Posted by Original Joe, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm
That wasn't the question, Sandy. Save Pleasanton Schools was a "proxy" group set up to campaign for the PUSD, that is common knowledge. The question was "who paid for the consulting firm?" and we know, too, that Wendy might be "begging the question" because the school district paid.
Posted by Ann Martin, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm
I posted this back in April....PUSD hired a consultant group, Lew Edwards Group,(LEG) in 2006 when PUSD was considering placing a parcel tax on the ballot at that time.
I don't know if PUSD paid LEG any additional payments after those made in 2007.
LEG was paid with funds from PUSD general funds.
There is a contract between PUSD and Lew Edwards Group dated May 10, 2006.
Here's what the contract says are the services to be provided:
Consultant shall, with consultation from Client, provide bond feasibility and communications services related to a potential March 2007 Parcel Tax Measure. Consultant services may include the following:
(a) strategic advice and planning, including a timeline for communications services, benchmark dates, and a project budget;
(b) assisting and overseeing Clients' designated polling firm in the design and implementation of survey research and assessment for Client;
(c) communications services, including - with the input of Client - conceiving, writing and producing direct mail to external and internal audiences;
(d) developing nonpartisan public information materials issued by the District to describe its student support, class size reduction, technology, and curriculum advancement needs;
(e) reviewing the proposed Parcel Tax Expenditure list and making recommendations as to the characterization, appeal or weaknesses of specific funding items; and
(f) working with Client's other professionals and vendors such as district bond counsel or financial advisors in developing a potential ballot question, other voter handbook materials, and a coordinated strategy.
The fee is $37,500 payable in monthly increments of $5,357.14 due on the last business day of each month commencing May 2006 thru November 2006. The only payments I see that have been made are showing (on the Vendor History Report) that they were "last paid 9/24/07" and one payment is for $16,064.28 and the other is $5,357.14. The reports show a last edit date of 6/6/2006. I haven't seen any other payments that would bring PUSD payments to the total amount of the contract.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm
The Board approved all of this. I don't care how many times they compliment themselves or try to decry how hard of a job they have on the Board. THEY AREN'T DOING EVEN A FAIR JOB. It is seriously time for them to go. The only special election we should have spent the money on was electing people that actually know how to do the job they were voted in to do.
This is unbelievable. The money for the consulting firm, a polling firm, a special election and we wonder why we don't have 1.6MM for class size reduction to return to 20:1? Add to all of that rolling back the administrative raises last year, a 10% across the board pay cut for APT and classified staff and we should have plenty of money to get all the teachers back, and return all the programs. Done. How difficult was that, Board of Knuckleheads?
Why don't you really do your job and stop asking the community to bail out your lack of cajones to make the difficult choices you were hired to make.
Posted by Ben, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 12:41 am
I'll bet that PUSD, I mean the taxpayers, paid a lot for this. The consultant website says
"The Lew Edwards Group is a communications, government affairs, and political consulting firm.
Our consulting services include campaign management, media, direct mail, communications strategies, and grassroots organizing techniques for elected officials, public agencies, private industries, and nonprofits."
Here are the school districts they've bamboozled, mmm, oops, I mean helped. They use the term "education district clients."
Posted by Ann Martin, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 8:08 am
A survey was done by PUSD back in 2006/07 to see if voters would support a parcel tax at that time (it was for educational enhancements including vocational training). The cost of that survey was $30K. Prior to the decision to placing a parcel tax on the June 2nd ballot, the Board voted on whether to do another survey at an cost they estimated to be $30K, and only Trustee Valerie Arkin, who had proposed the survey, voted for it.
Posted by Wondering, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:22 am
SPS was an all volunteer organization funded through private donations. SPS should ask the Pleasanton Weekly to publish a correction to the article which stated SPS paid for a professional consulting firm.
