What is the job of the School Board President? Schools & Kids, posted by Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm
I went online to the PUSD website to see what the job of School Board President is. Since the three men on the school board did not think Valerie Arkin was ready to be Board President after a year on the Board, I thought I would see what the job entails. As you remember the three men on the board voted to have Chris Grant to be the president a second year (something that has never been done) because he said he was having fun.
I. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Board; maintain order; enforce the rules of the Board at all meetings; sign bonds, notes, agreements, contracts, titles, leases and other legal instruments ordered to be executed by the Board; appoint all temporary committees; and disband such committees, unless otherwise ordered by the majority of the Board.
II. The president shall have all the rights of any member of the Board, including the right to move, second, discuss and vote on any and all questions before the Board. (EC 35022)
III. The president shall confer with the Superintendent to establish the agenda prior to each meeting of the Board.
IV. The president or his/her designee shall develop a yearly calendar which establishes a time line for regular updates on district goals and reports that are of interest to the Board of Trustees. The calendar shall also include:
A. Regular meeting dates
B. Special meeting dates
C. Planned Board activities
D. Any other activities the Board of Trustees deem important.
That is the job. Now tell me what Valerie Arkin is not ready for? She can preside at the meeting of the Board just as good as other members. She can maintain order, sign notes (which is what the clerk does also and the men on the board thought she could do that). She is qualified to confer with the Superintendent to establish the agenda prior to each meeting of the Board (just as much as any other board member). She is qualified to develop a yearly calendar (which is pretty much set in stone anyway).
This is clearly a power struggle of the men on the board (or maybe it is just the good 'ol boys).
The community voted for Valeria Arkin because they thought she was qualified for the Board. Board President does not take any additional skills. This Board has no authority to say that the voters did not vote in a qualified member. This action of the board is clearly sexism. I don't see how any of them could honestly say that she is not ready for the job listed above.
I can only hope that the men on the board reconsider their last vote for president and vote on it again at the next meeting. They are supposed to be role models for our students. They have created a hostile environment which is detrimental to the district. The board needs an environment of mutual respect in order to function well. These tough budget times especially need this.
Posted by westsider, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm
Isn't the School Board President elected each year by a vote of the board? Are you suggesting that an open, democratic vote is somehow an underhanded, devious act? Or should every election in this country be subjected to the whims of the losers? Slippery slope, don't you think?
Posted by Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Yes, the board president is elected each year by a vote of the board. It has been a rotating position; a sign of mutual respect. This last meeting was the first time I remember where a board member held on to the position of president for a second contiguous year. The rational of the men on the board was that the board member who has been there for a year was "not ready". That is why I provided a list of the responsibilities of board president and contend that each member, who has been elected by the public, is ready. To deny the rotation of this position, and to vote down a motion by another board member to elect Valerie Arkin to president, shows disrespect minimally, politicizes the position, and could go beyond that.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Regardless of the points above, the sanctity of the voting process is undermined by the non-resident status of one of the trustees. It is possible that another in his place would have voted the other way. We will never know.
Posted by Fraud, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm
They should all be investigated including Arkin. Has she ever had a job and what qualifies her for an executive position? Why is Kiernan even allowed on the board when he does not even live in the city or possibly the state? No wonder no qualified candidates will run for this or the city council because it is just to corrupt with people in over their capability level or pay grade as they say?
Posted by Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm
What qualifies Arkin? She was elected by the voters so the voters already think she is qualified for school board so that should be enough although she has an MBA and has been on the board of other area non-profits recently so that also qualifies her.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Upset Voter is correct in pointing out Ms. Arkin was elected and thus is eligible to fulfill the duties of a board president. In fact, there is no rule preventing a newly elected member to the board from immediately being elected board president. There is no more fiduciary responsibility as president than there is as a member.
Posted by Parent volunteer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm
Although I am frustrated with the tension on the school board, I am also shocked at Ms. Arkin's response to being nominated for clerk. I was shocked by her attitude that if she couldn't be president then she wasn't going to take on the other job. Don't get me wrong, I know she was upset, but I think she could be effective in the role as clerk and was disappointed that she chose to act that way. To me, it was the same as the way the men acted.
I admire Jamie Hintze for her professionalism and not being afraid to bring divergent ideas to the board whether she is in the majority or not. Change and growth come from various opinions on the board, not just all the members agreeing all the time.
