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Inequities on the School Board

Original post made by Taxation without representation?, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jan 1, 2010

If the PUSD School Board chooses to put a parcel tax measure on a future ballot, can that decision be valid considering that one member's Pleasanton residency remains a topic of debate?

If it is at all possible that a lawsuit could be initiated against PUSD as a result of Mr. Kernan remaining on the school board, would it not be in the best interests of the community for Mr. Kernan to resign his position?

If Mr. Kernan truly has the best interests of the Pleasanton community at heart, than he should put those interests above any other reasons for remaining on the board.

Comments (67)

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Isn't it time to ask for a legal opinion?

Is the new City Attorney able to offer a legal opinion?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I seem to recall a legal opinion was given, although I don't recall by whom. DA? I don't think the City Attorney has the jurisdiction to respond.

There are bigger issues, I feel, than this residency question, and it was do all of us well to find viable candidates that we can support to run against both incumbents if they do not step down from the next election. Neither Kernan nor Ott have served this community well in recent years.

I also agree with other comments on the topic that term limits, agreed to in advance (can be an unwritten rule), should be put in place. Two terms and out allows for continuity should an incumbent win a second term and allows for new blood to have a shot at the board without always having to run against an incumbent.


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Posted by Taxation without representation?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Happy New Year Cholo.
A legal opinion on Kernan's status was provided by Harold Frieman of the Lozano Smith law firm.
However, Lozano Smith is the law firm which the Pleasanton Unified School District is now suing based on the School District's claim that Lozano Smith provided inadequate legal representation/advice relative to the Signature Properties lawsuit.
It seems the door has been opened to question any legal advice given by Lozano Smith.
What worries me is that someone could initiate a lawsuit against PUSD claiming that Board decisions are invalid because Mr. Kernan has no legal standing to be on the Board.
On another thread, someone (Stacey I think) posted links about other cases where school board members were found to not be legal residents.
Some of the criteria that Lozano Smith used to determine Mr. Kernan's residency was that he was renting an apartment in Pleasanton, his driver's license and vehicle registration used a Pleasanton address and based on interviews with Mr. Kernan, it was determined that he lived half the time in Pleasanton.
Those who said Mr. Kernan was not a resident stated that Mr. Kernan's jury duty summons was sent to his Camino address where he is registered to vote, he owns a home in Camino and that it is the principal home of his wife. They noted that Kernan has a law office in Camino, not Pleasanton, however Kernan stated he used his Pleasanton apartment as a home office.
I have no idea if an attorney not connected with PUSD would render the same or a different opinion about Mr. Kernan's residency status, but think your idea to ask the new city attorney (if unconnected with PUSD or Mr. Kernan) for a legal opinion is a good one.
When Mr. Kernan's residency status was questioned several years ago, the big issue people seemed to have was in regard to any discussions about a parcel tax. Since Mr. Kernan would not have to pay a tax, those who did not believe Mr. Kernan was a resident felt it was wrong for him to participate in a decision that did not affect him.
Whatever.
It was pretty clear last year that the parcel tax measure was a very divisive one in the Pleasanton community.
It seems possible that if a parcel tax measure is proposed by the current School Board, a lawsuit challenging Mr. Kernan's legal standing to be part of a decision on such a measure could arise.
That's why I think it would be better if Mr. Kernan would resign. If he truly cares about the Pleasanton community, spare us the possibility of another protracted and expensive legal battle.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

There is a word some of us coined for using (in this case) the board's own attorney to provide an opinion: accomplisultant (hiring a consultant to give you the opinion/result you want). It is unfortunate if this did not go to a higher or more neutral source for an opinion.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm

This is a distraction. This conversation wastes time and distracts from the purpose of PUSD which is to educate the children of Pleasanton.

All of this time wasted on an issue that can be resolved by an election in a year. This information was available the last time the board member in question ran and the people of Pleasanton put him back in office! This does NOTHING to solve the issues at hand in the school district. Whatever mistakes you may think were made by any board members, it is not the root of the problem which is underfunding by the state of California.

A bigger issue to tackle would be the continued privatization of public education. (How much was your last check for "extra" services connected with your child's education?)

