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March on Main Street

Original post made by just wondering on Jan 24, 2010

I'm thinking about a protest or something else (legal) on Main Street to protest the cuts to elementary schools (they're getting the brunt of the cuts). Anyone agree? It would probably take about 100 or so to make it worth it so just wondering . . .

Comments (66)

Posted by PtownParent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:10 am

At this point, anything that might get the public's attention as to the dismal state of PUSD schools, will help. Amazingly enough some parents I've spoken to just recently didn't know that there may potentially be cuts in many areas they had NO idea were even being considered being cut!! Whatever is done to inform the public, needs to be done ASAP! Word is all known cuts(and perhaps some unknown) will be made swiftly this year; possibly by the end of FEB! The elementary school level is once again going to take the brunt of the pain from the cuts, granted it will be a matter of time when the result of those cuts WILL affect the middle and high school levels, however not until those elementary students move up. At that point, the effects of bigger class sizes, and other program cuts will be evident. Is it safe to assume that the thought, "we don't need to worry about that, since it's years away..." is the prevailing attitude?


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:51 am

Protests are fine, but before you start planning answer one question:

Where, in these economic times, do you think the money to NOT make cuts will come from?


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

Thanks for the comments. i guess to be constructive we could have fundraising tables at the end to collect pledges for whatever cause you believe in.

Mine would be for maintaining class sizes across the district and including 9th grade, but other people could go for reading specialists, not cutting the school day etc. There are plenty of things to choose from at the elementary level. The pledges would only be converted if enough money were raised for your cause and if the district would accept your money for the cause you pledged for.

The point of the protest / rally would be to show our unhappiness that most of the cuts the board are currently considering are for elementary. It's not just CSR being cut. Things should be done more fairly to spread the burden.

Does anyone know if there is really a property in Ruby Hill we could sell? If so, sell it - it doesn't have to take a year at the right price. Given the way things are going in CA, it appears we are heading towards bankrupcy, which means double dip, which means selling now is probably a smart move. And even if prices rise, so what - the kids are more important right now.


Posted by Frustrated Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:18 am

A protest probably will not help the situation. There simply is not enough money coming to pay the teachers as well as keep all the great PUSD programs that help all the children.

We really the the support of the entire community, teachers included. I think the teachers that are unwilling to consider helping by taking concessions are only harming our district more. We lost a lot of great teachers last year, we are going to lose even more without the CTA stepping up. It is not that I do not value our teachers, but the time has come for the PUSD teachers as a whole to realize that this economic problem has hit everyone. Parents have lost jobs, teachers are coming to close to being in the same boat. Unfortunately, we need to all be adults and realize that taking concessions does not mean disrespect. It means you might be saving your best friend's employement.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:28 am

There is no doubt that the unions need to make concessions. That is a part of the puzzle and part of fixing the structural issues we face. However, I think parents are also willing to step up to help make next year better IF cuts are being made fairly and IF they can have a say in where their money is going to be spent. I know plenty of parents ready to write a check for CSR, but only CSR. There isn't enough money for the school district and it's not just the unions who can provide the full answer for next year. Unions, parents and the community need to work together to fix this thing. And the board needs to look at cuts that don't affect the elementary classroom as much.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:18 am

I will again say....

Getting the public's attention via a protest is fine, but before you start planning answer one question:

Where, in these economic times, do you think the money to NOT make cuts will come from?


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:26 am

I already said, the money to NOT make cuts will come from: parents, union negotiations and the sale of a Ruby Hill property or other assets if there are any.

Also my point is that if no money comes in at all, the cuts should be more evenly distributed.


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 10:59 am

I would protest and bring 10-15 more people with me. But can someone tell me what makes you think that the board would even CARE. If we lined main street with 500 people in protest, it would do absolutely no good. They don't care about the students or the parents. All they care about is buisness as usual. Nothing we do will change the corrupt system of PUSD. They will ALWAYS rely on our taxes to make up the difference.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

Just Wondering;

I'm assuming you are referring to Casey's home in Ruby Hills, correct? Gotta hope someone can obtain that kind of financing in this current market.