Posted by Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm
Ms. Arkin was justifiably upset that she was treated with disrespect. She was not going to play into their game of her not being ready for that position. They were completely condescending. Those men had no right to say she was not ready for president but was ready for clerk.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm
Maybe looking at some of things some of the board members have advocated. Arkin is a member of the library commission, which recently had a workshop with the city council. When her turn came up for input, she advocated that the city immediately spend 70 million dollars on a new civic center complex. She thought there was no time like the present! In suggesting this she cited her business background. WHAT???????
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm
I think we all know why Valerie Arkin is not School Board President. Didn't she propose a number of cost saving measures, including renegotiating with the teacher's union, and wasn't she basically "ignored" during the Measure G campaign? Wouldn't look good to have a "luke warm" board president doing the same thing if another parcel tax measure is attempted. This is my perception.
Posted by Jon, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:52 am
Valerie may have been voted in by the voters to sit on the school board but how does that give her the qualifications to be the board pres? The board works with each other a lot more than we do and if they made a decision to keep Chris as pres there must be a good reason. I know all of the people on the board and they would never vote based on sex or anything other than what is best for the board and the school district. It is very easy for us to sit on the outside and criticize, but walk a mile in their shoes before you cast out your opinion and bad mouth good people. By the way I just saw Valerie and she did not seem like she was upset at the vote at all. Why are you? Just remember "upset voter" this is just your opinion. Opinions are like a butt. Everyone has one, and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks.
Posted by Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 9:11 am
Jon, you might be correct. Valerie is the only one who researched the budget and had some ideas to look at for cost savings and the rest of the board just pushed her document under the table as they were only interested in a parcel tax; not cost savings. Casey probably also had something to do with it since he does not like board members to question anything. The men on the board accept the reports from Casey at face value, where Valerie does research and talks with the public, and also asks questions. She is not the bobblehead that Casey is looking for. Probably why Ott suggested that Valerie take the clerk position now and move to president in 6 months (when Casey is out). You can actually see Casey's face turn red in anger when he is questioned on things at the board meeting.
Pat Kernan does have a pattern of being condescending to women. He did the same thing to Kris Weaver; saying she was not ready for board president.
Posted by To Upset Voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 10:44 am
Upset Voter - could not have said it better myself.
It's pretty obvious Casey doesn't like Valerie Arkin. Anyone at the meeting where Casey bullied the board into creating a new full time position for his former Public Information Officer - something Arkin opposed - only had to look at Casey's face, and watch him storm out of the meeting afterwards to know how angry he was at her for questioning his decision.
Can you imagine yourself treating your boss the way Casey treats some of the school board members?
Kernan is not alone in behaving in a condescending manner to women.
Posted by How Stupid, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm
I wonder if the city is paying for the special insurance which protects the school board members from being able to be sued personally? if not, I think it should be considered at least in Kiernan's case to make a point and take a shot across the bow of the others who can and will make poor decisions. If they make a bad decision with our money they should pay and pay dearly.
Posted by To How Stupid, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm
Your posting is exactly an example of a misstatement, half truth, or both. You have no clue as to whether these salaries include health and other benefits and allowances, what the job descriptions are, and whether comparable districts have the same positions (though probably other districts have more of these kids of positions because Pleasanton already has lower administrative staff per student ratios than any other neighboring district).
As a parent, I am incensed that you and Jen would spread these kinds malicious rumors without doing any research. You are affecting countless of children, who are counting on a well informed community to make an intelligent decision when it comes to deciding the fate of their schools.
Posted by Jen, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Huh, spreading malicious rumors? I just posted information I received from the district. You are right that these did not include pension, post-retirement medical, car allowances, cell phones, and other perks. Those would be added to the salaries but the question asked was what the salaries were. I am sure if you asked the district the same question, they would have given you the same numbers (since that is how I got them). If the district gave you these numbers directly, would you say they are spreading malicious rumors? I had to do research to get this info so don't give me your line about researching the facts. Maybe "you can't handle the truth".
