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School budget on Jan. 5 town hall agenda

Original post made on Dec 28, 2009

Millions of dollars in cuts made last year to the Pleasanton Unified School District budget are now being felt and parents aren't happy about it.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 28, 2009, 5:47 AM

Comments (257)

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:10 am

Public schools need to be re-invented. These efforts are merely band-aids and will not result in a long-term solution. One place to look is in Prop 13. The biggest opportunity here is to get businesses to pay their fair share. Very few people realize that they have abused the intent of Prop 13. Most businesses have avoided paying more tax by leasing the property portion of their business thereby freezing their tax payments back to 1970 rates.

Public schools need to totally revamp how they are structured beginning with the "district" model. This was set up to maximize revenues under a now outdated revenue model.

It is time to invent the "jet airplane" and to stop funding the "railroad" system. Schools are long over due for this.

From a concerned parent and tax payer.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

Stacey is a registered user.

From the article: "Critics have said that any other effort, be it a parcel tax or fundraiser, would suffer the same fate as Measure G and ILPS."

WHO SAID THAT? Now you're just making up the news.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:41 am

To Stacey,

Maybe that was a reference to "critics" here on these forums?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:03 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't recall seeing anyone saying that a fundraiser like ILPS would "suffer the same fate" here. Mostly critics here have been saying this about another parcel tax try.

Web Link

"Weasel words are phrases that are evasive, ambiguous or misleading. ... Weasel words can present an apparent force of authority seemingly supporting statements without allowing the reader to decide whether the source of the opinion is reliable, or they can call into question a statement. If a statement cannot stand without weasel words, it does not express a neutral point of view; either a source for the statement should be found, or the statement should be removed.

... it remains uninformative, and thus naturally suggests various questions:

* Who says that?
* When do they say it? Now? At the time of writing?
* How many people think it? How many is some?
* What kind of people think it? Where are they?
* What kind of bias might they have?
* Why is this of any significance?

Weasel words do not really give a neutral point of view; they just spread hearsay, or couch personal opinion in vague, indirect syntax. It is better to put a name to an opinion by citing sources which are reliable than it is to assign it to an anonymous or vague-to-the-point-of-being-meaningless "source" which is unverifiable."


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I haven't heard anything about cutting salaries, pension benefits and retiree medical benefits. The new Supdt. must be paid a lot less than the previous one. Make all benefits comparable to the private sector. we have had a 6% reduction in private sector jobs while the public sector keeps marching along. We are creating a gigantic public sector bubble which has to burst because the tax paying sector cannot support it. Inatead of trying to raise revenues cut spending.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

To Concerned,

"we have had a 6% reduction in private sector jobs "

But we have not had a 6% reduction in salaries. On top of that, when private sector salaries were seeing huge increases during boom years, public sector salaries were not. Pleasanton needs to stay competitive with the top districts in the Bay Area. All of those top districts have parcel taxes in place. We don't want to give the best employees incentive to work in other districts. A parcel tax is needed here in Pleasanton. Let's work together to get a parcel tax with terms that suits the needs of the community.


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Posted by guitar hero
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Thoughts on Measure G -
$200K for a special election, on campus rallies and campaigns, the blossoming of pink shirts - in the end, it wasn't enough to get Measure G passed. Some people fault the election system, but it's no secret that the Yes on G people expected an easy win and were shocked when G failed.
They spent a lot of time campaigning but their time might have been better spent listening.
One board member suggested looking into why G didn't pass - good idea.
I think the answer can be found here on the blogs.
There's a lack of trust and confidence in PUSD and the School Board.
Many people don't trust that PUSD is making kids the priority. They point to how reserves were used to fund administrator salaries, and incredibly high expenses for cell phones and car allowances were allowed until community pressure forced PUSD to make changes. They point out that these expenses could be just some of the fat, and how the BAC has never been allowed to see all the PUSD financial information, only those items selected for their review by PUSD administration.
Many people don't believe a majority of the school board remembers that they are supposed to be the watchdog for the community. One member even said the school board works for Dr. Casey! (perhaps the school board member who made this comment was confused because he wasn't elected to his position)
Here's a suggestion to those who want to try for another parcel tax.
Convince Kernan to resign. Many people will simply not support anything Kernan supports because they question his residency and his motives.
Convince Grant to step down as board president. Many people will not support anything Grant supports, particularly after his comment that he wanted to be president again because he was having fun....his judgment has become an issue.
Convince the board to change their bylaws to include term limits for board members and for the board president.
After the shabby and some say discriminatory way Board Member Arkin was treated at the last meeting, no one would blame her for not wanting to remain on the board, let alone be president. But for the sake of the community, the board should reconsider their vote and ask Ms. Arkin to be president and lead the search for the next superintendent.
Give the BAC all the financial information regarding all operating expenses. Make it no-pusd employees committee so members can feel more free to discuss all items openly. Try to get Al Cohen to return and lead the committee.
Convince the board to hold real question and answer forums where they and the BAC members respond to community questions about the state budget, PUSD expenses, etc. Do not allow these forums to be rallies for a parcel tax, but true question and answer forums. Require speakers to ask a question, not present a position or a justification to save specific programs. Require PUSD administrators who choose to attend to attend only as onlookers, not speakers.
A parcel tax may be necessary, but it will not pass again as long as there is a lack of trust and confidence in PUSD and the School Board.
Many people read these blogs even if they don't post comments, and Pleasanton has seen how effective this informal communication can be in providing the community with information that cannot be found elsewhere and helping to form community opinion.





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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

To Guitar Hero,

Sounds like a great plan. It will also prove that their desire for the best for our kids is stronger than their ego.


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Posted by Caesar
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm

6 reasons to vote no on a parcel tax.
Make that 7 after Casey.

PUSD $100,000 pension club

Name Monthly Annual District
MERLIN DONALDSON $14,283.20 $171,398.40 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
ROBERT KREITZ $12,392.06 $148,704.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
ROBERT KROETCH $11,288.03 $135,456.36 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
BILL JAMES $8,816.37 $105,796.44 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
JOSEPH KETTWIG $8,789.81 $105,477.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED
PATRICIA LEONARD $8,556.81 $102,681.72 PLEASANTON UNIFIED


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

"On top of that, when private sector salaries were seeing huge increases during boom years, public sector salaries were not."

Reader: public sector employees trade the big salaries for pensions. However, the salaries have gotten too big in the public sector, look at what Casey makes. And they get to retire with 90% of that salary, so don't say things without thinking.

Not everyone in the private sector made millions during the boom years, many people are unemployed, and the public sector keeps growing. There was an article not long ago about Petaluma going broke, because of the pension obligations under Davis. Pleasanton could be next, who knows?

The public sector, school districts included, need to cut costs like everyone else in the private sector has had to do. What did Casey propose to do with the money last summer? Many things including re-hiring someone just so their pension would not be affected! Don't take my word for it, watch the board meetings from last summer.

Casey makes over 200K per year, gets 1K per month in car allowance, etc. That is a competitive salary, too much when you consider he gets to retire with a very generous pension. Enough is enough.

You may want a parcel tax, fine, write your check, but don't expect the rest to be as willing as you are. Besides, other districts that passed parcel taxes (ex: Cupertino) did so without a fully informed community. It was a mail-in vote and many residents didn't even know about the tax, did not vote on it.
Maybe Pleasanton happens to have a more informed community who will not continue to put up with nonsense and will not pay more taxes to keep the status quo.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:53 pm

To Concerned,

"However, the salaries have gotten too big in the public sector, look at what Casey makes. And they get to retire with 90% of that salary,"

At the executive level in the private sector during boom time with total compensation included (with stock options and everything) Casey's pension is meager, so please think about what you are saying before you post. Have a look at executive pay at Oracle, for instance, including bonuses and options and you'll see what I mean.

Enough is enough. We need to make sure Pleasanton schools keep their hard earned reputation for high quality.

Furthermore, PARCEL TAXES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PENSIONS. Not passing a parcel tax in Pleasanton in no way will change our pension obligations. It will only reduce the quality of education we provide here. It will give home buyers who value education incentive to buy in other districts. It will give the best teachers reasons to look elsewhere for employment. You get what you pay for. I don't think Pleasanton voters want to dismantle our excellent school system. We need a parcel tax for Pleasanton.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Concerned,

Casey's compensation is more that you state/ His contract is at: Web Link

$218,020 Compensation
24 days vacation per year plus school holidays (holidays defined by State - 10 days)
1.5 sick days per month which he can cash out on if he does not use (and accumulated unused days add to his pension calculation I am sure).
$5,000 contributed to a Whole Life Insurance Policy (i.e., investment vehicle)
$10,000 deferred compensation (this board converted to normal compensation).
Any other fringe benefits that other managers receive (not sure what they are)
Upon retirement, full medical, dental, and vision (we pay for) until he hits age 65 for himself and his spouse
He is entitled to a Golden Handshake (not sure if this was offered)
$12,000 auto allowance for driving within Alameda and continuous counties (he receives mileage reimbursement outside this area).


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

To a reader,
Pensions have EVERYTHING to do with the cost of running the district, as well as post-retirement medical. For pensions, as the pension fund under-performs, the district has to make increased contributions. For post-retirement medical, the district has not put any money aside for this obligation and it is $11.4M (as of last year). We keep giving this benefit out and we do not even put money aside for it so out kids will be paying for this for a long time.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

To Jen,

Not passing a parcel tax will in no way change Pleasanton's pension obligations.


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Posted by true?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

At 80k/yr av. for 10 mo. work, I believe Pleasanton's teachers are well paid(relative to me anyway) I still wonder how that teacher was able to make a court case against Pleasanton for affordable housing when I did it on less than what that average teacher makes?
Bottom line though, I can't bring my self to believe any propaganda regarding layoffs after that last photo fiasco showing all those teachers that were going to be laid off if we didn't pass the tax.
Using the kids the way they did was of no help as well. Couple that with a couple of others incidents (no pt getting into those) and we are left with a huge credibility gap and even greater # of cynics. It needs closing or another attempt at a parcel tax is doomed.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

True -
What photo fiasco are you referring to? A lot of teachers did get laid off, as well as counselors, vice principals, librarians, tech support, custodians, etc. Our schools are in trouble and all of you can sit here and moan and groan about pensions and salaries, but direct classroom funds that come from the state are gone. The state is to blame for what is going on here. Something needs to be done at a local level so we can have some control over expenditures. We need to save the schools now and then we can take on the teacher's union and the state.


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Posted by state pensions aren't all that
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

The comments on this blog keep claiming state public service workers get these incredible pensions that cover entire salaries. That's not been my experience as a public employee. Not by a long shot. Maybe true for police and fire, but not public education. Maybe if you're a superintendent but not the rest of us. And we pay into the pension system for decades. It's not free. And we accumulate about 2% salary per year. Do the math on full salary benefits on that one. While I agree that medical benefits are a burden on the system, talk to the Kaisers and Blue Crossses about their raising premiums on people who have the audacity to, uh, age. And these so called free for retiree lifetime medical benefits mentioned time and again aren't free. Assuming the typical public education employee retires at 60-65, at 65 their coverage is subsidized by Medicare. This is mandatory.

When did being in public service become a shameful thing in this state and on this blog with so much misinformation attached to honorable professions such as teaching and supporting teachers in clerical and administrative capacities? Public education isn't an industry characterized by too many chiefs when compared to other sectors. To point to any organization, pick out the CEO's compensation and then say "Look how much all those people make in that industry" is ridiculous. I don't know anyone who got into education to get rich. Many of us make a lot less than we could in the private sector, granted, with the exception of this current recession. We're in this because we believe in the students. We're in this to make a difference.

Here's a story called "Do charges on pensions add up?" that discusses this. One quote: "...the rest, about two-thirds of the state's 248,000 workers, qualify for 2 percent at age 55. To take their full pay into retirement at that age would mean their state service started in kindergarten."

Web Link


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 9:14 pm

To state pensions aren't all that:

I agree that the pensions that teachers receive are fair. City and State employees get a much more lucrative pension plan and their should minimally go back to the pre-Davis era which is in line with teacher. Post-retirement medical is skyrocketing and something that we have to address. If we cannot afford this liability now, we should remove that benefit. I don't want the benefit going on our charge card like it is now. As for my previous comments about pensions, I was responding to a comment that said pensions had nothing to do with costs. They do, although I feel the pensions of teachers are not as out of control as other workers. My preference would be that we do away with all defined-benefit pensions plans in the State is this puts all the risk on the taxpayer. We hire the best so they should be able to manage a 401(k) like the rest of us.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm

State Pensions -

I did not want you to think that I actually agree with all that is said about teacher's salries and benefits - I think teachers are underpaid in many cases - I just want people to focus on the reall issue at hand which is our kids losing out.


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Posted by true?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

MK -
Lets go back in time allittle
Read the following from the PW and then compare it against the actual #'s
Web Link
You may not believe this MK, but i would see the parcel tax succeed this time, but i also think that you are unintentionally making it less possible.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

"At the executive level in the private sector during boom time with total compensation included (with stock options and everything) Casey's pension is meager, so please think about what you are saying before you post. Have a look at executive pay at Oracle, for instance, including bonuses and options and you'll see what I mean."

The difference: private sector CEOs run PROFITABLE corporations, they are using private money.

Casey is using our PUBLIC, TAXPAYER funds.

Oracle makes money, therefore compensate their employees. PUSD DOES NOT make money, it spends and spends PUBLIC funds.

Think, think, think before you keep posting and sounding like a broken record, a blind advocate for a parcel tax.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

"Not passing a parcel tax will in no way change Pleasanton's pension obligations"

I am sure that if PUSD goes broke, like Petaluma is about to, it can do something about its pension obligations, I remember reading something about that for another city. Obligations can be re-negotiaited when the entity is bankrupt. PUSD will be bankrupt if they continue to pay such big salaries, borrow, defer payments, and all the nonsense they have been doing.

And also, not passing a parcel tax will send a message to the board: be smarter about the package you offer the new "CEO" and start laying off administrators, so their pension is not as big, the less time they serve, the less pension they will get. That is why Casey, last summer, insisted ion hiring some back and extending employment for a couple of months, just so their pension would not be affected.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

I think it's clear that the community wants some concessions from PUSD in the form of salary freezes and pension reform, but that's still not going to solve the school's budget problems. There will need to be additional monetary support, in the form of a parcel tax along with better fundraising.

The problem PUSD faces is inherent in the funding structure as governed by the state of California, not because of pensions and salaries. Prop 98 guaranteed minimum amount of funding for local schools from the state; however, over the past few years, the state has not even been able to meet this minimum amount. Compounding that, the state distributes much of its funding for schools from property taxes, the rate of which in California has been frozen below inflation since the passage of Prop 13.

Californians, on the whole, contribute less as a percentage of income to education than most of the country. We are also near dead-last in the entire country (48th) in terms of student/teacher ratios and rank in the bottom third when it comes to per-pupil spending.