Posted by deadringer, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm
please remember -- the majority thought the $$$ spent to get the election going was the right thing to do. Hope you all find a real good use of that $230, that it was worth firing a bunch of teachers and making the job of the remainder even harder. How nice.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Don't worry...we plan to get them all out! One by one and Casey too. I'd prefer they'd just save us a little grief and go ahead and step down, sparing the City any more of their poor decisions. At least we'd have a chance to get someone in who actually knows what they are doing! We can only go up from here!
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:07 pm
Perhaps you learned your math skills from a Pleasanton teacher which would explain why you think "the majority thought the $$$ spent to get the election going was the right thing to do."
I believe the "majority" had their say on June 2 and only 10K of your "majority" supported it. That is no majority when the community makes up 63,654 individuals, and that is a conservative number since the census was last taken in 2000. This election was theirs to win and they lost it. 10K is less than 1/6th of the City's popluation - and that is a generous assumption. Everyone knows, including the consulting firm that assisted the district in this attempted manipulation of our community, that those in favor of a special election and measures are more motivated to vote than those opposed.
Check the facts. You are in the far minority in this community. The majority of this community listens to actual facts and reason. We're not swayed by pathetic arguments of doing things for "the children". We're too smart to miss the terrible misuse of public funds and the choker chain the local government wants to put around our community neck to subsidize further misuse.
Watch what happens at the next election in this town. You shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you; you might get slapped.
Posted by mk, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm
The district did use the consulting firm for this election. It turns out the consulting firm overcharged the district for polling that was previously done. Instead of giving a refund, the consulting firm helped out in this election. It was a sneaky way to get some consulting services at the district without it looking like any taxpayer money was spent.
Posted by question, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm
mk -- So Lew Edwards Group (was that the consulting firm?) was used by SPS for 'free' as a refund for overpayment by the school district? That doesn't sound legal. It sounds like using public funds for campaigning.
Posted by I will, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm
"Hope you all find a real good use of that $230, that it was worth firing a bunch of teachers and making the job of the remainder even harder."
deadringer, I will make good use of the $230. I'll spend it where I believe I should spend my money, not where you believe I should spend my money. I didn't fire the teachers; the district did. Perhaps you should ask them why they didn't have a better contingency plan other than to ask the taxpayers for more money.
Posted by deadringer, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:45 pm
I am asking. I am checking in with school board directly. Are you?
Maybe you did not fire the teachers personally but you kept the funding so low they lost their jobs. What is the difference there?
Tell me exactly how you would remove 9.7M from the budget without hitting the largest line item in that budget? Now your kids get less attention in the classroom. Hope you can afford private tutoring if you want the same level of education we had with 20:1. It think that will cost just a tad over the $230 that you had planned to spend elsewhere...
Posted by deadringer, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Wow, Wowsa and I will:
PLEASE run for school board in 2010, and please do tell us, in your campaign, exactly what expenditures you would chop out that would trim the required 9.7M without increasing class size. You would win in a landslide!
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm
How do you know this?
If it is true, then PUSD violated the Fair Political Practices Commission Rules. How did the consulting firm help out?
How can this information be checked out?
Posted by mk, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, 34 minutes ago
The district did use the consulting firm for this election. It turns out the consulting firm overcharged the district for polling that was previously done. Instead of giving a refund, the consulting firm helped out in this election. It was a sneaky way to get some consulting services at the district without it looking like any taxpayer money was spent.
Posted by Just Me, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm
I hope to see all you people who are so critical of the school board running for school board next year. You may (or may not) be right about the expenditures and your conclusions, so put your money where your mouth is and run for School Board and change the situation. All those people up there are concerned mom's and dad's who spent their own money to be elected, who thought they could help the district. Ever think they (like you would) got on there and found it more difficult than they thought? If you think you can do a better job, run for office!! But stop harping on the same thing over and over again.
Posted by Karen, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm
While all of you anti-parcel-tax voters pat yourself on the back about how you've denied giving a fraction of your hard-earned money to PUSD and those "horrible" teachers, please try to remember that the children are the ones who are going to suffer the consequences this upcoming school year.
