. I posted facts and links and data was confirmed by the district. I've repeatedly said I have no interest in running for any office in Pleasanton. I did say the stimulus is one year, one time funding and the parcel tax, without benefit of eternal re-ups, is four years, one time funding source.
Clearly as a stellar attorney you hide behind a false name so you can't be caught for libel. I should run for office just to find out who you are.
My house if fine, this community is fine, the children will be fine. I barely wear makeup and thank you.
I've also said I'll write the first dollar a day check should such a campaign start with the caveat, like a parcel tax, that priorities are set by the community--read, not the district--and are specific (X counselors, etc.). Care to start the campaign? Care to come over to get the check?
Posted by Fletch, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:58 am
Kathleen has been open and factual during this debate. I have followed her posts since the beginning and never once have gotten the impression that she was trying to build a name for herself for political reasons or other.
But if she should decide to run for office, I would be one of the first in line to support her!