The other two options you cite are highly unlikely. Parents feel they are giving enough and you're also fighting the general sense of "entitlement" that comes with a Pleasanton zip code.

However, I do agree that the cuts should be distributed evenly. Perhaps that's the REAL protect/march/walk point.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:27 am

TYPO CORRECTION:

Just Wondering;

I'm assuming you are referring to Casey's home in Ruby Hills, correct? Gotta hope someone can obtain that kind of financing in this current market.

The other two options you cite are highly unlikely. Parents feel they are giving enough and you're also fighting the general sense of "entitlement" that comes with a Pleasanton zip code.

However, I do agree that the cuts should be distributed evenly. Perhaps that's the REAL protest/march/walk point.


Posted by Kathleen, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

So, does anyone wish they had voted yes on the last school bond measure that we had on the ballot here in Ptown rather than against it? Has it sunk in yet that the district was telling the truth about their projected financial situation at that time? So many messages posted back then accused the PUSD of exaggerations and distortions, but it looks to me like they were telling the truth.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:55 am

Carlos - thank you, I can probably do the same so we're up to 20-30. I agree re. will the board listen? I thought before they were, but now am not so sure because they've got a lot of feedback and I haven't seen any changes to their plan yet. I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Gatetree resident. Yes, I agree the focus should be about the how the cuts are distributed. If we can raise some cash too for specific issues - great. On the parent side, I actually know a lot of parents who are willing to contribute. Some fairly significant sums, but only on certain things.

I think unions will negotiate properly this year, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems in the best overall interest of everyone including teachers and admistrators. Re. Ruby Hill - I'm totally not sure about this one, sorry probably shouldn't have raised it. I thought I saw somewhere on this forum that there was some school site there that was never developed. Could be completely wrong about that though, perhaps someone could clarify?






Posted by June, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 25, 2010 at 11:59 am

Sure no one wants or likes the cuts! but standing on a street waving signs or protesting as an angry group isnt going to solve issues. Get facts and figures first, conduct civil and respectful meetings together, and come up with creative solutions if they are possible. Thats leadership. Im not teaching my grandkids to just protest everything they dont like or want and hand it over to others to figure it out.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Yes to a yes vote, for last year and whenever it comes up next. But it sounds like it's not going to happen in time for next year.

It looks like non-parent residents need to see parents and the unions step up first, so if we show willing they may too. I understand that. I also know people who don't have kids in the system willing to step up financially because house values are going to be sooooo hit by all this. Parents will pitch in if there is a decent plan going forwards in my view, so we need to work on this and make some noise.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Kathleen -- I voted no on the parcel tax and I remain more than comfortable with my vote.


Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Lots of assumptions here and many I believe in the wrong direction or at least assuming one entity will do something or not. First off, the teachers union will never agree to any concessions. They will however string the process along long enough to see what the city will give up. They will never give up their raises.

Secondly, without the teachers giving up their raises as well as offering other concessions I believe you can kiss away any hopes of passing a tax of any kind in this environment as people in this community are really hurting and it shows no kind of let up.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm

for JW
"I think unions will negotiate properly this year"
Excuse me but can you tell me what planet you just flew in from? The unions will NOT negotiate for cuts that their members will NOT support. We saw just how willing the teachers were to step up last time (we wil take a one year freeze if and only if you pass the parcel tax). Wow, how very generous.
Once again I am in complete agreement with AGR -- our household voted no last time and will again unless we see some very significant cuts to the wages and benefits of every single PUSD employee, including teachers.
This is not about the PUSD lying to or misleading us -- it is about shared sacrifice. Until they get that no parcel tax will pass.
As for a protest march down Main Street -- dumb idea. Do you really want to make the merchants suffer the loss of business? How about shoppers who may or may not agree with your position? Do you think those religous screamers downtown have made many converts among those who have been subjected to their "free speech"?


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I don't care how much the teachers get paid, they deserve it. My issue is with the enormous sums of money the administrators recieve, the money thats wasted by the school district (useless solar panels that aren't working, un-used property that was purchased...as examples) along with bonuses for undeserving people, contract extensions for useless people. I have alot of issues witht eh school district, none of which have to do with the teachers. The corruption goes alot higher that "teachers".
Can somebody help our schools? Is it a loosing battle?