What is the solution? All this energy focused on something that will NOT solve any problems we currently need to address.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm

To anonymous,

I agree that this appears, large part to a be a distraction, a technicality. I agree that we should prioritize our focus on those matters that will have the greatest impact on quality of education.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Talking about privatizing public education can also be called a distraction; it is a much longer discussion with herculean hurdles to maneuver before it could be accomplished (what do these private schools look like; are the current school sites ours free and clear; what will this cost; will there be vouchers; will you subsidize those who cannot afford the schools even though they live in Pleasanton; what happens to current staff at the sites and district; will you have to buy out current contracts; etc.).

Discussing whether we can find replacements for both incumbents running in November is interwoven with one about a parcel tax.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Incumbency again is not the issue. I think the issue is how we fund public schools. Do we, as Californians, value education?

Whether you like the current board or not, focusing on change because they are incumbents does not address the issues at hand. Nothing the current board has done has caused the deficit we face in public education.

I would prefer to vote for something. What do the candidates have to offer? What experiences do they have that will help our situation here in Pleasanton.

It might make you feel like you have done something by blaming the status quo but it does nothing to solve the real problems our teachers and students will face in the coming years.

We could CHOOSE to be part of the solution, instead of relying on a shell game of "where's the blame?"


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

To make myself clear, I am NOT advocating for privatization of education. Just making the point that we have been forced to subsidize education for years. Schools used to be fully funded in CA.



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Posted by T. R. Ollman
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

Hmm...the real question here is, should we NOT fund our schools just because one board member doesn't live in Pleasanton full-time?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:36 am

Exactly, we need to fully fund our schools and not be distracted.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:21 am

Anonymous, TRO, Reader: It is interesting that accountability does not appear to be part of this discussion. All the commentaries against a parcel tax include the wasteful decisions made by the governance team (three board members and the superintendent).

You cannot talk about systemic change and/or a parcel tax without trust. As long as the makeup of the current team remains the same, I don't think you will see enough support for a tax. True, we will have a new superintendent, but not until July. We can also change two board members, but not until November.

I could have missed something here, but if the state and the economy are the biggest culprits in the district's woes, why wasn't a major fundraising campaign started by the two foundations back in August? Parents and students were back and focusing on schools, but four months (nearly half the school year) have passed without an effort to prepare for 2010-11, at a minimum to continue the positions purchased with funds from the last fundraiser. With a new superintendent in place to oversee use of those funds, I would have donated to such a campaign (we donated directly to a school last time). It seems the only focus is on a parcel tax.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:37 am

To Kathleen,

"All the commentaries against a parcel tax include the wasteful decisions"

But that is what you hear from anti-tax people in every district that has passed a parcel tax. These people are against all taxes, so they always try to dredge up "wasteful decisions". It is a so common a tactic that many people are just ignoring it. Sort of like the boy who cried wolf. People kept talking about wasteful decisions in San Ramon, Palo Alto, and many other high quality district. They all passed their parcel taxes. No district is without flaw, so it is easy to pick one or two negatives and keep talking about those. It is a lot like listening to a market analyst trying to disparage a high flying stock. You'll hear about "inadequate cash reserves", or "failure to connect with the consumer", only to see that stock to soar to new heights. Then it will later become obvious that that analyst had a stake in seeing the stock price fall for that company. It is the same with people who oppose any parcel taxes. A common tactic is to disparage the school district.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And people don't invest their money in company stock if they don't have confidence in the leadership of that company. The existence of wasteful decisions in and of itself is not the concern. It is the amount and quality, the comfort level and confidence in the leadership to handle the situation.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

Stacey is a registered user.

And a common tactic by parcel tax advocates is to claim that we need more money or else the quality will fall when there is no evidence to support that claim. API scores and funding amounts per pupil do not correlate. Go read "Getting Down to Facts".


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:10 am

"when there is no evidence to support that claim."