We cannot keep cutting from the schools without disastrous results. Our school district has faced reduced funding from the state and does not have many options when it comes to raising money--either a parcel tax or an education foundation (which we already have in the form of PPIE). As a community, we need to support our schools, and for those of you who think that cutting teacher salaries and car allowances is going to solve the fiscal crisis have your head in the sand.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Salary freezes, pension reform, unions cutting dues 50% to give teachers back their pay, quickly terminating poor performing teachers and more... Once we get to a comprehensive shared sacrifice model trumpeted by the school board, we'll know what a real parcel tax will need to be, and it will likely pass.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:48 pm

It is interesting that the photo chosen by PW is Dr. Casey at the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.
Recall that in the Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of Measure G, Chamber CEO Scott Raty said..."even with the passage of Measure G, longterm issues of school funding and fiscal stability will persist here in Pleasanton and in communities throughout California. "With this endorsement, we also call upon the PUSD Board of Trustees to work with City leaders and chamber of commerce leaders to engage both public and private sector resources, expertise and creativity to help address issues of long-term stability."
Here we are six months later, and has any engagement 'to help address issues of long-term stability' occurred? Or are these leaders still stuck on same-old?


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Dear Dark Corners of Town,

Thanks for bring that up as I forgot about this. The Chamber of Commerce essentially did a qualified endorsement of Measure G on the grounds that the district works on addressing the budget issues, short-term and long-term. Since the district has not done this, I wonder if the Chamber of Commerce would endorse a parcel tax measure again.


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Posted by Caesar
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

The teachers pension fund is currently underfunded. That is, it does not have enough money to meet its obligations. WHEN THIS HAPPENS, IT DEMANDS MORE FROM DISTRICTS TO SHORE UP THE FUND.

To say that a parcel tax will not affect the pensions problem is outrageous. If they get their hands on more money, the Union will use the opportunity to protect its position. NO!


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm

The other thing that I have heard about for some time is the line of credit with the City. Last year the district went to the city and asked for a line of credit from the city because the district might not be able to make the payments on its certificate of participation (COP) loan. The district wants to use a line of credit to make payments on an existing loan. Like using one credit card to make the payments in the other credit card. This does not pay anything off any quicker but rather increases the debt. I don't know if the district has used the line of credit yet. As taxpayers we are paying a ton for facilities through the school bond that is on our property tax already. If the district cannot make payments for the COP from the facilities fund then they will have to hit the general fund to meet their obligation. Sounds like the superintendent is trying to retire and get out of town before the facility loans come to a head.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:45 pm

To Concerned,

You say,

"Make all benefits comparable to the private sector. "

Then you say,

"The difference: private sector CEOs run PROFITABLE corporations, they are using private money."

Can you ever make up your mind? Do you want benefits comparable to the private sector or not?

Please, read you own posts from time to time. You are contradicting yourself.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm

To "Caesar",

"To say that a parcel tax will not affect the pensions problem is outrageous. If they get their hands on more money, the Union will use the opportunity to protect its position. NO!"

Where do you get this idea? A parcel tax has nothing to do with pensions.

Even if it did, where do you get the idea that teacher's pensions are excessive? This one bears repeating:

"The comments on this blog keep claiming state public service workers get these incredible pensions that cover entire salaries. That's not been my experience as a public employee. Not by a long shot. Maybe true for police and fire, but not public education. Maybe if you're a superintendent but not the rest of us. And we pay into the pension system for decades. It's not free. And we accumulate about 2% salary per year. Do the math on full salary benefits on that one. While I agree that medical benefits are a burden on the system, talk to the Kaisers and Blue Crossses about their raising premiums on people who have the audacity to, uh, age. And these so called free for retiree lifetime medical benefits mentioned time and again aren't free. Assuming the typical public education employee retires at 60-65, at 65 their coverage is subsidized by Medicare. This is mandatory.

When did being in public service become a shameful thing in this state and on this blog with so much misinformation attached to honorable professions such as teaching and supporting teachers in clerical and administrative capacities? Public education isn't an industry characterized by too many chiefs when compared to other sectors. To point to any organization, pick out the CEO's compensation and then say "Look how much all those people make in that industry" is ridiculous. I don't know anyone who got into education to get rich. Many of us make a lot less than we could in the private sector, granted, with the exception of this current recession. We're in this because we believe in the students. We're in this to make a difference.

Here's a story called "Do charges on pensions add up?" that discusses this. One quote: "...the rest, about two-thirds of the state's 248,000 workers, qualify for 2 percent at age 55. To take their full pay into retirement at that age would mean their state service started in kindergarten."

"


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Maybe some of the above negative posters are not very familiar with Pleasanton and the quality of the schools here. Pleasanton is well known throughout the Bay Area for its high quality schools. Because of the global economic downturn, the district has had to cut programs and increase class sizes. A parcel tax will help prevent further cuts and could restore some that have already been cut. All of the high quality school districts in the Bay Area have parcel taxes in place. These districts, like Palo Alto and San Ramon, are seeing excellent results. We can do the same here in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 29, 2009 at 11:16 pm

a reader, got to keep correcting you. You always seem for forget to add the part that Pleasanton receives significantly more money from the state than San Ramon so San Ramon has to have a parcel tax to keep up with us. Where San Ramon excels in in fundraising. We need to learn from them and it needs to be done soon.

While I believe most people in Pleasanton feel our schools are good, there are some things that needs to be fixed before taxpayers would give more of their hard-earned money in taxes. You cannot ask people to give more money when the staff is receiving raises still and we have some management perks that need to be addressed. It is all solvable but I feel the ball is in the district's court now. If they stop the raises and fix problems with the high perks, then we can come to the table. With the changes in finances, this will show if we have any real leadership in the board, administration, and the union. If they can make some concessions that those in the private sector are having to make, the public is more apt to help the district. If the leadership say they will continue with raises, which the taxpayers are not receiving, and continue with high auto-allowance perks, which the taxpayers are not receiving, they show their true colors in caring more about themselves than about the students.


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Posted by MK
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:22 am

To "True?" -
I have o idea what point you are trying to make when you addressed your post to me. My point is that yes, the state needs some fundmental changes, but we need to fix the revenue issue here in Pleasanton first - we need to make sure our kids have the classes and services they need...I truly think the only way to accomplish this is through a parcel tax.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:56 am

To 'a reader' -
Can you post the link to the story you mentioned? Thanks.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Web Link


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 5:37 pm

To Jen,

San Ramon and Palo Alto are still giving step and column raises to their teachers. There is nothing to correct here. You have to look at the latest figures, which include a parcel tax.

" If the leadership say they will continue with raises, which the taxpayers are not receiving, and continue with high auto-allowance perks, which the taxpayers are not receiving, they show their true colors in caring more about themselves than about the students."

These are the same kind of accusations you always here from the "no parcel tax ever" crowd. People were talking about all the "wasteful practices" and "teacher raises" in those other excellent districts. It is a usual tactic. Just do anything to cast doubt on a school district in hopes that people will vote against a parcel tax. In every other high quality school district in the Bay Area, the tactic failed. And those districts are still giving step and column raises. Pleasanton needs to pass a parcel tax.


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Posted by The Other Mary
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 30, 2009 at 6:37 pm

What does seem readily apparent is that the PUSD Board is preparing for another parcel tax attempt, come heck or high water. "I'm having fun" is code-speak for 'we are laying tracks and we are driving this train where we want to regardless of any input from the newcomer board members or community'. There will clearly be another expensive campaign and attempt to asses a parcel tax funded by taxpayer dollars.

However the last parcel tax measure was defeated fairly easily without any organized opposition. This time around there will be a concerted and organized effort to defeat the new tax initiative.

PUSD has enjoyed many flush years without much in the way of public scrutiny of the budget and actual expenses. Though since the economy and associated tax revenues have faltered they have not fared well under the spotlight of the public's attention. The propaganda machine is in full motion, but the simple truth is that without full public review of the district budget and expenses, meaningful input from the public on the future budget (not the lip service feed to the current committee), an ACTUAL freeze on raises (including step and column for the term of the tax proposal), and a salary concession from the employees the parcel tax initiative will fail by a considerably larger margin than the last outing. After all, no means no. And most people become resentful when they think they are being hustled.

Now what will have an impact are various fund raising efforts that could be run by those that stand to gain from the income and utilize the services provided by the district. Don't wait. Start now. Failing to do so significantly diminishes your message of crisis. It sends the message that the district, their employees, and the service users would rather wait for pennies from heaven than do any actual work to supplement the existing income.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm

a reader,

The correction is you did not mention that we receive significantly more money from the state than San Ramon.

Another thing to take a look at is California ed-data you will find teacher's salary (last year posted is 2007-08 but the delta in salary is probable pretty close still). Average teacher salary in Pleasanton is $81,446. In San Ramon it is $64,878. Even with San Ramon paying benefits, our salaries are much higher. One would think that with this much higher average salary that our teachers are more experienced but the average years of teaching at San Ramon is 12.3 and Pleasanton is 9.8.

When we had the money, we gave it to the teachers so now that we do not have the money, we are hurting. San Ramon has reserves they can draw against because they did not hand over all their money to the teachers. That helps them in this economic climate. If our teachers union demanded the district give all the state money to the teachers during the good times, they have to be prepared to give some of it up in bad times.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:28 pm

To "The Other Mary",

You seem to have things backward here. It is a very typical pattern to see a first parcel attempt fail only to be followed by a second, successful parcel tax attempt. All the high quality school districts in the Bay Area have passed parcel taxes, and all have maintained their step and column raises, so I don't know why you keep bringing that up. Those districts are our competition. Sure, if you want to be cheap and have a lousy school district, we can cut pay for our teachers and give the best teachers incentive to teach elsewhere. I don't think that is what the voters of Pleasanton want.

"Now what will have an impact are various fund raising efforts that could be run by those that stand to gain from the income and utilize the services provided by the district. Don't wait. Start now. Failing to do so significantly diminishes your message of crisis. "

I'd like to see a fund raiser started now too.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm

To Jen,

I don't think you're making the right comparison here. If I understand correctly, PUSD teachers have to pay for many of there own benefits, such as health-care, whereas San Ramon teachers don't. Health coverage isn't cheap these days. If you factor in all those other factors, plus the added benefit of their parcel tax, it doesn't look so rosy for Pleasanton.


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Posted by Concerned (who posted "private sector CEOs run PROFITABLE...")
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm

"To Concerned,
You say,
"Make all benefits comparable to the private sector. "
Then you say,
"The difference: private sector CEOs run PROFITABLE corporations, they are using private money."
Can you ever make up your mind? Do you want benefits comparable to the private sector or not?
Please, read you own posts from time to time. You are contradicting yourself."

There seem to be two people using "Concerned" as the name. I never said to make benefits comparable to the private sector. But now that I think about it, that is not a bad idea: get rid of pensions and pay for the actual work. We will save a lot of money because no one in the private sector gets to work only 10 months out of the year, get holidays off, one week off at thanksgiving, etc. Also, the private sector gets rid of incompetent individuals, there is no tenure there. Also, during tough financial times, companies downsize. So the other "concerned" has a good point.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm

To Concerned,

So are you willing to pay well into seven figures for executive level employees? Like I said above, look at the up the top five executive compensation at a private company like Oracle. I don't think we want to pay school superintendents that much.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Any retiree comments are IRrelevant unless it's a NEWLY retired person from this new excessive era.
This comparing apples & oranges doesn't count either....I don't KNOW any body who works at Oracle....How about comparing average people working at average companies...that's the MAJORITY. The MAJORITY votes so better deal with reality. Stop denying the ROYALITIES we pay here.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 8:06 am

Reader -

You cannot compare the amount of work that the Oracle CEO does, with Casey's! Come on, you sound fairly silly here. The other "concerned" was making a point of average employees' benefits being more in line with the private sector - ie, teachers, clerks, with say employees with the same type of job in the private sector (although it would be hard because again, no average employee in the private sector gets to work only 10 months, be out of the office by 4, get summers off, be completely incompetent without consequence, etc)

But if you insist on silly arguments: okay, compare that to Apple. (Steve Jobs). Or how about comparing that to companies that have gone belly up, or that have had to merge and get rid of incompetent executives who made the wrong choices?

You sound very much of an advocate for keeping the status quo. I do not know if you have children, I do. I can tell you that teachers are not all that great here in Pleasanton, we have had our share of bad, tenured teachers. One teacher acted like this was a part time job, called substitues all the time, the learning had to be done at home. And the administrators don't even bother to talk to parents, and when they do, you don't get anywhere.

No, Casey (or any other superintendent) does not deserve a 7 figure income. Put those people out in the real world and they would not last very long, they may not even get hired, not for real jobs, managing real, competent people, managing real budgets, having to deliver real reasults


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:20 am

"You cannot compare the amount of work that the Oracle CEO does, with Casey's! Come on, you sound fairly silly here."

My point exactly. Asking that public school workers be compensated in a way comparable to private sector is nonsense.

" can tell you that teachers are not all that great here in Pleasanton"

Here it is again. The same tired "I'm against a parcel tax because the schools are crap" argument. People say that in every top quality school district just because they are against all taxes. People were saying the same thing in Palo Also, Piedmont, Cupertino, and San Ramon. Yes, I have children attending the schools here in Pleasanton, and so far the experience has been good. One of the reasons we paid more for a Pleasanton home was for the good schools. I'm not saying that all teachers are good here, or that the tenure system is perfect. I'm saying that on the whole, we have a very good school district. Not passing a parcel tax will in no way change the rules for tenure for teachers. Passing a parcel will allow us to retain CSR and other programs as well as attract the best new teachers.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:27 am

To Susan,

"How about comparing average people working at average companies...that's the MAJORITY"

I would hardly say that the average Pleasanton voter is anything comparable to the average California resident.

"In 2005, the median household income in Pleasanton was $101,022, the highest income for any city with a population between 65,000 and 249,999 people.[1] Similarly, for 2007, the median household income rose to $113,345, also the highest in the category.[2]"

Web Link

Web Link


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

a reader,
"Similarly, for 2007, the median household income rose to $113,345"

That is household income, not income for a single person. So if a Pleasanton household had two teachers (many families in Pleasanton have two workers), the median family income would be around $160,000, plus they have a pension system that the taxpayer does not have.

Do I think that teachers are overpaid? No. But I do feel in these economic times that they could go without raises and still be well paid. I am not advocating for a reduction in their salaries, just not in favor of continuing to increase their salaries on the backs of taxpayers who are not getting increases in salaries.

While I believe we have good teachers as well as bad teachers and wish that good teachers could be paid more and bad teachers gone, that is another issue that we are not going to solve right now. For now it is quite simple; stop all raises, remove excessive car allowances, look at fundraising. Then we can look at an additional tax. I don't feel the district has done everything reasonable yet. An additional tax should be the last thing when all else fails.


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Posted by Karl Marx
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 10:26 am

Reader,

Do not take this as an insult but only as an observation. I consider you to be the most extreme of socialists and maybe this is what you truly believe. First, you were all over taxing people for schools even if they did not have a job for teachers raises, then you seem to try and vilify professionals and are truly envious of people who have excelled and done well in life so much so that you want them to pay more than others to support your causes.