Posted by How Stupid, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm
Yes, I am mad,
Well we are also. The information came from the district so I do not know where the falsehoods are. Call them and ask yourself or go to their website and then I hope you get good and mad. We are getting hosed by our own leadership and it is very stupid!!!!! Read any article about the Federal, State, or local finances and if it does not make you sick then you do not know what is going on. We are getting fleeced by our own city leaders. We only have two high schools in our district but have enough "management" to run a major corporation. I will tell you this much, the Manager of Facilities at NUMMI makes $95,000 dollars per year with a much more complex system and live and death responsbility and we have two guys making $135,000 each who are only working 8 months a year give me a break!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by To Jen, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm
OK, so a doctor might make $200,000 per year, and while that seems excessive for most of us, if you compare it to other doctors, they might be right in line.
And in the past, you kept claiming that Pleasanton teachers have higher salaries than San Ramon teachers--they do, but you *somehow* neglected to mention that teachers in Pleasanton have to pay their own health and other benefits, while these are included in San Ramon figures.
Again, an example of a half truth.
I am just urging people not to take statements posted on these forums to be entirely truthful. They should seek the facts for themselves, attend town hall meetings, ask tough questions, voice their concerns to the school board.
Posted by Jen, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm
To "To Jen",
You are saying a half-truth in your last posting. You did not mention that our teachers voted to not have health insurance paid for but rather to get a higher salary. Two reasons for that. A large majority of teachers have a spouse that already has health insurance, plus the additional salary (instead of medical) is used for computation of their pensions, giving them a larger retirement pay. Ask the district what percentage of teachers purchase health insurance and you will see that is is REAL small. What other benefits are teachers paying for? You said "and other benefits".
Posted by How Stupid, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Another lie my dear. Pleasanton teachers do make a lot more than other cities because they are given this amount to purchase benefits. Problem is for us and certainly not them is that they do not have to purchase insurance because most are covered by spouses coverage. You cannot take the truth and the truth is that we are being fleeced and they want more.
Posted by To How Stupid, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm
You got those figures from Jen, and you knew nothing of where it came from or what exactly an asst superintendent does or what the salaries include.
I would like see the exact link to those figures. Please provide them.
Yes, this is an example of a malicious rumor. If there is truth to it, it is not the whole picture and to just post things like this without abandon, without thinking about how this is going to affect thousands of school children is reckless.
Another thing you neglected to mention: Pleasanton has lower administrative staff per student ratios than San Ramon, Dublin, and Livermore.
So maybe you dig up that Pleasanton administrators make more, but you neglect to mention that there are fewer employees in our administrative office than other districts.
Please give the children of Pleasanton more respect. The future of their schools is depending on a well-informed, hopefully intelligent and impartial community. Is it really too much to ask that everyone take this more seriously and not just make it bully pulpit for their own self interests?
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm
To How Stupid,
"not have to purchase insurance because most are covered by spouses coverage. "
How do you know something like this? Did you just make it up? Where is the documented breakdown of how many get benefits in this alleged way? I'll have to assume that this is just another case of saying "the schools are crap, so don't vote for a parcel tax"
I think Pleasanton voters will see through this kind of nonsense, just like they did in Palo Alto or San Ramon.
Posted by Jen, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm
I don't know the exact percentage anymore that take the health insurance. I am pretty sure was less than 10% but it is around there and the district can validate this for you since you do not trust anything I say anyway.
I guess I don't work for the right companies since I don't have dental insurance or life insurance covered. You can find this info out by contacting the district. The Superintendent's contract is online and he gets $5,000 towards a whole life insurance/investment. Don't know if anybody else in the district gets life insurance or since he got $5,000 a year, he gets it all. A company that I used to work for covered term life and not whole life. Term Life is cheap.
Since you do not believe anything posted here (that you do not agree with), I would advise you stop reading the postings. There has been an excellent exchange of ideas and research. You might not like the facts, however.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm
I think a lot of people may not be aware of the importance of a parcel tax for Pleasanton. It isn't time to say "if the board isn't perfect, and makes any mistake, no matter how slight, then we can't have a parcel tax". That would be silly. Some people are against all taxes. Fine. Don't support a parcel tax. But for the rest of us, we need to look at the benefits such a tax would provide and work to get a parcel tax on the ballot and passed here in Pleasanton.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 5:47 pm
"I am pretty sure was less than 10% but it is around there "
What kind of statement is that? Please stick to the facts, and not just that which suits your needs or your view of the world.