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Actually I assume the same as you, no concessions, no chance of a successful parcel tax. But I am hopeful, maybe wrong though.

June, I get what you're saying. I wasn't really thinking an angry crown, more concerned parents and perhaps some fundraising. The facts and figures speak for themselves on whether elementary is getting hit the hardest - it is by a long shot. I shouldn't have made the Ruby Hill comment - I apologise. There have been lots of meetings and people talking and trying to share their points of view. It might be worth trying another way, maybe not though. That's what I'm trying to figure out here. So far not much interest, so you may be right that it's not the right approach. I'm just very concerned . . .


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

A lot of parents shop! I doubt it would be bad for business to get everone down to Main Street! And it's not going to be an angry crowd - I don't see people in Pleasanton getting angry. Looks like it's not winning as an idea though. Perhaps there is another way.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I think when you are talking about property in Ruby Hill you are referring to the school site on Vineyard that will never be built. Casey lives/lived in Ventana Hills.

The district could sell that land, but I'm not sure what debt exists and how much money they would net in this real estate environment. There really isn't any reason to hold the land unless they plan on waiting for a better market.


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Who decided to purchase the land in the first place, and what purpose was it for? And after those questions are anwsered, someone tell me why nothing was eventually done and the district is sitting on empty land and probably still paying property tax on it.
Why would we agree to a parcel tax? It would be giving the money to those same people that continue to make bad choices with the limited money we do have?


Posted by reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 5:11 pm

The parcel of land being referred to is the Neal Elementary School Site. Several issues with this right now. First, it is zoned for school only. It is not zoned for housing or anything else. So unless a school wants to purchase it, there is probably not much value in the property. There is always a chance to change the zoning but nobody would purchase this land without the zoning being changed first and that takes time.

The other issue is the District has to give back to the State the money it received for the property. Not sure how much that is. Then the remainder can only be used for school facilities since it came from the school facility fund. It cannot use be used for the general fund which pays for teachers, etc.

There is also the potential that our City Council majority will negotiate a settlement in the housing cap lawsuit and our housing cap could go away. If that were to happen, we need the extra school site space to handle all the additional housing that removing the housing cap could cause.

Good idea on the site but probably not the solution to our current problem.


Posted by Do Dah, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

If you don't like what is happening, then start a Recall and get the School Board changed. All the energy spent in a Main Street Protest could be better utilized in getting people to the polls. If you want to start from scratch, start with them.


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Thanks for the Neal school info. I've been wondering about this and it's good to get the facts right. Appreciate it.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 12:49 am

Resident states "it is about shared sacrifice. Until they get that no parcel tax will pass."

How is your refusal to share the sacrifice any different than the stipulation teachers made? How does that make you any different from them? The community let their beliefs about shared sacrifice be known in the last election by saying they don't want to share the sacrifice. It seems to me like you're the one controlling this situation- if it would have passed, they would be paying.


It is quite a slippery slope that it is now expected that only they will pay for the services they provide. And over the next 4 years of projected financial deficits in this state, it will again be expected that the teachers will take pay cuts to pay for it? Where does this end? Are we also saying that the fire department and police department should be expected to pay for the services they provide because they are also "public servants"?

My former company cut my job and raised their rates to customers to survive the downturn. My co-workers didn't take a pay cut to save my job. Yet we expect teachers to?


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

Yes really. District employees choose to negotiate as a group through their respective unions. Up until now that policy has served them very, very well. Now, as a group they will face a reduction. Many at the top of the financial food chain will resist, but the die has been cast.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:44 am

for Really
"it is now expected that only they will pay for the services they provide"
What??? Where do you get the idea that anyone has asked teachers, or any others, to "pay for the services they provide"? They need to be willing to give up something in order to ask us to pay more. Why should the taxpayers be expected to pay thousands of dollars in added parcel taxes when the district could save 1.6 million dollars PER YEAR just by freezing the S & C raises? As stated by the PUSD in a previous thread, a pay cut of just 4% by every district employee would solve the entire budget crisis for the coming year. They are not willing to do even that. So, my vote is, and will remain, no to any new taxes.
Don't even get me started on the outrageous salaries and benefits of the police and firemen. Other threads have links to salaries for all public employees and it is eough to make you lose your lunch.