Many more people were in support of the tax than not, and now because of rather vocal, insidious minority, the WHOLE community will feel the unwanted effects, including:
1. Pleasanton now has the WORST K-3 class size in the ENTIRE TRI-VALLEY (including Dublin, Livermore, and San Ramon).
2. Pleasanton will have the WORST ratio per student of counselors, reading and math specialists, and technical staff compared to the other Tri-Valley cities.
Pleasanton used to be a desirable place for families to live--not anymore! If you were a family with young children, would you move to Pleasanton now? I'm sure you wouldn't come here for the now-crappy schools and high housing prices.
Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore all have parcel taxes. I guess now I see which community supports their schools.
Like it or not, you anti-parcel-tax voters managed to BRING DOWN THE WHOLE community. Congratulations.
Posted by deadringer, a resident of the Old Towne neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm
how about a little math -- if your home is worth $500k and goes down in value even just 1% due to the situation described by Karen, that equals $5000. I venture to guess that the value of homes of people who voted no may be a bit higher than 500k -- but that is just a guess on my part.
How does that compare with the $230 you silly people just saved by making us the numerically worst school district in the TriValley? Thanks a bunch.
Posted by Bright Future, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm
For all of you concerned about your property values - how about not worring about it and sticking with your community. I have no plans to move. I saw my property value increase 135% over the past 12 years. Did I improve my property to warrant that ridicules appreciation - me thinks not. Am I in a panic now that we have a market correction and my 12 year property value increase is a measily 75%? No, I plan to live in my house for at least the next 10 years.
Am I freaking out about student-to-teacher ratios? No, my parents didn't bring me up to be a complainer or one that compares myself to my nieghbors, be they next door or the next town. and I have a student at Amador and one entering Amador next year.
Posted by jay, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:42 pm
The district employees are not underpaid. In fact, they are some of the highest in the State. The firing of the teachers is due to the unions negotiating that every cent that came in increases from the State went to salaries. That worked out real good for the employees when the economy was growing. Since we have spent every last nickel, we have not reserve to help us in times when the economy is not growing, and in fact shrinking. Sort of like "you can pay me now, or you can pay me later." Not having a reserve helped the employees before and now they have to pay the price for the short term visibility.
It was posted in another forum that class room size reductions going from 20 to 25 students per class saved the district $1.6M. The step and column raises being given out this next year are $1.5M. Just by giving up a raise, not a decrease in pay, we could have maintained CSR at the same level. The unions decided that they would rather have a raise in this tough economy instead of saving jobs of newer teachers. With that being said, I don't think we will see any difference in the quality of teaching with 25 kids vs. 20 kids per class. It appears that the union feels the same way. Otherwise they would have negotiated an exchange of raises for keeping CSR at the same level.
Also, one of our School Board members, Jamie Heinske, at two different board meetings talked about how San Ramon gets $12M in donations per year. I guess those who have been advocating for a tax increase were not donating generously in Pleasanton Schools. Otherwise we would not be at a shortfall. I suggest that Jamie, and the rest of you that are whining about loosing a forced tax, stop whining, and start donating. In San Ramon, for the high schools at least, they ask for a suggested donation of $300 per student. They have an academic boosters club/foundation at each school and they get to decide where the money goes; not the administrators at the district. I absolutely believe that if we did this in Pleasanton that we would raise more money than we would have received through a parcel tax. I know the district administration would not like this as much because it moves the decision of programs at the school away from the district and into each schools. I believe people would donate if they had annual control of the funds, like they do at San Ramon. If each voter who voted Yes on the parcel tax gave $300 to a school foundation, that is $3M right there! Being the donations are to the schools and not the administration would probably get a lot more people to donate. I encourage everybody who wanted a tax but is now complaining to look at how San Ramon raises funds at each of the schools, and how they can decide what the money is to be used for. It is such a better model.
Posted by I will, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm
deadringer: we're not allowed to voice our opinions unless we are planning to run for the school board? I have shared my positive comments with the school board members. If they choose to take other action, which they are entitled to do, I may or may not vote for them in the future. That's how our system works.