You'll have to provide a lot of data and careful analysis before people will support that claim. We've already seen programs cut. Voters in Palo Alto, Peidmont, San Ramon, Cupertino, and every other top quality Bay Area school district didn't see it that way. I think we have to agree that a parcel tax, in some form, is needed in Pleasanton.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

"API scores and funding amounts per pupil do not correlate"

Of course not. There are so many other factors to consider. If people really believed that funding didn't matter, then we could just zero out funding for schools and still have the same API scores. Your statement is an oversimplification.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:17 am

from a reader:
"Then it will later become obvious that that analyst had a stake in seeing the stock price fall for that company. It is the same with people who oppose any parcel taxes. "
Say what???? Are you really saying that because I oppose a tax, due in major part to wasteful practices of current management, I have an economic stake in seeing the PUSD fail? What are you thinking?
You are so focused on commenting on every thread at the PW in blind favor of a parcel tax that you make these dumb and inconsistent statements. Where is your data supporting the fact that those who rationally oppose a tax have a stake in seeing the district fail?
Incompetenty management, wasteful spending and non-stop raises for teachers is why I will not support the tax. Kathleen makes another good point, as have others, that if the parents were so concerned about funding the fundraisers should have already been well underway. This parcel-tax-at-any-cost nonsense has gone far enough. Make some cuts, show some fiscal responsibility or stop wasting time and money on getting another sure to fail tax measure on the ballot.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

To "resident",

"Are you really saying that because I oppose a tax, due in major part to wasteful practices of current management, I have an economic stake in seeing the PUSD fail?"

Yes, I am saying that people who oppose all parcel taxes, regardless of the terms, expect to gain by not paying the parcel tax. Get it now?

"make these dumb and inconsistent statements."

Why not just stick to the issues, rather than accusing anyone who disagrees with you as "dumb"?

"sure to fail tax measure on the ballot."

Why "sure to fail"? Because you say so? How about "sure to pass".

" why I will not support the tax"

But you haven't even seen "the tax". You are against it without even knowing what it says.

Once again, people said all the same nonsense at all the other great school districts in the Bay Area. They all eventually passed their parcel taxes and are seeing great results. We can do the same here in Pleasanton.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I wrote: "a common tactic by parcel tax advocates is to claim that we need more money or else the quality will fall when there is no evidence to support that claim"

Reader responded: "You'll have to provide a lot of data and careful analysis before people will support that claim. "

Then reader wrote: "There are so many other factors to consider. If people really believed that funding didn't matter, then we could just zero out funding for schools and still have the same API scores. Your statement is an oversimplification."

Since you've continuously written here that we need to raise a new tax in order to remain competitive, attract the best teachers, keep our school quality up, etc., it is _you_ who must provide a lot of data and careful analysis before people will support your claims.

Yes, _there are so many other factors to consider_. By no means did I suggest that we could zero out funding (that is YOUR oversimplistic conclusion, not mine). My only point is that there is a common perception that amount of funding equals quality, this is a common tactic used by parcel tax supporters (see Measure G campaign), and you'll have to do much better if you expect support.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen wrote: "I could have missed something here, but if the state and the economy are the biggest culprits in the district's woes, why wasn't a major fundraising campaign started by the two foundations back in August?"

And there's other ways to put the interests of the children first and show that the biggest culprits are the state and the economy. For example, when looking at the budget, don't look at what needs to be cut first, look at what is most important to fund first. The parents and teachers value CSR, so that should be given high priority in funding instead of threatening to cut it so that say, counselors could be retained.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "You are against it without even knowing what it says."

If you have been paying attention, there are those against another parcel tax try for the simple reason that they don't trust the leadership. They don't see any use in handing over more money. Perhaps they wouldn't be so against a non-existent parcel tax if there were leadership changes.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "Yes, I am saying that people who oppose all parcel taxes, regardless of the terms, expect to gain by not paying the parcel tax."

This is a gem too. What do those who support all parcel taxes and don't have to pay for it expect to gain? Ugly, ugly accusations...


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 11:28 am

"it is _you_ who must provide a lot of data and careful analysis before people will support your claims."

Disagree. It is your claim. Why should anyone trust it?

"What do those who support all parcel taxes and don't have to pay for it expect to gain?"

Who exactly are those people?

Back to my original point.

People said all the same things about those other excellent districts, like "no trust in leadership", and "wasteful spending". How to you figure out if it is any different here?


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Every time there is another topic on schools, "a reader" says we have to have a parcel tax since other districts do. You have to qualify that with other district have a parcel tax to keep up with Pleasanton since we receive significantly more state dollars per student than other districts. Just compare San Ramon and Pleasanton. "a reader" sounds like a broken record and sounds like a union rep or somebody in the school administration/board who is working this board to get more tax money.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "Disagree. It is your claim. Why should anyone trust it?"

What exactly is "it" that you are talking about?