Posted by June, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

To Just Wondering: thanks and I appreciate your comments. I think we agree that we have got to stop pointing fingers (i.e. its the school board; its the administrators; its the non-parents; its the parents; its the teachers). These are tough economic times, in fact historically bad economic times. There has to be concessions and more volunteer involvement (on the budget issues as well as getting into the classrooms to help). I do believe a salary freeze is appropriate to achieve cost saving in a time when 10 to 20% salary cuts plus benefit reductions and unemployment in the private sector is commonplace. A 4% cut is not out of line either as a partial salary cut along with restructure of benfits (ie.increased med/dental co-payments)


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:05 am

Is that a fact? If the district employees take a 4% pay cut we wouldn't need a parcel tax? This just adds to my fury!


Posted by Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

Seriously, those of you posting about teacher greed, please stop and think for a minute. The teachers of this town were provided with one option about concessions last year, and more than 70% of them voted for it. For those of you saying it wasn't enough, it was equal to what residents would have paid in the parcel tax. For teachers living in Pleasanton, it would have meant paying the tax twice.

If you want to turn my comments into a rant about the union, then that's your right, but please consider the possibility that a good number of our teachers understand the financial problems people are facing and are not unsympathetic. If something more drastic had been proposed, like your 4% pay cut, would it have passed? I don't know, but neither do you, and I think it says something that the one concession asked for was overwhelmingly approved.

My final thought is that while there are certainly things the district could and should have done differently, this is still obviously a state problem much more than a district one. We're facing cuts of $6.9 million for next year. Even with your proposed suspension of step and column, we save $1.6 million. That still leaves us more than $5 million short. I'm all for transparency and fiscal responsibility, but trying to lay all of this at the feet of the district, and especially the teachers, is just folly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

$1.6MM for S&C last year + $1.6MM for S&C this year = $3.2MM that the district doesn't have

The "concession" was contingent upon Measure G passing. There were some other give-backs by other employees to save fellow worker jobs that weren't contingent.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Just so it isn't clear... That's $3.2MM needed _this year_ to pay for the last two years of S&C because there was no COLA from the State last year.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:46 am

Here is a proposal:
- Suspension of Step and Column increases ($1.6M)
- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)
- Modify service provider in warehouse/graphics ($250K)
- 4% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($3.6M)
A total expense reduction of $7.7M, all without touching a single kid-facing service or program. Same level of student services as this year and you still have $800K to bring back previously cut services/teachers.
Budget deficit is solved, without touching a single kid-facing service or program.


Posted by optimistic, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Budget Deficit is solved by teachers/district employees paying for it?? How is that even/fair? Where does the community come into play? District employees suffer while the community gets to sit back and keep enjoying the services provided?? Not a good solution AT ALL.


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

RE: Budget Deficit is solved by teachers/district employees paying for it??

Huh? No one asked for teachers or district employees to write a check. We are just asking that you take a smaller share of the tax money provided by the public. A reasonable request by most applicable metrics.

Re: How is that even/fair? Where does the community come into play?

Well the community continues to pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. More of us continue to lose our jobs, homes, retirement funds, and healthcare. You get to keep all of the above. A reasonable trade, don't you think?

Re: District employees suffer while the community gets to sit back and keep enjoying the services provided??

Hardly accurate on any level.

Re: Not a good solution AT ALL.

But the only one available, so you might as well get over your anger and disappointment.


Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

DCoT and Another Resident -- excellent! Clear, concise and dead on.
Carlos -- please see DCoT's above post with the numbers. Fury is about what I am feeling now also.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

There has to be shared sacrifice. Education is a constitutional right and benefits all of society, and the community does need to come together to resolve it, not wash their hands of it.