"I guess I don't work for the right companies since I don't have dental insurance or life insurance covered. "
I've worked for five companies and all provided it. Do you want our sympathy? I assume you chose your career path and weren't forced into it? Going on and on about that you feel PUSD employees make too much money (just because you say so) doesn't help your cause. We need to support a parcel tax that will restore the programs that have been cut and continue to improve the education experience in Pleasanton.
Posted by To Jen, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm
Well, there is nothing wrong with hearing both sides of the story, and I will continue to post and read the forums. I do agree there are some good ideas here, but also I see a lot of bias, lies, and opinions posing as facts.
Why not attend the town hall meetings? You may hear an opinion other than your own or the truth, but isn't that the way to have an intelligent discussion, to be an informed citizen who has to make an important decision regarding our children?
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm
Reader, As a former employee and as someone with friends still working in the district--an employee, with proof of health benefits being provided through another source, usually a spouse, can opt out and either take the benefit dollars (over $10,000 now) as taxable salary or put it in a 403b (untaxed). At one time, the district had a high percentage of employees taking this option. With families losing jobs, it's entirely possible that more staff members are taking the benefits. You can make a public request (and maybe a phone call would suffice) to Luz. The percentage is known.
Amazing heartless statement above about sympathy. If Jen's opinion is compensation is too high, so be it. Just as ending every post with "we need to support a parcel tax" doesn't make it any more fact "because you say so."
Posted by How Stupid, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm
Go to the website Reader and you will see that it is the truth. The Pleasanton teachers are highly compensated already compared to other teachers and no I will not attend a rah rah rally in support of something which will and cannot succeed. I would come up with another idea if I were you.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm
"Reader, As a former employee and as someone with friends still working in the district"
How does that give you any special knowledge of how things are done now? How many times have I heard that kind of thing before?
" With families losing jobs, it's entirely possible that more staff members are taking the benefits. "
Exactly. These posts were from people who didn't know the facts.
"Amazing heartless statement above about sympathy."
Heartless. Saying things like "I don't get x, y, z", so they shouldn't either sounds like jealousy to me. Does she do the same job? Sorry, that's just the way it sounds.
"Just as ending every post with "we need to support a parcel tax"
Check my posts, how many end with exactly that statement? There is a big difference between "every" and "some". Clearly saying that I favor a parcel tax is an opinion, not a fact. There is the difference.
Many people don't realize how much the state move by the state and the business with Prop 98 had dramatically cut the amount of money that the district receives. A parcel tax can address that shortfall.
Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm
To "How Stupid",
" will not attend a rah rah rally in support of something which will and cannot succeed."
If you are so sure that a parcel tax cannot succeed, why bother blogging about it here? Do you just like to vent? If you don't get involved now, you may end up paying a parcel tax that addresses none of your concerns.
Posted by How Stupid, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm
it is just a waste of time to get involved in this. You come up with no ideas other than "we need a parcel tax in Pleasanton" Really turned me off honestly and in the beginning I was not that much against doing something until I learned more. Pure socialism here.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Yes, totally off topic, but I sure can't do much more damage than what was already here: Web Link
"But notice that two arguments that took only a sentence each to explain required a dense paragraph each to rebut. And even then, the explanations are abbreviated.
Keep this in mind the next time you see what looks like a knock-down, one-sentence argument for your favorite public policy option. If it looks like a pretty obvious (but not too obvious) argument, there’s a decent chance that you’ve just found yourself a one way hash."
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 5, 2010 at 5:44 am
Easy to say no!
How would you make up what amounts to millions of dollars in take backs without compromising the quality of the schools? This isn't a matter of saving paperclips or paper, it's millions of dollars. You might be able to cut services on a short term basis but eventually it will affect the quality of education. Screaming cut cut cut, won't do it.
Pleasanton has always seemed to make education a priority. I am stunned at the viciousness of some of these posts.
Posted by Mr. Union, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 5, 2010 at 1:11 pm
Well if ever there was a time for some more steal and dash now is the time. I hope they get the initiative on the ballot soon before the taxes to pay for healthcare come and also the 21 billion or whatever it is comes due from California. You people should be ashamed of yourselves for only taking care of Pleasanton. What about the poor children of Oakland and other deprived areas. Shouldn't we pass the hat for their teachers also? I hope if this passes our teachers feel good about themselves as they walk through town knowing people think they are nothing but thieves.