My only claim was in identifying what a common tactic of parcel tax proponents is (to claim that we need more money or else the quality will fall). I'll provide the evidence for my claims (which has been posted ad nauseum during the Measure G campaign). You have yet to provide evidence for your claims, i.e., that we need more money or else the quality will fail. You just make sweeping statements like "everyone else is doing it". That's certainly no evidence and is definitely gross oversimplification.


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

Reader, I noted once before that you are singing a one note song, as Jen has pointed out as well.

The difference was all the facts that were posted proving the financial gambles this district made and then lost at the cost of jobs (CSR) to teachers and classified staff--and the learning experience of the community's children. I don't know that others provided that kind of proof about wasteful spending for their parcel taxes. I have repeatedly said that those who have parcel taxes ran them well before there were state problems to add to the discussion, also as Jen has pointed out, to provide programs and support like Pleasanton had.

Stacey is correct, it is the yes side that has their work cut out for them. To say no more than we must have a parcel tax, without consideration of what we value and are willing to pay for as a community has no legs.

There also needs to be assurances that operations will not remain status quo, and I don't believe that can be promised with the majority of this leadership team--the most recent proof coming from a board president who is "having fun." Really? Can you sit in that role and say that to those who lost jobs and hours, with class sizes at 24:1, with the district on the state watch list, with reserves low, while borrowing from the city and the Sycamore fund--show me what is fun about any of that!

I agree with those who have asked for an apology and for the president and clerk to step down and allow others to bring a fresh approach to what has been, at best, a disappointment.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

More writings by reader: "Who exactly are those people?"

You really need someone to spell it out for you?

And: "People said all the same things about those other excellent districts, like "no trust in leadership", and "wasteful spending". How to you figure out if it is any different here?"

Risk analysis. You figure out key indicators to measure. You know, this is like the anti-vaccination argument. Just because there exists possible side effects to vaccinations doesn't become a reason not to vaccinate.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

""a reader" sounds like a broken record and sounds like a union rep or somebody in the school administration/board who is working this board to get more tax money."
Jen got it just right. "a reader" is always one of the first to chime in with the rant that everybody else is doing it so we have to do it. Or what? "a reader" claims that if we cut the pay of our teachers they will go to Palo Alto or San Ramon or . . . . Wrong on every count. They will go nowhere unless there are jobs available -- are those cities hiring? at HIGHER wages than Pleasanton? will a teacher commute from here or uproot the whole family to go to a city with a parcel tax on the off chance that they MIGHT be offered a job and it MIGHT be for more money than the job they left behind? What sort of fantasy is that?
If those of us who oppose the tax have a personal stake in it (as stated by reader) then those who are in favor might also (as pointed out by Stacey). It then follows that "a reader", being the parcel tax at any cost no matter what advocate, must stand to personally benefit a great deal from the tax. Is "a reader" being "compensated" by someone based on the number of posts? or the potential tax renevues if a parcel tax passes? This could go on forever, but my point is that what is at stake for most of us is not $233. It is that fact that we insist on responsible management of funds and expenses FIRST before throwing more money at a tax with few if any controls on how the current board would spend it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

More thoughts on "How do you figure out if it is any different?"

Let's remember first that this is about PUSD. Whatever is done in San Ramon or Palo Alto is useful to look at, but there's a risk of getting into a "keeping up with the Jones" situation. Just because Wayne Martin finds something wrong with Palo Alto doesn't mean we should suffer the same here in Pleasanton.

The question could be applied to other situations too. How about the budget? Without a historical perspective, how does a voter determine when things are truly drastic? How do we know where we are going when it isn't exactly clear where we've been? In 2006 the total revenues were less than they were in 2009. Was quality lower? Did costs really increase so dramatically that now we're looking at cutting CSR?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Is cutting 10% of a budget "drastic"?


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

"Or what? "a reader" claims that if we cut the pay of our teachers they will go to Palo Alto or San Ramon or . . . . Wrong on every count. They will go nowhere unless there are jobs available -- are those cities hiring? at HIGHER wages than Pleasanton? will a teacher commute from here or uproot the whole family to go to a city with a parcel tax on the off chance that they MIGHT be offered a job and it MIGHT be for more money than the job they left behind? What sort of fantasy is that? "

Ha. Now where is the real fantasy. I, and many others have commuted from here to Mountain View or Palo Alto to work. There are always some jobs available. We need to hire the best.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

To Kathleen,

"Stacey is correct, it is the yes side that has their work cut out for them. To say no more than we must have a parcel tax, without consideration of what we value and are willing to pay for as a community has no legs. "

You say that like you know it is true. I could just as easily say that a parcel tax with nothing changed from the last one will easily pass a second time around. It is the anti-tax people who have their work cut out for them, now that they have incurred the anger of parents and grandparents who have seen the programs cut.