The teachers did not cause this mess, but taxpayers are not out of the hole, either. Californians pay a smaller percent of their income towards education than most of the nation. Prop 13 has reduced funding for education, as many Californians pay below-inflation-rate property taxes. Voters have approved projects that siphon money from the general fund (like the high-speed rail to LA)--money that could have been used for education.

Step and column raises are promotions, so they are like any other industry. Name an industry or career field that promotes employees without some salary increase.

So even if teachers agree to freeze S&C raises, which would be like you getting promoted to a new higher position but you would be paid the same as your old lower position, I think that is already a sacrifice.

Think about how much a 4% cut would amount to for janitors, music and science teachers, library staff, lower level administrative staff--it could cost them their houses and healthcare, too. For what? So you can save $20 per month and spend it on your lattes?

You certainly know how to enjoy the benefits a good school district brings to the community in the form of higher home prices, low crime, and good citizens, but now that the district needs help because of reduced state funding, you are essentially turning your back on them.

Since you are as callous as you are stingy, you might feel better if you donate the difference in home prices a good district brings to the community. Pleasanton homes are, on average, about $100,000 more than comparable homes in less-desirable school districts. PUSD has built such a good reputation that has caused your home to be worth that much more, so if we could get you to donate that money that PUSD earned for you, we could solve our budget crisis.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

A proposal that saves teacher jobs, possibly adds teacher jobs, preserves all counselors, aides, specialists, librarians, administration, custodians, music teachers and more. A proposal that Puts Kids First. A proposal that keeps the high quality of PUSD education!


Posted by just wondering, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm

June, I agree with your remarks. We have to live within our means and there are structural issues that need to be addressed.

In terms of the funding, as a parent, I feel like budget suggestions should include a parent contribution - where people can afford it - to the solution. I believe this is a community where we pride ourselves on education and parents can pay a bit for the extra benefits we get (used to get) here.

I would also ask that people treat the teachers with respect - they work hard and are part of the backbone of this community and as a teacher above posted, most are supportive of some measures to reduce the burden of debt. They were only given one choice last time and they said yes. You're not hearing enough from the 70% here.

We have to work together or this is going to fall apart. It really could happen and I don't feel like people in general realise how close to the brink we are.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Concerned Parent - Step and Column raises are NOT promotions. And by the way, thanks for acknowledging the fact that they are indeed RAISES, something the Pleasanton teachers union denies (Web Link).


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Correction: (adds 'maintains current CSR levels')

A proposal that saves teacher jobs, possibly adds teacher jobs, preserves all counselors, aides, specialists, librarians, administration, custodians, music teachers, maintains current CSR levels and more. A proposal that Puts Kids First. A proposal that keeps the high quality of PUSD education!


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Another Resident, I am standing up an applauding right now. Rarely do you see someone that articulate address a moron so calmly. Cudos!


Posted by Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Stacey,

Of course the "concession" was contingent on the passage of the parcel tax. The idea of a shared sacrifice came from the community, not the teachers. One was proposed to them, and they agreed to it. I just don't understand the mentality that says teachers should give up something for the privilege of teaching our kids, especially when this mess is not their fault.

Even with your $3.2 million for step and column the last two years, we're still at least $3.7 million in the hole for next year. How many other districts are asking their teachers to give up step and column to fix the state's problems? That's something I'd be interested to see. You can mention Mount Diablo if you'd like, but I hope none of us wants our district to end up like theirs.


Posted by to please, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The reality is that the state can no longer afford salary increases and teachers are funded almost entirely by the state, not by the community. The people still working in the community pay via taxes. There isn't enough revenue coming in to pay you more because of the worst economy since 1929, not the community being mean.

That's the reality. I've gone from a standard project fee of $16k to $10k over this year alone and no one pays into my retirement, no benefits. That's life, that's this economy. I was presented with the option, I suggested 12k, they said no and I'm still working hard. Way more than 4% and just life today. We need to move on and educate the kids.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

DCOT,

You mean, a proposal that puts YOU first. You can't deny that you're asking quite a sacrifice from our teachers and other staff, when other districts have recently passed a parcel tax and didn't ask for across-the-board paycuts at their schools, yet you don't want to donate a penny.