Karen; your comments are so HYSTERICAL and EMOTIONAL I'm not sure it is worth responding. I've read many of the posts here and very few have been critical of the teachers. Distict administration and the teacher's union yes, but not many are blaming the teachers. I find it rather dispicable that the union requires the newest teachers to be the first to be laid-off. An "insidious minority" has brought down the community? Quite the pessimist aren't you? Get your calculation out because only a minority (I won't insult the yes voters by using "insidious") of Pleasanton households voted for the parcel tax...you have it backwards. I've lived in Pleasanton for 40 years; it was desireable then and it will be desireable tomorrow. If you think your property is going to lose value over this you should sell immediately. Or beter yet, put your money where your mouth is and donate to the school district.
You think I'm greedy because I wouldn't vote for the parcel tax. Aren't you greedy for trying to take my money?
Posted by For Ben, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm
Casey's contract expires June 2010.
Be glad he's put his house on the market because it means he is going to retire when his contract expires. It could have been much worse. He could have asked for the trustees to renew his contract and the current board probably would have renewed it.
Posted by Drivers, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm
I agree with you too! The triumvirate includes an attorney, president of a credit union and high ranking Kaiser executive, so you would think they would use their experience to benefit PUSD. Seems as if they have turned off their business minds when they showed up for board meetings.
Posted by Karen, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm
I Will: Yes, my comments are emotional and hysterical because I have 2 children in the district. How would you feel if your kindergartner was going to be in a class with 30+ other children and 1 teacher? That is what the class size will be for the 2010 school year. Do you care that the optimal class size for K-3 is 15-20 children per class? Do you care that how well children do in 1st grade sets the tone for the rest of their educational experience? Obviously, you do not care, because as you say you have been here 40 years so that means your children are probably grown. I'm not afraid to say it -- now that you've gotten your fill of the system, you don't want to support it.
By the way, I did donate to the district at the beginning of the school year, and I plan to do so every year. I pay my taxes to the city too, which are used for roads, infrastructure, etc. Do I use every road or facility in Pleasanton? No, but everyone can see Pleasanton is a nice town with a great police force and fire department, wonderful parks, and other services, and I'm glad that EVERYONE can enjoy it.
Yes, I'm pessimistic, because a town that doesn't support its own schools, as well as a community divided, is going nowhere but DOWN.
Posted by Sarah, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm
Karen you need to get a grip.
I currently have kids in the district. I also had kids in the district before class size reduction, they did fine with 32 kids in the class. PUSD will have 25 to one, far smaller than my older kids had, they will all do well.
This town does very much support its schools and families, the more rational citizens do not support irresponsible spending.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:54 pm
You're doing your child a disservice by predicting the rest of her school life based on first grade. I recently earned a multiple subject credential in California, and we did not learn of evidence-based research showing this profound effect of first grade. Do you have evidence-research supporting this statement about first grade?
My daughter had 30 kids in her kindergarten class, and she is a GATE student. She also had a teacher I would not recommend to anyone for first grade, and she has always done very well in school.
I understand how you feel, I can remember this kind of panic about my children when they first started school. The most important thing is your attitude, stay positive and supportive. Your kids will pick up on your doomsday attitude and will feel anxiety about school.
Posted by huh, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm
According to the PUSD website, class size for K-3 will be 25 students, not 30+ for 2009/10 school year.
Would wait before assuming class sizes will increase beyond 25 in later years.
Also would expect that you are a big influence in your children's lives and hope you don't send them to school with the belief that they aren't going to get a good education otherwise they will live up to your low expectations.
Be positive and don't add to the divisiveness the community is trying to get past.
Posted by Can't know for sure, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm
Sorry to yell your name - I can still feel your shrill tone ringing in my ears and am speaking loudly to get your attention.
My, you are livid! I think you should channel your "energy" to someone who screwed the community...Dr. John Casey.
Yes, he is the one that had the reigns in this situation and he could have done a multitude of things to save CSR. I have a Kindergartener entering this year and I voted no on G.