"I have repeatedly said that those who have parcel taxes ran them well before there were state problems to add to the discussion"

Wait a minute. What about Walnut Creek. They did that? That's not what I understand to be the case.

". I don't know that others provided that kind of proof about wasteful spending for their parcel taxes"

There are examples all over the web. I can start posting a lot more links, if people would like.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "now that they have incurred the anger of parents and grandparents who have seen the programs cut."

AAAHHHH so that is what this is about! Blame game! As if the voters are the decision makers (that'll be the board, btw).


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Yes, please post links. Let's compare notes.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm

To Kathleen and Jen,

"sounds like a broken record and sounds like a union rep or somebody in the school administration/board who is working this board to get more tax money."

And I could easily play that game by saying that you sound like typical anti-tax fanatics that want to solve everything with tax cuts. You just keep saying the Pleasanton school district is crap over and over, and hope people won't realize it is false. Are you taking money directly from the Howard Jarvis people just to blog on this site and portray our schools in the worst possible light, just to make sure no one's taxes are ever raised?

Do you say how those kinds of comments aren't helpful? They sound kind of desperate. Remember that the majority of voters favored the last parcel tax.


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Posted by a parent
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

"It is the anti-tax people who have their work cut out for them, now that they have incurred the anger of parents and grandparents who have seen the programs cut."

As a parent, I have not seen anything different in my kid's education since the "drastic cuts" were done. I have two kids. One graduated 6 years ago and she did great in college without all the extra counselors or classroom size reduction. The other is in high school now, and after the cuts this year, I have not seen any difference in the school. The parcel tax proponents last year said my kids education would be greatly affected without the parcel tax. Now without a parcel tax, I don't notice anything different that affects my kid's education. The pro-tax people certainly lost credibility in my eyes. I was one of those marginal people who voted for the tax because I was concerned on the cuts affecting the kids. This time I would not be voting for a tax because I have seen there are reductions in spending that can be done without affecting my kid's education.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Stacey said "(that'll be the board, btw)."

How many parents and grandparents see it that way? What about the 62% who voted in favor of Measure G? Are they blaming the board? What about all those who didn't vote last time, expecting easy passage? I don't think they are blaming the board.

Every other high quality school district in the Bay Area has a parcel tax in place. We can do the same in Pleasanton.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:08 pm

To "parent",

"The other is in high school now, and after the cuts this year, I have not seen any difference in the school. "

Much of the cutting was in K-3 CSR. Your children would not have experienced that.

"I don't notice anything different that affects my kid's education."

How much can you notice without attending classes?

"I was one of those marginal people who voted for the tax because I was concerned on the cuts affecting the kids. This time I would not be voting for a tax because I have seen there are reductions in spending that can be done without affecting my kid's education."

I was one of the ones who voted against G because everyone said the schools were crap anyway. Now it is even worse because my son has 25 in his third grade class and no library time. He doesn't even have help with his math, and I can only do so much.


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Posted by Jen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I have not been saying we need tax cuts. Don't paint me with that brush. I also do not think the district is crap. I have stated earlier that it is good. I just believe it is good without an increased tax as I know there are some more things the district can do before they ask me for more money. Although I think the schools are good, I do not have faith in the current leadership. If they listen to what people have been saying in the community about raises still occurring during these tough financial times, or car allowances at $1,000, cell phones for everybody, etc., and do something about it, I would feel the district is being respectful of my tax money. If those things occurred, I might actually support a parcel tax.


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Posted by a parent
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm

my kid who is in college did not have CSR and she did fantastic in college.

To a reader, you are now the one saying the schools were crap before and they still are. As for your son needing help with 3rd grade math, as a parent like yourself you should be able to help him. You certainly have a lot of time on your hands as you post here every 3 minutes. Maybe if you spent that time helping your son with math, he would do better. 3rd grade math is not all that hard for a parent. Also, we have a fantastic public library. Take you son there. You have to take some responsibility for your son; don't leave it all to the schools. And you want more tax money from me so that you don't have to spend time with your son in math and the library? As Bill Cosby said in his latest book, "Come on people, take some responsibility."