And spare us your "righteousness"--it's transparent. Your guilt is overwhelming--just admit that you don't want to make any sacrifices. It'll make you feel better.


Posted by concerned parent and tax payer, a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I think you should read the posting by Curt: Public Employee Unions are Killing Us.. . I'll march for this any day of the week.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm

To 'Please' - The idea of 'shared sacrifice' was a meme promoted by members of the Board of Trustees. Grant, Kernan and Ott are three that I recall speaking that meme during Board meetings. Who from the 'community' propsed a concession to the teachers? As I understand the process, proposals to the teachers comes from the union leadership who negotiates with PUSD. So where does the 'community' come into play? Rewriting history doesn't help.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Just wondering,

Since this community is so unsupportive, we as parents will have to step up to the plate. It's sad because many of the posters here on this board don't have children in school and don't want to support the schools now that they're done with them. They spread lies and pin the blame on teachers so they can look the other way when our schools catastrophically fail. Don't believe them, the budget crisis is WAY BIGGER than teacher salaries and requires an overhaul at the STATE level of funding. But we have to act now, because our children will be directly affected in the coming school year.

I think we should look at San Ramon as a good example. They have a parcel tax, and they ask each parent to "donate" $600 per child when they register. (They put STRONG pressure on parents to donate, so it's not really a donation but a fee.) This is in addition to other fundraisers during the course of the school year.

I think we need to do something similar in Pleasanton. Since the community doesn't want to help, parents and teachers will have to shoulder most of the burden.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm

To 'Concerned Parent' - I'll give you a pass as you attack the messenger and not the message. What is your proposal to solve the budget gap? Post it here and let's have a healthy debate. Attacking the messenger doesn't produce solutions. Different proposals will.


Posted by Please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

DCOT:

The board started talking about shared sacrifice based on feedback from the community. I'd have to go pretty far back on these forums to before the measure G campaign started, but I'm pretty sure the idea was floated here by several posters. If this board isn't part of the community, what is it, and why are we here?

You're right, though, that proposals and not attacks will solve the problem, which is why I won't accuse you of trying to rewrite history. Since your proposal takes from the teachers, suspension of S & C, then takes more, reduction of 5 instructional days, then takes even more, 4% pay cut, I'm not sure it's equitable. I'm also not sure how the loss of 5 instructional days doesn't cut a kid-facing program.


Posted by Food for thought, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm

This really does speak to the real problem in this country. I think it's about time to stop bashing the unions and public employees.

Web Link


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Shared Sacrifice" was a meme presented by Al Cohen to the Budget Advisory Committee. With the BAC stacked with more District staff than at-large community members, saying this came from "the community" rings hollow.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Well, DCOT, here are some:

I believe there are 14,000 students. If we get $600 per child in "fees", that's $8.4 million. I don't think this will happen because there are low-income people who won't be able to afford it, but their children still deserve an education.

Or we can get a mixture of parent contributions via per-child fees of about $450 per child and concessions from staff via a salary freeze. Again, problem with low income, but a bit more manageable.

Or we can get lower parent contributions, small parcel tax of, say, $99, and concessions from staff via salary freeze.

I just disagree with DCOT that teachers should shoulder the entire burden. It really isn't fair, because public schools SHOULD be community supported; otherwise, they are just private schools.


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Dear Concerned Parent,

Re: It really isn't fair, because public schools SHOULD be community supported; otherwise, they are just private schools.

At the risk of pointing out that you appear hopelessly unclear on the concept, where did you think the 136 MILLION dollars spent by the district this year came from?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

To Dark Corners,

"Huh? No one asked for teachers or district employees to write a check. We are just asking that you take a smaller share of the tax money provided by the public. A reasonable request by most applicable metrics."

By what metrics? On average, the general public has seen a small raise in both 2008 and 2009. It was smallest in 2009 at 1.1%. You are asking PUSD employees to take a much larger hit than the average worker.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm

To Another Resident: I think you should ask yourself that same question. Do you know how much school districts receive in state funding? About 60% on average. Much of that comes from property taxes collected throughout the state of California and not just Pleasanton.