We'll be fine. We have already taught our own child to read and we will continue to do our job as our child goes through school.
Reconsider who is responsible for the CSR reduction. 1.5M of concession from the APT PLUS 350K for the special election could have easily spared CSR. The question is why Casey or the Board of "Yes, Dr. Casey" haven't asked the APT to take a salary freeze.
On second thought, why haven't YOU, KAREN, called the Board and requested this? Stop yelling at me and those that wanted this measure to fail so the district would finally get the message to get their act together. At the first board meeting following the defeat of measure G, what was their first forward thinking idea?
Posted by I will, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 8:37 pm
Relax Karen. I do have kids in school here, I do donate to the schools, and my wife and I volunteer many hours to the schools every year and will continue to do so. Many parents in this town volunteer and that is a major reason the schools have been so successful. A well-educated population that values education AND is now holding their school district accountable. If you think throwing more money at them will do anything but postpone the inevitable you will be in for a big surprise some day. Take a deep breath, keep your kids on a short leash, and keep the school district on an even shorter leash.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 9:04 pm
OMG! Karen is right! My house is now worth absolutely zero, I have probably contracted at least 10 forms of cancer since yesterday and space aliens have now taken over Pleasanton. OK, so the last one might be right.
Get a grip lady! With your attitude I give your kids about no chance at all in school. No matter what happens in their 25 student(not 30 plus!) classrooms you will make their lives a constant crisis. This tax would likely have passed if the district employees and the teachers had taken even just a pay freeze -- it would surely have passed if they had taken a pay cut. Put the blame where it lies. Greed proposed this tax, greed shot it down. Now you need to stop playing chicken little and see a shrink if you cannot get your emotions under control.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm
Relax. Many of the kids currently at high school had 32 in their kindergarten class. It's going to be ok. If you continue to be so emotional about it, your child is going to suffer. If you are that concerned, there is Quarry Lane waiting to collect your fees. Small classes and good school. Very expensive.
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm
"Stop yelling at me and those that wanted this measure to fail so the district would finally get the message to get their act together."
But they don't seem to have gotten any message at all. Does anyone see and end game here? The board is raising CSR. How do we get them to move it back to 20? There was another thread directly related to this, but I didn't see any really good answers on that one.
I get it that Pleasanton is an aging town, and statistics say older people generally don't vote for school taxes. I wonder why the district can't do a survey. I'd love to see what people would vote for. There are some who say they wouldn't vote for a parcel tax on any occasions. Others would, if conditions were met (concessions on salaries, stipulations on how the money would be used). Something needs to be fixed. Clearly the people of Pleasanton aren't happy with the board. Anybody had any luck nagging them?
Posted by Russell, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm
Did the Quarry Lane thing for pre-school. I wasn't that impressed. Yes they were good at taking money, but I'm not sure they paid much attention to the kids. I kept getting "he's doing fine", but they wouldn't give any feedback on what he wasn't doing well and what he was. We had to remind them that he was left handed and tell them to stop putting the pencil in his right hand. Frankly, I'd say Vintage Hills Elementary is better in comparison.
Posted by Kelly, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm
Karen, obviously you are not as free to express your strong opinions as those against the school district are. They are allowed the outrageous sarcasm and childish remarks, but you are not. They are allowed to post false information and claim it as fact, yet the facts you posted are deemed out of control.
Rest assured Karen, this type of argument you are seeing helps to make them feel better about the vote they made. They can hide behind false information, continue to post derogatory and exaggerated statements, but what they can't seem to see is what is going on TODAY in the classrooms across Pleasanton. It is frustrating Karen, those who are directly involved in the schools are beyond frustrated with those who continue to act this way.
Jamie Hintzke had it right at the last board meeting saying this town has very little knowledge about school finance, teacher contracts, and curriculum. It shows in all of your postings. I would say from how you respond to those trying to share information, you don't really care , as long as it doesn't ask anything of you.