I truly believe that it is people who think like you which has placed the United States and California in the financial situation it is in. After reading what has been written if anyone thinks a parcel tax has a chance of passing in this financial environment in this city is very mistaken.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 11:50 am

There are many things that can be done during this fiscal crisis. One of them may be to switch from ADA funded schools to basic. Palo Alto is basic, so they receive money directly from their property tax base. Since the state is taking so much money from the cities and school districts, the board should explore the possibility of switching to the non-ADA type of funding. Property taxes are lower, but I think even with that we may do better since our money would stay local, rather than having to give it to the state and hope they give us enough back.

This is a very interesting article:

Web Link

It talks about an affluent school district in Los Angeles and how it is switching to non-ADA funding since the state is not really giving that much money to the school districts these days.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 1:08 pm

We have a spending problem first and then a revenue problem.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I think both the spending and revenue problems need to be solved at the same time. The board needs to cut costs where needed, and also look at other ways to solve the revenue problem. Going basic, instead of ADA funded is something many school districts have done, and it works well. We need to at least see how that would work for Pleasanton. It does not make sense to send money to the state and hope to get some back for schools, if changing the funding system and keeping the money local would work better.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Here is another article which explain the Basic-Aid vs ADA funding:

Web Link

Pleasanton is currently ADA, the board would need to look at the numbers and see if we would be better off being Basic-Aid, instead of ADA.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 3:21 pm

To "Karl Marx",

"After reading what has been written if anyone thinks a parcel tax has a chance of passing in this financial environment in this city is very mistaken."

Then you are not looking at our neighboring districts. Walnut Creek just passed a parcel tax a month ago in this financial environment, and San Ramon passed one in arguably a worse environment.

"try and vilify professionals "

Please, please show me where I've done that.

"truly envious of people who have excelled and done well in life "

Once again, show me where I've demonstrated envy "of people who have excelled and done well in life". I consider myself to have excelled and done well in life. Am I envious of myself?

"I truly believe that it is people who think like you which has placed the United States and California in the financial situation it is in."

So who support parcel taxes for schools have put the United States in the financial situation it is in. What an interesting perspective.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 3:25 pm

To Jen,

"While I believe we have good teachers as well as bad teachers and wish that good teachers could be paid more and bad teachers gone, that is another issue that we are not going to solve right now. For now it is quite simple; stop all raises, remove excessive car allowances, look at fundraising. Then we can look at an additional tax. I don't feel the district has done everything reasonable yet. An additional tax should be the last thing when all else fails."

I agree with all of that, except "stop all raises". From what I understand about these teacher's unions in that freezing step and column raises would be very difficult from a practical perspective. We have to also consider that none of the other top quality districts in the Bay Area have done that. I don't think we want to give the best teachers an incentive to work elsewhere.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 31, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Since our salary schedule is higher than other district, freezing step and column would not hurt us competitively. Another way to do this is to keep step and column but give everybody a pay cut of a few percent. That would prevent problems of freezing step and column. Having the highest paid teachers and giving out raises while asking the taxpayers for more money does not sit well. I have actually heard some teachers suggest the pay cut to help balance the budget but the union wants nothing to do with that.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

"Since our salary schedule is higher than other district, freezing step and column would not hurt us competitively. "

I don't think it is, when you consider increases in other districts, combined with the fact the Pleasanton teachers pay their own health benefits. That would also have to be considered. I'm not saying pay cuts couldn't be on the table. I'm just saying now is the time to bring those considerations to the table.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 31, 2009 at 4:26 pm

How many more tens of thousands of CA teachers will lose their jobs in the next 9 months? How many of those would love to have a job with PUSD come September? PUSD can reduce salaries across the board (say 10%, now that contracts are in negotation) and you would have many qualified personnel applying for open positions at PUSD. Cut salaries now, bring back the teaching positions lost last year!


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:22 pm

OK, everyone, why don't you bring your issues, comments, and suggestions to the town hall meeting on January 5, instead of spending your time villifying reader?

I am especially looking forward to hearing Jen, Resident, and Concerned making their comments before the board and other Pleasanton residents. Why are you wasting your breath here, whereas you could be accomplishing something real?


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:27 pm

The teachers found that the health insurance benefit was a waste to most of them since they already have health insurance in their family with their spouse's work so they now get cash which also goes towards their retirement. Even taking into consideration the benefit differences, Pleasanton is still higher based on surveys they did a couple of years ago. Funny but I happened to have a report from the district when they were doing the adjustments in 2006-2007. I knew I kept that for some reason as I was interested in this at the time. For teachers we were rated #1 in salary compared to the other districts we compare with (comparable districts agreed upon by management and the unions). These comparisons added the benefits to get an accurate comparison. The districts we compared against are Castro Valley, Palo Alto, Mt Diablo and San Ramon. This chart also showed that everybody in management made over $100k (actually lowest salary was $112,846 for an Assistant Principal at an Elementary School and working 200 days a year (12 weeks off)).

Here are the management salaries they released in the 2006-07 year:
Asst Supt: $184,175, 220 days (8 weeks off)
Sen Dir: $144,761, 220 days
Director: $135,137, 220 days
Class Dir: $127,976, 225 days (7 weeks off)
Coordinator: $124,587, 210 days (10 weeks off)
Coord Special Projects: $127,553, 215 days
Principal High School: $142,356, 220 days
Asst Principal High School: $125,975, 210 days
Principal Middle School: $135,042, 215 days
Assist Principal Middle School: $120,362, 207 days
Principal Elementary School: $127,752, 200 days
Assist. Principal Elementary School: $112,846, 200 days

On the list was the Public Information Officer making $93,965, 225 days (can't remember if we still have that position).

I remember now that management received a raise during that year just before the county (or state?) said the district could not give out raises because of the financial situation. Other districts, like San Ramon I believe, did not get management raises that year.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Concerned,

I bet this town hall meeting will be just like the ones the district did last year. I went to two of them and found the same union people speaking and those organizing the parcel task "asking" the board to put a parcel tax on the ballot. I found out afterwards that that committee already had their website done and was working with the district administration and their job at these town halls was to get enough of them to speak so the board could say "a lot of people asked us to put a parcel tax on the ballot." Those meetings were a setup. There were also a lot of teachers and staff there so people I knew who were going to speak felt intimidated and were afraid their kids would be "retaliated" against by the district if they spoke at the meetings. So instead of putting a bulls eye on their kids, the spoke with their vote.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:54 pm

To "Dark Corners ...",

"How many more tens of thousands of CA teachers will lose their jobs in the next 9 months? How many of those would love to have a job with PUSD come September? "

Do you get that this is not an average school district here? I don't think residents of Pleasanton want to hire just anybody. We want to maintain an excellent school district that is sought out by home buyers and parents. Sure, we could cost cut our way down to what they have in some of the poor performing districts and live with the mediocrity. I just don't think the people of Pleasanton want that.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2009 at 5:58 pm

To Concerned,

"The districts we compared against are Castro Valley, Palo Alto, Mt Diablo and San Ramon. This chart also showed that everybody in management made over $100k"

Do you have the numbers for management in those other districts?


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 31, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Yes I have the other numbers. It would be a lot of typing to get all the positions and salaries for each district.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

To Resident who wrote about basic aid district and posted links,

The State chooses who is basic aid. As the articles show, basic aid means that the district kicks out any extra transfer students because they don't get any extra revenue. That's the drawback of being a basic aid district, you become highly protective of who you accept as a student. I wouldn't necessarily want to see that here, I mean, if it is really "for the children". These articles are prime examples of why we, parents of this State, need to really get on the Legislature's case regarding education.


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:15 am

To 'a reader' -

Do you get that with union seniority rules, thousands of excellent teachers were laid off last year? And thousands more will be this year (barring a state/federal fiscal miracle). I would expect PUSD to maintain (or even increase) their hiring standards. I'll say again....
How many more tens of thousands of CA teachers will lose their jobs in the next 9 months? How many of those would love to have a job with PUSD come September? PUSD can reduce salaries across the board (say 10%, now that contracts are in negotation) and you would have many qualified personnel applying for open positions at PUSD. Cut salaries now, bring back the teaching positions lost last year!


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

Jen -
I agree with your take on the last year's (yes, Happy New Year everyone!) PUSD meetings. And the logic will go.....If you are against the parcel tax, you are against 'X'. Where 'X' will be 'students', 'the kids', 'home values', 'excellent schools', 'teachers', and more. The intimidation was real, the opposition remained faceless to prevent social suicide, and the parcel tax was defeated. To date, nothing has changed to make the next outcome any different.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

Stacey:

I agree with your statement about being Basic Aid. But reading the article about Santa Barbara, one trustee had a point: in these financial times, they have to look after their own students/residents first. I do not know if we have that many out of district students, everyone I know here in Pleasanton schools are residents.

The point with Basic Aid is that as the state gets deeper into debt, they seem to be cutting education first. Why should our kids whose parents either own or rent a home in Pleasanton suffer? Every child has a district to attend.

I would love to have my kids attend Palo Alto but I cannot afford to live there, imagine if Palo Alto started welcoming everyone who wants to be there: after a while there would not be room for their own residents, and even if there were room, the money would not be enough, and their quality of education would be compromised.

Isn't our goal to keep Pleasanton schools excellent? The arguments by "reader" are that property values would go down, that people buy in Pleasanton because of the schools, etc. Well, then let's keep the schools excellent. If that means going to Basic Aid, then let's do it.

Yes, the state decides who gets to be Basic Aid, but a district applies for that when it thinks it qualifies. I honestly think that right now, given all the money/funding we are not getting from the state, Pleasanton might qualify and might be better off.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

To "Dark Corners",

"Do you get that with union seniority rules, thousands of excellent teachers were laid off last year"

Yes, of course, but it all boils down to the package we are offering versus what the other districts are offering. There will still be a choice, and the best teachers will still choose. I just don't think we should experiment too much with reducing incentive to choose PUSD.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

To "Dark Corners",

"And the logic will go.....If you are against the parcel tax, you are against 'X'. Where 'X' will be 'students', 'the kids', 'home values', 'excellent schools', 'teachers', and more."

But isn't the time now to say things like "I would support a parcel tax if the district would freeze all raises and stop car allowances and cell phone allowances". You wouldn't be anti-kid or anti-excellent schools now (at the January 5 meeting) if you said those things. Why not say them now, when there is no parcel tax proposal yet? I don't think there could be any fear of retaliation if you're not opposing a parcel tax, you're only defining it.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

Reader:

Since you like the idea of a parcel tax, which would be financed by residents, how do you feel about Pleasanton looking into the Basic-Aid type of funding? Please read my posts above, with links to articles about two school district who chose to go Basic-Aid. Palo Alto is also Basic-Aid.


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Posted by Poor Dark Corners
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

Poor Dark Corners. Time and again we've heard on this blog about the "intimidation" felt by those opposed to Measure G. How about the intimidation felt by those in favor of it? I was the only one on my block to put a pro-sign on my lawn and had many unfavorable looks cast my way by neighbors. When you take a stand, there's risk. Pro G people were no more the boogie men than those opposed. Retaliation works both ways right? Besides, I keep reading here that 37% opposed to a parcel tax is the equivalent of a landslide anyway.


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

It is a shame the new teachers are the first to be laid off because of the way the union rules work. My son and his friends have said the best teachers they had were the newer ones. Maybe it is because they had an incentive to work harder since they did not reach tenure yet, perhaps because they were out of school recently and learned some good techniques for learning, perhaps they got into the field because they really cared and are not yet thinking about retirement. Don't know. The shame is the newer teachers are a lot less expensive to the district because your salary increases for years on the job.

To a reader, those against the last parcel tax did write letters to the editors (or maybe it was an opinion piece) in the papers to exactly what you are saying that they did not support the parcel tax because the district was still giving out raises, had high auto allowances and cell phone allowances. The district then just shot down the messengers through character assassination. They were not listening to the ideas. At the last school board meeting, Valerie Arkin suggested the district talk with those who were against the previous parcel tax and engage them in talks. I doubt very much that the district has done that. It is business as usual.

To Poor Dark Corners, really now! The anti-parcel tax group was so concerned on intimidation that they did not even have yard signs. Remember there was that article in the paper written by a former board member about his concerns and why he did not support a parcel tax (reasons listed above) and the pro-parcel tax committee paid for a full page ad to personally attack the former board member. The pro-parcel tax leadership was ruthless and they would knock down people to get their way. That alone was the main reason I voted against the tax last time. I voted to send them a message that I would not support a cause that used intimidation to get their way.


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

DCOT wrote in PUSD - Alternative Expense Reductions?- "A parcel tax process is driven by the district. A community can not create one."

What you fail to still comprehend is the process in which a parcel tax begins.It has to be brought forth to the board from the community- not the school district. The school district can not campaign for a parcel tax, they can ony educate the community on what is going on in the schools and the effects of the budget cuts. This process began months ago with multiple meetings, input from the community, and information from the staff. The school board, following up with the requests from the community, scheduled the meeting on the 5th.

You call for ideas on alternative funding sources and communtiy education, yet when it occurs it is not enough. You ask for balance in solving this problem, yet you continue to only state the revenue should come from those providing the services. PUSD already cut 10+ million from the classrooms, and is currently preparing to cut more. A parcel tax alone will not cover the loss of funding for our schools, just as the district stated last time. Only last time, it was PUSD that made the cuts to cover the shortfall. Where is the balance you ask for?

You really should attend the meetings so your questions can be answered and you can hear the truth about how these cuts are affecting the children of this community. To turn around and play the victim role as to why you wouldn't attend is counterproductive to what you are constantly calling for- more community input! Why corrupt the very process you are asking for, before it even happens? Why are you against hearing how our schools are being dismantled? Isn't this the education that you are claiming the community needs to hear?


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Very nicely said, Get Educated.


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Posted by Parent volunteer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Joan- You cry character assassination in the same post as stating experienced teachers no longer care and are only concerned about their retirement?

You would rather have inexperienced educators vs. experienced? Because they are cheaper? Isn't about the quality of education the instructor provides, not how liked they are?

You say- "The pro-parcel tax leadership was ruthless and they would knock down people to get their way." And your comments aren't more of the same? You take hearing how million of dollars in cuts are affecting our schools as intimidation and that justifies not supporting the schools? How is this addressing the lack of funding from the state and helping our school district improve or maintain the quality we have come to take for granted?


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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm

To Get Educated -
Is it a requirement that a community has to 'bring a parcel tax to the board' in order for the board to authorize it? Can you show me where that is stated?
What makes you think I don't attend/view the board meetings or communicate with the Trustees?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Get Educated, You are absolutely wrong about how this has to flow. Staff can bring the issue to the school board (and many have), who must make the decision to run a parcel tax. Once voted on by the board, you are correct that it is handed to a committee and the district staff steps back except to respond to pertinent questions.

As to your comments about hearing the truth, it would be nice if the administration and board admitted their bad decisions are a fair part of why the district is in the shape it's in. It is far too convenient for staff and members of the board to keep pointing at the state--which leaves the other four fingers (as they say) pointing at themselves. Admitting their missteps and arrogance in running the last tax attempt would put some fresh air in the room. I don't expect it, however, based on the last board meeting where business as usual with four members of the governance team ganging up on the other two.

Parent Volunteer--The discussion should be, as others have pointed out, about keeping quality teachers, period. Sometimes that comes from the experienced teachers; other times it is those with fresh ideas and approaches newer to teaching. How that is accomplished is a longer and more difficult conversation given the union.