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

We CAN do the same same in Pleasanton--with effective and new leadership, with proper consideration of community values, with an understanding of what we are willing to pay, with an approach that includes all stakeholders; it will take more than just saying "they have one, we must have one."

BTW, I am a grandparent of a child in these schools; I am not anti-tax and have said to board members and others that I would support a tax--but it won't just be because people insist it be so. I have met with people on both sides of this issue; we are looking for common ground. It is the only way to move forward--and it may or may not mean a parcel tax. One thing is certain, the current approach isn't changing anyone's minds.

62% of a small percentage of the voters casting ballots doesn't really tell you anything about the chances for a future measure passing. If the ratio stayed exactly the same with all voters casting a ballot, another attempt would still lose.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

To "parent",

It was a misfired attempt at sarcasm. I apologize. Of course my son is doing fine (at least at the level Hearst can test him) and I'm helping plenty. It is just that class sizes are worse, and that matters. Also every bit of expert help can make a difference. I don't think it is a luxury. We can afford it.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm

To Kathleen,

You have convinced me that certain people have to go from the board and that they do owe the community an apology. That would help, I agree. But I think we'll need a parcel tax either anyway.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "How many parents and grandparents see it that way?"

Indeed, how many parents and grandparents are parcel tax opponents expecting wrath from?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm

No one is saying these schools are "expletive deleted." We have indicated many of us saw our children succeed despite large classrooms and large school sizes. I don't think we'd say it was ideal, but then it wasn't the end of the world either. There are many more creative and less expensive ways to address enrollment than CSR. If we are going to spend something like $4 million per year, I'd want to know all the ways that money can be used, and CSR isn't necessarily the best bang for the buck. I also don't think you'll get $4 million per year as was proposed in Measure G.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

from "a reader" "I, and many others have commuted from here to Mountain View or Palo Alto to work. There are always some jobs available."
That is not what I said. I said the tenured teachers who you claim would flock from Pleasanton in the face of a pay freeze would not find teaching positions in the parcel tax towns that would pay them even more. I did not suggest they could not find employment at McDonald's. Stay on topic and don't try to justify your claims that are patently false.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm

To resident,

I said nothing about tenured teachers. The best new teachers and teachers without tenure are the most mobile ones, and they still chose the best district in which to work.


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Posted by nobody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Reader - why do you assume Pleasanton is the best district in which to work? I know a few who left PUSD (by choice) 5 years ago or more. And it wasn't because we *didn't* have a parcel tax, BTW! Also have you thought perhaps some people bought their homes here precisely b/c there was NO parcel tax? Why didn't *you* buy your home in a district w/a parcel tax since you think it's such a great thing...


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm

To "nobody",

"Also have you thought perhaps some people bought their homes here precisely b/c there was NO parcel tax? "

No, I don't think that is at the top of many people's buying decisions considering the typical amounts of these taxes, their potential impact on school district quality, and the relative weight of other factors. In fact, I've never heard a realtor mention anything like that. It would be a first for me.

"Why didn't *you* buy your home in a district w/a parcel tax since you think it's such a great thing"

It isn't the only factor, not by a long shot. Before the massive economic downturn, and before the slowdown of growth and new development, a parcel tax was much less needed. Now it is sorely needed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm

To "Kathleen",

"No one is saying these schools are "expletive deleted.""

I know you're not saying that, but plenty of people are. For a recent example look at that "Ugly Truth" post.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 3, 2010 at 1:11 am

reader,

With all due respect, are you involved in a fund raising committee, and, if not, why not??? With your passion, one would think you would be a perfect fund raiser...

I wouldn't be a good fund raiser. I don't have the knack for asking people for their money...:)


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:30 am

To Jerry,

I have given money and time and gone door to door for PPIE, but was not involved in organization. It would be good to get something going now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ?????
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Reader,

I really have to hand it to you because you really have a knack of bringing out the no on parcel tax voters and even creating some I might add. If I had a dog in this fight and was against the tax I would want you to continue to speak out because it seems to be creating more no voters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

To "?????",

"and was against the tax "

Against the tax, what tax? There is no tax. I'm suggesting that we put one on a ballot.