About 1/3 is from local sources in the form of fundraising, parcel taxes (which we obviously don't have), and other monetary sources. So, no, I don't believe we as a community have done enough for our schools, especially now that state funding levels have dropped.

Pleasanton gets about $5,500 per pupil in funding. This is less than the national average of more than $6K per pupil. So you tell me, are we doing enough for our schools?


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Re: About 1/3 is from local sources in the form of fundraising, parcel taxes (which we obviously don't have), and other monetary sources.
I'm afrai
d I have to call BS on that lie. Have a look at the PUSD website. The link to the correct page is provided below:

Web Link


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Bottom line is that if you are going to march on Main Street, buy something taxable while you are there. Because that is the only way your effort will net any positive outcome beyond the exercise of the activity.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 12:19 am

Another resident: Your link didn't work by the way.

So 23% of funds come from local property taxes and 6% from other local sources. Which amounts to 30%--so I was off by 3% on the local part. State funding is still 60%.

State and local funding make up 90% of a school's budget. Other than federal funding, which amounts to the remaining 10%, it has no other resources. So when state funding drops, as is the case now, it has to rely on local funding to bridge the shortfall from the state.

Since 6% of funding comes from fundraisers, donations, and parcel taxes, then with a budget of $136 million, it means 6% of that (more than $2 million) should come from fundraisers, donations, and a parcel tax. Ahh but we have no parcel tax. Therein lies the rub.

You said: "Well the community continues to pay some of the highest taxes in the nation."

Wrong. Prop 13 ensures that millions of Californians pay below-inflation property taxes.

You said: "More of us continue to lose our jobs, homes, retirement funds, and healthcare. You get to keep all of the above. A reasonable trade, don't you think?"

How do you know that a pay cut won't cause someone to lose their homes or healthcare?


Posted by another resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 1:47 am

Here is the link again. I am not sure where you get your data, but the PUSD website clearly disputes your percentages:

Web Link

You said: "Well the community continues to pay some of the highest taxes in the nation." Wrong. Prop 13 ensures that millions of Californians pay below-inflation property taxes.

California does pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. You can't just select the pieces of the puzzle that suit your argument:
Web Link#

Nice try though. You have a future in politics!


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:09 am

I did not say in my posts that 60% of the budget of *PUSD* came from the state. I said *school districts* meaning in the state of California on average.

So the pie chart on PUSD's website means we are even more reliant on state funding than average--72%. Which means we are WORSE OFF than other school districts who rely more on local funding.

And I stand my ground: you said "the community continues to pay some of the highest taxes in the nation"

Show me where you got this data.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 27, 2010 at 8:31 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Why argue 60% here, 30% there? The money is sourced from the taxpayer regardless of whether some comes from the State and some from local.

Every year the State amount changes depending upon local revenue. Those interested can dig through some of the info on the LAO website and see that this year the State needs to provide more of the revenue limit share, aka "fill the bucket", in TOTAL because property tax revenue is DOWN in general. That's why it is funny to say that the State is cutting the education budget when in fact the amount they need to provide is more than it was last year.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Jan 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

To 'Concerned Parent' - Starting in 2009 (showing up on your tax form now) the dependent child tax credit was cut $210. So, each child in Pleasanton is costing $210 more in taxes to CA. With ~25,000 dependents under the age of 18, the parents of children in Pleasanton are paying $5M more in taxes this year to California. With the 1% increase in sales taxes that started last year, and other fees/taxes imposed, is there any wonder why people aren't lining up to pay more taxes and fees? Let's see.....more money to the public trough, and less coming back.
How do you know that tax increases aren't causing someone to lose their home or healthcare?


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Stacey, I was not the one nitpicking over percentages--see Another resident's remarks.

DCOT, oh so now you are concerned about the impact of, say, a $10 per month of a parcel tax? Wait a minute! You had been proposing

--a 4% across the board salary cut for all district employees

--a freeze in S&C increases

--reduction in 5 instructional days

Your proposal would have put many people on the brink of losing their homes and healthcare, if not pushed them over the edge.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anyone else collecting receipts for 2010 taxes this year? I'm experimenting this year to see if the sales tax deduction will be higher than the state and local income tax deduction...


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