As to a parcel tax, there is a lack of trust with the majority of this governance team. After all that was proven about previous actions that added to the woes piled on by the state, these same people have learned little and continue to behave in the same manner despite a defeat of Measure G that must have been a huge surprise to them.

I would say that another attempt at a parcel tax at this point, with these attitudes, with this group of "leaders" will face the same fate. That is their fault. Perhaps with a new superintendent, and with any luck, better candidates for the board's two open seats in November, we will have reason to support the efforts of that governance team.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

"You would rather have inexperienced educators vs. experienced? Because they are cheaper? Isn't about the quality of education the instructor provides, not how liked they are?"

People seem to have the wrong idea about new vs. old teachers. The best teachers my children have had have been the new ones, the non-tenured ones, the ones that some called inexperienced.

I would rather have a district full of young, new teachers with fresh ideas than having a bunch of bad, tenured teachers who feel entitled.

A post above said something about Pleasanton not being able to compete for good teachers, and someone else said there would be a lot of teachers laid off in the next 9 months.

I think that if there are teachers who will be laid off, it will be the newer, non-tenured ones, and I would love for those teachers to come to our district. Most new teachers are knowledgeable, kind and great for the kids; they truly love their jobs.

So if no parcel tax means our "experienced" teachers either walking away or not considering Pleasanton at all: that's good! Let's welcome the hard working, new teachers with fresh ideas. My family and a lot of people we know would really appreciate that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

If you like inexperienced teachers so much, why don't you move to Oakland, where many of their teachers are young and inexperienced? You can bet the turnover in their schools is much higher than here--no lazy, experienced teachers to worry about.

Jeez, give teachers and the teaching profession some credit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Wait, I have an even better idea: why don't we bring inner city schools to Pleasanton?

From the comments here, it sounds as though you all want our teachers to have lower pay and less experience. Well, inner city schools have that and we can too. In fact, let's go ahead and have a race to the bottom and see who wins?

We all know inner city schools are a model of academic excellence, with their underpaid, overstressed teachers. Their high turnover rate is a bonus as well. I mean, who wants an experienced teacher? Me, even when I'm looking for a doctor or contractor, I try to find the freshest face out there with not a day of work under their belt.

C'mon, Pleasanton, why would you want to emulate San Ramon or Palo Alto? Why do you want to be in the top 10? Let's shoot for the bottom 10. It's much easier and cheaper.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joan
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

To Parent Volunteer,
I am not sure where you thought I was doing character assassination. I never said that experienced teachers no longer care. Personally I think most do. I was making an observation from my son and his friends that they feel the newer teachers are better and I put our some possible reasons for this and ended it with "Don't know". We have an issue in the system now that teachers are paid based on years teaching and not on quality. With this system, we have some very good new teachers who are let go because of seniority.

As to the rest of your posting, I have no idea what you were trying to say.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm

To Resident: I don't think this is an issue of having all inexperienced teachers that we can pay less. It should be about quality teachers (lots of or little experience) versus tenure. There currently is only one long, difficult option to remove those who no longer help our children to succeed. I would also like to see a way to reward those teachers who are exemplary and to have a system where they can, in turn, share their knowledge via professional development with other teachers, mentoring, or a model called Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs). I'm sure there are other best practices out there. It's a sticky wicket, though; just look at what is happening in D.C.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Let's get real here. There is a waiting list of people wanting to be Pleasanton teachers. Why? because the pay is the best around.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Personally I have had better experiences with experienced teachers, as they tended to know how to handle problems in their classroom and how to teach children of all different types of intelligence, abilities, personalities, etc. No matter what their level of experience, teachers are all held up to the same standard: that is, they are responsible for teaching your children according to state and national standards. Those who don't meet these criteria can be reprimanded or transferred.

If I were looking at a school district, I would want to know the turnover rate, among other things. Is it high? Then I would feel something were wrong with the school. The only way you can consistently have fresh, new teachers is to have a high turnover rate. Is that really what you want for Pleasanton schools?

In other professions such as healthcare, experience is valued. It should not be different in teaching. If you have so much of a problem with your child's teacher, then you should bring it up with the principal or at a parent/teacher conference.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Mary, yes and that way we can attract the best teachers. It is no secret why Pleasanton schools are so desirable--both for teachers and students.

So you want to reduce Pleasanton's desirability for both teachers and students. How does that benefit your children and how does it benefit the community?

Many people want to live in Pleasanton because of the schools--this keeps our average home prices higher than our neighboring districts. Teachers want to teach here because of the favorable environment--this attracts high quality teachers. We all win here. A parcel tax to maintain our excellent schools will benefit the entire community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

We will never get a tax passed in this economy with so many hurting to give teachers a raise. Better come up with a better idea.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

And another thing: I don't know why there is so much vehemence against teachers here. They are doing a valuable service to the community. And yes I think teachers are underrated and underpaid.

You should be directing your anger at the State Government. Our schools have been shortchanged for years, even after the passage of Prop 98, which was supposed to guarantee a minimum amount of funding for schools. In fact, Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to suspend Prop 98 so he can take even more money away from schools.

Who are you kidding? Freezing teacher salaries is going to do NOTHING to solve the budget crisis. A parcel tax combined with more fundraising can help bridge the gap from the funding shortfalls from the state so that our children do not have to attend class with 30 (or more) other classmates, lose access to reading specialists, have their library hours cut or eliminated, and lose out on music and science education.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Nice to see that so many people are active on this board.Looks like the majority are against the Parcel tax. I personally think that a Parcel Tax has as much chance as a snowball in hell. We need to go with cutting expenses and trying to come up with voluntary fund raising.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Concerned,

I agree it has no chance and when it is mentioned people just roll their eyes. I believe our taxes are going up anyway with this Healthcare bill right?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:10 pm

It is great to see so many people actually working to get a parcel tax on the ballot.

"We will never get a tax passed in this economy with so many hurting "

Not true. Walnut Creek just passed a parcel tax in "this economy" and San Ramon passed their parcel tax in a worse economy.

To derive any conclusion from the number of posts on this board as to the outcome of a parcel tax would be statistical nonsense, so I wouldn't put much stock in that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Unlike last time when I voted yes this time I am going to actively campaign against it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

To Joan,

"To Poor Dark Corners, really now! The anti-parcel tax group was so concerned on intimidation that they did not even have yard signs. Remember there was that article in the paper written by a former board member about his concerns and why he did not support a parcel tax (reasons listed above) and the pro-parcel tax committee paid for a full page ad to personally attack the former board member. The pro-parcel tax leadership was ruthless and they would knock down people to get their way. That alone was the main reason I voted against the tax last time. I voted to send them a message that I would not support a cause that used intimidation to get their way."

My point was that there isn't yet a parcel tax. You have a chance to define it. If you want 10% pay cuts, no car allowances, a two year time frame, $100 per parcel, or whatever, you can say it now without any fear of retaliation. Sure, if your opinion is "I oppose a parcel tax under any circumstances", then you can just do that with your vote, but the people who say that they would have voted for the last one if it contained x, y, z.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm

To Mary,

"Unlike last time when I voted yes this time I am going to actively campaign against it. "

I can't see how that makes any sense. You don't even know what is in it. Suppose it has everything you want? Have you changed your mind to just oppose all parcel taxes, regardless of the terms?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm

"To derive any conclusion from the number of posts on this board as to the outcome of a parcel tax would be statistical nonsense, so I wouldn't put much stock in that."

I would say the same thing about a town hall meeting with people saying a parcel tax can succeed. Just like what happened last year.

Last year the district paid for an independent survey and the conclusion was a parcel tax could not pass. The district held some town hall meetings (which were really rallies for a parcel tax) and people there said there was no way a parcel tax would not pass. After spending money on the survey which said the tax would not pass, the district spent another $300,000 to do the election. And the parcel tax did not pass. The cost of the election would have paid for several teachers. If the board puts this on the ballot again based on a parcel tax rally (oops, I mean town hall meeting), we need to do a recall of the board members who vote for putting such a tax on the ballot at yet another expense to the district.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm

To Mary,

"I agree it has no chance and when it is mentioned people just roll their eyes. I believe our taxes are going up anyway with this Healthcare bill right?"

Depends on who you talk to.

"I believe our taxes are going up anyway with this Healthcare bill right"

Healthcare, and Medicare D, TARP, stimulus bills, and a whole lot of other spending. Most likely yes, are federal income taxes will be going up. But that stuff is all federal government, and can taxes collected be used for anything. A local parcel tax can only be used to fund our local schools in Pleasanton, nothing else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Reader,

I pay enough taxes already and do not need any more money taken from me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

To Jen,

"The district held some town hall meetings (which were really rallies for a parcel tax) and people there said there was no way a parcel tax would not pass."

Do you have any links to that. It would be good to see exactly what was said.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

To Mary,

"I pay enough taxes already and do not need any more money taken from me. "

OK, fine. Are you prepared to take the needed cuts in programs like Medicare and social security that will be needed to balance the budget?

On top of that, are you happy with your current rate of taxation, or would you like to pay less? What is so great about the amount you pay now? Why not lower it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Reader,

Our taxes are out of control and yes I would be willing to accept less in services to reduce cost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm

To Mary,

Seems like spending at the federal level is what is out of control, not taxes. We are spending far more than we are receiving in taxes at the federal level. Isn't spending the primary problem? Federal income taxes are currently at a 30 year low -- If you don't believe me, just go back and look at a tax schedule from 1980.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Reader,

40% of our income goes to taxes. I believe that is excessive and the state and fed want more. No more I say.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm

To Mary,

"40% of our income goes to taxes."

Not sure where you get that number. I would recommend that you look at taxes and spending over the last 30 years, and you can easily see where the government went wrong. We spent much more than we collected in taxes. There were plenty of tax cuts, but there weren't cuts in spending. Medicare and Social Security spending grew faster than any other category of spending by far. The trouble was, we didn't collect enough taxes to pay for it. That problem is only getting worse, not better.

Back to Pleasanton and a parcel tax. A parcel tax in Pleasanton is a local tax that can only be used for our schools. It isn't like all those other taxes that you pay. I think we in Pleasanton should place a high priority on passing a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:03 pm

"Pay no attention to those taxes behind the curtain" says Oz.

A Reader, I believe that people here pay more than 40% in taxes. You have federal, state, sales, property taxes, local school bonds (collected on our property tax but is an extra tax). You are correct in saying we have a spending problem. However, you do not fix that problem by giving the government more money. If your kids spends all her money on starbucks, the mall, movies, etc., and then comes to you at the middle of the month asking you for more money, you don't give her more money. You let her know that she has to live within her means. Same message holds true for the government.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

To Mark,

" However, you do not fix that problem by giving the government more money. "

And you don't solve the problem by cutting taxes. You just make a bigger problem in the future by borrowing too much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

A Reader: "To derive any conclusion from the number of posts on this board as to the outcome of a parcel tax would be statistical nonsense, so I wouldn't put much stock in that."

I believe this was the same attitude for Measure G. If more attention isn't paid to the concerns being raised, there really isn't any more chance of another measure passing. The implication the concerns and those commenting can be dismissed is dangerous.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Again, I would like to choose what to spend my hardearned money on. Remember the revolution? It started over taxes with no representation like now. I believe taxes should be reduced significantly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Mary, Californians spend less as a percentage of their income on education than most of the country. We also rank near the bottom when it comes to per-pupil spending.

Compounding that, we have cuts in funding from the state. Note that the state cannot even meet the minimum levels of funding as promised by Prop 98. If you are talking about a revolution, it should be at the state level, but we cannot let the school children be the victims in all this. There will need to be sacrifices from all members of the community (yes, the taxpayer has some culpability in this due to Prop 13 and how it's negatively affect school funding) to remedy this situation and maintain our education system in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Prop 13 went into effect in the 70's so I am not buying the argument. My taxes in this state are off the charts compared to other states.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

To a reader,

"And you don't solve the problem by cutting taxes."

Taxes have not been cut. In fact taxes have gone up. Our sales tax is almost 10%. Please name for me taxes that have been lowered in the last few years. I believe the problem is that when the economy was in hyper mode, government collected a lot more in taxes. Instead of putting it into reserves or using it for capital, one-time expenses, government added a bunch of new programs and expenses to operations and increased employee costs with bigger raises and obscene pensions. Now that the economy is not in hyper mode, we don't have the funds to keep all these new expenses going. Instead of cutting the new programs and newer expenses (including increased pensions), they are cutting everything; including items that are important to all residents. That is not acceptable.

To Concerned Parent, you state that Californians spend less as a percentage of their income on education that most of the country. If this is true then the state is spending too much on other things since our taxes are near the highest in the country, The solution is not to tax more but rather to put our tax money to work in the appropriate places.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

and where is all the revenue from industry in this state? It seems few businesses come here and many leave.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

To Mark,

"Taxes have not been cut."

Federal income taxes have been dramatically cut over the last three decades. We are taxed far less today, when you count state, local, and federal than we were thirty years ago. That is why the federal deficit is so huge.

" I believe the problem is that when the economy was in hyper mode, government collected a lot more in taxes. Instead of putting it into reserves or using it for capital "

You're talking here about the state government, not federal. If you want to talk about your overall rate of taxation, you have to include federal, which is bigger than state.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

To Mary,

"and where is all the revenue from industry in this state? It seems few businesses come here and many leave. "

In the nineties, the Bay Area saw the biggest surge of new companies created than ever before in history. And this was at a time of much doom and gloom from the naysayers. Some of those companies are now (like Google) established leaders in their fields, respected the world over.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm

To Kathleen,

Re-read what I wrote.

"To derive any conclusion from the number of posts on this board as to the outcome of a parcel tax would be statistical nonsense, so I wouldn't put much stock in that"

What part of "statistical nonsense" didn't you understand?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I would not call google a real company. I am talking about companies that make something with a manufacturing base.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:24 pm

To a reader,

Federal income taxes are not used for education. But, back to my main statement that there have been no tax decreases anywhere around the time that we ran into these financial difficulties.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Mary, google is not a real company? What rock do you live under?

Did you forget we are in the information age? Google is one of the pioneers of this. Sorry but the manufacturing age is pretty much over in the United States.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:27 pm

To Mary,

"Again, I would like to choose what to spend my hardearned money on. Remember the revolution? It started over taxes with no representation like now. I believe taxes should be reduced significantly. "

Your federal taxes have been reduced significantly over the last 30 years. It is very easy to check. Tax rates for upper brackets are about half now what they were in 1980. Medicare and Social Security spending kept going up. This is federal tax, not state tax. We are spending much more than we take in. We either need to drastically cut Medicare and Social Security, raise taxes, or do both. Otherwise, we will continue to have deficits. We don't have taxation without representation. We have a house of representatives and a senate. I don't see anything about the revolutionary war that has much anything to do with a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm

To Mary,

"I would not call google a real company"

I don't think you want to say things like this too much. A lot of "information workers" might not take too kindly to it. ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:31 pm

To Mary,

"But, back to my main statement that there have been no tax decreases anywhere around the time that we ran into these financial difficulties. "

Who was saying that there were? There weren't tax increases either, that I'm aware of.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm

To Mary,

"I believe taxes should be reduced significantly. "

Do you mean state or federal? In the case of federal, reducing taxes is just treating the symptom and not the cause. That hasn't worked. If you really want lower federal taxes, that means a lot less Social Security and Medicare.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Mary, since information companies are not real, could employees of them be exempt from paying a parcel tax?