Where to you see that I am creating future voters against a potential parcel tax? Is it because I said "I have given money and time and gone door to door for PPIE"?

When you say "If I had a dog in this fight ", I guess you mean you don't own property or have children in the schools? Otherwise you would or wouldn't be paying the tax or seeing its benefits, depending on the outcome of a future vote. If not, it sounds like maybe you think I might be convincing some voters to get a parcel tax on the ballot. But you are free to draw whatever conclusions you like.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To ?????
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

You should not be forming your thoughts on a parcel tax based on these forum comments, and rather think about what's good for your children. Remember, many of the people posting on this forum have their own self-interests at hand--not yours or anyone else's. And as for reader, I know who they are and they are just parents with children in school.

Gather the information for yourself at the board meeting on Jan. 5 and make yourself a correctly informed citizen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

"To ?????" What self interests might you be referring to? I have met and spoken with several people on these forums, pro and con, and they are well informed and have posted links to accurate information. So while I too agree that attending the meeting is another opportunity to hear the various perspectives, it isn't the only way to become a correctly informed citizen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ???????
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm

To ????,

My wife did attend one of the meetings and was afraid of saying anything against the parcel tax group because she said they were very intimidating so if you expect to hear in an open forum the true feelings of the community it is not going to happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

To "a reader" -
It's because you equate anti-tax people to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (see Web Link)


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm

To "Dark Corners of Town",

I didn't equate anti-tax people to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I just said anti-tax people were like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And I said it with all due respect and not meaning any offense. Kind of like my being "the worst kind of socialist" responsible for all that was wrong with America and California now. ;-)

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 ???????
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Then you should certainly write an email or a letter to the school board.

Kathleen, I wouldn't put much stock in what people say on these forums. You know as well as I do, there are many misstatements, half truths, total lies, etc. Many, many postings DO NOT HAVE ANY FACTS TO BACK UP THEIR STATEMENTS.

To those of you reading these forums: I urge you to attend a town hall meeting. They are being held every month, with the most current one on Jan. 5.

They are holding them because they want to hear BOTH SIDES from Pleasanton residents. Be an informed citizen for the sake of your children.

These people posting here DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN. They have their own self-interests at heart. They have said they don't care whether your kids are crammed into a classroom with 40 other kids. They don't care whether the schools are dirty due to lack of janitorial services or whether the hours of the school nurse are cut. They don't care whether your child cannot have access to reading or math specialists or library time.

Do not let them influence the fate of your children. Take matters in your own hands: attend a town hall meeting, get the facts and decide for yourself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To ???????
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm

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


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It is rather odd to pontificate about the supposed evil of self-interests while in the same breath urge parents to protect their self-interests.

The moral argument is paradoxical.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:39 am

"To ?????" We agree that attending the meeting is one way to participate; I'll agree with another poster that said previous meetings (Measure G time frame) were not at all welcoming to those opposed to a parcel tax. After that, I disagree with everything else you wrote.

You invite everyone to decide for themselves, yet YELL that those who may not agree with you don't care about children, classrooms, schools, or programs. It is not serving your point nor does it foster a spirit of inclusion for all opinions in looking for solutions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "I didn't equate anti-tax people to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I just said anti-tax people were like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

As someone who walks that fine semantic line myself, I can speak with certainty that you are indeed equating anti-tax people to Ahmadinejad.

"Mr. Smith is royalty." vs. "Mr. Smith is living like royalty."

In the first sentence Mr. Smith is being labeled as a royalty (name-calling). In the second sentence, Mr. Smith's actions are said to have the same characteristics as those of royalty. That isn't to say that Mr. Smith is in fact royalty, only that his actions are comparable to those commonly attributed to royalty.

"Equate" and "like" have the same basic meaning. The characteristics of the subject are comparable. Of course you're not saying that anti-tax people are Ahmadinejad, but that their actions are comparable to Ahmadinejad's actions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Comparisons with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were merely meant to illustrate the absurdity of calling anyone who supports a parcel tax an extreme socialist who is responsible for all that is wrong with the state and country.

We need to support a parcel tax in Pleasanton to restore programs that were cut and to continue to improve the already excellent education experience in Pleasanton.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Thanks for the clarification. It is equally frustrating for anyone who opposes a parcel tax to be called "anti-children" as has been done.


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