You all can say what you want, but you can't avoid the reality of what losing measure G will now cost our city.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 10:20 pm
What's going on today in the classrooms is what was going on two months ago - teachers teaching, kids learning.
Many of us are tired of the arguing and complaining and want to support our schools with our donations and our volunteering. We want to accept the things we cannot change, and change what we can. We want to move forward in a positive manner and set a good example for our kids about how to deal with adversity.
Aren't you a teacher with PUSD and are you the same Kelly who was making comments about Kathleen R.?
Posted by Chew on this, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm
OK, wise guys, here is text taken directly from the US Dept of Education's website about class size:
"Support for the federal CSR program was based on research that found that small classes could have a positive influence on student achievement. For example, research from Tennessee's Project STAR (Student-Teacher Achievement Ratio) found that students who had been randomly assigned to small classes (13 to 17 students) in grades K-3 outperformed their peers in regular classes (22 to 25 students) and in regular-plus-aide classes on standardized and curriculum-based tests (Achilles et al., 1996). Additionally, by eighth grade, those students who had been placed in small classes through Project STAR were still outperforming students who had been placed in regular classes or regular-plus-aide classes in K-3 (Finn, 1998; Nye, 1995)."
Posted by Michael, a resident of the Civic Square neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm
We better start thinking about another source of money because this horse just rode out of town. A parcel tax will not fly and shouldn't be tried again. How much did that softball field cost to build that we don't need, how much is it going to cost to put Stoneridge through so we can jam up our street more, how much is that BART station costing which is a couple of miles from the other one, how about the $250,000 mayor Hosterman received in stimulus money to buy a SWAT response vehicle to fight all that crime we have?
Posted by No confidence in Pleasanton, a resident of San Ramon, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:07 pm
Karen, you should move to San Ramon. We have great schools here! We support our schools, unlike in Pleasanton. I used to live there, but am so glad I got out.
People in Pleasanton are aging. All they care about is having the taxpayer support them through social security and medicare (do you think any of them would rant about the goverment as long as they are getting money??). They don't care about your kids or anyone else's. They are not going to part with their money, unless it is to buy themselves something. San Ramon is younger, more vibrant, more forward-looking.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Chew on this wrote: "Additionally, by eighth grade, those students who had been placed in small classes through Project STAR were still outperforming students who had been placed in regular classes or regular-plus-aide classes in K-3 (Finn, 1998; Nye, 1995)."
"Outperform" in what? If you look at the actual study, it shows that slightly less than 4% more students who were in the "small class" compared with the students in the "regular class" passed a standardized 8th grade test. So it measured number passing and not real performance on the test, which, one would hope, is measured by the actual test scores. That is, unless you consider a mere passing grade as "outperforming".
Posted by John, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm
What is it that you don't understand? Children placed in smaller class sizes early on in school benefit. Period. You can go into the logistics of test scores, performance, etc., but why is it that you all can't accept what you've done: that is, ruin Pleasanton's schools?
Why won't any of the "no" voters just admit that they've caused Pleasanton's once-great, top-ten school district to become the worst in the Tri-Valley? Come on, own up!!!
Posted by Duh!, a member of the Donlon Elementary School community, on Jun 9, 2009 at 11:52 pm
There are studies of the standard american school system that say:
Per square foot of room size, the average grade school student spends 5-6 hours a day in a space much smaller than the average JAIL cell!
Take your agerage classroom size of 25x30 for example. Thats 750 square foot of surface. Not even including desks, book cases etc. that works out to less than THIRTY SQUARE FOOT of space per child for 5-6 hours a day! Thats an area of FIVE feet by SIX feet!
How many parents would keep their kids confined to a room that is FIVE feet by SIX feet for 5-6 hours a day?
Thats what we get for our 28% income as well as state taxes!
Obsurd! So, the theory that an extra FIVE students per class room for kids in 1st through 3rd grade will make no differance is off base.