A large percentage of residents of Pleasanton work with information companies. We certainly have a lot of "unemployed" residents in Pleasanton if you believe that they do not work for real companies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Reader,

Our sales tax is almost 10 percent now, state income tax rate is now 10 percent and soon just crossing the bridge will cost 6 dollars. All taxes have been increasing in this state that is why many wealthy folks are leaving.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Forget about federal taxes since this discussion is on the parcel tax and financing of education in California. So if you look at taxes that go towards California which can be used for education (state income, sales, property, local school bonds) taxes are up, and significantly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

"Federal income taxes are not used for education."

Federal funding for schools comes in many forms- Title 1 programs, NCLB, Special Education, etc.
You can find some more information here:
Web Link


In California, your tax dollars are not being given back to the district to fund the programs in place. They are being used to balance the state deficit. This is the problem. Read more about the lack of funding through Prop 98 here:

Web Link

Web Link



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Freddie
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Why don't we just keep the money and fund ourselves?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:38 am

To Mary,

" All taxes have been increasing in this state that is why many wealthy folks are leaving. "

But federal taxes are down, way down. That is the most significant portion of any one's tax bill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:39 am

To Mark,

"Forget about federal taxes since this discussion is on the parcel tax "

No, Mary complained about her overall rate of taxation. That was her point.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

To Mark,

"So if you look at taxes that go towards California which can be used for education (state income, sales, property, local school bonds) taxes are up, and significantly."

But if you look at money available for education in Pleasanton, a large portion comes from local property taxes. Because Pleasanton is not experiencing much growth or new development, the net effect of Prop. 13 is to make less money available for education. Combine that with the unexpected collapse of the global economy, and the only rational conclusion we can draw is that in order to maintain high quality education in Pleasanton, a parcel tax is essential.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:46 am

To Kathleen,

"As to your comments about hearing the truth, it would be nice if the administration and board admitted their bad decisions are a fair part of why the district is in the shape it's in."

The district is in the shape it is in mainly due to the profound decline in the global economy. This could not have been anticipated.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:48 am

To Kathleen,

"I don't expect it, however, based on the last board meeting where business as usual with four members of the governance team ganging up on the other two."

Maybe those two were the problem, and replacing those two should be a focus.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

Good morning, Reader, I said they created a "fair part" of the financial problem--raises they couldn't afford, abandoning the plan for a larger reserve, spending down the reserve and borrowing from the city and the Sycamore reserve. The district is on the state watch list for a lot more than the economy.

I agree with replacing the old guard. To accomplish it, we need candidates and then we need to support them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:13 am

Either way, we're going to need a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:18 am

Attending the meeting on Jan. 5th is really important for many to ask and find out why decisions have been made in the past instead of simply assuming it was a wrong doing. Each time there have been budget cuts from the state, PUSD has had to cover them through cuts to programs, administration, and staff. I wish the reserves were higher also, but the trade off has been that the community has not had to help fund the schools through a parcel tax, like all surrounding cities have, we have had to use the reserves. This year's funding is a perfect example:

From the Independent 12/27/09-
Web Link

Compared to the previous year: (note that teachers did not receive the COLA that was in question in the article)

From the Independent 9/24/08-
Web Link

It is crucial to understand why spending has happened the way it has instead of jumping to blame and distrust. We need stay focused on solutions and address what we value in our schools right now and what it takes to fund those things according to the rules and regulations the district is bound by. Attending the meeting and asking those important questions is needed to end the hearsay and speculation so we can find solutions to keep our schools the top quality that they currently are.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "the net effect of Prop. 13 is to make less money available for education."

BS. Total property tax receipts have increased (it was something like 300%) regardless of what individuals pay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Get Educated posted the links on Prop. 98 and how this State funds education. Why continue to blame Prop. 13? It doesn't matter (due to Serrano v. Priest) which tax the money comes from. What matters is that the Legislature prioritizes education funding.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:40 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Get educated wrote: "...address what we value in our schools right now and what it takes to fund those things..."

Which is why I hope the district takes a serious look at the entire budget by prioritizing what needs to be funded first before looking at what needs to be cut.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:31 am

"BS. Total property tax receipts have increased (it was something like 300%) regardless of what individuals pay."

Show the link that specifically applies to PUSD. 300%? Where do you get that number? And what period of time are you talking about? And yes, of course it should increase. Inflation diminishes the buying power of a dollar over time. I thought we agreed that there was this flaw in Prop 13?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

a reader,

I don't think you are really "a reader". If you were, you would have read that there is no connection between property taxes and education funding. You keep saying the same BS about property 13 and then come to the conclusion that we need a parcel tax. Our education is financed through revenue limits set up from the state. Whether our total property tax in PUSD is $3 trillion or $3,000, get get the same revenue per student from the state. Please stick to the facts. Making up things does not help your cause.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

To Jen,

"I don't think you are really "a reader". If you were, you would have read that there is no connection between property taxes and education funding. You keep saying the same BS about property 13 and then come to the conclusion that we need a parcel tax. Our education is financed through revenue limits set up from the state. ..."

Now who is making things up. Look at PUSD site some time and see that funding is broken down to some from the general fund, and some from local taxes. Where do you get that it is set up from the state. And there are different kinds of districts too, so we could easily convert to a district that gets 100% of its funding from local taxes. Stick to the facts, or you'll just sound like a shill for the Haward Jarvis group. Are you actually getting money from them? If so, do you think that is ethical?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm

To "Get Educated",

Way to go with that information. The anti-tax zealots are running out of anything rational to say, so they just post nonsense. There is no sense in arguing with them, because for them everything is black and white. Keep up the good posts.

Remember that all the high quality school districts in the Bay Area have parcel taxes in place. They are the competition. We can prevail if we stop all the doom and gloom these people are trying to spread. Our schools aren't crap. They're not perfect, and we need to continually improve. We need a parcel tax in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

GE and Reader: Way to go? Anti tax zealots running out of things to say? Using The Independent for facts? Yikes! Ignoring or dismissing the issues, as happened with Measure G, will garner the same result if all things remain the same. To my knowledge, you are only two of those who support a tax. I hope other supporters are more inclusive about how to move forward to gain additional support from the zealots.

San Ramon, Palo Alto, Livermore, Dublin, Piedmont are districts that had parcel taxes in place before the state problems. Our district has some history in looking at a tax, not garnering support for it, and running Measure G blind to community sentiment. There is no jumping to conclusions--bad decisions have crippled our district. That leadership needs to own up to those errors and apologize to this community. It could be the start to rebuild the trust, which was theirs to lose and must be theirs to regain.

Without that and with a couple of board members running business as usual with their organizational meeting, I see no hope for those who genuinely are looking for solutions. Until then, hey, at least one of them is having fun!


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Posted by inaccurate information
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Kathleen, this isn't accurate:

"San Ramon, Palo Alto, Livermore, Dublin, Piedmont are districts that had parcel taxes in place before the state problems."

The correct information:

Dublin (passed Nov 08)

Livermore (passed Nov 08)

San Ramon (passed May 09)

Peidmont (passed June 09)

I'll add a few more:

Walnut Creek (passed Nov 09)

Acalanes (passed Nov 09)

Albany (passed Nov 09)

Lafayette (passed Nov 07)

Orinda (passed March 09)

Walnut Creek (passed Nov 09)

Acalanes (passed Nov 09)

Albany (passed Nov 09)

Nine passed, eight which passed well after the start of California's budget crisis in Nov 07. I'll guess I'll trust your info on Palo Alto.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Inaccurate: I'll check, but I know for sure that San Ramon and Piedmont were renewals--not the first parcel taxes they had in place (the dates you list are the renewals). Pretty sure for Livermore as well. PA had their first one in place about ten years ago.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Here's some information from a reliable source. Quick glance says this is through June 2006. Web Link

And there is this: Web Link which indicates those that passed between 2001 and 2009, but I didn't see the years listed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 6:17 pm

And this is more definitive: Web Link


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Posted by they voted yes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

"I'll check, but I know for sure that San Ramon and Piedmont were renewals--not the first parcel taxes they had in place"

This confuses me. These communities did vote for these parcel taxes. They had elections during the worst financial crisis in decades and passed their respective initiatives. They didn't automatically renew.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Correct, the renewals were not automatic. The voters agreed to replace, renew, maintain, extend parcel taxes they already had in place, often with an increase to the original amount. Those districts were looking ahead and planning, so they put the PTs in place before there was a crisis. And they then had a track record of providing what they said they would so there was confidence when voters returned to the booths for the re-ups. Sorry if that wasn't clearer.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm

As an aside, but to the topic of the budget, here is a link to a form that assesses the fiscal shape of a district: Web Link Is says if you say no to six of the items, there should be a concern. Fiscal intervention, to be clear, can't just be a knee jerk response of "see, we need a parcel tax" or "it's the state's fault." Other decisions put the district in peril first and still need to be addressed.


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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Thank you, Inaccurate Information, for posting all the districts that have renewed parcel taxes in the Valley. And this is just for the Valley; there are many, many others in the Bay Area alone.

Jen, resident, Mary, and others, note that we are among the very few high quality districts that do not have a parcel tax. Resident and Mary: I suspect you do not have children in school because you are against ANY amount of parcel taxes, preferring rather that PUSD make cuts in education, even if it severely degrades the quality of our schools, than to pass even one red cent on to the community.

We face huge cuts in funding from the state. Our state cannot meet the guaranteed minimum amount of funding from Prop 98. Now Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to suspend Prop 98 so that he can further cut funding to education.

Jen, Mary, and resident: You know full well that freezing teacher salaries and cutting car allowances won't do much to close the budget gap. Just look around: SCHOOLS WITHOUT PARCEL TAXES ARE NOT FARING AS WELL AS SCHOOLS WITH PARCEL TAXES.

Continuing to blame PUSD for this budget mess is incorrect, and I suggest to anyone who reads these forums to attend the school board meeting on Jan. 5 to get information and judge for yourself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I will be voting a resounding no this time. Economy is bad and everyone must sacrifice. Paying teachers more money from those who cannot afford it is wrong. This is just more union strong arm tactics.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I have been impacted hard by economy and cannot afford it this time around and will campaign against it.


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Posted by nice spin
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:12 pm

"Those districts were looking ahead and planning, so they put the PTs in place before there was a crisis. And they then had a track record of providing what they said they would so there was confidence when voters returned to the booths for the re-ups. Sorry if that wasn't clearer"

I didn't realize you're a multi-district expert with knowledge of the state of mind of the voters in Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, Peidmont, Walnut Creek, Acalanes, Albany, Lafayette and Orinda.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I am really impressed with the responses to this thread. Cut the new supdt.'s salary and benefits by a minimum of 15%, Cut all other administrators by the same amount, cut teachers and other support staff by 10% and then we can talk. California has a $21 billion deficit( Probably more like $30 billion) and the Feds are getting ready to cut the umbilical cord. Face upto the music like families and private industry have done instead of begging for more money. I just read the book "American Creation" with the reasons for the big revolt against the British crown for tax increases. We are in the same boat now and need a revolution.


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Posted by Bobby
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

The revolution has already started. Look at Harry Reid and Chris Dodds poll numbers? Not to mention our President's


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm

To Bobby,

What has Harry Reid or Chris Dodd got to do with a parcel tax in Pleasanton? Shouldn't you belong on some other thread?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm

To Concerned,

" Face upto the music like families and private industry have done instead of begging for more money. "

More with this "private industry" thing. Do you know the first thing about private industry? Have you ever been involved in a financial company? Every held a management or research position at an investment firm? Big companies live beyond their means all the time. Look at Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs. They were making huge leveraged deals in 2007, many of which went sour, and there were no reserves to cover the losses. Are they cutting salaries? No. This year we're seeing record bonuses not just for executives, but for analysts and managers. And begging for money? These guys are pros. They beg, and they get. Are you saying you want PUSD to behave like that?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm

To "Concerned",

I'm encouraged by the pro-education, pro-parcel tax posts I'm reading here. It looks like the anti-tax people are just resorting to the "tax cuts solve all problems" mantra and not even thinking. Now they're even trying to bring in the President and congress. Let's talk about maintaining our school districts high quality and attracting the best to work here.

" I just read the book "American Creation" with the reasons for the big revolt against the British crown for tax increases. We are in the same boat now and need a revolution."

I would recommend that you re-read the Declaration of Independence. The only mention of taxes was the grievance:

"For imposing taxes on us without our consent"

AND A PARCEL TAX IS NOTHING LIKE THAT. IT NOT ONLY REQUIRES CONSENT, IT REQUIRES 2/3 MAJORITY.

The rest of it complains about things like "For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world", "For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us".

Why would you try to conflate what is happening in PUSD with how Great Britain treated the colonies in 1776? It is so completely different.

We need a parcel tax in Pleasanton to maintain the quality of our schools. Weird, inappropriate comparisons to the American Revolution aren't relevant.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Nice Spin: Come on--the conclusion was relatively simple--those districts had taxes early on (planning), they were renewed (voter confidence). I posted links to make sure the correct data was noted.

I really would like to find some common ground, to be inclusive--what is all the YELLING for? Whose hearts and minds are people winning here?


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:02 am

Kathleen, I'm sorry you are choosing to post insults and actively campaign again to build distrust against our schools. My posting was to help people understand WHY decisions were made in the past and to encourage people to come to the meeting and share ideas on how to solve this problem.

You say "To my knowledge, you are only two of those who support a tax. I hope other supporters are more inclusive about how to move forward to gain additional support from the zealots." Yet nowhere in my post did I say I support a tax as the only solution or a solution at all. Since you are so quick to attack and assume my position, I have reposted my comments:

"It is really important for many to ask and find out why decisions have been made in the past instead of simply assuming it was a wrong doing. Each time there have been budget cuts from the state, PUSD has had to cover them through cuts to programs, administration, and staff. I wish the reserves were higher also, but the trade off has been that the community has not had to help fund the schools through a parcel tax, like all surrounding cities have, we have had to use the reserves."

I'm also sorry that you feel the need to insult the Independent as a source of information. Especially since my point is to remind the community of what has happened *here* in Pleasanton in the past years and WHY it happened, not just "opinions" on what could of, should of, would of happened if....

The community needs to know what the affects of 10+ million less in the budget and how these cuts are directly affecting every classroom in this district. They need to understand that one time money is currently funding class sizes of 25:1, music programs, counselors, reading specialists and next fall this funding will be gone.

Posting your attacks against those who are trying to share this information and are working in this district certainly may cause another failed parcel tax attempt, if that is the direction the board decides to take, but then we need to understand the reality of how our schools will have to take on the added cuts to the over all budget.




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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:59 am

Get Educated: Sorry to lumped my comments together. I'll comment separately in the future.

I am not campaigning against a parcel tax. However, in the last campaign, many issues were raised and that is important to recall. I don't think the district responded with why then; don't feel there are any whys (excuses) worth hearing now. My take in briefest terms is that with the current balance of power, solving the problem won't be possible with the attitudes of this leadership. Changes to one leadership position are under way; a change in attitudes for at least three others would be a step to a cure. I am not hopeful, but would love to be surprised.

Enough of the community's trust (clearly not everyone) has already been lost The recent board meeting where it was business as usual was not only an insult to two board members (my assumption), but to everyone is this community. As I said somewhere out here--how do you say you are having fun when people have lost part or all of their jobs; the district is on the state watch list, etc.?

I have spoken with people who support a parcel tax. It is refreshing to have an open dialog and to look for balance.

My opinion, it is opinion, about a couple of newspaperS stands as far as being sources of fact. There were plenty of reasons during the last campaign not worth rehashing now.

Explain the WHYs you are looking for please. What can be said about the raises? That is where the snowball started. I don't see the value in hearing why now--it can't be undone. Could have, should have, would have . . . those weren't opinions. The decisions were made; the impact is fact .

I'm not attacking anyone. Won't dispute the $10 million. Won't dispute the looming problem. I will ask where is the fund raising? I will not support the status quo from three of the board members.

I will get back to this so I can put something cohesive out here rather than be stuck in response mode.


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Posted by Informed now
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

I was undecided on this issue until reading these posts but after reading the Get Educated and Reader comments I am now firmly against it. My neighbors were talking about the issue at a Christmas Party and honestly most voted for it the first time but are now against. I will vote no and campaign against it because it does appear to be anythong other than rewarding teachers with more pay in a time of economic crisis. Even if it were to pass the amount of hard feelings in the community would not be worth it. How would like to walk around town with 33% thinking you were stealing their money? Lots of folks at Nummi who will soon be unemployed live in our city. I will donate as my conscious and finances dictate at fundraisers.


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Posted by American worker
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

I would hope that teachers had a little personal pride or maybe the signed that over to their union. When was the last time a Pleasanton teacher left for more money? While we are at it when was the last time one was fired for poor performance?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

"In California, your tax dollars are not being given back to the district to fund the programs in place. They are being used to balance the state deficit. This is the problem. Read more about the lack of funding through Prop 98 here:"

That is why looking into whether Pleasanton can be a Basic-Aid funded district (instead of ADA) should be done. Before talking parcel taxes, PUSD should explore the possibility of going basic. Other school districts, like Santa Barbara, have done it, and thanks to that, their finances are better, Santa Barbara even saved CSR thanks to the switch from ADA to Basic-Aid funding.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Non-tenured teachers are released often--either for lack of performance or because student loads or budgets don't justify keeping them. It is a difficult process where even the best are let go. There may be tenured teachers that are eased out, but you don't hear about it; to some extent because the union protects them from the publicity. I imagine parents notice their absence. It's expensive unless there is some illegal event that causes it (all the press about affairs with students would be an example).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Basic aid districts maintain higher reserves and don't spend them on administrator raises.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

There are ADA districts that maintain higher reserves. San Ramon does. San Ramon has much higher reserves than Pleasanton even as they received less money than Pleasanton (their ADA plus their previous parcel tax was still quite a bit less than what Pleasanton received).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fraud
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Please look at the attached link as it illustrates why California faces a 30 billion dollar deficit and the US even larger. We are just throwing money away folks.


Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Upset Voter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Good link "Fraud". It is amazing the projects our government is spending its money on instead of education. You can also go to stimulus watch and see the federal stimulus money applied for by our city mayor (Web Link). Pleasanton applied for $203,099,000 in federal stimulus funding including $5,000,000 for a bridge, and $170,000,000 for city hall expansion,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

"their ADA plus their previous parcel tax was still quite a bit less than what Pleasanton received"

Was less, but I'm hearing that the are currently comparable, when calculated per student.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

"Before talking parcel taxes, PUSD should explore the possibility of going basic. "

I'll correct that to say, "after enacting a parcel tax, PUSD could explore the possibility of going basic. "

Otherwise, it looks like a delay tactic. Kind of like what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad keeps doing with requests for nuclear inspections. He keeps saying "We will allow inspections, but first we have to look at issues x, y, and z". It is just stalling. Anti-tax people are like that. They are like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And I say that with all due respect, and I mean no offence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm

To "Upset Voter",

That site is out of date. Look at the warning across the top:

"WARNING: You're looking at a page from the old site. We have relaunched with live stimulus data. "


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I do not agree, "reader"

If PUSD qualifies and can be Basic-Aid, they may not need as much money as they think,

A key to passing a parcel tax is to have an accurate picture of how much money is really needed. It is important that PUSD both cuts expenses and goes basic if possible (they would know very quickly if they qualify) before going to the community for more money.

You have read the many posts where people talk about the waste in PUSD. Unless the real numbers are given, a parcel tax will not necessarily pass.

Think about it: if your relative was asking you for money so he can feed his kids, and you knew he just bought a new car, and that he refuses to get rid of his vacation home and all the extras, would you lend him the money? I would not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm

To Fraud,

Apart from the one time TARP and stimulus spending, the reason we will have enormous federal deficits is because of Social Security and Medicare. Look at the the pie chart on this page.

Web Link

38% of spending went to Social Security and Medicare. That is growing faster than any other part of the government. "Physical, Human, and Community Development" was only 9%. Even if you cut it entirely, you wouldn't come close to balancing the budget. You can't hope for that until you start cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

None of that has anything to do with a parcel tax for Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

To Resident,

"Think about it: if your relative was asking you for money so he can feed his kids, and you knew he just bought a new car, and that he refuses to get rid of his vacation home and all the extras, would you lend him the money? I would not."

Agree to the extent that there should not be extravagances during lean times, but we also have to be mindful of not cutting compensation to the extent that we are less attractive to new employees than other top districts. We have to define what is an extravagance.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm

There are formulas that dictate when a district can be basic aid vs revenue limit. Ask Luz. Districts, as far as I know, don't choose to be basic aid.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Districts may choose to go to basic-aid funding when they qualify. This happens when their revenue from local taxes would give them a higher per pupil amount of money than what they receive from the state.

That is what happened with the Santa Barbara school district. They went basic not long ago.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

To a reader,

"I'll correct that to say, "after enacting a parcel tax, PUSD could explore the possibility of going basic. " Otherwise, it looks like a delay tactic. "

Both a parcel tax and going basic are seen as a delay tactic in the district fixing the problems mentioned on this forum. These are the same problems the public brought up with the district at the last parcel tax election. I believe the order has to be: stop raises, fix auto and cell allowances and cell phones, look at going basic. After that we can see the financial picture and decide whether a parcel tax is necessary.

" "their ADA plus their previous parcel tax was still quite a bit less than what Pleasanton received" Was less, but I'm hearing that the are currently comparable, when calculated per student. "

Glad you acknowledge that San Ramon was able to give a comparable education to Pleasanton and have higher reserves when it had less money than San Ramon. And you also state that we are currently comparable. So we should not need a parcel tax. The only difference between San Ramon and Pleasanton now is that San Ramon gets a lot of donations from the community through their fundraising. How come our district has not started that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Here's a link to Healdsburg--it clearly states there is no choice: Web Link

And from Ron Bennett at School Services of California: But a basic aid district is different. The two most likely surprises are an unexpected increase in enrollment or overprojection of property taxes. A basic aid district does not receive any help from the state until it gains enough students or loses enough property tax to again become a revenue limit district. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Resident
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Kathleen is right: a district cannot choose to become basic aid. It happens only when revenue from local taxes exceeds a certain amount. And even then they have to apply for the status.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Informed Now
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I'm sorry to hear you are basing your decision on a not-yet-named parcel tax based on the comments on this forum.

Please do attend the board meeting on Jan. 5, get the facts, ask tough questions, and decide for yourself. The future of your children is in your hands (and the community's), and I would hope you would turn a deaf ear to many of these posters, who serve nobody else's interests but their own and are not afraid to post lies and spread malicious rumors.

I also know reader and they are just parents with school-age children who value quality education and good schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Reader,

Since you are for a tax to give the teachers a raise I have a question for you? Would any of the following be exempt from you proposed tax? Retired on fixed income, disabled, unemployed, young couples trying to start out, couples whose income has been reduced by say 25%, renters whose children attend the schools?

Just curious.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

"To Informed Now" Wow. Should we ignore your blatantly incorrect post as well or point out "To ??????" posted the same comment on a similar topic, nearly verbatim? I would hope you are not posting out here using multiple anonymous monikers to look like more people. It would be serving your own self interest, I think. My opinion.

Attending the meeting is a good opportunity to hear perspectives, but it is not the only source of verifiable information. Many making posts go out of their way, whether pro or con, to provide links to substantiate their statements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm

To "Curious",

"Retired on fixed income, disabled, unemployed, young couples trying to start out, couples whose income has been reduced by say 25%, renters whose children attend the schools? "

Obviously the only one that would be practical would be retired past retirement age.

"young couples trying to start out"

You're kidding with that one, right?

"renters whose children attend the schools"

How does the logic of that work? They would automatically be exempt, right? They would not pay a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm

To Jen,

"San Ramon. And you also state that we are currently comparable."

Aha, but do we want to be only comparable, or do we want to excel. That is an important question. And going forward, they will be pulling ahead, unless we pass a parcel tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

To Kathleen,

" I would hope you are not posting out here using multiple anonymous monikers to look like more people. It would be serving your own self interest, I think. My opinion."

Oh, I had to laugh at that one. The anti-tax people would never resort to such tactics. I would be shocked, truly shocked to find out that they did such a thing. But then again, they are the down-trodden, the shamed, the victims, afraid to speak out in public forums for fear of retaliation. So, I guess the anti-tax people should get a pass if they do things like that. After all they are just frightened victims.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What is meant by "comparable" is a district with similar size and other demographic characteristics to ours. San Ramon is considered a comparable district to Pleasanton and it isn't because of test scores or revenue limit amount.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader,

Why do you lump people together in such a general manner? There's anti-tax people who want to privatize the schools. That doesn't make all anti-tax people of the same mind. Just because someone goes and posts like that doesn't mean the activity is condoned by others.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

To Stacey,

Okay. But I think we should be trying to get higher API and SAT scores, and every kind of academic excellence we can strive for. Why not?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm

To Stacey,

Agreed, I shouldn't lump all anti-tax together as of a single mind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "Okay. But I think we should be trying to get higher API and SAT scores, and every kind of academic excellence we can strive for. Why not?"

Yes, we can. I was just pointing out that "comparable district" is a loaded term that means something other than comparable in test scores.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Reader,

Thanks for your response for now we know what you are. So I will be retiring at 55 in Feb so I am thankful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

To Curious,

"Thanks for your response for now we know what you are."

Know what I am? Do you mean that I am retired? How can you be sure about that. I just said that it was the only workable exemption, as far as I can see.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Posted by a reader above: "Oh, I had to laugh at that one. The anti-tax people would never resort to such tactics. I would be shocked, truly shocked to find out that they did such a thing. But then again, they are the down-trodden, the shamed, the victims, afraid to speak out in public forums for fear of retaliation. So, I guess the anti-tax people should get a pass if they do things like that. After all they are just frightened victims."

Posted by a reader on the other thread: "Try to have a sense of humor. If you can dish it out, you should be able to take it."


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Posted by To Kathleen
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Why on earth would you even try to dissuade anyone from attending a town hall meeting? The meetings are held as an open forum, and anyone can speak up. If you are too shy to speak up, by all means write your school board member an email or letter.

You know as well as I do that there are a lot of misstatements, half truths, downright lies, and so on, in these postings, and NO, MOST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE FACTS TO BACK THEM UP WITH.

Yes, I posted on the other thread under "To [name]" because I was addressing someone. This is how I've always posted before and now you feel threatened?

I urge parents of children in school and other community members to get the facts for yourself and base your decision on them. You should be the one who decides the fate of the schools your children attend.

Nobody else cares about your children. YOU ARE THEIR ADVOCATE. They posters on PW have said they don't care whether your children are crammed into classrooms with 40 other kids, whether library hours and music classes are cut, whether there will be a school nurse available when your child is sick, whether children who need specialists can access them.

Please, get the facts for yourself, ask the hard questions, and become an informed citizen. Anyone who tries to dissuade you from doing so HAS THEIR OWN SELF INTERESTS AT HEART (yes, Kathleen, I'm talking about you).


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Posted by To Kathleen
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Here's the time and place for the meeting: Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 p.m., in the library at Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Man, some posters here really know how to exaggerate what others wrote.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:06 am

To "To"--Threatened? No, I don't feel threatened; I was just stating the obvious.

I've said multiple times attending the meeting is a way to participate. I'm not discouraging anyone from going (Jan 5, Amador library, 6:30 for a brief business session, 7:00 for the budget topic, and there is at least one consulting firm who has been asked to attend who happens to have my respect).

I've written and/or talked to all the board members since before the Measure G campaign--and do and will continue to do so. And I've talked outside this format with people on both sides of the issue.

Talk all you want about me. I can't imagine, nor have you indicated, what my self interests might possibly be. I'll try this tactic again, ask me a question and I'll do my best to respond. It isn't what seems most obvious, that I am unwilling to pay. I donated more than would have been asked in Measure G. I have a grandchild in the schools, so it isn't "yippee, my kids are out; the rest of you can go fiddle." I am not warming up a campaign to be on the board, although I'd be happy to support new candidates for November. I've stated I would support a tax.

And there you go yelling again, as if it supports your statement that people are, well, not agreeing with you. Opinions are opinions and everyone's entitled. Statements of fact have been supported with verifiable sources. Many who post inaccuracies, intentionally or in error, get called on it by other posters--including my mistakes. As they say, it's all good. It's a conversation.

How can anyone feel welcome at the meeting (again, January 5) with the type of invitation you present?


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Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:55 am

Go ahead and have your little pep rally for the tax but rest assured we will just vote it down again and this time with a resounding bigtime NO!!! If you are expecting a different point of view in that type of environment forget it. Go ahead and waste another 300K in a losing effort.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:22 am

Kathleen:

You make it sound like the board of trustees does not have a choice about initiating the switch to Basic-Aid. Districts and trustees do. They are the ones who look into whether a district qualifies and then apply.

Read this:
Web Link

Here is a board of trustees and administration who takes matters into their own hands. They do not wait for someone to knock on their door and ask: would you like to become basic-aid now that it makes financial sense?

Districs do choose to be proactive, they figure out if they qualify (and many districts do these days because the state is giving so little to them) and apply and go for it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:57 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I haven't been able yet to determine if basic aid is a status a district can initiate on its own. From what I've read, it appears that the State has to give the option first. Maybe Ed-Source has the definitive answer.

Other thoughts on basic aid:
- How close or how far is PUSD from qualifying? (My guess is that it isn't close.)
- How many non-resident students would possibly be kicked out of PUSD to lower enrollment in order to protect the revenue?

Since PUSD is a revenue limit district, it really needs to chase after higher ADA numbers to protect and increase revenue. What is the Board doing to address that?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Oh, forgot this question...
- Since property values are relatively stable in Pleasanton, how long can we expect until PUSD qualifies for basic aid? Has this projection been done at all?


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Posted by Realization
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:21 am


I voted Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my boat.