Posted by Read for details, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:40 am
Chew on this, read farther into the study - the verdict isn't so clear:
Other researchers, however, have argued that the external validity of the Tennessee experiment (STAR) has not been established sufficiently to warrant generalizing the results across different populations and settings in the United States. These critics claim that further randomized experiments are needed (Hanushek, 1999) and that class-size reduction in the context of teacher shortages can reduce teacher quality and effectiveness and can shrink or eliminate any benefits of having fewer students in the classroom (Jepsen & Rivkin, 2001). Additionally, researchers suggest that most teachers do not change their instructional practices when class size is reduced, and "only teachers whose instructional methods benefit from smaller classes--e.g., those who work with small groups, those who depend on personal relationships with students, those who emphasize hands-on projects--are more productive with smaller than with larger classes" (Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran & Willms, 2001).
Findings from California's class-size reduction initiative confirm some of these critics' concerns. Under a law passed in 1996, the state provided districts with $650 per student for each K-3 classroom with 20 or fewer students. An evaluation of this class-size reduction initiative found that class-size reduction was associated with declines in teacher qualifications and inequitable distribution of credentialed teachers; i.e., as districts reduced class size in K-3 classrooms, they hired more teachers without full credentials, most of whom were hired by schools serving the most disadvantaged students. Additionally, although parents said they liked the reduced size classes, and teachers reported giving students more individualized attention in these classes, teachers did not report covering more curriculum as a result of small class size, nor did the evaluation link reduced class size to changes in student achievement (Bohrnstedt & Stecher, 2002).
Posted by LOL!, a resident of the Willow West neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:49 am
Karen and John, you need to meet up with the hysterical poster on another thread, something about freaking that the kids will risk death from being in the sun while at the city pool during a school day. Time to for your meds!
Posted by Practical Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 1:46 am
Karen, you really do need to calm down over things. As others have pointed out, you as a parent do have options. Private schools such as Quarry Lane or homeschooling should offer the lower ratios that you seem to think are the only thing that matters. Some others like Russell will tell you that does not necessarily guarantee anything.
Also, please be sure and keep up with the news in our surrounding comuunities. Dublin announced larger class sizes back in March---yes, in spite of their parcel tax!
Stop listening to rumors and stop spreading false information.
Posted by Karen, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Jun 10, 2009 at 8:33 am
Read for details:
The parcel tax wasn't about reducing class size; it was about maintaining the class sizes in Pleasanton. Not to mention the school band program, library and technical staff, reading and math specialists, counselors, and safe, clean schools. What is it that you don't support here? Is keeping $233 per year for 4 years in your pocket so important to you that you'd rather deprive the kids of Pleasanton a good education?
Pleasanton was a good school district. Time will tell how all these cuts affects the schools.
Practical Parent: going to Quarry Lane School or any private school for that matter will cost far more than $233/year.
And regarding Dublin's class size increase, it is going up only 1 student in K, so they will have 21 instead of 20 students per class. As I said, Pleasanton will have the worst K-3 student ratios in the Tri-Valley.
Posted by Disagree with John, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 9:04 am
When are you going to stop complaining about something that is already done?
Will your complaining change anything?
That positive attitude of yours is really going to help our kids and schools isn't it?
Are you getting that even those who voted for the parcel tax are getting tired of all the complaining? The ones who really do care about kids and education are taking positive measures to help the schools. They are making donations, they are committing to volunteering, they are sending their ideas to board members. They have realized that working together as a community is what will make a difference, not re-fighting the battle and recycling the same arguments about the parcel tax.
It's over. Get some control over your emotions and hysteria and move on.
Posted by Parent of Two, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 10:27 am Parent of Two is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Smaller class sizes don't guarantee a better education. If parents spent the time with their kids that they spend online complaining about the schools and finances, their kids would do better in school.
I'd venture that the vast majority of parents on this board are between 30-50, meaning we didn't have 20:1 ratios. In fact, I looked at my sixth grade class picture (remember those?) and we had 32 kids per class. And we turned out well enough to have a house and kids in Pleasanton...