I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I voted Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I voted Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I voted Democrat because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

I voted Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I voted Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as IT sees fit.

I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite The Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my butt that it is unlikely that I'll ever have another point of view.

"A Liberal is a person who will give away everything they don't own."



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Posted by Realization
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:24 am

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost. He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free. He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head, My dog is a democrat!


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

Do you people hear yourselves? The US is swimming in debt and 2 wars, California is bankrupt and dealing with another 30 billion plus deficit, the environmentalists are driving all of our jobs out of the state (unless of course you work for Google or EBAY who make nothing), the city is running out of funds, unemployment is over 12% in the state but over 20% when you consider people who have given up, many are underemployed and have not had raises in a couple of years and you are considering throwing away money putting something on the ballot during these times and expecting people to vote a tax on themselves? Come on get real!


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Posted by Questioning
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:46 am


Here's a couple things I just don't understand.
If the taxpayers are the ones paying for education, shouldn't the taxpayers get to see all financial information?
Yet from what I've read on other posts, the Budget Advisory Committee wasn't allowed to advise on the budget, but only allowed to rank items already decided upon by PUSD.
Wouldn't it have been better to let the committee see all the financial information? A number of people who were on the committee have strong financial backgrounds and getting an opinion from them on what items could be cut would have been a good way to use their time and expertise.
So why didn't that happen?
Also, I remembered that one item that people questioned was car allowances. I contacted a school board member and asked about the car allowances. What I found out was that the asst. superintendents' contracts were recently reviewed and every assistant superintendent is still getting $500 a month for a car allowance.
I agree that when employees use their vehicles to travel on employer business, they should be reimbursed mileage at the rate established by the IRS. But giving each asst. superintendent $500 a month - how is that benefiting my student?
I understood that there were contracts in place before that provided car allowances, and nothing could be done about eliminating allowances until the contracts were up for renewal.
But they were renewed, and the allowances are still there.
I was so surprised to hear this, I didn't ask about all the other people who had been getting car allowances.

I expected PUSD and the School Board to work hard to eliminate any expenses that could be eliminated without impacting students.
If they are so arrogant that they ignored an expense which was pointed out as being unnecessary, are there are other unnecessary expenses in the budget? Is that why the Budget Advisory Committee did not get to see all the financial paperwork, but only what PUSD allowed them to see?
I know there will be people on this blog who will start yelling about how these expenses won't save the schools, and the financial problems in the state are the real issue, and I'm not arguing with that.
But I'm disappointed that PUSD and the School Board didn't eliminate car allowances. They had the chance to prove that they were listening to what the community said and they blew it.
Not a great way to inspire confidence or trust.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Way above Get Educated wrote: "Especially since my point is to remind the community of what has happened *here* in Pleasanton in the past years and WHY it happened, not just "opinions" on what could of, should of, would of happened if...."

Perhaps, while you're at it, you could explain to us all the WHY for administrator raises that were pushed through Fall of 2007 right before California told districts not to give raises due to impending financial issues?

Questioning wrote: "I was so surprised to hear this, I didn't ask about all the other people who had been getting car allowances."

Don't just stop at car allowances. Ask about the gas credit cards.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I think the main point is that this community expects to see PUSD leadership get serious (instead of "I'm having fun") about this.

It won't be whether or not there's a parcel tax.
It won't be whether or not Valerie Arkin is board president, Pat Kernan resigns, Hintzke loses her house.
It won't even be whether or not parents and other community members get all the facts.
It will be from a lack of a serious, roll up the sleeves, get down to business, ignore the politics/special interests, don't play favorites with employees, substantive thinking attitude that will do the most damage to the district.

I mean, if this really is the year of Education Armageddon, what is the board honestly doing? Where is their plan for addressing long-term issues like paying off the COPs, paying back the interfund borrowing, categorical encroachments on the general fund, and avoiding the need for TRANs? What about addressing the unfunded liabilities? WHAT'S THE PLAN? Don't tell this community what is going to be cut if a parcel tax doesn't pass. It is irresponsible to use one-time funding sources (like a parcel tax) to fund ongoing expenses like salaries. Tell this community what your long-term plans are to maintain and improve the fiscal health of the district. If you expect us to raise a new tax on ourselves, we're going to be prudent and demand that there's some real serious effort on your part.


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

How many Assistant Superintendents do we have and why?


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

In addition, we only have two high schools so how many people do we have at the district offices and what type of salaries are they making over there?


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I posted the salaries earlier for management and they are:
Here are the management salaries they released in the 2006-07 year:

Asst Supt: $184,175, 220 days (8 weeks off)
Sen Dir: $144,761, 220 days
Director: $135,137, 220 days
Class Dir: $127,976, 225 days (7 weeks off)
Coordinator: $124,587, 210 days (10 weeks off)
Coord Special Projects: $127,553, 215 days
Principal High School: $142,356, 220 days
Asst Principal High School: $125,975, 210 days
Principal Middle School: $135,042, 215 days
Assist Principal Middle School: $120,362, 207 days
Principal Elementary School: $127,752, 200 days
Assist. Principal Elementary School: $112,846, 200 days

I went to the district website and see these people listed in management at the district office:
Assistant Superintendent Business Services - Luz Cazares
Assistant Superintendent Educational Services - Cindy Galbo
Assistant Superintendent Human Resources - Bill Faraghan
Senior Director Pupil Services - Kevin Johnson
Director Business Services - Suzy Chan
Coordinator Business Services - Dee Osborne
Coordinator Career Technical Education - Julie Duncan
Coordinator Child Nutrition Services - Frank Castro
Director Curriculum and Staff Development & Library & Media Services - Jane Golden
Director Facilities Department - George Hefner
Director Facilities Department Hugh Anton
Coordinator Graphics & Purchasing - LeeAnn Pomplun
Director Certified Human Resources - Dianne Howell
Director Classified Human Resources - ?
Program Director Kids Club - Christine Tibbetts
Director Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation Department - Larry Lagatta
Senior Director Special Education - Kent Rezowalli
Director Instructional Technology - Gary Hicklin
Coordinator Technology - Myla Grasso
Coordinator Data Processing - Jon Morgan


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Now I am really upset but Jen thanks for the post. We have two high schools in this city and are paying almost $600,000 for 3 Assistant Superintendents without counting benefits, cars, cell phones. gas etc???????????????. $125,000 for a coordinator of child nutrition services? $135,000 for a director of facilities? and they do not even work that many days a year. Heck if we took their salaries and divided it by hours worked and took out over a full year everyone in the district office would be making over $200,000 minimum. You have got to be kidding me..............this is stupid to be even talking about a tax.


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Posted by To everyone
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Here's the time and place for the town hall meeting: Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 p.m., in the library at Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road.

There will be monthly meetings in the same town hall format. The idea is to hear opinions from the entire community.

Please bring all your concerns and comments, as you are posting here. And if you are too shy, please do write an email or letter to any school board member.

How do you expect the school board to correct any problems if they don't hear from you?


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Sounds like a rally to me. I suspect you will not get much in the way of non tax related input.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

These salary lists don't mean much without data with which to evaluate whether we're coming or going. For example, what does "Coordinator: $124,587, 210 days" mean without knowing the average going rate for a Coordinator, total compensation costs, the median household income in Pleasanton, job description and responsibilities, benefits and retirement information, what other perks are in the contract, etc.?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

At the last budget workshop a year ago, a few spoke up about non-parcel tax suggestions. They were mostly suited guys who seemed knowledgeable about budgets and finances. They were somewhat ignored or their questions were unable to be answered.


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Posted by To How Stupid
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I think the board will be more receptive to the community's input, given last year's defeat of Measure G.

If they don't hear opinions from both sides, how else can there be progress and change made in this district? We cannot just let our schools go downhill.

Many people in this community have children in the schools here. You are not only affecting their future, you are also affecting your future, the future of this community. What good is any school without suppport from the community?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Why does "support from the community" have to mean dollars?


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Posted by To Stacey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm

How else can you run a school district? By bartering? Having large corporations put advertisements all over campus?

Yes, it means dollars. Where else does a school district get funding other than the state and local governments and parents?

So state funding has been and is being cut--see what Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to do with Prop 98, which is suspend it so he can further stiff schools; without local support, tell me how PUSD can continue to provide a good education when its lifelines are being cut?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Let me rephrase...

Why does "support from the community" have to mean dollars? That isn't to say that there should be no dollars involved, only that "support from the community" means much more than just giving dollars.

Community involvement in governance of the district and the district leaders valuing community input is also "support from the community". When the Chamber of Commerce endorsed Measure G, they also qualified their endorsement by urging the board to address the long-term fiscal health of the district by more than just a parcel tax. What has the board done since then? Operated like it is business as usual. Get serious, Mr. Board President. Stop having fun.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Stop having fun at the expense of this community.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

At least we had a new election for Board President so it will not be business as usual... Oh I forgot, the Board President is staying on for another year so it will be Business as Usual...


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Posted by To Observer
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Not necessarily. There will be a new superintendent, and the board is making serious efforts through monthly town hall meetings to reach out to the community to hear ideas, concerns, comments.

I urge you to attend one of these meetings. My children and many other children in this community are depending on a well informed, hopefully intelligent and impartial community to decide the fate of their schools and subsequently their education. Your decision will affect the rest of their lives--the education they receive during the first 3 years of school sets the tone for the rest of their school years.

I do hope you take it more seriously than just an opportunity to make snide comments. And to others on this forum, please give the children of this community more respect than to spread half truths and outrageous lies via this forum.

To parents with children in school and other community members: I also urge you to attend these town hall meetings also. Get informed and make an intelligent choice. The future of our children depends on it.


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Wanna know why a tax will not pass it is because of things like this below and people are concerned about being able to get along period.

The Senate health care bill could end up hitting middle-class workers hard, through a new tax on insurance plans that could ultimately cut through to their wages.

Both the House and Senate packages will have to be aligned and passed again in both chambers of Congress before a final bill makes its way to President Obama's desk. Both bills raise money for the sweeping overhaul of America's health insurance system by cutting about a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and raising lots of new revenue.

The House bill raises it by imposing a 5.4 percent surtax on people making $500,000 a year or more -- a strictly money-raising move with no impact on health care itself. But the Senate bill raises the biggest chunk of its new revenue through a 40 percent tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans -- plans that cost more than $23,000 per family.

And that tax, critics say, will trigger a series of changes that will result in billions of dollars in new taxes on the middle class over the next decade.

First, the tax will hit plans widely used by middle-class employees. The majority of workers with the high-value plans are union members and state government employees who are not considered wealthy, even though Obama advisers like to say the tax is aimed at benefits enjoyed by the likes of Wall Street bankers.

"A lot of those folks that have Cadillac plans have Chevy wages. And that's what makes it, has made it, somewhat controversial and a real issue of contention," said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy with the non-profit think tank Third Way.

Second, some say the tax will make many of the high-value plans too expensive and slowly cause them to disappear -- since employers could wind up cutting back on benefits they offer to avoid any passed-on price increase.

Third, as those union members and other workers lose their health benefits, which are not taxable, the Senate assumes the lost benefits will be replaced by wages, which are taxable.

Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, referred to this scenario during a speech in October, saying workers could end up with more "take-home wages" that are taxed.

"A smaller fraction of your compensation takes the form of health insurance -- you actually see it in your pocket in terms of wages. Of course when you get things in your pocket in terms of wages, you pay taxes on them," Romer said.

In fact, the Senate is counting on raising $120 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years, the majority of which will come from the middle class. Another $30 billion is expected to roll in from the actual tax on insurance plans, but far more comes from wages.

"This is a big tax on the middle class," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, noting that 95 percent of people with the so-called Cadillac plans make under $250,000.

Stewart Acuff, with the Utility Workers Union of America, said the House financing plan is actually "much fairer" since it taps money from the wealthy.

"They got a $2.5 trillion tax cut from President Bush, and asking them to give a little of that back to provide one of the most necessary things in a democracy, which is health care for our people ... is the fairer way to go," he said.

Acuff noted that Obama campaigned against the idea of a tax on insurance plans when Sen. John McCain, his Republican rival, talked about it during the presidential campaign in 2008.

But Obama has since embraced a tax on the insurance plans themselves, and unions are urging Congress and the White House to reconsider.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Hello "To Observer":

Are you telling me that these town hall meeting will be different than the town hall meetings this same board and superintendent held last year before the parcel tax? Sorry but it will be business as usual with teachers, unions, and staff there and anybody who is not in favor or a parcel tax will be intimidated. I was there and honestly afraid to say anything. Instead I wrote my representatives directly (and never even received a response; what a surprise).

I would like for the administration to say, "those people who expressed concerns on the last parcel tax had some good reasons and here is how we are addressing them..."


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I think a lot of people aren't aware that Pleasanton is the only high quality school district in the Bay Area that does not have a parcel tax in place. The current dramatic global economic crisis has ultimately led to cuts for the Pleasanton Unified School District. One we way we can keep high quality education is Pleasanton and continue to make improvements in the education experience in Pleasanton is through a parcel tax.

I applaud those who are calling concerned citizens to attend meetings. If you don't attend and make your feelings known you run the risk of having to pay a parcel tax that meets none of your concerns. The time is now to speak up is now!


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Same half-truth in the last posting. Pleasanton receives significantly more money per student from the state. San Ramon's parcel tax plus what they get from the state is equal to what we already get from the state. Since San Ramon gets less than us from the state, are you advocating that the state fix this and spread our extra money out? You seem to want to be just like San Ramon.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

To Jen,

"Same half-truth in the last posting. Pleasanton receives significantly more money per student from the state."

Sure if you use flawed, out of date data.

"You seem to want to be just like San Ramon."

I'd like to see us be better than San Ramon. Higher API scores, higher SAT scores, higher general academic quality. What do you want to be? Cheaper than San Ramon? I don't think we want to be the Yugo of school districts.


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Posted by To Observer
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

OK, so you won't go to a town hall meeting because you think it's full of parents and teachers and parcel tax people. Well you were there last time and you didn't speak up. There were others like you. But you listen and heed the word of PW forum posters without question. They are mostly empty nesters, people without children, Howard Jarvis anti-tax people, and so on. Are they not biased towards this issue?

Why would someone choose not to attend the meeting? Because they don't want to hear both sides. They've already made up their minds, and they don't care if they doom the children of Pleasanton to be unprepared to compete in a world economy and send the schools on a race to the bottom.

Even if you disagree, what would be so wrong with attending a town hall meeting? That you would hear a different opinion? Oh, the horror.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I won't be showing up at the union rally, but I will be showing up at the polling station.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

My data comes from the latest data on the California Department of Education website, and our school district website (are you saying they are lying). You were the one who said that after San Ramon's new parcel tax, they are getting equivalent funding to us.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

To Jen,

"My data comes from the latest data on the California Department of Education website"

Which is already out of date.

"You were the one who said that after San Ramon's new parcel tax"

Just estimates, they may well be getting more at the current time.


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Posted by To resident
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I knew you were narrow-minded. I will be showing up at both:-)


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Pleasanton teachers are already the highest paid around and some of you want to give them more money and for what? I will vote no at least once.


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Posted by To How Stupid
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm

No, because I want to give my kids a good education, with small class sizes; access to computers and library time; music and science education.

I think teachers are actually underrated and underpaid, and they should be making as much as doctors, really, because they are performing a similarly important service to society.

I'm sorry to hear you think so poorly of teachers. I've come to the conclusion that you don't value education either. I would gladly support our schools in this time of crisis, and and it saddens me that many people on these forums, especially those whose children are out of school, want to pull the rug out as soon as they are done with the system.

And to make it sound as though the budget shortfall is all about teacher salaries is malicious. I think you should be directing your anger at Gov Schwarzenegger and state funding, which has fallen short of minimum funding levels for years now.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I thought I'd share the reminder we got from the school district:

"Meeting reminder
The PUSD Board of Trustees has scheduled a meeting and community forum
tomorrow, Tuesday, January 5, in the library at Amador Valley High School.
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. (one action item), followed by a
forum at 7 p.m. concerning the district budget and alternative funding
sources. The full agenda and backup are posted on our website at
www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us/BoardofTrustees/MeetingsAgendas.cfm "


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

To the "To" person who wrote: "There will be a new superintendent, and the board is making serious efforts through monthly town hall meetings to reach out to the community to hear ideas, concerns, comments." and "My children and many other children in this community are depending on a well informed, hopefully intelligent and impartial community to decide the fate of their schools and subsequently their education."

Community town halls. Fine and dandy. But since the final decisions rest with the Board and not with the community (unless you're talking about a parcel tax on a ballot), what are they doing to own the problem? What plans are the board creating to address long-term issues? Now that's real serious effort!


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Stacey,

You know you make an excellent point and what that has really not been discussed here and the point is that these individuals have ran to be on the school board. As such, they made promises and have been duly elected by the citizens and it is part of their responsibilities to come up with solutions. I have yet to hear one proposal from the school board other than they have no money. What is the recommendation of the school board? I have absolutely no idea other than I hear a group of parents are trying to beat them into putting another disasterous parcel tax proposal on the ballot in a time of economic disaster which will cost another $300,000. What recommendations has the board come up????


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:43 pm

To Stacey,

"What plans are the board creating to address long-term issues? "

Maybe there isn't a long term problem? I'm not trying to be flippant, I'm just saying that in four or five years, this financial crisis could be well behind us, and we could be looking at funding surpluses here. What is the long term problem?


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Posted by How Stupid
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Reader,

Have you seen that states budget deficit projections going out into the future? This year is an additional 30 billion. There are no jobs in the state being created for the rank and file worker, job killing high taxes, environmental laws out of control (see Oakland Port article of today). There is absolutely no way out of the situation unless the state files for bankrupcy which is the only way out of the pension retiree committments of 3 points which in and of itself will do us in.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm

The long term problem is that the tax and spend crew just can't get enough ever. NO NEW TAX.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 10:51 pm

To "Resident",

"Have you seen that states budget deficit projections going out into the future?"

We're just talking about the PUSD budget situation here. How do we know we won't be in a good situation in four or five years, after the economy recovers. It tends to go in cycles.

I'm asking about what long term problem there is with the Pleasanton school district.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

As Jen has pointed out there is way too much overhead in the Pleasanton district. We need to cut it by a minimum of 10% preferably 15%. Gov. Arnold will be coming up with his budget shortly and there will be another big cut.There is no getting around this. We have been trying to avoid this for 2 years. Administration and overhead should take the biggest cuts, teachers and support staff take smaller cuts. Several positions need to be eliminated in the Administration. If these items are discussed then the meetings will be successful. Just talking about increasing taxes will totally alienate a lot of the people and we will be headed towards another failure like last year.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm

In addition this year the Federal Govt. will not be able to help. With the deficits running in the trillions as far as the eye can see there will be cuts at the Federal level as well. This will be coming out fairly soon. Last year the cities,counties and states received handouts from Washington. Those days are fast coming to an end.


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Posted by To Stacey
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm

I don't know what the board will do to resolve the crisis, but I do know they do not have a lot of options. There will probably have to be a combination of parcel tax, further cuts and better fundraising to prevent further erosion of our school system.


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Jen and How Stupid

You commented on management salaries released in the 2006-07 year. You have somehow missed that PUSD cut the administration by 33% last year. The lowest ratio of administrator to student than any other district in this area.

You really should attend the meeting to get these issues clarified. If you are basing you opinion on the facts you are posting, then you don't have a clear understanding as to what it takes to run the schools.

People have many various ideas to solve this financial mess, what they don't all know are the rules and regulations the district must follow. Many of these ideas are not possible, it doesn't mean they are not listening. Are you hearing them as well?


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Posted by Get Educated
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Concerned,

As important as it is for the district and board to hear the concerns and ideas of the community, it is equally important that the community hear and understand the steps that have already taken place with over 10 million in cuts to the schools this year, and the effect these are having on the education of the students they are serving. There are many alternatives that must be explored and attempted, but there are also some that are not possible due to regulations from the state. Cooperation over this process is crucial.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I'm not really talking about what the board recommends. The town hall meetings are useful for the board to solicit feedback from the community and get recommendations. What I'm talking about is what the board is going to do to address issues that have come up and have been pointed out by the community. What is the board's plan to address unfunded liabilities like in retiree health benefit costs? What are their plans for repaying funds borrowed from like the Sycamore fund and other long-term debt like the COPs? There was something like a $2MM encroachment by special ed on the general fund last year. That was covered by the stimulus. What are they doing to address that encroachment other than just letting it eat into the general fund? What policies have they put in place regarding COLA raises, like are they going to set aside x% of whatever COLA is received from the State in future years into reserves and not give out COLA raises over the amount received by the State? How about plans to address the hiring of new staff with one-time funds and gambling on increasing enrollment and revenue limit increases to pay for those ongoing costs? Things like that.

So what's their plans for addressing the issues that affect the fiscal health of the district? This is an important question because the board needs to be very visible, transparent, and market these plans and show the community that they're doing more than just asking for money to pay for x, y, and z program while cutting a, b, and c. Think of it like someone applying for a business loan. It isn't enough for someone to say they're going to use the money to start a restaurant. There needs to be a written business plan in place first before a lender (typically) will loan money.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Book to check out: Web Link

"California School Law

Now in its second edition, California School Law is the only comprehensive source discussing how federal and state law affects the day-to-day operation of the state's traditional public, charter, and private schools. While the book is comprehensive, the authors have written it for a broad audience."


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Posted by Sick of Reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

Reader has become the Doug Kendall of the schools & kids topics.
Someone said Reader is like a broken record - yeah, or a parrot. It's as if someone or some group has instructed Reader to comment on this blog and put down anyone who questions PUSD. Even those who are in favor of a parcel tax are tired of Reader's constant sniping.

As soon as this gets posted, Reader will go on the defensive and post things like "point to where I have put anyone down."
Reader is just an annoying distraction and like Doug Kendall, is best ignored.
Go ahead and blah blah blah Reader - we all know you will. But until you can actually add something of value to the discussion, you're just a time and space waster.


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Posted by To Sick of Reader
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Your comment was an example of wasted space.


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Posted by former pusd teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm

What the hell is wrong with you people? You want the best teachers, have them (for the most part) and then aren't willing to pay for it!!!

It's like going to some of the best doctors or visiting some of the better/best restaurants and then being shocked when they cost more! I am a former PUSD teacher of 9 years and I have since moved to a district where the curriculum is so scripted that you are pressured to be on the same page as everyone else. There is no differentiation, no specialists, ... just teach from the book. My new district's scores are comparable to PUSD's, but its because all they do is teach TO THE TEST. There is no librarian, no P.E. teacher teaching the standards and about healthy living habits. (Remember, you have the STATE, and WESTERN REGION PE TEACHER OF THE YEAR). There are no enrichment classes and they only see a music teacher for 30 minutes a week.

PUSD scores are so high because:

#1- The competitive salary allows PUSD to select the best of the best.
#2- There is an incredible parent community that supports their kids, teachers, and schools
#3-Pleasanton kids are taught to "think", not just bubble in the correct answer.
#4- PUSD also has an amazing special ed program that truly meets the needs of special needs students and services students to the best of their ability.

Because I was so vested in PUSD and the kids for 9 years, I continue to look on these blogs, but am sickened when I see so many of you snidely attack teachers with your pompous attitudes and entitlement issues. You have no idea how good your school system is- just take your kid out of PUSD and put them in Livermore or Brentwood, I dare you. Sure there is a lot of waste, but this is not at the teacher's level, so stop attacking them. I am glad that you are examining the district office. Here are some ideas/suggestions. They may be harsh, but they can help and in times like this, anywhere can help.

1. Cut the technology "trainer" jobs at the D.O. who were included in the list of jobs being saved last summer. I have been at PUSD for 9 years and have never once taken a computer course through them, but yet there are two people that have two full time jobs. Hire a capable parent or someone from the community to volunteer or work part time.

2. Cut the Media Center job at the D.O. or at least put it at part time or very limited hours. (2 hours a day). Pleasanton teachers have an amazing resource in the Media Center, but may have to come down to check things our instead of having these things sent to their school site.

3. Limit paper usage. I often copied things for next year and made many copies of things that I ultimately didn't need. At this school, my budget is $200 TOTAL. At PUSD, with the PTA support (which varies from school to school) teachers received roughly $1000 in their budget to spend on field trips, classroom supplies, etc.. I am finding that it is amazing what you can do without.

4. Cut back librarian hours. At this district there is a librarian that works only 2 hours a day and that is to put books away, order, and organize. Teachers are perfectly capable of checking books out and reading to their kids.


Come up with a REAL solutions. As a teacher, (and I know that I speak for many PUSD teachers)... teachers will not and should not take financial cuts to fund what the community will not. That is not fair. I am also so sick and tired of so many of you moaning about the "private sector" being cut and the unemployment rate as if teachers have no clue. THOUSANDS of teachers are out of work right now and it's not like they're sitting in their cushy Pleasanton houses, driving their beamers, and worrying about "cutting back" when they cancel their HBO subscription.

Hopefully you will come together as a community, realize what incredible teachers you have there, and not ask them to sacrifice additionally from their families by funding this burden by taking a salary cut. They took in larger class sizes, cut their staff development days (which are usually very professionally helpful), are now dealing with more behavior problems with lack of VP and counselor support, the list goes on.... Stop pointing fingers, grow up, and come up with some fair solutions.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Re: "Come up with a (actually some) REAL solutions"

Freeze (not faux freeze) wages until additional funding is once again available through the tax WE ALREADY PAY (like the public sector has done) and cut 5% across all employees (less than the public sector has done in most cases) and the problem is solved.

The real problem for the union is that most in this town are educated enough to realize this. And even if they vote with their heart instead of their head it still would take two yes votes for every no vote plus a tie breaker. And that is just not going to happen.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2010 at 11:04 pm

The meeting tonight was very informative. We heard a variety of opinions from all sides and great questions.


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Posted by Mary
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Sorry should read "private sector" above


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Posted by Unions are a problem too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:06 am

Former PUSD teacher:

For the most part, I agree with you. Pleasanton is a great district, but I disagree with a few things:

You imply that in Pleasanton, teachers do not teach a certain wrong way. I disagree. Mi child had an English teacher last year, that did not really teach, nor did this teacher allowed the students to think for themselves. Answers were marked wrong even if they were correct (a correct way to answer) simply because the teacher guide had a different answer.

We do not have the best of the best of teachers here in Pleasanton. We have some really horrible teachers that are allowed to stay, despite parental complaints, because of tenure. I remember in elementary school, there was a teacher that parents requested not to be with, requested to get out of this teacher's class. Yet the school only moved the teacher to a different grade level, and now that grade level is just as unhappy. Tenure, the union, protect this very bad teacher that would should have been fired a while back.

As far as other solutions, here are some:

- Get rid of elementary school counselors. Come on, elementary school kids do not have to choose classes, why the need for counselors? Those needing medical type counseling, should go to a private doctor, and if they cannot afford it, use Medical or something. The schools are here to educate, not to solve every problem for everybody.

- Get rid of union perks. The unions have to agree to do away with one week off at thanksgiving, teacher workdays, prep periods. Teachers already have an easy load. Think about it: teachers should love what they do, and working in a job they love, they get to work shorter hours (summers off, out of the "office" by 5). Before you talk about how teachers work at home too grading papers, think about those in the real world. We too work at home to finish a project and meet a deadline. That is what professionals do.

- Get rid of perks at the administration level. Car allowances, etc have to go.

- Get rid of so many district staff. Do we really need an information specialist? I am sure any parent would be able to volunteer a few hours to get this sending of emails and commnications out to the community. I know many people who would gladly spend a couple of hours each day doing this, since they are stay at home parents who are actively involved with their schools.

- The list goes on, but don't blame the administration only. The teachers' union has some work to do, from getting rid of unnecessary perks and benefits, to finding a way to get rid of bad teachers. I stopped giving money to the elementary school because of the bad teacher we had, and seeing how this teacher just got moved from point A to point B, instead of getting fired, I am happy with my decision to stop giving them money.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:16 am

Former Teacher, It is unfortunate that some who post choose to be less respectful. I think it is largely due to being anonymous. There are truths in a lot of what you and others are saying. There are great teachers and this is a great school district, the latter which has much more to do with the socio-economic makeup of the community. The other points you make are also true.

What is frustrating for many is tied to the union contracts. Many of the answers at the forum included "we have to negotiate that."

I also am concerned many don't realize that when budget figures for step and column are presented as costing an additional $1.6 million per year, it is cumulative. So this year it was $1.6, for 2010-11 the previous year's $1.6 is already built into the budget and an *additional $1.6 million is added, and so on. For the four years presented at the forum, that means step and column will cost something like $16 million.

I can understand why it is presented as $1.6 million per year; it softens what the real costs are when you are thinking about asking the community for more money.

I did attend last night's meeting (I left after the first round of questions to the consultant). Having the governance team (board members and the superintendent) as part of the audience removed the tension that four of them create for the other two. Kevin Johnson, Luz Cazares, and Glen Sparks deserve credit for making the meeting non-contentious.

I have seen Larry Tramutola's, the consultant, work and the work of his staff. I appreciated his candid responses. Had he been brought in before Measure G, the survey and the guidance he would have provided could have pushed the vote to the required 2/3 approval. I sincerely hope that staff and/or the community will be sure his firm is part of any future attempt to pass a parcel tax.

It is clear there is a need. I don't agree that it can all be laid at the feet of the state. Fixing it usually is a three-legged stool--concessions, new income, reserves. It will be more painful for PUSD, because the prediction is that one leg, reserves, is already gone for 2010-11, and Mr. Tramutola cautioned any campaign could take six months to a year.

I think the teachers union and the administrators are going to have to give back some percentage of their current salaries. I think that means an agreement to take a percentage cut for the life of the tax. It acknowledges this community has been very generous and they are willing to share the burden of this additional cost to the community.



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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2010 at 11:28 am

Looks like it was a good meeting. The three-legged approach makes sense. We will find out how deep a hole we are in after we hear from Gov.Ahnold and the expiration of Pres.OBama's one-time handouts when he has to start reducing the trillion dollar deficits. I have a feeling we need to make some big cuts.


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