Posted by Time to act, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 11:11 am
Karen and others who are so livid with the "No" Voters:
Step one: Send in your check for $932 (233x4) with a letter to the district that it is for CSR (or your preferred "program").
Step two: Call the Board of Trustees and demand they freeze APT salaries.
Step three: Call the APT and demand they freeze their salaries.
Step four: After you complete steps one - three, repeat steps two and three, repeat, repeat, repeat.
After you have done all of this, then you can come back and criticize the rest of us.
For the record, I VOTED NO on G and have sent a letter, minus my check, asking how they will confirm to me they can guarantee my donation goes towards CSR. I have also called the Board & APT, sent a letter to the Board and APT and demanded a salary freeze to pay for CSR.
We would have 1.5MM additional $$ next year 09-10,
3.0MM for 10-11
4.5MM for 11-12
and 6.0MM for 12-13
IF THE APT TAKES A SALARY FREEZE. This will only happen if the Board does their job.
It is time for us all to act. We can't just vote No and expect them to get the message. We need to flood them will calls - I plan on calling daily.
No matter how you voted, if you want a program, it's time to DEMAND it.
Posted by Privatize, a resident of another community, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm
My grandmother and grandfather never went to school at all and they did just fine. Pleasanton sent the message loud and clear. Stop spending tax money, ANY TAX MONEY, on schools. It was good enough for the founding fathers. It is good enough for us. They turned out just fine too.
Posted by Yo "Practical Parent", a resident of another community, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm
How practical is it to send your children to failed schools? Have some self respect and get them a real education. Have you no shame? Maybe you're in love with taxes. Let me guess, you don't have enough time to home school them. Private school is too expensive. What sorry excuses.
Posted by Pablo, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Everybody has an excuse. Raise your own children and it is not the responsibility of the teachers to make sure your kids behave. Catholic schools have sometimes 35 to 40 kids per class and no problem. Why the schools do not put up with them but rather kick them out and the parents have to find a place for them someplace else. Teachers are not prison guards.
Posted by Tracy, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm
I'm interested in Privatize writing that public school are legalized child abuse. Can you elaborate? I don't know what you're thinking of when you write that, but it's an interesting statement.
Frank, I'm guessing you're a man of advanced years and do not realize that people don't have to be home to have access to a computer. Many people work full or part time from home using a computer, and most people have a computer at work. So posting online during the day does not indicate that a person is at home (though they may be working from home) and is not a sign that they don't have a paying job.
Americans spend a great deal of their time at work online visiting non work-related websites. That's not a Pleasanton thing, that's work life in the U.S.A.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm
The most telling comment I every heard from a Board members was at a board meeting last year when Pat Kernan said "I became a lawyer because I was not good with numbers." He actually said that. With board members saying something like that, no wonder we are in the financial problem we are in now.
Posted by Privatize, a resident of another community, on Jun 10, 2009 at 9:44 pm
I have posted many links. Drug abuse. Values that are offensive and out of the mainstream. Rampant violence and disrespect. What passes for education is more like a joke. Home school or private school is the only way to go.
Posted by Jose, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm
Going back to the original post, the Pleasanton Weekly made this comment:
"Several leaders of the Save Pleasanton Schools organization that supported the unsuccessful Measure G parcel tax vote on June 2 have objected to last week’s editorial (“Voters tough love: No school parcel tax so make the cuts”) that said theirs was a “well financed and organized campaign run by an outside consulting firm.” Well, having raised $60,000 according to the group’s website, and an organized campaign that included mailers, promotional materials, advertisements, neighborhood coffees and door-to-door canvassing, we stand by our view that this was a well-financed and organized campaign. As for using an outside consulting firm, we were referring to the public relations work on behalf of SPS by committee member Larry Smalheiser, a senior account manager at Trainer Communications in Pleasanton, who gave out his business card to the media for contact purposes and appeared to be in charge of the opening rally, ongoing communications and campaign strategy. SPS insists that they never paid an outside consultant (and we never said they did) and that their campaign was entirely a grass roots effort. We’re glad they clarified that point."